The vice-like grip, at ten a.m. is but a warning, a presage of what is to come. A small twinge, a twitching of muscles, a lightly furrowed brow, then silence. You count the seconds, watch the tumbleweed jump and dance, twisting in the wind as it skips across the hastily vacated brainscape, and you pray for solitude. Eleven o’clock comes and goes, bringing with it a mild headache and a growing sense of foreboding that has nothing to do with the glowering boss lurking behind the advised (and advisable) plate-glass partition. It starts. Twelve thirty sees you staggering toward the cafeteria for a polystyrene cup of boiling monosodiumglutomate and a hunk of stale foam, encased in concrete, and sadistically coated in sesame seeds to provide you with the government-recommended daily requirement of gum-disease. The clouds pass by the window as you pick at your teeth with a ragged fingernail. Your email states that it’s nearly three, but time has little meaning here in the land of artificial light. The phone rings, your ears pop, and suddenly it hits, blinding, terrifying, hideous. You clamber out of the pit and cradle the receiver. Hello? A list of pointless instructions issues forth without provocation. The knife slices vertically through your skull, leaving nothing.