Lesser Known Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Elephant Polisher’s League.
MR. SHERLOCK HOLMES A Consulting Detective of some renown.
DOCTOR WATSON An assistant, former roommate, and friend of Holmes.
MISS LEONTINE SMYTHE An Elephant Polisher.
SAUCY JACK/DOCTOR MORIARTY A hitherto–unknown member of Clan Moriarty.
On the fringes of the traveling circus.
About Three in the morning.
Scene 1 The Elephant’s compound. Now.
Scene 2 Somewhere else. Now.
SCENE  - ELEPHANT’S COMPOUND
(Holmes is joined by Watson.)
I came as soon as I could, Holmes, but–– a circus, at this hour?
Here Watson, is a situation holding enough intrigue to engage my interest once more.
Indeed? I have long hoped that you would find reason to quit your study…
There is a new menace afoot. Someone has united a number of unsavory characters. Someone with intelligence and cunning near–equal to that of Moriarty himself.
A lieutenant of that departed rogue, perhaps?
Some of his former minions have clearly been co–opted anew.
Not surprising. So many criminals are no more than curs.
We are here to speak with a Miss Leontine Smythe, member of an order known to a select few as The Elephant Polisher’s League.
(Enter Smythe, furtively.)
Good morning, Mr. Smythe. You are certain beyond all doubt?
I’m certain, alright. They had me fooled, and I’ll admit that, 'til they got Caesar and Cleopatra. Them’s like children to me. See, the newer boyos take care of the newer elephants. That one, that Saucy Jack…
(She sighs sadly.)
I didn’t understand ‘til it was too late. The League is broken now, and it’s him what’s done all o’ this. There were so few of us left who truly believed in properly polished elephants…
How do you know they are no longer your elephants?
Well, it’s the eyes, sir. It ain’t them, I mean, they do everything they should, but it ain’t them.
We must see these elephants, Miss Smythe.
Well, that’s not all of it… there’s other elephants ‘round now, in the woods. Done five stands in ten days, and I’ve counted a score at each village.
Spent too much time out lookin’. That’s how they got 'em.
Hundreds of elephants roaming the English countryside? What poppycock! How can you believe this, Holmes?
There has been a sudden rise in thefts of hay. Farms have been stripped of other supplies. The thieves have a fondness for any sort of oil or grease. There has also been, on occasion, dung of a curious nature.
Don’t get me started on that, guv. It’s like they had a go at the coal bin. Come along, let’s go take a look.
(Smythe leads them stage left, mimes pulling a tent flap aside. The three peer in for a moment.)
They are indeed very precise in their elephant–ness, are they not, Watson?
Can’t for the life of me see what you mean, they’re elephants, man.
Watson, just as your medical training makes you more observant of symptoms of disease, Smythe’s life–long association with the pachyderms makes him so. What I see now is much as he said in his letter delivered by first post yesterday.
(Enter Saucy Jack from stage right.)
Kindly step away from my elephants, Mr. Holmes. It’s too late for you to do anything about them, or me.
Saucy Jack, at last! A new moniker for you, is it not, Doctor Moriarty?
But–– Professor Moriarty is dead!
This Moriarty is the uncle of our former nemesis. He has a PhD., therefore Doctor Moriarty.
Madness! A Doctorate?
In English Literature. Thus, his life of crime. He taught the late Professor much, though this foul Doctor has long plied his trade in parts of the world for which respectable Englishmen do not care.
(Crosses in front of others, moving stage left towards tent. The others shift stage right to accommodate.)
My army of steam–powered elephants is so vast that London will crumble under their marching feet! No cannon can breach their adamantine hulls!
(Gets a bit distracted.)
It’s really a loverly bit of work, that skin… It just needed another layer of fiber to become life–like.
(Moriarty remembers to be evil again.)
I will avenge my nephew, with all the heads I can take!
Doctor Moriarty, I thank you for the merry chase, but you may find that your elephants are somewhat less than useful to you now.
What have you done?!
(He looks into the tent.)
It cannot be!
At my request, Miss Smythe placed a barrel of grease in the tent. Mixed into that grease was a large amount of metal shavings. When your cohorts attempted to lubricate their machines with those ingenious vacuum trunks, they sealed their own fate, and yours.
Bring my elephants back!
And then do not return, Moriarty, until you are prepared to bring me a greater challenge!
To think you’d considered retiring… Even I’ve missed this sort of excitement.
(All bow, then exit upper stage left.)