The Case of the Torn Trousers
“Walter Tracy did it,” said Auguste Hercule Sherlock in his usual confident manner. “I know it.”
Stunned and shocked by this revelation, the detectives from Boulevard Yard demanded to know how exactly the world-famous private investigator came to that conclusion without fully examining all of the facts of the case, posing questions to witnesses, and seeking out motives.
One was so taken aback that his half-smoked cigar had fallen out of his mouth.
“It is simple,” he started, “just take a look at his trousers.”
Taking his gold-covered pen out of his blue shirt’s front pocket and bending down in front of the primary witness, Auguste pointed at the man’s knees and alluded to tears. Additional rips were also found around the suspect’s thighs.
Auguste, satisfied with his deductions, mildly chuckled and explained further:
“Let’s assess two important facts: one, the deceased was found buried in a shallow grave somewhere in the woods, something that comes with a lot of dirt and requires strenuous effort, particularly around the knees. Two, why would Mr. Tracy, a wealthy man, be sporting torn attire? He isn’t a homeless man. He can afford clothes perfectly sewn together.”
He returned to the upright position, massaging his lower back and slapping off the dust of his white pants and long black coat that traveled down to his own knees.
Everyone in the room muttered among themselves, stroking their chins.
“Is that how you came to that conclusion, sir?” discreetly inquired a novice detective.
“Indubitably, young man,” Augustine responded in his typical sanguine tone, one that dates back to the days when he was just starting out. “I have come across these types of cases before. Years ago, a foolish but impoverished old man repeatedly fibbed that he was nowhere near the crime scene, but a quick glance at his trousers suggested otherwise. It is rudimentary, gents.”
Looking at one another for a nod of agreement, followed by a brief moment of silence, several policemen, the three detectives, and Walter Tracy suddenly bursted out laughing. Slapping their knees, with tears streaming down their cheeks, the home of the suspected perpetrator morphed into a comedy club.
Augustine, confounded by the ordeal, demanded to know what was so funny. This was the first time that anybody had the audacity to laugh at his expense.
“Should I tell him or will one of you blokes?” a policeman, in the background, having a hard time containing his cackling, asked his superior.
“You can go right ahead!”
“You see, Mr. Sherlock…” the young policeman disrupting his own explanation from the giggles.
“Yes, yes, what is it? Go on, spit it out!”
“Trousers with tears at the knees are the fashion of today!”
“What the devil are you talking about?” Augustine was unamused.
Another police officer, also in hysterics by Augustine’s ostensible simplification of the murder, chimed in: “All of the kids nowadays wear trousers with ‘oles in them! That’s why ‘e ‘as those rips, sir! ‘E is of the modern type, ‘ou know, sir? Those pants cost two-’undred-dollars. Walter didn’t commit the murder, ‘e didn’t. Even if ‘e did, it wasn’t because of the pants!”
The detective in charge of the case walked up to Augustine and asked circumspectly:
“Are you the old-fashioned, out-of-the-loop type man, Mr. Sherlock?”
“I’m afraid so.”
The entire outfit was still laughing, while Augustine excused himself to visit the bathroom. In the meantime, Walter, still handcuffed, vanished from the scene. The police unit was too distracted by the laughing that they neglected to pay attention to the suspect.
One of the detectives knocked on the bathroom door and informed Augustine that the suspect had escaped.
The turn of events, making the policemen blush, prompted Augustine to chuckle and gloat.
“Always listen to your elders, gentlemen.” Augustine, drying his wet hands with a towel and wagging his right index finger, grinned from ear to ear. “Now let’s catch that killer.”
“Wait a minute!” A detective stopped everyone, noticing something odd about the item the Quebecois private investigator was holding. “Mr. Sherlock, that towel you’re holding…”
“It is covered in blood. That’s evidence. You’ve now tampered with evidence.”
“Could this case become any more embarrassing for us?”
Augustine, who put the towel in his pocket, and the police squad, who were still wiping away their tears, fled from the premise and chased down Walter Tracy.