Start at the bottom: Neil Start needs to conceal his crime - neglecting a prize goldfish

Monday: Disaster. Nowhere in my career bible - How to Get on in the Charity World by Simon Blabb - does it cover how to turn killing a member of your chairman's family to your professional advantage.

It was my penultimate session of feeding David's fish in his trendy pad in Victoria while he was representing the Goldfish Action Group at an international conference. I hadn't exactly enjoyed the task, but I did manage a smile for the underwater CCTV footage as I swam twice a day in the mega-ponds communing with his fish - aka his family.

I turned up there this morning with my takeaway cappuccino, feeling like I was finishing a prison sentence. And then there she was - Gloria Mundi, floating on her side on the surface. David had left me an album with studio shots of all of the fish and notes on their personalities. Gloria Mundi was one of the few I had been able to distinguish because she was cross-eyed. GSOH, playful, likes to rub noses, the notes had said. Perhaps I should have tried harder with the Eskimo kissing because from today Gloria'll be doing it in fishy heaven. I did toy with the idea of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but as I raised her to my face a belch of brown fluid bubbled over her lower jaw. In a panic, I dropped Gloria into my empty cappuccino cup in the fridge and came to the office, but who can I tell? It's not quite a matter for HR.

Tuesday: Popped back last night to confirm that Gloria Mundi was in fact dead and I hadn't imagined it all. En route I slipped into Westminster Abbey in an attempt to enlist divine assistance, but didn't have the £3 necessary to get past the doorman. David is due back tomorrow morning.

Wednesday: David has just presented me with a hand-knitted bobble hat with a goldfish motif, a present from his conference. It was, he told the assembled staff, a mark of his gratitude. My probation period, he announced, was over. I had proved myself at GAG. Even Clare, our head of policy, managed a smile - although that may have been because I spontaneously put the hat on.

Only Anka, our Latvian receptionist, is in on the secret. I rang her in career meltdown late last night and she took charge. She let me into the GAG office, borrowed a Gloria-lookalike from her glass, fish-filled reception desk and took it to David's home tank. She even fixed the CCTV camera by rewinding the film and then wiping off the real Gloria's tragic end.

Just as we were leaving the house, Gloria in her polystyrene cup in my pocket awaiting disposal, Anka suddenly looked stricken. We have to give her a proper burial,she insisted. It was my turn to be masterful. So we're doing it at the weekend, with a picnic afterwards. She put up no argument.

Just don't cook fish, she said.

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