I had been in the employ of the esteemed Mr Sherlock Hunt for some weeks now, and had become accustomed to his violent moods. However, I had also caught flashes of his genius, and was determined to remain his protege in order to learn as much as possible from the great man.
It was a Tuesday morning in late 1884, and I arrived at Baker Street to find a great hullabaloo. A local tradesman had delivered a tonne of lead bullion to Mr Hunt's door, but Sherlock wasn't having any of it. "I said I wanted leads, you great arse!" he yelled at the frightened vendor.
Before the argument could be cleared up, Mr Hunt spotted me and stormed over. I prepared my testicles for the inevitable punch which was his customary greeting. To my surprise he instead thumped me on the chin, which I took to mean he now saw me with a certain degree of warmth.
"Thank you, sir," I responded instinctively.
"Stop grovelling. There's been a murder."
"Yes, and a mate of mine too. Rick the Rapier, murdered down the docks by a Chinaman, gawd bless him."
"Oh, that's terrible."
"Too right it is. Come on, let's get going."
We took a carriage down to London's East End, past sweating Cockneys, fishy smelling markets and finally to the great port of London itself.
There was a wondrous mix of people and goods from all over the world. Ships were constantly loading and unloading, and there was a great bustle at the heart of London's main trade area.
"Fahking foreign scum!" said Sherlock Hunt, referring to everyone. We barged through the crowds and came to a decrepit old sailor perched upon his wooden leg.
"Hello Jock," said Sherlock.
"The name's Jack! Well hello, Mr Hunt."
I noticed Sherlock didn't punch him anywhere, but it was probably just as well. A good whack would probably have killed him.
Jack had apparently been close to Rick the Rapier before his murder, and gave us some background information. "Rick was negotiating with these Chinese sailors who were trying to sell some unwanted opium."
"Opium, you say!" Sherlock's eyes lit up. "Why on earth would they not want it?"
"They have more than enough in China already, we're selling millions of tonnes to them each year. Rick was trying to persuade them to keep their opium and sell them even more. Then he got really high and they killed him."
"Watson," Sherlock was always serious when he said my name. "When I was in the jungles of 'Nam, we used to disguise ourselves."
This was a chapter of Mr Hunt's life I hadn't heard about before. But he was a mysterious man with a great many experiences. "How do you mean disguise?" I enquired.
He answered, "I mean we'll need to go undercover. In blackface."
"Blackface?" I asked. "But they're Chinese."
"Chinese, blacks, they all look the bleeding same. We're going to sort out this Chinese gang, 'Nam style."
We blacked up with coal dust until we looked convincingly Chinese, or at least until Sherlock thought we did. Then Jack the Jock led us to the alleged murderer's boat.
"What is this floating piece of junk?" said Sherlock.
"It's a junk," said Jack. He rang a bell and two Chinese people appeared.
"Harro! Harro!" called Sherlock. He whispered to me, "You have to talk their language. They don't understand otherwise."
"Harro," said one of the Chinamen.
"We hear you have a bit of opium here."
"Oh yes. Rot of heloin."
"Good. Did you know Rick the Rapier?" He said it again, "Rick the Rapier!"
"Lick the labia," said the Chinaman.
"No, you twat." Sherlock was becoming exasperated now. "Oh, just give us the fahking opium."
One of the Chinese men handed over a large sack. Sherlock sniffed it, smiled and handed it to me. He then beckoned the sailor for another sack.
"Right! That's us sorted," and he marched off. "Come on you fahkers," he said to me and Jack.
The Chinese were not too happy with this, and followed after us. "You no pay!" they screamed.
"That's right," said Sherlock. "We no pay."
But the Chinese were not going to let us go so easily. A small group of them had formed and they were clearly armed. Their leader drew a huge knife.
Sherlock was surrounded, and we couldn't fight our way out of this one. But he was not beaten. "Ok. How about silver? You want silver?"
"Yes, silver," they seemed to agree with this.
Back at their boat, Sherlock had apparently been plotting something in advance. I saw a small horse-drawn crane moving towards the junk, carrying a large block of shiny metal. The Chinamen were all aboard their boat now, and were smiling as the 'silver' drew closer.
Their smiles soon disappeared as the crane dropped the tonne of lead bullion onto their boat, causing it to sink instantly, drowning everybody on board.
"Case closed," said Sherlock, and patted the sack of opium over his shoulder. "Now let's get fahking wasted!"