You follow him to the lift, and stand aside as yet another overalled worker wheels another piece of office furniture out to stack with the others. Metcalf ushers you in, then steps inside himself, pressing the button for the first floor.

“Hardly seems worth it,” he says. “The stairs are just as quick. These are turned off at night, so you’ll get plenty of exercise.”

That sounds hopeful. He’s already telling you what you doing the job will involve, not using phrases like ‘the successful candidate’. You stand up a bit straighter and try to brush the last of the rain from your hair. You need this job. If only to earn some money while looking for a better one. The lift doors have barely closed before they open again.

There’s a wall opposite, with darker rectangles in the faded paint that mark where inspirational posters or corporate art once sat. There’s also a set of double doors, and Metcalf strides out and holds one of them open for you. You hurry after him, and the lift closes behind you, trundling and creaking up and away.

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