Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Case of the Crushed Roses: Chapter 4

Chapter 4
                Explosion at noted writer’s home, Chiara Noveau.  Breaking news story.
                The news bulletin floated through my muddled brain as I tried to concentrate on the list of florists I was to be calling and had already called. I had turned on the tele for background noise and the 6 o’clock news was on.
                Where could Sherlock be? I thought, it had been five hours since I had heard from him. I had gone through 14 of the florist shops in Brixton. Two had been closed, and only one had someone working there by the last name of Carlton. I had decided to take a brief tour of the shop for something to do and to see if it could possibly be the Timothy Carlton we were looking for. Upon stopping I had asked for Carlton, and had been introduced to a lovely young lady by the name of Christine Carlton. She had no recollection of a Timothy Carlton whatsoever so I was back at the flat trying to decide which of the 12 remaining florists on my list to call.
                In a headlining story there was an explosion this afternoon at the home of Chiara Noveau, where earlier today it was reported that the noted actress and author had gone missing. Police are still combing the evidence to try and find the source of the explosion, but it has been confirmed that it was a remotely detonated bomb. Two people were killed and several more are in the hospital. Police have confirmed…..
                Suddenly the words made sense. I bolted out of my chair and stared at the news story that was now showing pictures of wreckage with ambulances carting bodies away.


                I rang his cell, which went straight to voicemail. I tried again, same result. I sent him a text that read. “Saw explosion, where r u? CALL ME.”
                I paced the living room for a moment, debating whether to go round to the apartment or try the hospital, but then decided to call the police station. They would have the most up-to-date knowledge and I could
                I was patched directly through to Lestrade, hanging around with Sherlock occasionally had its benefits.
                “Lestrade.” The voice at the other end sounded tired.
                “This is John Watson, I just heard about the explosion. Was…”
                Lestrade interrupted me. “Sherlock was there, yes, but he wasn’t among the casualties.” I breathed a sigh of relief.
                “Right, uh…thanks.”
                “Has he turned up back there yet?”
                I paused for a minute. “No, thought he was out at the crime scene, his phone isn’t answering.”
                “Right…” Lestrade paused for a long moment. “He was out here going off about some papers and how we needed to look at them. We found a ransom note and he was insistent on getting it taken back to the lab to get it analyzed. I told Sherlock to slow down and come back in a couple hours after we had time to process everything. He didn’t like that very much and went to wait just outside the building. That’s when I got a call from the station on some of my other cases and told my team to pack it up. We were mostly out of the building when the explosion went off. It was pretty contained but it damaged the surrounding apartments. We’ve got teams over there combing the area and we’ve…picked up everyone in the apartment.” He sighed and seemed even more tired after a moment. “You got anything we might use?”
                I thought quickly, “Sherlock wants me to try and track down a Timothy Carlton. Seems that he might be connected to Chiara Noveau and he was at the crime scene this morning posing as one of your interns.”
                Lestrade swore in the other end of the phone. “And??”
                “No luck yet, but I’m working on it.” I went to the window and opened the curtain a bit. There were a few people walking about in the street, but no one who stood out. Sherlock definitely wasn’t out there.
                There were some indistinct noises in the background and Lestrade shouted indistinctly to them. “I’ve got to get back to the case, keep us updated will you?”
                “And if Sherlock turns up, send him back over here. We need everything he’s got right away. This is going to be a federal case now.”
                The phone clicked off. I held it loosely in my hand and sat down heavily on the sofa. Had to think, Sherlock was at the crime scene when the explosion went off. There was no sign of him, but that didn’t mean that something hadn’t happened. I honestly had nothing to go on with this case, beyond the fact that Chiara had been kidnapped, Sherlock was now missing, and I was unable to track down my only lead.
                *ding – dong* The doorbell rang insistently. I glared at it for a moment, had to think, not take in visitors. It rang again, so I got up and went down the stairs. I noticed a pile of mail on the floor and regretfully realized that I had not paid my half of the bills for the month yet. Mrs. Hudson was going to be rather upset.
                Upon opening the door I found a young man who I hadn’t seen before. He was dressed in jeans and a button-up blue plaid shirt, with a black peacoat on over it.  “Can I help you?”
                “This is 221B, right?” He had an American accent, although cultured and not as foreign-sounding as some Americans.
                “Yes, what do you want?”
                “And you’re John Watson?”
                “That’s right.”
                “Great, I’m Daniel Cavendish. Sherlock Holmes sent me over to relay a message.”
                I looked up and down the street. There were a few people hurrying along but no one suspicious. I looked at Daniel from the corner of my eye. “And what would that be?”
                He had caught me looking and looked over his own shoulder now. “Can I come in for a moment?”
                I shook my head. “No, that’s alright, I think we’d better do our talking out here.”
                He seemed uncertain for a moment, then nodded his head. “Okay. Um, Sherlock told me that he wants you looking into someone called Cort Ortega, and that he might be affiliated with the money laundering business.”
                “Hang on, Sherlock wants me looking into someone else now?”
                “That’s right.”
                “Why didn’t he just ring me up and ask?” This wasn’t making sense to me.
                Daniel furrowed his brow. “Well, maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but I had the same question. See, I ran into Sherlock when I first moved to London and I know he can be a bit of a funny character sometimes.”
                I laughed. “And that’s putting it nicely.”
                “Well, I was walking past Chiara Noveau’s building, it’s on my way to work see, and I saw all the police tape. So, I stopped a minute to see what’s going on. Out comes none other than Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t think he’d seen me because he walked right into the crowd and went down the street. A few minutes later, he comes up from the other direction though, pulls me aside, and tells me to give you this message. Said it was urgent and that you’d know where to go once you got the right information.”
                “How the bloody hell does he think I’ll even get the right information?”
                “Don’t you have police connections?” I glared at Daniel. “Sorry, yeah, anyway, I thought that the message seemed a bit off and Sherlock wasn’t paying attention to me. Seemed to be looking at some other guy in the crowd. So when he took off I followed him. He went across the street there on Abbey way but I stayed on my side. He went down an alley about two blocks from Chiara Noveau’s apartment and then stopped. There was this really big guy that I think had been following him, because he turned down the alley not a minute later. Sherlock seemed to be just waiting for him. Anyway, they talked but I couldn’t hear because I was all the way across the street. Then the big guy just took a swing at Sherlock and he went down.” Here Daniel stopped and shifted, looking over his shoulder again. “Mr. Watson, I think Sherlock’s been kidnapped too.”
                I had been listening to this story with a bit of disbelief, but this was too much. I grabbed Daniel by his shirtfront and pulled him inside the door. “Right punk, I’ve had enough of this.” I shut the door to the street and got in Daniel’s face.
                “Your story doesn’t make any sense, why would Sherlock tell a random person, even if he DID know you, to give me a message when he could ring me up?”
                Daniel tried to back up. “Look Mr. Watson, I’m just trying to say…”
                “I don’t know what your agenda is, but you’ve got the wrong bloke.” I was quite mad at this point. Who did this kid think he was?
                “So maybe you’d better just take your story and scram.” At that moment the front door opened and Mrs. Hudson walked in with her arms full of groceries. I straightened up quickly. Daniel seemed to be a little shaken and kept his eye on me.
                Mrs. Hudson saw us standing there and smiled brightly. “Hello! Got a visitor have you?”
                Daniel stepped forward. “Daniel Cavendish, pleasure to meet you ma’am.”
                “And what nice manners too!” She looked at me still standing there. “Here John, take these bags while I get your visitor a nice cuppa.
                I spoke, “I’m afraid he doesn’t have time for that...” at the exact same moment Daniel said, “That would be very nice, thanks.”
                Mrs. Hudson looked at me a bit askance. “Where are your manners John? This young man seems to have plenty.” She tipped the bags forward and I had to grab them or risk Mrs. Hudson’s wrath.
                “Now, you just come with me Daniel, and we’ll get you all sorted.” She took his arm and proceeded downstairs. “You can join us John after you put those away!” I fumed for a moment in the stairwell and then took the bags to the fridge to get them sorted. I could hear snatches of conversation from the living room where Mrs. Hudson had planted Daniel.
                “Now don’t you mind John, he’s always had a bit of a temper. Shouted at me you know, first time I met him”
                “You don’t say?”
                “That’s right. Anyway, so nice to meet a foreigner round here. Espcially one with such nice manners such as you’ve got.”
                Some rustling sounds and clinking of glasses.
                “Where did you say you were from?” Mrs. Hudson was on a hospitality mission, I dumped some sacks of vegetables into the crisper and hurried to stuff everything else in wherever it would fit. Mrs. Hudson could sort it later.
                “Well, I’m most recently from Mississippi, but I’ve been living in London for the past year now.”
                “Oh, how lovely. So glad you came round! John and Sherlock never get many visitors, at least, ones that aren’t always on about particular cases and work and all that. None of them ever have any time to talk.”
                I burst into the room and Mrs. Hudson looked at me brightly. “There you are John, all sorted?” I nodded and stiffly sat down on the sofa.
                “I’ve made a cuppa for you too.”’
                “Not interested.” I wasn’t being very polite, I needed this young intruder to get out of my house.
                “Don’t be rude, you could do with a little livening up, use your manners for once!” I saw Daniel grinning into his cup of tea, the little git.
                I took my cup of tea and held it, pretending to sip a bit until Mrs. Hudson seemed satisfied. “There, right yes, where were we?”
                Daniel set his cup of tea down. “I was just telling Mr. Watson here, that I saw Sherlock today.”
                “Did you now? Oh, I hope he wasn’t rude to you. Sherlock never seems to know how to be ncie these days.”
                “That’s Sherlock for you,” said Daniel. “Anyway, I saw him across the street and I shouted to try and get his attention but I couldn’t get over there due to the traffic. Once I got across the street he and the, um, man he’d been talking to were gone, no where to be seen.” Daniel was obviously continuing the story.
                “That’s what you came round to tell me?”
                “Oh hush John,” said Mrs. Hudson. “You’ll have to go to your room if you can’t be polite.”
                Daniel seemed to be quite enjoying Mrs. Hudson’s tea. “Right, anyway when I got over there I found this.” Here Daniel pulled out a slim black object. He set it on the table and I could see that it was a phone. Cracked right down the middle of the screen with one crushed edge as if it had been stepped on. I picked up the phone. There were no other identifying marks on it, except for the engraving on the back which simply said…
                “SH,” said Daniel. “That’s how I figured out it was Sherlock’s and not that other guys.”
                “Well, isn’t that lovely!” said Mrs. Hudson, beaming. She was quite proud about being shown right by her visitor. “He just came round to return Sherlock’s phone. Not many people would have done that. I tried to turn on the phone but it wouldn’t light up. Daniel saw what I was trying.
                “That’s why you haven’t been able to get ahold of him all day, his phone’s been missing.” He took another drink of his tea.
                This really was Sherlock’s phone, which meant Daniel had been telling the truth. I stood up and pocketed the phone. “Come on,” I said to Daniel. “We’ve got to get to the police station.” Daniel looked up in surprise.
                “I’m coming with you?”
                “Yes, finish your tea. We need to find Sherlock.” Mrs. Hudson stood up too.
                “Oh dear,” she worried, “Is he missing again?” I smiled at her.
                “No he’s, um, just been without a phone for awhile and I was supposed to, um, meet him at the police station a while ago.” I hurried to put on my coat. “He’s probably been waiting for ages now.”
                “Well, get going then,” said Mrs. Hudson. “I’ll do a bit of the cleaning up then, although I really shouldn’t, not your housekeeper you know.”
                I smiled and nodded to Daniel, who had drained his tea and was on his feet.
                “Right, we’re off.”
                Out the door and into the street we went. I hailed for a cab.
                “So, what are we going to do?” Daniel seemed a little confused by the situation. A cab pulled up and I opened the door.

