A Study in PinkWednesday, August 07, 2019
|From top left clockwise - Rosa 'Abraham Darby, Princess Alexandra of Kent, St Swithum & Queen of Sweden 9 August 2019|
The personal blog of Doctor John H. Watson
A Study in Pink
I've blacked out a few names and places because of legal matters but, other than that, this is what happened on the night I moved in with Sherlock Holmes.
When I first met Sherlock, he told me my life story. He could tell so much about me from my limp, my tan and my mobile phone. And that's the thing with him. It's no use trying to hide what you are because Sherlock sees right through everyone and everything in seconds. What's incredible, though, is how spectacularly ignorant he is about some things.
This morning, for example, he asked me who the Prime Minister was. Last week he seemed to genuinely not know the Earth goes round the Sun. Seriously. He didn't know. He didn't think the Sun went round the Earth or anything. He just didn't care. I still can't quite believe it. In so many ways, he's the cleverest person I've ever met but there are these blank spots that are almost terrifying. At least I've got used to him now. Well, I say that, I suspect I'll never really get used to him. It's just, on that first night, I literally had no idea of what was to come. I mean, how could I?
I was looking at the flat, surprised at the state it was already in, when DI â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“from Scotland Yard burst in. Sherlock, of course, already knew why he was there. There'd been another death - this time, in â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“. Sherlock asked me to join him and I went along, intrigued. In the taxi, he explained how he'd deduced everything about me the previous day - how he'd picked up on every word I said, every action, tiny little things about my phone. It was extraordinary. I'd try to explain it here but I don't think I'd be able to do him justice. Go to his site, The Science of Deduction and see for yourself how his mind works.
I was still surprised that, even being the genius he clearly is, the police would come to him for help. He said he was a 'consulting detective'. Naturally, being the arrogant so-and-so he is, he'd had to give himself his own unique job title.
We arrived in â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“ where, to my surprise, he introduced me as his colleague. The police seemed surprised by this as well I get the impression he'd not had 'colleagues' before. It was a body of a woman, dressed in pink. And she'd been poisoned. Again, Sherlock just looked at her and he knew everything about her. The way she was dressed. Splatters of mud on her leg. What was there and, more importantly, what was missing. Her suitcase. And it was that which excited him. The missing pink suitcase.
He left the body and ran outside to searched for it, naturally leaving me behind. I spoke to a policewoman and she summed Sherlock up. She said 'he gets off on it.' And he does. He didn't care about the dead woman or any of the other victims. I suspect if he came back and found me and our landlady lying here with our throats cut, he'd just see it as an intellectual exercise. 'Fantastic' he'd exclaim, rubbing his hands together. 'But the door was locked so how did they kill each other?' The policewoman, she called him a psychopath. That seems harsh and it was hardly a professional diagnosis but I look back at what I wrote about him when I first met him. I called him the madman.
So I went back to Baker Street and Sherlock asked me to send a text message. He'd found her suitcase and discovered that the victim's phone was missing. He knew the killer would have it, so there I was, texting a serial killer.
He'd found the woman's missing suitcase because he'd known it would be pink, like the woman's clothes. It hadn't even crossed my mind and when I said this, he told me I was an idiot. He didn't mean to be offensive, he just said what he thought. I've been called worse things but his bluntness was still a bit of a surprise. He just didn't care about being polite or anything like that. I was starting to understand why he didn't seem to have many 'colleagues'.
After that, we went on a stakeout. We waited in a restaurant to see if the killer would visit the address I'd texted him. Across the road, we saw a taxi pull up. We ran out, but it drove off. Sherlock insisted on chasing it and luckily he seemed to have an intimate knowledge of London's backstreets. Of course, as I realised afterwards, he's probably memorised the London A-Z. We ran down street after street and we managed to catch up with the taxi - only to discover that the passenger wasn't our killer. He'd only just arrived in the UK. It was the most ridiculous night of my life - I mean, an actual chase through London. People don't do that, not really. But we did.
And, of course, by doing this, Sherlock proved my limp was psychosomatic. Did I mention he's clever?
We returned to the flat to discover that â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“ and the police were there, examining the suitcase. It was actually pretty funny seeing how offended Sherlock was by this. I genuinely think he believes himself to be above the law. And he couldn't stand the fact that â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“ had got one over him. â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“â–“ described Sherlock as a child and, in many ways, that's what he is. I said that he doesn't care about what others think and that he's arrogant because of this but it's not really that. It's not that he doesn't care, it's that he genuinely doesn't understand that it's normal to care. It's normal to worry about what other people think. Like a child, he just doesn't understand the rules of society - which, of course, is probably why he's so good at working the rest of us out.
Sherlock thinks everyone else is stupid so he's like a kid at Christmas when it turns out that one of us have done something clever. I'm not talking about me but our murder victim. She hadn't lost her phone. She hadn't left it behind. She knew she was going to die so she'd left her phone in the taxi - And, like all modern phones, it had a GPS system so you could locate it. That brilliant woman had led us to her killer.
And he was outside. He was outside our flat - in his taxi! We'd chased him halfway across London, thinking he'd been driving the killer - but he was the killer himself. That was how he'd manage to get to his victims - just by picking them up in his cab. Of course, Sherlock being completely and utterly mad, got into the taxi so he could talk to him. Again, he wasn't interested in the 'rules'. He wasn't interested in how the driver had done all this. I don't think he was particularly interested in stopping him and it didn't even cross his mind to let the police know that the man they were looking for was outside. All Sherlock Holmes was interested in was discovering why the killer had done it. He wanted to be alone with the killer so he could question him. That was more important than anything else - despite the obvious threat to his own life.
The taxi driver drove him to a college of further education so they could both educate each other on - well, on how their minds worked, I guess. It's not something I'll ever really understand and, to be honest, I'm not sure I ever want to understand it. To be that much of a psychopath. To be that above the rest of us. To be that dangerous. It's pretty terrifying.
Afterwards, Sherlock told me what happened. The taxi driver had a brain aneurism. He was dying. He'd pick up his victims and take them somewhere. Then he'd give them a choice. Take one of two pills - one of which was harmless and one of which would kill them. Their only other choice was that he would shoot them. It makes me furious to think about those poor people who got into his taxi - one of them was just a kid! They must have gone through hell. But Sherlock, mad old Sherlock, he understood him. As far the taxi driver was concerned, he was outliving people. He was giving himself the power of life and death. And I do, I genuinely think Sherlock understood this.
Myself and the police had managed to work out where they'd gone so we'd driven after them. But it was too late. By the time we got there, I could see that Sherlock was going to take one of the pills. It wasn't because he had to but because it was a game of wits. He wasn't going to let this other arrogant, pompous psychopath win. Which is when someone shot the taxi driver. Someone like that's bound to have enemies so it shouldn't have been a surprise but I hadn't seen anyone shot since Afghanistan. It's something you never really get used to. That someone could have the power of life and death over someone else - but I'm glad whoever it was did it, because they undoubtedly saved Sherlock's life. And, frankly, after everything that man had done to those innocent people who got into his car, a quick death like that was better than he deserved.
And after all that? Well, me and my flatmate went for a Chinese. Like I say, he really does know some great restaurants.
There was one other thing though. Before the taxi driver died, he said a name. A name of someone or something that had helped him. Moriarty. I've never heard of it and neither has Sherlock. Of course, he loves it. He thinks he's found himself an arch-enemy. He's a strange child.
And since that night? It hasn't stopped. Oh, there's so much more I've got to tell you.