When Frankie Wilder sat up in bed, suddenly, and from a deep coma, and said “Plumbago! Goodness! It’s so simple” it threw the scientific community into a tizz. These were the last words uttered by the famous scientist. Clearly, in his last moments he had conceived something profound that had possibly been staring us in the face all along. Plumbago was the answer. What was the question?
The greatest scientific minds of the day grappled with the problem. What was plumbago the solution to? All knew it was simply graphite used in “lead” pencils. Why didn’t he say graphite? Why plumbago? Why? Why? Why?
Several professors wrote long scholarly articles that were published in science magazines. One student devoted his Ph.D. dissertation to the event. It was important because Frankie Wilder was the scientist of the century. Was he not the one who discovered how to instantaneously get to the other side of the universe in a warpal-sponge? Did he not enable palaeontologists to go back in time and photograph dinosaurs? Was he not the one to expose Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as being a load of twaddle? And now it was plumbago. What secrets did the lead pencil hold?
Frankie’s widow was worn to a frazzle. Every aspiring scientist wanted to interview her. What had Frankie been doing before he went into a coma? Were his reported last words exactly as reported? Did she have any inkling as to what he may have meant?
Quite frankly, Frankie’s widow had had enough. The next person who came along she confessed the whole shebang. That plant with the delicate blue flower is called plumbago. It was Frankie’s favourite flower. He wanted it on his coffin. He thought it such a pretty plant.
It wasn’t true of course, but it shut everyone up.