The Case of the Rival Detectives
( Verse Version )
“My God, Gorms. You have not had a case for awhile,”
said Doctor Whatsit, one evening,
in the study of 214A, Bacon Street,
amid the hurly burl of sometimes foggy London.
“No wonder it is long since I last saw you snigger,
smirk or snipe a smile.”
“No, Whatsit. It is because someone else
has been solving all the cases,”
said Sherman Gorms, leaning back in his chair,
like a long necked lobster,
his tartan trousers held slackly
by pale yellow threadbare braces.
“My God, Gorms. What’s his name?”
asked Doctor Whatsit, alarmed,
like one in an Arabian bazaar,
who first sees a cobra from a basket charmed.
“Holmes,” said Gorms,
as if he pronounced the name that sealed his doom,
mournfully, he tolled it, like a phantom from a tomb.
“Holmes, my God, ” said Doctor Whatsit,
disturbed, like an owl,
the parrot of a pirate,
a vulture with a scowl.
“Yes, Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, his full name,”
said Gorms. “He is the one to blame.
Solves all his cases with Doctor Watson.
They live not far from here, in Baker Street,
as feet fall hard and fleet.”
“Baker Street. My word. Not far from here, as you say,”
said Doctor Whatsit, now pale as a penguin in a sack of flour,
a maggot in the clay.
“Quite, ” said Gorms. “The man wears a deerstalker,
smokes a pipe, plays the violin.
Sounds like someone created by a literary nut job.
Knows how to catch them, though,
those who murder, kidnap, forge and rob.”
“Well, if you’re not going to be a detective anymore,
now that this Sherlock Holmes is solving all the cases,
what are you going to be, Gorms?”
said Doctor Whatsit.
“Some kind of civil servant signing legal forms?”
“The opposite, Whatsit,” said Gorms,
mysteriously, yet bland.
Doctor Whatsit gaped at him, like a gurnard fish,
as if he were half canned.
“The opposite of what?” he asked him,
his face now greyly grim.
“The opposite of being a private detective,”
said Gorms. “I am going to be a criminal.”
“A criminal. My word. That’s a bit extreme.
Like going out without an umbrella,
when clouds with rain are about to teem,”
said Doctor Whatsit,
who rarely saw a distant gleam.
“I am going to commit the perfect crime,”
said Gorms. “And you are going to help me.
A darksome, dangerous task,
my need has made to be.
The Jewel of Burma I aim to steal
from the British Museum.
Our study of crooked ways
will make our triumph real.
From its glass tank,
we will hook it like a pike,
and leave behind no trace,
then see if Sherlock Holmes
can try and solve the case.
It would take a private detective
to outwit a private detective,
I think you will agree.
Holmes will be publicly shamed
for not solving the case,
a tangle of chains and locks
for which he will not find the key.
And then we will be rewarded,
we will have our prize,
back with our reputations
as London’s finest private eyes.”
“Good show, Gorms,” said Doctor Whatsit, impressed.
“Your solution to our problem, I never could have guessed.”
“Thank you, Whatsit,” said Gorms.
“I ever was the clever crow who out flew the storms.”
Needless to say, Sherlock Holmes,
with the aid of Doctor Watson,
solved the case of the theft of the Jewel of Burma,
and Sherman Gorms and Doctor Jock Whatsit
had to spend twenty years in jail,
a sentence neither of them survived,
due to poor health and the natural
deterioration of the human body,
put together well to fail,
and their names remained forgotten,
and never were revived.