Sherlock Holmes

The case of the spider bite

A rainy Monday morning found me enjoying a quiet fire at Holmes' s residence when our peaceful reverie was interrupted by a pounding at the front door. A mysterious man, scrawny and weary looking, entered. He looked to me to be in his mid-forties and announced himself as one Mortimer Scrubb. I offered to take his jacket, but he demanded to see Sherlock Holmes immediately.

"Mr. Scrubb, good to see you've made it back from Africa alive," stated Homes. "You should be more careful in choosing your destinations in the future. Now that you've had the weekend to recover, how may I be of service?"

"Holmes, I didn't realize you two were aquainted," I said.

"I've never met this man before in my life," insisted Scrubb, aghast.

"Then how did you begin to..."

Holmes cut me off with a look. "It was really quite simple. Mortimer Scrubb is practically shouting his tale to us, we need only to listen."

Holmes and I had done this dance before. "Pray tell, how did you know?"

"Observe if you will, the mud on Mr. Scrubb's trousers," Holmes began. "It has a yellowish quality indicating the presence of Saharan sandstone.

"Furthermore, you can plainly see the week-old mark of a spider's bite on our guest's hand. The pattern of the bruise remaining indicates that it was the work of the Black Nightwalker, found predominantly in the Congolese jungle. Not lethal, but quite painful."

"But how did you know he'd spent the week-end here in England?" I inquired, hoping he'd continue.

"Look, if you will, at the marks on our visitor's left arm. They are those left by phylacteries, those unusual prayer-boxes used by gentlemen of the Hebrew faith. A Jew would not purchase a ticket on his holy Sabbath, and the journey from Africa is four days in duration. Mr. Scrubb clearly ended his journey on Friday afternoon.

"Finally, note the markings on Mr. Scrubb's neck. Whip marks, I'm afraid. They are unfortunately of the type favored by those thugs who currently fancy themselves the government of Niger, which has been experiencing a very bloody revolution in recent months. You're fortunate to be alive today, Mr. Scrubb."

I stood dumbfounded. And Mortimer Scrubb appeared confused.

"Actually, that's not quite correct," he said. I was shocked. To my memory, no one had refuted Holmes's claims before.

"About those whip marks...." he muttered. "To tell you the truth, I can't really get hard unless a six foot tall Peruvian woman is beating the shit out of me with a Nigerian whip. Is that weird?"

Holmes quickly changed the subject. "And how do you explain the marks on your left arm?"

"This is kind of embarrassing," he confessed. "In order to climax, I need to rub a dead gorilla on my face while wrapping a leather strap around my arms, tight enough so that my arm turns dark purple... Why am I even telling you this?

"I also have a real hard time staying aroused unless I'm suspended by my toes, ten feet in the air while being bitten by a Black Nightcrawler. Now that I actually say it out loud, it seems kind of crazy."

"The Saharan mud...?" I asked, terrified.

"Yeah, I can't really orgasm unless I'm knee deep in Saharan mud. No idea what that's about but you know... what are you gonna do? I don't know how it got on my pants. To be honest, this is the first day I've even worn pants in over three months."

"And what was the reason for your visit?" I enquired.

"This might seem a little gross, but I need to visit a detective and a doctor in order for me to...."

I escorted our visitor to the door.

Stephen Levinson is a co-founder of He would like his girlfriend's parents to know that he didn't actually write this piece. Classy stories he actually wrote can be found here.

Have iTunes?