I'd like to take this time to thank both the students and the staff for being such good sports about the straw.
As many of you are aware, there was a short time last night when the school - its buildings, environs, and, yes, inhabitants - were transformed into straw. Ho Ho! YOTTSO, as they say! (You Only Turn To Straw Once!).
I was spending some quality time with Hay Man, our Master of Ceremonies for last night's festivities, in my office, while you kids were out with your "rock and roll." As you know, my office is soundproofed (thank god!) as well as shielded both electronically and magically, so we were able to have a peaceful moment. I decanted some of my finest Ghillie Dhu, and invited Hay Man to take off his shoes and run his bare toes through my luxurious shag carpet. (Hay Man reacted quite unfavorably to my offer of a cigar).
We got to talking, and though Hay Man's voice is rather disconcerting (like a late summer breeze blowing through the tall grass) it became apparent we had a mutual interest in "games of chance." I showed him my haunted backgammon board, my Hasbro Old Crone™ tarot deck, my ancient "Solomon's Knuckles" Yahtzee set, but Hay Man had seen it all.
Instead, Hay Man invited me to a game of "Plowman's Heap," apparently a harvest game from antiquity in which he had a special interest. In it, two heaps of dung are presented. Bets are placed on which pile will attract a fly first. That was it. Charmingly rustic!
With his open (and perhaps somewhat European) sensibilities, he suggested we produce the piles of dung in the traditional fashion, but instead I ordered out from the Psychic Animal Husbandry department (their lead professor owes me more than a few favors). Soon enough, the steaming piles were placed on platters on my desk under silver plate covers.
But what to bet on? I've had plenty of experience with ancient minor Metadivinities before as investors, and I know just what kind of psychic capital they've got access to. After a few well-placed leading questions, I was able to pinpoint the very thing I'd LOVE to have my hands on... A single night with Clarissa, Silver Moon Goddess of the last quarter after Firstfrost. I don't mean anything untoward, but a "date" date. We'd have dinner, maybe a movie...
Hay Man's interests were far more inscrutable. Old embodiments of his ilk can be capricious - what to get the harvest god that has everything? Their desires tend to devolve to the more whimsical.
As everyone knows, straw and hay are entirely different things. Primarily, hay is edible, whereas straw is not. Perhaps it was some kind of "dis" that Hay Man chose the prize he did.
Finally, the covers on the platters were lifted, and the game was afoot!
As my office is generally fly-free, I was quite surprised to see a huge bluebottle appear almost immediately. Big as my thumb, I swear. Perhaps the generous quantities of the Ghillie Dhu had helped assuage my suspicions. Which was unfortunate. After a few desultory passes, the fly landed with a plop. Hay Man had won.
The effect was immediate. With a dusty WHOMP! I saw the walls of my beloved office turn to straw. I rushed outside and found my beloved school turned a tawny yellow in the moonlight, a fresh but dusty scent upon the grounds. I saw the few students still up and about walking stiff legged, working to bend their straw limbs within their jeans, pawing straw fingers over their spiky straw hair. Padding at my own over-stuffed clothes, I found my own limbs and body in the same condition.
"Uh... whoops!" I thought.
Luckily, I have some amount of experience concerning the school's fate in situations like this.
I immediately returned to Hay Man to beg, and if necessary, cry.
Hay Man, however, was nowhere to be seen. Already he had fled the coop! All that remained of our evening were two cooled plates of dung, an empty bottle of Ghillie Dhu, and one very large bluebottle fly, passed out in the bottom of one of my Glencairn glasses. I immediately covered the top with one of the Hasbro Old Crone™ cards and began shaking him awake.
It didn't take too long to knock the truth out of him. The buzzing was horrendous, but as my threats grew, he gave up the fact that indeed, this was a "con" he and Hay Man had perpetrated many times before, and that if I would only let him go, he'd be sure to set things right.
Not very likely.
Instead, I am quite familiar with UFR arbitration, and immediately submitted a request via OpenQNL to have this state.change rescinded. I've even got a macro set up for this kind of thing. Luckily, the 24/24/7/12/1066 customer service crew at the UFR call center were there when I needed them, and with a backwards, dream-like flash, things were back to normal, and the straw was gone.
Well, most of the straw, as you may have noticed some stray bits around campus, or in your rooms, or in your hair or clothes this morning.
In any case, it's another wonderful time for me to recognize the resilience and "can do" attitude of our student body. There is no better way for you to be prepared for your lives ahead than to have your fates arbitrarily decided by your elders over games of chance, driven by lust, and fueled by alcohol.
And for those of you with allergies, I've asked for the supply of tissues across campus to be doubled for the rest of the weekend! Enjoy!