The Dean met me at the main entrance to the Clinical School. "I just want to let you know you were right up there with the best," he said as he ushered me inside. "Twenty seven people applied for the job but only three were interviewed. You were one of them."
I nodded dumbly. I knew what was coming next.
"I'm afraid we had to chose someone over you," he continued, but I knew that before he'd spoken. Why else would I be here?
"So, what did the successful bloke have?" I asked
"Certificates in cabling, Cisco networks and even an MSCE," he said. "Not that the MSCE counts for much."
"No." Dammit! I knew I should have sat for the MSCE exam when I had a chance.
"So, here we are," the Dean said as he unlocked a metal door. "Thank you for your interest in the job. I just wish we had a position for you." He shook my hand, pushed me through the door and slammed it shut. I heard the heavy lock make an oily snick as he turned the key.
I looked up at the walls surrounding the yard. They were smooth and leaned inward, their tops lined by razor wire - no climbing out that way. The dusty ground had a scattering of bones, and against the far wall lay a huddled body. The vultures were already squabbling over it, pecking out great lumps of flesh and spreading the blood up the concrete-rendered wall as they flapped. The other unsuccessful applicant had arrived earlier.
I sat down to wait.