As I busied myself with the mundane task of treating the good people who needed medical attention but could afford it not, I found myself hoping for my services to be needed by my friend, Sherlock Holmes. Caring for the sick and injured of Providence is a noble calling, but glorious or exciting it is not. Boils, dysentery, impaled objects, drunkenness and laudanum overdoses take up a laborious amount of my time, and a case involving the good inspector is always a welcome respite from the drudgery of delivering health care to the masses.
The bell in my study rang, again, and I hoped, without much hope, that my fortunes had changed, and something of substance was coming my way.
"Dr Watson! I need you. There is a dastardly deed in progress, and a most unscrupulous duo needs our prompt attention! Bring your med bag, there's a game afoot!"
Without further ado I gathered my things, slid the pole and left the quiet confines of Baker Street.
"Driver! Take us without delay to the elementary school on Gordon Avenue!," said Sherlock as we settled into the coach.
"Elementary, My Dear Watson, Elementary."
"What misfortune has befallen the most young and vulnerable denizens of Providence, Holmes?" I asked as the coach rumbled through the city, each bump in the trail causing my spine to crack.
"Poison? The Bastards, poisoning the youth."
"Perhaps, Dr. Watson, but let us not jump to conclusions. Ah, we have arrived, make haste my good fellow, time is of the essence!"
I followed Inspector Holmes through the doorway of the old school, students cleared a path as we strode through the halls, our overcoats billowing behind us and a whirlwind in our wake. To the Principals office we went directly, where we were stopped by Inspector Lestrade.
"No need for you lot," Lestrade said, "I've got things figured out."
"Do you," said Holmes, that familiar twinkle returning to his eye. "Pray tell what you have discovered."
Before us, two boys, each no older than the other, and both eight years old, sat on a bench outside the principals office. Their look was one of shame and fear, and perhaps a little excitement as well.
"These hooligans have stolen medicines from their elders in an attempt to sell them to their classmates. The evidence was in the bigger one's pocket. The smaller of the two is a dupe-he tested the drugs to make sure they were potent and suitable for sale."
"Did he now," said Holmes. "Dr. Watson, take these boys to the buggy and run the usual tests while I talk with Inspector Lestrade."
I gathered the boys to me and we swept past the big inspector, outside, into the fresh spring air, and into the rear of the rescue.
"What have you boys done?" I asked. Both talked at once, denying any wrongdoing.
"He took the medicine to school because he thought it would be funny!"
"He opened it even though I told him not to!"
"His mom is going to kill us, and we'll be sent to the orphanage."
Things were nearing pandemonium when Inspector Holmes returned, opening the rear doors with a flourish, and stepping inside.
"Boys," said He. "Do you have any idea what you have done?"
"We played a joke that wasn't very funny."
"We got in big trouble."
"Did either of you ingest the medicines in question?" asked Holmes.
"I did," said the bigger of the two. "It tastes good."
"Have you ever heard the word "laxative?" asked the inspector.
"I think so."
"I think you are going to find out exactly what a laxative does, in short order. Dr. Holmes, to the Children's Emergency Room, these fine fellows need some counseling, and a little more!"
When the dust had settled, and the day was through we basked by the fire in Mr. Holmes' Library, enjoying a brandy, when the topic of the boys entered our conversation.
"What in the world has gotten into the youth of today, Inspector, taking their parents medications to school, what with no regard for their safety or anybody elses!"
Holmes stoked his pipe as I swirled my brandy, the warm glow of the fire casting shadows against the walls, much like spirits mimicking our movements.