In lieu of spitting on the carpet in the doorway, Vek nodded politely and left the Risk Manager’s office. He waited until he was around the corner before muttering angrily at such a preposterous waste of his time. It was obscene to be managed like this. Vek resented the insinuation that the way he had been managing his department for seventeen years was suddenly risky. And what made him irate was that it didn’t seem like the Risk Manager actually thought this. He had been apologetic, the ridiculous little crab, as if it wasn’t really him asking for thirty-odd pages of forms and boilerplate. He had even rolled his eyes at one point, which Vek took to be implying that the two men were in the same boat really, driven by managerial whims. That it was the system, the institution, that somehow required Vek to stop working for the three days it would take him to fill in enough rectangles to quell its anxieties. As if he, the Risk Manager, wasn’t the institution! As if somehow writing things in a rectangle on a form made them comprehensible and controllable! Planes fell out of the sky some days!
Unwilling to go back to the workshop after his meeting, Vek slunk off home. Stopping on the corner close to his rented flat, he pushed through the grubby glass door of a questionable-looking eating establishment and searched his pockets to see what he could afford for dinner. Not finding much, he settled for a pie and a drink taken at random from the fridge. In the back corner, where it was warm, he settled on a bench: the pie was ok, but the drink tasted terrible. He squinted at the label trying to find a description in English of its contents, but when this proved futile he drank the rest anyway. Reaching into his bag, he took out a piece of paper and a pencil. Exhausted by consistency, he leaned over the page and began to draw the plan of the apartment he would build one day.