Return of James

It’s me again!

First of all, Hugh (like old times), let me just say I’m glad to see you’re safe and that you’ve kept yourself busy. I wish I could speak to you personally so I could hear more of your exploits than you write on your blog, but alas! I will have to keep with only what you tell me.

Second of all, I want to reassure that I am doing well, and that I am safe. You should know that your involvement in the Leslie Okogwu murder was resolved by DNA evidence linking the murder to someone else, and my connection to you, once grounds for investigation, no longer makes it viable. However, since you have been away, I have done my best to do some sleuthing (surely not as good as you, though) so I could figure out, if it wasn’t you, who killed Leslie Okogwu and why. For a while I had no leads, until two days ago when – by an incredible stroke of luck – I stumbled upon someone who reminds me of a sort of knobhead version of you. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he stumbled onto me, or that his wardrobe stumbled onto my foot, but likewise it is perfectly accurate to say, he is a knobhead.

But onto the dire matter at hand: speaking of knobheads, this man was on route to deliver a rather dull wardrobe with unmatching doorknob – and one of them struck my immediate interest. You see, I remembered even after these weeks that Les was bludgeoned the use of a blunt ornate object that greatly resembled the particular make of your cane, a cane which, my research has revealed, replicates a Victorian orb cane or knob cane. I’m sure you can already tell where this was going, but I must go on: the door knob of the wardrobe matched, almost exactly, the style of your cane’s head, only older and tarnished over. And to make matters more interesting, the doorknob fell of the door because it was not secured with a screw but rather was adhered on with glue!

Taking the clue I immediately asked where he got this wardrobe, and he led me to the old lady he was delivering it to, which led me to, of all people, my old Aunt Claire! Of course, we had a quick recap about this Belgian person who was staying with her (and with whom you are apparently well acquainted) but I immediately moved to the subject of the wardrobe and exactly where she got it. She related to me that she got it from some nice gentleman who came to the old community centre where the nan went with other pensioners to play bingo and bridge – he only came twice, and by the second time he apparently had to leave for the States and needed to give his larger items away. She obligingly took the wardrobe from him, even though she regarded it as rather ugly.

Claire indicated that she didn’t remember much, but I pressed her on.Finally she relented that the only other thing that she remembered about the man was his insistence on getting her to play a game of chess. Claire agreed, since she fancied herself a good chess player though she hadn’t played for years. She played white, and he black; she did not remember the details except that the a game was incredibly short, and the beginning was superficially dull, and despite his (rather attractive) confidence they appeared tied. Then he said something about how “sometimes the best way to win a game of chess is to appear predictable, uninspired and formulaic, and thus lull your enemy into the same behavior. Then, when the enemy has let down their guard and everything is place, you then do something unexpected.” With this, after appearing on the defensive for most of the game, he suddenly used his black knight to attack the center white pawn. Care to guess what square the second white pawn was located, Holmes? And within no more than four moves all of the sudden, the man pinned and checkmated Claire.

Seems like we’re dealing with something of a chess player, aren’t we?

More importantly, if this cane head ends up being actual head used to kill Les, then the murderer is connected directly to the effort of framing you for this crime, as early as his effort to get you to meet Les; furthermore this vindicates Poirot, since Claire would have recognized this person as Poirot; and finally it implies that this person was trying to set up both you and Poirot! I haven’t figured everything out, but that isn’t bad for an amateur, is it? :)

James Raikes

Sorry about that…

Sorry about the prior post; Hugh didn’t believe in, well, blogging so I had to demonstrate the whole thing to him yesterday, so I let him type whatever he wanted (and let’s say he was less than diplomatic). But finally that got him to cooperate, so I showed him a documentary about the making of the internet and the World Wide Web and all that stuff (online, ironically), and so he is convinced now (though he hasn’t completely wrapped his head around it.

There more; because I will be working full time at the Café Nero and because Hugh wants to explore the internet, I will have decided halt my blog for now; I am moreover handing it over to Hugh because he has some ideas on how he’ll be able to use it to pay me back. I figured he needs it more than me.

Thus it ended after five (and a half) posts – but a proud five and a half posts for Tales From the City. This is James Pattison Raikes, signing off (for now, at least.)

Yours Sincerely,


I am writing this to you James to express that I have no belief that you can simply conjure these words that I am writing upon your screen in a whole other room – and I need no greater explanation than that as a man of supreme logic I do not believe in the work of sorcerers!

New Job! Nero Here We Come! (Gotta Start Somewhere)

Fabulous news, everyone! I finally got a job!

I’ll admit, it’s not very much, but it’s a paycheck. I’ll be working at the Café Nero just outside of King’s College, London, my old school! I’ll admit it might be strange running into some old classmates, but at least I’ll be around the ol’ place – and I’ll be able to stay in London!

