I should stay at home to update my blog, but I had let Sherlock drag me into this uncomfortable situation. I never learn.
It was a perfect day in London. Well, it would have been one if it hadn’t been for the itch in his scalp. The heavy necklace, he could take. Even the bangles. But the wig was just too much. And oh God, the shoes. Why did he have to wear them? Is Sherlock still mad at me for saving the kitten he was about to use in one of his experiments?
“Sherlock. Can you please tell me what the hell I'm wearing?” he asked as he fiddled with the straps of the abomination women call stilettos.
“That's called women's clothing.” The detective turned to look at him. “Really, John. I'm quite surprised that you didn't know that, considering the number of women you bring to our flat.”
“Ha ha. I'm serious, Sherlock. You can’t expect me to walk into that pub in this bloody dress to try to hook up with a bloody murderer!”
“And why not, John?” A mischievous smile curled Sherlock's lips. “After all, you look quite nice in that dress. The colour may be a bit off, but the cut suits you and—“
“Oh, for God's sake, Sherlock! Are you trying to be funny now? Why can't you be the one in drag anyway? You're the detective. You should be the one wearing this.”
“Nonsense. These criminals, they know me. They know my face. If this one sees me, he'll know we're after him.” Sherlock looked behind John's shoulder and smiled again. “Good evening, Mrs. Hudson. We're going out.”
“What—?” John's heart sank when he turned and saw Mrs. Hudson appear on the doorway.
“Off to catch criminals again, Sherlock? And who's this?” A look of confusion crossed Mrs. Hudson's face upon seeing John, only to be replaced by a knowing smile when she recognized him. “Oh. You look lovely dear.”
John's face was red with embarrassment. “No. No. Mrs. Hudson, it's not what you think. It’s—“
“You two enjoy yourselves, all right?” Mrs. Hudson said as she disappeared behind the door of 221A Baker Street.
They were already outside, and John was still shaken from the encounter with Mrs. Hudson. He could already see the embarrassments that lay ahead. “Sherlock, this madman who has been going around killing men who wear dresses such as the one I’m reluctantly wearing right now.”
“Maybe he won't recognize you. Wait, and how about me? Don't they know me? Surely they have seen my picture on my blog.”
“Oh, don't flatter yourself, John. Not all people in London read your blog.”
“Well, maybe. But it has far more readers than yours.”
“Shut up.” They continued walking. John tried to ignore the meaningful glances that people gave him. The second looks. The sniggers. Walking alongside Sherlock Holmes in a dress and a pair of high-heeled shoes was definitely not his idea of a good time. God, this is embarrassing. He just hoped they wouldn't meet someone they know. While waiting for the light to change, however, John thought he heard the whirring sound of a camera and looked up. Damn. Mycroft.
Loud music could be heard even at a distance. He wasn’t even sure if it’s music. It sounded awfully like someone being bludgeoned to death.
“Well, here we are. Ready?” Another smile. The third one tonight. The man does love to make me suffer.
John looked at the pub in front of them. Red light tried to illuminate it and permit glimpses of those inside. He sniffed the air, and the stench of alcohol, sweat, and vomit assaulted his nostrils. More loud music. Raucous laughter and shouts. Are they trying to summon Satan in here? “Can't say I am.”
“You'll be fine. Just remember the plan. If he suggests that you come with him, politely decline. Sit in the bar where I can see you.” Sherlock paused and put his hand on John’s shoulder. “Good luck, John, and don't get yourself sexually assaulted.”
“I'm sorry? You're in drag, John. Remember that. If I were you, I wouldn't use that word too often.” With that, the detective winked and walked away.
John walked to the bar and tried to sit. He smiled embarrassingly at the bartender while he struggled and pulled at his dress. Once he was able to sit comfortably, he looked around and took the scene in. Men of all shapes and sizes and in various states of undress are gyrating against each other while the speakers blared with what might pass for music. He internally cringed at the thought of what he might be forced to do just to keep this disguise. He still didn’t understand what Sherlock might hope to accomplish from this. If he didn’t know better, he would think that this was just another of his experiments. Scaring your best friend half to death by making him believe that he is being chased by a giant hound is one thing, making him dress like a woman for all of London to see is another.
“Hey, miss? I haven’t seen you around here before. New here?”
John was surprised by the sound of the bartender’s voice. He was even more surprised because he called him “miss.” Captain John Hamish Watson of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers, being called a “miss” by some bartender in a strange bar.
“Yes,” he said rather gruffly. He coughed and tried to soften his voice. He didn’t think for one second that the bartender thinks he’s female, but strutting around in a dress and a pair of high-heeled shoes calls for a somehow more feminine voice. “Can I have a glass of bee- red wine, please?”
“Sure.” The bartender turned his back on John as he prepared his drink. “Here. Cabernet Sauvignon. On the house.”
“Wha-? No, no, please. Let me pay.”
“I insist. I’m Matt, by the way.” He held out his hand, and John had no choice but to take it. “And you are?”
Name. He hadn’t thought of a name. “I’m ahh.. Ah..”
Matt raised his eyebrows. “You’re..?”
“I’m Jane.” Way to go, Doctor Watson. You have chosen a name so close to your own. Why not add your real surname while you’re at it? He shook his head.
“Nice to meet you, Jane. Something wrong?”
“Ah, no. It’s nice to meet you too, erm..” What did he say his name is? John tried to remember as he cradled the glass of wine.
“Yes. Matt. And thank you for the drink.”
“You’re welcome. So. Waiting for someone?”
“Hmm..” John nodded yes and put the glass of wine to his lips.
