You look down through your office windows, dry of all passions but a clear cold acquisitiveness. They have taken everything from you, at one time or another, but there is always more, more land, more money, to accumulate, to store away, seven years of plenty against seven years of ruin.
Your workers toil; none meet your eyes through reflective glass.
Once you raged; once you were a whisper of blood through streets without lights, violence crouched like a beast among the piss and the filth of the alleys. Once you were sharp at the throats of the proud, the mighty, those sat in judgment. Once you were a cause unto yourself, a bleak shudder of fatality.
You have resisted mechanizing. Machines mean nothing to you; what is a machine but freedom for the worker? You keep them chained to their tables. They call you generous and loyal; you would laugh, if that were something you still did. Every three months the windowless van, the gentle urging of the signs, the long sharp rows of the phlebotomist’s teeth.
You feed them, and they, in their turn, feed you.