Rahn stood hunched over the case of starberries, their brilliant black bodies and green seeds buoying his mood.

It had been a difficult morning. He got a message that Farnn from the kitchen hadn’t remembered the hallucinogenic tea he had purchased. His neighbor was 11 ticks late to let him out of the parkway. He slammed a tentacle into the door of the vehicle his roommate was letting him use while he was away on vacation in Kloripa. The mood passed as he drove, but returned as he sat through a lecture about his manager’s bad habits.

They normally didn’t let him prepare and package food; he had felt left out since being transferred to produce. Normally the glory of standing in back and focusing on one task fell to his coworkers, but that morning Frbu hadn’t wanted to do starberries.

The starberries arrived in cases of quarter units. The starberries on top of each quarter were to be inspected for quality and turned over to hide their leaves. This fussy, preposterous task (“this can’t possibly be a standard procedure, right?”) amused and horrified Rahn, but he found that he understood it.

It was impossible – or at least unnecessary – to look for meaning while he packaged the starberries. He smiled. He could respect the universe again.

Until the vice president and the spiiz monger started loudly discussing their Kargwaii vacations. Then he wanted to start class war.