HOLMES: America? Surely you jest, Watters.
WATSON: God’s tooth, Holmes. I was there in the winter of ‘80.
HOLMES: Not in “Lost Wages” I trust?
WATSON: Good heavens, no, Holmes. I was summoned to the wilds of Pennsylvania. The capitol, no less. A rather prosaic burg. . . Harrisburg, to be precise. Not far from the fabled town of Hershey, where the street lamps are done up in the shape of the infamous Hershey Kisses. . . bizarre, that. They have a “theme park” dedicated to the proliferation of chocolate.
WATSON: With Earl Grey? Gads, Holmes. . . no, thank you, just a spot of lemon and sugar, there’s a good fellow.
WATSON: Yes, indeed. . . it seems that a gaggle of writers were in need of a travelling physician.
HOLMES: Whatever for?
WATSON: Have you ever known any writers, Holmes?
HOLMES: Only Sir Arthur. . . and that eccentric chap, Wilde.
WATSON: Right. So you know of the proclivity of writers for the grape, shall we say?
HOLMES: Ah, I appertain your meaning. . . scribblers do have a certain reputation for imbibing like fish, is it not?
WATSON: To put it mildly, Holmes. You may recall the last words of the nefarious Welsh writer Dylan Thomas: “I had eighteen Scotch and sodas. I think that’s the record.”
HOLMES: Ended badly, did it?
WATSON: The coroner listed the cause of death as “An alcoholic insult to the brain.”
HOLMES: I believe I see where this is going, Watters. This pride of itinerant wordsmiths, fearing untimely demise from spiritus frumenti, elected to employ a doctor as a traveling companion, lest they overindulge?
WATSON: Precisely, Holmes. That and the odd short-arm inspection, seeing as how one of them was a rather vivacious young woman who lost most of her inhibitions and her lingerie when she’d had a drop too many, something that happened with fearful regularity about two hours into Happy Hour every evening.
HOLMES: Ah, the prod thickens. . .
WATSON: Pluralize that and you’ve got it, Holmes.
HOLMES: I say, Watney, just out of professional curiosity, you being a man of the world and all, did you perchance happen to. . .
WATSON: Say no more, Holmes. We were still obliged to take the Hippocratic Oath when I became an intern. I never laid a hand on her. Well, discounting the daily examinations to ensure that she hadn’t been contaminated by the virtual non-stop rutting, of course.
HOLMES: Of course. I would expect no less of you, Watters. Carry on.
WATSON: Where was I? Let’s see. . . it was Christmas Day and we were making our way over the Dawson trail. . . no, no, dash it all, that was another winter expedition. Ah, I have it. . . it was a Saturday morning, hence a rest day, and we were enroute to the local shopping mall to find an establishment known as “Victoria’s Secret”. . .
HOLMES: “Victoria’s Secret”? I say, Watson, is that some devilish slur on our beloved sovereign?
WATSON: No, not at all, Holmes. It’s merely a popular panty emporium that panders to svelte young women and middle-aged chaps of the lecherous stripe.
HOLMES: Ah, I see. Just curious, do they publish a catalogue, perchance?
WATSON: Yes. I’m on the subscription list, actually. . . would you like an application? For your “files” of course.
HOLMES: Most thoughtful of you, Watson. More tea?
WATSON: Yes, thank you. Another wedge of lemon, if you don’t mind. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. . . there were seven of us crammed into a Land Rover, on hire from a local garage.
HOLMES: And the young lady? Where was she seated?
WATSON: On my lap. Out of pure necessity, I assure you, Holmes. Otherwise she would’ve been scrunched in between myself and that damned randy Buffalo chap, you know the one – consorts with that cross-dressing cinematic captionist from East Fenwick?
HOLMES: Ah, Le Folle. . .
WATSON: The very one. Well, professional ethics dictated that I couldn’t allow poor Marsha to come into intimate contact with the most infamous muff-diver east of the Mississippi, so I insisted that she ensconce herself on the old lappers, like.
HOLMES: “Ensconce?” I say, Watters, are you implying that….
WATSON: Allow me to say merely that it was not necessary for us to share a seat belt, if you catch my lunch box.
HOLMES: Smashing bird, you say?
WATSON: Of the first water, Holmes. Tantalizing, to say the least. Of course everything was strictly on the up and up.
HOLMES: (dryly) Yes, I have no doubt. Pray, continue.
WATSON: Well, then, as we came over a small rise in the ice-covered highway, we saw the sprawling mall laid out before us, an ostentatious monument to vanity and avarice, and at the entrance to this modern day bazaar, there was a towering marquee, upon which, in bright red block letters three feet high, was spelled out the cryptic message “KIDS! TODAY AT 10 AM – SEE FUBAR THE ROBOT!”
WATSON: Precisely. Fubar.
HOLMES: An odd name, even for a robot. What is the language of origin, do you know?
WATSON: English, Holmes.
HOLMES: I think not, Watson. Let me consult the works of Dr. Johnson…
WATSON: No need, Holmes. All will be explained momentarily.
HOLMES: Very well. What happened next?
WATSON: My travelling companions, without exception, broke into riotous laughter, and our driver, who was drinking Bloody Maries from a thermos, drove our vehicle into a rather precipitous ditch, rolling the Rover in the process. Had we not all been securely fastened in place, I would most likely not be here telling the tale.
HOLMES: Thank heavens. Now, Watson, enlighten me about the aforementioned laughter.
WATSON: The local constabulary arrived on the scene minutes later, accompanied by the Fire department and the paramedics. We were expertly extracted from the flaming wreckage in the nick of time. Marsha and I were separated with the “jaws of life”. I was then obliged to fashion a makeshift splint from the whalebone stays of Marsha’s exquisite corset, alas, only recently purchased from Victoria’s Secret. Damned shame, that. . . but I digress. We were covered with blankets and given mugs of steaming black coffee, and when the writers stopped chuckling long enough to be somewhat coherent, they explained the cause of their un-premeditated mirth.
HOLMES: Confound it, Watson. Get to the punch-line, man!
WATSON: Patience, Holmes. . . more tea, please. Turns out that “Fubar” is an acronym – one, I might add, that is hardly suitable for children. Putting it euphemistically, it stands for “F**ked Up Beyond All Recognition.”
HOLMES: Good Lord! And were you able to see Fubar in person?
WATSON: Indeed, we were, Holmes. . . but I’m much too famished to go into THAT at the moment.
HOLMES: Savoy Grill? My treat?
WATSON: Capital, Holmes!
HOLMES: Harrisburg, I believe you said. I say, Mrs. Hudson, would you fetch our rubbers?
MRS. HUDSON: I’ll thank you to keep a civil tongue in your head, Mr. Holmes!
WATSON: Crumpet at eleven, Hudders.
MRS HUDSON: Dr Watson, please. You'll wake the dead.
HOLMES: Curious species, these Yanks. Got an acronym for everything. Well, see if you can fathom this one, Uncle Sam. TFBTEBSNTV. OK?