The numbers would not add up. Try as he might, the columns and matrices would not zero out, the projections could not be reconciled, the accounts remained unbalanced. At times he stared at the printouts and screens and got lost in their surface texture: this sheet of paper was marginally rougher and a creamier shade of beige than the other, the fingerprints on the screen reminded him of an Impressionist work he had seen long ago. And then he would notice that there were curious black lines on the paper and the numbers would crowd back in again in nonsensical clamor. As long as he was looking at ink and pulp the world made sense. But as soon as they became symbols everything fell apart.
He consulted his optometrist, a neurologist, even a cardiac specialist who had been a client before he shuffled off his business to colleagues who could still perform basic mathematics. Nobody could find anything physically wrong with him. But for the life of him he couldn’t keep the books straight on a lemonade stand.