All characters in this tale are of a fictional nature. Any resemblance to actual people or events is purely coincidental.
I hadn’t laid eyes on Sherwood Bones for at least two years prior to the time we met on a rainy afternoon inside the medical clinic of an American jailhouse in Meesheegan.
“I say, Bones! Is that you?”
“I’m the one who suggested that the Meesheegan authorities should call the famous, if ever reluctant, Dr. Amfibius J. Wart to examine this Wee Christian Woman. Had I not done so, and had Warden Chamberman not complied with my request because my foggy British reputation impressed the old man, there might never have been a story for my Bosworth to record.”
“I say, Bones, it must be you! You sound just as looped as I remember you, and the pipe that dangles from your clever lips personifies the typical lung cancer survivor. But pray tell, what is this case about?”
“‘Pray’, as you so astutely observed, is the key word here. Seems as if the Wee Christian Woman whose blessed body you are about to prey upon stands accused of the mortal American sin known as stating a religious preference in roommates.”
“Meesheegan, Bones? You say we are in Meesheegan?”
“You mean to say you failed to notice the burnt-out skeletons of buggy factories as you made your way to this house of the condemned? These Meesheeganites like to talk of the manure-strewn cobblestone streets of London, but their own contribution to the destruction of the ecosystemic, ozone-layer laden end of the world they prefer to ignore.”
“Why, Bones! As usual, you are far ahead of your time, and such a political creature. Me, I’m just an old-fart curmudgeon who tries as best he might to ignore the taunts of callow youth!”
“Look here, Amfibius, don’t be such a troll. And let’s get to the point of this affair. Must I remind you that American readers have no patience for background narrative? They want plot.”
“So what is the plot, then, my dear Bones?”
“Well, this Wee Christian Woman is alleged — that word, alleged is another favorite of the hesitant cowards of Meesheegan, so be sure to include it — to have jotted down a note to request the favor of a fellow traveler’s company in her kitchen.”
“And that’s a crime hereabout?”
“Shut your whiskered mouth and listen for a change, Amfibius. No, the apparent crime this Wee Christian Woman committed is centered on the fact that not only did she dare to wear a crucifix around her neck as she tacked her note to a railway station signpost, but as well she made clear her preference for a Christian companion.”
“You said it, Amfibius.”
“Pshaw, I say it again. Whatever could be wrong with stating such a preference, by Meesheegan standards, that is?”
“Some law called the Fair Housing Act is the ostensible excuse.”
“And the truer reason as you reason it?”
I never before saw such a sad yet determined expression cloud the aquiline features of Sherwood Bones. As my previous records of our exploits undoubtedly confirm, Bones hates the mere idea of sex. I doubt that he even masturbates. And women, insofar as this intellectual giant is concerned, are soft in the bonnet. No prior reference had he made regarding the perfumed gender, not even when two years ago I married Mooshie. But this lady he called simply The Wee Christian Woman.
So, in the interest of the American habit of skimming, rather than reading or contemplating a story, I’ll summarize and conclude my record here.
I examined the Wee Christian Woman and determined her to be of sound mind and body, but a dedicated member of the Republican Party of the soon-to-come twenty-first century. Sherwood Bones, being the fair-minded if drug-addicted gentleman, acquiesced to my diagnosis and scored his one and only loss.
The Wee Christian Woman smiled in a weak, affectionate and melodramatic manner as the Meesheegan authorities hanged her by her wee neck on the same railway signpost where she committed her crime. Bones returned by steamship to London where he committed suicide by jumping off a progressive cliff, a leap that at first proved fatal, but that later served as introduction to my revival of his tales.