                “We’re going to find Sherlock,” I said. And with that, we were off.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Case of the Crushed Roses: Chapter Three

Chapter 3
                Back at the flat, Sherlock tossed a phone book to me and immediately ordered me to call all the surrounding flower shops, especially within 10 miles of Chiara Noveau’s apartment.
                “What am I doing this for?” I started flipping through the phone book, there had to be at least 30 listings in the Brixton division for flower shops alone.
                “Ask them for someone named Timothy Carlton, he’ll be working at one of those shops, perhaps managing it.” Sherlock was busy pulling a pile of papers out of his pocket and photographing them one by one.
                I took a look at the papers, they were the research notes from Chiara Noveau’s desk. “Hang on, did you just lift a stack of possible evidence from the victim’s apartment?”
                “Yes, they would have taken at least a week or two to process the regular way, I needed access immediately.” He continued carefully photographing the evidence.
                I opened the phone book, trying to ignore the fact that my flatmate was committing a felony not three feet away.
                “Wouldn't hurt to have asked Lestrade to look through them.”
                Sherlock kept clicking with his phone. “Mmm, tedious.” He said, dismissing my worry.
                “You know, that is illegal, the evidence won’t hold up in court.”
                Sherlock held up one particular piece of paper. “Ah, but then we wouldn't have found this, which will definitely hold up in court.”
                I took a closer look.

Ransom wanted for Chiara Noveau, $14,000,000 pounds. Note acceptance on her public fan website by December 23rd and you will be notified with drop instructions.

                “14 mill, that’s a mint.” I observed.
                “Quite so.” Sherlock piled all the papers together and started out the door. “I’ve got to drop these back that the crime scene, the police will need to know as soon as possible so they can get that message exchanged.”
                “Hang on, why don’t we just post the message?” I thought this was a pretty good idea, better than calling 30 florists.
                “Can’t implicate ourselves now can we?” Sherlock paused at the door. “If we obviously know more than the police then we’ll get taken in for questioning and there goes my chance of solving this case quickly.” He continued out the door, then threw back over his shoulder. “Ring me if you find anything, will you John?”

