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Houston, we have a mistake

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Two icy cold eyes stare at me, blankly. It’s not a sight I’m used to and I find it hard not to show my amusement. The funny thing is that I can see his brilliant mind at work, going through every department of the Scotland Yard, searching for anyone by that name. Perhaps he's even found someone, but he can't work out the relevance to the case we’re working on.

“Sherlock?” I ask, and it’s as if he’s awoken from a trance. ‘What?’ his eyes ask. “It’s just a saying. You know, Apollo thirteen, Houston...” Two eyes continue their blank stare. “Space shuttle, oxygen tank exploded. They reported to their base in Houston telling them ‘we have a problem’ or something, which was a bit of an understatement. They very nearly didn't make it back... You have no idea what I’m talking about, have you?”

“Is it relevant to the case?” He asks finally.

“No,” I have to admit.

“No," he agrees. "Well. Then, could we please continue with something that actually matters?” And with that the two icy blue eyes start going over the case files on the table.

I’m about to ask him how he could have missed that? He’s an intelligent man. How could he have missed the historical event, the popular quote, the film? I’ve barely taken a breath to speak when he speaks again, without looking up. It’s creepy how he sometimes knows what you’re going to say.

“I can’t afford to fill my head with useless knowledge. I’m sure it’s a fascinating story, but as it’s irrelevant, it’s pointless to even mention it. Now. The case. Have you spoken to the neighbours across the street?”

I can't help rolling my eyes. “I know it's irrelevant, Sherlock. It’s a quote. Just something people say,” I try, but it’s pointless. “Yes, we’ve spoken to them. Here are my notes.”

I don’t know how the man’s brain works, but I sometimes think the quote got stuck somewhere in that massive mind of his. One byte of memory that he’s been unable to erase. I doubt he remembers where the quote comes from and I doubt he’s ever looked it up. It has become, for him, just ‘something people say’. And therefore, in an attempt to look human, he says it.