It has taken me until this very moment to dislodge the orgulous Salty from my Trebuchet recliner.
And now you find me late – late! – for the emergency staff meeting I called last week to discuss staffing.
Scurry behind me, dear Reader, and take your seat in the back row as I make my way into Senate Chamber and glide towards the podium.
‘Let us begin’, I say, surveying all 645 of Taizhou’s professors, associate professors, assistant professors, assistant professors (education and services), teaching associates, teaching assistants, postdocs, postgrads, lectors, hourly-paid tutors, student representatives, admin staff, and Lu-Seal, all of whom are gazing at me, transfixed.
I do not blink, for that would show weakness and moral turpitude.
I take a breath, and begin. ‘Item 1, Update on Research Findings with Impact. Dr Manchu?’, I say.
‘Yes,’ says Fu. ‘Behold!’ He holds up a copy of War and Peace next to a copy of The Old Man and the Sea.
‘How marvellous to see that the Department of Comparative Literature is still forging ahead’, I say. ‘Next?’
There is silence.
‘Very well,’ I say. ‘Item 2: Proleptic appointments. Allow me to introduce Dr Freyå from Rekjyavik, internationally acclaimed specialist in the Lost Tomb of Hnaeff, and our dear colleague Salty’s almost-widow’.
A tall figure dressed entirely in black lamé rises to her feet, bows, and glares at Salty, who starts humming a verse of ‘bonny Bobby Shaftoe’.
‘Moving on’, I say, raising my voice a little while radiating my customary professionalism and efficiency. ‘Item 3. The Taizhou police investigation has almost –’
At that moment, dear Reader, a small figure in a bright orange cycling jacket sidles onto the platform beside me.
‘Do remove your cycling apparel, dear Jade’, I say. ‘It makes it so difficult to remember our common humanity’.
Jade tucks her cycling helmet under her arm, and turns to address the
members of parliament staff.
‘I bring glad tidings from the metropolis!’, she cries . ‘Ser Basil has declared that there is to be synergy! It is time for a new leader! Vote now! Not for her! For me, me!’
Cries of ‘Me, too!’, ‘I will cut everything, everything, I tell you!’ and ‘Standards at the Happy Taizhou Happy Burger Cafe will only improve if you vote for me!’ fill the Senate Chamber.
Dear Reader. I will not insult your intelligence by telling you what I would do if reappointed.
I step down from the podium, passing Mise, Darren and Lu-Seal in the front row. They issue quite uncharacteristic invitations for afternoon tea, a night out at the Bar of Gold, and an inspection of the vulture enclosure in the Remembering Garden, respectively.
I ignore them all, for history is on my side.
What’s more, dear Reader, I have the only copy of the UWL Taizhou Constitutional Handbook in my hands, and I am heading straight for the boiler room.
*Astute readers will note that I am not counting the five empty chairs with the signs hung over them reading ‘We will never kiss Dr Ada’s Louboutins’.