“Well, Wormsap, I have to tell you. These recruitment figures of yours have come in the very nick of time.”
“The old nick, Master Screwtape?”
“I didn’t hear that, Wormsap. If I had, it would have been worth at least a day in the daffodil fields.”
“You can thank me later. Now, you can tell me how you procured this stack of investments in our properties. H.E.L.L.’s Board of Directors, not to mention Grandfather, have been breathing down my neck about our lack of productivity. This should help me breathe down theirs for a change.”
“Just following the news topside, sir.”
“The ‘financial markets’ turmoil provided the opportunity. It’s amazing how the clients persist in that ridiculous myth that they were made in the image of (ptui!) The Adversary. If that were actually true, then they would see that, in the current crisis, everyone has to pitch in to fix the economy and make the world more livable. The wealthy and the less so would each give a bit, then shake hands and get to work. And all of H.E.L.L.’s Board would break loose down here.
“But the clients are otherwise made, as we know. It was a simple matter to use our principal business tools – greed and fear – to set the camps to fighting instead of cooperating.
“We made very good use of the principle of entitlement. We convinced the wealthy that they are entitled to their profits, and their perks, and their privileges, and how dare anybody suggest that The Great Unwashed have any share in this? What did they do to deserve any bigger slice of the pie than they already, unfairly, get?
“And we convinced the less wealthy that they are entitled to feel aggrieved. That ‘the rich’ are responsible for their poverty, that their own day-to-day choices in what they buy and how they work (or maybe don’t) have nothing to do with it. And the way to fix things is to walk down city streets with picket signs and try to bring ‘the rich’ down to their level.
“The delicious thing is, not only have these people, by acting to protect their entitlements, made major investments in the Hadean Estates, they’ve made them in the same units. It will be a great source of entertainment to watch CEOs and placard-carrying Wall Street occupiers share a room in the Entitlement Courts, for all eternity.”
“Entertainment, yes, Wormsap. But also discipline problems. You will make it clear to those – what did you call them – right, occupiers, that there will be no placard-carrying around here unless we grant a permit for it. And that will only happen for activities that will serve our purposes. Like showing our region’s unqualified support for our CEO on his next inspection tour. Got that?”
“See to it, then. Meanwhile, I’ll go tell Grandfather and the rest of the Board how I managed to meet their recruitment projections for this region.”
“That’s … demonic, sir.”