The Peculiar Adventures of Oscar Heath
Author: Kirol

Chapter 2
Chapter 2

Pursuing the man, I began to dissect certain things about him. Firstly, his grubby shirt. No doubt the boat from America was a long and arduous journey, tiring and packed. Still, the man must have brought a few weeks worth of clothing with him. Did he not have the fortitude to change? I remember hoping to myself that his stench shouldn’t drown out my house; I have always been very particular about my living quarters.

The way he moved as well, he had a certain briskness like a young boy. He was unkempt, yes, but he shall have to make up for it in other ways if he is to be a great detective.

Suddenly, the man came to a halt. Half losing myself in my thoughts, I continued onwards before jerking myself into an entrance to a butchers. Not wishing arouse suspicion I asked the owner if he had the time, keeping my peripheral gaze fixed firmly upon the man.

It seemed he had started talking to a group of young girls, clad in rather fancy petticoats and dresses. Fine young specimens, yes, but of no interest to me. The American youth seemed far more impressed, however.

I left the butchers and waited outside, ever gazing upon the man from afar.

The girls seemed quite taken with him, and he them. Such folly! had he been in the country for more than a week I may have forgiven him, but certainly a man must at least get himself settled and tidy himself up before gallivanting around after women.

He talked to them for five long minutes before finally pulling out that same parchment from earlier. I had a fair idea of what it was already, but one can never be sure without absolute empirical evidence.

Finally, the women tittered and pointed in an easterly direction. At least, I figured it was east until I checked the compass on the back of my pocket watch. A strange thing to have on a watch one might presume, but one that has gotten me out of many a pickle.

Finally he resumed his saunter across London, but not before pulling out a cigar from a pocket at his leisure. Personally, I can’t stand smoking.

I abhor, detest, and loathe smoking. I care not about the companies advertising their product as healthy, but for the feeble-minded who believe them. Terrible habit.

He smoked as he walked. I felt like striking him about the head – what if someone should have been able to observe him, I thought. And if they would see us together while he was doing that, how rude! If one must smoke, it should be done away from the streets as a matter of courtesy.

Gradually, Mr Kendall made his way through the streets. From the square, he made his way along Lower Thames Street, through to the Victoria Embankment.

I wondered if there was a particular reason for this route, or if the girls with whom he had spoken guided him along the river.

The mist had receded considerably by now as the sun rose ever-higher, and I was expecting to be discovered with but a second’s notice.

Nevertheless, the man marched headlong into the depths of the city, ever aiming towards Green Park and my home.

This confirmed my suspicions that the man was heading there directly on foot. Quite the feat with such encumbering suitcases, but he was marketing himself to thieves and children of the street, for sure.

Like a pack-mule, he soldiered onwards towards West Minster Bridge before I felt I must arbitrate.

This would be the first test I would give him.

“You sir!” I shouted cautiously as I emerged from what was left of the mist. I reached into my waistcoat and took out my pocket watch. A dear, valuable object it is to me; given by a dear deceased friend of mine, God rest her soul.

He turned and looked at me. Never shall I forget the look on his face.

It was one of fear, like a lost child in trouble with their father for running off. His eyes were bloodshot and weary from his travels, and he had the appearance of an insomniac. As before he was unshaven, with blonde stubble erupting from his face. He wore his hair combed across in a haphazard way, some of it falling before his eyes.

There was no doubt about it – he was a ladies man, but he lacked the look of a detective. He must have been, oh, twenty seven or so. Still very much on the young side. You can never make up for experience.

“Me?” he muttered. From the first moment I heard him speak, I wanted to teach him anew. The disgusting accent that came from his mouth would surely drive me completely insane. For the moment, I had to cringe and continue.

“Yes, I believe you dropped your watch.”I said, wittingly. I held out the watch to Mr Kendall, the man I had been pursuing for some time now. I felt safe handing it to such an encumbered man; I could easily catch him, or take his belongings and his home away from him.

My first test was to check his ability to augment and amend the truth.

Lie? No, that’s such a strong word. It’s the key to a detective’s power.

I placed my mindset into that of someone who had just found a watch lying upon the street. I just wanted to return it to its owner, of course.

For a moment he looked at me blankly, it wasn’t a good sign.

“Where…” he mumbled. “Where did you find it? I’ve been looking all over!”

He seemed excited to have his watch back, as if it was his watch at all.

“Ah, I’m glad I managed to catch you. I feared a street rat would come along and pawn it for a few chinks.”

“Beg y’pardon?” he replied in that God forsaken accent. I wanted to begin a round of fisticuffs, but I restrained myself.

“Chinks… coins? You know, surely. Oh, wait! Those suitcases, I don’t know why I didn’t realise before!” I answered. It was all a ploy to get my hands on his bags. Of course, he was more built than I was, but strength isn’t everything.

“You must be a tourist!” I exclaimed.

“Well, actually…” he tried to interrupt. I continued, moving from topic to topic so he didn’t have a chance to interrupt.

“Here, let me take your bags!” I took hold of his suitcases. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem too resilient to the fact I was taking a hold everything he owned. The lad should be more cautious, I figured.

“Where are you heading to? I’ll guide you there!” I followed, not wanting to lose site of the man or the watch. His luggage was a bonus of course, should things not go my way, but contingency is a must.

“Uh, let me check.” He muttered in that abhorrent accent, pulling out again that scrap of paper he neglected to properly look after, containing my address. “Th… Three Hays Mews?” he asked rhetorically.

“I say, what a coincidence!” I lied again. “I’m heading that way as well; I’m actually travelling to Grosvenor Square, but Hays Mews is on the way you understand.”Of course he didn’t understand, the blithering idiot. He just gave me everything he had and stole a watch on his first day in London. At least he passed my first test, I figured, but the failure of giving me the luggage was a bad mistake.

So, we headed onwards towards my home. Along the way we discussed politics between America and Britain, and why the latter was greater than the former.

It was a bemusing argument that brought us all the way to my doorstep. He had seemingly neglected the Green Park and the Green Park Arch which had just been moved in the past year, causing no end of commotion. I’m afraid to say that at the time I even wrote a letter to the local council expressing my displeasure at the situation. I could hardly work because of the noise!

We followed Park Lane up through Curzon street and Charles street up to Chesterfield hill, then took a right at the first corner to Hay’s mews and around to the right to my home. Number three Hay’s Mews, London.

A nondescript front door, combined with an overt collection of arches along my roof. I had a lantern outside my front door at the time.

My home was a little off the beaten path, yes, but those who sought my custom would be able to find me with no doubt. It gave me enough free time to have a hobby or two.

“So, here we are.” I chirped. “What business do you have with the occupant?”

“I uh. I’m not really allowed to say.” He frowned. At least he didn’t go blurting out his occupation everywhere.

I reached out to the rounded handle and opened the door for him.

“After you.”I insisted.


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