Eugene paced the velvet decks of his top floor suite, staring occasionally down at the little peons; look at them scamper! Tiny little things, each doing their part in a system designed to support the greater structure, whatever that ended up becoming.
“I see people. Workers. Mothers and fathers, trying to make a living.”
“You look at them. Look at the view.” The view from on high, so lofty and grand. Glass and steel combined to form a wonderful observatory from which to examine the ant farm.
“It’s a building.”
“A building. Made, by employees! By workers that support us.”
A helicopter flew nearby, a news crew reporting on something or whatever. Cameras fixed upon the building, reading their scripts of praise, showing what they were forced to see from on high from masters higher still. The view from on high, so tenuous and frail.
“Look what they need to mimic a fraction of our power.” Eugene gestured towards the helicopter, who could not actually see inside. One-way glass ensured that events would always go one way. “It’s right to pity them. And wrong to value them over your own kind.”
“Our own kind?!”
“We lead these peons. These sheep! We give them places to sleep, food to eat, and you cry it is not enough.”
“Do you? Employees C-23.”
The glass shimmered, pulling up a document from human resources, as if putting humans in the blender would make them taste better. “Your point?”
“You removed the budget and cancelled the hire search for the programmers needed here, all five of them. Why?”
“Because there was no one out there who met our needs.”
Devon growled, before throwing a finger back. “Job Requirements for Role C-23.”
Entry level position
5-7 years experience required
Masters degree required, Ph.D preferred
The model applicant will be fluent in...
“We want the best. We need the best.”
“Do you know how many people applied for those positions?”
“No.” Eugene shrugged, and wandered over to his pastry box. Aha! The creme ones. Excellent. “That’s for HR to deal with.”
“So you don’t have to.”
“So we can be free. To be ourselves, to not be burdened by all these petty needs and squabbles.”
“Petty needs. Petty squabbles.”
“If they wanted the position, they should have tried harder. And the process was a learning experience! They should be grateful that we even considered them at all.”
Fire erupted. A chemical burn with laminar flow, scientifically honed and refined until the current fuckery fueled its escape. Pain that could not be contained, anguish that had no outlet but towards the sociopath who swore he was your benefactor. And so far below, down at the bottom of the tower, the pain began to surge.
A mother hushed her daughter to sleep, they’d have enough money for the AC next week. Just bear it for now.
A student cracked open another case of ramen, forcing the things to go down his throat. He felt ill, had been feeling ill from malnutrition, but the degree was worth it! The little piece of paper that said you were a man. Just bear it for now.
A programmer cried themselves to sleep, trying to figure out why being number 2 was so worthy of praise. Why a company awash in cash couldn’t just hire an extra worker, the cost fractioned by desperation. Maybe someone else would be human. Just bear it for now.
A patient languished in their bed, knowing that real medical care would never come. Because they had only given care to so many in their lives, and now it was their turn to be left all alone. Just bear it for now.
A man sat outside in the sweltering heat, on a blackened tar parking lot, folding little ads into folders to throw into his car. To send out spam, in hopes that his master would feed him just a little bit more. He’d stop having heat stroke soon. Just bear it for now.
A guinea pig cried in her cage, wondering where the food was. The food was grass, everything was food! But the grass outside was treated with chemicals, so the grass for the pig had to be bought and taken from a store, slicing a little bit more into the food-bringer. They did not understand. They only knew that they were hungry. They couldn’t even conceive of the person who had made them hungry. He didn’t exist for them.
A woman slowly slips through her life savings, not because she isn’t “good enough”. She has that masters degree, she has worked in cybersecurity at the highest rung for years. But when set adrift, all the money-bringers would ever see was a pair of breasts. Just bear it for now.
A grandmother patiently waits for her son’s return. She needs help, her body is frail and fading. These are the times when care should be spread among all. But the son can’t even care for himself. Just bear it for now. He’ll be back soon.
A janitor slips and falls, crashing onto the floor he just cleaned. He knew his ankle was in pain, but he went to work anyway. He couldn’t pay to have someone treat it. Couldn’t pay to let it heal. No one cared that he was in pain, only disappointed that their floors weren’t clean. He did not understand.
A leader, a team leader is here. To guide the great powers of science and intellect. But the message comes from on high, the person you liked for the job isn’t good enough for us. And they look down in fear. That if they speak out against this absurdity that they themselves might fall all the way down. They understand, and they look away.
The aches and pains of hundreds, of thousands of people who reach out and care, to see such sorrow adjacent to themselves. They are horrified, yet they have little power. They are not up there. They are not on high. They look up, and they understand. And one by one their minds alight with the fury of those they could not save. Those that could be kept aloft by even the slightest hint of humanity from the castles in the sky.
One by one, the castles were set alight and burned from within. For injustice only lasts as long as the endurance of those made to bear it. So proud were you of your accounts, how high the numbers soared! That you forgot, willingly turned away from the knowledge that every number was rent in blood, every account soaked in tears and every splinter of bone made to carpet the walls of your ivory tower.
And when all is drained dry, when no more corpses can pile your towers higher, only then will you see. Not because you want to, not because you are capable of it. But because it is seared into your eyes as the tower can no longer support even you, who swore you were its master.
You will have a nation bought for the lowest bidder, embezzled on the side and the work half done. The roads will crumble, the bridges will fall, your precious bank accounts will shudder and blink out of existence. And all the while, you will wonder why the millions that clawed at your doors just… didn’t seem good enough for your purposes.
When man makes himself master of all he surveys, he will never let anyone be human again. He cannot. If he could, he would never have been capable of tyranny at all.