Distractions, distractions...

[The Small Experiment Hall, Castle Carfax. Mysterious organic objects lurk in jars of discoloured fluid. Three-phase power sockets feed glowing machines, into which complex pieces of chemical glassware drip slowly. Approximately three ferrets cower in a cage on the central table, guessing their fate. A door on the far side of the hall slams open, and a short twisted figure shambles in at speed.]

Thir! Thir!

Oh, do be careful Igor, you nearly had that liver on the floor!

Thorry, marthter, thall I cook you thome more for dinner?

No. What is it, Igor? Why do you distract me when I’m working?

There’th a group of thtudentth outthide, marthter.

Students? Well, heat up the oil and wind the ballistas.

No, thir. Paying thtudentth.

Dammit, is it that time of year again? Well, I suppose it pays the bills. Have you completed the renovation of the dormitory tower?

Yeth, marthter. Painted over the thtainth on the wallth, and put in new lockth. I thall iththue the keyth to them firtht thing.

Igor, you fool! I had those locks put in for a purpose — these are students! Give them the freedom of the castle, and the next thing you know, they’ll be at the acetone supplies and partying in the herb gardens until all hours of the morning again.

Thorry, thir. Thall I do the uthual introducthions?

Yes — Large experiment hall off-limits. Dangers of dungeon fourteen and the kitchen garden without the proper training. The ourang-outan to be signed for, and returned promptly after use. And make sure they stay out of the library unless they have the proper protective equipment.

Yeth, marthter. And the thyllabus?

The usual, same as last year. Oh, and do a quick oral test. See how well they do with the Hieroglyphica, and enrol the failures on Remedial Enochian for Tuesday afternoons. I’ll update Electrickal Fluids And Reanimation for Monday mornings — practical sessions ad-hoc when there’s a suitable storm.

Oh, and post my office hours from seven to quarter past every third Thursday morning.

Thall I wake you at thickth for that, marthter?

No, half past eight as usual will suffice. That will be all, Igor.

Crossword: 13542