Write On … Club Assignment

Jaine Toth

Write On …, the Robson Ranch writers’ workshop group, engages in writing activities as well as bringing their works-in-progress to share and critique. Recently a writing assignment sent them home with the Jack & Jill nursery rhyme. They were asked to write whatever came to mind and then bring it to the next session to read aloud. Suggestions were a newspaper article, short story, or poem. Everyone agreed that Bob Rice’s submission should be shared with a wider audience, so we offer it to all of you for some literary entertainment.

News Story by Bob Rice

Jack and Jill went up the hill

to fetch a pail of water.

Jack fell down and broke his crown

and Jill came tumbling after.

Jack was a highly successful entrepreneur who had made a fortune buying, selling, and trading obscure artifacts. He began his career with three bags of black wool, purported to have been shorn from an extinct species of sheep, which he traded for a cow that supposedly had jumped over the moon. He parlayed the cow into some magic beans which were auctioned at Sotheby’s for an exorbitant fortune.

Though Jack had amassed unfathomable wealth, he was unable to find a cure for a medical condition that had plagued him all of his life. He was unable to eat fat. Coincidentally, his wife Jill, a high-powered attorney, suffered from a contradictory disease and was unable to eat lean.

After an exhaustive search, Jack happened upon the Happy Illusionary Little Laboratory (HILL) where a Dr. H. Dumpty had performed experiments with astounding results. Dr. Dumpty assured Jack that his new formula, which he called Pailowater™, would produce miraculous results for both Jack and his wife, Jill. Many hailed Dr. Dumpty as a genius, while others claimed him to be nothing more than a charlatan. His claims that Pailowater™ had restored many of his own body parts that had inexplicably fallen off, went unsubstantiated.

During preliminary consultations, Jack learned that Dr. Dumpty claimed to be in possession of a crown worn by the legendary performer, Ole “King” Cole. Cole was remembered for performing with his daughter, Natalie, after he had died. Cole always performed wearing his signature crown, and after his death, it fell into the hands of his well renowned band members aptly named All the King’s Men. Seeking to open a retirement home for the aging band members, it was said that they sold the crown to Dr. Dumpty for a series of junk bonds that were issued to support Dr. Dumpty’s Pailowater™ research.

Jack had to have the crown. His wife, Jill, subsequently entered into private negotiations with Dr. Dumpty. Months went by as the negotiations dragged on and Jack continued to receive the expensive Pailowater™ injections.

Finally, a deal was struck and Jack delivered a fortune believed to be greater than a sixpence. When the crown arrived and the packaging stripped away, there was no crown. Jack was beside himself. He had fallen for the old con game, the Crown Caper, one of the oldest tricks in the book.

Jack was unable to locate Dr. Dumpty, and at the same time his wife turned up missing. She had fallen for the charms of the charismatic doctor and had disappeared with him, along with their two children, Dish and Spoon.

Up Jack got, and home did trot,

As fast as he could caper,

He went to bed to mend his head,

With vinegar and brown paper.

Jack spent many years in various institutions where he insisted on wearing a brown paper bag on his head claiming it to be Ole “King” Cole’s long lost crown. He subsequently discovered that vinegar alleviated his migraine headaches, and he was also able to eat roast beef without discomfort even though others had none. In his later life, he especially enjoyed Marie Callender’s 4 and 20 blackbird pie.

That’s the Real Story

Can you find all nine nursery rhymes?