A Study in Starlets
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MY FRIEND AND roommate, Sherlock Holmes, looked out our front window and heaved a sigh. “The mail’s here,” she said in a voice of total doom. “Can you fetch it, Watson?”

“What are you expecting that’s got you so depressed?” I asked, standing to accommodate her request.

“Nothing. Not one single solitary thing of interest.”

“Ah. Well, perhaps you’re wrong this time.”

“When, truly, am I ever wrong?”

She had a point. We hadn’t known each other all that long, but in the time we had, Sherlock had never been mistaken. If I didn’t admire her so, it would have been extremely annoying.

Sherlock was a consultant for the L.A.P.D. From the way she was acting, you’d have thought the entire Los Angeles basin had given up crime. On the contrary, business, in that sense, was booming.

But the cases weren’t challenging for her. For the police and the rest of us, yes, they were complex. For a mind like Sherlock’s they were mundane, and quickly solved. So she’d been bored, but at least occupied. But this week we hadn’t had a single case that needed her—not even an easy one.

Some people would straighten the house, go shopping, get caught up on their reading, even just lounge about. Sherlock was a reality TV addict—emphasis on addict. She watched reality TV the same way cokeheads snorted down lines. She recorded every show on every channel, even the ones with no budgets or sets of any kind. She even watched all the commercials; a different sort of madness, in my opinion.

I found every single show appalling in some way, and the less said about the commercials the better, but she said they showed her a tremendous amount about human nature as well as theatrical artifice. And she found the commercials entertaining.

So she’d spent these quiet days in front of the TV watching what felt like every single reality show in existence, muttering about the lack of mental stimulation and cursing the criminal classes all the while. No one was hoping for an interesting case to turn up—of any kind—more than I was.


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