Okay, so I was late leaving, but it wasn't my fault. Honestly.
I dressed to kill in a pencil slim skirt that hugged my slender hips, and a matching jacket in apple green, plus a pale green shirt open at the collar with a couple of buttons strategically undone, giving a generous but tantalising view of the rosy top of my breasts.
Of course I should have fed the cat first. I know that now, there's no need to tell me. But I didn't know it then, and when Her Ladyship Queen Cam sensed food was imminent, she leaped at me, dragging her claws down my skirt and scraping through my tights.
I leave you to imagine the result.
So by the time I'd screamed at the cat, changed into the only other suit I possess (in a sad shade of donkey brown), and tugged at my blonde curls which refused to straighten so tied them back in what turned out to be an Afro pony tail, I was twenty minutes late leaving.
Sod's Law being what it is, I was so held up en route, arriving in a lather of unseemly sweat (naturally it was the hottest day of the year, and this was a very hot venue), completely breathless and unbelievably dishevelled.
“Come in and sit down, Miss De'Ath,” the main one said, in tones that would cut the heart from a block of ice. Each of them glanced ostentatiously at their watch, then glared at me with cold, blank eyes. The 'dress to kill' look was having no effect whatsoever. I might as well have worn jeans. Might have been on time if I had.
The only female in the line up of five males seated rigidly behind the marble table said coldly, “We assume you have an explanation for your tardiness, Miss De'Ath?” No fellow feminine feeling there. Her gaze was relentless, boring through my very soul.
Oh well. Probably lost the job long before I arrived, so might as well make the most of it. Nothing to lose.
I sat back in my chair and took a deep breath. I decided to tell them everything – apart from the incident with the cat, obviously.
“I've had such a terrible journey getting here. The traffic jam was four miles long; it took twenty minutes to get through it. Then, just as we were all getting going again, a deer shot across the road, crashed into the lead car which toppled over the bank down into the river. All four doors jammed, so all four occupants were drowned. Meanwhile the deer veered into the second car, which swerved into the third. That caused a domino effect, with six cars piling into each other. A lorry at the back jack-knifed and slewed across the road, causing four cars on the other carriageway to crash into each other. The road was completely blocked in all directions, so none of the emergency vehicles could get through. There were another three deaths, two critical injuries, and six more taken to hospital.
“As you can see, it took hours. Utter mayhem. That's why I'm late.”
I sat back smiling expectantly, but from the scowls and glares it was clear none of them believed a word I'd said. They looked at each other, muttering together behind closed hands, occasionally shooting me a venomous glance. I couldn't hear a word they were saying.
Then the main one cleared his throat. “I'm afraid we don't find you convincing, Miss De'Ath.”
“So – do I get the job?”
Suddenly he beamed. “Of course! You're just what we're looking for – someone who brings a string of death, destruction, mayhem and lies. Welcome to my council.”
And as he shot out a scaly hand to grip mine, his horns glowed red and his tail thrashed.