back to page one . . .
-- OR --
John Clay, whose blood runs a royal red, can also be
seen in these previous issues of Electro-Graphic Monthly courtesy
of her literary agent David McAllister:
2004 . . .
His letter of introduction
2004 . . .
Letter From Mr. John Clay
Regarding His Reputation
My dear fellow members
of the DLL,
As accustomed as I am to
calumnies of various stripe, I would like to publicly defend myself
against the oft-proclaimed charge of misdirection regarding the
route from Saxe-Coburg Square to The Strand. This is based on a
misquote by the libellous John H. "Jacko" Watson (a victim
of WMD (Watson's Migratory-wound Disease) in the Afghan campaign)
of a statement I made on a certain occasion when I had been disloged
from my lawful occupation by the officious intermeddler Sherlock
Holmes. If Mr. Holmes had no legitimate reason for enquiring the
way that he knew perfectly well, is it any surprise that I should
engage in a bit of dis-information on my part? Does Dr. W. expect
that I did not recognize the man with whom, by his own admission,
I had had one or two turns already? As surely as I knew my blaze
gave me away, so did Mr. Holmes's aquiline coutenance.
I should have known that
something was up when he knocked at the door- who does so at such
a place of business? Then, he refused to step inside at my courteous
invitation. Mind you, I'd have been well served to have had him
down the cellar and walled up Edgar Allen Poe style in a trice if
he had. I should have told him that the way to "The Strand"
was to "write, write, write" (my humble attempt at a humorous
loose reference to the infamous way to Carnegie Hall, a burlesque
establishment in the City of New York, I am told). At the time,
I merely suspected Holmes of commercial espionage, so I had to speed
up my plans.
Let me explain: I probably
would have been better off if I had started my tunnel from its true
destination- the Vegetarian Restaurant. Yes, believe it or not,
I had been planning to develop a private underground line from the
pawnshop to the basement of the restaurant for the benefit of my
kind employer, Mr. Wilson, so that he could enjoy his repasts there
regardless of the weather. Mr. Holmes, in his inspection of dear
Jabez, neglected to realize that he is a fanatic vegetarian, and
addicted to the various spring rolls that are the restaurant's specialty
(a taste no doubt picked up in the Orient and confirmed from his
years on a merchant seaman's starchy seaboard diet). An alternate
entry being thus provided, I also expected that Mr. Wilson's shop
would be a popular shortcut to and from Saxe-Coburg Square, and
yield us additional business in consequence. Mr. Wilson appreciates
But, As you all know, this
altruistic scheme failed. Unfortunately, my triangulation of the
direction for the tunnel was faulty, and I was as surprised as anyone
that my pal Archie and I should come up next door under the City
and Suburban Bank. I find it very suspicious that purely by "accident",
we should catch Mr.Holmes, his armed confederate, a suborned policeman,
and a corrupt official of the bank, red-handed, right there in the
process of riffling the boxes entrusted to the care of the bank,
just as we entered. Knowing that we had broken in on such an evil
cabal, who would as soon accuse us of some trumped up wrongdoing
as commit a battery (Holmes is known to go about armed with a menacing
loaded riding crop, and I certainly intend to sue regarding my fractured
wrist), I tried to warn Archie; but to no avail.
Fortunately a sympatheic
British jury found my story not beyond reasonable doubt (thanks
to the efforts of my barrister O.J. "Johnnie" Cockedgun,
and his collegue F. Leigh "Old" Baillie), or I would not
be free to address the Dark Lantern League today. Now, you can't
convict someone for a poor sense of direction, can you? You tell
me how to get to Saxe-Coburg Square! Or the Dark Lantern League,
for that matter!
Yr Obt Svt
J. Clay, Esq.