Tag Archives: Fiction

Spooky Action at a Distance

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson looking shocked[Warning: This is a story about Einstein, quantum physics, and John “Three Continents” Watson in action. There’s an expletive not deleted and reference to the physical response of male anatomy. Apologies in advance to any physicists reading this for the liberties taken with the science. Hey, don’t blame me. You guys named it entanglement.]


by J. H. Watson

(~1,300 words)

A chilly autumn rain started again. Umbrellas popped up; a business man raised a newspaper above his head; a young man in a pea coat shook like a dog and said, “Fuck.” Sherlock Holmes huddled deeper into a door frame, watching the entrance to an alley down the street. He sipped the hot coffee he’d just purchased at the cafe on the corner. He frowned. He forgot the sugar.


John Watson glanced around the room as he took a sip of his coffee. He made a face, looked to his right and said to the woman beside him, “I’m sorry. Apparently, I just drank your coffee. I’ll buy you another.”

She looked up from her phone screen, smiled and asked, “Are you flirting with me?”

John thought the woman had a lovely smile. He returned it. “No. But I’d be happy to flirt with you if you’d like.”

“What made you say that’s not your coffee?”

“Someone’s put sugar in it.” He wrinkled his face remembering the cloying taste, looked around for its possible owner.

“Yes. You did.”

“I did?”

“I saw you.”

John set the cup firmly on the counter and stared at it. A small dark stain spread slowly towards him where the coffee slopped over on impact. Rings of coffee waves rippled from the center.

“Is everything all right?” the woman asked.

John studied the cup as he replied, “Yeah. It’s just I don’t drink sugar in my coffee. I never drink sugar in my coffee.”

The woman beamed another smile at him. “Ah. Spooky action at a distance.”

“What?” John thought, Oh, great. A nutter. A pretty nutter, but still…

“Einstein’s comment on quantum entanglement. Oh. Right. You aren’t with the conference.” John took the opportunity to glance down at the woman’s chest. It was a nice chest. Presently it was adorned with a name badge declaring her to be Dr. Chris Cooke attending the International Conference on Quantum Implications and Intelligent Systems Engineering. Dr. Cooke asked, “Do you know anyone who drinks coffee with sugar?”

“I… used to.”

“Two spoonsful?”

John looked up sharply. “How did you know that?”

“That’s what you put into your coffee.”

For a moment John felt weak. Dr. Cooke said, “Are you alright? You look a bit pale.”

“I’m… I’m fine.” John shoved the disturbing images from his mind. He concentrated on Dr. Cooke’s smile. “I guess I was just… spooked. Like Einstein.”

Dr. Cooke’s smile widened. “Ooh, I like that. You could say Einstein was spooked by quantum theory. I don’t suppose I could steal that for my lectures…”

“Feel free.”

“Thank you… You know my name, but I don’t know yours.”

“Sorry. Dr. John Watson.”

“Please to meet you, Dr. Watson.” Dr. Cooke looked at John and smiled again.

John held her gaze, returned an even wider smile and replied, “John, please. So what’s quantum… What did you call it?”


“Quantum entanglement, right.”

“Well, you know how particles normally exist in their own state?”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“Sometimes, two particles act on one another so that the pair can only be described as a single quantum state. We call that pair entangled.” As she spoke, Dr. Cooke’s eyes widened, and she leaned slightly forward.

John leaned in closer as she said, “When one particle spins right, the other spins left, even if they are millions of miles apart. The particles are always connected and they act on one another instantaneously, behaving as one. That’s why Einstein called it ‘spooky action at a distance.’” Their two heads were nearly touching now. John noticed the deeper blue-green flecks in her pale blue-grey eyes. Long dark lashes stroked creamy skin when she blinked. She continued in a sultry voice, “Einstein thought Quantum Mechanics flawed because the affect of one particle on the entangled partner appeared to be faster than the speed of light.”

“Fascinating. May I buy you a drink?”

“I don’t really think I need any more coffee. I’m stimulated enough.”

“There’s a very nice restaurant in this hotel and I’m sure it has a bar.”

“I suspect you’re right. There’s also a mini-bar in my room.”

