me and arthur are on the same page

So, uh, after all the mentions of HH Holmes in the last episode, I was reminded of this thing I wrote a long time ago. It was part of a bigger piece that I doubt I’ll ever finish enough to publish, but here’s a little something.

The first time Martin showed Ben Tumblr, they’re sharing a late on set dinner of takeout and contraband red wine that Ben had personally chosen and smuggled in.

“Did you know that the same year Arthur Conan Doyle published A Study in Scarlet one of America’s first serial killers changed his name from Herman Webster Mudgett to H.H. Holmes?” Martin asked, settling back into the sofa cushions. He studied Ben’s profile as Ben scrolled through page after page of the proffered erotic art and romantic fiction on Martin’s laptop.

“I did not know that.”

“I’m just saying, fans have always been a little intense.”

“And that’s supposed to comfort me?”

“These are just drawings and stories. This isn’t a big deal. It’s love.”

“No, this is porn. Porn is not love.”

“It’s an expression of love, and it’s a better pastime than murder.”

“I suppose.”

“Besides, they’re really good, aren’t they?”

Ben turned at that, facing Martin. “Oh, my god.”

“What?”

“You’re flattered.”

“No, I’m not.”

“You are. I can tell,” followed by a pointed finger and a smug grin.

Martin shrugged. “Not only are they talented, but they’re pretty generous. They think you’re some sort of sex god.”

“That’s not generous; that’s perceptive.”

“Har har.”

Ben turned back to the screen and took up a carton for another bite of lo mein. “Herman Webster Mudgett. What a silly name.”

It was a punchline he was being set up for, but Martin didn’t mind obliging. “You’re one to talk.”