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October 14, 2013 | by  | in Features Homepage |
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We Regret to Inform You…

The accountancy firm had advertised an open position at the end of June. Mr Mark Guerre, the Chief Operating Officer, had retired with his thin-lipped wife to a polystyrene house in the mock-Swiss chalet style in southern Florida. There had been a flurry of interest in the vacancy he had created, and Ms Madeline Browning and Mr Henry Blanche, the recruitment committee, had been overrun by a tidal wave of desperate résumés. With a kind of furious anxiety, people told them about the time they’d spent barely passing ungraded courses while on exchange in Sweden and the time they’d spoken at a rally protesting climate change attended only by their friends. One of them thoughtfully catalogued every award he’d ever received, dating right back to a “Headmaster’s Award for Effort” dished out to the entire underachieving year when he was 13. It took them a week to reduce the pile of anxious documentation down to a reasonable 20 for interviewing. On a Friday afternoon, hopeful candidates were notified of this decision. Those who had been unsuccessful were informed by regretful email, while those who were successful received an excited phone call from Ms Browning inviting them to come in the following Monday.

When the Monday arrived, 20 people of various ages arrived at the office in respectable outfits. On the whole, people tend to assume that those who work in accountancy are mild-mannered and probably dull, and, on the whole, those people are correct. That said, those people have, of course, not witnessed the job-application process, which, in light of the world’s recent financial difficulties, has become somewhat more competitive.

The prospective candidates were shown into the conference room. Mr Blanche took some time to answer questions about the position—pay rates, benefits, allowances for time off, that sort of thing. Then, when there were no more queries, Mr Blanche and Ms Browning thanked everyone for coming and left the room.

There was a brief period of polite discussion between the hopefuls. Popular topics included the weather, the carpet, and money. A Mr Paige and a Ms Lyme, both graduates of the same university, bonded over the time they’d spent a foolish, but carefree semester studying English Literature together. A Mrs Davis and a Mrs Bleak, who both had children in the same primary school, talked about the upcoming play. Both agreed that the new teacher was a treasure, but that something had to be done about that one girl who kept wetting herself. Then, after inspecting her watch, Mrs Bleak said to the room that it was about time they get underway, before she launched herself at Mrs Davis, seized her by the neck, and proceeded to strangle her. Instantly, weapons were drawn from a variety of inventive locations. Amidst the throng, it was possible to spy a blowtorch, an 18th-century rapier, and a set of fondue forks all being wielded in deadly concert.

Just as Mrs Bleak had dealt with Mrs Davis, someone dropped a bowling ball that was masquerading as an avant-garde hat on her head. A Mr Salmon garroted a Mr Bell with his necktie. A Mrs Eileen Zhou ripped the firm’s Award for Financial Excellence (1999) off the wall and impaled Mr Salmon on it. As she revelled in the fountain of blood now issuing from Mr Salmon’s very expensive tweed jacket, she was messily decapitated by a machete that a Ms Anita Rajpal had strapped to her inner thigh. The machete was not entirely up to the task, however, and while Ms Rajpal was trying to wrench her weapon free from Ms Zhou’s swinging head a Ms Samantha Hamelin, the owner of a newly minted degree in Computer Science, shot her in the kneecaps using a pistol that she had cunningly concealed in the heel of her shoe. Meanwhile, Ms Lyme brandished an Arab-style scimitar that she had cleverly disguised as an A4 ring binder at Mr Paige. Panicked, he ignited the small amount of plastic explosive he’d mixed in with his hair gel and, in the ensuing explosion, killed both him and Ms Lyme. Mr A. R. Blythe skewered three haggard, not-so-recent graduates like he was stringing pearls with the stiletto now issuing gleefully from the tip of his umbrella.

They all looked completely resigned to what had happened to them.

The proceedings were generally of this nature, and when Mr Blanche and Ms Browning came to see who would be their new colleague, there was one person left standing.

The last person standing was a Ms Catherine Claret, a cadaverous woman of 72 who had stayed alive because of the wide assortment of poisoned darts she kept in her towering grey beehive. Mr Blanche, upon re-entering the room, was particularly pleased, as Ms Claret was a noted expert in corporate tax law, and would be a valuable asset to the firm.

If you’re about to enter the job market, there are two important things to remember.

I.               Make sure your résumé is impeccable, and never describe yourself as “fun to be around”.

II.             Always kill the old bitch first.

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