If the shoe fits
I would say I was second favourite behind the lovely Adele, she of the blonde trusses, plunging necklines and designer shoes. I rehearsed my answers in the solitude of the ladies loo when, all of a sudden, I was conscious of the click of stilettos on tiles. I could tell from my sedentary position that the fishnets and Prada shoes meant only one thing - Adele.
I was almost overcome by the fumes of Chanel. Adele was humming in more ways than one. She slipped off her shoes and assumed the position. Why? Don't ask me. Tension? Bunions? Reflexology? My mind went back to the Oor Wullie cartoons when the bold lad was being tempted. The angel appears on one side, the devil on the other. I looked at the shoes. The devil won.
The lovely Adele was deep in some mantra or other. Now, I have inherited my mother's long legs and her suppleness. I stretched my right leg under the dividing partition and gradually pulled the shoe towards me with my foot.
The flushing cistern masked the sound.
I don't know what came over me, but I lifted the shoe and made my exit. I placed it in the waste hand-towels bin and headed for the waiting room.
Charlie was parading up and down like an expectant father. June was reading. Adele was first on.
I heard raised voices and the words "shoe", "ridiculous" and "disgraceful"
coming from a very agitated candidate. The tears were flowing. The mascara was flowing. For Adele, read Alice Cooper. She looked panic-stricken.
Teflon John burst in. Adele limped along behind the director's special one.
Poor Adele was in agony. She stopped at the reception desk and discarded the other shoe. She looked awful. The interview panel looked over their bifocals at the normally immaculate woman.
Adele's interview had lasted only 15 minutes. She never returned but, from the waiting room window, I saw her get into her Mazda MX5 and zoom away.
Charlie and June apparently underwhelmed the panel.
Some had barely arisen from their slumber when I made my appearance. I had done my research. The director was able to spot my Oxfam lapel badge. Mrs Director was the local chair of Oxfam. I wore a tartan scarf to impress the SNP councillor. Teflon John couldn't cope with power dressing, and was a sucker for Estee Lauder perfume. I wore enough to mask the smell of a thousand boys' toilets after a wet playtime.
Given all my preparations, it was no surprise when the verdict was announced. "Mrs McElroy, could you please come with me," said Teflon John.
"I have much pleasure in offering you this secondment. Will you accept?"
asked the councillor.
I suppose I was a shoe-in, really.