Holmes held the phone to his ear as he moved the heavy burgundy-colored curtain out of his view of his neighbor’s house.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“Gloria, where is Lestrade?”
He heard her long-suffering exhale over the phone and knew she was going to give him another one of her tongue lashings. He knew yelling at him was usually the highlight of her week.
“Holmes, we reserve this line for emergencies, not passing messages to Lestrade. For the last time, call the non-emergency line.”
“I would, but the hold time is atrocious, and I have told you that repeatedly. If you want me to call the non-emergency line, you will need to make sure competent people handle the phone. Really, Gloria, it speaks volumes about your performance that I continue to call you.”
Her low, throaty voice chuckled. He didn’t think it was a haha chuckle. Instead, it was an I don’t buy it chuckle.
“Holmes, you are what, seventeen, almost eighteen years old?”
“Yes, but I hardly see how this line of questioning will get you to the point quicker, Gloria.”
“Ms. McDonald, not Gloria. Not that phone lady, not Lestrade’s personal secretary. I’m your elder, and you should respect me by calling me, Ms. McDonald. Holmes, you don’t call your elders by their first names.”
“No,” Holmes said.
“Yes, no, because we are equals in our pursuit of justice. Age knows no number when working together to rid the world of criminals, Gloria, now stop parroting me and take this down.” Holmes didn’t wait for her to prepare to take his message before he continued. “Tell Lestrade to meet me at this address, 1314 E Newbury Dr.” There was silence on the line. “Hello, Gloria? Are you still there?”
“Why do this every time you call?”
“Do what?” Holmes said, genuinely confused.
“You tell me a random address, presumably where something bad is going to happen; then you don’t tell me what will happen. It’s like you want to keep me in suspense or waste the city’s time.”
“Now, Gloria,” Holmes said, letting the curtain fall shut against the early morning sun. “Of course I don’t want to waste time. I barely have enough time to do the job of an entire police department and a host of others in this godforsaken city, including working as special counsel to the mayor.”
“I don’t think he agreed to that. You just keep showing up at the council meetings, yelling at him. I don’t think that’s the same thing.”
“Agree to disagree, Gloria. What were we on about? Ah, I remember I was hanging up. Bye for now. Do make sure Lestrade gets that address; it’s a matter of life and death for someone else, not me. If I were in trouble, I wouldn’t call Lestrade. Okay, good day.”
He liked Gloria but trying to tell her anything beyond an address took two hours and three pots of tea. He didn’t have that kind of time.