I was asked to write a (very) short detective story for The New Indian Express, and I instead wrote this piece on detectives.
Ben and Jerry
[Preface: The face of Sherlock Holmes that we have grown up seeing is of Jeremy Brett, in the long-running TV series for Granada TV, directed by Michael Cox. Older followers might also remember Basil Rathbone, who acted as Holmes in quite a few movies in the 1940s. Benedict Cumberbatch came into worldwide prominence playing a modern-day Holmes in the currently-running Sherlock, directed by Mark Gatiss and Steven Mofatt for BBC, along with Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. Here’s an imaginary conversation between the two most famous representatives of the legendary detective]
How are you, Ben?
I am … okay I guess. Am I sleeping? Is this a dream?
It is indeed. This is a dream, and this is real.
Who… who are you?
I am Jerry. You are supposed to know me, Ben. I am you. And you are me.
Jerry? Jerry! That nose, that chin, the forehead, the smirk. Jerry!
Yes, that Jerry. How are you, Ben?
It’s eating me, Jerry. It’s killing me. I’ve played a dragon, I’ve played a devil, and I’ve played a genius, a real one this time. But there’s one man who consumes me. That man. He gnaws at me from the inside.
Of course you know, Jerry. It consumed you. It killed you, and it made you immortal. It made you a God. You know how it goes, Jerry.
Do you regret it? Do you regret doing it?
Do I regret immortality? Yes. No. The pain was unbearable. The others can see him gnaw at me, in front of their eyes.
Martin says the same thing. He can see it. He has seen it right from the start. Mark and Steve do so to, but they will not tell. Did Michael tell you? Did the ones at Granada?
They did. They did, but nothing could be done then to save me.
You did 41 of those. It is impossible. Old Basil did about 12 odd, didn’t he?
Yes, Basil did about 14, I think. Those South Africans are made of sterner stuff, it didn’t consume him as much. Those were simpler times, though. You’ve done 10 as of now, haven’t you?
Yes I have. And given a choice, I wouldn’t do another.
Given a choice, you will jump at doing another. It’s a drug, Ben. It’s the seven-percent-solution, only stronger. Best wishes at letting go, though. Goodbye.
Are you leaving me, Jerry?