The time for lyrics from 1950s musicals is almost over, dear Reader.

But before we leave that magical land and face the troubling realities of life at the UWL’s Taizhou Branch (Eastern Possessions), let me first tell you about the students.

As you know, dear Reader, I always extend the hand of friendship to my students, and so have invited them to my rooms for an audience.

As I wait, I measure a metacarpal’s worth of absinthe into each of my best shot glasses.

There is a tiny scratching noise at the door.

‘Enter’, I bark.

There is a muffled thud, and the door shudders slightly.

I slip on my mules, glide doorwards, and turn the key in the lock.

The students enter, and shuffle sideways to the sofa.

‘Sit’, I say.

They sit.

Dear Reader. Words fail me when I attempt to describe these leaders of tomorrow to you. So perhaps you will instead examine carefully this still shot, taken from the security camera in the ceiling fan (activated by button under my desk).


Fortunately, UWL Taizhou security has provided a key. It reads:

A. Ai-Ling (Level 2, Creative Writing and Runeology).

B. Ji (Level 3 Cycling and Runeology).

C. Mary-Beth (JYA, Level 4, Philosophy and Runeology).

D. Mo-Mo (JYA, Level 3, Fluid Mechanics and Runeology).

E. Salty Bob the Sailor (Mature student, auditing Runeology).

(E.a.) Shiny the Devil Cat (de-registered).

F. May-ling (Level 2, Poetry and Runeology).

I greet the students in traditional fashion, offering an individually crafted toast to their continuing good health.

‘It has been so lovely getting to know you’, I conclude, draining the last shot glass. ‘Now you may leave. Do not disturb me again outside my office hour (once a term, Mondays, 6-7 am).’

And that’s how I like to make the students like me, dear Reader.


*Dear Reader, since you ask, yes, this was me.



7 thoughts on “Putting It My Way, But Nicely*

  1. How disheartening it must be that so few students signed up for your course, dear Ada. Not everyone, of course, can hope to fill a vast theatre with their captivating rhetoric as I do, but one would wonder how secure the continued funding can be for such poorly attended subjects as Runic Studies.

    1. You overlook the fact that we do joint honours with English, my dear. In exchange for a little cross-subsidy, we like to think that we offer value added, in the form of leadership and variety (the sugared ginger added to the English department’s porridge, so to speak). And there is always my research grant, which is in the post.

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