Holly Jahangiri Sunday, StoryADay May: Holly Takes The Case, Part 1

This post is part of StoryADay May (https://storyaday.org/) #StoryADay #StoryADayMay @storyadaymay #freeshortstory @hjahangiri.author

Below, please find HOLLY TAKES THE CASE

For those who don’t know, years and years ago, I wrote a novel (currently out of print) set on Llannonn, a planet where courtesy is literally the law. When I went on a blog book tour for the novel, I ran a contest for naming a character in a short story set in the same world. Fellow writer Holly Jahangiri (the real one) was such a determined contestant, I named a character after her, too. That character commandeered the story, and I’ve been writing about her ever since.

I write a Holly story on the Sundays of Story A Day May.

Holly Jahangiri (the fictional one) becomes, is, and retires as a Librarian at a library for living books. It seems that somebody on Llannonn read Fahrenheit 451 and decided a library of people who recite books they’ve memorized was a great idea. Typically for Llannonn, they officialized it. Becoming a living book is now a respectable career, provided you can get a gig in a library.

I told the amazing Sara Marian (my #4 Daughter) that I was giving her (Sara) co-writer credit on this story because she kept coming up with plot points and funny bits.


Holly Takes The Case

High Head Librarian Holly Jahangiri plunged into the hall outside her office. There was an unholy ruckus downstairs and she was afraid she knew what it was. Sure enough, when she leaned over the banister, she saw a disheveled Parlourmaid Tambar Miznalia looking up.

“Riot in the Holmes wing!” Miznalia shouted. She picked up a small but heavy bronze statue of a modestly dressed woman with a timepiece in its arms, hefted it overhead, and threw herself back into the dorm, intent on restoring order. “First one who calls me Mrs. Hudson or asks me to make tea,” Holly heard her shout, “gets clocked!”

Holly returned to her office with the efficient speed of the born Librarian and called the district police headquarters on the visiphone. When the desk sergeant answered, she asked to speak to District Criminal Investigator Pel Darzin. District Criminal Investigator Pel Darzin was pretty high up the hierarchy, but she was put through immediately. First, she was a Librarian, so of course she had preferential treatment. Second, she was famous for how polite she was, which went a long way in a society that valued good manners above all else. Finally, the sergeant had the low bet on how long it would be before the Librarian and the DCI tied the knot, and he would do anything courtesy permitted to help their relationship along.

Holly made her plea for help and, by the time she had disconnected and reached the foot of the staircase, a genteel use of the front door knocker announced the arrival of the constabulary.

“I’ll get it!” Holly called in the direction of the embattled Parlourmaid.

“I know you will!” came the reply.

She opened the door. The police officers wiped their feet and rushed into the fray, waiting to blow their whistles until they were in the dormitory area, not the library area, where quiet ruled.

DCI Pel Darzin remained at Holly’s side for a full report.

“I don’t know how this one started,” she confessed. “Parlourmaid Tambar Miznalia might. But I imagine it’s the same thing as always: Too many Sherlock Holmes collections and not enough patrons checking them out.”

“How many do you have now?”

Holly counted them off. “Sherlock Holmes – two of them,two Sherlock Holmes Mysteries, The Boy’s Book of Sherlock Holmes, The Early Holmes, Holmes After Reichenbach, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Other Stories, Holmes in America, and Holmes and Watson.”

“However did you come to have so many?” Darzin lowered his voice as the constabulary quelled the riot.

Holly shook her head. “It just sort of … happened. I believe my predecessor accepted the first as a matter of course, then another because one can always do with two of a popular book, the dog one because she didn’t realize it was another Holmes, then another because it amused her. When two rural libraries merged and purged excess from their catalogs, a plea went out for other libraries to find space for the now-homeless books, and we volunteered, and got two more Holmes titles.”

“No wonder you had to give them their own wing.”

“That’s only the half of it. Each book comes with his own Watson, who actually tells the stories.”

“Excuse me?”

Holly ground her teeth, as close as she could come to expressing her frustration at the situation. “Apparently, Sherlock Holmes solves the mysteries, but Watson tells the stories. So, when a patron checks out one of the Holmes books, they have to feed and house two people, and the Watson recites the book and the Holmes wanders around the room looking clever and inspecting the carpet through a magnifying glass.”

“Why don’t you just send the Watson?”

“They insist on having the Holmes, but if his Watson doesn’t come with him, he just mopes around and plays the violin. One of them shot SH on the parlor wall with a paint gun he smuggled in.”

“Oh, dear. Well, what’s to be done?” The DCI drew himself up and, although he was obviously uncomfortable doing so, said, “I give you official warning that housing such disruptive books has now risen to the level of maintaining a public nuisance and must cease.”

The Librarian placed a gentle hand on the DCI’s shoulder and said, “I understand. Would you come tell them that?”

Darzin laid his hand over Holly’s and said, “Of course.”

When the Investigator walked into the quietened dorm behind Holly, all the Holmeses and all the Watsons exclaimed, “LESTRADE!”

“No, I’m District Criminal Investigator Pel Darzin,” he corrected their misapprehension. All the Watsons look chastened and attentive, and all the Holmeses looked bored.

“Now, see here,” the Investigator continued firmly. “This behavior will not do. What seems to be the trouble between you. One at a time.”

He nodded at the Holmes nearest him, who said, “It should be glaringly obvious, even to you.”

The Holmeses Watson stepped in front of the offensive Holmes and said, “What my colleague means to say is, we were the first iteration of Holmes fiction to be accepted into this library, and we feel we should have preference whenever anyone comes looking for a Holmes book.”

“Not I,” his Holmes said under his breath. “The last time we were checked out, they refused to let me use their restroom.”

“That’s because the patron’s mother caught you looking through the medicine cabinet.”

“SO,” Darzin said, raising his voice just a tiny calculated bit, signaling a return to argument would not be tolerated, “the problem is more supply than demand.”

“Exactly so,” said Holly.

“Well, then,” said Darzin….

TO BE CONTINUED


MY PROMPT FOR TODAY: Sara riffing on Holly with Sherlock Holmes books in her library.

MA

About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Holly Jahangiri Sunday, StoryADay May: Holly Takes The Case, Part 1

  1. Dan Antion

    May 6, 2024 at 2:06pm

    I was here yesterday but I didn’t see this. The notifications are still a day late, but I came specifically looking for a Holly story. Oh well, I found it today and I’m happy.

    “The police officers wiped their feet and rushed into the fray,” I love it, and then they waited to blow their whistles.

    I can only imagine the trouble we’re headed for. Okay, I can’t even imagine, but you and Sara can, so I’ll be sure to be back next Sunday.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 7, 2024 at 7:43am

      I don’t post my stories at 7, as I do my posts the rest of the year. Sometimes it takes longer to write the story (or part of the story), so the May posts are daily but irregular.

      I can’t imagine the trouble we’re headed for, either. I’ll know on Sunday, when I sit down to write. LOL

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
        • Author

          Marian Allen

          May 13, 2024 at 9:40am

          StoryADay May is a little pantsier than I’m comfortable with, which is why I do it. That, and being able to visit Llannonn again.

          Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. acflory

    May 10, 2024 at 8:16pm

    Congratulations to you and #4 Daughter. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the Holly stories, and this one is shaping up to be fabulous. 😀

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 11, 2024 at 7:38am

      Thanks! Here’s hoping! I won’t know until tomorrow when I start typing. lol

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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