This post was first published in November 2013, but was taken down in March 2014 following some rather sensationalist headlines, which some of you may remember. Although I rather enjoyed my brief moment of ‘fame’ as a ‘leather-clad’ former Deputy Head Porter, the University were not happy at all about the salacious stories of sex and drugs in College appearing in the press. Personally, I do not think that this post is offensive in the slightest and the upset over extra small condoms was most unwarranted. But make up your own minds.
I am so fed up with having my meals interrupted. If eating is such an important part of College life, why do crises always happen at mealtimes?
Today, it is the Full English that will lie sadly uneaten on its plate. Junior Bursar, the constant factor in my mealtime disruption, is bearing down on me, incident book in hand.
“A student in Old Court was caught smoking in his room in the early hours of this morning,” Junior Bursar smells of fried eggs and black pudding. “The substance he was suspected of smoking is cannabis!”
Well, I suppose that smoking cannabis is actually against the law. More importantly, it seems, it is also against College policy. The problem with College policy being law is that it only operates during office hours (this is something that strikes me as in need of reform). When the offence was committed, College Justice was safely tucked up in bed. In the cold light of day, the scene is cold but justice must be seen to be done. Head Porter and I are to conduct a search of the student’s bedroom.
Now, any sensible person caught smoking cannabis in the wee small hours has plenty of time to dispose of the evidence before The Fellowship roll up. Even an insensible person would probably have smoked their stash by now, anyway. Still, I am rolling up my sleeves and putting on latex gloves stolen from the first aid box.
Mercifully, Head Porter agrees to search the bedroom / bathroom area, leaving me to search the living / study area. Although I have been up to my elbows in far more hideous scenes than this, somehow sorting through a teenager’s boxers and toiletries is unthinkable.
I focus on the task in hand. My search technique is methodical and thorough. I am naturally nosey and have always loved sorting through the mundane personal effects of others. In past times is has made me feel so much better about myself. As I sifted through the grubby personal effects of suspected drug dealers on their filthy bare floors, I would feel so lucky that life had not led me down that path. This gives me almost the same feeling, but in such a different way.
The student in question (a 19 year old white male with the obligatory floppy blond fringe, retreating jaw line and over-fed mid-drift) is studying politics. He writes neatly, but ineffectually. He banks with Coutts. He is ashamed of his sexual conquests. How to I know all this? I’ve read his essays. I’ve seen his cheque book. I have found his secret stash of used condoms and their wrappers! I shudder to think what he will eventually grow into. The over-pampered educated classes of our society are a real worry.
So obviously, I find no cannabis. What I do find is even more shocking (to Junior Bursar). Another item banned by College legislation.
It is badly hidden under a discarded coat. The main giveaway is the tell-tale squeak of the wheel. I discard the coat to reveal the expected hamster cage. I realise that the hamster is suspected of no offence, so therefore I really shouldn’t search his house. Then again, It’s only a bloody hamster so why not?
The hamster is not concealing a consignment of drugs. However, it is still an illegal immigrant in itself. Seeing an opportunity, I usher out Junior Bursar with the promise of dealing with this incident. The student is clearly a good friend of Mary Jane, judging by the stack of king size silver Rizla I find in his room. Then again, kids will be kids and the student is obviously a posh boy away from home for the first time. Easily sorted.
Junior Bursar returns to his office and Head Porter returns to the Lodge. I wait in the room for the arrival of the student. He arrives back soon after the departures of my superiors. He doesn’t seem that alarmed to see me. While we were conducting the search, he was being read his rights by the Senor Tutor. He is just praying that the College don’t call his parents.
As he walks through the door I am sitting at his easy chair near the desk. I introduce myself. He asks if we found any drugs in his room. Like he needed to ask. I tell him that we didn’t. I tell him what we did find. The look on his face is priceless. Then I tell him about the hamster.
“What’s his name?” I ask “What’s the hamster’s name?”
“His name is Murray” the student replies, already on the back foot.
“Murray? Nice name for a hamster” If I had an over-sized cigar I would have taken a drag. “You know pets are banned, right?”
“umm, well, I don’t really know…”
“Well they are. If you don’t want Murray passed into the custody of The Master’s cat I suggest you find somewhere outside of College to smoke your weed.” I take a breath and look into his eyes. Cocky little bastard. “I’m serious. If I hear your name in College again I’m feeding Murray to the fucking cat. Stay out of the Porters’ way.”
With that, I stride from the easy chair and out the room, never letting my gaze leave that of the student. I know it, he knows it. For both of the incidents of copulation he has engaged in since the start of term, he has used extra small condoms. Killing Murray is one thing, destroying his opportunity of sexual gratification for his entire student life is quite another. I feel confident he will pose no further problems.