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Forward: This one is much shorter than usual. Just felt like writing it.
All the students watched expectedly, squirming in their seats in grim anticipation as Yukari handed back test papers. The teacher smiled pleasantly at each, which meant nothing since as many students winced in pain as sighed in relief at seeing their results.
Yukari came to Tomo, beaming, and handed her the paper. "Congratulations, Tomo. You got an 88." Yukari's gaze became lethal. "And if I figure out how you cheated, you're history."
Tomo's eyebrows furrowed in irritation. She had just been bored and decided to study, and everyone acted like she had set fire to the school.
Yukari arrived at Chiyo's desk, her pleasant demeanor returned. "Here you go, Chiyo. Better luck next time."
Chiyo's shoulders slumped as she read the results.
Tomo picked up on the depression and grinned. "Didn't do so good, huh?"
Chiyo shook her head. "Not really."
Now Tomo became exuberant. She walked over to Chiyo's desk. "Well, don't feel too bad just because I beat your ass. Lemme see." She lunged for the paper.
"No! Stop!" Chiyo tried to fend off Tomo's hands, but her efforts were futile as the older girl snatched the paper away.
Tomo read the results, brow twitching. "You got a 96."
Chiyo turned red in embarrassment. "I used the wrong form of 'its' and wrote out 'plane' instead of 'plain'. I always had problems with homonyms."
The paper crumpled in Tomo's hands. "Little brat, I'll beat you one of these days!"
Lunchtime came with Tomo fuming over her food. Osaka noticed and sat down beside her. "What's wrong?"
Tomo scowled at her. "I'm trying to come up with some way to outsmart Chiyo."
Osaka considered that. "Maybe you should use misdirection."
"You mean like switching the signs on her street around so she takes the wrong way home?"
Osaka shook her head. "No, I was thinking of something like this." Osaka cleared her throat and said in a teaching-like tone. "Which is heavier: a ton of rock or a ton of feathers?"
"Duh, a ton of rock," Tomo said as thought it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"Wrong. They are the same since a ton is a ton." Osaka had a half smile, which would have been a smirk on anyone else. "You see, a ton is two thousand pounds. A ton of feathers would take up a lot more space than a ton of rock, but their weights are the same."
The dawn of realization rose to Tomo's horizon. "I get it. That's brilliant. Thanks, Osaka."
Tomo went in search of Chiyo. It didn't take her long to spot the prodigy, who was eating in the classroom with Sakaki and Yomi nearby.
Tomo slammed her palm on the desk so hard it shook. "Chiyo-chan, I got a question for you. Since I already know the answer, if you get it wrong, you have to write on the chalkboard 'Tomo is smarter than me' a hundred times, so everyone can see."
"Just because someone writes something a hundred times doesn't make it true," Yomi pointed out.
Chiyo became interested. "What if I get it right?"
Tomo considered that. "I'll write 'Chiyo-chan is way smarter than me' one hundred times… in English."
"And sometimes it is true," Yomi added.
"That seems kind of childish," Chiyo said.
"Then you concede your inferiority to me, fraidy cat?" Tomo taunted.
Sakaki wondered if a fraidy cat would be cute. It was something she had never considered.
Chiyo became irritated now. "Fine. Go ahead and ask the question."
Tomo smirked. "Which is heavier: a ton of noodles or a ton of gold?"
"A ton of noodles," Chiyo said.
"Wrong!" Tomo leaped up in the air in triumph. Not every far though, since she wasn't athletic. "They're the same. A ton is two thousand pounds, and they're both a ton, so that means they're the same weight. Let me get you some chalk so you can write on the blackboard."
Chiyo said, "Ah, actually gold is a precious metal, so it's weighed using the troy scale."
"Oh, really?" Tomo said, bewildered.
"Yes, and on the troy scale twelve ounces make up a pound, not sixteen like the avoirdupois system noodles would use. So two-thousand pounds of noodles would be heavier than two-thousand pounds of gold."
Panicked, Tomo stated, "You're making that up so you don't have to write."
"No, it says it right here in the back of my science book." Sakaki pointed the place out to Tomo.
"Here's your chalk," Yomi said gleefully, placing a piece in Tomo's hand.
Yukari came back to her room after lunch, irritated at the sight of Tomo cluttering up her clean blackboard with the same English phrase over and over, one that stated the obvious. "And it's 'much' better, not 'way', better," she explained to the tearful Tomo.
Yukari smiled at her English class. She was feeling down and wanted something to cheer her up. She decided it was up to the class to do it. Watching them stumble over themselves was always delightful: it highlighted just how much more brilliant Yukari was compared to them.
She stood in front of the room and cleared her throat, "All right, class, we're going to practice our verbal skills by reciting tongue twisters… in English."
That made most of the class moan in anguish.
Yes, it was all going according to plan. "We shall lead off with the following: 'how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood'?"
Osaka raised her hand.
"What is it?" Yukari asked.
"Don't you know?"
"Don't I know what?"
"If it can chuck wood," Osaka explained. "I mean, if you don't know if it can or can't, then who could possibly know what the answer is? I mean, if it can't, then the answer is none. And even if it can you still don't know much it would do. What if it wasn't in the mood to chuck wood or was on strike, or had a broken leg? Wouldn't that alter the amount?"
"You're just supposed to recite the saying, not answer it," Yukari explained.
Osaka pressed on. "But what was going through the mind of the person that came up with it? I mean, it's a pointless question."
Yukari decided to switch gears. "Okay, let's try this, since it's not in the form of a question.'Sally sells seashells down by the seashore'." She loved that one. So many delight 'l's, which the Japanese tongue would butcher.
Osaka raised her hand again.
Not wanting to, but being compelled as a teacher, Yukari asked, "What is it now?"
"Why is she selling them by the seashore? Business can't possibly be good. I mean, anyone could just walk up the beach and pick up seashells without having to pay for them. I can't imagine she'd make much money."
"That's not the point," Yukari said, teeth gnashing.
Tomo interjected herself. "I bet if she sold them at Mt. Fuji she could make a lot. Not many seashells there. She'd probably make a fortune."
Osaka nodded. "Yeah, and then when she sold them all, she could take a bunch of mountain rock back to the seashore with her and sell them there, since they don't have mountain rock near a beach. And then when she sold that, she could get more seashells and return to Mt. Fuji. That would make a lot more sense."
Yukari hit the breaking point. "No, 'Sally sells mountain rock down by the seashore' does not make sense!"
"It makes more sense than hanging out at the seashore trying to get people to buy seashells. That would be sort of like selling lint at a clothing store," Tomo said.
"All right! Forget that one too!" Yukari shouted. "This is the one you'll be saying. 'Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."
Osaka's hand shot up.
"It was because he needed the money! Picking pickled peppers is a very lucrative trade where he lives!" Yukari shouted at her.
"Actually, I have to go the restroom," Osaka explained.