Walking with a cane and a limp, an old man comes down the street. Children flee at his approach, persons of means or dignity cross the street lest they enter his path. Darkness seems to follow the figure, clinging to his long coat in the cold autumn drizzle. He makes no attempt to shield himself from the damp air or the terrified stares, his hands scarred and powerful, gripping a silver tipped cane of ebony.
In the darkness of his mind they are fleeing their superior; he once owned this street and is now rich for it.
They are fleeing their liege; he owns the mortgages up and down these streets and most of them are behind in their payments.
They are fleeing their god; terrible and wrathful and full of power and judgement.
He made himself he would joke, back in the days when he was still invited to people’s homes and gatherings, with his own 2 hands. He walked with a cane even then, though it was heavier in those days, oak shod in iron, and not for supporting his weight. None dared cross him he recalls, limping in the rain. A grin plays over the old mans face, it would still be charming if everyone had not learned.
He had friends everywhere back then; everyone welcomed him with open arms, a smile and a wad of bills. The minimum payments, he always shook his head at those ones, he’d explain calmly about interest, how it was best for everyone if he got his money faster. A few heeded him; those few got to keep their homes, and good health, when the depression came.
Shaking himself out of reminiscing the grey old man noted he had arrived at a grand house, poorly maintained. Fond memories, this was the first house he’d claimed in lieu of payment, from all those years ago, the beginning of his empire and he was about to own it again. How nice. It seemed like it was yesterday that foreclosure, the crying children, the cowering wife, the husband broken and bleeding, signing a document he couldn’t read. No one could stand against him back then, he was quick and sure and strong.
He had found a better way now he though, pinning the eviction notice softly to the door. Now any could stand against him, old and growing frail. It was just that none dared. Nearly dancing down the steps he took his cane by the end and took and experimental swing with the weighted head. It was comforting to know he still had some of the old strength and speed; that he could if it came to it, make himself again.
The depression, he almost laughed out loud at the thought of it. It would not have been possible to come out of it richer. He was never on the stocks, never trusted wealth he couldn’t reach out his hand, touch and snatch. When everyone else was scrounging to survive he was living well and foreclosing on bad debt. Suddenly he had gone from a small scale loan dealer to a large scale land owner and now that none could buy homes everyone had to rent slums. Sure it wasn’t much, but it let him ride out the worst of it until the war.
Thank god for the war. As one of the few real investors he was able to ride it to the top. Business man and corner stone of the war machine there was no thought of him being included in the draft, he was essential to the effort. Grinning again, this time in a leer, he recalled all the poor lonely ladies working away in the factories in need of consoling, their husbands so far away. How many of these kids struggling to pay the bills were really his children or grandchildren. This time he did laugh out loud, heirless his legacy was quite safe, his empire was not about to fall over night and he had grandchildren aplenty, each case quietly paid off for the thinnest fraction of his wealth. Indeed he came for visits in his old neighbourhood, to see the family that could have been. It was his gift to them; to show them how high they could go.
Walking with a cane and a limp, an old monster comes down the street. Children flee at its approach, persons of means or dignity cross the street lest they enter it path. Darkness seems to follow the beast, clinging to it long coat in the cold autumn night drizzle. The monster makes no attempt to shield itself from the damp air or the stares, its coat billowing in the chill wind, its hands scarred, gripping a silver tipped cane of ebony.