THE ADVENTURE OF THE REMARKABLE WORM
by Richard Nathan
Lights come up on SHERLOCK HOLMES and DR. WATSON in their flat at 221-B Baker Street. They are both reading newspapers.
My word! Here’s a remarkable story
Don’t tell me, Watson, that Inspector
Lestrade has managed to solve a case
on his own.
Even more remarkable than that! It
says here that Isadora Persano, the
well known journalist and duelist
was found stark starring mad with
a match box in front of him which
contained a remarkable worm, said
to be unknown to science!
There is a knock at the door.
Come in, Inspector Lestrade.
Enter INSPECTOR LESTRADE accompanied by ISADORA PERSANO and COLONEL SEBASTIAN MORAN. Persano is a middle-aged man who stark starring mad. He carries a matchbox in which a remarkable green worm occasionally looks out. (The worm may be a finger puppet operated by the actor playing Persano.) Moran is an angry younger man.
How did you…
I recognized your knock. I assume this
gentleman is Isadora Persano.
And I believe you are Colonel Sebastian
We have never met.
I did not say we had. But I pride myself
on my knowledge of men who are…
shall we say “dangerous“?
Be careful of what you say, or I may
prove dangerous to you.
Do you deny
that you are said to be
one of the finest marksmen in England?
Watson, why don’t you examine Mr.
Persano? Something appears to be
Watson approaches Persano.
Nnong! Nnong! Nnong!
Persano holds out his matchbox to Watson. Watson retreats.
I have already examined him, and it is my
considered option that he is stark, staring
Nonsense! He is faking because he is
afraid to duel me. He is a coward!
Dueling is illegal in England.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be
said of cowardice.
It is obvious that the worm in the matchbox
has driven Mr. Persano insane.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility.
There are species of toads in the United
States and Australia that excrete powerful
substances from their skins that, if ingested,
cause sever hallucinations. This worm
may secrete such a substance that is capable
of being absorbed through the skin.
Why have you brought these men to
Colonel Moran was causing a ruckus.
He was demanding that Mr. Persano
engage in a duel, which, as I have said, is
illegal in England.
This Persano wrote a newspaper article
accusing me of criminal activities! Isn’t
libel also a crime in England?
So because he claimed you were a criminal,
you have decided to prove him right by
engaging in the criminal activity of dueling?
He won’t fight. He is a coward.
Or perhaps you are the coward. Isadora
Persano is a well-known duelist. He has
proven his courage many times over. Perhaps
you sent him this worm because you
feared he might be the victor in your duel.
I have killed men for saying less.
If you believe the worm to be a fake,
perhaps you would be willing to touch it.
I would be happy to.
Holmes, are you certain this is wise?
Don’t worry, Watson, After all these
years fighting the most dangerous
criminals in England, do you think
I would be brought low by a little
This is your doing, Moran!
Get it away
I didn’t! It wasn’t me! I never
saw that worm before!
Get it away
Holmes reverts to his normal self and steps back from Moran.
Very well. But I suggest you agree to
leave Mr. Persano alone, or the story of
how the great marksman Colonel Sebastian
Moran was terrified by a little green worm
will spread through the Anglo-Indian Club,
the Tankerville Club, and the Bagatelle Card
I dare. But if you agree to leave Mr. Persano
alone, I cam promise you that no one will
hear of the story of this most remarkable worm.
All right. You win this one, Holmes.
But some day, we will meet again!
Moran exits. Lestrade starts to follow Moran.
Let him go, Lestrade.
Lestrade does not follow Moran. Persano stops acting insane.
Thank you, Mr. Holmes. I don’t think I
could have kept that act up much longer.
Obviously, Lestrade. Colonel Moran
really is known as the finest shot in
England. A duel with him would have
The only way out was to pretend to be
The pity is I won’t be able to record this
I wouldn’t worry about that Watson.
Moran has said we will meet again.
I have no doubt that someday I will put
him safely behind bars, if not in the
gallows, and at that time you may
write what you please.
I hope so, It really was a most
extraordinary case, Holmes.
Nnong, my dear Watson!
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© 2008 by Richard Nathan. All rights reserved
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