Edmund Blackadder's Views On The Harlots Of HSU

by Lara Wilson

Sometimes--no, most of the time--he wonders what he's doing here. He should be ruling nations, grinding the bones of his enemies beneath his expensively booted feet, seducing queens.

Or at least opening the door for kings.

Instead, he's the butler at this so-called school which has absolutely no need for a butler.

A warden, certainly, but not a butler.

Surely one of those fuzzy bear creatures could be taught to open the door and receive packages and direct visitors.

That thought always has him reaching for his flask. That he could be easily replaced by a living child's toy is just too much.

So, he remains. Opening the door.

And he doesn't even have Baldrick around to kick. Just that repulsive Cal boy who is even more stupid than a sack of turnips. He's even grateful for the kickings, calling them 'training sessions'.

That thought calls for more gin. At least this place is good about keeping a complete cellar.

Today Edmund Blackadder--wanna be king or at least a baron--began his day with a too early in the morning visit from the local sheriff. Apparently there were warrants out for the arrests of several residents, ranging from parking tickets (the Dean, the Nurse) to speeding tickets (that Bond gentleman) to public drunkenness (the Mediator, of course) to indecent exposure (the Vet and her gentlemen) to the borrowing of a flock of goats (the Librarian) to an attempt to take over the Estrogen County courthouse (the idiot wanna be emperor).

Naturally he informed the sheriff that none of these people remained employed by the university and he should seek them elsewhere.

At least he is paid well enough to lie.

After that, as the residents began to stir, he opens the door in preparation for the thundering feet of teenage boys and their various guardians as they shoo them off to school. He's learned that they will slam right into the closed door if he doesn't have it open for them.

Educational standards are so lax these days.

As the day passes he deals with the various women and their men entering and exiting and asking him to fetch and carry and deliver--all of the latter requests he, of course, ignores, espeically those from the men. Outside of that General (General of what, he has no clue, possibly the bedroom) none of the men contribute to his salary, and the women mostly annoy him.

At the dinner hour--the horridly early time of noon--he joins a few of his countrymen for luncheon in the Pub. The blond fop who calls himself a wizard commiserates with him over their servitude. The other blonde one--the one in that atrocious leather coat--never fails to amuse with his plans for torturing an angel. The two who smell like dogs he tolerates because the one has money and the other has the attention of she who tends the bar and waters the drinks if you irritate her. The new one intrigues him. He claims to be English and has the accent, but that nose is surely Roman and that attitude is dangerous.

Edmund keeps hoping that one of these possibly deadly compatriots will simply snap some day and butcher everyone.

The afternoon is filled with more door opening and ignoring requests. He does some haphazard polishing of the woodwork in the foyer. At one point, those pirates who live on the beach--and should never be allowed in polite circles or even this place--tramp wet sand across the floor and he is forced to summon Cal to mop.

Heaven forbid anyone fail to see their reflection in his marble floor.

Or, as the Bursar did earlier, skid into the wall in her new harlot shoes.

The deliveries begin--the most important, of course, the one from Liquor Barn, but also various foodstuffs, the mail, the newspapers from all over the universe, his own delivery of "Winsome Wenches", some rush delivery of water guns for the Secretary, more dangerous weapons for the Warrior Princess, electronic bits and bobs for the IT Grrl, and a round of subpoenas from Las Vegas, Coruscant, and one on himself from London and the Royal Git. He ignores them all, especially his own.

Late in the day the man with the bumpy forehead comes through demanding a weapon's check, and he removes his dagger and pistol for inspection. It always saddens him that he's never had an opportunity to use them.

The children return from school--grubby and trailing biscuit crumbs and chocolate smears. He makes them use their wands to clean up after themselves--although the blond complains as much as his father. He doesn't really believe in this magic nonsense but it saves him having to wield a broom or call for Cal again.

The day ends with him accepting an oatmeal biscuit from the one person here he truly tolerates. The little girl is a cherub.

Too bad she'll undoubtedly grow into a harpy like the rest of them.

As the sun sets, Edmund locks the door behind him and heads for the pyramid and an evening of faro, whisky and a bloody steak, and as he walks, wincing at the sound of mating giant squids and krakkens from the lake, snorting at the smell of smoke from something--possibly the garage-- burning, he decides that there could be worse jobs.

He munches on the biscuit and works on his patented butler sneer.


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