like many of his fellow humans in this distressed and distressing modern age, georges groy, second clerk at m hobart's fine foods wholesale business, suffered most terribly from ennui.
on this particular morning his unfortunate condition was more pronounced than usual, and is often the case, for no particular reason. had there been a particular reason his anguish might have been eased, with the prospect of the particular reason being overcome or dealt with. but as the brotherhood and sisterhood of this dreadful malady know only too well, its very nebulousness is its most pitiless attribute.
under the circumstances the comtesse d'a...............'s bill, which m hobart had thrust upon him when he entered, was something of a blessing to him, as it would occupy at least a small portion of his mind.
it would also provide him with an excuse - not that he needed one - to ignore the murmurings and soft complaints of little paradin, the third and lowest ranking clerk in m hobart's establishment. that is, when paradin arrived, for he had not yet done so.
groy took his place upon his high stool and placed the comtesse's bill on the wide wooden counter before him. groy was somewhat above the average height, and forced to stoop uncomfortably over the counter, said counter being unfortunately too high to allow of his working standing up, as he had done in some of his previous clerkly employments.
the long counter he shared with the not yet arrived paradin was surmounted by two shelves divided into compartments of varying sizes, and from one of the centermost compartments he extracted a sheaf of papers on which were recorded the most recent entries to the accounts of the regular customers. after a period of two or three months, if these entries had been paid up and not challenged, they would be entered into the formidable main account book by m due, the chief clerk.