THE DEAD MAN ALIVE

One evening Holmes was reading The Times while I was distracted looking out the window when I saw a gentleman in a top hat who was about to knock on our door. 

«Holmes. Why don’t you test your deductive skills?»

«About what?»

«We have a new client. A gentleman in a top hat»

«The killer is the butler.» 

I laughed at my friend’s witty remark. But suddenly a liveried butler appeared from behind a carriage brandishing a knife.  My laughter froze in my face while I watched the butler stabbing our ill-fated client and running away. 

I stayed petrified. I would say: in a catatonic state, for a few minutes.

«Well, Watson? Where is our supposed client?»

«He has just been killed by a butler.»

«You’re very funny, Watson. But your facetiousness won’t be able to divert my attention from your lack of insight. What made you suspect that that man was going to knock on our door?»

«He-he had grabbed the knocker.» 

«So how is it that we have not heard his knock?»

Just then I came out of the catatonic state and, turning to Holmes, started shouting and gesturing like crazy:

«For the simple reason that he hasn’t had time to lift the knocker!»

«What’s the matter, Watson? I’m worried about you. Contemplate yourself in the mirror: you look like a madman.»

I was in a frenzy:

«Holmes, they just killed a man at the door of our house!» 

«You don’t say. Luckily it wasn’t inside or else we would have had to get rid of the corpse. You know how I hate getting rid of a corpse.»

«For heaven’s sake, Holmes! You have to believe me!»

Then Holmes jumped up and looked out the window.

«I don’t see any corpse» 

I ran to the window and looked out: actually there was no sign of the murder. I dropped on the couch with my head caught in my hands.

Holmes put his hand on my shoulder and sweetly said to me: «My friend, you need a good rest. How about if we go to a spa?»

Two days later we were in Scotland, taking the waters in the Crieff Hydropathic Establishment of Dr Thomas H. Miekle.

On the fourth day of our stay I had already recovered my normal state of tranquility. I had almost forgotten what I had seen with my own eyes that fateful evening when something extraordinary came to alter my newly acquired inner peace: I saw him again.

I mean the dead man, the gentleman in a top hat. Only this time he was naked and he was alive! 

Oh, my God! I thought I was going crazy! Naturally I refrained from telling Holmes what I had seen this time, which was this: The dead man alive was in the same pool as me and was staring at me letting out a sarcastic giggle. Nearby, the liveried butler stood holding a towel. There was no one else in the enclosure.

I quickly left the pool, but slipped and fell back into it. While I heard the laughter of the dead man alive behind me, I left the pool again and … you will not believe it: in such a hurry, I fell back into the pool. And the scene was repeated six more times to the delight of the naked gentleman and his liveried butler. When I finally managed to definitely leave the pool, I ran to the garden where the ladies were having tea. When I saw that they fainted one after another, I realized that I was naked and hurried back covering my embarrassing parts.

That night I told Holmes what had happened. I told him that I suspected I was going crazy. However, Holmes reassured me. While I was enjoying my stay at the spa, he had been stealthily following the “dead man alive” and his butler, and had made a discovery.

«Watson, do you remember the case of the yellow eggplant?»

How to forget it? It had been the case in which my participation in catching the culprit (of painting all the eggplants of Herefordshire) had been more decisive. The two malefactors entered prison thanks to my testimony. (I caught them painting yellow the eggplant that I was eating).

«Well, the two men were released from prison two weeks ago.»

«Is that them, Holmes?» I exclaimed almost crying. «Is that them?» 

«Elementary, my dear Watson. And their way of getting revenge on you has been this: to try to drive you crazy.» 

«Well, Holmes, I have to confess that they almost succeed!»

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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