Grunt no. 27
It must have looked like a lively variation of a saraband, if you can imagine saraband performed by a hippo in a tiny compartment full of sturdy headrests and armrests anxious for personal contact. The train kept a nice, steady beat with occasional noisy syncopations as we sped by tiny local stations. I started to whistle a tune to perfect the harmony and discovered how hard that was when you kept grinning like a pup. Wolfe commented on the composition with a muffled grunt.
I decided to be generous. "Shall I transpose the key, sir?"
Shortly after I came to Wolfe, I started to make a list of sounds he thought were serving communication. I guess his extended lectures on Egypt, (section Champollion and the hieroglyphs), bore some fruits after all. After several years of observation I have devised an entire vocabulary of grunts, huffs and sighs. This one was, however, quite new to me. I catalogued it tentatively as "Stop that outrageous noise, stop the train, or, barring that, do try to stabilize my position," (no. 26.), and set to work. It wasn't as bad as you might have feared. True, I got close enough to get a whiff of his aftershave, but when it was all over, there were no casualties except for my pulled back and Wolfe's pride.
I tried to distract him. "You know, that cologne smells like something Fritz might use for sharp brown sauce. My mouth's watering like crazy."
Train rides are real treasure troves. Another brand new one, but I really must spare you the grisly details of grunt no. 27. One day a woman from say Wichita, Kansas may write me a four-page letter saying she would have read all my records to her grandkids had I not resorted to - but why mouth it. As Mr. Wolfe likes to say: intelligence guided by experience. You guys figure it out.
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