11,041 vagabonds plus:
'It's preposterous, Holmes.'
'It's...,' he smiled now, 'don't make me say it...you know me, my dear Watson.'
'If you know, pick them up and take them over to the gentleman. This isn't murder!'
'Look at the darting eyes, Watson, he knows they are here."I was just here. They have to be here." That frantic expression, hopeless-eyed. Look. He's hiding his bare guilty hands in the overcoat.'
'Oh, yes, Watson. Look down. They're new, shiny buckle, finest unblemished leather in London, almost molded for a gentleman's hand. No scuffs. Perhaps a recent gift. He dares not to go home to his wife.'
'Pray tell, how do you know he's married?'
'Because he has a wedding band.'
'How can you tell? His hands are hidden.'
'I don't need to see his hands, Watson.'
'Look. He's young. Newly married I surmise. Lost a gift from his beloved. Overly careful now. No, Watson. He's removed his ring. Up in his vest pocket I deduce', he yawns, 'only to be worn under gloves now. Ah, the maître d' is shaking his head. Let's go, the games afoot.'
Holmes scoops up the gloves in his left hand, strides across the hardwood, presenting them with a flourish..
'These are yours I believe, sir,' extending his right hand for an introductory handshake, forcing the withdrawal of the man's left hand for the happy reunion. Both hands are ring-less.
'My work is done here, Watson.'
Outside, Holmes takes a deep, self-satisfied breath of fog-less air, Watson at his heels, blinking in the brightness. Across the stone-cobbled street, two of Moriarty's thugs approach, steely-eyed, hidden pistols inside coat pockets with sweaty trigger fingers beginning the slow squeeze of terror. A third man, approaching the famous detective and his associate from the rear, clears his throat, speaks shakenly..
'Excuse me, kind sir. These are not my gloves.'
please jolly fellow
don't swoop past barren chimney
trashed last year's cookies
a tide of comfort and joy
He rocked upright from a brief moment of queasiness, struggling to bring everything back into focus, the jagged brick at his back daring him to go on, go on and do it. Back in sharp f stop focus: The pinpoint streetlights below, furry hats moving out of sync in warm welcoming storefront reflections carrying shopping bags, push and shove, taxi horns cursing through red lights, yeah go on now get out of my way. So what, he thought, so what how I die, diving from this cold ledge with a view, dizzy or with full consciousness of that smoked sausage wafting past my bulbous nose.
The envelope with last will and testament is where the landlady can easily find it - in the pay slot, checked once an hour. Mrs. Haggard, perfectly named. At least there would be no blood to wash off the walls and the apartment could be let the following day. Just clean white sheets, Mrs. Haggard, he laughed through clenched teeth. What an odd thing to think about out on the narrow ledge, 14 unpublished stories up from the noir-less pavement where impact will flatten him enough to blend in with his pals back in the comic section. Scrambled flat black and white lines with his old pal Beetle Bailey on the last page.
In the after hours of Christmas Eve sad yellow lights from one-room apartments spotlighted out of sequence and illuminated the upper torso of the city. The wind died and the night fell silent. No sausage with mustard and no crying children. He looked straight across the courtyard square and was awed by the vision at high altitude of the mother and child reunion, back lit with the colors of the Season. Was that his beloved wife and baby in Heaven, he wondered? Exuberant, with arms spread for a flight to float over to the Mother's breast he was reeled in to the narrow window portal by the clenched fist of Officer O'Malley.
movie trailer monday
Local Hero (1983)
Wonderful film from director Bill Forsyth
Beautiful soundtrack by Mark Knopfler
Refreshing and unpredictable. See it!
'I had one just like it.'
'You did, grand-papa?'
'Ryder...the Winter of '47 we...'
'The others are waiting for me, grand-papa.'
'Well..wait now.. let me draw you a flight plan on the back of this napkin.'
'Hurry, they're waiting.'
'You haven't got your mittens, Sugar.'
'Ok. There. See?' She was burning up inside her protective suit.
'Let's see,' he dictated, glasses on the edge of his nose, '..down Gosport Hill, across 3rd - I'll go that far to look both ways - over the Collin's frozen swimming pool....you had a second and third helping of beans tonight?..you can fire your afterburners and skim across the dry lake bed of Armstrong's crater kicking up some minor dust - wear shades, it's a full moon - reach the south side of Mars in a free-falling glide down soft layered hills - avoid the Valles Marineris, that's a steep crevice - orbit once for a gravitational boost, and you should be back before dark.'
He was confused now. She looked at the old astronaut and he was crying. It both fascinated and embarrassed her. She'd never seen a grown man cry before. She took the napkin and was awed by the Picasso scribble. She looked down at her pink boots in embarrassment. Then, looking up at him sitting there at the kitchen table her eyes met his and it looked to her for a moment that he did not recognize his surroundings.
'I have my mittens - see?' She tried to help with quivering voice on the verge of tears herself.
He dropped to his knees, unfastened and re-fastened her boots with her snow suit legs tucked in. To protect the small child from the barren vacuum of space he told himself.
Outside, her impatient friends called her like a rookery of penguins calling their mother.
'Tatyana? T a t Y A N A A A!'
She looked at him.
She kissed his cheek.
He lit a lantern and sat at the bay window. Looking out towards the east it had stopped snowing. The lantern went dark while he waited the two hours for the glorious rise of the full moon. His full moon. He prayed quietly that the undercarriage of the Flyer would withstand the piercing heat of re-entry. And he heard children laughing.
Stone lantern beckons
Vagabond pray, weathered smile
Not charity - Gift
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