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Empty House – Page 4

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20. INT – WATSON’S APARTMENT – DAWN

Sherlock Holmes is lying in a chair asleep.

John Watson stands silently beside the chair staring at Sherlock in surprise. Sherlock opens his eyes and yawns.

SHERLOCK

Good morning John.

JOHN

Sherlock. You’re alive. It wasn’t a dream.

SHERLOCK

I thought we covered this all last night. Please tell me we don’t have to go through THAT again.

JOHN

What are you doing here?

SHERLOCK

I ‘was’ sleeping. But then again, I think its about time we got going.

JOHN

Going? Going where?

SHERLOCK

Why to Mrs Hudson’s to inquire as to whether our apartment is still available.

JOHN

Now, just like that.

SHERLOCK

You know me John. I’m not the kind of person to let the grass grow under my feet. There’s no time like the present. Besides, I need a change of clothes.

JOHN

Wait. Maybe this time you should let me call first.

SHERLOCK

Good idea.

They walk toward the door and get their coats as if no time at all has passed. Then John runs back in and gets the deerstalker hat.

SHERLOCK

Why are you bringing that old hat?

JOHN

It’s a friend. When I say friend, I mean …

Voice trails off as they close the door.

Montage of London streets. Outside of 221 Baker street.

21. INT – 221 BAKER STREET – DAY

MRS HUDSON

Oh dearies, here’s your place just like you left it. Everything is in boxes, but nothing was moved.

Oh my goodness what a fright you’ve given me Sherlock.

And you Mr Watson. Not to tell me. Thought I’d seen a ghost, and me an old woman, I could have had a heart attack, But I’m glad to see you. Not to say that I don’t appreciate the quiet, but it has been a lonely not having young men around.

JOHN

Didn’t anyone wanted to rent the rooms while we were away?

MRS HUDSON

Oh deary me yes. Could’ve rented the rooms ten times over by now. Some for the location, some for the fact that they belonged to the mysterious “fake detective” excuse me for saying that Sherlock, but that’s what they call you…

JOHN

Then why didn’t you rent them?

MRS HUDSON

They were paid for, weren’t they? Rent came on time as always from his brother Mycroft. Don’t know if it was him being sentimental, or if he just didn’t want all that junk in his own house.

SHERLOCK

Well Mrs Hudson, we’ve got a lot to do so best let us get to it.

MRS HUDSON

I’ll just go down and get my cleaning supplies, shall I?

SHERLOCK

No need, Mrs Hudson. We’ll be fine on our own for a while. Best rest your hip. Have a cup of tea.

MRS HUDSON

Now that you mention it I could use a bit of a sit down. I’m not getting any younger. Oh my what a shock, but I am glad to see you, that I am, my boys. Wait till I tell Mrs. Turner.

Mrs Hudson turns and leaves down the stairs.

JOHN

Well that’s let the cat out of the bag. So much for secrecy.

SHERLOCK

The time for hiding is past.

JOHN

But aren’t you worried? Sherlock Holmes was a wanted man.

SHERLOCK plops himself into his chair. He steeples his hands. A fine cloud of dust rises up. JOHN places the hat on the mantlepiece on top of the skull, and then brushes the dust off of his chair before sitting down.

SHERLOCK

Working on that now. Things are in progress that should help clear my name.

JOHN

Things? What sort of things?

SHERLOCK

I’ve taken a page out of Moriarty’s book and made a friend in the press.

JOHN

A friend?

SHERLOCK

Acquaintance. He was quite interested to find out the truth about Richard Brook.

JOHN

You were able to prove that Richard Brook was fake?

SHERLOCK

Oh Richard Brook is real enough.

JOHN

You mean that Moriarty really was an actor?

SHERLOCK

Acting was one of his skills, but no. He was NOT named Richard Brook. Richard Brook is someone else altogether.

JOHN

If you’re going to tell me, Sherlock, just tell me, I’m done with waiting.

SHERLOCK puts down his hands and looks at John.

SHERLOCK

Alright, The internet is an amazing thing John. You can find just about anything online.

JOHN

Yes it’s wonderful, still no clearer, go on.

SHERLOCK

There are listings of actors and actresses, for example, with virtually any name you wish. Even one that you have made up like Rich Brook. Rich Brook in German is Reichenbach if you didn’t know.

JOHN

Oh! That sounds like one of Moriarty’s jokes. Hiding something in plain sight.

SHERLOCK

Exactly. When Moriarty showed us his portfolio. He said that he was in a children’s show called “The Storyteller”. I even got a glimpse of it, in the cab on the night we got arrested.

JOHN

Yes, so what’s it got to do with the internet?

SHERLOCK

As I was saying, online you can find lists of actors and their work. But not all actors are famous. Some have less than stellar careers and leave acting for some other field. Some of these actors are only bylines in titles without images to go with them.

