By J.H. Watson
(App. 650 words)
The man across from him was French. Not Parisian, Sherlock knew that. Sherlock would not admit that he couldn’t deduce from where exactly, but was pleased he could deduce it was from someplace near another border; he thought not Switzerland, but perhaps Spain, Basque maybe. The man was of no value to Sherlock, simply a courier delivering an obscure item. The man sat across from Sherlock saying nothing as he waited for his food to arrive.
Sherlock reread a text on his phone as sipped his tea. He grimaced. Noticing, the Frenchman asked “Les mauvaises nouvelles?”
“Not bad news. Bad tea. La mauvaise thé.”
The frenchman grunted. Sherlock glanced back down at his phone. He yawned, then rubbed his eyes and his face with one hand. “Fatigué,” said the frenchman flatly.
“Yes, I’m tired,” Sherlock said. He stared at the phone. Sherlock started talking, an old compulsion to air his thoughts taking advantage of his weariness. The frenchman sat still, said nothing. He was a sounding board, as good as a skull, though not as good as a friend.
Sherlock said, “I’m tired of the waiting. I’m tired of all of this. I feel like I’m in one of those plays where everyone sits around, but nothing ever gets done. Like that absurdist one they made us read at school. The one with the two characters who spend the whole play talking nonsense and doing seemingly random, pointless things to ‘keep the silence at bay.’ I remember the line because I thought it described school and all the people around me. There’s even the line in the first act about ‘Nothing to be done.’ Why do I remember that? Why do I remember any of this? It’s not important. It’s not something I need in my mind palace.
“But I do remember. There were two characters and they kept talking about a third who never shows up and one of them has a Russian name, Vladimir. He’s the leader, the brighter one, who keeps having to explains things to the other. I kept asking the teacher why Vladimir puts up with the other man, who’s obviously not his intellectual match or particularly useful or skillful. But Vladimir seems to genuinely like the other man, to even care for the other man. Gogo? Was that the other man’s name? Why? Why does Vladimir care? Did Gogo save his life? Are they brothers? They never say. At one point they consider suicide, but decide against it because one of them might die and the other survive, and being left all alone would be intolerable. I thought that was the stupidest thing I’d ever read because its not that difficult to hang yourself properly if you aren’t a complete idiot. I mean people do it accidentally. And being alone was decidedly better than having to live all the time with someone so incredibly ordinary like Gogo. But the thought of being alone terrifies the men so much that they choose to continue in their silly, tragic lives, doing nothing but waiting for someone, something. Waiting. That’s the name of the play. Waiting for… Waiting for someone. I can’t remember who. It’s gone.”
“What?” Sherlock squinted at the frenchman. “Quoi?” he repeated.
“La pièce. Elle est appelée En attendant Godot.”
“Yes! Waiting for Godot. You speak English? You know this play?”
The frenchman lifted his hand displaying his thumb and forefinger a short distance apart as if he were about to pinch them together and offered a Gallic shrug. “J’attends. I wait.” He nodded towards the phone Sherlock still gripped, “You also wait. You wait for someone.” He nodded again towards the phone as a new text chimed.
Sherlock looked quickly at the phone. It read :
Soon. Stop asking.
An overburdened server paused beside the table and said, “It’s coming. Just a little longer.”
With slight smile, Sherlock replied, “Yes. Soon. It will be worth the wait.”
Sherlock woke me at 3 a.m. insisting I write this story. Frankly, he’s a lousy roommate — but we already knew that. (And it’s so nice to be able to say that ‘Sherlock woke me at 3 a.m.’ without having to worry that you’ll ring for the men with the white coat with extra long sleeves and buckles… Ordinary people are not always so adorable.) John is now making small noises in the back of his throat, but I’ve got to get my work done on the Chinese Dinner Puzzle for Sherlock: The Game and some bills paid, so John will have to… wait a little longer… like the rest of us. (I did post some updates on the Spoilers Sweetie post, by the way.)