Dire Consequences

Part VI: Stir Crazy

by Jenny
4/1/02
Lestrade woke up with an aching neck and back. She rolled over on her wooden bench and looked up. It was extremely humid in that cramped cell. Lestrade sighed. She sat up, rubbing her neck, and glanced at her cellmates. "I wonder what Holmes is doing right now," she thought.
She remembered a show she had watched on the broadcast screen a couple of weeks earlier. Normally she didnít watch any shows on this modern TV, except for the occasional "New Londonís Most Wanted." But this show caught her attention. It was called "Organized Crimeís Most Wanted" and showed a list of the ten people criminals and thugs wanted to get their hands on. Some of the world leaders were on it and some New Scotland Yard bosses. But she was surprised when Sherlock Holmes made the list. He was a minor celebrity, but she didnít think anyone recognized what he was doing for New London. It discussed, for a short time, why criminals hated him: breaking up big crime rings, solving mysteries, etc; detective stuff. She hadnít realized so many criminals hated him.
"If Moriarty wants Holmes dead, why didnít he just kill him last night?" she asked herself aloud.
"Thatís a little morbid, isnít it?" Wiggins had awoken and was looking at Lestrade.
"Well, yes, but think about it. He had such a good opportunity last night. He could have killed us too, but he didnít. Why?"
"Hmmm.... He said he had something in store for Holmes. Maybe-"
Heavy footsteps coming down the hall cut Wiggins off. It was two guards with Holmes, hands tied behind his back. He was looking straight ahead. Lestrade stood up and walked over. She placed her hands on the bars and gripped them tightly. "Holmes?"
The detective didnít glance over at her. He kept marching proudly and staring straight ahead. One of the guards had an ionizer aimed at the back of his neck. Lestrade didnít like the looks of this. Holmes had a bloodstain on his white shirt. He was being led away to somewhere outside of the cellblocks.
"Holmes?" His Inverness and deer-stalking cap were missing, taken away the night before. But there was something else irregular about his appearance. His vest was unbuttoned, and his tie was loose. Also, he had a tired collar: Holmes never had a tired collar. This was obviously a bad sign. He looked like he had been up all night. There was, however, still a mischievous glitter in his eye.
Holmes and company passed the cell silently.
Where are they taking him? Lestrade thought. She glanced at Wiggins standing next to her. He was thinking the same thing: she could tell by the worried look on his face.
When morning passed into afternoon, the guards brought them some dry bread and refilled their pitcher of water. Lestrade was studying the room some more. There appeared to be no way of escape. Watson could have cut down the iron bars, but he was lying deactivated in the corner. Maybe Tennyson could reactivate him, or they could somehow take out a couple of his parts and assemble them to cut through the iron bars. There was no window to jump out of. But where was the light coming from? Lestrade looked up and noticed a vent on the ceiling. Maybe there was a way out through there. She jumped on the bench and hit the vent as hard as she could.
"Will you shuddup!" a voice yelled from the vent. Lestrade flinched in surprise and sat back down.
"That is where the guards sleep," Deidre informed her. She opened her mouth to say something else, but shut it when she heard heavy footsteps coming down the hall. It was Holmes and two guards returning.
Holmes was dragging. Lestrade looked him up and down as he was walking through the hall. He was in pain and was trying to hide it, but his heavy breathing gave him away. His shoulders were straight but he was having trouble lifting his feet. There were several bruises on his face and his nose had been bleeding earlier. He looked exhausted. The guards shoved him on, keeping an ionizer at his back. "Holmes?" Lestrade sympathetically asked. He didnít answer her but the look in his eyes told the story. He marched on, hands tied, straight-faced, down the hall to his cell.
The afternoon passed quietly into night, except for a minor ruckus upstairs. It seemed like their captors were preparing for a party. Lestrade sat trying to logically figure out what was going on. She became exasperated and gave up. She lay down to go to sleep.
##################################################
She was stretched out on the bench. She wasnít asleep yet even though the hour was so late; she was thinking about too many things. The Irregulars werenít asleep, either: she could tell they were just as worried as she was. She opened her eyes and rolled on her back. Suddenly there was a sharp noise ringing out through the halls.
She sat straight up. "What is that pounding noise?" she said aloud. It was a metallic banging coming from down the hall. The Irregulars sat up and listened. They remained alert for another minute or so, intensely listening to the banging, when she heard the same harsh voice that had yelled at her earlier, just more distant.
"WILL YOU SHUDDUP?" The banging stopped.
"The noise is coming from another cell," Lestrade said. "Was it Morse code?"
"I didnít catch any word pattern if it was," Wiggins answered.
Suddenly, a familiar voice was singing (or yelling, rather) out down the hall and the banging resumed, even louder.
"AU CLAIR DE LA LUNE, MON AMI PIERROT!"
