Oct 20, 2022

He was an elderly man with long, protruding ears that looked rather spectacularly pink with the sun shining through them. A few strands of hair were combed across his barren head from far left to far right, and the pale bristly goatee that encircled his mouth reminded Seely of a vegetable brush. He also had, she noticed with some alarm, a huge black, witchy thumbnail that he was using as a letter opener.

“So! You’re interested in Barbara’s position?” he began in an aggrieved tone, as though she were responsible for Barbara’s leaving. She saw or guessed that he was irritated by the necessity of meeting with her—that he simply wanted the perfect secretary delivered to him and considered having to select her himself a bother and an imposition. After a fussy little gesture over the paisley scarf he wore around his neck, he leaned forward with a sigh of resignation and sank his chin in his hand, apparently waiting for Seely to conduct her own interview. She blinked and gulped, inadvertently grabbing her stomach, where her panic had landed. Then she began, in an admirably calm and measured voice, which only cracked twice, to do just that.

“You’re probably wondering about my qualifications…”