John stood up and tossed some money on the counter as Dr. Cooke collected her bag. One of the bills landed in the spilled coffee, soaking it up, marking it.


Sherlock dropped the offending shopping bag on the sales counter. “Excuse me. You apparently gave me someone elses purchase.”

He glowered at the scrawny 26-year old sales clerk from Surrey who clearly had no medical need for those glasses nor the large quantity of alcohol, in unfortunate combinations, consumed the night before in a South London basement and on an East London rooftop, where she wound up cleaning the vomit off her shoes of someone male, judging by the aroma impregnating her sweater, who’d also consumed too much alcohol mixed with MMDA and West Indian soup made with an excess cumin. As she attempted to casually slip her phone under the counter, Sherlock observed she was looking for a new flat — and a new boyfriend.

The girl peered over her plastic frames at Sherlock for a moment before opening the bag and pulling out the sweater inside. “No. This is yours. It’s what you bought. I remember.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Do I look like someone who would wear…” Here words did not so much fail Sherlock as get censored by the filter of his former roommate. He waved an accusing and dismissive hand at the repugnant garment. “…That?”

The sweater was a deep red with black and white geometrics spreading from the neckline down to the shoulders and chest. Leather patches were stitched at the elbows on the sleeves. The yarn was a machine-washable blend. The sales clerk tilted her head and replied, “I thought you were trying to make an ironic statement.” Sherlock merely stared at her. She looked at the receipt and pushed it towards him. “Is that your signature?”

Sherlock glanced at the “Sigerson” scrawled in his writing. The strangled silence tightened between them as the sales clerk waited. “Yes,” he finally conceded.

“So I got it right and you’re returning it?”


“It was a sale item.”

Sherlock waited this time, an eyebrow raised in question, until the clerk flicked a strand of her dark hair off her face, sighed in resignation, and added, “So I can only give you an exchange or in-store credit.”

“Fine. Where are your dress shirts? Perhaps a dark purple. Aubergine.”

The sale clerk sneered. “So you are wanting something ironic?”


“I like your shirt. I like a man who’s well-dressed but not boring.” Dr. Cooke said as she handed John a glass of scotch from the mini-bar and settled beside him on the sofa. She opened her laptop and turned it on.

“Oh, uh, thanks.”

She slid the laptop where he could see it as well and shifted beside him. “It’s a very good color for you. What do you call it? Thistle or heliotrope?”

“I call it purple.” John could feel the heat where their thighs touched. He took a sip of his drink. “You know, I went in to buy a sweater. I don’t know how I ended up with this shirt.”

“More spooky action. Maybe you’d be interested in seeing my abstract for the conference.” Dr. Cooke looked at John over the rim of her glass and arched an eyebrow.

John smiled, leaned towards her and said, “I’d love to see your abstract.”


Sherlock awoke in the small hours of the morning from a disconcerting dream about a school exam he’d forgotten to prepare for involving calculations for momentum and thrust. Under the covers he had an erection.


### End ###





Everybody Shut Up!


By J.H. Watson

(~ 700 words)


At first I missed his voice.

There’d been times when I’d thought I’d go mad if he didn’t stop talking, talking, talking. He would talk for hours, for days; once he talked for three days straight, at least I assumed he’d continued when I’d fallen asleep, or gone to the loo, or even went out to get the shopping. I know he’d continued to talk when I’d gone to Dublin, missing nothing except my absence.

Now I missed his voice. I can still hear it in my head. Don’t tell my therapist I said that, she would misunderstand. But I do hear it in my head. Those rich, plummy, public school tones; that caustic, snide, superior note. I could read his mind with just a word. John, he would say, and I’d know whether to draw out a suspect or a gun. He could play me like his violin, and treat me as cavalierly — wanting me to hand, but setting me aside at a moment’s distraction. He once said he thought better when he talked out load — so he talked to me.

Then the talking would stop and a silence would begin.

And now I miss the silence. There wasn’t one silence, he had a quiver full of them that he’d fired at me. There was the cold, hard silence of his displeasure. The brittle, bright silence of his injured ego. A silence so taut the air seemed to vibrate around me when his mind was fully engaged, and I knew he would shortly release a brilliant string of deductions. He had an ominous, suffocating silence that seemed to hang like a sodden cloud when he was bored. I miss the cacophony of his silences. But now the deafening silence doesn’t stop, will never stop, there is no end to this dead silence.

