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Thread: Stormy Night, conclusion

  1. #1

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    Stormy Night, conclusion


    Chapter 5 -- Sarah

    Sherlock Holmes rose and stretched, and strode to the window, where he stood looking out into the London morning. The fog had lifted to show a glimpse of that rare sight this time of year, the sun. Holmes stood smoking for some minutes.

    "An instructive case, Watson," he said at last. "Not least in respect of what evidence must be discarded. Yet a simple case for all that. One must merely clear away the clutter to see straight to the heart of the matter. I hope that you are taking notes with your customary care."

    For all of Holmes' facade of disinterest, I knew him for the vain fellow that he was. As usual he was counting on me to write up an account of the case for the general public, heaping praise upon his sagacity and brilliance. Well, so be it. If Holmes really had a solution to the mystery, as he had claimed on our first meeting, then he deserved my respect, for I was still struggling against a swelling sea of contradictory clues that threatened momently to drown me. Of course Ms. Kwan could have nothing to do with this sorry business, and yet -- was that my logical faculties talking or my heart?

    There was one more document to peruse, a short one. Miss Sarah Hughes, acting on advice of her attorney, Ms. Robin Wagner, had declined a police interview, saying that the flurry of sudden publicity which had thrust her into the spotlight had left her with inadequate time to prepare a defense. Instead, the following statement was issued on her behalf by her publicist and business agent, Ms. Robin Wagner.


    "Ms. Hughes deposes and says: that on the afternoon of April 25th she received a telephone call purporting to be from the secretary of Mr. Richard Button of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, now deceased. The caller invited Ms. Hughes to attend a surprise party in honor of the birthday of Ms. Robin Wagner, Ms. Hughes coach, choreographer, confidant and cheerleader. The supposed party was to be held at Mr. Button’s country estate on the evening of April 28th, as soon as the celebrants could arrive after the Boston Champions on Ice show. Ms. Hughes was sworn to secrecy, in order not to spoil the surprise.

    "In consequence, on the evening of April 28th Ms. Hughes, having rented a car for the occasion, drove to Woonsocket. She arrived a short time after 1:00 A.M., the show having run long that night and Ms. Hughes having been the last to perform, as befits her status as reigning Olympic Ladies Figure Skating Gold Medallist. Seeing the front door standing open, she let herself in. Upon entering the study she saw Mr. Button lying face down in a pool of blood. In a daze at the shocking sight, Ms. Hughes abstractedly picked up the gun that was lying on the desk. At that moment the police burst in. Ms. Hughes was asked to wait in the police car for a time, after which she was taken to the Woonsocket police station, along with Ms. Irina Slutskaya, who was also discovered on the premises, under suspicious circumstances.

    "Ms. Hughes was allowed to call her legal representative, Ms. Robin Wagner, and was thereafter released into Ms. Wagner’s custody.

    "Ms. Hughes disavows knowledge of any supposed conspiracy between herself and Ms. Michelle Kwan in the matter of the illegal transportation of a firearm. She is uncertain at the present time whether she knows any person named Michelle Kwan. She categorically denies any acquaintance with the term ‘underrotated fLutz.’”


    Th-th-that’s all folks. No further clues will be presented. Vote now or forever hold your peace.



    Since chapter 5 was so short, you deserve another.

    Chapter 6 -- Holmes sums up.

    Hughes, Slutskaya, Kwan, Cohen. Whom did Holmes suspect? I regarded my remarkable friend over the tops of my reading glasses. More than suspect, he knew! Or so he had claimed on the occasion of our first conversation. It seemed long ago, but in fact only a day had passed since Sherlock Holmes had declared with conviction, “My dear Watson -- I have solved it already!”

    "I must confess, Holmes," I ventured tentatively, "that the testimony of the four suspects produces more smoke than light."

    "Indeed," said he. "I congratulate you. None of the four statements contributes anything of value to our understanding. None even mentions the point on which the entire matter hangs."

    "And that would be?" I asked.

    Holmes paused for dramatic effect.

    "Come, come, Holmes," I cried, "out with it. There are only we two in the room, and I am certain to be more impressed with a logical explanation than with your histrionics!"

    Holmes blew out a ring of foul yellow smoke.

    "A1," said he at last.

    "A1?" I parroted foolishly.

    "A1," he said again. "That is the alpha and omega of this case. Nothing else counts."

    Now I have to confess that I had pushed that cryptic message to the back of my mind, caught up as I had been by six shooters hidden in bonsai trees, mysterious phone calls and clandestine midnight assignations. I knew that Holmes, now in his natural element, would continue without prompting.

    "A1, Watson! he exclaimed again. "What does it mean? I think we can agree that the bloody message "Sarah" was nothing but a ruse. But the 'A1' beneath it. I should not be surprised to discover that these marks were at least partly covered by the body of the deceased, while "Sarah" was writ bold and in plain view.

