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Fast Fiction: The Warden

There can be no doubt about it,' said History, 'he has lost his marbles.' But is the college warden really a maniac? Richard Mallinson tells an academic tale.

There can be no doubt about it,' said History, 'he has lost his marbles.'

'Oh, I wouldn't go that far,' said Philosophy.

'How far would you go, then?'

'As far as saying he's eccentric, perhaps.'

'Eccentric my foot,' snapped History, 'he's bloody barmy.'

At that moment Eng Lit came in and said, 'I assume you are discussing, in your civilised manner, the warden of this college.'

The others grimaced.

'Well,' joked Eng Lit, 'I suggest that a little more respect should be shown to the afflicted' and he plunged, laughing, into an armchair.

'Come on,' snapped History, 'let's be serious. We must decide what to do. We can't carry on with a maniac in charge.'

They talked, then agreed that History should go to see the warden and express the concerns of 'a number of fellows of this college.'

Even Philosophy thought that this was the best thing to do, more or less.

After an hour, the other two, now drinking college port, began to wonder what had happened to History.

'It's another riddle,' opined Philosophy. 'History is full of them.'

Computer Science came in. 'Why the long faces?' he asked, helping himself to port. 'Has our dear warden resisted arrest?'

They talked, then agreed that Philosophy should go to the warden's quarters to assess the situation and report back.

When he, too, did not return, Eng Lit set off on the same mission, crying ‘Remember me when I am gone away.'

'Christina Rossetti,' he explained, looking back round the doorpost.

'Well, send her in,' said Computer Science, helping himself to more port. Then he drowsed in front of the fire, not knowing, and not really caring, what had happened to his rivals.


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