They say that when you leave a place, a part of you stays behind so that there is always a little piece of you remaining, as if you had never left. I don’t know who says that, mind you – it was probably the Greeks. They were forever spouting notions of that sort. But anyway, it got me to thinking about what I had left behind in Chinon and whether I would ever return to collect it again. If it is my sanity I shall probably leave it be; there are little bits of that scattered all over the place as it is.
The one thing we did leave behind was The Bursar. Rather unnervingly, the Curator had promised to leave him in the dungeon until he had forgotten about him. I am not sure what happens after that, will he let him out, do you think? How does that work? Something tells me that The Bursar will become a rather angry, highly educated Schrödinger’s Cat. My casual rumination on this matter as we wend our merry way home causes a lively and, at times, violent debate between The Dean and Professor Duke. Whilst The Dean seems intent on steering the conversation towards quantum superposition, the Professor is much more interested in a cat that is both alive and dead at the same time. His mind translates this as a zombie cat, which makes for an interesting discussion.
Speaking of cats, I am missing Terry very much. I do hope Head Porter has been taking good care of him for me.
“Now you must answer this question,” the Professor says to The Dean. “If the cat is both alive and dead at the same time, do you think the same thing will happen to The Bursar? Or is it just cats do you suppose? I mean, if it did happen to The Bursar, I would be forever scared. I might die, even.”
“I wouldn’t put anything past that sly bugger,” replies The Dean. “He was obviously following us about the whole time, waiting to pounce the very second we found the Grail!”
“Do you really think the Curator will just leave him down there in the dungeon?” I ask.
“I expect so, he gave us his word.”
“I’m not sure I like the idea of a zombie-Bursar,” remarks the Professor, solemnly. “Not at all, in fact. We should go back…and do something!”
“You gave your word that we would return the Grail to Chinon, if we ever find it” I say to The Dean. “And you know, someone at Old College definitely has it.”
“Bugger that!” snorts The Dean. “I had my fingers crossed behind my back the whole time. If we find the Holy Grail, it’s ours and that’s all there is to it.”
“That isn’t very gentlemanly, Sir.”
“Bugger that too! Sometimes a chap simply has to be vicious, Deputy Head Porter.”
“Now what about this phony Grail he said would be placed in the excavated monastery?” says Professor Duke. “And, since he’s not coming back, however can we explain that? Rats and a Heifer.”
“I say we deny all knowledge of absolutely everything,” The Dean replies, portentously. “At least, until we get a feel for what is happening back at Old College. I dread to think what has been occurring whilst we have been away.”
“Well, at least we should make it back just in time for Porter’s wedding,” I say cheerfully.
“Awesomeness!” exclaims the Professor. “Maybe there’ll be a fight? I hope so. I might start one, if not.”
“We should give careful thought to what we might wear,” The Dean says, rather unexpectedly. “What is it they say? Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?”
“I think that is for the bride, Sir.” I am duly ignored.
“This will be a good opportunity to give my blue trousers an outing,” The Dean continues.
“Blue trousers?” the Professor says. “I am, the sudden, quite jealous. Blue is just nice and awesome.”
“You should borrow my blue trousers, old chap – kill two birds with one stone that way.”
“I tried that once—killing two birds with one stone. I missed. Probably hit a gnat or something.”
With conversations as diverse as zombie cats and wedding attire, the journey back to Old College passes as swiftly and pleasantly as one could hope. I think I must nod off once or twice as on several occasions the discussion seems to veer wildly from one topic to another, without warning. This, of course, could well be down to the eclectic communication styles of my travelling companions.
Before it is dark, yet long after my stomach has decided it is dinner time, we three adventurers find ourselves traipsing through the welcoming doors of the Porters’ Lodge. There to greet us is an exasperated looking Head Porter. It seems funny to think it, but I am sure I have missed the old chap, you know. His wiry hair is sticking out in every direction and a purple vein throbs gently on his forehead. Poor chap. I bet he hasn’t had a decent cup of tea in days.
“Head Porter, my man! What have you been about?” exclaims the Professor, flinging his arms wide by way of a greeting. Head Porter looks back at him, considering whether or not this is an invitation for a hug. He pulls a bit of a face. Undeterred, Professor Duke continues “You know, I should mention, you look a bit…puffy about the face. I bet this is because Deputy Head Porter wasn’t here to take care of you. I am so sorry about taking her away that I won’t begin to tell you how sorry.”
“I’ll have you know, Professor, that I have been considerably up against it, as they say!” Head Porter is trying to be indignant, but doesn’t have the energy. “I have had Degree Day to contend with, marauding students left, right and center, Apple Tree Court is being dug up by a gang of Russians and Head Of Catering ordered the wrong tea again. Not to mention organising Porter’s wedding. These have been testing times, you know.”
“You poor thing,” I say, with as much sympathy as I can muster. Which, admittedly, isn’t much. “It all sounds simply dreadful. And on top of all that, having to take care of my Terry. I do hope he hasn’t been too naughty.”
Head Porter opens his mouth once or twice, but no words come out. His left eyebrow quivers, almost imperceptibly.
“Oh, has he been really naughty?”
“I am afraid there is… something I need to tell you about Terry.”