This Side of Godliness

The Master was in his study, brooding. On the wall, the inter-room video screens glowed. The Master looked at one of the screens and smiled: Brown was hard at work in K-32. The bed was meticulously made--always a major item on the Inspector's list. Shoes were lined neatly under the bed. Ash trays gleamed from their places on the well-dusted shelves. Yes, the Master decided, Brown was a credit to the House. Of course, things had not been that way when he was an undergraduate, but then, hard times had come. The Master pulled a little gold star from his desk and glued it carefully in the space following Brown's name on the chart.

He flicked off the set and looked at the other screens. A-23--that lout Reeves was sleeping again. Never cleaned his room until the last minute, and last week the Inspector had found that pile of dirt under the rug. The Master had been reprimanded.

He looked at the names on the chart. That made five stars in a row for Brown. Enough to have his name engraved on the plaque in the dining room for The Cleanest. But there were only six names on the plaque. Frogly, Master of the House across the way, boasted twelve names on his plaque. He looked up at the tower on Frogly's House. The giant gold star was fixed right under the weather vane, telling everyone in Cambridge that here was The Cleanest House.

The Master sighed, put away his box of little stars, and let the chart fall amidst the other rubbish on his desk. It was the new system of House assignment, he decided. He never got any of the clean ones.