Benjamin Stepp is a mild-mannered, inconspicuous clerk working for the Baldwin-King Investment Bankers in San Francisco of 1909. As the story opens, Stepp has just been fired, after twenty-one years of service, for having misfiled a paper. Broke, with his sister dependent on him, Stepp pleads for mercy, but Baldwin is adamant. Stepp starts to commit suicide, but instead, without hesitation, shoots Baldwin. Since the shooting took place on a Saturday night, Stepp goes home to await the arrival of the police. But come Monday morning Steppe is summoned to the office...to meet with Baldwin. It must have all been a dream. Or was it?