One morning, as James McAsh was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous insect. He lay on his armour-hard back and saw, as he lifted his head up a little, his brown, arched abdomen divided up into rigid bow-like sections. From this height the blanket, just about ready to slide off completely, could hardly stay in place. His numerous legs, pitifully thin in comparison to the rest of his circumference, flickered helplessly before his eyes.
Many young men would be distressed at undergoing such a metamorphosis. But James was the president of the Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) and he knew that he could apply for legal protection against anybody learning about his hideous transformation.
This morning he was due to attend a policy forum with his fellow sabbatical officers on the question of “increasing democratic engagement.” With his puny legs kicking frantically, James jerked away his bedsheets, crashed on to the floor and scuttled off to Potterrow. Once he had grown accustomed to his ungainly new body, he was trotting along quite merrily.
At first James was surprised by his reception at EUSA HQ. The other sabbatical officers fell off their chairs and they scrambled back against the far wall.
James chomped his mandibles in exasperation. “Is anything wrong?”
“What on Earth is it?” Andrew Burnie cried wildly.
Max Crema gestured at him. “I think it’s the president!”
“Of course, I’m the president!” James snapped. “We have to get to business discussing how to make our institutions more representative.”
“But James?” Hazel Marzetti blurted out. “What’s happened? You used to be so attractive and idealistic. Now you’re a repulsive monster!”
James’ antennae quivered as he thought. “I know. Let’s send a solicitor to deal with this. They’ll obtain an interim interdict which will prevent anybody from ever finding out.”
Max smiled with relief. “It is you after all James! An illiberal little tosspot!”