The Case of the Steaming Dumpling

"And now, for something completely different…"

"A man is choking in a Chinese Restaurant. Mr. Watson, the game is afoot!"

En route to the eating establishment thoughts of murder refused to be put to rest.

"Watson, perhaps the report of a man choking is a thinly veiled diversion masquerading a much more devious plot."

"I'm not so sure, Holmes, this case appears cut and dry."

"Elementary, my dear Watson! Precisely what the murderer would expect!"

We approached the scene of the potential crime, as every scene has the potential for wrongdoing. One simply need look under the rug, so to speak. A simple clue such as a steamed dumpling where a fried one should be has far reaching implications.

The proprietor met us at the door and directed us to a table in the rear, where the victim sat, surrounded by the very clues that would close this case.

1. The steamed dumplings.

2. A puddle of pink vomit, neatly (perhaps TOO neatly) plopped on the table.

3. A lump in the middle of the vomit.

"Sir. Are you quite alright?" I asked the victim. He coughed, and shook his head no. I removed a stethoscope from my bag and placed it front and back, and listened.

Perfect air exchange. Something didn't add up. I smoothed my mustache with thumb and forefinger and took note of our surroundings.

"Are you in any pain?" I asked as Mr. Watson interrogated the suspects.

The man shook his head yes, and pointed to the center of his chest.

"Aha! Mr. Watson, prepare the EKG machine. The plot thickens!"

"Does the pain go this way or that," I asked, pantomiming a crisscross pattern across my own breast.

Our victim pointed to his left shoulder.

"Can you speak man!" I shouted and shook him, peering deeply into his eyes. A small stream of drool appeared from the corner of his mouth, which appeared to droop to one side.

"Grasp my hands! Now squeeze and smile. Pull. Push. Tell me the day of the week!"

He did all I asked, I could ask no more. He coughed heartily then, and dislodged a chunk of what I could only guess was the murder weapon upon my cloak. Deciding the evidence was nasty, I shook it off, onto the floor.

Watson disentangled the web of wires connected to the machine, and placed tiny electrodes in strategic points of the man's torso.

"We're preparing a lie detector test to find out exactly what brought about this man's unfortunate experience," I scowled at the people who had gathered to witness the investigation. They spoke to one another in code, the words similar to a language I once heard on a trip to the Orient. Their fabricated looks of concern did nothing to sway my opinion. There was a murderer loose, and it was up to Mr. Watson and myself to find him.

"It's perfectly normal, Mr. Holmes!" said Watson.

I perused the information from the sheet Watson handed to me, carefully shielding the information from the prying eyes of the nest of suspects. It was as he said, a normal Sinus Rhythm.

"I'm not so sure, Watson. Prepare the stretcher. We'll remove this man from the scene and bring him to The Yard for further questioning."

All eyes were upon us as we exited the scene.

"Have no worries, good people," I exclaimed prior to the door shutting, observing them, noting every move and facial expression. I must say, these people were brilliant, no sign of anything but feigned concern showed on their stoic faces. "Our man will live to tell the tale of his misfortune this night!"

We loaded the victim into the rescue vehicle and left them there, talking in their strange language, undoubtedly concocting an elaborate web explaining the condition of the man who did nothing more than frequent their establishment and choke on a dumpling.

With the victim safely in the hands of the capable people of the hospital, I was able to reflect. I packed my pipe with pungent tobacco, lit the match that would ignite it and puffed. A plume of smoke filled the cab.

"Perhaps I was quick to judge, Mr. Watson. But, one can never be too careful, and we must always leave no stone unturned. Our people depend on us."

"Elementary, Mr. Holmes. Elementary."

We drove back in silence, content that the case of the steaming dumpling had been solved satisfactorily.


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Michael Morse

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