“What?!” said Miss Wu, astonished.
“Water!” said the flower.
“It can talk?” wondered Skates.
“Water!” said the plant. “Want water!”
“No water in here!” came Wildmouth’s muffled voice from under his eiderdown.
“There’s a tap on the patio!” said Skates.
“Yes!” said Miss Wu, “lovely cool, wet water from the tap!”
The plant turned away from the balcony and snaked down to the patio below. Miss Wu and Skates watched as the plant picked up the hose attached to the tap and held it over it’s flower-head like a person about to take a shower.
“You have to turn the tap on!” called Miss Wu.
The plant extended a tendril to the tap at the wall of the patio.
“It’s a bit stiff, so turn it firmly,” Skates shouted down to the plant, glancing at Miss Wu, who glanced back. . . The force of the jet of water knocked the plant out instantly. The wild hose then leapt around spurting water this way and that and high up into the air. It sprayed the hotel guests through their open windows and woke them all up.
“What’s going on!” shouted the walrus.
Miss Wu apologised again and ran downstairs. She managed to crawl across the patio again to turn off the crazy water. Skates, Wildmouth and all the guests went downstairs and carried the plant out of the patio and bundled it into the shed. The penguins were happy to stand on guard outside. They took turns playing the musical-box which the plant had dropped on the patio, making sure their ears were covered.
“I found these outside!” he said, plonking several lettuces on the front desk. “Has a letter arrived for me?” he continued, eyeing his pigeon hole.
Miss Wu told Russell what had happened and then took him to the shed, where Skates had taken over from the penguins, who had become exhausted. Skates stopped turning the handle of the musical-box and Tusks unlocked the shed door.
“Hello! Loquentes serpentium plantae?” he said quietly, using the plant’s official name.
“Who are you?” asked the plant.
Russell Tusks introduced himself and told the plant that he would take it to a place where it could live comfortably.
“Like it here!” said the plant. “Want to stay here with the kind birdlady and the funny lion.”
“But the lion isn’t funny - he’s just annoying!” said Tusks.
“Want to stay here!” said the plant.
Russell talked to Miss Wu and they decided to plant it in the field next to the hotel’s vegetable patch; this was the foundation of Russell Tusk’s botanical garden. Word soon spread about the talking plant, and it attracted many tourists to the hotel. Miss Wu looked after the plant and Wildmouth, who was happy to have an appreciative audience for a change, performed theatrical sketches on his balcony to make it happy.
© David Severn 2014