The Tale of the Four-Eyed Medicine Man
By John H. Watson (MD)
What I am about to tell you is a true story, and the fact that I am here to re-tell it to you, is sufficient proof of its authenticity if a gentleman’s word isn’t enough.
As my practice has dwindled away in recent years, and with a gold-digger of a daughter-in-law circling around my humble house like a vulture, I have decided to do what I vowed I would never do. It is with a very heart I reach deep, deep, deep down to my archives, and dust off the last remaining stories I have buried there.
While I dislike bringing too much attention to myself, bear in mind that I do this only for financial gain, so pray send me a pound or two upon finishing these tales. After all, memories of Holmes are all I’ve got.
Yes, Sherlock Holmes.
My old friend had many successes, which I have recounted in the past, and some failures, which I have also tried to recount to the extent that it has been feasible as I have not accompanied my friend on all his adventures. The story I am about to tell you is one that I did witness from up close, as it also involved my humble persona.
In his later years, having survived attacks of hounds, vampires, and murderers, Holmes did indeed decide to put down his magnifying glass, so he retired to Boca del Vista in the United States of America, where he had a house overlooking a “beautiful wooded campus with a lake and walking trail” just like promised in the brochure.
As the state of Florida didn’t allow me to practice medicine there, I was forced to stay in England, and only visit Holmes at his 212 Baker Avenue home – oh, the ironies of life – in Boca whenever I could. During my first visit, it became quickly apparent to me that while Holmes may have decided to close his practice as a consulting detective, the world showed up on his doorstep to tell him the decision wasn’t his to make.
The world had taken the shape of this humble storyteller.
I arrived at the beautiful Boca early one morning, very jetlagged, and to my surprise, my old friend was fast asleep in a rocking chair on his porch. I gently woke him up, only to realize he had, once again, been a step ahead of me, as he slapped me on the face, pretending to be frightened by my approach.
He then showed me in, and made me a nice cup of green tea, a habit he had picked up since his departure from England. While I waited, I noticed newspapers scattered around his kitchen, with half-solved sudokus and crossword puzzles in them.
“Holmes,” I said, “how is life in the beautiful Boca del Vista? Are you feeling well? Your mind’s not going, I hope.”
“Oh, dear Watson. You still have your eyesight, but you lack understanding.”
He didn’t elaborate, but he was right, I didn’t understand. I must say that his comments had hurt me, and obviously, during our time apart, I had forgot how cruel my friend could be. I was also in the middle of a serious bout with the said jet lag, and having seen a swimming pool in the beautiful Boca area, I decided to go for a swim.
The water was soothing, and as I swam a few laps in the crystal clear water, my anger towards Holmes subsided, and I climbed out of the pool a refreshed man. On my way back to 212 Baker Ave., I chuckled at Holmes’s comments, and just as I opened the door, and was about to tell him that he had been correct, I realized that he hadn’t been. I didn’t have my eyesight anymore. Everything was blurry. I found myself lost in a fog, thicker and more frightening than the fog in Dartmoor* or even London**.
“Holmes,” I said.
My friend was loading the dishwasher, and didn’t seem to hear anything.
“Holmes,” I shouted. “I seem to have lost my eyeglasses.”
Holmes turned around, looked at me for a few seconds–then smiled.
“Aha! A mystery!” he said, and walked briskly towards me.
“Tell me, Watson, tell me everything,” he added, sat down in an armchair, and pressed his fingers against each other.
“Well, I know I had them when I arrived, because I could see all the sudokus from here,” I said, “but they’re gone now.”
Holmes looked at me.
“And…?” he said.
“That’s all. I’m sorry, old chap, but that’s all I can tell you.”
“No threats? No unsigned letters demanding you to get rid of your spectacles? No telegrams? You weren’t followed when you got here, I hope,” Holmes said.
He closed his eyes, and played an imaginary violin.
“No instruments allowed at the beautiful Boca,” he said, unprompted.
“OK, Watson. You did go for a swim recently…,” said Holmes.
“That’s true … but … how did you…?”
“I can tell that by the fact that the Speedos you are wearing right now are dark blue, which tells me that they’re wet. Also, they are completely dark blue, and not only the front, like Mr. Jansen’s usually,” he said.
He stood up, and almost ran to the door, and while I didn’t have Holmes’s ability to draw conclusions from even the tiniest details, even I could tell his hip replacement operation had been successful. Holmes put on a baseball hat, and then another one on top of that, with the peak facing back.
“They don’t have decent hats here,” he mumbled, and walked towards the pool. “THE GAME IS ON!” he yelled.
There, by the pool, next to a green, striped sun chair, was a messy pile of clothes, and a pair of black men’s shoes next to them.
“Try the shoe,” Holmes said, and smiled.
“I can’t see my glasses in the shoe,” I said.
“Try all the way by the toes,” said the man sitting in the sun chair.
“Thank you, Mr. Jansen, I’ll take it from here,” Holmes said. “By the way, maybe time to visit the men’s room?”
“My, you’re right! Amazing!” said Mr Jansen, and left.
Holmes turned his attention to me again.
“Well, did you try by the toes?” he said.
“Yes, I did. They’re not there,” I replied. “But, don’t get discouraged, I did find a twenty-dollar-bill there. I thought I had lost that, as well.”
“I knew it. You’re welcome,” said Holmes, and sat down in the green chair.
“Hmm… This case is nothing like the “The Adventure of the Resident Patient”, nor “The Adventure of the Yellow Face”. Watson, let me ask you a question. Pray tell me, did you talk to anyone at the pool?”
“I did not. I dove in, and swam, and got up. Well, I did order a drink, but that can hardly be called talking, my friend,” I said.
Holmes smiled, pulled a pen and paper out of his jacket pocket, and wrote down something. He then handed the piece of paper to me. I couldn’t see what he had written, so I raised my hand to my forehead and grabbed my glasses. My glasses!
The note said: “You’re holding them.”
I burst out laughing.
“You’ve done it again, you devil you,” I said.
Holmes pulled out his imaginary fiddle again, and started to play. “Elementary, my dear Watson,” he said. “Elementary.”
And there you have it, the first of the many adventures Holmes had in Florida late in his life, many of them great successes, like the case of the lost keys and the tale of the password that stopped working even though it had been just fine the day before.
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* For more on Dartmoor, buy a copy of the Hound of the Baskerville. Please.
** Although, the London fog is a myth, I tell you.