“I suppose I’ll have to.” Ever the unflappable pessimist, Sherlock stood erect giving his filthy fingernails a once over nonchalantly. I winced gingerly as my hair was pulled tighter.
The villain fished for a weapon and pressed the cold, open-ended shaft of a revolver against my temple. “Right. You know the drill. I’ve got one live round, so do your little thingy – Guess my name.”
My eyes grew wide, Sherlock only rolled his. “Rumpelstiltskin.”
“You think you’re right clever, don’t you?” Evidently the gunman wasn’t bluffing. He was about as thrilled with Sherlock’s antics as I was.
“Yes, quite.” Sherlock smirked and held one hand in the other behind his back. He pivoted on his heels and ambled toward us in a roundabout fashion.
“Stop right there! Come no further!” After a beat, the crazed man added, “I wonder if this here miss would agree?”
“What, with my cleverness?” The master sleuth was biding his time. “I wouldn’t profess to knowing what goes on in the mind of a, hmm…thirty-something-year-old woman whom I’ve never met before.” He raised his eyebrows and smirked again. I wasn’t sure if he was aiming his evil smile at me or the man restraining me. But the combination of that look, and his ambiguous, yet annoyingly correct assumption of my age, set me off.
Sherlock’s eyes slid slyly back and forth between the two of us. “Pardon?”
“You do it all the time, don’t you? Profess to know a great deal about a great many things, actually, without any prior knowledge or experience. Quite a lot, really.” My reaction managed to evoke only a blank stare and a blink or two.
The man behind me was squirming from a severe lack of patience (and sanity, if you ask me). “Alright, that’s enough out of you.” He shook me firmly and turned to Sherlock. “She’s right, you know. You do it all the time.” He addressed Sherlock in a flirty fashion, and his motive flashed brilliantly beneath my skull. The miscreant continued, “So go on, profess away.”
“I know your end game.” Sherlock was one to cut you to the quick. His minimal tolerance of charades, save his own, left many a criminal mastermind feeling abandoned in their imaginary chess battlefield. The hostility this produced in his opponents was almost always immediate.
Right on cue, the scoundrel’s ego had reached a breaking point. He wasn’t going to be manipulated. I imagined him thinking, “Treat me like a child, I think not!” He realized his jollies weren’t going to be gotten tonight, unless he upped the ante. I felt a sharp kick to my shin as he simultaneously shoved my torso to the ground. He stepped on my back to keep me down.
“You’re bloody mad!” I screamed at Sherlock, though I knew he couldn’t be chastised into resolving the situation swiftly. He’d take all damn day if he could. I’d have to take matters into my own hands if I wanted to get out of there alive.