This is a story which, in the broadest sense, is a story of any man or everyman. It deals with a person who finds himself in trouble because of an error, not of his own doing, that keeps being compounded.
Specifically, the story begins on a day when a civil servant learns that his job of long standing, due to a base closing, is being moved from New York City to San Diego, California. To avoid such a drastic relocation, he finds a job in Washington at the headquarters of his then agency, the Navy Department. He is followed through the usual steps of arriving in a new city: finding an apartment and moving in; exploring the area; making new friends. On the job he feels there is something amiss. He does not get the promotion he was promised. He is shunted around the office. Since this is his first job at headquarters, he is not sure whether his treatment is normal. He wonders whether he is a victim of some sort of discrimination: religious, geographic, political or most disheartening, disability due to a visual impairment that he felt he had long since overcome.
His worst fear is realized when after a failed attempt to remove him in a layoff , he is told he must accept an early disability retirement or face dismissal. This seems totally unreal and illogical. How can he be retired for the same disability he was hired with years earlier. He survives this episode but in the pattern of such stories there are further twists before the final denouement.