Richard Brook was such an man. An undistinguished actor who had been in a few small unremembered roles, but I …I have gotten my hands on one of the original tapes of “The Storyteller”.

SHERLOCK dusts off the TV and inserts a tape in the ancient tape player. The screen shows a very low budget production with people dressed in costumes portraying the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

SHERLOCK

 Appropriate isn’t it, ‘the wolf in sheep’s clothing’ so like Moriarty or should I say ‘Jim’.

JOHN

 And who is Rich Brook? The wolf?

SHERLOCK

 No, him.

SHERLOCK points to a portly blond-haired man playing a townsman.

JOHN

 Which one?

SHERLOCK

 Him. Hardly distinguished. Not a starring role, even in so small a production. Richard Brook had acted for years on the British stage as a member of crowds before working as a bit actor in low budget children’s videos until he left England entirely and moved to America where he became a drama teacher in a primary school in Rugby, North Dakota. The remoteness of his location is probably the only thing that saved his life, for surely having gone to such trouble Moriarty wouldn’t fail to kill him to keep his cover story intact.

JOHN

 But didn’t you say you saw the video. The one with Moriarty.

SHERLOCK

 Yes, not his best work.

JOHN

 But how…

SHERLOCK

It’ easy enough these days to rent a studio, or even to film oneself and use computer graphics to make backgrounds. That was one of the first inconsistencies that I saw. The backgrounds. They are common today with advances in computers, even trivial, but at the time this work was supposed to have been made, they would have seemed quite out of the budget of such a small production.

JOHN

So he took the name of an existing actor with years of experience. Amazing. But how did you find out?

SHERLOCK

 Moriarty said that my weakness was thinking that people were too clever. Making a complete false identity on the computer was clever, so I knew that wasn’t what he did. Next thing was to find this tape. It mentions the name of an agent, so I wrote and requested information and I got this back.

Sherlock hands JOHN an envelope with a biography for a slightly portly blond haired man named Richard Brook. He looks nothing at all like Moriarty.

SHERLOCK

It came with a letter saying that he had retired from acting, but that if I was very interested I should inquire at the address in North Dakota.

JOHN

And did you?

SHERLOCK

I did one better. I visited him myself.

Quite an interesting experience I must say.

JOHN

And what did he say?

SHERLOCK

He confirmed that he had done the works that I mentioned. He was flattered that I was such a fan that I had come all that way to see him. He even gave me his autograph.

JOHN

Really, you must have enjoyed that.

SHERLOCK

Yes indeed. You know that I enjoy graphology. It was quite illuminating. But I also informed him of the great injustice being done him, that someone else had assumed his name and career! Any internet search would confirm it.

JOHN

So what did he do?

SHERLOCK

He was furious. His career was small, but it was his own. He immediately, with my help of course, sent messages out to all of the sites protesting this theft of his identity. He even sent a letter to the London papers. I assured him that as head of his fan club I would make sure that it got published.

JOHN

So, when is this letter expected to be published?

SHERLOCK

In tomorrow’s paper along with a stunning expose about the “False” Rich Brook from a reliable but anonymous source.

JOHN

You’re enjoying this. So that gets you out of that, but you still pulled a gun on a police commissioner.

SHERLOCK

And you punched him out, yet here you are, so I think that I’ll take my chances.

JOHN

But now, I suppose that we had better start straightening up the place.

SHERLOCK

That can wait till later, but I would like you to get your gun. You do still have it don’t you?

JOHN

Yes, I do. I’ll go at once.

SHERLOCK

And when you have a moment, could you run over to Molly’s place and pick up my coat. Somehow I don’t feel right going out without it.

JOHN

Alright. What’s her address?

SHERLOCK

I’ll text it to you.

JOHN

Of course. See you Sherlock.

SHERLOCK

Yes, very soon.

JOHN takes his coat and leaves smiling.

22. EXT – 221 BAKER STREET – DAY

JOHN walks out of the front door at Baker street. He adjusts his coat and walks away down the street. Limited view from someone who is watching him from inside of a van. The van door slides closed.

23. INT – MOLLY’S APARTMENT – DAY

A knock on the door. MOLLY comes into frame and it opens.

JOHN

Hello Molly. I called at work, but they said that you were on the night shift now. I hope I didn’t wake you.

MOLLY

Oh, no John …Come in. Sherlock said that you’d come.

JOHN looks around the room. It is a small, cozy apartment that looks like MOLLY with a plethora of little cat figurines and hand knit table covers. There is a basket of knitting with a half finished blue scarf in it sitting on the table. There are fluffy pillows on the couch. A CAT runs past and out of the room.

MOLLY

Oh don’t mind Toby. He hates strangers. Please sit. Let me get you something to drink.

Molly leaves the room and goes into the kitchen.

JOHN (calling after her)

Oh don’t go to any trouble. I’ve just come for SHERLOCK’s coat. Apparently he can’t work properly unless he can turn up his coat collar and look cool.

