A US federal judge recently declared that Sherlock Holmes works – stories, the characters, setting, whatever – published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain, meaning they are no longer covered by US copyright law and therefore can be used by anyone without paying royalties to the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author who created Holmes. There are some technicalities to this – like anything that just appears in the Holmes universe after 1923 is off limits. But, basically, it’s open season on the world’s greatest detective. Time to rock, intellectual property Moriartys of the world.
So! Enjoy this take on the classic consulting detective, secure in the knowledge that I worked as hard on it as one can expect on something that cost absolutely nothing to produce.
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE THING THAT SOUNDS KIND OF LIKE THAT OTHER HOLMES STORY YOU LIKED, OR AT LEAST CLOSE ENOUGH TO THAT STORY THAT YOU’LL BE FOOLED INTO BUYING THIS ONE
An early morning fog rolls in across the moor, engulfing Baker Street in – what else? – mystery. (No, we don’t know if the moor is in anyway adjacent to London. How much did you pay to read this? Well, then, hush and keep reading.) A carriage comes to a halt in front of 221B Baker Street, location of the famous rooms occupied by the world’s greatest consulting detective: Dr. Gregory House.
Whoops! Sorry. We meant, of course, Magnum P.I.
Anyway, inside 221B, Holmes and his trusted friend Watson are awaiting the arrival of their new client.
“Watson, my dear chap, whatever are you doing?” Holmes asked.
“What the devil do you mean, Holmes?”
“The sweat on your brow, the dishevelment of your cravat, and the rhythmic grunting emanating from your well-fed torso tells me you are exerting yourself mightily. But what, pray tell, are you doing?”
“Twerking, Holmes,” Watson replied. “I thought it would stimulate your deductive reasoning.”
“Well, it’s no morphine…but, well, the violin is way over there…”
“I should think you’d want to be clear-headed given the imminent arrival of our new client.”
“Watson!” Holmes marveled. “You impress me.”
“Why, thank you, Holmes. I have been laying off the extra servings of mutton lately…”
“Pray, how did you deduce that a new client is arriving?”
The twerking halted abruptly. “Oh, right. The deductive reasoning thing. Well, clearly a new client will grace our door. The clues abound. You put on pants, for one.”
Holmes threw back his head with laughter. “Brilliant, my good man! What else?”
“You tidied up the papers and other detritus on the table to make room for the bowl of blazin’ sexy hot ranch Doritos brand tortilla chips.”
“Well, given how much Lestrade has vexed our new client, he has earned at least a zesty, cheesy snack available wherever snack chips are sold,” Holmes explained. “Is that all?”
“Well, also, you told me earlier that a new client was coming this morning.”
“Damn. Forgot that. Maybe I should lay off the morphine.”
Before Watson could reply, Mrs. Hudson – who will be played in the Netflix original production of this story by Sofia Vergara – came in. “Your guest has arrived. He’s coming up the stairs.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Hudson,” Watson said, when he noticed his friend had submerged into a gloomy bit of reflection. “Pray, what’s up with you, Holmes?”
“It’s our imminent client, Watson. This promises to be a devil of a case, friend. Our new client is a legendary figure, known across the continent and beyond. He has fame, wealth, and is beloved by millions.”
Watson set the two-liter of Coca-Cola in the ice bucket on the table. “Surely, a man such as this can’t have need of our services. What evil has befallen such a man?”
“He has become a victim of his own ubiquity, Watson,” Holmes said. “He is, in short, too famous. Everyone wants to take a shot at him. His overseers have sold out his position, if he is to be believed, and he is along in the wood, an endangered species. Soon to be exposed and exploited for material gain. “
“Surely, you don’t mean that literally!”
“Well, Watson. Only time will tell. The game is afoot…and also a bit gamey, come to think of it.”
“Well, I don’t know if I can bear much more anticipation, Holmes.”
A knock at the door.
“Wait no more, Watson. Prepare to meet our new client.”
The door swung wide, a slight squeak in the hinge topped only by the less-than-subtle squeak in our guest’s voice.
“Hi! I’m Mickey Mouse!”
If the newspaper The Strand, where the Holmes stories were originally serialized, is ever revived, we’ll finish this exciting tale.
Coming soon: When Holmes Met Watson: The Sing-along Musical