I was resting my eyes this afternoon, dear Reader, when I heard a knock at my office door. I rose from my chaise longue, slipped on my day mules, and opened the door to Professor Chris Anthemum of the Centre for the Advanced Study of Archeological Meteoritics.*
‘Why Chris!’, I exclaimed. ‘How delightful to see you. And how lovely you look in all in yellow – it does so suit the blue undertones in your skin.’
In her usual taciturn way Chris said nothing, but shouldered past me, striding towards my desk.
‘Some tea, my dear?’, I said.
But by now Chris had removed a hairpin from her bun, and was rattling it around in the desk drawer.
‘What have you done with the research budget?’, she said. ‘I saw Giselle put it in here last week. She promised to ringfence the Hniffean dig money for CASAM. But now I hear rumours of new curtains, and extravagant office accoutrements’.
‘You should know better than to listen to wild rumour’, I said. ‘Especially after all that nasty business with the Dean’.**
Chris glared at me.
‘But while you are here’, I added, ‘won’t you help me hang this faux-retro stuffed creature-of-the-forest head over the mantelpiece? Who would have thought it would be so heavy, with so few brains to speak of?’
As we hauled it into place Chris muttered something about a passing resemblance to one of our shared second-year students.
We laughed, and for a moment I thought the tensions between us had eased.
But then Chris remembered herself.
‘I haven’t forgotten about the research budget!’, she snapped as she left my office, her Cuban heels tapping briskly on the oak parquet.
I returned to my chaise longue, dear Reader, to admire Jenny Haniver sur fireplace, and to consider my next move.
* Those with a taste for vulgar self-promotion may wish to learn more about Professor Chris Anthemum on twitter, at twitter.com/ProfXanthemum
** The sorry details of the trial were documented rather inadequately by an eye-witness, a trainee dental assistant called Brendon, at https://twitter.com/BrenDestroyer