The Christmas Pod
The Christmas Pod
by Talon King
“Get the headphones on, ladies!” Tred Ironhill announced, tossing on his own Fireball-red, custom Bali Hai Max Fives and pulling the mike down to his chiseled, manly face.
Roger, English Pete, and little Maudie all gave their personal hand-signals in the affirmative and prepped their sound stations for the start of the show.
It was time for “Sherlockian Sunday Night” to record.
Since it was their annual Blue Carbuncle show, the SSN team had invited some of their fans into the studio, who were squirming with excitement, some holding hands tight across their mouths to keep from squealing with excitement.
Tred held up one meaty fist and lifted one finger … a second finger … a third finger … a fourth finger … and … his thumb.
“The View halloo choo-choo has arrived at the station,” his sultry, sexy voice flowed into the microphone turning into sultry, sexy digital electrons. “And your Sherlockian Sunday Night is stepping out of it private sleeper car with pockets full of Baker Street breaking news, Sherlock subtext, and … give it to ‘em, Pete!”
“WHAT WHAT WATSON!” English Pete howled his tagline.
“Yes, we even have stuff about that goofy old doc with the moustache,” Tred rolled on. “But first, let’s get to those Mrs. Hudson Headlines! Little Maudie, did Mrs. H give you the scoop for what has been going on at Baker Street this week?”
“Well, Tred, it’s figgy pudding time in jolly old England, and Mrs. Hudson made the boys a big old figgy pudding. She put a plum in the middle of it, like a black pearl of the Borgias inside a statue of Napoleon.”
“You know, Maudie,” Roger Macaw leaned in, “‘The Plum in the Pudding’ was the name of a very expensive looking journal produced by the Six Napoleons of Baltimore in the late eighties. There was a typo on the twelfth page of the first issue where the word ‘environment’ was mis-spelled, the flaw that might have both cause the eventual doom of the journal and been an early warning of the climate change crisis, if only we had eyes to see.”
“How do you know these things, Roger?” Tred asked, stunned as always. “Are you just making things up?”
“Oh, no, Tred, it’s very real. You can look it up. They also mis-spelled the word ‘absences’ on page seven, which was a subtle social commentary on the absence of women in the Baker Street Irregulars at that time. So subtle, yet so biting.”
“Speaking of biting, I’ve got a Christmas song about biting for the listeners this week, Talon,” English Pete spoke up, and several of the fans in the studio swooned. “Are you ready to hear it?”
“What-what-Watson, am I ready!” Talon chirped to the delight of the remaining unswooned fans. “Let’s hear it!”
Pete fingered a little melody on his keyboard with his left hand, then joined in stumming his base with his right.
“They say that cyanea had a more painful bite . . .
“And they say that a wolfhound will put up a real fight . . .
“If you smell like a monkey and come out at night.
“But it’s only at Christmas, when the goose is just right . ..
“THAT YOU’LL BREAK A TOOTH ON THE GIBLETS!
“YOU’LL BREAK A TOOTH ON THE GIBLETSSSSS!
“YOU WON’T BITE NOTHING, YOU’LL NEED A DENTIST,
“CUZ YOU BROKE A TOOTH ON THE GIBLETS!!!
“YOU BROKE A TOOTH ON THE GIBLETS!!!”
English Pete slammed his bass into his keyboard, and several keys flew off into the hands of his screaming fans.
“Whoa! Went a little punk on that one, Pete. Is that based on personal experience?” Tred asked, grinning with delight.
“Um, no, Tred, that is based on the experience a friend of mine had during his Christmas dinner. There was this blue stone in the neck of the bird, you see, and since the necks are pretty chewy anyway he was really grinding away and he actually broke a couple of teeth. I changed it to just one, as it made for a better cadence to the song.”
“Well, as always we appreciate your musical talents, Pete. Any more of those Hudson Headlines, Maudie?”
“There was an extraordinary amount of soiled linens at Baker Street this week. Sherlockian scholars immediately tried to get at the dirty laundry for a closer examination, but Mrs. Hudson had it into the soapy water before they even breeched the door. Theories range from the usual “Watson eating in bed” scenarios to something involving a Jonny Lee Miller escapade with several sex workers.”
“Elementary is still a thing?” Tred asked.
Roger quickly supplied an answer: “CBS All Access reports a twenty-three percent download increase in Elementary episodes since the beginning of the pandemic. Seventeen of that twenty-three percent are just episodes involving Clyde the tortoise, and are though by CBS executives to have been spurred by increased tortoise adoption as more people work from home.”
