Santa Holmes Saves Christmas
Santa Holmes Saves Christmas
A Holmesian Pantomime (Of Sorts)
By Steve Wood (@gibsongoldking)
One Christmas Eve, Santa Holmes and I were sat by the fire reminiscing about the many cases that came our way over the festive season: The Adventure of the Noël Bachelor, The Empty Dolls House, The Naval Turkey, the Reigate jigsaw puzzle, and how could I forget the tragic circumstances surrounding the five chocolate orange pips.
My thoughts, however, soon turned to this time last year. My marriage was a happy one and my practice at the north pole had been very busy and I hadn’t seen much of my friend. With this weighing on my mind, I decided to deliver my present personally and wish him the compliments of
the season. I trudged through the drifting snow past the many toy factories, that even at this late hour were ablaze with lights, as the elves worked tirelessly to make sure that no child went without a present. It wasn’t long before I came upon the well-remembered door of 221B Bauble Street. I rang the bell and Mrs Hudson opened the door.
“Thank goodness you’ve come, he’s in one of his moods and I'm terribly worried about him.” she exclaimed her beady walrus eyes were full of tears and her whiskers drooped.
“Don’t worry, I'll soon sort him out”
She gave a salty sniff and waddled dejectedly away.
When I entered the room, I was filled with nostalgia. Messages from children all over the world to Santa Holmes were transfixed to the mantlepiece by a sharpened candy cane, and there was the Persian slipper full of sweet coconut tobacco by the fireplace. Holmes lounged on a chaise longue in his red and white dressing gown, moodily chomping on a liquorice pipe. His white beard mottled and burnt from his new toy experiments.
“Merry Christmas, Holmes!” I said as I gave him my present,
“It’s not another bloody deerstalker is it? Paget has a lot to answer for.” He retorted.
“Well, you’ll have to wait till Christmas day to find out, you of all people should know that,” I said in an attempt to lighten the mood. He didn’t answer but picked up his nerf gun, and tried to write V.R. on the wall.
I sat down opposite him and gave him my most winning smile.
“What’s up old fellow?”
“I'm bored Watson, bored. Give me problems, give me new toys to create! My mind rebels at stagnation”
“Well, you do only work once a year.” I said and laughed nervously.
Holmes glared at me and reached for his neat morocco case. “What is it today, Holmes” I said.
“Egg nog, a seven per cent solution.” he replied “Would you like to try it?”
“No, I would not! Once you get a sugar high, you may never come down again. Count the cost man!”
He sipped at his nog, and smiled “How is Mrs Watson?”
“She’s very well, thank you, but stop trying to change the subject”
Holmes and I had met Mary Christmas, the future Mrs Watson, in another case that I had called the Sign of Three. Three (not so) wise men from the east had lost their gifts, and Holmes had solved the case by winding up a toy robot, and observing how much of the brandy butter had melted into a mince pie. I was just about to pour forth on the evils of eggy alcoholic drinks, when suddenly we heard the doorbell ring and raised voices, the door crashed open and a small figure dressed in green with a red cap burst into the room.
“Santa you must help me” he cried “I am the unhappy Athelney Gnomes”
“Calm down and take a seat” said Holmes “apart from the fact that you look like a gnome, dress like a gnome, and that you are a member of the red hatted league, I know nothing about you”
“I’m Agent Gnomes from Gnomeland security. All the presents have disappeared, we heard that there was a plot to steal them but we were too late to prevent it. The Gnomes who were guarding it have disappeared too, it was obviously an inside job”
Holmes sprang from his chair, and at once became the Holmes I knew and loved. “Come Watson the games' afoot!”
He ran down the 17 steps, with us close behind. He spent several minutes in deep conversation with Mrs Hudson, and I was surprised when he said she would be joining us.