                And just like that, he was gone. I sighed and turned back to my phonebook. This would be a very boring afternoon. 

I know this chapter is short, but it's right before Christmas and I'm flying home today so bear with me. The next chapter is the best so far, I think you'll like it. It comes out Christmas day too, what a nice present! Keep reading and please leave comments!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Case of the Crushed Roses: Chapter 2 (Part 2 of 2)

Continued... Chapter Two, Part Two

     I turned his attention back to the case. Sherlock was leaving the room, Lestrade right behind. I hurried after them and came up behind Lestrade in the small kitchen. Sherlock got to his knees, looked under the fridge again and pulled out a small piece of something shiny.
                Lestrade leaned in closely, “That looks like…”
                “Glass, a fragment.” Sherlock held it up for John and Lestrade to see. “There are small fragments of glass on the floor and under the fridge. The particles on the floor are tiny, small enough that they will leave a tiny sliver. Someone was careless picking them up, a few larger pieces ended up under the fridge. From the apartment we can tell that the owner was clean, the only thing she left about were her books. Even the last night’s dishes are done and the counters are wiped down. Had she shattered the glass in here the floor would have been mopped over. Instead, someone brushed them up hurriedly, missing bits here and there, perhaps not even using a broom but whatever was at hand.”
                “Yes, but what does that mean?” Lestrade was perplexed by this. “Does it matter that someone didn’t pick up the glass in her kitchen? Could have happened earlier yesterday, friends over for dinner and that sort of thing.”
                Sherlock gave Lestrade a look, and walked briskly towards the front door where Anderson and a few others were working. Anderson looked up in annoyance.
                “If you don’t mind, I’m working here,” said Anderson sarcastically.
                “In that case, this will barely register on your radar,” calmly stated Sherlock.
                “I’m busy,” repeated Anderson, “You’ll get in the way of my work…”
                “And since you never work this should be no problem for you now,” said Sherlock and stepped right up to the doorjamb. Anderson and to shuffle backwards from his kneeling position to avoid being slapped in the face by Sherlock’s coattails. I looked up slightly to try and hide a bubble of laughter. Anderson was always upset by Sherlock, and my laughing at him would not make things any easier. I needn’t have bothered though, as Anderson was too busy glaring at Sherlock’s back to notice my amusement.
                Sherlock crouched by the doorjamb and pointed to the floor. “See, here on the floor, a few drops of dried blood.”
                “What about the doorjamb?” said Anderson, “I’m working on…”
                “Not important,” said Sherlock and continued with his monologue. “These are three specifically placed drops. The last one is dragged slightly, probably from a toe in fact. If you look on the floor you’ll observe that there are no loose nails, bits of metal, or even anything to stub a toe on. In fact, even the break-in is relatively clean. If you test this blood you’ll find it belongs to Miss Nouveau. Now why would she injure her foot here, of all places, and once again, not clean it up?”
                Anderson was glowering by now. Seeing a break in Sherlock’s diatribe, he chimed in. “The apartment is free of evidence besides the broken lock. Nothing’s missing that we know of, so it may be that she came home drunk, had to get in and burst through the door by accident…”
                “Not possible,” interrupted Sherlock. Anderson opened his mouth again but Sherlock continued before Anderson could get the words out. “The lock was broken through a solid piece of wood by a good amount of force. That is not something you do on accident when you’re drunk, especially not a female. Considering the height most of these pictures are hung at she was also shorter, between 5’3” and 5’5”. She would never have broken into her own apartment, how would she have locked up after herself.”
                “You couldn’t possibly tell that just from a splintered doorjamb” spluttered Anderson.
                “On the contrary,” replied Sherlock, “It’s quite obvious.” He didn’t expound. Anderson went back to studying the door jamb, obviously trying to figure out what was so obvious to Sherlock.
                I glanced around the apartment. There were a few pictures here and there, most of them set slightly below where I would have put them. T the pictures would have been at a perfect visual height for someone who was tall as Sherlock mentioned. The things he notices, unbelievable. I just barely stopped himself from saying this out loud. Sherlock didn’t mind the compliments, in fact he seemed to take pride in them, becoming even more at the top of his game. It was Anderson who didn’t like being shown up time and again by the world’s only consulting detective.
                Lestrade shifted on his feet, getting tired of waiting. “Alright Sherlock, walk us through this so I can make sense of it all.” Sherlock seemed to switch into hunting dog mode and walked through the crime scene, pointing out the specific spots as he spoke.
                “We know that the disappearance happened at night, most likely she was in bed judging by the rumpled covers when something awakened her at the door. She got up and went to the kitchen first to get a drink of water. We know she didn’t go to the door first because there is no blood in the kitchen so, in the kitchen with a glass in her hand. There is a knock or sound at the door, startling enough that she drops the glass. Miss Nouveau walks to the door, looks out, sees nothing. She pricks her toe on something, this isn’t caused by the door bursting in because she has time to hide. So, she’s at the door, something frightens her enough that she needs to hide. Where? It’s a small apartment, only place she can think of is the chest. She gets in, crushing the flowers. The attacker enters, notices the shattered glass, but continues on to the bedroom. He removes Miss Nouveau from the chest, slams her onto the floor, and then gives her some sort of drug so she passes out. There are no other signs of struggle in the apartment and the attacker had time to sweep up the glass on his way out.”
                Lestrade opened his mouth and Sherlock spoke for him, “Why would they sweep up the glass, well let’s see. They did want us to think it’s a break-in, but the papers knew about it before the police did. My theory, there was a third party in here. One that would have cared about the victim and not wanted any harm to come to her. This party would have been upset at seeing the shattered glass, but definitely was the orchestrator of the kidnapping. So, the attacker is a violent person, judging by the crushed flowers and the knock-out method. However, the third party is someone less violent, probably female, definitely knows the victim.”
                “That could be any number of people,” said Lestrade as he crossed his arms. “We can’t do a blanket check on everyone she knows.”
                “Relatives first, they are statistically more likely.” Sherlock pulled off the latex gloves he had been wearing and prepared to leave. “John and I will look for something a bit closer, narrow the playing field.” Sherlock started out the door, then turned and asked Lestrade: “Oh, and I will need to see the ransom note.”
                “Wasn’t a note,” said Lestrade, “Put that back!” He snapped this to an assistant that was trying to surreptitiously lift some scribbled notes from the desk. “Get out! You’re off the case!” The young man ducked his head and ran out down the hall. “The nerve of these new people.” Said Lestrade, running his hands through his hair. “You can almost never trust them, it’s pathetic.”
                “The note.” Said Sherlock, who was still standing in the doorway.
                “Right,” sighed Lestrade. “There was no note, I said that on the phone to get you to come down and take a look.”
                I looked over to Sherlock who had gone into thinking mode. I knew enough from cases that no note usually meant something more serious than a kidnapping. Usually it was an arranged disappearance like Sherlock had originally thought or…
                “No ransom, this is definitely a revenge kidnapping. Something’s gone wrong in her life.” Sherlock turned and kept walking out the door, “Keep an eye out for a ransom note, until you get one there’ll be nothing to go on.”
                I ran after Sherlock and caught up, flipping through my notes. “There’s not a lot to go on, what are we going to start with?” Sherlock pulled out his phone and flipped it around.
                “You noticed she was researching crime syndicates?”
                “Yes, her notes were on the desk.”
                “Exactly, the same notes that intern was trying to lift before Lestrade shouted at him.” He flipped the phone around and showed me a photograph of the young man, obviously covertly snapped while Sherlock had been looking around. “He was acting nervously, much more nervous than any of the other new interns. Darting glances, hiding his hands, he was more than nervous, he was trying to hide something.”
                Sherlock took his phone back, clicked through a few times, and then showed me another photograph. “Timothy Carlton, one-time boyfriend of Chiara Noveau, it’s all over the papers.”
                “Hang on, that’s the same…”
“Intern from the crime scene yes.” He snapped the phone shut.
                “Like I said John, relatives and ex-boyfriends are most suspicious. The fact that she was researching crime syndicates for her next novel does add a level of suspicion that way, but we start with what we know and work out.”
                “Right…” I jotted down a few more notes and asked Sherlock again. “So, what are we going to start with?”
                “This flower,” he said, holding up the one intact rose.

