Cliche Stories

I was trying to decide on my cliché this week, and had just about settled on a Sherlock Holmes quote when I saw the Daily Prompt from WordPress: confess. The two seemed linked together and my path was set.


“C’mon, Jackie,” Kayden urged. “Just say you did it.”

“Yeah,” Lindsey  agreed, “If you just say it, we can all go to lunch.”

Jackie  looked around his classmates resentfully.  He didn’t do it. Why should he take the fall?

“Why?” he asked.

“Cause teacher is going to make us sit here foreeeevver,” Lindsey said. “Don’t you wanna get out of here? She won’t do anything, she never does.”

“Yeah, last week, she just shook her head and sighed when I told her it was me that hid the erasers,” Kayden said.

“It’s like what that guy in storytime says, it’s ele-el-mentary,” Charlotte chimed in. “She thinks you did it and if you say you did, you can save all of us.”

She batted her  blue eyes at Jackie with a sweet smile, and he groaned, knowing he was going to give in.


elementary, my dear Watson: the famous and oft used line to explain that a perplexing question is really so very simple after all. The history of this one is obvious–it comes from Sherlock Holmes. Holmes often used the phrase condescendingly to his assistant, Dr Watson. But did he? The most famous quote Holmes ever made never appeared in any of Sir Conan Doyle’s books. It was added later in Sherlock Holmes’ movies, as a liberty taken by film writers and directors. Sherlock did say “Exactly, my dear Watson,” as well as “Elementary” in several of the stories, so at some point they were glued together for Hollywood. The phrase itself, however, actually belongs to another writer, P.G. Wodehouse, who used it in Psmith Journalist, 1915.



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