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“What an odd dream!” thought the Abbot, lying in bed, his eyes still closed but consciousness slowing dawning in the twilight of his mind. He lay there for a while, trying to recall the fragments of the dream. The Mother Superior featured in it, that much he remembered. There were also minor flashbacks to a bottle of brandy (or was it more than one?), a whip was there somewhere, as was a strange image of being smothered by a giant pink jellyfish. It was not making a lot of sense to him and he was just starting to drift back to sleep again when he realized something was wrong. He could smell coffee. Hot coffee. He opened his eyes, and as much as he wanted to shut them again, he could not.

The image before him was of a large, wobbly, multi-lobed pink thing, wearing crimson camisole knickers and nothing else. It was pouring coffee.

“Hurro dahring. How rar you dis morning? Ah! Wade a momend...” It fished around in a mug, extracting two sets of teeth and pushed them into place.

“That's better! Hello darling! How are yo...”

The Abbot was gone.

Later that afternoon, a bush was seen sideling across the quadrangle and disappearing into the Abbot's room. The was the loud and emphatic 'click' of the door being locked.

The Abbot sat on his bed, elbows on knees, head in hands. What was he to do? London! The odd Mr Justice wanted him to go to London!

He sat at the computer and typed:


My Dear Sir,

Thank you for your patience and exceedingly good news.

Travel to London? I would be delighted to go to! How soon can I come? Would I be able to stay there a while?

The Abbot got up and walked across to the door, checked that it was locked and returned to the computer.

Since I received your email I have developed an interest in having an extended tourist visit, with possibly a year or two of sabbatical leave to study classical wisdom as distilled from the Malt Colleges in the Highlands. If I am going to travel that far I might as well make the most of it, eh?

Best wishes to you for your Muslim holiday. I am sadly ignorant on the proper things to say. Salaam alaykum.

Yours sincerely,

Abbot Costello

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I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours,
and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

- Psalms 31:11

The Abbot got up, checked that the door was locked, changed into his pajamas, checked the door again, turned out the light and went to bed.

He lay there for some time, the events of the night still a wild kaleidoscope of disjointed images in his mind. He rolled over, pulled the blankets tightly around him and tried to sleep.

Behind him, in the room, someone cleared their throat...


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