                “The flower?” How were we going to get any information from a flower?

(Chapter Three coming on December 23rd)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Case of the Crushed Roses: Chapter Two (Part 1 of 2)

Chapter 2
                I stepped carefully under the police tape. They had stretched it across the doorway of a rather small flat, not nearly as pretentious or expensive as I had expected it would be. Sherlock was already in the apartment, turning things over and peering into corners. The flat was smallish, perfect for one or two people. The living area had two little sofas, and a desk with a sitting chair. Books were piled onto bookshelves all around the room. They weren’t stacked like normal books, but rather piled haphazardly here and there, as if they were read frequently. Except for the bookshelves, the rest of the room was quite neat.
                I poked around a bit and then watched Sherlock running his fingers over the kitchen floor. He looked at them, then knelt and peered under the fridge. “Find anything?” I asked? Sometimes Sherlock had all the information within a few minutes and there was no need to even take lunch off.
                Sherlock didn’t answer, but brushed past a couple of interns who had been staring at him. We were a frequent enough appearance at the crime scenes that usually the whole was used to us. The new ones still tended to stare though. He disappeared into the bedroom. I noticed a pile of notes by the computer. I flipped through them, jotted down a few notes and followed Sherlock into the bedroom. Lestrade was standing with his arms folded, watching Sherlock look through the apartment.
                I noticed that the covers on a double sized bed were turned back and rumpled. Books piled the room in a more haphazard fashion here, but the majority of the color was provided by bright blue drapes, and a black and neon quilt.
                “She has a bit of an eclectic taste when it comes to furnishing, I’ll give you that.” Said Lestrade. Sherlock paused for a moment, sniffed the air, then whirled on a medium sized hope chest at the end of the bed and pulled it open.
                “I was wrong,” said Sherlock, and then started carefully poking at something inside the chest.
                “Excuse me, what was that?” said Lestrade with a trace of a smile on his face.
                “Wrong, not a set-up, Chiara Nouveau was kidnapped.”
                “That’s what we figured,” Lestrade shifted to see what had captured Sherlock’s attention in the hope chest. “What gives it away? On the phone you were convinced it was a set-up.”
                “Flowers,” said Sherlock. I moved over to get a view. There were crushed petals from what had been a bouquet of roses. The stems were still bound together by a dark, wine-colored ribbon. The dark petals were now mostly a small pile of flakes. Three of the roses were partially intact, and one was barely crushed at all.
                “Crushed flowers?” inquired Lestrade. “That doesn’t make sense.”
                “Makes perfect sense,” shot back Sherlock. “Miss Nouveau saved these roses, they were special to her, thus placing them in this out of the spot way where they most likely wouldn’t get crushed and she could control the environment. Probably from a funeral or an old boyfriend that she still misses. If they were from a wedding or a celebration she would have them out in a vase but no, something she doesn’t want to be constantly reminded of but also doesn’t want to forget. So, something sad, betting on the ex-boyfriend theory, especially considering that these are what used to be red roses.” Sherlock paused the diatribe and looked up and Lestrade. “Look into ex-boyfriends for Chiara Nouveau, shouldn’t be too hard to find given her celebrity status.” Lestrade rolled his eyes.
                “What else have you got, how does this prove she was actually kidnapped?”
                Sherlock jabbed at the flowers. “Miss Nouveau would never destroy these flowers, they were special to her. If she was done with them she would have thrown them away. No, these were crushed while in the chest and by force, plus they are still here.”
                I felt the need to interject, “Perhaps she got angry and smashed them herself, forgot to clean them up?”
                “If you’re going to destroy something in a rage, you do it properly. See here,” Sherlock carefully lifted out the intact flower, “Four of the flowers are not completely crushed; this was by accident.” Sherlock rose and pointed to the floor. “You can see a few flakes randomly patterned on the floor.”
                There were indeed a small trail of rose petal pieces on the floor. There were a few larger ones among several small ones, as if they had carelessly fallen from some thick fabric, a jumper most likely. I crouched by a few flakes that seemed to be gathered by the door. They formed almost a perfect circle, and seemed to have been ground into the carpet. Sherlock continued his diatribe.
                “If the flowers had been crushed by hand the flakes would be spread in a wider fashion, as they would have been brushed off the hands and floated around the room. These are in a direct path of sorts. They were also not brushed off clothing before the clothing met the floor. Notice the circular pattern that the flakes are in, with the smallest flakes being at the center. These petals were on a part of the body, most likely a knee or a shoulder considering those are the two items most likely to come in contact with the floor and make that particular pattern.”
                “So, why would someone kneel or lie in dried flowers?” asked John. Lestrade looked on expectantly.
                “That is the proper question now.” Sherlock was in his element. “You wouldn’t put yourself in a small space unless you needed to hide for some reason. It’s possible that the lady had some friends over and they played hide-and-seek, but those flowers wouldn’t have been crushed for fun in that scenario. Rather, if the chest was needed as a place to hide, whoever got in there would have taken the time to remove the flowers or found another place to hide.”
                “Perhaps a friend was in there that didn’t know what the flowers meant.” Sherlock shook his head.
                “A friend would have been even more careful about invading another’s space, even if it were a close friend. You mess up my sock drawer John, but you wouldn’t break my valuables.” Lestrade raised his eyebrows, but Sherlock provided no further explanation. I shook my head, Sherlock was referring to when I had gone through Sherlock’s drawers to ensure he hadn’t hidden cigarettes anywhere. Sherlock was clean, but sometimes the temptation became too much when he was bored…
                I turned his attention back to the case. Sherlock was leaving the room, Lestrade right behind. I hurried after them and came up behind Lestrade in the small kitchen. Sherlock got to his knees, looked under the fridge again and pulled out a small piece of something shiny.
                Lestrade leaned in closely, “That looks like…”
                “Glass, a fragment.” Sherlock held it up for John and Lestrade to see. “There are small fragments of glass on the floor and under the fridge. The particles on the floor are tiny, small enough that they will leave a tiny sliver. Someone was careless picking them up, a few larger pieces ended up under the fridge. From the apartment we can tell that the owner was clean, the only thing she left about were her books. Even the last night’s dishes are done and the counters are wiped down. Had she shattered the glass in here the floor would have been mopped over. Instead, someone brushed them up hurriedly, missing bits here and there, perhaps not even using a broom but whatever was at hand.”
                “Yes, but what does that mean?” Lestrade was perplexed by this. “Does it matter that someone didn’t pick up the glass in her kitchen? Could have happened earlier yesterday, friends over for dinner and that sort of thing.”
                Sherlock gave Lestrade a look, and walked briskly towards the front door where Anderson and a few others were working. 