We soon arrived at the factory, and found that Holmes’s sleigh had been used to steal the presents. Holmes turned to me and rather sheepishly admitted that he had forgotten his magnifying glass, so we had to pull 15 Christmas crackers to find a cheap plastic one. With his nose to the ground, he covered the area minutely then he suddenly jumped up and shouted “They’re heading towards the docks!”
“But how do you know that!?” exclaimed Athelney Gnomes.
“See here and here. The footprints of a rat. The giant rat of Sumatra, Captain of the Matilda Briggs. There’s not a minute to lose.”
We rushed to the reserve sleigh. Holmes drove like a demon, and I squeezed Mrs Hudson’s flipper to reassure her. As we pulled up to the Quay, we saw that we were too late. The sleigh led by Rudolph was empty and, in the distance, we could see the Maltilda Briggs sailing away with the gifts and a hideous giant rat at the wheel.
“Dammit Holmes, we’re too late”
Holmes looked at me and smiled, “Oh I don’t think so, do you Mrs Hudson?"
In the blink of an eye, she had removed her apron and dived into the icy sea. ‘What can a lone walrus do?’ I thought. But then I saw that hundreds of sea creatures had gathered together to attack the ship; one moment it was there and then the next a whale rammed her amidships and she was gone.
Mrs Hudson clambered back on to the dockside and we all applauded, “ Well done Mrs Hudson,” I said and she raised both her flippers in triumph. “She’s amazing Holmes, ”
“ l thought her skills might come in handy, she worked undercover with the Navy seals, and I asked her to call a few favours in” he replied
“That's the last we’ll see of the giant rat of Sumatra” said Athelney Gnomes.
“And the presents“ I said with a heavy heart.
“Do you really think I would leave the presents guarded by anyone but my trusted Bauble Street irregulars, they stole empty boxes filled with stones”
We all burst into laughter, “My goodness” said Gnomes “you are a genius!’ Holmes smiled and then with a look of triumph he sauntered over to the sleigh.
“But there is still one more reveal, notice anything about the reindeer?”
I looked closely at Rudolph, his red nose seemed to be flashing intermittently, and his head swayed from side to side.
“Ladies and gentleman, Walruses and Gentlegnomes, I give you Professor Moriarty”
With that, Holmes pulled the head off the reindeer and the Napoleon of crime looked around, blinking in the sunlight.
“Not enough time to get away, eh James?”
“Damn you Holmes” Moriarty snarled.
Holmes turned and bowed to our applause, but then behind him Colonel Sebastian Moran jumped up from the back half of the reindeer, his face red and bloated from the noxious gases emitted from Moriarty’s backside.
“Not so fast Holmes” he gasped
In his hand was Von Herders air rifle, he aimed and pulled the trigger.
“NO!” I shouted and jumped in front of Holmes. There was a loud report and Holmes and I were covered in streamers, Moran looked astounded.
“Didn’t you know, Moran, that bullets turn into party poppers in Toyland” said Holmes in a mocking tone. “Take them away Athelney”
With a look of admiration Gnomes saluted, and led the pair away.
“Well Holmes, what now?”
Holmes with a twinkle in his eye, clapped me on the shoulder and said “I find Rudolph, and deliver the presents like I always do, but this time with my trusted companion” I smiled and followed my friend.
Later that night with Rudolph found and leading the rest of the reindeer, Holmes and I flew around the earth bringing joy to children everywhere. As we returned, I said to Holmes “Every year you do this and yet you take no credit”
“I play the game for the games sake, let that Bezos fellow take all the plaudits”
“Watson, Watson,” said Holmes, returning me to the present.
“Sorry Holmes I was just thinking of last year's escapade.”
Before Holmes could reply, Mrs Hudson waddled in with a telegram.
“Ah! I’ve been waiting for this, I wondered how long it would be before they called me in”
“Another case Holmes?” I said, my interest instantly piqued.
“Yes, there's been a murder at the pickled egg emporium, will you come with me tonight?”
“Where you like and when you like” ............ but that, dear reader, is a story for which the world is not yet prepared.