Chapter 1: Sorry He’s Out
Flaps of neck
armed in retrograde
no sign of up or down
spa-less for months, years
piled into the sitting room of a fogged-up Baker Street, demanding an audience with the great funeral-eyed detective Sherlock Holmes.
‘Sorry, he’s out.’
Chapter 2: A Catalogue Of Doubts
Five historians, four anarchists, twelve fascists and seven randos on the brink of Sorel sat on the stained pine floor, dodging pot-shots, stroking Watson, trying with alacrity to present to Sherlock Holmes their litany of evidence.
Banned other parties
stopped visiting factories
shat on Red Star
refused to eat out Fanny Caplan [before and after]
obsessed with tomorrows
speaks to wife
sent Stalin to Perm
but the most cunning part, Mr. Holmes
if you’re listening
is the ratio
four days authoritarian, three days hippie
four being more than three and therefore cementing things.
[SHOTS HEARD OUTSIDE, ORPHAN TROUBLE]
‘What say you, Sir, can you assist?’
Holmes scratched at his violin
‘Put a bullet in his brain,’ said the fascists.
pulled out the syringe and cocaine
‘Expose his two-facedness,’ said the anarchists.
‘For the future of us all.’
Chapter 3: A Trip To Moscow
According to Soft Pravda, the sleekest way into the Soviet Union was through Finland as no one ever checked.
So that’s what Holmes did.
With the porter setting the carriage alight in pursuit of the phrase agreeable heat, Holmes sat with his back against the window, stabbing the tip of the syringe between the gaps of his fingers.
It was cold in Finland
colder than Eris
so he waited until the porter had gone
and the flames were sophomore
then shot up.
An hour later, Watson returned from the improv brothel, sat down in a non-burning part of the carriage and asked if he’d made any progress on the case.
‘Lennnnn in. Lehn in. Leniiiiiin.’
‘Mother way out there. Edgar fan.’
Chapter 4: A Complicated Fellow
“Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky Zonky zonk zonk zonk zonk…”
screeched Sherlock Holmes, crawling on pier piles through the gates of immigration
evading both the real guards and the astrological ones
don’t give them your passport, don’t give them your passport, it’s a scam, they take it and won’t give it back, not until you compensate them, it’s a scam, don’t give your passport, don’t give your passport, Watson, don’t give it, scam, it’s a scam, don’t show it to them, don’t give it to them, pretend to be drunk, run, that way, through the desert, off the-
[FIVE DAYS LATER]
they were there in Moscow, standing on garbage cans
outside ballet school windows
[SIX DAYS LATER]
Da, that was Lenin, staring down the Civil War, the Menshies, the Left SRs, the anarchists, the fascists, the traitors, the looks of disappointment, marking down the soviets that agreed with him all the time and the soviets that agreed with him some of the time, screaming at pictures of hurricanes, hallucinating, distrusting Bukharin, distrusting anyone ending in in, any thing starting with Kron, any cough and what if
this all sucks up a lot of hours, said the receptionist, therefore
please go to the forest
wait in the fishery
he’ll be along shortly.
[TWO DAYS LATER]
The fishery had a tunnel long and dark
if this is dark
compared to that
long is a road you can see the end of
can’t see the end of
they could all see the end of this one
cos it was well-lit
green bulbs every ten metres
not dark at all
[INTERIOR – DAY]
Room for waiting ten Kenyans five Germans seven hundred farmers coffee vodka zines what is to be done, what we did, what we do now, they fucking shot her, that’s why
Holmes and Watson
sitting was expected but they stood
watching the wall for signs of peeling
they’d heard commie maintenance was poor
this would crown it
if it peeled.
Beyond this they tried hard, very hard to forget the corpses hanging from the branches they’d seen on the way in, apparently, they’d been put there by the imperialists, and don’t worry, they were fascists anyway, don’t cry for someone who’d stab your uncle given a fisherman’s chance
but not everyone had an uncle
which is why he was apolitical
blind nationalist everywhere else
not as bad as Watson though
he called people darkies.
[INTERIOR – NIGHT]
A bell was constructed, praised and then struck, one of the guards calling the Kenyans over, strapping them to a sled and pushing them down towards the ONE DAY SOON room.
Then it was Holmes’ turn
abandoning the peel
headbutting the NO SMOKING sign and waking up in a room with one purple-tinted light pointed at a portrait of Lenin.
laying out the lay of the land that had been heroically laid by others.
‘I am sincere. Measure my head. Utopian when it’s called for. Evade ending in in comrades. They can breathe in space. Absorb nebulas. Have you read my old stuff? Read my old stuff. I miss my brother. Once in a factory, happy face. Teacher face. I am soooooo sincere. Print soviets, who are they really working for? Huh? Who are they really working for? Who are they really working for? Who really are they working for?’
The voice coughed
the light went out
a beeping sound
the light came back on
the voice coughed
‘I am sincere. Measure my head. Utopian when it’s…’
Holmes increased the size of his eyes 27%
turned to Watson
‘Measure his head, that’s not a bad idea…’
but the space was blank
he was still in the room for waiting
nibbling at the neck of one of the nationalists
Chapter 5: Struggle In The Workplace
But in the new factories Germans?
said the foreman
tits shaking can’t conquer bread
for a little while only specialists
no real ON button.
Chapter 6: Safely Back At Baker Street
Sherlock Holmes scratched at his violin
took out the syringe and cocaine
‘…that was communism.’
‘We never did get to measure his head.’