(Chapter Two to be continued December 21st)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Case of the Crushed Roses: Chapter One

There was one peculiar case which inimitably demonstrated Sherlock Holmes powers that I have come to call The Case of The Crushed Roses. This case stands out to me in part because of the celebrity involved, and also because of how few clues we had to go on. It was one of the only times that Sherlock was misled, and that almost cost us our lives at one point.
The case started, as many do, on Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes and I reside. I was reading the morning paper partly for the news, and partly to see if any cases had cropped up. Sherlock had been without a case for a few days and was starting to become insufferable. Headlined in that morning’s paper was the title: Missing: Chiara Nouveau, Actress and Author.
I skimmed the article, a young actress had disappeared in the middle of the night and the papers suspected foul play, no word of a ransom yet. All in all, a good mornings case for our Sherlock Holmes.
                I flipped the paper across the coffee table to Sherlock. “Look, saw something here that might be up your alley.” I said the words as if the case didn’t matter, as that was when Sherlock is most likely to bite. On this particular morning however, Sherlock flicked his fingers in annoyance and continued typing rapidly on his laptop.
                “Saw it, she’s not really missing. Publicity stunt, really Watson do your homework.” I frowned and pulled the paper back to myself.
                “How can you tell?” My brows furrowed, re-reading over the story. “Looks like she was taken from her flat early this morning…signs point to a break-in…” There was nothing I could see that so obviously screamed publicity stunt to me as it did to Sherlock. It seemed to be a serious case, written in the London Times, and they were known for their attention to detail in breaking news stories. They don’t do things like this for publicity stunts,” I said.
                Sherlock sighed, then spoke rapidly. “Headlines are written the previous day or very late in the evening. The latest that headline could have been written was 11 pm the day before in order to make print time, while the paper indicates she didn’t go missing until between 3 and 4. At 3 o’clock this morning some paperboy was rolling up that paper, for delivery between 6 and 7 this morning.” He resumed typing.
                As was usual when Sherlock released a barrage of information at me, I nodded and filled in the rest to myself out loud as it processed through my mind. “So this paper was written before she was even confirmed missing….” I paused as the information clicked, and then looked up to ask another question. Barely had I started to speak however when Sherlock interrupted.
                “They would have had to inform the whole staff that they were going to lie in the next day’s paper, not something any news source can risk taking a chance on, at least in this scale.” I was secretly pleased as it did seem he had put some thought into this case, perhaps that was why the walls were still in order this morning. Sherlock seemed entranced by his typing still, probably searching out information on online forums for some project or other.
I looked over the case again and something didn’t seem right. Chiara Noveau was a rather good writer and actress, known for keeping a level head and not taking to the celebrity life like some. I tried another tact, hoping to get the information once and for all that would evidence to me why we didn’t need to follow this case. “Shame really, I rather liked her. She had some good films. Didn’t think she’d stoop to such a low-brow stunt.”
                “You’d be surprised John, at what people will do once they’re famous in order to keep the spotlight.” Sherlock was still typing rapidly.
                “Right,” I said. Time to look for something different for a case today. I continued flipping through the paper. “Anything of else interest in here today?”
                Sherlock finished what he was typing on and began rapidly clicking about on the laptop. “Murder, page A5, open and shut domestic case. There are a few robberies, a few blathering news stories about what this world is coming to. There’s a rather promising auction on page G14, that oil baron has gone bankrupt, might be worth looking into.”
                “What for? Paintings from his house?” I hadn’t known Sherlock to keep tabs on auctions or real estate.
                “No John, he was financially stable for the last few years and then his estate abruptly went bankrupt after his sudden death. Obviously there is something wrong with the accounts. I could probably find who was responsible within the day, give the lawyers something to work on for the next decade.” This was spoken without a trace of irony or pride.
                I smiled to himself; that was just like Sherlock. I flipped through the paper for a few more minutes but there was nothing else to catch either mine or Sherlock’s interest. I got up went to the kitchen. As usual, Sherlock deduced that I was about to get a cuppa and before I could ask he put in his order.  
                “Thank you John, two sugars please.” I rolled my eyes and continued on to the kitchen. We had spoken about waiting for the correct social cues as people tended to appreciate a chance for their side of the conversation, but Sherlock often didn’t bother around me. While I was pouring the tea I heard Sherlock’s cellphone ring, which Sherlock immediately picked up and answered with a low “Sherlock Holmes.” I paused, and then set the kettle down before pouring a second cup. Sherlock would probably be off in a heartbeat, forgetting all about the tea if it was anything of importance at all. I kept preparing my own tea while listening in to Sherlock’s side of the conversation.
                “Publicity stunt, not worth my time.”
                “The newspapers knew about the crime before it happened, it’s an open and shut case.”
                “Has a ransom been submitted? Then she’ll turn up in a day or so, claiming it was the worst experience of her life, write two books on the subject and get more money than either of us have ever seen. I’ve got other things to worry about.”
                I peeked in at Sherlock, the faint yelling of a person at the other end of the line was now audible, even from the kitchen. I hoped for Sherlock’s sake Lestrade would drag Sherlock out to the crime scene, he was going to become unbearable without anything to do. If I had known how deadly this case would turn I may have wished for something else, as I was about to get my wish for no boredom for Sherlock.
                “Lestrade, I do not need to see the crime scene, the evidence already at hand points clearly to a publicity stunt.”
                “Maybe the paper was in on in after all.” I chimed in. Sherlock flicked his gaze to me, studied something for a second, and then rose.
                “Fine, I’ll be there in half an hour.” Sherlock snapped the phone shut and quickly moved to his coat. “Lestrade thinks there’s something fishy about the situation, accused me of jumping to conclusions. I’m going to the crime scene to point out exactly how this was a set-up.”
                “Want me to come along?” I set his tea down and followed Sherlock to the hall. This would be a great opportunity to be in Chiara Nouveau’s apartment. Good bragging rights if it turned into an interesting story as well.
                “Of course.” Sherlock said, gathering a few items into his pockets. “Perhaps you could make this into a blog post about the dangers of publicity stunts.”
                I hurried to grab my coat and wallet. “Of course. It’ll be a huge scandal once it gets back to the other papers that they were given false information.”
                Sherlock paused for a moment, murmured the words, “False information,” then hurried out the door. He didn’t speak again until we were all the way to the crime scene. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Imminent FanFiction To Be Coming

As a writing exercise I decided to write a Sherlock Holmes story after the manner of Conan Doyle. It's told from John Watson's point of view, but set in the same world that the BBC's Sherlock is in. It's been a really fun exercise, and mind-blowingly difficult to come up with the things that Sherlock notices, I've had to write the story from the victim and the baddie's point of view, and then re-write it from Sherlock's point of view just so I could know what to have Sherlock actually notice!