As for Hefner, as I term him, he is the most fascinating figure I have ever encountered. He seems to know everything and nothing at the same time. He knows a strange lot about chemistry and biology, but of any modern technology? Nothing! I’m trying to explain a bunch of things to him – and he learns quickly, granted – but he seems to have walked out of a period play of some kind. Take for example, the refrigerator incident. He seemed astonished that I put food in such a small device that keeps them cool and not some industrial beast like meat packers (a refrigerator, for Christ’s sake?), but he then explained that it was indeed obvious that cooling down food would preserve them, for it would slow the metabolism of the bacteria and even proceeded to explain the chemical reactions of ammonia and ether that allowed it to happen. He wished to take a look inside, and I told him I’d rather he look it up on the internet – only to ask what an internet was. Who is this guy?

I was afraid at first to let Hugh to his own devices, but he keeps himself well occupied with the telly (which he was at first stunned to see as well) watching old BBC documentaries. I will keep you updated on the education of this ignorant genius, or brilliant fool, or whatever you wished to call him.


Waffles, Anyone?

So I hadn’t logged on to my blog in a while; I usually just go straight to my blog screen and I log in automatically. Besides, I have been occupied with my new room tenant for the past couple days. So what do I do? I open up my wordpress, go to the manage section, and what do I find? A new blog that I have heard nothing about used by some Belgian so he can rant on and on about the English using my goddamn account! What?! What an idiot, I thought, who would hack into my account just so he can maintain his own blog!

I sent a message to him asking who the hell he was and what he was doing. Turns out, the fact is stranger than fiction; he’s some old posh Belgian man living with my rich aunt and for some reason he wanted to open up a blog without really understanding what the internet was first! When I happened to stay with my aunt last I used her computer that she never uses and made the mistake of doing an automatic log in for my account. Thus at the Widdecombe residence this Jerome character was able to log on using my account and through trial and error open up a blog site. I tried to be helpful I suppose, so I helped him create a new username, and gave him administrative privilege to his own blog, but I deleted everything from my account so that I would have nothing to do with it myself.

Honestly it could have been a lot worse – but let that be a lesson to all of you! Do NOT use an automatic log in on a computer that you don’t trust!

Which reminds me of this rather charming Monty Python clip: why AREN’T there more derogatory terms for Belgians?

What should we call the Belgians?

Yours Truly,


My… New Roommate

So funny story; you remember that old man who… let’s say, confronted me in my last post? He’s living in my house right now.

Look, it’s the least I could do; it’s a long story, but I will have to tell it. I just got back from an interview when I saw him sitting outside of my houseI was immediately hostile, but he came up to me said, “James Pattison!” Taken aback that he knew my name, I asked him what he wanted, and he said, “I wanted to give you this back.” And he takes out, of all things… my wallet!

I immediately cried out, “I knew it! I knew it, you stole my wallet!” But he calmly shook his head. “I didn’t steal your wallet, I couldn’t have.” I scoffed; “Impossible! You can’t convince me otherwise!” And he instantly seemed to turn manic! “First of all,” he replied, “If I stole your wallet, giving it back to you in this way would be very strange if not outright foolish! Even if I felt guilt and wished redemption, would I not give it to you in secrecy, not hand it to you personally?”

I admitted it was strange, but he wasn’t finished. “And second of all, as a simple fact of physics I couldn’t have stolen your wallet! I witnessed the whole thing! I was staggering when I heard your asking of me where some party of fancy dress was, and I grabbed you by your shoulder, right in front of you, and I asked you where I was. After you spoke I backed away. How then could I have reached around you and grabbed your wallet? It’s impossible!” How could he remember all that? “I seldom forget a detail, lad!”

Strangely enough, everything he said to me was served by memory, but how then, I asked, did he have my wallet? And he said, “Simple – I saw the man come up behind you and steal your wallet while you had your back turned! I’ve had to deal with a lot of pickpockets where I come from, and I have seen all their tricks, which is why I had to shuffle off so quickly to chase him down, tackle him and get your wallet back! He was quite a runner, it took a few blocks.”

“Oh,” I replied “He could have been an accomplice! You were robbing me together!” He backed away. “You know, that’s not a bad hypothesis. Indeed, we were accomplices, I helped him rob you, but then I felt guilty, and I decided to give it back, and invent some elaborate backstory to cover up my involvement. Only if I were half as clever as I had to be to find out where you live, I would have handed it to the lady at the desk to give to you, and I would not have had to undergo this rather intriguing diagnosis of my innocence, would I?”

