Picture me, if you will, at my desk, writing the words ’42 – should fail but I can’t be bothered to write a re-sit’ in red ink across the bottom of Salty Bob’s exam script.
I am exhausted, dear Reader. A breath of fresh air will do me good.
I glide to the French doors.
I throw open the right-hand door.
I reach to throw open the other door, when my eye is caught by a small, beautifully wrapped box, placed carefully on the left-hand step facing the pond.*
Closer inspection reveals a delicious looking cupcake, dear Reader. It is decorated with silver dragées in the shape of a tiny fire-breathing dragon. There is no note.
Just as I am about to nibble the cupcake a shadow falls across the French doors.
‘Jade!’, I exclaim. ‘Have you seen, an admirer has left me such a thoughtful gift!’
Jade averts her eyes from the cupcake, glances at the floor, and thrusts a piece of paper at me.
‘Nu-buck?’, she says, gesturing towards my new rug.
‘Raw hide’, I say, stepping onto Annabelle to reach through the French doors.
Well, dear Reader. It is good news. You will of course recall the 60-odd lecturers, postgraduates, part-time tutors and members of the general public (Affiliate Professors) who moved en masse to the University of Singapore when I first arrived in Taizhou? It would seem that my request for a replacement has been granted at last.
I have just composed the advertisement for this evening’s edition of the Daily Hulusi:
While I wait for you to apply, dear Reader, I think I shall take my tea on the patio and feed the piranha some cupcake.
*The koi-carp have been taken in for questioning, following the demise of the University Lacrosse team, which I know you have forgotten all about.