A CLINICAL CASE

One winter morning, Holmes and I were sitting by the fireplace when I took the floor:

“Holmes, I must tell you something.”

“You have already done it, my friend.”

“I don’t remember doing it,” I said surprised.

“You just did it unconsciously when you blinked.”

“Really?” I exclaimed. “What have I tell you unconsciously?”

“That today you don’t want to eat cauliflower. But it’s not me to whom you should tell such a thing, but to Mrs. Hudson.”

On the occasions when, as in this case, Holmes was wrong, it was annoying to have to prove him right, but it was necessary not to undermine his self-esteem:

“You guessed it! You are a genius, Holmes! They should rename Trafalgar Square after you!”

“No guesswork at all, Watson. It’s just a matter of deductive logic.”

“Yes, well… But other than that, I wanted to tell you that I have taken the liberty of inviting one of my patients, who wishes to speak with you about an important matter.”

“Do you know what the matter is?”

“He says he found poison in the medicine prescribed by his doctor.”

“His doctor, Watson? Didn’t you just tell me that he is your patient?”

“You know me, Holmes. You know that I would never do such a thing. I want you to be my defense witness.”

Holmes playfully stared at me with feigned suspicion:

“So your patient suspects that you are poisoning him!”

“I don’t know how he has reached such an absurd conclusion!”

“What medicine did you prescribe for him?”

“Arsenic”

Holmes almost fell off his chair because of the shock.

“Watson, that’s the king of poisons!”

“Not in very small doses like the one I prescribed.”

“Does your patient have symptoms of poisoning?”

“Of course not! It’s all a figment of his imagination!”

At that moment, the door bell rang.

“It must be him. I told him to come at about this time.”

We heard footsteps going up the stairs and moments later Holmes was examining my patient as a doctor would do. He was listening to his chest through a stethoscope while asking him to say ‘ninety nine’ over and over again and again. However, for some mysterious reason, my patient would say ‘one hundred’ in its stead.

“Say ninety nine!” 

“One hundred.”

“Come on, asshole, say ‘ninety nine’!”

“One hundred.”

“Damn it!”

Suddenly, Holmes reached the limit of his patience. He threw away the stethoscope, grabbed my patient’s tongue and pulled hard while frenetically insisting that he should say ‘ninety nine’.

“Holmes, what are you doing?!” I ejaculated. But despite my efforts to free my patient from his grip, Holmes kept pulling his tongue while holding his head back. He was out of control and I couldn’t stop him. Under his seemingly flimsy constitution, Holmes concealed an unusual force. My patient was waving his arms desperately while his tongue grew by the minute and Holmes kept shouting: “Say ninety nine! Ninety nine!”.

After a fierce struggle, my patient managed to free himself, but could not retract his tongue, which caused him some discomfort.

“You savage!” he yelled at Holmes. “I will report you for attempted murder! You got big trouble!”. He lisped because of his hanging tongue.

Holmes tried to grab his tongue again but, after a brief chase, my patient fled downstairs.

Shortly after, Holmes and I were sitting by the fireplace again with our nerves thoroughly restored.

“What do you think, Holmes?”

“You mean about your patient? He seems a mentally disturbed man. He thinks everyone tries to kill him.” 

“I agree.”

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

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