So I talk to a skull named Billy to keep from being buried in the silence.


I thought I’d miss the quiet satisfaction I got from John’s listening. He listened actively; not in that fatuous way that therapist do when they “actively listen,” parroting your last remarks, twisting them into question like one of John’s insecure dates trying to appear interested and caring. He listened with his whole being, striving to catch the flow of my quicksilver thoughts, not knowing his efforts caused mine to split and tumble about like beads of mercury prodded with a rod until they suddenly coalesced into a single, bright pool of insight.

But what I miss is the sound of him.

His comings and goings in his solid shoes, his maddening two-finger typing that never found a consistent rhythm, his crap telly braying in the background, his giggling with his gaggle of girlfriends, then the shushing and murmuring before the predictable rhythm of his creaking bed and muffled exclamations as he had sex upstairs. In the morning would be tiptoeing down the stairs, the whispering and kiss at the door, followed by the unconscious humming as he made coffee. Even when he was quiet, he wasn’t still. I find myself waiting and realize I’m waiting for the sound of John’s shifting in his chair; leaning forward and back, his weight sliding from his left hip to his right — there and back again, his limbs moving with a restlessness that told me in the first moments of meeting that he was a man who craved action as much as I craved mental stimulation.

I hear him in my head sometimes, an admonishing “Sherlock.” Or that tight, strained rumble as he erupts into a verbally violent rage pouring forth some pent up frustration because he cannot keep up with my reasoning. He yells well.

The other day a waiter set a cup of tea upon my table and I said, “Thank you, John.” The waiter stopped, startled, and asked, “How did you know my name?” I told him I’d seen it on the seating roster. I lied. The cup and saucer had rattled exactly the way they would when John set tea beside me when I was working. Lost in thought, I’d spoken automatically.

In this well-built room, the sounds of the city and its inhabitants fall deadened. I cannot sleep in peace.


# End #

Sherlock Is Lost in Space


Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock reading a  sheet of paper

I bet John’s going to blame me for this. I didn’t think they’d take it as a challenge.

For those of you who saw Benedict Cumberbatch on BBC’s Top Gear (or caught the clip on YouTube before it was pulled), you know he was:

  • Adorable (It’s like watching the human version of Labrador puppy; just so much good-natured enthusiasm )
  • Charming
  • Genuine
  • Fun

He also had a bit of fun at Mycroft’s expense with the stupid question about how Sherlock survived the fall in Season 2, Episode 3, The Reichenbach Fall. There’s a nice bit of summation — with wonderful screencap photos and gifs — here on Buzzfeed. There’s also a lovely promotional teaser on the TopGear.com site here. I nearly wet myself laughing when Mr. Cumberbatch channeled Obi-wan Kenobi saying “Use the track, Benedict.”

But part way through Benedict Cumberbatch did a riff on fan fiction — slash aka Johnlock in particular — which included what I’m certain he thought was an impossible scenario.

Benedict Cumberbatch on BBC TopGear ribbing Sherlock fanfiction

Benedict Cumberbatch underestimates the ability of fan writers to meet his challenge.

Actually, I believe the line was:

“Now there’ll be a load of fan fiction of  John Watson, handcuffs, floating in space.”  

Unbeknownst to Mr. Cumberbatch, I love a challenge… so below is a bit of flash fanfic (and please note, Mr. Cumberbatch, it is not slash aka Johnlock. We aren’t all prurient, but we are  creative).

[Oh, and I should point out that I managed to work in Clue #2 for Sherlock Season 3 — Rat — into the story so I’m counting it as part of that challenge as well.]

Sherlock Is Lost in Space

by J.H. Watson

(~ 700 words)

His instincts were screaming “Danger! Danger, John Watson!” and he turned towards a movement in the shadows just before nothing.


John opened his eyes to find himself blind, all was black. He stifled a moment of panic and called out, “Sherlock!”

John Watson was relieved by a slightly muffled reply of “Don’t shout.” He tried to move, but he struck something within a fraction of inch. “Ow! John, don’t move,” Sherlock ordered.