Anyway, just wanted to let my readers know that as a treat, I'll be releasing the story one chapter at a time, every two days starting on December 17th, in honor of the the impending Series 3 of Sherlock! There should also be a Christmas mini-episode released in on the BBC as well. Either way, it's coming.

 If I get a good response, I'll also post the story from the baddie's point of view after the whole story is out..

Okay, ready! The Case Of The Crushed Roses, coming Tuesday, December 17th 2013! To a blog, this blog, near you!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Khan's Going To Be Angry When He Wakes Up....

*It's been pointed out to me that Khan was going to blow up Captain Kirk's ship anyway after receiving all of his crew members. I have to go watch the movie again, which is a struggle as I don't actually own it, being poor and all that. Until then, my theory is that Khan was going to destroy evidence and stuff. Yeah, I'll fix this in a day or two, sorry for all the true nerds!*

I'm going to admit right off the bat, I never got into Star Trek until the movie with Chris Pine in 2009. I watched that once, thought it was good, and then went and got a hamburger. That was the extent of my fandom for Star Trek at that point. Then, Star Trek: Into Darkness came out, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan/John Harrison/Hot Villain.

Notice how Benedict Cumberbatch's character immediately became the leading promotional picture of Star Trek. Just saying. They didn't even use Chris Pine or anyone else unless they had to. Okay, done saying. 

I'm not ashamed of admitting I went to see Star Trek just because of who was in it. The movie got me to do some research on the Star Trek universe and watch some of the original episodes so score 1 for J.J. Abrams and the rest of the Star Trek fandom.

But there are several plot holes with Star Trek: Into Darkness. There have been countless reviews written on the subject, but let's look at one view in particular. In my opinion, John Harrison is the underdog good guy of this Star Trek film, the most trustworthy, and we should root for him instead of the illogical Kirk.

SPOILER ALERT (Lots of spoilers, this will have almost the entire plot of Star Trek: Into Darkness, plus some bits from the 2009 movie, and info from the old episodes. Although, if you aren't a Star Trek fan already or at least know the plot, then what the heck are you doing with your life? This is American Culture!!!)

Let's go through this point by plot point.

1. John Harrison appears and blows up a major research facility, then kills a bunch of general officers who are having a meeting next to a huge glass window with no protection (air or otherwise). This marks him as a criminal to those who don't otherwise know (ahem, Kirk).

2. Harrison flees to Kronos and Captain Kirk goes after him with a bunch of suspicious missiles.

3. Kirk captures John Harrison, brings him aboard the ship.

4. Plot twist, John Harrison is actually Khan, the leader of a race of super-humans who were discriminated against during war-time. They removed themselves from Earth and froze themselves to wait for a more accepting year. Now, 300 years later, the people of Earth are pretty much still a**holes and Khan was forced to use his super-knowledge to build technology that Admiral Marcus can use to start war with the Klingons.
Coordinates 23-17-46-11 if you please....
5. Captain Kirk investigates Khan's allegations, discovers that everything he says is true from the torpedoes containing Khan's crew to the war base behind Jupiter.

6. Captain Kirk discovers that Marcus doesn't want him to know this stuff, decides to protect Khan and is told he's going to get blown up.

7. Thanks to Scotty, Marcus has a gun malfunction and Kirk aligns himself with Khan to take on Marcus. (I'm pointing out that Admiral Marcus has proven 3 or 4 times over at this point to be a liar and a greedy b******.)

8. Kirk, Khan, and Scotty successfully take over Marcus's ship and then....Kirk has Khan stunned, intending to return him to Earth to try him as a war criminal.

9. Kirk forgets Khan is a superhuman and Khan wakes up, kicks butt, kills Marcus, and takes Scotty, Kirk, and Marcus's daughter hostage.

10. Pointy Ears arranges trade with Khan, all the torpedoes containing his crew for Kirk, Scotty, and that girl.

11. Khan's crew is removed from the torpedoes, the torpedoes are armed, and Khan, thinking the trade is going to go ahead perfectly and he will be allowed to go free and get back to deep space, trades Kirk, Scotty, and the Weapons Expert for his crew.

12. Plot twist! The torpedoes blow up Khan's ship, causing him to think his entire crew is dead and causing his ship to crash into London, killing thousands of people.

13. Plot twist! Kirk saves his own ship, but dies in the process, now they actually need Khan again to use his super-blood to save Kirk. Dang it!

14. Spock chases Khan down, beats him up, captures him, steals his blood, and freezes him again. Presumably without telling him that his crew is still alive.

Why would you do a thing like that?
Do you see anything wrong with this picture? I do. In this movie Marcus is obviously the bad guy, and Kirk ruins a perfectly good alliance with possibly the most powerful person in the galaxy. I've brought these points up to Star Trek fans, and do know what I get told repeatedly?
"He's a hot villain so you're supposed to feel sorry for him, but he's really a bad guy"
"If you watched the original Star Trek movies you'd understand that you can't trust Khan."
"Khan would probably turn on Kirk and Spock anyway, plus he's a war criminal! Watch the old movies, you'll understand."
"Watch the old episodes and then it will make sense."

Excuse me, but director J.J. Abrams intended for these new Star Trek movies to stand alone from the old ones, not to rely on the old ones for plot support. He's done a bang-up job of reinventing all the characters, right down to making the Enterprise not really for space exploration but for war. Seriously, isn't the old slogan of Star Trek (and also the one used at the end of Into Darkness) "Space, the final frontier."? That's what I understood, correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure that you will. We've yet to see the Enterprise actually be used for exploration....

Also, if I understand correctly, Captain Kirk in the old movies was the youngest captain ever with only 17 years of training. 17 YEARS! New ones, Kirk has a mere 3 years of training. I could go on, but the point is, NEW STAR TREK'S STAND ALONE. That is why I refuse to take into account anything from the old movies to support plot holes in the new one. (This includes info on how old Khan was leader of the Eugenics Wars and not to be trusted, everything is backwards in the new Star Trek and we must take the information as it is presented, not as we think it should be presented.)

Old Khan....

...and new Khan, big enough difference for ya?