JOHN almost trips over a stack of books on the floor. The top one reads, The origin of tree worship.

Molly comes in with two mugs of tea. Her eyes are red. She hands one of them to John.

JOHN

You didn’t have to go to so much trouble.

MOLLY

It’s OK. I’m used to cooking for two now.

JOHN

Ah yes, so Sherlock was staying here. Is that why you couldn’t come out to the pub that night?

MOLLY

Yes, Sherlock had just returned from the airport. No sooner was he home than he kited off again to investigate a murder.

JOHN

Yes, he’s like that. It mustn’t have been easy for you to hide him. Sherlock Holmes is not a man who goes unnoticed.

MOLLY

Yes he does stand out … a bit. But he can be unnoticed when he wants to.

MOLLY (with mock unconcern)

So, are you and Sherlock moving back in together?

JOHN

Yes, I guess we are.

MOLLY

I see. Sherlock does like company, though he denies it. I don’t know how I’ll break it to Toby. He’ll be heartbroken. He loves Sherlock so.

JOHN (surprised)

Sherlock likes cats?

MOLLY

Well I don’t think Sherlock liked Toby so much, but Toby certainly liked him. Sometimes when Sherlock would get to thinking, you know how he gets when he just sits still for hours on end. Toby would curl up on him. Then an hour or two later Sherlock would scream for me to get that cat off of him. He looked so funny with Toby hanging on his arm.

JOHN

I can imagine.

MOLLY

Sometimes Sherlock would pace all night long, and he’d ask me to bring him the most amazing things like dancer’s ears and engineer’s thumbs.

JOHN

You didn’t did you?

MOLLY

Well sometimes.

JOHN

So do you mean that Sherlock has been living with you HERE in London all year?

MOLLY

Oh no. Not the entire time. He comes and he goes traveling as he searches out Moriarty’s organization.

JOHN

That’s something I was wondering about. He said that he was in America, but how could he get a plane ticket without a passport?

MOLLY

Oh he has a passport. He has an entire set of papers for travel.

JOHN

How did he get it? Black Market.

MOLLY

Mycroft.

JOHN

Mycroft. I should have known. So am I the only one who Sherlock kept out of the loop?

MOLLY

Oh no, Sherlock didn’t want to tell Mycroft at all. I made him. I was running out of money, and I told him that he better tell Mycroft or we would both be homeless. He gave me a letter that Mycroft would know was from him. Apparently they played at ciphers when they were boys.

JOHN

Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. So how are you getting on. It must have been difficult having to hide him in your apartment. I know that Sherlock is not the easiest of roommates.

MOLLY

Oh I didn’t mind. I’ve been pretty much on my own since my dad died. It was nice to have someone to talk to, even if he never listened to me. “Senseless prattle” he called it, but it kept him company.

(pause)

On the inside, Sherlock is really very fragile. isn’t he?

JOHN

That’s not what most people would call him. He seems pretty self-absorbed and independent.

MOLLY

He seems that way, but we both know differently don’t we?

(pause)

MOLLY

He cares about you a great deal John, did you know? It broke his heart to say goodbye to you. Dozens of times I’ve seen him start to write to you or call you and then he stops himself and has to play his violin.

JOHN

He’s got his violin here?

MOLLY

Oh no not his violin. His is much fancier. I rented this one from a shop. It helps to keep him calm when he can’t go out. I’ll miss his playing. I never took music lessons.

They sit in silence for a while. John sips his tea. Molly looks off to the side distractedly.

JOHN

Well, this has been lovely, but I think that I’ll take his coat and be off now.

MOLLY turns her face away. She is crying. John notices and goes over touching her shoulder.

JOHN

Molly. Are you alright? Can I help you?

She wipes her eyes.

MOLLY

I had just hoped that he would come in person to say goodbye.

JOHN

But Molly, this isn’t goodbye. Not anymore. Sherlock is alive!

MOLLY (as if torn from her)

He doesn’t love me. He never will. I know that now.

It’s like my heart’s the wrong shape to fit into his. I’m not smart enough, I’m not brave enough. I’m not strong enough to protect him from all of his moods and addictions.

(silence)

MOLLY

Take care of him, will you John?

MOLLY stands with tears beginning to form in her eyes. John stares at her with understanding.

JOHN

You know I will.

MOLLY (smiling)

I’m glad. He’ll be happy now.

Molly turns away drying her eyes.

MOLLY

Can you let yourself out? I have to clean up these dishes.

MOLLY rushes out of the room and escapes into the kitchen.

JOHN

Well, Good day.

JOHN looks back for a moment, takes Sherlock’s coat off of the hook, and then  leaves closing the door.

24. EXT – MOLLY’S APARTMENT – DAY

JOHN comes down the stairs and walks down the street. A MAN is hiding behind a tree. He steps out and follows John at a distance.

On to page 5

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