“Thanks for coming down to our facility, Mrs Dee Point,” the elderly gentleman began, as he gestured her into the workroom. “I’m Professor Noel Ivan Deer. We would get you some water, but we sent our researchers Jack and Jill up the hill to get some earlier and… well, you wouldn’t think it the hardest thing in the world but poor Jack’s now got a fractured skull.”
“My goodness!” Mrs Point remarked, evidently alarmed by how frantically she was scribbling this down in her notes. “So he’s gone to hospital?”
“With those waiting times in A&E?!” exclaimed Professor Deer. “No, we’ve sent him upstairs with vinegar and brown paper.”
“But…” Mrs Point was thrown for a moment. “Surely that will never work?”
“Well, you’d think so, but that is what we do! Jack’s misfortune has blossomed into a beautiful opportunity for us! Our facility is dedicated to solving the mysteries of nursery rhymes. Restoring the eyesight of the three blind mice was just the beginning! We’re asking the important questions like: why do the bells of St Clements owe five farthings to the bells of St Martins? Why does Aiken Drum live in the moon? Why does the little boy who lives down the lane need a bag of wool from Baa Baa Black Sheep? Sounds to me like that poor chap is being worked than rightfully so for a lad of his years!”
“And what have you found overall?”
“Well Mrs Point, there is an awful lot of jumping in the world of nursery rhymes. Jack jumps over the candlestick, the cow jumps over the moon…”
“And have you found a reason for this, Professor Deer?”
“Not yet, but surely there must be one.”
“So have you achieved anything of value?”
“Well, we’ve found Bo Peep’s sheep, we’ve helped the King’s Men put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and we’ve got our fingers crossed for Jack, otherwise poor Jill’s going to be devastated.”
Suddenly the door opened, and in came a second elderly gentleman. “Ah Doctor Foster! How was Gloucester?”
“Terrible weather, you should see the puddles! I’m never going there again,” grumbled the doctor. “But have you heard the news? London Bridge is falling down!”
“Falling down!” exclaimed Mrs Point.
“Falling down! London bridge is falling down, my fair lady,” said the Doctor.
Sensing something was not quite right, Mrs Point pondered “hang on, is it really falling down, or did you set that up just so the nursery rhyme would work?”
“Are you suggesting all of this is just an elaborate set up for us to make bad jokes using nursery rhymes?!” blustered Professor Deer. “That’s ridiculous! What’s for lunch, Doctor?” he suddenly asked as casually as he could.
“Well, I did catch a fish alive, but then I threw it back again.”
“Why did you let it go?”
“Because it bit…”
“Oh for goodness sake!” shouted Mrs Point. “You’re grown men. Not every nursery rhyme, or any song for that matter, has a literal, deeper philosophical meaning.”
“Heavens, you’re right,” said Professor Deer. “Marry me my dear, we’d be perfect together!”
“Well, as creepy as that is, I have to decline; I’m waiting on my love forevermore bonny Bobby Shafto who’s gone to sea.”
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