Fandom: Professor Layton
Word Count: 553
Disclaimer: I don't own Professor Layton. Or his top-hat of awesome.
Teaser: Under a spreading chestnut tree, the squishy mangos solve puzzles…?
Flora read over the paragraph one final time, then set the paper down on her desk. She closed her eyes and began to recite. “Under a spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands; the smith, a mighty man is he, with large and sinewy hands—”
A knock at the door made her jump, and her eyes flew open as she turned around. “Y-yes?”
The door opened, and Luke stuck his head in. “The Professor brought us something!”
A treat? Well, that certainly trumped schoolwork any day of the week. Even though it was the forth time Luke had interrupted her in her efforts to memorize this poem for her literature class at school. Flora stood and followed Luke out the door and down the stairs.
By the time she came back upstairs, she had the phrase ‘squishy mangos’ stuck in her head, courtesy of Luke. For the treat had, indeed, been mangos (a gift sent to them by a friend of the Professor’s, it seemed), and Luke had been amused that one of them had been a bit softer than the others.
But back to her studies.
She read over the first stanza of the poem again and again set it down. Again she closed her eyes, and once again she started reciting it. “Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands; the smith, a mighty man is he, with squishy mangos—”
Flora stopped. Wait, what? She glanced at the paper. That wasn’t right at all! She sighed and pressed a hand to her forehead. Oh, this was ridiculous. She had to recite this tomorrow in front of her entire class, and if she kept on like this, she would never make it. All right, deep breath. Time to try again.
“Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands; the smith, a mighty man is he, with large and sinewy hands; and the muscles of his brawny arms—”
“Flora, my dear.”
Now it was the Professor’s turn to interrupt. She opened her eyes and offered a smile. “Yes?”
“What would you like to have for dinner?”
She gave a neutral answer; anything was fine. And then she found herself being escorted downstairs to assist with preparations and setting the table. She kept trying to go over the poem in her head, but the words kept getting messed up. And it only got worse as they sat down to a meal and the conversation turned to puzzles. She listened, interjected at appropriate times, and returned to her desk and the waiting poem as soon as she was able.
“Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands—” she began.
But barely a line in, she was interrupted by Luke sticking his head in the door. “Flora, have you seen—”
Her patience and good humor were officially gone. Flora stood up, stormed over to the door, and yelled as loudly as she could. “Under the spreading chestnut tree, the squishy mangos solve puzzles over chipped beef on toast!”
And she slammed the door in his face.
Layton happened to be at the end of the hall, and saw the whole thing. “What was that all about?”
“…I think she’s upset about something,” Luke said after a moment.
Layton couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. “Very astute, my boy.”
PS. "The Village Smithy" is by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.