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A Curious Case

April 10, 2022

Hi folks,

On this gorgeously sunny Sunday here on Halkyn Mountain, I can’t resist sharing a haibun of mine published in Blithe Spirit, Journal of the British Haiku Society in February last year.

Back in my mid-teens, I was addicted to the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and read the whole lot, both the long stories and the short.  And it was during this period that a certain young lady captured my affections, if only for a brief spell.  My haibun tells the true story.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter,

Paul

***

A Curious Case

.                                                                                 

Yes, I was Holmes back then.  Watson too.  Most comfortable beneath the hissing gas lamps of late-Victorian London.

So what was I doing on this bus bumping over the Pennines?  There was a girl of course.  And why not?  I was a good looking lad with a Billy Fury quiff.

Fran, that was her name.  A leggy blond.  We’d met at a seaside holiday camp.  And now, three weeks later, I was approaching her front door.

My knock was answered by her mum, a scrawny woman with venomous eyes.  She waved me into a stone-cold parlour, and a moment later I was joined by the girl herself.

Fran was looking decidedly shamefaced.  “I’m sorry,” she said, raising her left hand, “so sorry…”  A diamond ring sparkled.  She was engaged.

The following afternoon, Fran’s fiancé rang me at home.  His furious tirade ended with a click.  He’d hung up before I had a chance to speak.

A long sigh.  Then I was back beneath the hissing gas lamps of late-Victorian London.  I was Holmes again.  Watson too.

the jazz club –

cool poses struck

in a ‘60s snap

.

Paul Beech

.

Copyright © Paul Beech 2021, 2022

10 Comments
  1. Hi Paul,

    Any chance of a sequel?

    Why should the fiancé be so angry as it was fait accompli?

    warmly,
    Alan

    • Many thanks, Alan.

      I never heard from Fran again, nor from her furious fiancé.

      However, in a selection of my haikai writings which I’m putting together currently, I have a ‘Romance’ section. “A Curious Case” is followed by “The Irish Lass”, a haibun telling how I got together with my darling partner Maureen. I hope this concludes the theme satisfactorily.

      Warm regards,

      Paul

  2. Well, I’m on your side Paul: you were shabbily treated by all three. But like a true writer, you lived to draw on the episode for inspiration!

    • Thanks John.

      You’re right, I was fairly smarting from the episode. But Sherlock helped, and dancing with gorgeous girls at the Jazz Club helped some more.

      And yes, I mostly draw on memory for haibun, even for tanka, but with haiku and senryu I’m living in the moment.

      Best always,

      Paul

  3. Paul, yes, those were the days! Life was a sailboat sailing into the wind, spray over the bows! 🥰

    • Many thanks, Al.

      Yes, “sailing into the wind, spray over the bows”. I love the analogy. Of course, the “Swinging Sixties” were a great time to be a teenager. A heady, rebellious time indeed. An epoch I look back on with a smile.

      Take care,

      Paul

  4. Your haibun is a glorious journey. I can only echo John Looker’s words here.

    all the best wishes,
    Donna

    • Hi Donna,

      I’m delighted you like “A Curious Case”. It was fun to write.

      Must admit though that bumping back over the Pennines after seeing Fran, I felt crushed.

      Still, with a nudge from Holmes and a wink from Watson, my Billy Fury quiff as slick as ever, I was soon shaking a crafty leg down at the Jazz Club again. And of course I had the material for a future haibun!

      Best always – take care,

      Paul

  5. From those “crushing” feelings! to the “’60s snap”! How our human experience of time in memory can range from painful “crushes” over a span of decades to their disappearance in a “snap” of the immediate now, music . . . .

    • Thanks again Donna!

      It was a black-and-white snap. On the back is a caption in my late Mum’s immaculate hand: “P and B off to the Jazz Club.”

      With my irrepressible spirit as a Swinging Sixties teen, I was soon over Fran.

      I hope she’s had a happy life.

      Best always,

      Paul

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