That established, my point is that we have to draw our own conclusions about the validity of whether or not Khan is a villain. And, in my opinion, Khan is the underdog hero of Into Darkness that gets screwed over by an illogical, undertrained captain and a power-hungry admiral. Here's how I came to that conclusion.

1. Khan is woken up by Marcus and told his crew will be killed if he doesn't cooperate. Khan seems like an intelligent guy, but he also seems like someone that won't just roll over and say okay. Seems to me that Marcus probably killed 2 or 3 or 10 of Khan's crew to convince him that he meant business. Had to be something dramatic to keep such a powerful, intelligent person in captivity to design torpedoes for an entire year.
Opinion: Marcus is a jerk and lots of other not very nice words. Doesn't Iron Man start off with Tony Stark in captivity to build a weapon and then Stark punches his way out and kills a bunch of the bad guys with the very weapon that he created? The exact same thing happens with Khan. Forced into captivity to build a weapon, then he punches his way out. I mean, seriously, we root for this type of guy all the time. Khan is the victim and Admiral Marcus is the conniving baddie already.

2. Khan escapes by himself, blows up a research facility, accidentally kills Kirk's mentor, double-escapes to Kronos.
Opinion: As he was gunning for Marcus, and as he put it, he was retaliating according to how he'd been treated, I'd say it was valid. In his eyes, in fact if you look at it without a preconceived notion of who the hero is, Khan could technically be the underdog hero of this story. Just because it's told from Kirk's point of view doesn't mean Kirk is the hero. Khan took out his biggest threat and initiated a standoff that he knew would bring his crew closer to being free. Pretty hero-like if you ask me. 

3. Khan surrenders on Kronos without killing Kirk, Spock, or Uhara. Saves them in fact. Then all his information is proven valid, as are his reasons for doing what he did. This is proven by Kirk when he opens the torpedoes to find the crewsicles and by Scotty when he finds the war base behind Jupiter.
Opinion: So, everything Khan has said up to this point is valid. Everything Marcus has said proves to be a lie. Logically, who should we be trusting here? The only one that says anything about why Khan is supposed to be feared is Marcus, who uses a tiny throw-away line saying Khan was a general in the Eugenics Wars on Earth, from which he escapes. Well, Into Darkness shows that Marcus is a liar so why should we believe him? These movies stand on their own, remember? For all we know Marcus could be lying and Khan just tried to escape a genocide of his people. Logically, since Khan has been proven to tell the truth and Malcolm has been a proven liar, Kirk should trust Khan at this point. He doesn't though, obviously doesn't have a bit o' logical sense. Been stiffed on his starship captain's training if you ask me. 

4. Khan helps Kirk defuse the situation with Malcolm by taking the ship. Khan even saves Kirk when his faceplate malfunctions.
Opinion: Khan could have let Kirk die in space, no fault of his, and gotten Scotty to help him take over the ship without Kirk if he wanted to. But he didn't. Kirk was the one that needed Khan, not the other way around. We see during a minor fight that Kirk is obviously jealous of Khan's fighting skillz, so he tells Scotty to neutralize him on the bridge once they achieve their objective. Doesn't that seem underhanded to you? I mean, up until this point everything Khan has done has been for a good, valid, decent reason. Save his crew, help Kirk so Kirk can save his crew, not kill Kirk because he thinks Kirk has morals. (Khan tells him so when in the prisoner bay, no secret there). Logically, Kirk should be looking to Khan as an awesome ally at this point. 

5. Kirk has Scotty stun Khan, meaning to make him a prisoner again.
Opinion: Why? Khan is obviously a threat to Marcus, but is just waiting for orders and doing as the Captain commanded. You watch him on the bridge of Marcus's ship. They take the bridge and Khan looks to Kirk for further orders. He doesn't go straight to Marcus to kill him, Khan WAITS FOR ORDERS! And Kirk just has him taken down. Do'h, Kirk? Are you sure you got out of Starfleet in only 3 years because you were smart or just because you were so dumb the teachers couldn't stand to look at you anymore?

photo of Khan on Starfleet deck waiting for orders

6. Khan shows off his superhuman-ness by jumping up, taking everyone hostage, and killing Marcus, who most likely killed members of Khan's crew and definitely held him captive for a year making him build weapons to start a war.
Opinion: If it was Kirk taking out Marcus we would be cheering. Instead, because a semi-threatening guy took out the really powerful baddie, we are supposed to feel...what? I was confused. Apparently we were supposed to feel sorry for Marcus because he had his head imploded. 
I was elated the Khan took out Marcus, and in such a cool way too! I mean, if I had skull-crushing powers I would go around...smashing things I guess, it'd be fun. But I wasn't supposed to be happy that Marcus died, I was supposed to feel terrified now that Khan was in control. Well, if Kirk hadn't just made an enemy out of Khan by shooting him and proving that he, Kirk, was absolutely untrustworthy, then I think they would have been okay. In fact, they probably would have been well on their way to a male bonding moment if not for Kirk's jealousy.

7. Khan trades Kirk, Scotty, and Marcus's daughter for his 72 crewsicles.
Opinion: Fair trade, why is Kirk complaining? Because he doesn't want to give Khan the cool black ship to get away in? It was probably expensive, maybe they could arrange a different transport. Of course, things are kind of tense between the two and Kirk has proven he can't be trusted, so Khan's going to take what he has and get away. Sure, Khan threatens to kill Kirk's crew if they won't turn over the torpedoes, but what's the issue there? Opposing sides threaten each other all the time. Kirk would do the same if he were in Khan's position and obviously had the upper hand. Plus, Khan DOESN'T blow up Kirk after getting his crewsicles.

8. The trade happens, but we find out that the torpedoes all explode in Khan's ship and kill all the remaining crew on it. This includes Marcus's old crew that were just following orders, that Kirk has now killed. He intended to kill Khan and make Khan think his crewsicles are all dead. Instead, he killed Admiral Marcus's men and ensured that the cool black ship would now crash into earth and kill a bunch of civies in London.
Opinion: Why? You just blew up the most powerful, expensive ship in the galaxy rather than let Khan take it. Talk about toddler syndrome. And you killed a bunch of people in London, AND you killed all the people left on that ship. Khan's superhuman powers pretty much guarantee he will be the only survivor. Seems to me that the baddie meter at this point goes straight to Captain Kirk. 
The moment Khan thinks his family all just died. Why would you do that!!!
9. Due to the fight the Enterprise is damaged and almost crashes, but Kirk saves it by dying in the process. Now Spock realizes, dang it, they need Khan to save Kirk. He transports down to Earth with a GUN, obviously to take Khan hostage. Khan takes off, Spock catches up. They have a fight and Spock wins, taking Khan hostage again.
Opinion: Khan really has the short end of the stick here, he's been left in a crashing ship, thinks he has just lost his entire family, and now has an assassin sent after him. What do we do with assassins? We kill them. (Remember Han Solo) Of course Khan fights after Spock engages him in the battle. Would you just die if someone sent an assassin after you? Nope, you'd try to get away first. Khan is still trying to win, against all odds. He doesn't though, because remember, Kirk and Spock are supposed to be the good guys.

