from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:
From the diary of Doctor Watson
Day 2, Loch Ness (continued)
I have to say I was more than a little perturbed at my companion’s sudden departure, but reading his note now (in the general tranquillity of this railway carriage), I can see that Holmes was merely thinking of me and my likely reaction to the contents of his stomach erupting in the confined space we then occupied. (NB: his note, having been sent rather optimistically by carrier pigeon to the ‘Beast’s’ last known position, was perhaps not one of my friend’s better ideas, but I shall forgo that for now as it all turned out alright in the end).
Miss Adler had of course noticed Holmes’ departure and was a little miffed at this but instead of screaming the place down as I expected, she simply tossed me a wad of paper, muttering, “Page 42, I think…”
I flipped through the foolscap sheets to find page 42 and was glad to note that it did not describe the manner of my death, but something along the lines of the following:
HOLMES AND WATSON ARE IN THE SUB
HOLMES: Now Miss Adler, as you no doubt intend to kill myself and my companion, I should like to know what devious master plan is simmering away in that cunning, but rather beautiful, little brain of yours.
ADLER: Ah, Sherlock, my love, if only you knew. In fact, it is your old adversary Professor Moriarty who is to blame for your present predicament…
And so the dialogue went on to detail the scene where Holmes and I are taken to an underground cave where that very individual is waiting for us on the end of a rickety wooden jetty. However, given that Moriarty is of course long dead, I was at a loss to explain why he would be hiding out in an underground cave. I was just about to pose this question to Miss Adler when a loud grinding noise came to my ears and the ‘Beast’ came to a sudden standstill.
“What’s happening, Miss Adler?” said I.
The young lady sighed and pulled her skirt down to a more respectable level. “Well, Doctor, since Sherl has done a bunk there’s not much point in continuing shooting today, so I’m dropping you back at the hotel.”
And with that, she slid her hand over a large red knob and gave it a sharp tug. The hatch opened slowly and I looked out to find that we were indeed back at the small pier within sight of the hotel.
Irene Adler flicked her hair back. “Go on, then, bugger off.”
“But what exactly is this, Miss Adler?” said I waving the wodge of papers.
Looking back, I suppose it was inevitable that those people at Ealing Studios would want to ‘get in on the action’ (I believe that is the correct phrase) with a film version of one of Sherlock Holmes’ adventures. That he had (of course) flatly refused to indulge their comedic whims and willingly take part in the movie (initially entitled: Sherlock Holmes and the Loch Ness Monster and Moriarty and a Few Other Baddies), was no surprise to me, but Miss Adler was clearly quite put out that her starring role had been cut short.
I glanced up from my diary. Holmes was puffing away at his Meerschaum pipe and had that knowing smile on his face. I gave him a querying look.
“I know what you’re thinking, Watson,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “If it hadn’t been for my sudden departure, you might have had a new role in life as an actor.”
I pursed my lips and shook my head. “No, of course not, Holmes. It had never entered my head.” Nevertheless, as the train chuffed its weary way towards London, I couldn’t help wonder if our ‘adventures’ would ever make it to the silver screen.
Holmes nodded to himself. “Of course you know who took the role of Moriarty?”
I shook my head. “Eric Porter, perhaps?”
Holmes laughed. “No, it was that fool Rathbone.” He chuckled and gazed out of the window. “No talent. Probably end up playing some fool of a detective in one of those dreadful Hollywood farces…”