Sherlock Holmes kept a straight face as he observed all the sights around him. In many ways, it seemed like a much cleaner London -- just with a lot more technological marvels, which in all honesty he considered to be crutches that only weakened human skills and talents.
His client smiled subtly, knowing what Holmes was probably thinking. "We're now in Toronto, a major city in Canada. The date is November 12, 1996."
Holmes nodded absently, "In my own lifetime, I saw earthshaking changes. I am not surprised to see so many more, but they appear to be mere innovations now."
"Perhaps, but you might say differently if you saw what it took to make those innovations. But I digress. We must go to the police station, where you will be introduced to Detective Peter Caine, who in many ways shares the traits that you both desire and despise in detectives. But he's nothing like any detective you have ever known."
"Really?" He seemed genuinely intrigued. "How so?"
"He has the capacity for imagination," explained his client. "However, he rarely pays attention to it, and so he ends up appearing as a blockhead most of the time. He also has a tendency to be very impolite, to say the least."
"That describes a great many people."
"Perhaps, but once you know Peter, you'll understand what I mean. You'll also be introduced to his father, Kwai Chang Caine. He is a Shaolin priest."
"Is he a Chinaman then?"
The client laughed softly, "Not quite, though he was raised in a Shaolin tradition. As a preventive warning, I should inform you that you'll find this era plagued with something called 'political correctness'. Although you are semantically correct, you'll discover the term to be offensive, though I've never discovered why. If you say 'Chinese' or 'person from China' then it is not considered to be offensive, even though it is more cumbersome to the tongue."
That intrigued Holmes, though it would probably frustrate him quite soon. "What is this 'political correctness'? It sounds no different from the speech of Parisians who wish to overuse their knowledge of English."
"It is something invented by people who wish to engineer our language and culture against the will of the people. In some cases, their suggestions follow the rules of decency and proper manners, but in most other cases, I daresay that their suggestions are quite ridiculous and make a bad situation worse.
"But I diverge once more. We've also reached our destination. By the way, I will introduce you with your true name, but you must lie about who you really are. As far as they are concerned, you are a contemporary detective brought in from England. I'm quite sure you can evade all those questions about your own background."
Holmes looked troubled, but nodded. "I see your point, but I will not lie. To lie would be to defeat my own nature."
"Quite admirable, sir, but I caution you nonetheless: they must not know who you truly are. You can manage that, yes?"
"I will do that." They entered the building.
"There is much more to this than a disturbed man being killed!" Caine was nearly shouting, though his voice was barely a whisper.
"But what the hell do you want me to do about this, Pop?" Peter ignored the glare he received. "It's an event that stands by itself and is connected to nothing! So you want me to do more . . . what then? What the hell am I supposed to investigate?"
"There is a dark aspect to this man. The tattoos and his unexpected madness are the most illuminated clues you could get in a single moment!"
"Dark aspect? That would fit if he's going to be buried after the coroner investigates his body. Besides, there's nothing unusual happening!"
"You have not paid attention to the recent murders in this city."
Peter's face fell into his hands, "Pop . . . Pop . . . What do you think I've been working on for the last few weeks? Several murder victims with the same M.O., no witnesses, and a stream of paper pushers making my life a living hell! Why do you think I was trying to go on vacation for a few days?"
"You would go on vacation when a killer is still loose?"
This was going nowhere. Just as Peter was having realization, the elder Caine immediately turned around, having sensed something unusual; his son also looked, only because his father had.
"You!" Caine's eyes widened on seeing the long-haired Celt. Holmes remained silent as he viewed the exchange between his client and the old Caucasian who appeared Chinese in manner.
The client bowed, "At your service. You look the same as usual."
"As do you," he nearly snarled. Caine was obviously not pleased to see the Celt, but he held himself in check. "What brings you here?"
"Why, I only wish to help in your investigation! Do you think that this matter only affects this precinct? Why should I remain in my own shell, when I could be helping the world?" His arms were spread out dramatically, and an impudent grin was lodged on his face. "Besides, it's not like you have much of a choice here!"
Peter interrupted at this point, "Pop? Do you know these two?"
Caine made a face, "I know Sandric. We have met . . . on various occasions, and none of them good. He is a good man, however, as good as a rogue comes . . . in a very gray fashion."
Peter tried to figure that one out, and had images of Kermit in his head.
Sandric bowed grandly, "It warms my heart to see that I'm remembered. And since we've come to introductions, allow me to introduce one who will greatly aid in your investigation, since so far you have failed to solve the true case, or even detect its existence until after the fact. May I present the esteemed Sherlock Holmes, detective extraordinaire?"
Caine only looked annoyed, while Peter's eyes widened and his jaw dropped, "Come on here! Who the hell do you think you're trying to fool?"
Sandric looked offended, "Where are your manners? This detective may be named after the literary character, but this Mr. Holmes come straight from London to help you in a very baffling case. Is this the way you treat him?"
Caine raised his eyebrows, probably convinced that this Mr. Holmes was the genuine article, but Peter bought the explanation and shook his head, "I'm really sorry, Mr. Holmes,I've been having a bad day."
"Quite understandable, Detective," Holmes shook his hand. "As it is almost lunchtime, perhaps we might renew your spirits over a pint. I have been briefed on the basic facts, so all I will need to ask are specific questions about some of the fine points of the case."
"Wait a moment," Peter held up his hand. "What case? All we have here is a dead lunatic who tried to kill a good friend of mine when he was about to be let out! So we killed a lunatic in our own kitchen. What is there to investigate?"
"Peter . . . Peter . . . You do need help on this case! The dead man was involved in something deeper! You have a case, remember?"
"What do you mean?" Something was nagging at Peter about the way Sandric was acting. It wasn't a good feeling.
"We do not know why he acted in this way, or if he had done so before."
"That's not my case."
By this time, Holmes had held up his hand. He'd been around the man's type often enough in Scotland Yard. "It appears as if the good detective does not require my help. Let us go back to where my help is needed."
Just then, two men and a large dog were led to Peter by someone from the front desk. "Detective Caine? These two officers would like to speak with you."
One was dressed like a plain-clothed cop (there's no such thing as a cop dressed like a normal guy, so they can always be spotted), and the other was a Mountie dressed in full uniform.
"Detective Caine?" the Mountie extended his hand, Peter shaking it reflexively. "I'm Constable Fraser, and this is Detective Vecchio from the Chicago P.D. We'd like to speak with you regarding one Paul Johnson."
Peter and Caine shared a look. This was definitely getting stranger by the moment. "Let's all go down to the bar and sort this all out."
Ray smiled, "That's the best idea I've heard all week!"
Sandric waved goodbye, "This is where I say goodbye for a day or so."
"Hold it, faerie boy!" Peter stood up. "Where the hell do you think you're going?"
The Celt's expression was not pleasant "Did you have to remind me of my destination!?"
* * * *
|Previous Chapter||Sideways Main Page||Next Chapter|
|Main Page||My Fanfiction||Henry's Fanfiction||My Favorite Links||Webrings I'm On|