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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Me and Holmes

The sun shone bright on that first warm Friday evening in the spring of 1981. All week long I had suffered an undeniable craving for red hots. The time was right and I couldn't wait a moment longer. After stopping at my apartment just long enough to change from work clothes into jeans and t-shirt, I set out on a short journey for that fine cuisine known as the Chicago hotdog.

As I rounded the corner from Fullerton to Ashland, there to my right was a man hunched over next to a building. I blinked hard – not once, not twice, but three times. His clothes looked dated, and he was bit overdressed for the season. Magnifying glass in hand, he appeared to be conducting an examination of some object unseen by me in the rock strewn side yard. He had to be Sherlock Holmes.

Spotting me gawking at him, he shouted, "my young girl! Come here at once."

My young girl? Well, the accent was right. But, had something gone haywire in the world? Had the Earth tilted off its axis? Had I unknowingly crossed through a hole in time and space? I looked at the cars racing up and down the street. Everything seemed normal. Except, of course, for the presence of Mr. Holmes.

"Stop dallying immediately. Your attention is required," he announced.

Compelled by some unknown force, I crossed the six or seven steps to where he was. He handed me the magnifying glass. It was made of silver and quite ornate. I bent over and gazed at the ground through the glass, but I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking for. All I could manage to utter was a weak sounding, yes. Would he think I was making an affirmation or asking a question. Even I couldn't be sure.

As I stood upright, something hilarious occurred that is best described by visualizing the slapstick comedy of certain old time cartoons. We conked heads. Loudly.

I should get going, I said, rubbing my forehead.

"And just where might you be off to?" he wanted to know.

I pointed up the street at Dirty Gert's.

"Then I shall accompany you," he declared. With that, he stuck out his right elbow for me to take. As I looped my wrist through the crook of his arm, he stated, "a gentleman always puts himself between his companion and the buggy traffic."

Right.

A minute later, as we arrived at our destination and he held open the door, the evening light began to fade. Crossing the threshold, I looked over my shoulder. He was there, but in an instant, he was gone. I promptly stepped back on the sidewalk, looking both ways, and into the street. He was no where to be found. Vanished. I never saw him again. And I did look for him.

The telling of this story was inspired by Kem White.

Posted by Marie at November 24, 2005 1:05 AM

Comments

Marie, absolutely fantastic story. I just love coming here.
K-

Posted by: Kem White at November 24, 2005 10:00 AM

Wow. A real Chicago story. Nicely done.

Posted by: Dan at November 24, 2005 12:27 PM