"Come in," said Squareknock, waving with his now revolver-free hand. "People might think you've done something terrible to our housekeeper –"
"Landlady," muttered Wilson.
"– Mrs. Bloodhound if you keep standing there."
"My name's Jason Wilczys," said the young man edging past the unconscious landlady and trying to ignore the pool of blood slowly soaking into the carpet. "I'm here to request the help of the famous detective."
"That would be me," said Squareknock grinning like a death's-head. "And you are here about a job you've lost."
"Well, yes, but how do you know?" said Jason, ignoring Wilson's frantic gestures that were supposed to tell him not to ask that question. Sighing softly, Wilson found what he was looking for in his medical bag: bandages, iodine, Rohypnol, surgical thread and a needle. He went back to attending to Mrs. Bloodhound, who he would dearly love to engage in an amorous relationship if only Squareknock would stop shooting bits off her.
"Ah," said Squareknock attempting to recline in a straight-backed chair. His feet were forced forward and he looked very uncomfortable, but he steepled his fingers over his chest and spoke regardless. "You see, you have bright red hair which is most unfortunate and will lead the educated man to distrust you on sight, so you will have had singular difficulties in life already. You are wearing a suit which is rather dusty, and notably damp in places, which leads me to believe that you have only the one suit and that it is not often used. Together, these things suggest that the suit was bought for a job that you have subsequently lost. The fact that you are not at all embarrassed by the damp patches tells me that you are accustomed to them, to the point where you don't even notice them, which would suggest, astonishingly, that your last job required them. You don't look any more alarmed than a man who has been witness to a shooting would be expected to be, so I deduce that you are here to commission me to get your job back for you."
"That's amazing!" said Jason, causing Wilson to shake his head and hunch his shoulders. Squareknock seemed to glow, bathing in Jason's praise. "How did you manage all of that? You're right, absolutely right!"
"A great detective is always right," said Squareknock, and turned his head sharply at what might have been a snort of laughter from the hallway. "Did you say something, Wilson? And what are you doing with Mrs. Bloodhound?"
"I stifled a sneeze, Squareknock," said Wilson, "And I'm giving Mrs. Bloodhound Rohypnol." He adjusted his hands, which might have been considered to be inappropriately placed by another member of his profession and tried hard to look innocent. "Have you finished impressing your visitor?"
"Why Ro'ypnol?" said Jason, looking a little alarmed.
"Ah," said Squareknock, his smile reappearing. "As Wilson is undoubtedly aware, Rohypnol prevents the formation of memories and thus is helpful in preventing trauma symptoms when the patient awakes; they retain a haziness that something happened that wasn't pleasant and that they'd rather not know about."
"Ah, yes, exactly," said Wilson. He sounded nervous. "So do you have a new case then, Squareknock?"
"No," said Squareknock. "This young man is of no interest to me."
"I haven't told you everything yet," said Jason. He looked a little alarmed, and smelled perhaps a little less fragrant than before. "Let me at least describe the parts of the case that you've not deduced, oh great detective!"
Wilson turned round and stared at Jason, his eyes almost bulging from his face in disbelief that anyone could say such a thing with a straight face, while Squareknock's eyes had closed and a look of bliss settled on his countenance. Mrs. Bloodhound murmured something and tried to roll onto her newly injured arm, pulling his attention back to her. He checked the wound and realised that he'd managed to sew some of her existing bandages with the stitches he'd used to close it. He tugged experimentally on the bandages, but they were firmly attached and he knew he'd have to cut the stitches and do the job over. Or bandage over the stitches so that she couldn't see them.
As Squareknock wasn't replying, Jason decided to tell his story anyway.
"About two months ago I responded to an advert on Gumtree. What it wanted was a chap with a kind of talent, not something that many people think is a talent, but anyway, I've got it and they wanted it. So I replied and I got asked to come for an interview, so I went to this coffee shop and I had a nice coffee and a bit of walnut cake, because you don't see walnut cakes so much any more. There's lots of coffee cakes out there, and some get bits of dried apple and the like, but walnuts are a bit more uncommon.
Anyway, this guy, he wants to check that I've got this talent, so I just stood up, 'cos coffee goes right through me, right, and I kind of figured he might ask so I'd not put any... ah, special pants... on, and he gets this smile on his face right away. I was a bit wary at that point, 'cos you get some right kinky buggers, but he wasn't like that. He had a real job for me.
So, he's been paying me for the last couple of months, and it's a nice sum, he's paying me a pony a week, and all I do is wait for an email with an address, turn up to the address at 10pm and then Mr. Zippi shows me to a room and I sleep there and wet the bed. I don't get paid if I don't wet the bed, but that's never been a problem. Anyway, he sent me an email last week saying that the job's over and I'm sacked, and I'm like, you can't do this! So I want your help to get my job back."
"Not interested," said Squarelock without opening his eyes.