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elusivegiantess

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 6 months ago

THE CASE OF THE ELUSIVE GIANTESS

 

(From the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., late of Her Majesty's Army Medical Corps., as recorded in his secret notes and recently shown to Paul Bunyan by a descendant of the illustrious Dr. Watson)

 

It was a rainy summer's day in 1895 when my colleague and I had one of the most unusual episodes in a lifetime noted for the unusual. It was early evening. Sherlock Holmes was sitting on the couch, lanquidly strumming upon his violin, relaxing with the effects of the cocaine he had taken. I had always warned him against this practice. As his doctor as well as his friend, I feared for his health. Still, when a case of interest came his way, he would immediately set his addiction aside and go for weeks or months without it. It was only when he was in the doldrums of boredom that he required his cocaine. They say that a true addict's life revolves around his addiction. Nothing gives his life meaning. Sherlock Holmes had a cure for that. His addiction was a mere substitute when his true love was not available. His true love was, of course, the Art of Deduction. Give him a true mystery to solve and he would drive himself for days without sleep, ignoring all other needs. It was during one of these lulls in activity that there was a knock upon our door.

 

It was I who answered the door as Holmes continued in his somnambulant state.

 

"Well, Inspector Lestrade," I said. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"

 

I had no sooner announced the name of our visitor than Holmes snapped out of his stupor and was on the alert. The appearance of Lestrade could only mean one thing- the existence of a case that Scotland Yard was unable to solve!

 

"Come in, come in," Holmes said. "Have a seat, Inspector, and tell us what is on your mind."

 

Doffing his cap and raincoat, Lestrade sat across from Holmes.

 

"Earlier this evening, there was a disturbance in an alley behind the shops along Doyle Street. The back door of one of the shops was broken into. We arrived, my men and I, to find several unconscious men strewn about the premises, including one who was lying inside the back door of one of the shops. At first, we took it for a burglary but it seemed to have been a mere brawl. The door to the shop was inadvertently smashed during the brawl by a man being thrown into it. Several of the men claimed to have been attacked by a gigantic creature. Others said that it was not a creature but a gigantic woman. We would have dismissed the claims as so much drunken nonsense except for one thing- and this you simply must see to believe."

 

The hansom cab drew up near the site of the fight. As was his custom, Holmes made us stop a hundred yards away so he could inspect the surroundings carefully for telltale signs. As we drew near the back of the shop, Lestrade paused and said,

 

"There it is, Holmes."

 

Carefully evading the scuffmarks of the fight, we approached a footprint that had been left in the soft, damp soil. It was a footprint that defied belief.

 

"My word, Holmes," I exclaimed. "The size of it is incredible. Such a person would have to be at least nine feet tall."

 

"Please control yourself, Watson," Holmes said.

 

"My deduction is that it is obviously a fake," Lestrade said. "Still, I thought it best to bring you in upon this just in case."

 

Holmes proceeded to examine the footprint with his magnifying glass. Then he took out his tape-measure and measured the length, breadth and depth of the footprint. He even took a sample of the soil. Then he proceeded to examine the scuffmarks on the ground left by the fight. Afterwards, he examined the door. He paid very close attention to the scuffmarks around it. He walked back and examined the footprint again. He looked in the direction that the person seemed to have been walking toward but the cobblestones of a passageway leading between the buildings and to the front street were only a couple of feet from the footprint.

 

"Has the owner of this business been contacted?" Holmes asked.

 

"He's on his way," Lestrade said.

 

"Have him check to see if anything has been stolen."

 

"If you insist, Holmes," Lestrade said. "But I assure you that the gentleman was lying in the doorway unconscious when we arrived. No one could have got past him. Nothing was touched."

 

"You are certain that no chemicals were removed?" Holmes said.

 

"Yes! I'm-" Lestrade began, before stopping in surprise. "By Jove, Holmes. How did you know that this was a drugstore?"

 

"There is the unmistakable smell in the air," Holmes said. "Granted, it could conceivably be coming from another, nearby, shop. But that it is this one fits in perfectly with the theory I have formed."

 

"How could you have a theory?" Lestrade said. "You've seen nothing but a footprint so far."

 

"Please, Lestrade," Holmes said. "Let us be accurate. It is a shoeprint, not a footprint. As to the evidence, the clues are so obvious that, by glancing at them, I can see this event unfolding as if I had witnessed it myself. But I wish to do a bit of research before I commit myself to a statement. But if my suspicions are verified, this case is as good as solved. Oh well. I'd hoped for a challenge."

