The job applicant stood in my boss's office, muttering
semi-incomprehensibly about wanting a security job. I eyed the bulge
under his jacket nervously. It appeared to be something motionless
and bulky in a Sainsbury's bag. Was it a baby? Was it a dog? Was it
We slowly became aware of an obnoxious smell. "Sorry about the smell",
said the job applicant (whose name I have forgotten already) "my cat's
very ill with an eye infection, I'm on the way back from the vet's, they
gave it an anaesthetic, and it keeps farting".
It was perhaps at this point that it dawned on us that not only was this
man totally unsuitable for the job and quite probably barking mad, but
that it was going to be almost impossible to get him out of the office
without a struggle!
I tried the old strategy of insufficient product knowledge (we're record
shops), but asking him about recent indie music provoked a long ramble
about Wire and Scritti Politti. I couldn't take any more, so I escorted
him into the other office and handed him a written test, whereupon he got
his cat out of the carrier bag, showed it to me, and put it down on the stairs.
I peered gingerly at it. It lay on its side, eyes glazed (but no sign of
any infection) and limbs sticking out stiffly at a grotesque angle.
I went and skulked in my boss's office.
Meanwhile, other employees gathered around the cat. Along came the
Building and Maintenance Manager. Seeing a lifeless cat blocking the
stairway and thinking it must have fallen through a hole in the roof, he
exclaimed loudly "That cat's dead!!"
Out scuttled the job applicant. "No no", he protested, "it's just in
shock". "Oh come on", said the Building Manager (not noted for his
diplomacy) "it's dead as a doornail, look, it's stiff". (It was stiff,
bloated and stank, actually). Job applicant took cat's pulse. "Lots of
vets have had that mistaken opinion, too", he said indignantly.
Job applicant got about fifteen percent on his music test and suddenly got
up and walked out. As he went he picked the cat up by its legs, which
were completely stiff, put it back in the Sainsbury's bag, and buttoned it
back under his jacket. Bleurgh!!!
Later found out he had gone into one of our shops and said to the staff:
"You know sometimes when you find cats in the road, they aren't dead,
they're just in shock. Would you like to see one I found earlier!"
I want a sign for my office door that says "Please leave your dead
domestic animals at the downstairs counter".
PS - I'd have felt a damn sight sorrier for the poor cat had it been