“I say, Watson.”
“Ah, what is it, Holmes?”
“We haven’t had a case in four weeks, and I’m getting itchy feet.”
“Oh! Errm… well, Holmes, there’s some ointment in the kitchen cupboard: I’ll get it for you… but I don’t know what to do about the lack of cases.”
“Thank you, Watson, that’s most kind. Now I’m going to talk to the wall: it understands me better.”
“Perhaps there will be something in the newspapers. A murder or a daring robbery that I can solve before lunch. Or I could always while away an hour or two on the Stradivarius. No, not a good idea as Watson tries to accompany me on the penny whistle, and, as far as I’m concerned, there are no ‘popular’ concertos for violin and awful shrieking noises – and I would know if there were.”
“Here you are, Holmes, Oldbody’s Best Foot Liniment: ‘keep Oldbody’s on your toes and stay foot-sure, not foot sore!’ Great stuff this, Holmes, I use it all the time.”
“I’m sure you do, Watson, I’m sure you do. Taste nice does it?”
“Oh, you don’t drink it, Holmes, you rub it into your feet. Strange you not knowing that.”
“I was just wondering if you had been drinking some. Trying to reason how you ever became a doctor. What exactly are you a doctor of, Holmes?”
“I’m a qualified doctor of astrology, astronomy and Australiology, Holmes. That last one was by mistake, I was just going through all the ‘A’ doctorates.”
Holmes looked skywards in desperation; humoured Watson by taking the Oldbody’s and rubbing liberal amounts into his feet; then picked up a pile of newspapers and retreated to the sanctuary of the veranda.
“Perhaps there’ll be something in the newspapers, Holmes?” he suggested.
“I do hope so. It’s certainly been an exceptionally quiet month. You could have taken a holiday, Watson: South of France, Brighton, down under, deepest, darkest Africa?”
“Oh, I don’t like to travel abroad if I can help it, Holmes. I’ve almost been killed four times whilst traveling overseas.”
“I think it was more times than that, Watson, old chum. nearer twenty, I would say.”
“Really, Holmes. I hadn’t noticed how many lucky escapes I’ve had.”
“Yes, it is unbelievable, isn’t it,” mulled Holmes quietly to himself.
The pair settled down to peruse the scribblings of the press. Holmes studied the world news, searching for a tidbit of detail that would bring life to his stagnant sleuthing solitude; Watson sat reading the cartoons, chortling occasionally.