On a certain occasion, I was sound asleep in the dead of night, dreaming that a beautiful woman named Veronika was tickling the soles of my feet, when suddenly I couldn’t resist the tickling anymore and I bunny hopped.
At the foot of my bed, someone was tickling my feet. But it wasn’t Veronika: it was Sherlock Holmes. I naturally got angry. If there is something that rile me up, it is to find a man hovering around my bed while I sleep (let alone inside my bed).
“Holmes! May I ask what you are doing in my bedroom?!”
“We’ve got work, Watson.”
“And that work can’t wait until dawn?”
“I’m afraid not. The future of the British Empire is at stake. ”
“The future of the British Empire? What has happened? The Queen has been kidnapped? The Crown Jewels have been stolen? ”
“It’s a more delicate matter than that.”
“More delicate than the kidnapping of the Queen or the theft of the Crown Jewels?” I exclaimed confused and alarmed.
“Have you heard of Veronika Smirnaf?”
I almost fell out of bed because of the shock.
“Did you say Veronika?”
“I know you’ve been dreaming of her, Watson. That’s why I ask. ”
I couldn’t hide my stupefaction.
“How-how have you guessed that I …?”
“Elementary, dear Watson. While I tickled your feet, you pronounced her name in dreams. Now tell me what you know about her. ”
“Oh, Holmes, she is the most beautiful woman you can imagine. More beautiful even than Queen Victoria. She and I were in Bath taking the waters. We were lovers…”
“I hope your dreams come true, Watson. For the sake of the Empire.”
“Don’t mock me, Holmes. What does the Empire have to do with my dream? And now I’d like some privacy to get dressed.”
“Hurry up, Watson”, he sped me up while coming out the room. “A cab is waiting for us.”
Shortly afterwards, a cab left Holmes and me at the main entrance of a sumptuous mansion. Despite my repeated questions, Holmes had kept his mouth shut throughout the journey.
“Who does this mansion belong to? And why all the secrecy?”
“The house belongs to the Foreign Office. And now remember: Let me do the talking. You just stay focused on show your virile appeal and wink every once in a while. ”
“Wink? At a matter of state? ”
With every word of my friend, my stupefaction was only increasing. But I didn’t have time to go further in my inquiries because a butler had just opened the door.
Moments later we were in the presence of the most beautiful woman in the world, the same woman I had dreamed of only an hour before!
“Watson, may I present Miss Veronika Smirnaf”
“You are even more beautiful in real life than in dreams” I said stupidly while kissing her hand.
“I beg your pardon?”
Holmes took a shot at me: “Watson! Remember my instructions!”
Suddenly I was obfuscated and began to wink alternately both eyes.
“What’s wrong with your friend? He looks like a moron.”
Then I forgot the sense of reality and blacked out.
When I was back to my senses I was lying in a chaise longue. However, I pretended to still faint in order to hear the dialogue between Veronika Smirnaf and my friend.
“So it’s with this simpleton that you intend to exchange my Eddy…”
“It is not your Eddy, madame! it is the Eddy of the British Empire!”
“We are in love, Mr Holmes. Doesn’t love mean anything to you?”
“Come on, Miss Smirnaf. Don’t take me for a fool. We know that you are a German spy and that your interest in the Prince of Wales has nothing to do with love. And if it’s true that you are the sentimental type, here you have Dr. Watson, one of the most graceful and virile men in the British Empire.
At this point I opened my eyes wide and sat up as impelled by a spring.
“Holmes! I demand an explanation! What does this mean?!”
Miss Veronika chuckled and Holmes finally agreed to get me acquainted with the matter:
“Miss Veronika Smirnaf intends to marry the Prince of Wales and the Foreign Office has commissioned us to talk her out of that.”
“Eddy is madly in love with me!”, she bursted out.
“And so is Dr. Watson! He has even dreamed of you tonight! Isn’t that right, Watson?”
I couldn’t help getting all flustered: “I can not deny it.”
“You see, madame? It was surely a premonitory dream. Come on, Watson, show her your virile appeal!”
Then it seemed to me that the whole thing had gone far enough and therefore I said:
“You have to excuse my friend. He is recovering from a concussion.”
But she reacted in an unexpected way:
“Forget about your friend, Doctor, and show me that irresistible charm that he says you possess and keep so well hidden.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Oh, come on, Doctor. Mr. Holmes has been talking about you for days. He claims that you’re the most desired single man in England. Can’t stop raving about your incredible graceful and charming. ”
Indignant, I leaped to my feet: “Did you say that to the lady, Holmes?”
Then I pounced on him and Holmes dropped and we both rolled on the floor. To my surprise, my friend pretended that I was beating him wildly when what I was doing was just shaking him.
“Ow! Woe is me! Please, Watson, don’t hit me anymore! Forgive me for having humiliated you in this way.”
The fact is that Holmes was an awful actor. But still he pretended that I had knocked him out by a punch.
I got up baffled while Miss Veronika raved:
“Wow, Doctor, you have finally deigned to exhibit your virile appeal. Not bad. If you were Prince of Wales I wouldn’t mind marrying you. ”
“Is it true that you are a spy at the service of Germany?”
“Okay, yes. Is it that a woman cannot have her profession? Are we destined to be home slaves? You are a disgusting macho! ”
“Sorry if I hurt your feelings. It was not my intention…”
But the woman was really angered:
“I see. If I married you, I would spend the day taking care of the children without leaving home, and making sure everything was ready for your arrival from work! You are like all men… with the exception of my Eddy.”
“Do you mean the Prince of Wales?”
“Who else? How many Eddys are in England? If I say yes to Eddy’s marriage proposal, I could continue to pursue my profession.”
“Do you mean the spy profession?”
“Of course. And I’ll work my way up the ladder. I’ll be awarded a medal by Kaiser Wilhelm for the services provided to the German Empire. It will be easy to obtain sensitive information by being married to the heir to the throne of England.”
At that moment a side door opened and the very Prince of Wales showed up with his bongos.
Veronika gave a jump and let out a yell:
Eddy! Were you listening?!
The Prince of Wales just frowned and, keeping his chin up, stomped off the room through the main door playing his bongos.
Then Holmes leaped to his feet exclaiming: “Great work, Watson!” And shortly after we heard a carriage starting on the way to London.