Opening Scene: Mrs. Hudson serves our two favorite detectives some strong English tea and delicious crumpets made from her secret family recipe while their Scottish friend, Jordie, takes a nip now and then from his favorite flask stored in his waistcoat pocket.
Watson: “I just heard from our Ohio contacts. My, my…its Willoughby Hills again.”
Jordie: “Willoughby, Hills?…”Never heard of the place…what are they famous for, lad?”
Holmes: “They are famous for scandals…lots of political scandals…(sighing) it is a way of life in that neck of the woods, I’m afraid.”
Jordie: “What do you mean Mr. Holmes? Aren’t the politicians and bureaucrats supposed to be working for the people?”
Holmes: [with a large grin] “My dear, innocent friend…most politicians have only one goal…getting re-elected.”
Watson: “That’s right Jordie, If the people are actually helped, that’s a bonus.”
Jordie: [scratching his nether regions] “Why do people put up with it Mr. Holmes?”
Holmes: “People have been abused so long, that politicians expect them just to accept it and remain quiet. They try to send them into the court system, where they get eaten up by lawyers and judges…..Watson, please don’t tell me that the current issue has to do with the dumping in Willoughby Hills again.”
Watson: “Well, now that you mentioned it, does the name Belich ring a bell?”
Holmes: “You mean the dumper, or his wife that was appointed to City Council?”
Watson: “By jove, your memory amazes me Holmes. Right you are.”
Jordie: [adjusting his kilt] “Sorry, lads, but I dinna ken fit ya saying..”
Watson: “Well, this goes back a while Jordie…Mark Belich, close friend of Mayor Andy Gardner, was awarded a contract to dump 120,000 – 140,000 yards of dirt in residential property in Willoughby Hills. His wife, Julie, also got appointed to their City Council. This latest fiasco, I’m afraid, has to do with Julie again…sad…really sad, indeed.”
Jordie: [taking a big nip from his flask] “I’m all lugs [ears to those in Willoughby Hills], my friend.”
Holmes: [leaning forward not wanting to miss a detail]. “Pray tell, go nice and slow for our Scottish friend and Mrs. Hudson [pretending to be washing the dishes]…since she is obviously keenly interested.”
Watson: [enjoying the attention immensely] “Well, as I understand it, Ms. Belich wanted to run for City Council again. She got her petitions signed and submitted them to the Lake County Board of Elections…”
Mrs. Hudson: “All nice, prim and proper, and legal I suppose.”
Watson: “…, not exactly, Mrs. Hudson.”
Holmes: “She didn’t get enough signatures?”
Jordie: “She filed the petition late?”
Watson: “That would be a ‘No’ to each question. It appears she could not decide what council seat she wanted to run for.”
Mrs. Hudson and Jordie in unison with puzzled looks on their faces: “Why, that is ridiculous”.
Holmes: “Preposterous, Watson…absurd…if I do say.”
Watson: “Well, I understand that there was quite a kerfuffle at the Board of Elections meeting with everyone seemingly having a difference of opinion.
Holmes: “I’ll bet there were three lawyers present and there were four opinions from them.”
Watson: “Sounds about right, but a chap, by the name of Fellows, rightly dug in his heels and said basically…No way this makes sense, why does the city lawyer get to usurp elections laws?”
Holmes: “So we have a draw, who gets to decide Ms. Belich’s fate?”
Watson: “The issue has been shuffled off to the State of Ohio’s Secretary of State. There should be a ruling in a couple of weeks.” This is a very sticky wicket for all election boards in the State of Ohio.
Jordie: “How so?”
Holmes: [Interjecting his opinion forcefully] “I understand completely. You are correct, Watson. If Ms. Belich gets to pick her choice of which council seat to run for after the prescribed date, then all future candidates for office will be able to scam the system by putting multiple offices on their petitions, and then decide after all candidates have filed to see which office they have the best chance of winning….Oh, this is big, Watson…very big…in fact, game-changing.”
Watson: “…and the people of Lake County and the State of Ohio have the scandalous Willoughby Hills mob to thank for this fine mess…”
Holmes: “You will stay on top of this for us, won’t you Watson.
Watson: “Like a bloodhound on a scent…like a dog on a bone…like..”
Jordie: [interupting] “Ah man…”keep the heid”, “a nod’s as guid as a wink tae a blind horse”..”be sure to ring me up when you get the news about Julie…”
Closing scene: We leave the meeting with all four shaking their heads in disbelief about the ongoing shenanigans of Willoughby Hills. Stay tuned for Act 2 in the latest sordid tale of the “Case of Julie Belich’s Faulty Petition!”