It's preposterous, Holmes.'
'It's...,' he smiled now, 'don't make me say it...you know me, my dear Watson.'
'If you know, pick them up and take them over to the gentleman. This isn't murder!'
'Look at the darting eyes, Watson, he knows they are here."I was just here. They have to be here." That frantic expression, hopeless-eyed. Look. He's hiding his bare guilty hands in the overcoat.'
'Oh, yes, Watson. Look down. They're new, shiny buckle, finest unblemished leather in London, almost molded for a gentleman's hand. No scuffs. Perhaps a recent gift. He dares not to go home to his wife.'
'Pray tell, how do you know he's married?'
'Because he has a wedding band.'
'How can you tell? His hands are hidden.'
'I don't need to see his hands, Watson.'
'Look. He's young. Newly married I surmise. Lost a gift from his beloved. Overly careful now. No, Watson. He's removed his ring. Up in his vest pocket I deduce', he yawns, 'only to be worn under gloves now. Ah, the maître d' is shaking his head. Let's go, the games afoot.'
Holmes scoops up the gloves in his left hand, strides across the hardwood, presenting them with a flourish..
'These are yours I believe, sir,' extending his right hand for an introductory handshake, forcing the withdrawal of the man's left hand for the happy reunion. Both hands are ring-less.
'My work is done here, Watson.'
Outside, Holmes takes a deep, self-satisfied breath of fog-less air, Watson at his heels, blinking in the brightness. Across the stone-cobbled street, two of Moriarty's thugs approach, steely-eyed, hidden pistols inside coat pockets with sweaty trigger fingers beginning the slow squeeze of terror. A third man, approaching the famous detective and his associate from the rear, clears his throat, speaks shakenly..
'Excuse me, kind sir. These are not my gloves.'
Posted over on his site A Vagabond's Sketchbook
Listed as #43 over on Magpie Tales 46