10. Khan gets frozen again.
Opinion: This was the saddest moment of the entire movie. He probably doesn't know his crew is alive. Million to one bet that Spock kept him stunned until they could siphon off his blood, then they sent him straight to the cyrogenics chamber. He's going to be pretty dang mad when he wakes up.

So: Conclusion
If you read through all that, you've got all the facts. Khan was simply trying to save his family using Kirk to help. Then, when Kirk turned on him, Khan took out the Marcus (a proven baddie) and successfully traded Kirk and friends for his family. Then, Khan thinks his family gets blown up, tries to escape again, and gets taken out. Captain Kirk is an illogical bumbling idiot, and Khan is the underdog hero who just doesn't win in this movie.

Yeah, I said it. Khan is the good guy in Star Trek: Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams version, deal with it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

You Don't Exist: The Social Media Plague

Do you exist if you don't have a Facebook? A Twitter? A Snapchat address? What if you don't have a phone? Do you exist as a person?

The answer is sadly, becoming more and more a solid: NO.

You don't exist if you don't have a Facebook that connects you with friends and future employers and serves as your login for GooglePlus and Tumblr. You don't exist if you don't have a phone number that you can be quickly and easily reached at. You will be excluded from dating if you don't join Tinder, and from communicating with your friends if you can't respond to their Snapchats.

Maybe I'm being a little dramatic here, but it's the truth. I see more and more people that are constantly glued to their mobile devices, unable to look up and connect with anyone in real life. In many people's worlds, their true connections are only with people through the digital media. If you don't have a profile, an avatar, a page, a number or a name there, where are you?

I have a flip-phone. An old Verizon brand phone that only plays the most basic of games and can't receive video or any special characters. It doesn't do Instagram or email, and definitely doesn't have a 24-hr connection with Facebook. Although I want a new smartphone, I am content to do with my old version until I can comfortably afford one. And what I'm finding out is...I'm starting to not exist in the terms of my peers.

That's scary, to be considered as not existing.

So let's look at this here, each different form of communication is the same as having a voice. Granted, we have several voices now-days, but hear me out. If you cannot speak, do you exist? Logically you do not. If you don't have a Facebook page, you don't exist in the Facebook world. If you don't have a smartphone with Snapchat, you don't exist in Snapchatland.

Inability to communicate + lack of connection to specific social media = nonexistance

Think about that for a moment. You. Don't. Exist. "But wait..." you say, thinking you have found the loophole. "I DO have a Snapchat and Instagram and Twitterfeed and YouTube page. I have the connections therefore I MUST exist." Let me ask again, do you have a Pinterest? A Bebo? A deviantART page? What about Flickr or LinkedIn? Tagged? Xt3? Don't even get me started on all the versions of Facebook that there are., Faceparty (UK exclusive) and FriendFace. (Ok, FriendFace is fictional, but are you starting to catch my drift?) There are several of these sites and many more that I haven't even named where you don't have a page and thus, you don't exist. In fact, you don't exist on several different levels.

You. Don't. Exist.

"I am a real person! I DO exist! I'll prove it!" So you say, but in a world where the only real communication happens via some form of technology, if you don't have that technology you don't exist.

Let me illustrate a few things here. I was out with some friends the other night. I jumped in the car, excited to begin the adventure and started to say hi to people. "Hi! What's up? I've got a story to...." I petered off. Nobody was listening. The entire car, crammed full of people, were collectively glued to their phones. Even the driver (who was still in park mode) was quickly answering a few texts and searching for a new song playlist.

I was completely at a loss. Do I try to interrupt my friends to talk to them? Do I sit and wait for them to finish? Do I pull out my phone and pretend I have important phone stuff to do too? I was in a car full of people, and not one of them was acknowledging my real-life presence. I thought, is this really what our world is becoming? And I felt lonely, for even though I was there with them, I did not exist. I decided for an in-between strategy. After waiting an appropriate amount of time and trying to start a conversation, I pulled out my phone. After fiddling with the settings on my obviously high-tech flip phone, I decided to text the person sitting next to me.
*Texting! I just wanted to hear the sound again :)* Message sent
Semi-success, awkward conversation was achieved for the remainder of the ride. Which made me happy, awkward conversation is better than no conversation! In fact, I specialize in awkward conversation that makes people wonder if I have any social skillz whatsoever. I don't, thanks for asking, but I pretend to.

There have been studies done that say our generation is the most prone to loneliness and depression. I believe it. There is a chemical reason we enjoy socializing with real people, and without getting into details the fact remains that humans are social animals. While social media makes us feel closer and feel like we have more people to interact with, in reality we are just fooling ourselves. An evening at home, lying on your bed and texting people is infinitely less satisfying than an evening spent talking and laughing with real people. You get to see facial expressions, touch them, smell them (even if you don't want to) and above all, form a real connection.

So I don't exist in Snapchat, Tumblr, or Friendface. I am semi-okay with that. I would like to exist in Snapchat and have a GPS as a phone. You probably don't exist in Instagram or Pinterest. That's okay. I would like to be okay with existing in less social media than I do. I would like to say that I don't depend on Facebook to connect me to people, but I do. It's a complicated situation, I want to be more connected than I really am, but at the same time dislike that I have this need. I'm not perfect, and I bet we all fight with this more than we want to say. I would like to be a hardcore advocate of NO CELL PHONES in buildings and stuff, but I'm not. I see their benefits, and I like knowing when I'm going to get a text.

Point of this blog, 
You Don't Exist. 
And you know what? 
That's okay. 
It really is. 

I know you don't believe me, but try to. Social media serves a good purpose, but too much of a good thing can kill you. So your friends are all on Twitter and make fun of you for being a Reddit user instead. That's okay, maybe you could take your evening Reddit time and go to a coffee shop instead. Even if you don't get anything, go hang out. Meet some new people. Go to a place where cellphones are off-limits and see how well you get along with others when they can't reach you for an hour.

It's no mistake that my two best friends in the entire world have the same love-hate relationship with technology that I do and are slightly behind in social media as well. We have things in common because we can talk face-to-face for hours and never get tired of it. I love finding people like that, people that aren't afraid to be unconnected from the interwebs for a few hours. These are always the most real, most interesting people. They haven't lost their ability to communicate beyond 160 characters.

A few last thoughts, have you ever seen someone who is practically addicted to their phone? They can't go more than 2-3 minutes without pulling it out and checking something. They may even go an hour or two, but it's rare. Now, have you seen that same person when their phone battery dies and they can't plug it in? They look lost. Their eyes get a blankness, and they can't seem to focus on any conversation. It's sad, but it's true. Please don't be that person. Try not existing for awhile in social media, and maybe you'll start existing in real life instead.

Feed by M.T. Anderson 

Also, this video here. Just watch it, 2 minutes from your life.