'Mr Piper,' he said. 'Hope you didn't have any trouble finding us.'
'No,' the other replied, raising one eyebrow. The Town Hall was by far the largest building for miles; it would be hard to miss.
'This way,' beckoned the clerk. 'The mayor is waiting.'
They hurried along a wood-panelled corridor until they arrived at a door at the end. A couple of rats ran in the other direction. The clerk tapped on the door, opened it, and ushered in the interviewee with a flourish.
'Mr Piper, your Worship,' he announced before joining the mayor behind the huge oak desk.
The mayor, a rotund man in his late fifties stood and reached out a hand of greeting to the stranger.
'I see you found us, then. Please have a seat.'
All three sat down; the mayor and the clerk on one side of the desk, the Pied Piper on the other. The piper could see the curly script of his CV on top of the mayor's pile. Beyond the mayor, he spotted two well-fed rats sleeping on the window-sill.
'So, Mr Piper.' the mayor began. 'How long have you been in pest control?'
'Sir, first and foremost I am a musician. Here - my union card.' replied the piper, waving a card in the air. 'My ability with undesirable creatures is a sideline, and a happy accident arising from my musicality.'
'Describe yourself in three words,' the mayor said, looking over his half-rimmed spectacles at the angular fellow opposite.
'The. Pied. Piper.' he replied.
'Where do I see myself in five years?' the piper interrupted. 'Miles from here...like your rats.'
'Rats?' said the mayor. 'Who said anything about rats?'
'But, they're everywhere.' said the piper incredulously.
The mayor laughed. 'A minor irritation.'
'What then?' asked the piper.
'Double-glazing salesmen. They always seem to be in OUR area.' said the mayor.
'I see.' said the piper, already trying to think of a suitable tune for this particular species of vermin.
'Well, we have other applicants to interview, so ...'
'No, you don't.' said the piper, immediately regaining control of the situation after this shock. 'I'll take the job.'
The clerk looked at the mayor. The mayor nodded.
'The salary will be paid directly into your bank account a month in arrears. Is that OK?' asked the clerk, concluding the administrative matters.
The piper scratched his pointy chin. 'I'd prefer a bag of gold.' he said.
The clerk looked at the mayor again. The mayor nodded again.
'Gold it is.' the clerk said. 'Now, holidays are ...'
The piper raised his hand, and stood up suddenly, surprising the clerk and the mayor.
'Enough.' he said. 'I'm keen to start.'
Without waiting for any further instructions he reached out his slender arm and shook the hands of the two officials vigorously, before executing a nimble pirouette and leaving the other two to stare at each other, wondering if they had just made the biggest mistake of their public careers.