The Office Party
The Office Party
by Brad Keefauver
Shanta Holmes stared at the melting carbuncle-shaped ice cube in his otherwise empty glass.
“I think I am appropriately intoxicated,” he said to Wiggins the chimpanzee. Truckin’ Sherlock had left the ape with Shanta while he went over to introduce himself to one of the larger breasted female Sherlocks in his 1970s Burt Reynolds fashion. Shanta had seen this scene play out a thousand times at the annual Legion of Sherlocks Holiday Party. With attendees from every known dimension that held a version of Sherlock Holmes, there always seemed to be some new Sherlock for Truckin’ to hit on, and, as was happening now, get slapped, stabbed, or just stared at for being such a freak.
Besides, Truckin’ Sherlock barely spoke English with that CB infused vocabulary of his.
“Would you like a pickled egg?” one of the waiters asked Shanta. For some reason, at a party with infinite Sherlocks from infinite dimensions, the Dangling Prussian always seemed to have this one Sherlock on the wait-staff who pushed pickled eggs, every single year.
“Thank you,” Shanta said politely and took one. You got used to them over time, even if your personal iteration of reality had no such weird thing.
“I’M SO GLAD TO SEE YOU!” shouted the Sherlock whose paper name badge read “As portrayed in most universes by actor Will Ferrell.” He was always inordinately proud of that fact, even though Shanta Holmes had never heard of or seen the actor Will Ferrell. The fellow must be quite the reknowned thespian. But his Sherlock was always one of the most drunken, shouting, Watson-loving Sherlocks at these parties, which was par for the course, so Shanta had no idea what he must be like normally, and how this Ferrell portrayed him.
“Glad to see you, too,” Shanta said. Wiggins the chimp bared his teeth and screeched until the Sherlock scurried away.
One of the ghost Sherlocks from the River Styx descended from somewhere above and sat down on the air next to Shanta.
“So much dancing!” the ghost said. “I don’t know how anyone isn’t exhausted.”
Shanta nodded, knowing what would come next. It always did.
“So how did YOU survive Reichenbach Falls?” the ghostly Sherlock asked.
“Going to give it another shot?” Shanta came back. The brandy had him a bit less sensitive to the feelings of ghosts.
“Going to see about reincarnation this year,” the ghost replied, unphased. “Buddhism of Ceylon works pretty well on my Earth. Hopefully I can meet some descendent of Watson when I come of proper detective age.”
“So you have a plan. Glad to hear you’re not going to just be one of those Baby Sherlocks.”
“Of course not!” the ghost replied. “Disgusting creatures. Always stepping on them at the party when I was alive.”
“It’s why I stay seated,” Shanta replied. “And stay as far out of the party traffic lanes as possible. They always want to get on my lap and ask for their own personal hansom cab.”
The ghost Sherlock laughed.
“Say,” Shanta Holmes began, a look of inspiration lighting up his face. “Do you think you could round up a few buddies to help with a prank on Truckin’ Sherlock? I think it’s time he got the Christmas Carol treatment to get him to quit being such a sexist bastard.”
The ghost laughed. “Last year as a spirit, so I might as well have some fun. Give me a moment to round a couple of ghosts up. I know one ghost Sherlock who just looks like Death herself. And maybe is Death herself in her dimension, now that I think about it.”
“Sounds perfect,” Shanta Holmes said, tipsy enough that his Christmas Carol scheme was a foolproof, all-improbables-eliminated sort of plan.
Because holiday party pranks never went horribly wrong.
Shanta Holmes would miss Truckin’ Sherlock in the years that followed.