A friend of mine who had worked as a Manager at Unemployment in Chicago told me this story many years ago, and it seemed the perfect expression of life in the lower echelons of a Bureaucracy.
The man, he said, had his own office, with a glass pane, so I imagine that put him somewhere in middle management. There were no cubicles for him, but he might as well have had one.
The man, he said, spent a lot of time on the telephone – that was a major part of his job.
One day, several hours had passed before someone decided to check on him. He had been on the phone for what had appeared an especially long time.
The phone was clutched between his shoulder and his ear when the associate checked on him, and discovered he had been dead for some time.
I wondered who had been on the other end of the line when he expressed his final breath of air.