 

As soon as we got home, Holmes said, "Watson, may I have the use of some of your medical texts?"

 

"Why, certainly, Holmes," I said. "But I don't see-"

 

"Of course you don't, Watson," he said. "But you will soon enough."

 

After he looked over my medical books, Holmes proceeded to take his collection of London papers and started skimming through all of the papers from the last month. Finally, he said, "My theory is verified by the evidence, Watson."

 

Without another word, he grabbed his coat and headed for the door. There was a knock as he did so.

 

"Inspector Lestrade," he said before even opening the door.

 

"Holmes," Lestrade said. "There's been a break-in-"

 

"- At the home of the late Professor Moriarty," Holmes finished for him.

Lestrade turned pale.

 

"How did you know that, Holmes?" he said. "You read my mind."

 

"Nonsense," Holmes scoffed. "It was quite elementary, really. I would surmise that the burglary of the late Moriarty's home took place before the burglary at the drugstore."

 

"But it wasn't a burglary," Lestrade protested.

 

"Of course not," Holmes said.

 

The devoted reader of my journals may recall that it was in the year 1891 that Holmes and Moriarty fought their final battle at the Falls of Reichenbach. The world believed that both Holmes and Moriarty plunged to their deaths on that dark day. I too believed that I had lost the dearest and most noble friend that a man ever had in this short time of joy and sorrow that we experience between the darkness and the darkness. Only much later did the world and I learn that Holmes had survived. He faked his death so he could work in secret, eluding and destroying the remains of Moriarty's criminal empire. He apologized to me but, for my safety as well as his own, the ruse had been necessary. How all of England celebrated, I most of all, on that glorious day in 1894 when Mr. Sherlock Holmes returned officially to the land of the living. Moriarty, however, was dead. So it was that the late professor's brother took over his estate. You may remember that Moriarty's brother once wrote a series of newspaper articles accusing Holmes of murdering his brother. As if Professor Moriarty hadn't been the criminal mastermind behind organized crime in London and hadn't been trying to kill Holmes when he plunged to his death. Needless to say, our greeting was not cordial.

 

"Inspector Lestrade," Colonel Moriarty said. "I do not appreciate you're bringing this man into the very home of my late brother, whom he murdered."

 

"Killed, not murdered," Holmes very matter-of-factly stated. "But the question is, do you want to find your brother's stolen Chemistry notes or don't you?"

This time, it was Moriarty who paled.

 

"How did you know that?" he stammered.

 

"Because the evidence clearly indicated it. Let me look at the room where the theft took place."

 

We were conducted to an upstairs study. Holmes looked over the bookshelves.

 

"I imagine you have a list of the books that were stolen?" Holmes said.

Colonel Moriarty handed him a list. Holmes then walked over and examined the large double windows of the study.

 

"Clearly, the thief broke in here. The latch is broken."

Lestrade smirked.

 

"Now that is indeed quite obvious, Holmes."

 

"Quite," Holmes said. "Now, if you gentlemen will excuse me for a few moments?"

 

Holmes climbed out the window and began descending. I rushed to the window and saw him shinnying down the drainpipe, which was bent outwards. He completed his journey and then walked around the house. A few moments later, we heard him ascending the stairs.

 

"Well, gentlemen," he said. "Now the real detective work begins."

 

Lestrade and I gave each other incredulous looks.

 

Holmes had been gone for two days. I was just preparing breakfast in our rooms on Baker Street when our door opened and a vagabond with dirty hair and beard and old, musky, rain soaked clothing walked in.

 

"See here, fellow," I said. "How dare you just walk in-"

 

"Watson," he laughed. "I should think you would be used to this by now."

He began peeling off the disguise and it was, of course, Holmes.

 

"Come with me, Watson," he said. "By asking questions and listening in on conversations in the seedier parts of town, all while disguised as an ordinary bum, I believe I have finally located our elusive quarry."

 

We took a hansom cab and then walked the last few blocks. When we arrived, Holmes simply walked up to a door in a small boarding house and knocked.

 

"Miss MacKenzie," he said. "Please open the door."

 

There were a few seconds of silence, then the door opened. We stepped in and I froze where I stood. Towering over us was what I can only describe as a giantess; a most beautiful woman but she must have stood eight feet tall.

 

"Watson," Holmes said. "Please meet Miss Miriam MacKenzie of the Colonies. She is the tallest woman alive today, standing seven feet, five inches!"

