I had pictured 'E. Editor, M.D.,' as a short, grumpy man with mutton-chops. She was, in fact, a swan-necked beauty with upswept hair the colour of crushed berries.
“Please. Sit.” She fetched a tray with steaming cups of tea and a plate of dark chocolate HobNobs.
“Wow. You must have happy clients.” I sipped tea and bit into a HobNob.
“Oh, I do.” She had such an unusual smile. It made all my worries recede in the same way a wolf does when it's already killed you and you're in the process of floating up to heaven. She pulled out a shiny letter opener. “Now, concentrate on this.”
I hadn't asked for hypnotherapy, but the letter opener was so very, very shiny. I was thinking what a privilege it would be to hand over my bank account to her when the door banged open and the spell was broken. A short, grumpy-looking man with mutton chops bellowed “No, Mrs. Varmighan! Bad, Mrs. Varmighan!” The woman dropped to all fours and loped into a back room.
“Sorry.” He sank into the chair. “Normally I lock her in the copy room when I'm on my lunch break, but she's good with hairpins. It's been worse since she took that hypnotism correspondence course. One of my editorial colleagues now behaves like a squirrel. Mind you, it hasn't changed her editing style much, but she buries all my nuts every time she comes round.”
I shook my head to clear it. What? What had he said? “Editorial? Aren't you the psychiatrist? E. Editor, Medical Doctor?
“No, no. E. Editor, Manuscript Destroyer. You need one floor up. But first...” He picked the letter opener up from the table where the woman had dropped it. The leather chair squeaked in agony as he settled back in. “Let's just make sure your bank accounts are in order and Mrs. V hasn't got you programmed to turn into a chicken as soon as you walk out the door.”
I bolted for the exit. Behind me, someone said “Rats.”