Sherlock Holmes and the Lost Invitation
an original Sherlock Holmes mystery by Lucas Gardner
Having been summoned by he himself I rushed quickly to Sherlock Holmes’ house on Baker Street one Winter’s morning to find my old friend in a state of extreme agitation. Upon my arrival he was pacing about the room and muttering to himself in between puffs off a cigarette. I surmised that the great detective must have taken a case with which he had hit a dead end.
“Good evening, Watson,” said he.
“Good evening, Mr. Holmes,” responded I. “Might I assume you’re pondering a case?”
“I believe, Watson, that the mystery at hand, that which I’ve been pondering all morning, is my most troubling to date. Please, take a seat, and I’ll pour us some tea. Let us talk through it together.”
I sat and Sherlock poured two cups of lapsang souchong, then he exhaled a deep and nervous breath before finally taking a seat of his own.
“Might I pose a question?” asked Sherlock.
“It was… It was your birthday yesterday. Is that correct, Watson?”
Caught rather off guard I shuffled nervously and stammered, “Why, yes. Yes it was.”
“Yes, I remember,” responded Sherlock. “Recall if you will, Watson, two weeks ago I inquired if you had any birthday plans. I recall you saying ‘No.’”
“Uh…” stammered I, “Yes, I remember that.”
I grew uncomfortable — I was beginning to worry that Sherlock might have figured out I did indeed have a birthday party, and that I didn’t invite him.
“So… You didn’t have a party last night?” asked Sherlock.
“Umm… No. I didn’t.”
“I find it rather peculiar then, my dear Watson, that you’ve a strand of confetti hanging from your hair as we speak,” said Sherlock.
I shook the confetti out of my hair and quietly cursed myself for leaving that morning without first checking myself for any signs of a party. I had left hungover and in a hurry.
“Umm…” stammered I, “I actually don’t know how that got there. That’s so weird. But uhh..,” I trailed off.
“Very well. I only ask because you’re clearly hungover, my dear Watson, and the tops of your shoes are all scuffed up, despite the fact that you typically keep them impeccably shined. It thereby occurs to me you might’ve done some dancing last night with some rather clumsy or perhaps drunken partners who stepped on your feet. Perhaps in some sort of party setting.”
“Umm… No, I don’t know, I didn’t have a party, so…”
“Very well. But if you did have a party, you’d… You’d have invited me, right?” asked Sherlock weakly.
“Oh, totally. Yeah,” responded I, not making eye contact.
Sherlock leaned back in his chair and groaned. “Ughhhh, God, this is so hard, but as much as I hate to press the issue, Watson, I’m rather inclined to ask why your cheeks appear so puffy this morning. It is almost as if you spent a great deal of your time yesterday blowing up balloons. Perhaps in preparation for some sort of… I don’t know, man, like a party maybe?”
“Uhhhhh…” stalled I, while trying to think of an alternate explanation. I could not. “Actually, I’m thinking back to last night and I’m remembering I definitely didn’t throw a party.”
“How did you spend your evening, then?”
“Oh, you know what actually, I’m thinking about it right now and I remember that I just had a nice quiet night in at home by myself.”
“Okay,” spoke Sherlock. “I’m being crazy. Forget it. I’m being crazy.”
Sherlock rose, walked to the window and stared out it contemplatively as he lit another cigarette. I quickly finished my tea and rushed to see myself out before Holmes could seize an opportunity to make any further deductions.
“Hey Watson?” spoke Holmes.
I paused in my tracks and sighed quietly to myself before responding with tremendous hesitation, “Yes?”
“I’m fun, right?” inquired Sherlock, staring straight down at his feet.
“Umm… For sure, man. You rule,” said I, stiffly.
“It’s just… A few seconds ago my phone rang and you didn’t seem to hear it, and I know you to have excellent hearing. I might deduce that there was some loud music playing at your place last night that caused you to wake this morning with a minor case of impaired hearing. Like, almost as if you were at some sort of party, I don’t know,” spoke Sherlock sheepishly.
“Uhh… Well, there was no party, so…,” said I, desperately.
“Because if there was a party, I was actually looking for something to do last night. That would have been a really good time,” said Sherlock.
“Because last night I ran into some of your friends at the grocery shop and I inquired what they’d planned for the evening and they said they were attending a party at your home.”
“Whaaaat?” said I, trying to feign incredulity but pretty much just eating shit at this point. “That’s so weird. What the hell?”
“Because I think I would have been a lot of fun at the party, if there was one,” continued Holmes. “You know I can get opium right?”
“No, yeah, I know.”
“It just seems like that could have been a huge asset to someone who was throwing a party.”
Sherlock now began to inspect my person feverishly from head to toe. “A perfect circle of hair has been cinched off the top off your head. Almost as if you placed a lampshade upon your head without first checking if it was hot — a classic party move. Also, when you came in moments ago, you were humming ‘Happy Birthday’ quietly under your breath. It would seem to me that the melody is stuck in your head. Perhaps it was sung to you less than 24 hours ago by a rather large group of friends.”
Finally in a moment of surrender, I said, “Oh, wait, actually… No, you know what? I’m actually just remembering I did have a party last night. I invited you. Didn’t you get the invitation?”
“No, Watson, I most certainly did not.”
“Oh, shit, man. What the hell? It must have been lost in the mail. That fuckin’ sucks.”
Sherlock’s face lit up. “Intriguing!” he squealed. “Let us investigate who or what sabotaged the delivery of my invitation to your party!”
“Let us begin at the post office. Come now, my dear Watson. We’ve work to do.”
“Maybe just let this one go, Sherlock…”
Sherlock grabbed me by the wrist and urged me towards the front door. “Watson?” he whispered as we moved.
“You’re my only friend.”
I mumbled something in return and followed Sherlock to the post office to investigate the disappearance of The Lost Invitation. We didn’t find it.