Co-creator Steven Moffat has remarked that beyond being a crime show, a great deal of what Sherlock is about is two bachelors living together, behaving badly, being slobs, and “putting horrible things in the fridge”.
Loke Mun hadn’t been in London for a while. London was a great city, and it happened to be the one in which he had both gotten his certification as a dentist, and nurtured his love for all things espionage-related. He recalled feverish dreams blending the two: extracting a tooth only to discover some unfathomable device in it, handpieces with hidden mikes, on and on.
The Millenium bridge had been only a sparkle in somebody’s eyes in his student days. Now it was a thrumming metal thing thousands of people crossed every day. Loke Mun liked to stand in the middle and feel the vibrations under his feet. To his left, there was St. Paul’s Cathedral; to his right, Tate Modern, that hulk of a building. As he stood, his hands in his pockets, feet slightly apart, he scanned the crowd for faces.
After ten minutes, satisfied, he fluffed up his scarf and left.
One could hardly blame Ceres Euglena from trying to fit the stereotype of a fortune teller. She liked the sashaying, colourful skirts and the beaded necklaces one found all the time in second-hand shops, which was probably where she got her jewellery.
Her office, though, was mercifully free of incense, dead things or discarded shoes; it was bright and airy.
“My dear girl, what brings you here?” she called across the large room.
“Charlie told me to come.” Minerva lingered around the doorway.
“Ah, Charlie. Come in, dear, come in, have a seat, make yourself comfortable!”
Up close, Minerva saw the crow’s feet at Ceres’ eyes, and that her hair was most definitely dyed. Her hands were small, the skin loose, veins protruding like green snakes. She clasped these hands loosely.
“So, Amber, dear Charlie wants you to have your fortune told, doesn’t he?”
Charlie had been tactful, to use a pseudonym for her like that. Minerva said nothing. She shrugged. Hey, if this woman was a clairvoyant, she should know, right? The fortune-teller gestured at her hand.
“Left or right?”
“Dominant hand. Come, come.”
Reluctantly Minerva stretched out her right hand and the fortune teller took it in her wrinkly hands. The woman’s skin felt like loose snake skin, but it was dry and not unpleasant. As Minerva looked around, the woman stared with a curious fixed expression on her face. From time to time she would shake her head and mutter things. Minerva tried to silence the irritation springing up within her. It was the ‘I know more than you do’ attitude which all fortune-tellers seemed to adopt with their clients which had kept Minerva away from ‘such folk’ as much as possible. Until then, of course. Until the dreams she’d had.
Ceres Euglena looked at Minerva full in the eyes.
“Charlie, is he still helping the police?” she asked. Minerva calmed the sudden lurch in her throat.
“You must be special. What you did. He usually doesn’t let them off so easily.”
Like any other person, the middle-aged ‘uncle’ no one knew entered the cinema. He blended into the crowd with a peculiar semblance of invisibility. He dressed in what passed for the national costume these days: a Giordano tee, striped bermudas, slippers. You wouldn’t give him a second look if he passed you in the street.
He was not normal. Well, maybe, to a certain extent. He was, for instance, certainly a carbon-based life form. A human being, in fact. But the thoughts which passed through his mind were way out of the realm of normality. It’s hard to explain like this, though.
One saw an inkling of this carefully concealed insanity during tragic scenes, where plaintive strings wailed in the background and people, onscreen and off, shed tears. While others cried, or at least felt a twinge at their heartstrings, this man simply giggled to himself.
In the same row, there was a woman who was paying no attention to the movie at all. She let her eyes rove around the cinema and wondered why everyone seemed to be fixated on the movie. That was a bad sign. She looked further down the row, hoping to spot her quarry, but the description she had been given was annoyingly vague.
Forty-five minutes into the movie, there was a chase scene through a real-life Gothic church. The man got up, holding his soft drink, and started to make this way to the end of the row. He did this so politely, so quietly, that no one really noticed, not really the heard-core complainers.
If anyone had bothered to look at the man, the normal unassuming man, they would have noticed what he was holding. But no one in the audience did.
Now one other person had stopped watching the movie. She sat, conveniently, at the last seat of the row, and she saw him coming. Three seats to the end now. On the big screen, the protagonist climbed under a pew, his panting breaths echoing around the cinema.
A cold hand grabbed the man’s bare forearm and he let out a small cry. Her grip crushed the man’s wrist; his fingers began to tingle. When she pulled him out of the row, he could only follow. He felt the loosely veiled threat of something metallic poking at his stomach.
Silently, she twisted his wrist, turning the palm skywards. She tried to peel the man’s fingers loose. He set his jaw in defiance. Her smile froze. No one saw exactly what happened, but suddenly the thing in his hands fell into hers and the man crumpled silently into her arms. She pocketed it and carried the man out of the theatre.
And all eyes in the theatre were riveted to the passionate on-screen kissing. The whole thing had taken barely a minute.
Out in the safety of a deserted back corridor, the woman made a quick call, then shoved the inert form into another cinema. The man was safely nestled in three layers of dusty curtains and would not wake up for eight hours.
No one in the theatre would realise what had really happened, not for a day or two, but the woman had just saved all their lives.
Gregory went to the kitchen, where the smell of fried fish was increasingly pungent, and boiled some metallic-smelling water in the kettle. Opening the tea cupboard hit him with a variety of wonderful smells: rosehip, earl grey, chamomile, lavender, raspberry, cinnamon… This was his brainchild, a kind of revenge for the hideous carpeting Pollux insisted on. He picked out a berry tea bag, filled a mug with hot water and dunked it in.
The sweet aroma was captivating. Gregory stood there, smelling, with his eyes firmly closed, because the sight of the red seeping out of the tea bag was always alarming.
Maybe some don’t want us to celebrate for them.
Minerva took her time going onto the stage. It was her first solo performance with her beloved flute. Nowhere in her mind was the thought that people would not like her to be performing.
In the shadows, an unnoticed man squatted in the curtains. He got out a silenced gun. The girl was over-ambitious and she played terribly, he thought. Or at least that was what Mr. Pallas always said. Cocking the gun carefully, he aimed….The girl played the last note, lifting the instrument from her lips to rapturous applause. He pulled the trigger.
With a little gasp, Minerva fell, instrument clattering The audience recoiled in horror. Some screamed. Others made strangled gasps. Soon a group of paramedics had arrived by Minerva’s side and had begun performing CPR. But after a few minutes, they walked away, expressions grim. The audience knew she was dead. There was a heavy silence.The man smiled thinly. His job was done. Mr. Pallas would pay him generously.