Prendergast makes a trip to City Hall to inquire as to why he has not yet been appointed to corporation counsel under the Harrison administration. Upon entering the building, he introduces himself to the clerk as the future corporation counsel, causing the clerk to laugh. Prendergast asks to see the current corporation counsel, who mocks Prendergast by taking him to meet others in the building.
Prendergast's mental instability and frustrations with Harrison are something of a time bomb. The ticking's easily felt.