 

A few minutes later, the three of us were sitting down to tea. I confess that I was at a total loss.

 

"As I have already deduced your motives, Miss MacKenzie, I will satisfy your understandable curiosity about how I tracked you down. When my colleague and I were first brought in on this case, I observed your shoeprint. Watson's first assumption was, in fact, quite accurate. Based on your foot size, Miss MacKenzie, you should be about nine feet tall. Of course, I immediately dismissed that figure as a scientific impossibility. There had to be another explanation.

 

Then I examined the scuffmarks left by the fight. I also examined the back door of the drugstore. I noticed that the door opened outward. The wood along the doorway was pushed outward while the wood on the frame of the door was pushed inward. This was consistent with a man slamming into the door from outside and pushing it inward- except for one thing. The wood right along the handle of the door was pushed inward.

 

I then proceeded home, where I looked up some information on Gigantism, particularly the acromegalic variety. A nine foot woman might be absurd, but what if her hands and feet were just a little bit larger than average in proportion to her overall size and height? Such phenomena happen to be consistent with Acromegalia, or Gigantism as it affects adults. Then I perused all of the London papers for the past month and found an article about Miss Miriam MacKenzie, the tallest woman in the world, visiting London. I asked myself why. How did your presence in London tie in with your obvious presence at that drugstore?

 

The conclusion was clear. I was already heading for Professor Moriarty's estate when Lestrade showed up to tell me about the burglary there. I deduced that the burglary of Moriarty's estate occurred before the burglary of the drugstore but wasn't discovered until afterward. When I investigated at his home, I saw that you must have entered and left through the window. I saw the bent drainpipe. To test my theory, I climbed down the drainpipe. Although I weigh one hundred and sixty pounds, the pipe bent no further under my weight. A person far heavier than I must have climbed it. I then went out on the streets in disguise and heard rumors of a giant woman who had rented this apartment. But, please, Miss MacKenzie, I want you to have a fair chance to give your side of the story."

 

"As you already know from your readings, Mr. Holmes," Miss Miriam MacKenzie, began, "Acromegalia is a disease that affects adults. When it afflicts children, it is called Gigantism. In adults, it tends to cause enlarged extremities and other negative side effects. I am currently eighteen years old. I was always large for my age but I am now an adult and my growth is not stopping. If it cannot be stopped, I fear that the distortions of my features will be the least of my worries. My body will eventually prove incapable of withstanding the rigors of such growth. Within the next twenty years, I will die. I am desperate, sir. I came to London because I understood that your late rival, Professor Moriarty, was a genius in many fields, most particularly Mathematics and Astronomy, but his expertise in Chemistry was of the utmost importance for my purposes. It was indeed I who climbed into his study and stole his Chemistry notes. It was known that he did some research in the area of Gigantism. I hoped to find some research of his by which my pituitary gland might be caused to stop excreting Growth hormone. I found enough information in his notes to think there might be hope. He gave a list of chemicals that might be needed.

 

Unfortunately, I saw immediately that some of them could not be obtained legally. I broke into that drugstore. I just grabbed the door and yanked outward, forcing it open. I had the chemicals I needed and was leaving when some ruffians who had noticed the broken door accosted me. They intended to ransack the place. They were willing to go around me when they saw my size. But, on the spur of the moment, I seized upon an idea. I grabbed one of them and slammed him into the door, taking it off its hinges and, not incidentally, obscuring the fact that the door had already been forced open. I also fought several of them right around the door, making sure that my footprints were obscured among theirs. I would say that I did a good job since only one clear footprint remained.

 

"Unfortunately, had I taken the time to thoroughly read the notes, I would have known that the second break-in was unnecessary. Once I got here and studied them, I realized that the notes were incomplete. Apparently, finding a cure for Gigantism wasn't one of Moriarty's top priorities. I have the chemicals he listed but no idea how to combine them or in what amounts."

 

"Miss MacKenzie," Holmes said. "Although I could never match the late professor in Mathematics or Astronomy, I was his superior in Chemistry. You might have come to me to begin with. Ironically, if there is any chance I can help you, it will not be due to my knowledge of Chemistry but due to the deductive and inquisitive mind that caused me to thoroughly research your case. You were in an accident as a child, were you not?"

 

"Yes, Mr. Holmes, I was," she said. "No doubt you learned that from reading about me in the newspapers. When I was ten years old, I was in a riding accident. My horse threw me. I fell and struck my head on a rock. I lost consciousness for several minutes."

