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“No one will answer,” said the student.
The Postman jumped at the sudden voice.
“You’re not the regular postie,” continued the student, who stood with shoulders slumped, as students do, and a fag hanging from his lower lip.
“No,” answered the Postman regaining a little composure, “Special delivery.”
Yes, thought the Postman, very special. “I’m looking for Doctor James Philips.”
“Nah,” said the student, whose black sleepless ringed eyes were the product of a thousand consecutive hangovers and mirrored the Postman’s, whose own eyes were the product of a thousand nightmares.
The Postman waited for the student to explain ‘nah’ but after a few long tense moments nothing seemed forthcoming.
“Do you know Doctor Philips?” the Postman said at last.
“Nah,” said the student as his fag smouldered dangerously toward his lip.
“There’s no-one here of that name?” pushed the Postman, wondering to himself if a violent slap to the head would get a quicker reaction from this stoner.
“Could be…” he answered at last, “…for Oxford, always getting their mail, that’s how the Dean gets invited to so many dinners and events.”
“Bollocks!” exclaimed the Postman loudly.
“Of course,” said the student in a drone, “it could be the new guy.”
“What new guy?”
“What department is it for?” said the student eventually.
The Postman fished in his pocket for his notebook and flicked through the pages. “Emmm.... Department of Medieval Thought, Botolf-almost-Oxford.”
Painfully long pause.
“Does that ring a bell?” said the Postman though his teeth.
“What’d you do that for?” cried the student.
“Where do I find Doctor Philips?” said the Postman calmly this time, the cork having been released from the champagne bottle of his temper.
“Third floor, on the left of the main staircase, end of the corridor, old Hancock’s name is on the door,” replied the student much quicker.
“Thank you young man,” said the Postman, “Oh and sorry about the slap, but if you had a Tiger in your living room you’d do the same.”
“Don’t mention it,” answered the student rubbing his jaw and picking up his remnant of a cigarette.
“One more thing,” said the Postman, “Can you open this door for me?”
“It’s open, it’s always open.”
The Postman gave the door a push and rather reluctantly it swung ajar to reveal the spectacular front hall of Botolf. He disappeared inside leaving the bemused student alone.
“That probably didn’t happen,” said the student to himself. “Must be that Egyptian weed I got last night.”