“Of course not. How would I know that? But it’s still too soon for full Elementary mocking to begin, so I had to intervene. Season four of Sherlock is still the safest Sherlockian media for negative comments, so you should stay with that one.”
“Low hanging fruit. Besides, I’m rather hot for Eurus.”
“I am, as well!” Pete agreed. “I just wish that we subjects of Her Majesty were allowed to think sexual fantasies. The Royals reserve all the good stuff for themselves.”
“It makes sense why you write angry songs about breaking teeth, then, I guess.”
“Well, as you know, it’s the yuletide, which marks the end of our 2020 podcast season, and that means it’s time for our annual episode of compliments for the season. Who wants to start?”
“I would,” Roger said. “I want to compliment Sherlock Holmes on keeping it together for another year, and his hot mom for giving us another sibling.”
“Excuse me,” Maudie raised one finger. “I would prefer it if you gentlemen would quit lusting after female members of the Holmes family. It’s inappropriate, and one of you is probably going to say something that will get you on a registry.”
“We would never . . .”
“Of course, no one should ever think of any member of the Holmes family in that way. The only relationship we need is that hearty, tight inter . . . action between Sherlock . . . Holmes . . . and . . . Doctor . . . .”
“Looks like we’re losing a cast member!”
“DON’T SAY MEMBER!”
Being an experienced podcast host, Tred Ironhill burst into song to draw attention back to the season at hand:
“Hark, the herald Watsons bringggg,
“Glory to Holmes latest thing,
“Hudson’s hearth and cases filed,
“Goose and Baker reconcilled!
By the time Tred got to the chorus, everyone else in the studio had joined in.
“Joyful, all ye Irreg-u-lars,
“Get thee to thy local bars,
“With Les Klinger annotate,
“Sherlock Holmes is still first rate,
“Sherlock Holmes is still . . . first . . . rate.”
Everyone applauded, and Tred took to the mike once more.
“Thanks everyone for coming out tonight, thanks to Maud for the news, Roger for the weather, and Pete for the sports. Couldn’t do the podcast without you. Or you, loyal listeners!”
The fans in the studio cheered. Except for the one who now lay dead on the floor.
“THERE HAS BEEN A MUR-DER!” someone cried.
“But this was a nice little podcast parody,” Tred Ironhill protested, a bit bewildered. “There wasn’t supposed to be a murder mystery. And the story was finished!”
“If that is the case, Mr. Ironhill, then why am I here?”
Everyone turned to see Mr. Sherlock Holmes, along with Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade, and Sergeant Wilkins.
“It’s the real Sherlock Holmes!” one of the fans exclaimed.
“Is he unthawed from frozen, or time travelled?” another wondered aloud.
“He brought people with him, has to be time travel,” a third responded.
“Watson, take a look at this body, tell me what you see,” Holmes told the doctor.
Watson bent down and fiddle with the corpses clothes a bit.
“Stabbed directly in the heart with a Penang court reporter,” Watson replied.
“Those little daggers are quite deadly when applied appropriately,” Holmes mused. “Though why Penang is such a hub of weapons manufacture, I do not know. Come Watson, let us return to Baker Street, then come back here tonight, break in, and solve the crime as is our normal method in such 1954 cases.”
“But it’s 2020, old man!”
“I know that, Watson. I’m just trying to get us out of this episode. It really doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. This murder victim doesn’t even have a name or any other distinguishing characteristics except those generic clothes you fiddled with.”
“They were a fan of the pod,” Tred Ironhill asserted. “And we’re still here, you know.”
“Quite so, quite so. Back to Baker Street, Watson!” Sherlock Holmes said and went out the way he came in. Watson looked at Tred, gave a shrug, and followed. Lestrade and Wilkins followed as well.
“One would have thought they could take the corpse with them,” Roger observed wryly.
“Yeah, we’ll probably need to dump that somewhere,” English Pete added. “Do you have a harbor nearby, or maybe a major waterway?”
“No worries,” Tred sighed. “I think I have. the answer. I’ll just upload the body to my podcast service. I think I still have enough megs this month to hold a body. And once it starts getting downloaded by our listeners, it will be spread far and wide. They’ll just think it’s Siri or some random update.”
So he did. And that is why the spirit of Christmas can be felt in every yuletide podcast for the year 2020. Later that night, when Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson broke in to solve the crime, Watson ate the cookies and drank the milk left for Santa.