The Undiscerning Sherlock

I can’t stand to see the city like this. As is its usual state, crime veils itself behind dimly lit alleyways, soon to be told, if any witnesses survive, as tales of deception, scandal, and the leveraging of desolation for the same invariable corruption. I’ll be frank—it’s a shitshow. No man will be able to fix it all, and I’ll be damned if even a federal intervention would help. But it’s my, Sherlock Jones’s city, and I’ll do whatever it takes to slow down the chaos. If that starts with just exposing some crime through my use of detective skills, so be it.

Look, just now, there’s an old woman screaming for help. I guess my shift’s starting early today.

“Somebody help! A thief stole my purse!”

Calmly, I enter the scene, hands in trench coat pockets and head shaded by fedora.

“What’s wrong, lady?”

“A thief! He stole my purse!”

“A thief stole your purse, you say?”

She looks at me strangely. Feeling awkward and not to be outdone, I reciprocate the judging.

She breaks eye contact.

I notice she is sitting on the pavement, and it appears she has fallen.

“Why are you sitting on the pavement? Are you drunk?”

She looks confused, so I can tell she’s slow.

“No, I—he pushed me over and I fell … are you going to help?”

“That’s what I do.”

“… Okay, well he went that way.”

She points in the direction of an ominous, dark alleyway. The darkest of them all. Where crime is likely to be veiling itself and soon to be told—

“Wait, are you trying to kidnap me?”

Said she, “How would I do that? I’m an eighty-year old woman who’s just been pushed over. And you look pretty in shape. The thief went that way.”

“Oh. I was just thinking, that’s a pretty dark alleyway you’re pointing at, where one such as me might be kidnapped. Wait, you think I’m in shape?”

She nods.

Walking toward the alleyway, I start to feel uncomfortable. I get goosebumps. I pull down my hat a little lower to shield against the perilous chilly breeze. That’s better. But then I think, “even if I go in, how will I see? It’s not worth it.” When all of a sudden, I feel a vibration in my right pant pocket, and pull out my trusty Windows Phone™. Taking it off standby and ignoring my mother’s text, the slightest glow of lock screen illuminates the way. I step in, entering the abyss of fray, or deceit, and a million other possibilities, each as certain as the vitality of Schrödinger’s cat. But whatever it may be—

“Ahh!” I squeal, courageously.

Turned black had the screen, a chameleon of the darkness that now enveloped me! I, in a hurry, scramble my fingers across my Windows Phone to somehow turn it back on. A ghost must have knocked it out, causing me to drop it, and nearly lose my wits. Uncertainty spirals through my head as I go for a deep squat, searching to no avail!—I look back, staring at the lit open space with the old lady, for comfort. She smiles at me. I turn back around, once again deeply squatting and digging through dirt, quite literally, in a spot of plants on the side. Trying to catch my breath, I close my eyes and focus with the sense of auditory perception. My ears wiggle.

“Hey, lady, sorry I stole your purse. I ran for a while but got tired and felt bad, so I came back. Sorry if I caused any trouble.”

“Oh, no trouble at all, dear, although the shove was a bit unnecessary. You should be apologizing to this young fit gentleman who’s trying to look for you, kind of.”

The closing of eyes does little to alleviate the sensation of fear, and I am close to turning mad. I scream and flail my arms around, grabbing onto anything tangible to instill a sense of stability.

“I’m sorry, I panicked, and felt like you might kidnap me. I shouldn’t have shoved you. Okay … I’ll go say sorry to him.”

“That’s very good, dearie.”

Now finding my Windows Phone, I turn it back on, and make sure to open the lock screen so it doesn’t turn off quickly. My morale is low, but my sanity is intact. But I hear a tap, and I also feel a tap on my left shoulder. “Oh my god, did someone just tap my left shoulder?” I think.

“Hey, it’s me—“

“Ahh!” I shriek, valiantly, once again dropping my Windows Phone and this time shattering the screen, a breaking audible in my voice as well; slowly, I turn around.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. It’s me, robber here. I just returned the purse to that old lady and was told to say sorry to you.”

“You wha— … what?”

The robber lowers his head, staring at his feet and crossing his arms. “I’m sorrrrrry.”

“That’s very good, dearie,” the old woman shouts from her sitting spot.

Realizing there is a robber in front of me, I sock him in the stomach and drag him to the woman. She shakes her head anxiously and rolls over on her knees, quivering as she tries to push herself from the ground.

“No need to bow down to me,” I say, with little breath left. “And call the cops to put this scum where he belongs.”

After picking up my phone, Windows, I order an Uber home. As I depart, the woman shouts something about helping and standing up, to which I humbly chuckle at how drunk she is. Tonight was enough mayhem for one detective session, and there’ll doubtless be more. But be they from banks, or homes, or I guess dimly lit alleyways (I shudder), I will be there to solve the mysteries that may arise.