“I’m cramping.”

“At least you’re short. I’m folded up like an origami crane.”

John chose to ignore the short remark, letting it feed the slow burn he was building until it could safely boil over. He tried to flex in place as he asked, “Where are we?” Before he got an answer, he added in a tight voice, “It felt like something just crawled over my arm.”

“Probably a mouse.”

“A mouse?”

“Or a rat. Could be a rat. I didn’t get to check all of the experiments being sent.”

John stifled a shriek as he felt something slip down his stomach and nestle in the hollow between his thighs. He felt unusually light-headed and queasy and would swear he was floating about an inch from the side of the wall — or floor — or ceiling. “Sherlock. Where. Are. We.” John gulped and pinched his lips together to choke back the upheaval in his stomach.

“Don’t you dare vomit! We’re in a cargo box in space.”

“Space! Outer space?”

“Stop shouting.”

“You just said we’re in outer space in a small box with rats! I think this justifies a bit of shouting!”

“It could be worse.”

Continue reading

The One Fixed Point in a Changing World

By J.H. Watson
(~ 2,000 words)


John Watson stood alone on the edge of a tor gazing across the bleak, isolated sweep of Dartmoor. Dark clouds roiled overhead as a chill wind nipped his ears. The binoculars dangling from their strap weighed heavily upon John’s neck and occasionally thumped against his chest like a hanged man on a gibbet. John glanced briefly at the map in his hand and then again at the panorama before him, trying to orient himself in this empty land.

“What’s that?”

John looked up to see his best friend and partner, Sherlock Holmes, standing atop a rocky prominence soaring above. Sherlock stood in a typical Sherlock pose, stylish black tweed coat flaring about him, making him look taller, hipper, cooler than other people without looking like an obvious plea for attention. His arm jutted straight out commandingly pointed toward the distance. There was no one but John around to see this dapper act of dominance. It both exasperated and pleased John.

One the one hand, Sherlock’s attempt to place himself in a literal ascendency above, putting John in the subordinate position, was annoying. On the other hand, the fact that Sherlock felt the need to put on this civilized equivalent of beating his chest, even without other spectators, showed he recognized John as another alpha male Sherlock wanted to impress.

John smile ever so slightly to himself at his analysis. All those Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy sessions had not been entirely wasted.

John peered through his binoculars, consult the map, and replied, “It’s Moriarty. That’s an ancient name for the devil.”

Suddenly John was aware that he was not holding binoculars but a black mobile phone. From it came Sherlock’s voice, in a sepulcher whisper, saying, “Good-bye, John.”

John looked up as Sherlock spread his arms and took a step forward into the air. John yelled, “Sherlock!” and took his own step — into the Grimpen Mire. He struggled to pull himself out of clinging morass. He felt the cold, clammy, deadly grip of the bog as he struggled in the sucking muck, never taking his eyes off his friend plunging towards the black rocks below.

John stretched himself out across the ground, grasped a spindly thorn bush and heaved with all his strength. There was a stab of pain as he dislocated his left shoulder, but he was free from the mire. He stood up, and as he stood cradling his damaged arm against his body for support, he discovered he was no longer in civvies, but in his combat gear and there was blood spreading across his chest.

John took three steps towards his falling friend and as Sherlock hit the solid black ground, John heard a click beneath his boot and froze. A glance down confirmed that he’d stepped on a land mine. A slight reduction in pressure would detonate it, blowing him into a red rain that would soon be absorbed by the surrounding peat.

He looked at Sherlock lying on his back, still, pale eyes open to the sky, the haze of death already spreading across the corneas. John looked down once more, then at his friend where blood flowed from Sherlock’s head and streamed down the rocks, red on black, like a macabre parody of the black coat’s red button hole.

John sighed.

And lifted his boot —

He bolted awake, momentarily disoriented, his breath shallow and fast, matching the beating of his heart. A sheen of evaporating sweat cooled his face. John took several deep gulps of air, letting them out through his nose, but making a small mewing noise. Then he recognized where he was and lay back in his bed, draping his arm across his face to block the light, or possibly the tears leaking from the corners of his eyes.

