Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Case of the Oriental Fungus

"Good lord, Watley!" I cried, impressively suppressing any note of panic in my voice. "What in the world do you suppose this is?"

I had been poking with my cane at the accumulating mass of old newspapers and hypodermic needles in one of the danker corners of my study, hoping to find some coinage. It had been my intention to send Watley down to the jammers' to purchase a jar of their new hazelberry marmelade.

Watley looked up from his reading, then strode over to my side. I indicated a location with my extended index finger, and he bent over to peer at it. A smallish clump of light-brown matter appeared to be growing up out of one damp clod of disintegrating newspaper.

"I say," said Watley. Copying me again. Surely he knew that "I say" was one of my favorite expressions. "I've seen something similar once before, during the war. Growing between Private Furshoughm's toes, poor old punter. A most peculiar fungus."

Inexplicably, Watley pulled out a large pair of silver tweezers from his vest pocket, and gently plucked up a section of the fungus. He sniffed at it tentatively.

"Whatever happened to poor old Furshoughm?" I inquired, my voice bravely barely quavering.

"He made a fine meal of it," Watley replied.

I am loathe to admit that this is one case I have yet to crack. The difficulty, it seems, is that the evidence has been ingested. A lack of hazelberry marmalade can cloud the mind.

Should more of the mystery fungus appear in my study, I will call in one of my associates, a botanicalist who sailed on Dorwin's Bagel, to assist me.