Here's a little mystery for Friday the 13th:
The Hound of the Beakervilles.
T'was a dark and stormy night. Not a soul was abroad, apart from all the foreigners, who live there anyway. The rain bounced off the cobbles of Baker Street, Portsmouth, and the wind rattled the shutters of the house at number 221B, home of Portsmouth's most famous investigator, Detective TurtleHolmes.
"I say TurtleHolmes," said Doctor BlackBart "It sounds like you're strangling a cat!".
"Strewth, that I am, mate!" quoth the great detective, "The little bugger's only gone and hidden me violin! I told him I use nylon strings, but the stupid galah doesn't listen, does he?"
At that juncture, the doorbell rang. "Tell you what, cobber," the half-shelled sleuth opined, "that will be a pom with a limp at the door, bringing us a new case. Reckon he might have a banana in his ear, too."
"Good Flying Spaghetti Monster, TurtleHolmes! How on Earth do you deduce that?" exclaimed the reknowned doctor of piracy and graphic design.
"No worries, Doc. I could tell he was a pom, cos only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midnight rain. I could tell he's got a limp by the asymmetrical splashing of his footsteps on the pavement. And he's bringing us a new case because... well why the hell else would he be ringing my doorbell at this time of night?"
"And the banana in his ear?"
"Lucky guess, I reckon."
A knock at the door interrupted the conversation. "Yes, Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany? What is it?" said TurtleHolmes.
"Excuse me, gentlemen, but Sir Henry Beakerville has called" said the dour, Scottish housekeeper.
"Show him in, Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany, show him in!" A slightly singed-looking gentleman in a dinner jacket and white coat entered the room. He carried a walking stick decorated with flames, and walked with a limp. He also appeared to have half a banana in his right ear. The housekeeper withdrew and closed the door.
"G'day mate! Like the penguin suit," said the detective, "Fancy a tinnie?"
"Thank you, no." said Beakerville, "Gentlemen, I need to speak to you urgently. It is quite possibly a matter of life or death, and I fear that... I fear that... Do you know what? I think I will have that beer after all."
Once he was a little more 'refreshed' than he had already been on his arrival, Beakerville continued. "My father was Sir Berzelius Beaker, the chemical magnate. My mother was a Welsh goatherder named Gwyneth Daft. No doubt you will have heard about my father's death in a bizarre cycling-with-fireworks accident a few years ago?
When he died, I adopted my mother's name as well, and for a short while became Sir Henry Daft-Beakerville. Unfortunately, this scandalised my extended family, who disowned me. I went to live with my mother, who unfortunately passed away shortly afterwards in a tragic rugby-team-drinking-game accident. That left me with nothing but my mother's goats, a blood feud with my father's family, and an offer to study Chemistry at Bristol."
"In the course of my studies, I happened upon a marvellous formula, little less than a miracle I tell you. I can, for a matter of a few pennies, cure any hangover, regardless of what or how much you have drunk the night before."
"Great Scott!" exclaimed BlackBart.
"No, I'm English. Please remember that, it's an important plot device." said Beakerville. "Anyway, I am being plagued, I am being hunted by a terrible beast the like of which I cannot begin to tell you. It pursues me by day, and haunts my dreams by night. It must be connected to my father's family."
"Tell me what you can about this beast." said TurtleHolmes. Beakerville took another pull on his can, to steel his nerves..
"Well it is black in colour, it emits a foul stench, and it has an insatiable appetite for footwear. More than that I cannot say."
"What does it sound like?" asked the detective.
"It's hard to say." said Beakerville.
"Try and describe it..."
"No, no you mis-understand me." said Beakerville, "I can hear it just fine, it's just hard to pronounce what it says. It sounds a bit like 'Och... forbye, ye ken... a wee but 'n' ben in the gloaming... I'll ha'e a wee dram... Aye... Parrrrtick Thussul..."
"There's no time to lose!" cried the detective, "Doctor! Do you have your service cutlass?"
"Yes, TurtleHolmes, and I've also got a Swann Morton number 4 blade and some spray mount, just in case anyone needs a quick layout done." said the good doctor, "Where are we going?"
"To a shoe shop, my dear doctor, to a shoe shop." With that, they ran out into the night, leaving a delighted Beakerville with the rest of the cans.
The intrepid duo skidded to a halt outside the nearest shoe shop. "BlackBart, go in there and get me a pair of tartan Doc Martens. Get a recipt and claim it back on expenses. Reckon they might be tax-deductible too, mate." said the detective, "I'll go and buy the dog food."
"TurtleHolmes, have you lost your mind? Tartan boots? Dog food? What is going on?" exclaimed the doctor.
"All in good time, doctor, all in good time."
By the time Doctor BlackBart returned with the spurious footwear, Detective Turtleholmes was opening a can of the cheapest, nastiest dog food available. "Pesto be upon me, TurtleHolmes, that smells disgusting!" opined the doctor, "Couldn't you afford anything better?"
"You got to think like your quarry, mate, that's how you catch a dingo." said the detective, slightly obscurely. Turtleholmes started spooning the malodorous mystery meat into the pristine footwear, causing BlackBart to gasp in astonishment, but he said nothing. Then the detective tied the bootlaces together, and hung the boots over a nearby washing line. "And now, my dear doctor," said the detective, "we wait."
