CHAPTER THIRTY SIX.
She wasn’t sure who had inserted the list of seven deadlies into the catholic penitential practice. Likely not an indulgent English King and surely not his God ( to whom all sins were created equal ) but, regardless whence they’d come, these were the generally recognized cardinal variety: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, rage, and sloth.
He’d conquered a couple of them.
To the observer, this one was never lazy. And, demonstrating rage being expressly forbidden in the unspoken code of professional conduct, if present, there were no witnesses. Likewise gluttony, as applied to the ingestion of substances; while inclined toward the fats of bacon and cheese, he’d never been seen packing it in.
But, the corporate organism had definitely found a host.
She’d been around long enough to remember life quite free of mendacious, monopolizing influence. There were still members of her family who rarely left home – home being the house, the homestead, the four walls and the rock garden out front of the furnished porch and the flowers and vegetables out back.
And, even those among her ilk who had escaped poverty on the most verdant side of old money could be found, after an elegant meal, reading an historical novel by a grand fire in the study, whose window overlooked a carefully cultivated rose garden, the latest recording of fine symphonic music filtering a rarified air punctuated only by perhaps the occasional waft of equally fine pipe tobacco.
Quite outside of such a truly removed scene, and squarely at the hub of all things prescient, he stood. Arms folded tightly against the chest, square head cocked, lips tightly closed and eyes lowered so as to feign genuine interest in his subject, not a native of these parts he resembled no one in the room, an aspect which drew an even greater degree of interest from those who clamored after social connection. He was the acquisitionist; one only stood near him if one had nothing to lose but one’s identity.
Does the wisdom of age render sin with greater clarity?
Turned out, she’d discovered the seven deadlies had been isolated by the Christian hermits – monks, living in Egypt. Perhaps solitude, and its accompanying reflective contemplation, rendered this clarity. She only knew that the acquisitionist was never alone for very long. That which he’d been lusting after fed his envy, and his envy the greed which drove the grasping. As for that which he had managed to seize, the cloud of minions at his beck had seen to it that all who starved for a reason to feel important resounded the chorus of his affirmations at the altar of their own unwitting self sacrifice. It would take at least another decade before most of them would know the encroaching negation which floated along in his wake, waiting to lap up against their own saturated, wilting flesh.
Perhaps all that remained was pride. But, he’d feel enough of that for all the rest of them, put together. In the end, they would be required simply to feel nothing.
© 4/7/18 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose insights these are, and whose name appears above this line. Go watch a movie. Thanks.