Despite the fact that there was no one else there, John still felt ashamed at the tears. He’d thought he was past the tears.

Continue reading

Holmes Boys #6: When People Die

Another in the young Holmes Brothers series of fanfic.

[Author’s Note: A big Thank You Shout-out to Anne Zanoni, professional copy editor extraordinaire, for sending me all of the corrections to my original post. I fear in school I suffered through all of the various changes in editing style from minimalist journalism to Southern  “commas go where you would have a reader pause” technique, so the final result can be rather random. And then there’s my tendency to leave out words or leave in extra words while revising a sentence. *heavy sigh* Thank you, Anne, for your patience and hard work.]

Actor, Writer and co-creator of the BBC series Sherlock, Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes sitting in Buckingham Palace

I told you mess with me and I’d write you the longest, high-speed, deduction monolog in the history of television

When People Die They’re Taken To a Special Room

By J. H. Watson
~4,000 words


Sherlock Holmes shifted in his seat and swung his little legs, until his feet in his shiny new shoes kicked the chair in front of him. It made an interesting little “thonk” sound with a slight rasp as the sole slid back down from the wooden back. On the fourth kick, his older brother Mycroft said, “Stop it.”

“No.” Sherlock kicked the chair back again.


“Why should I?” Sherlock asked as he swung his foot out again.

“Because Mummy is looking this way at you and she’s frowning.”

Sherlock dropped his foot and cast a quick glance towards where his mother and father stood, listening to a rather older man with gray hair. Mummy raised an eyebrow at Sherlock and he sat up straight and slipped back against the seat so that he was effectively hidden by the bulk of his older brother. After a moment, Sherlock sighed, slumped a bit and said, “I’m bored.”

“It’s a funeral, Sherlock. It’s not being held for your entertainment. Now sit still and stop fidgeting.”

“Why didn’t we go to the cemetery and see his grave? Nanny says that some cemeteries are so crowded that sometimes when they dig a new grave they find parts of an old body. I might have found a bone or something. That would have been interesting at least.”

“Grandfather was cremated so there won’t be any grave.”

“What’s cremated?”

“People are taken to a special room and burned after they are dead.”

“Cool! Are we going to watch them burn Grandfather?”


Sherlock sighed and slumped further so that he was beginning to resemble a little boy melting off the chair. Mycroft sighed as well before saying, “Sit up straight.”

“There’s nothing to do!” Sherlock whined. He’d managed to draw out the last word in a manner that was usually written as “dooooooooooo” but banged his head against his chair back for emphasis causing him to end with an exclamation that turned it into “dooooooo-ow!”

Mycroft glanced at his two-not-quite-three-year-old baby brother. Mycroft was nine-going-on-forty and was actually rather fond of his brother — most of the time. Except now. When Sherlock was acting his age instead of his I.Q.

Mycroft tugged his brother up onto the chair sharply and said, “Look around you. What do you see?”

Continue reading

And There There’s the Jelly on His Doorknob

Martin Freeman as John Watson in BBC Sherlock walks behind Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes peering in a microscope

Apparently, Sherlock hasn’t noticed the boot black on the eyepieces yet, John

Let’s face it, John Watson would be perfectly within his rights to get a little of his own back…

Check back a little later on and there should be a new bit of flash fic for this one.

Right. Took a little longer than expected. Unexpected sunshine.

Sherlock. Timing.

By J.H. Watson
~950 words


John Watson wandered through the kitchen in his bathrobe and slippers, dabbing at his freshly shaved face with a towel. His flatmate, Sherlock Holmes, was peering into the microscope that took up a large portion of the kitchen table. The rest of the table was covered with books, papers and assorted scientific and chemical paraphernalia. John’s lip twitched at a corner as he passed Sherlock’s back.

Sherlock said, “John, please do not not touch my equipment without my permission.”

“Something wrong?’

“I’m familiar with the ‘boot black on the eyepieces’ form of hazing.”

John picked up the paper and sat in his chair. “Seb and his buddies at uni teach it to you?”

Sherlock continued to look into his scope. “No. My preparatory school classmates.”

John turned the page of the paper before saying, “Started young?”