The chill wind blew in off the Channel, biting deep into the doctor's bones. He shivered, and blew into his cupped hands to keep them warm. Turtleholmes, however, remained motionless and dispassionate, using the legendary physical and mental discipline of the ninja to disregard the physical adversity of their situation. Just then, the town fell eerily silent. No drunks moaned or sang, no dogs barked, no babies cried. The wind died. A faint mist started to appear in the drying green, eventually obscuring the hanging boots from view. TurtleHolmes tensed, "Here comes trouble," he whispered, "like Earl's Court on a Saturday night."
Suddenly, without warning, TurtleHolmes leapt towards the washing line, disappearing from the doctor's view. A terrible growling and snarling came from the mist-shrouded darkness. "What's going on, TurtleHolmes? What's going on?" cried BlackBart, fingering the hilt of his trusty cutlass.
"He's got me!" cried the detective, "He's got me! He's got me... Blundstone boots! And they cost me a bloody packet, too!" TurtleHolmes appeared out of the mist, carrying a very small black-and-white dog, which was busily chewing on one of his boots. "Come BlackBart! We must get back to Baker Street immediately!"
Avoiding the first cab on the rank, they jumped into the second cab on the rank. Then they got out of that one and got into the third cab on the rank, since the second cab on the rank "wasn't going to go north of the river at this time of night". When they got back to 221B Baker Street, the house was in darkness. "Come, BlackBart! I hope we're not too late!" cried the detective as he leapt down from the cab and ran towards the house.
"Turn on the light!" whispered Detective TurtleHolmes, as he inched along the hallway.
"What do you mean?" hissed BlackBart, "It's 1752, we don't have lights, we use candles!" The detective stopped.
"Really? I thought it was 1848. No matter! Press on!"
"Well if it's 1848, how come Basil Rathbone played you in all those World War II movies? World War II was from 1939 to 1945!"
"That's a topic for Serious Discussion, or Art & Artistic Interpretations, not Pirates, BlackBart! Come on, the game's afoot!"
The pair burst into TurtleHolmes' parlour, Doctor BlackBart with his service cutlass on point. A shadowy figure was standing over the drunken sleeping form of Sir Henry Beakerville. "Stop right there!" cried BlackBart, "The game's up!"
"Whatever do you mean, Doctor BlackBart?" said Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany, lighting a candle, "I am merely clearing up after the good detective. There's nothing to see here." Suddenly, from under the candlewick on the sofa, there erupted a shadowy form with ninja-like skill, pinning Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany to the floor. "Not so fast!" cried Detective TurtleHolmes, "You are discovered, you rogue! You scoundrel! You bloody skirt-wearing bastard!"
Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany threw off the detective, as if he were some diminutive antipodean gingerist, and running to the window, she threw herself out of it. "Great Scott, TurtleHolmes!" cried the doctor.
"Exactly!" exclaimed the detective, and sprinted for the door. As they pursued Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany along Baker Street, TurtleHolmes cried "BlackBart! Do you have your service cutlass?"
"Yes!" shouted BlackBart "And a hooky product key for Photoshop CS4, just in case!"
"Where are we going?" shouted the suddenly re-animated Beakerville, and gave chase.
Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany ran around the corner into Marylebone Road, and inexplicably fell over a herd of young goats. "Got you, Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany!" exclaimed TurtleHolmes, as he pounced, "Or should I say... The Pictish Ruffian of Portsmouth!". TurtleHolmes pulled at the back of Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany's head, removing her latex mask, and exposing her to actually be The Mystery Scotsman who had terrorised Portsmouth a number of months earlier. "Remarkable!" cried BlackBart, "However did you manage to figure it out?"
"No worries, mate." said the good detective, "Allow me to explain..."
"Beakerville had discovered a very valuable thing in a hangover cure, so the obvious protagonists would be the Scots. They love a good hangover almost as much as they love a hangover cure. The awful smell associated with the beast obviously correlated with the Scots' meanness as regards feeding their animal companions. That meant that it had to be a Scot behind it, and the only Scot who has shown up in the story so far has been Mrs. Hudson-Baycompany. So, Mystery Scotsman, what do you make of that analysis?"
"Aye, forbye maybe it's no too bad at'aaaaaa..." said the Scotsman, "Ah ha'e some shares in the Irn Bru company, and a good hangover cure wid destroy ma pension plan, d'ye ken?"
"Remarkable!" cried BlackBart, "Well done TurtleHolmes! But what about the goats?"
"Oh, they are the offspring of my mother's herd." said Beakerville, "I tethered them round the corner when I came to see you."
"So it's all explained!" cried BlackBart.
"Aye, weel done detective!" said the Mystery Scotsman," And dae ye ken whit? Ah wid huv got away with it... if it hudnae been fur thae pesky kids!"
"I don't mean to sound bitter, cynical or cruel; but I am, so that's how it comes out." ~ Bill Hicks.
"To argue with a person who has renounced reason is like administering medicine to the dead." ~ Thomas Paine.
"One should not believe everything one reads on the internet." ~ Abraham Lincoln.
"If you're making a political point wearing a balaclava, you're a c***. It was true for the IRA and it's true now." ~ daftbeaker.