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Nowadays (part 1)

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"Please Mr. Holmes, you just gotta help me. There’s no way my Roxie coulda done this." Sherlock Holmes sighed and looked down at the man in front of him. He was sweating and smelled like grease and unwashed socks, “Mr… Hart, is it?" the man nodded, “What makes you think I am the person you need to talk too?" Behind him the detective could hear his companion, Dr. Watson cough quietly, reminding him he wasn’t in an interrogation.

The man, Amos Hart looked down at his scuffed shoes and swallowed hard, “You’re my last hope, Mr. Holmes. Roxie, Roxie, she’ll h-h-hang if you don’t help her." Sherlock watched the man, tears gleaming in his eyes and sighed Sentiment, he thought. He rubbed the bridge of his nose and turned to look at his companion, Watson raised his eyebrows but shook his head, “On your own head be it then." Sherlock’s lips twitched as Watson leaned against the desk and took out a notebook. Sherlock turned back to to his new client and sat in the chair opposite, “Very well, Mr. Hart, tell me what you know." The man looked at his hands, at the dirt and grease ingrained in the skin, and took a deep breath, “I came home to a man wrapped in a sheet and Roxie telling me he was a burglar."

The detective had to fight the impulse to shake the man, “You know he was not a burglar, correct?" Amos nodded, “I found that out when the cops showed up." He rubbed the back of his neck, “H-h-he was my wife’s boyfriend." Watson shifted uncomfortably and Sherlock leaned back in his chair, “If it weren’t idiotic, I’d commend you, Mr. Hart." Amos bristled at the word, “idiotic" but said nothing and Sherlock continued, “This case, as far as I can see, is open and shut. Your wife shot the man…Fred, as you called him, in a rage." Amos looked down at his hands again, “Please, Mr. Holmes. Seven years we been married."

Sherlock sighed, Sentiment. “Direct me to the prison, Mr. Hart."

Sherlock and John made their way across town in accordance with the directions Amos had given them. Everywhere they turned there was a newsboy selling a story about a “Jazz Killer" and their upcoming trial. It seemed like the entire city had lost their minds. John was scandalized, but Sherlock couldn’t have cared less. “People are idiots." he muttered darkly to John as yet another paper boy was hawking a story about a woman named, Velma Kelly. She’d either killed her husband and sister or someone else had, but John would bet his last penny she’d done it. He said as much to Sherlock who nodded and smirked, “Very good, Watson. You’re learning."

They navigated their way through the city and stopped at the Prison gates, “What’s your Business?" the guard asked, sounding bored. The Detective took a card from his pocket and offered it to the guard, “My name is Sherlock Holmes, I’m a consulting detective hired by Amos Hart to help prove his wife’s innocence. And this," he gestured to Watson"is my companion." The guard whistled softy, “Brought you all the way from Britain? Mechanics must do better than I thought." he handed the card back to Sherlock and stepped aside to unlock the gate and allow them Entry. The pair stepped inside and the guard whistled for another man, “Take them to Mamma, and be quick about it, Jacky." the other guard nodded and came round the guard house to escort them, looking firmly at his shoes, he addressed them, “This way." Watson rolled his eyes and glanced at Sherlock, who was watching the boy intently, but said noting as they followed after.

The kid lead them into the jail and up a rather steep set of stairs to a door. He rapped twice on the metal, turned abruptly and left without so much as a good luck. “I believe he finds us intimidating." Sherlock mused. John snorted, “I rather believe he finds everything intimidating." He nodded, “I suppose he would, being homosexual and confused about it." John stood there gaping at him for a second, “Sherlock, how the…" but he never got to finish his question. The door swung open suddenly and a very imposing woman stood before them, smiling brightly, “Welcome to Cook County Jail, gentleman. What can I do ya for?"

Sherlock took a step back to avoid being uncomfortably close to her cleavage, and the woman smirked. This was her little kingdom and she knew exactly how to run it. Sherlock knew it, John knew it, and neither one of them knew what to do about it. “You’re the Matron, I presume?" Sherlock asked, and the woman smiled, “That depends on whose asking, darlin’." Sherlock sighed internally and forced himself to smile, “I’m Sherlock Holmes, a detective recently come into the employ of Mr. Hart." The matron’s eyes widened in sudden understanding, “I see, well Mr. Holmes, if you’ll just follow me… Roxie is in Conference with her lawyer. Billy Flynn.