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Sherlock faces a hair-raising moment

By Tom Clifford (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-14 08:04

Sherlock was cradling his nose with elongated forefingers forming a pyramid on the bridge. I left him to his thoughts, reluctant to engage, but Mrs Hudson had no such reticence as she entered carrying a tray laden with breakfast offerings.

"Two soft-boiled eggs, a pot of tea, toast, apricots and the blackberry preserve I saved from last month, Sherlock. Now I must stoke up that fire, Dr Watson," and she busied herself.

"Indeed, Mrs Hudson, there is a chill in the air," I said, a statement of fact rather than a polite prop for discussion, for I could barely recall a March morning where I felt the need to keep the dressing gown belt tied so firmly.

Holmes lifted himself from the chair and, considering he was a creature of habit, what happened next caught me unawares. He sat close to the fire, a position he normally spurned. The far end of the table was his usual option, indeed that was where the morning newspapers were stacked but they were beyond his reach. Something was afoot.

An affirmative attitude was called for. "Mrs Hudson," I said, pointing to the papers, "would you be so kind as to ..." but before another syllable emerged from my lips, Holmes interjected.

"No need for papers this morning, Watson. I have read enough to understand the predicament we are in."

"Oh, I can see you two gentlemen are in need of your own company," Mrs Hudson remarked. "Let me know when I can clear the table after you have eaten."

"Thank you Mrs Hudson," I said, "for both your alertness and consideration, as well as, I might add, for the tea."

"Think nothing of it, Dr Watson," she replied, closing the door behind her with the sound of her footsteps fading on the stairs.

"Holmes, what is it?"

"Watson, these are most perturbing times."

"Indeed," I replied in a noncommittal way, desperate for the conversation to evolve.

"Watson, let me ask you, most US presidents since Eisenhower have all done which particular thing?"

"Pardoned turkeys for Thanksgiving," I suggested, with more humor than confidence.

"No, Watson, they have all combed or brushed their hair in the morning."

"Sorry, Holmes, come again."

Sherlock faces a hair-raising moment

"Of course," Holmes lectured, "LBJ and Ford are the two exceptions, but those presidencies were a result of particular events. Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama all had reason to partake of, nay relish, a good comb or brush in the morning."

I was none the wiser.

"You see, Watson, hair is important."

I could see now the path he was taking.

"And if any candidate is challenged in the follicle department ..." Holmes said.

Feeling more confident now, I rushed in. "On that basis then ..."

"Exactly," Holmes said.

"But he is doing remarkably well, and could win the nomination."

"Mark my words, Watson, a windy day will be his undoing. We can close the case."

"What should we call it?"

"The Case of the Hair Apparent."

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