"Is that Holmes?" Lestrade yelled in Deidreís ear, trying to be heard over the racket. Deidre nodded with a confused look on her face.
"PRETEZ MOI UNE PLUME, POUR ECRIRE UNE MOT!" The banging was keeping time to the loud singing.
"JE NE UNE SOUVIENS PAS LíMOTS POUR CETTE CHANSON,
AU CLAIR DE LA LUNE, POM POM POM POM POM!" The singing stopped but the banging continued.
"What was that all about? Why was he singing 'Au Clair de la Lune'?" Lestrade asked.
"I think Ďe Ďas gone stir-crazy," Deidre offered. "You know how Ďe gets when Ďe is bored. Think of what a full day of nothing would do to Ďim!"
"It seems like he is just trying to make a lot of noise," Wiggins answered. "Does he want us to sing with him?"
The singing resumed, except it was a different song.
"IN DUBLINíS FAIR CITY WHERE GIRLS ARE SO PRETTY,
'TWAS THERE THAT I FIRST MET SWEET MOLLY MALONE
AS SHE WHEELED HER WHEELBARROW
THROUGH STREETS BROAD AND NARROW,
CRYING, "COCKLES AND MUSSELS, ALIVE, ALIVE OH!"
Lestrade turned to the Irregulars. "Why is he singing an Irish drinking song? Iím confused."
"Letís join in," Deidre offered.
"ALIVE, ALIVE OH, ALIVE, ALIVE OH,
CRYING, "COCKLES AND MUSSELS, ALIVE, ALIVE OH!"
Lestrade, Deidre, Wiggins, and even Tennyson (beeping, of course) joined in.
"NOW SHE WAS A FISHMONGER AND SURE 'TWAS NO WONDER,
FOR SO WERE HER MOTHER AND FATHER BEFORE."
Suddenly Holmes stopped. Lestrade and the Irregulars sang a couple more words and then they stopped, their voices fading out. They looked at each other, confused, when Holmes started to sing again
"AND THEY ALL WHEELED THEIR BARROWS
THROUGH STREETS BROAD AND NARROW!"
Lestrade joined in again and Holmes stopped once again. When Lestrade stopped singing, Holmes resumed where he left off.
"CRYING, "COCKLES AND MUSSELS, ALIVE, ALIVE OH!"
Lestrade yelled, "He doesnít want us to make any noise. Just sit tight!"
"Why doesnít he want us to sing with him?" Deidre asked.
"SHE DIED OF A FEVER AND NO ONE COULD SAVE HER
AND THAT WAS THE END OF SWEET MOLLY MALONE
NOW HER GHOST WHEELS HER BARROW
THROUGH STREETS BROAD AND NARROW
CRYING, "COCKLES AND MUSSELS, ALIVE, ALIVE OH"!"
The song ended but Holmes kept up the metallic pounding.
"What is he hitting?" Wiggins asked.
"I think it is the vent on the ceiling. You know, the one that leads to the guardsí room. Why is he doing that?" Lestrade pondered. "And why does he not want us to make noise?" A new song started up.
"WHEN FIRST I KEM TO DUBLIN TOWN
'TWAS IN EIGHTEEN EIGHTY-THREE
I WENT DIRECT, WID ME HEAD ERECT,
FOR TO JOIN THE D.M.P.
ME MAJESTIC FEET WOKE KEVIN STREET,
AS I WALKED UP PROUD ANí FREE;
FOR WELL I KNEW THEY COULD NOT DO
WIDOUT ME, MORIARITY!"
Holmes emphasized the last word.
"IíM A WELL-KNOWN BOBBY OF THE STALWART SQUAD,
I BELONG TO THE D.M.P.
AND THE GIRLS ALL CRY AS I PASS BY
ARE YOU THERE, MORIARITY?"
Holmes, again, emphasized the last word and kept banging to the rhythm.
"ON, ON, I WINT WIDOUT ACCIDENT,
TILL THE STATION CAME IN VIEW,"
Lestrade looked down the hall and saw three tired and furious guards running down the hall past them. Their heavy boots pounded against the ground as they stormed past. Lestrade laughed long and hard. "Heís making the guards angry!" She laughed again. The Irregulars were giving her weird looks. "He is keeping them awake! They are going to try and shut him up!"
"Why does he want that?" asked Wiggins.
"I donít know, but I am sure he has a plan," Lestrade answered, smiling. The Irregulars started to giggle as they saw the angry guards storm away.
"THEN MESELF I SAW AS A LIMB OF THE LAW
DRESSED OUT LIKE A BIG BOY BLUE-"
The song ended there when they heard a voice, shouting.
Lestrade listened intently. One of the guards was yelling. "WOULD YOU SHUDDUP! YOU ARE KEEPING US ALL OUT OF BED! HAVE YOU GONE CRAZY?" Holmes was silent. There was a pause. "GOOD! NOW I EXPECT YOU TO STAY QUIET THE REST OF THE NIGHT!" The guardsí heavy footsteps thudded against the ground again, heading away from Holmesí cell and back down the hall.
"AS THROí THE GATE OF ME FUTURE FATE
I STHRODE SO MANFULLY
ALL THE POLICE CRIED WHEN THEY SEEN ME STHRIDE,
ĎANí IS THIS MORIARITY?"
Lestrade heard the footsteps turn and run back to Holmesí cell. She started to laugh even harder.
"ALL RIGHT, YOU CHEEKY PILE OF TRASH! IíLL THRASH YOU FOR SINGINí ALL NIGHT!" Lestrade felt tingles on the back of her neck as she heard the iron bars slide open to Holmesí cell. She heard the sound of a struggle and then the sound of a punch landing home.
"Left hook," Wiggins declared. "Mr. Holmes is fighting them." The loud fight continued but ended abruptly with the zap of an ionizer. It echoed across the halls. The iron bars to Holmesí cell slammed shut and the guards stomped down the corridor.
When they passed Lestradeís cell, she heard the main guard cuss and tiredly grumble, "Thatíll teach that lanky wart to start singiní his drinking songs in the middle of the night."
Lestrade winced. She glanced at the hushed faces of the Irregulars and laid back down on the wooden bench. Nobody said anything the rest of the night.
OK, just some endnotes. The songs were "Au Clair de la Lune", "Molly Malone", and "Are You There, Moriarity?" The last one has actually nothing to do with the Sherlock Holmes stories; it is a late 19th - early 20th century drinking song. Same with "Molly Malone." I have a website for the full lyrics and melody if anyone is interested.
~Jenny

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