    "Now cast yourself into the mind of the dying man, Watson. He has just been deliberately shot in cold blood, and by a person whom he knows and trusts. With his last gasp he summons the will to name his murderer, that the heinous deed will not go unpunished. With his bloody finger, hidden he hopes from view of the culprit, who even now stands over him gloating, he writes...what? Let us suppose for a moment that the culprit is indeed Miss Sarah Hughes, to my mind the least likely suspect in the mix. Suppose that he begins ‘S....’ and then his strength fails. Whom has he named? Sarah? Sasha? Slutskaya? Perhaps even ‘Shelly?’

    “No, no. Even if he could get as far as ‘Sa...’ blame still might fall upon the wrong person. He fears, rightly so in the event, that his allotted time is measured only in seconds. What should he write to declare the truth without ambiguity?”

    “A1?” I ventured in confusion.

    “Ridiculous,” snapped Holmes. “A1 means nothing. But is the second stroke a numeral one or is it the next letter, or anyway its start? Perhaps the second stroke is a capital letter I. Or a lower case L. Or the down stroke of a capital L. Or for that matter, the down stroke of any of a large number of capital letters. P, for instance. Was the dying man attempting to write ‘AP...’ and got only as far as the first stroke of the P before his consciousness fled?

    My mind leaped into high gear. AP! A-P McDonough? Anissina and Peizerat? Or AL? AL? Suddenly I had it!

    “Holmes,” I cried. “It is ‘AL,’ the first two letters of ‘ALL.’ All! They were all in it together!

    “Watson, Watson. Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem,” Holmes quoted.

    Of course I was familiar with Occam’s razor -- the injunction against contriving a complicated explanation when a simple one is at hand. Yet I had one last outburst of invention within me.

    “Holmes, I have it!” I said. “The second letter was to be a U. ‘AU!’ AU, the chemical symbol for gold. ‘Sarah, gold; Sarah, the gold medallist.’ It was Sarah all along!”

    Holmes raised a cautionary finger.

    “Consider, Watson,“ he said carefully. “You are dying. You have the briefest of moments to avenge yourself upon the killer by writing her name unmistakably in blood. You cannot write ‘S...’ lest it be misunderstood. You write “Al...,” and then your strength is spent. Whom have you named?”

    Holmes reached into the pocket of his smoking jacket and retrieved the paper that he had placed there the previous morning. He carefully unfolded it. Sherlock Holmes ran a bony index finger down the list of names:

    Gold: Sarah Hughes

    Silver: Irina Slutskaya

    Bronze: Michelle Kwan

    Pewter: ALEXANDRA Cohen



    Give yourself full credit if you duplicated Holmes reasoning and named Sasha as the culprit. Half credit for Sarah or Irina. And a big zero if you ever for a moment harbored the slightest doubt about La Divina, Ms. Michelle Kwan.


    Editor's note: Thus ends Dr. Watson's narrative. However, late breaking news has cast Mr. Holmes' interpretation of events into doubt! An Epilogue will be posted within 24 hours.

  2. #2

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    Re: Stormy Night, conclusion

    "Holmes, I have it!” I said. “The second letter was to be a U. ‘AU!’ AU, the chemical symbol for gold. ‘Sarah, gold; Sarah, the gold medallist.’ It was Sarah all along!"

    Dr W, you solve this, don't listen to Holmes. How dare he implicated our darling Alexandra Cohen. The second letter is U, yes AU. But you are wrong to think it was just Sarah. Michelle, Sarah and Irina were in conspiracy to murder BUTTon. The 3 indeed earned AU in Olymics, National, and World competitions. You and Holmes can drop DEEEVA Sasha as a suspect, she has 2 AG in nationals that all. Now there is no straight down stroke with G.

    Now A1 (1 as in the number one) is my kind of sauce especially when I am enjoying A1 over a huge piece of BEEF, served on a pewter platter, and watching precious Alexandra doing her signature BEEFER Cleaver spin.

  3. #3

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    Re: Stormy Night, conclusion

    (I know this part of "Man Bites Dog.")
    Good Lord! Can't we be grateful Sasha is not promoting fish or canned tuna? You do realize the implications for all manner of tasteless--cough, cough (hey, Watson, that crap cough syrup you gave me was strictly OTC--not a drop of codeine, you quack!)--joke that could be applied to Sasha's spendiferous flexibility moves and an association to fish? The stomach churns.

    Ah, here comes the part where the killer vomits into the camera. Gotta scoot!

  4. #4
    Jules Asner

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    Re: Stormy Night, conclusion

    I think the Chief did it!!! AL - Cheif Alexander Rospopvcih (or whatever his name is) or "Big Al" as Michelle called him

  5. #5

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    Re: Stormy Night, conclusion

    I knew it was Sasha! I said that after the first installment. Of course, I didn't use Holmes' reasoning. I used my own logic - as twisted as it may be!

    Well done, Dr. Watson.

  6. #6

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    Re: Stormy Night, conclusion

    Well done, yourself, Crazy4Michelle.

    Dr. Watson

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