 

"It was shortly after that when you started to exhibit your unusual pattern of growth, was it not?"

 

"Yes. My doctors long ago made that connection. It was the impact to my skull that triggered my growth."

 

"May I examine your skull, Miss MacKenzie?" Holmes said.

 

"Help yourself," she laughed. "But I assure you, Mr. Holmes, that my doctors have already considered every conceivable way of relieving the pressure and stopping the excretion of the hormone. It may be that, some day, such surgical techniques will be a reality. But, for right now, they are beyond us. Moriarty was such a genius that I had hoped-"

 

Suddenly, she burst into tears.

 

"I'm sorry, Mr. Holmes," she said. "I'm afraid it's all starting to overwhelm me. On top of everything else, I shall go to jail now."

 

"Nonsense, young lady," Holmes said. "On more than one occasion, I have allowed the perpetrators of crimes to escape because I believed that their actions, though illegal, were justified. I have done it when the crimes were far more serious than yours were. Most assuredly, I can overlook what has happened here and tell Lestrade I could not solve the case. That will certainly make him happy."

 

"Oh, thank you, Mr. Holmes," she said. "I suppose then that I shall return to the States and prepare to meet my fate with dignity."

 

"Do not be so hasty," Holmes said. "It so happens that, many years ago, I began to study a style of self-defense known as Baritsu. Now, Baritsu was simply the English name given to the Asian martial art known as Jiu-Jitsu. It was because a man named Barit brought the art to England. During the last few years when I was pretending to be dead, I visited the Orient and had occasion to study Jiu-Jitsu in its pure form. I also learned that the Asian martial arts take self-defense to the level of a true science. Martial Arts include a significant knowledge of the human body, including its pressure points. The Orient has developed sciences separate from but related to martial arts. These sciences include such things as Acupuncture, which is essentially the medical application of pressure points for the purpose of healing rather than hurting. I make no promises, but I may be able to help you, Miss MacKenzie."

 

 

 

I had fashioned a medical brace that Miss MacKenzie would wear around her neck. It would quite literally brace her neck when Holmes applied his techniques. He meticulously probed the bump on her skull, beneath her hair, with his fingers. Then, when he was sure all was ready, he concentrated and struck her skull at a precise location and from a precise angle. The blow was so fast that, even knowing it was coming, I almost didn't see it. He struck not the bump, but a point nearby, calculated so that the strike would relieve the pressure on her skull where the bump was and the excretion of growth hormone would be stopped. The impact was so hard that she lost consciousness for a few moments. When she came to, she gave Holmes a hopeful look.

 

"Well, Mr. Holmes?" she asked.

 

"There is no way to know yet," he said. "Only time will tell, dear lady. Only time will tell."

 

A few months later, a letter arrived in the mail.

 

"It is from our friend, Miss Miriam MacKenzie," Holmes said. "Here, Watson. Be a good fellow and read it out loud."

 

It read:

 

Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson;

 

It is with great joy that I write to you both. Several months have gone by and I have not grown as much as a fraction of an inch. My growth has stopped. I can literally feel it in my bones. My life is saved. Regrettably, although I have tried to explain your techniques to my doctors and the medical authorities here, they simply refuse to acknowledge any validity to what they insist is 'Oriental Fakery.' They insist that either my growth stopped of its own accord or that what you did was naught but a freak accident that cured me by sheer luck rather than valid scientific technique. I am afraid it may be a long time before others like me can be helped by your methods. The medical authorities here simply won't acknowledge them. However, I have some good news. I have met a man who loves me for who I am. My size and strength do not intimidate him. They are irrelevant to him. He loves me. I never thought that this could happen to me. I am so happy. If it were possible, I would like the two of you to be here for the wedding. I realize that, with your schedules, it may not be possible. But I want both of you to know that you are welcome to visit us at any time. Goodbye for now, Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, and Thank You.

 

Your Friend For Life,

Miriam MacKenzie

Soon to be

Mrs. Jeffrey Taylor

 

"A happy ending, Holmes?" I said

 

"Indeed," Holmes said. "Miss MacKenzie is cured and happy, Lestrade believes I encountered a case I couldn't solve so he is happy after a fashion and I have had the satisfaction of proving to myself once again that I am Moriarty's superior and, indeed, that I am the greatest deductive genius of all time."

 

Have I ever mentioned, dear readers, that humility was not Holmes' strong suit?

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