I have the REF results in my hand, dear Reader. Two days early.
Let it be stated quite clearly that the full responsibility for this breach lies wholly with Darren from IT.
I merely found the printout on the desk before me, the text imprinting itself on my retinas when I happened to glance downwards.
My staff are craning their necks. Fortunately, none of them can read upside down.
The results are astounding, dear Reader.
I quickly turn to Jade and demand her red pen.
I hunch forward, my arm thrown protectively around the printout. Jade’s red pen glides smoothly across the pages.
After some time, I pause. The sound of ragged breathing fills the room.
‘Do pass Lu-Seal her inhaler’, I say to Fu.
There is another pause.
I toss Jade her pen, straighten my back, throw my shoulders back, and stride to the lectern.
Behind me, the early morning Oriental sun falls through the window. My staff squint up at my graceful silhouette.
‘Behold’, I say to them, ‘The Results of the REF’.
I lift a piece of paper up before them, on which I have written, in red pen, the following:
Dr Ada: 5 stars
Prof Mise: 2 stars
Lu-Seal: 1.25 stars
Fu Manchu: 2 stars
Karl Yung: 1 star
Prof Jade Dragon: 2 stars
There is a pause. Suddenly, Jade speaks.
‘But on the back of the paper it clearly says Dr Ada 0 stars and everyone else 5’.
I quickly stuff the paper back in my pocket.
‘That is historical’, I say. ‘The important thing going forward is our average score, and how we rank against the other Departments of Runeology. I am delighted to tell you that our average score is 3.25’.
‘And our competitors?’, says Prof Mise, her powerful mathematical brain missing nothing.
‘Both of them have an average of 4’, I say. ‘But no matter. We will still be ranked no. 1 of 3 in the International League tables’.
‘But how, how?’, wails Lu-Seal.
‘Fear not’, I say to them. ‘I have a plan.’