“They had the excuse of being children. You are being merely childish.”

John turned another page. “I was referring to you. What did you do? Nicked all of their lunch money? Changed all of their grades? Exposed them to the bubonic plague to study the results?”

Sherlock sighed and finally looked up from his scope. The area around his eyes were red from apparent scrubbing. “I’ve apologized. It was not my intent to inconvenience you.”

John tossed his newspaper to the floor and stood up to face Sherlock. “Inconvenience me? I was humiliated in front of my date and about 100 other people in one of the poshest restaurants in London!”

“She wasn’t going to have sex with you anyway.”

“How— That’s not the point!” John took a deep breath and bit back whatever he was about to say. Sherlock tilted his head and stared at him with a questioning look. Quietly, John continued, “We’ve discussed this, Sherlock. You are not to use me, or anything of mine, without my knowledge.”

Sherlock stood up and started heading towards the hall.

John said, “You may want to grab some kitchen roll if you’re heading for the bathroom or your room.”

“Petroleum jelly on the knobs?”


Sherlock stepped back and grabbed some sheets and then disappeared. John went to the kitchen and poured himself some tea. From the bathroom there was a loud cry, followed by a rather choice string of expletives. John raised his voice and called out, “Sorry. Forgot about the cling film on the toilet bowl. Hope it didn’t ruin your suit.”

John couldn’t make out the subsequent comments, but he heard the door slam as he settled back into his chair. He smiled to himself as he picked up the paper and continued reading.

The next morning John came down to find Mycroft Holmes in conversation with his brother. Sherlock had his back to his brother, fussing with something around the coffee machine.

“This is important, Sherlock.”

“To you.”

John said, “Morning, boys. Arguing about who gets to play with the army today?”

Sherlock turned around with a cup of coffee in his hands. As he stepped towards John, Mycroft started coughing. Sherlock said, “John, good morning. Have a cup of coffee.”

John looked at the proffered cup suspiciously. “You don’t make coffee.”

“Not often. But I made it for you today.”

Mycroft was still coughing. He reached over and took the cup from the saucer and drank it in a gulp. Then he made a face of distaste and turned to Sherlock and said, “That’s awful! No wonder you don’t make the coffee.”

Sherlock looked at his brother. His face twitched. “That was for John.”

“Well, he should consider himself lucky.” Mycroft’s phone signaled. He looked at the screen and said, “I have to take this. We’ll talk more later, Sherlock.” As he passed John he said, “Good morning, John. Don’t drink the coffee.”

John blinked. It was a beat before he could say, “Right. Uh…” Mycroft was already heading down the stairs and out the door.

John turned back to Sherlock. Sherlock wore his innocent face. John said, “His tongue and lips were blue.”

Sherlock burst out giggling.

“Methylene blue?” John asked. He raised his eyebrows.

Sherlock nodded. John held his countenance for a beat and then started giggling as well. “It’s not funny. You can’t go around dosing people with chemicals. What if he was on medication or had a reaction?”

“He isn’t and he won’t.”

“He’s an important government official.”

Sherlock nodded. “Very important. He’s off to meet the prime minister.”

John held Sherlock’s gaze for a moment in sheer horror at the scene playing out in his mind. Then they both burst out laughing. They fell onto the sofa and laughed until John’s sides hurt. Each time they started to quiet down, they caught each other’s glance and started again.

Finally, John, between trying to catch his breath, said, “It was meant for me.”

“My favourite suit is at the dry cleaners. I had to say I was holding a child on my lap.”

John smirked. Then he fought for control of his face, working to wipe the smile off of it. No good. He said, “How long do you think until someone dares to tell him he’s blue?”

Sherlock’s phone rang. He glanced at it. “Apparently, ten minutes. Probably the prime minister.”

Sherlock looked at John. This set them both off giggling again.

“He’s going to pee blue for days,” Sherlock offered.

Trying to catch his breath, John said, “I suppose we’d better call a truce before innocent people are hurt.”

“My brother is hardly innocent.”

“Okay, call it collateral damage. Imagine if it had been Mrs. Hudson.”

Sherlock stared out as if contemplating the outcome. Quietly, he replied, “Agreed.”

### End ###