It was a wild, tempestuous night, towards the beginning of August. Holmes and I sat together in silence all the evening, he engaged with a powerful lens deciphering the actual ingredients in a bottle of Vegemite, I deep into my third jeroboam of a rather ordinary vin ordinaire. Outside the wind howled down Baker Street, while the rain beat fiercely against the windows. It was strange there, in the very depths of the town, with ten miles of man's handiwork on every side of us, to feel the iron grip of Nature. That, however, turned out to be just another rat chewing my shoes. I've complained repeatedly to the local council about the rodents, but they point out that rats have more rights than we humans.
"Well, Watson, it's as well we have not had to turn out to-night," said Holmes, laying aside his lens and downing a quick shot of tequila. "I've done enough for one sitting. It is trying work for the eyes. So far as I can make out, Vegemite is nothing more than a cruel practical joke that the Australians have perpetrated on the world. Halloa! halloa! halloa! What's this?
Amid the droning of the wind there had come the stamping of a horse's hoofs, and the long grind of a wheel as it rasped against the curb.
"I see that fee on motor cars in the city is starting to bite. I wonder what he wants?" I ejaculated, as a man stepped out of it.
"Want? He wants us. And we, my poor Watson, want overcoats and cravats and goloshes and a couple of gallons of brandy, and every aid that man ever invented to fight the weather. I know what this is about, I have been expecting it. We are off to chase the Foulest Criminal In All Of England®!"
When the light of the hall lamp fell upon our midnight visitor, I had no difficulty in recognizing him. It was young Stanley Hopkins, a promising detective with the London Police, in whose career Holmes had several times shown a very practical interest.
"Come! The game's afoot!” Hopkins shouted. Holmes immediately hit him in the face with the poker from beside the fire for stealing his lines.
After Hopkins rose, unsteadily from the floor with blood streaming down his face, we all headed out into the howling storm. Following Hopkins closely we went looking for the Foulest Criminal In All Of England®. As we hurried through the stormy night we came upon a gang of five drunken teenagers beating an elderly woman with her own Zimmer Frame. I started to head toward the vicious scene, but Holmes and Hopkins grabbed me and told me to concentrate on the real criminals.
We rushed on, headlong through the hellish night and came upon two yobs holding a knife to the throat of an eight-year old, demanding she give them her iPod. Again, I started toward the criminals, but was again restrained.
Just then we were startled by the crash of breaking glass. We looked up and saw two burglars throwing a homeowner out of the third story window of the man's home. I looked at Holmes and he just shook his head. We hurried on, oblivious to the screams and the thud as the home owner hit the pavement, head first. At least that quieted the screams.
Ahead I saw a young boy who looked to be around twelve years old sitting on the steps of a small house. Holmes and Hopkins virtually threw themselves at this apparition and hurled him to the ground, kicking him several times in the kidneys to make sure he stayed down. They cuffed him while I watched, astonished.
“But what has this boy done, Holmes?” I whined.
“This boy, as you call him, is the Foulest Criminal In All Of England®.” Holmes spat. “This is the monster that must be taken off the streets at all costs. He is the lowest of the low and we have stripped the streets of police officers to hunt him down like the dog he is.”
“But what is the foul crime of the Foulest Criminal In All Of England®?” I pleaded.
“This is the beast, the depraved monster who threw a cocktail weenie at a man. He must pay for his heinous crime. Off to the gaol with this, this Foulest Criminal In All Of England®.”
I Stood weeping in the rain after they had whisked him off to the prison.