'Found them! There are the traces – looks like letters!' Haltingly Anderson started to spell them out bringing closer the strong torch he was holding, 'A-T-T-I-C. Attic!' Sherlock rolled his eyes.
'Attic? That doesn't help much.'
'Brilliant impersonation of an idiot,' Sherlock sneered. 'It's not helping, I agree. But only if you're completely ignoring that it is quite possibly a vital clue, if you catch my drift.'
'What are you implying?'
'Oh, nothing at all. Just that you are incapable of getting even the most obvious of the obvious. You see, but you don't observe. Quite likely because you are simply too bloody ignorant –'
'Boys! Not here!' John felt the need to interfere. And to Sherlock 'Sherlock! Remember?'
Sherlock had the grace to look rueful. He paused and closed his eyes for a moment. He sighed deeply and gritting his teeth he said 'Anderson, for once try to think! – Attic - Where are we at the moment?'
'Victim's bedroom,' and from the puzzled expression on Anderson's face it was clear that he didn't have an inkling where this question was supposed to be leading.
'So?' Sherlock implored. Anderson just shrugged. 'Why smear the word attic on the floor?'
'Because it might be important to the victim?'
'Something's up there - maybe?'
'Oh for God's sakes, Anderson! Use whatever little mental capacity you have! Think!' Anderson looked at Sherlock with a look of long-term suffering on his sheep-like face and retorted 'You're supposed to be the thinker here. That's why Lestrade is always so bloody keen to haul you in on every case. If it was for me –'
'Well, thank God, you're a man without influence,' came the cutting reply.
'Sherlock!' John chimed in, losing patience with him and thinking that it probably hadn't been a very good idea to use Anderson as Sherlock's sparring partner. John was well aware of the gleam of pleasure in Sherlock's eyes. John knew that riling Anderson was one of Sherlock's favourite pastimes, he had already admitted as much some time ago. Nevertheless John had included Anderson in his tuition on How to be polite.
They had already made good progress in everyday encounters in their little cornershop or in the supermarket. Sherlock in his Sherlockian way understood quite well the importance of employing the most basic rules of politeness with people he would normally consider boring. He knew exactly when to say Good morning and Thank you or Could you be so kind? Theoretically - he just sometimes forgot to put this knowledge into practice.
And of course he knew how to be polite with people he knew and liked, Mrs Hudson was the prime example. But being the king of punchline, as John once had called him, he could never quite resist the delivering of a biting remark, more often than not bound to hurt other people's feelings.
Because of recent events, including two or three neighbours who would cross the street every time Sherlock approached and a very nice restaurant near Baker Street that had banned them, John had decided that they should work on those character flaws. But Sherlock and Anderson? John was beginning to doubt that there were getting anywhere here.
'Anderson, why don't you go and play with Donovan instead of obstructing the investigation?' Sherlock implored in a superficially friendly tone.
'Now look, Sherlock. I've had your insinuations up to here –' and he demonstrated the height of his frustration by holding his hand up to his nose. 'I'm not taking this anymore. You know that I'm a married man and Donovan and I -'
'Did you tell Donovan?'
'That you are married.'
'Oh bloody hell!' and with that impressive retort Anderson stormed out of the room.
Sherlock turned up the collar of his coat, put his hands in his coat pockets, and nonchalantly turned round to face John. 'Really, John. I simply cannot stop it! It's asking for too much,' his voice was very animated, set out to convince. 'Look, John. You just have to see that Anderson is a gift from high above to me. He's a model of simplicity and stupidity. The height of ignorance. I just can't let him go, John! He brings so much joy into my life,' John snorted. 'Pleeease!' Sherlock said pleadingly, beaming at him like a little boy trying to get yet another model car and John grudgingly had to admit defeat.
'Alright, alright. We don't want you living a joyless life, do we? So I guess I have to leave you Anderson.' 'Thank you!' Sherlock was apparently delighted. He went over to John, bent down and whispered in his right ear 'I owe you, John.' Then he winked at him and sauntered out of the room. He left John behind who started thinking about how Sherlock could possibly pay back this debt. Smirking, he followed and left the room.