“Hello, handsome.” Both John and Matt looked up to see the face from which the voice came.
High cheekbones, cupid’s bow lips, penetrating eyes that can’t seem to decide which color it should be. John almost dropped the glass he was holding. He stared at Sherlock Holmes, the world’s only consulting detective, as he made his way to them. Only this Sherlock wasn’t the Sherlock he used to know. He gazed at the long, black hair, the little black dress, the red shawl, and the white shoes. He would have laughed if he hadn’t been so shocked.
His fingers touched John’s chin. “Close your mouth, honey. That’s no way for a lady to act.” John realized his mouth was hanging open and obediently closed it shut. He continued to stare at Sherlock as he approached the bartender, Mark-or was it Mike?-sashaying his hips all the way through.
“Hey.” Sherlock smiled at the bartender and sat down next to John.
Matt-yes, Matt-smiled at him in return. “Hey. A glass of wine as well?” Without waiting for an answer, he turned his back on them and proceeded to get Sherlock the wine. John saw this as an opportunity to flash Sherlock a questioning glance. The detective, however, was so absorbed in observing Matt and refused to look at him. He would have jabbed Sherlock’s foot with the heel of his shoe, but Matt turned to face them again and handed Sherlock his drink. Instead of drinking it, Sherlock just smiled and looked at it.
“I knew you would recognize me.”
John was taken aback. “What do you mean-”
Sherlock just ignored him and continued to speak. “Is this what you do to your victims? Look for a lonely person, chat them up, drug their drink, wait until they pass out, then bring them to a secluded area where you do your horrible acts?”
John looked at his glass. “What did you put to my drink?”
“Sedatives, John. Quite harmless-compared to what he put in mine.”
“From the moment I saw you walk towards us, I knew it was you. Sherlock Holmes-the world’s only consulting detective.” He turned to John. “So this must be your little friend, Dr. John Watson, the blogger. Pity, we could have had a good time, honey.” He cupped John’s face in his hands.
“Get your hands off me, you filthy-” He stopped when he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun. Where the hell did that come from?
Sherlock was suddenly at his feet, a gun in his hand, ready to shoot the bartender at any moment. “Look at you, Mr. Holmes, ready to save your little friend. How terribly sweet.”
The people in the pub continued to dance, seemingly oblivious to the event that is taking place at the bar. One of the waiters started to approach them, saw the guns, and retreated.
“Come on, Mr. Holmes, shoot me. I won’t shoot you back. Your little friend, however..” He grabbed the front of John’s dress and continued to point his gun at him.
John looked at Sherlock. His hands were not shaking, but there was panic in his eyes. Or was I just imagining it? He took a deep breath and stared at the gun pointing at him. Before he had the chance to change his mind, he tried to grab the gun and slammed Matt’s arm in the bar table.
“Sherlock!” Sherlock leaped on the table and grabbed Matt’s other arm. The man was strong, and he still hadn’t let go of the gun. Sherlock and John struggled to pin him down and pull the gun away from him. He fired once, and John gave a yelp. Despite the loud music, everyone heard the gunshot and quickly ran outside. Some, however, stayed and watched the scene unfold.
“John! What happened? Are you all right? Are you shot? John!” This time, worry was visible in the detective’s face.
“No. No. Don’t let go of him, Sherlock. I was uh--the bastard bit me!”
“Oh.” Sherlock struck Matt’s temple with an ashtray, and the bartender finally let go of the gun. He lay his head on the table, panting from exhaustion.
While still holding the bartender down with one hand, Sherlock pulled his skirt up-
”Sherlock, what on earth are you doing?”
-and took a pair of handcuffs from his pants.
“What the hell.”
“Sorry to disappoint you, John.”
“Shut up, Sherlock. Aren’t you going to call Lestrade?”
“He’s on his way. Some of these people have already called him.”
“So Lestrade will come here.”
“And find us.”
“In these clothes.”
“Ye- John, can you hold this man down for a second?”
“No, Sherlock. If Lestrade will find me in this outfit, I’ll be damned if he doesn’t see you in that dress too.”
“Fine. It was worth a try. Want some Chinese?”
“We should probably go back to our flat first. You know. Change?”
“You just wanted to see me in those clothes, don’t you?”
Sherlock and John were back in their flat after having dinner. They decided against Chinese and went to Angelo’s instead. A few minutes after their struggle with the bartender, Lestrade and his men arrived at the pub. He took one look at Sherlock and John, and burst out laughing. Sally phoned Anderson, who was sick and unable to work, and told him between fits of laughter about the pair’s ridiculous appearance. John just stood there, red-faced with embarrassment. Even the other policemen were giggling.
“You could have solved that case without letting me go through all that embarrassment. You just wanted to see me wear that ludicrous dress in front of God and everyone. I looked horrible. God. ”
“Although seeing you in that outfit did amuse me, John, it really was a vital part of my investigation. You said you wanted to help, and you did. Case closed. Now, we celebrate.” He grabbed his violin and began to play.
John shook his head. “Fine. At least it’s all over now. I don’t have to wear that bloody thing anymore, and Lestrade promised me that he will order his men to delete all the pictures.” He sighed. “I’m off to bed now, Sherlock. I’ll just leave you with your violin. Good night.”
When John was finally gone, Sherlock put his violin down and reached for the folder that Mycroft has given him. He might have to thank his brother for it. Ha. Not really. He opened the folder and smiled. The pictures of tonight’s adventures stared back at him. He picked up one that shows John in the dress he was constantly complaining about all night, the wig and accessories removed, his face scrubbed clean of make up. He was smiling because of something Sherlock had said.
“Horrible? Don’t be an idiot, John.”