So I asked him. “Good point – except how did you know where I live?” And he replied in a most mind boggling fashion that I would only be able to write this if I had him around to repeat it. “Well, I looked at this driver’s license card which listed your residence in Slough, Royal Berkshire. A less clever man would have assumed that was your address. But I also detected a recently expired student identification card which listed your residency at King’s College, which made me suspect you might not live at this address anymore. But you couldn’t live at King’s College currently. So what did I do? I checked these things…” – and he pulls out the receipts that I had in my wallet. “These are fabulous things, I barely know what they are, but they are marvelous. They seem to be some sort of record of the purchases you made at a vendors – it’s a wonderful idea, is it not? Although the prices seem to be rather absurd. But I figured out that they all fall within the City of London borough, so I figured you would live there. More specifically, in an area bordered by these three shops. There were only three apartments in the area, so I asked around, and on the second apartment I checked I discovered you lived there! So I waited for you, and here you are, and here is your wallet.”

Even if he managed to convince me of his innocence, I had to ask. “Who are you then?” And only then did he pause. “I am no one. I am a refugee in a world that I do not understand, without a home or a destination.” I told him that wasn’t an answer, but he said that was as much as he could say. As he was leaving I asked him why he didn’t post it; he turned to me and said, “You would need a post, and a fee for the postage. I have neither.” I was aghast. “You don’t have a home?” I replied. And he shook his head. “None of the sort. Funny enough, I have been so keen to give this wallet to you I haven’t even given any thought to where I would live, haven’t slept… I will detect soft lodgings, I figure. Detection is my gift, after all.”

And… I had to let him stay. I had too! The man was so intriguingly intelligent yet somehow disconnected he was too fascinating to let go! So I asked him to stay for a few days – at least until he got back on his feet. Our landlord won’t be happy, but I will figure out the details later.

Oh, and I almost forgot… what did he ask me to call him? “Call me… Hugh Hefner.” What a cheeky bastard he is!


Nicking Nutters!!

I woke up early and can’t go back to sleep cause I’m awfully hungover, so I’m posting this mainly to keep my mind off my stomach. Awful night last night!!!

To start from the beginning; I may not have been in love with my hometown, Slough, but at least it’s nearby enough that my friends can hop on the train and I can meet them right outside Blackfriars. So I was hosting friends Stanley Veronica down for a little bit of getting pissed and we had a smashing night for the most part; went for drinks at the Blackfriar pub, and went up north to dance the night away at Fabric.

But there was a few points of… intrigue. I suppose it’s our fault for being cheap and deciding to walk, but that’s beside the point. While we were on the road we happened to bump into this guy. Pretty average looking man in his late 30’s or 40’s – quite tall, thin, dark thinning hair, that whole deal. Yet he was dressed smartly in this fabulous old fashioned smoking jacket and a bowtie. I figured he must have been going to some kind fancy dress party, and I asked him “Hey, Hugh Hefner, where’s the fancy dress party at?” but he answers in his posh accent, “You speak English! Good! Who are you? Where am I?” Taken a back, I said, “Well, I’m James, and this the City of course!” But he spat back at me, “The City? The City London?” I retorted with some witty reply like “Well, what other ‘The City’ would you find in London?” Yet he wouldn’t accept this. “No it isn’t – it can’t be. Everything’s wrong, nothing’s the same, I must… must find a way home…” And then he ran off, chasing some guy who brushed past us. A nutter, I thought!

I figured the night would make up for itself at Fabric. I’ve been there before – an awesome venue, and great music! But when I got there I suddenly realized that I didn’t have my wallet on me! It struck me then; that man wasn’t bonkers; he nicked my wallet! What’s more, the bouncer decided to card me – really, card me – at the door, so I couldn’t get in! Fucking wankers!

Oh well… luckily I had my room key on me. We all went back to the apartment and got pissed on some ales I had in my fridge – which was fun, I’ll admit, but it hasn’t settled well in the morning! What a big disappointment!


P.S. This also does not bode well that I can’t find my wallet, since I’ve been pretty spent trying to find some employment – everything from political speech writing to… well, the local Café Nero (at my old school for crying out loud.) I’ll keep everybody posted!

Hello from the City, London!

Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to my blog!

My name is James Pattison Raikes, I’m a recent graduate from King’s College London with a degree in English, and I have just moved into my brand new, substandard, unjustly expensive apartment on Tudor Street in The City. Currently I am unemployed, but my ultimate aspiration is to become a writer. Well, more specifically, a writer that gets paid (that seems to be the real trouble). So naturally, as a man without a paycheck and with my ultimate ambition to take on a type of career that almost certainly has a small paycheck (unless maybe I write about teenage wizards – which I won’t do), where should I choose to live but in a supremely expensive city, in an overpriced apartment, five blocks from where I went to college for three years?

What does that say for my wit and creativity? :-/

Yet possessing that young idealism (call it naiveté) and driven near insanity living with my parents back home in Slough, I decided it was better to find something somewhere that would allow me to live on my own. My parents agreed to help pay a few of my first rent checks before I find myself a job, and in the meantime I am going to write a blog on my exploits in the City. Hope you enjoy!