Literary Experiment I

Working my way through a writing prompt book to keep my brain fresh. Here’s what this morning’s prompt…er, prompted.

“You are not from here, are you?” Sherlock Holmes’ long, thin face turned toward me, eyes level.

“I figured the accent gave me away,” I said. My voice twanged with the tones of Midwestern America.

“Elementary, that. No, there are too many things wrong with you to be quite from there, either. Your eyeglasses are most peculiar. The glass–if that’s what it is–is much too thin for our time and for your level of astigmatism.”

“Do tell.”

“Oh, yes. your squint when you removed them was obvious. That, and your bifocal lenses show no clear line between them, though there is a blurry patch on the lower part of them. I am familiar with all optical lenses, from Newton to Zeiss, and lenses such as yours, even if experimental, are unheard of.”

“Impressive.” I held my breath as steady as I could, leaning forward.

“Sinister, actually, because it means that your actual origin, however unlikely, must be the truth.”

“And that truth would be?”

“One more point or two. First, regarding your eyeglasses. The frame style is unfamiliar to me and the lenses, in addition to that invisible bifocal, changed color when you first walked into my chambers.”

I saw James Watson gasp, eyes wide. “By Jove, Holmes! I’d seen that, too! I wrote it off as an effect of light and shadow.”

“Alas, no, Watson. This man is wearing impossible glasses. They include devices or materials unheard of in Britain, Europe, or America. His clothing, furthermore, while fashioned to look like a style form our time, is similarly peculiar. The stitching is nearly invisible, and his shoes are assembled in a fashion well beyond what that American gentleman devised for mass production.”

Watson exclaimed, “Really, Holmes! What are you suggesting, then?”

Holmes turned toward me, hands gripping the arms of his chair, eyebrows furrowed. “Very well, out with it, man! Are you, in fact, a time-traveler from the future, like that novelist Wells postulates? And if so, what business have you with this Year of Our Lord 1899? Answer now, or I shall call the police!”

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