(ENVY, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, gluttony,)

They walked towards Waterside village in a ragged file, down a route that was not a street, climbing boulders on their hands and feet. The Green Rock from which they hewed a living cast a long shadow over them but their spirits were high, ebullient even: it was Sunday, and they were going home at 4 pm, while it was still light. Payday was two weeks away and they had little money in their pockets, but there would be a spot of shopping on credit at the street market and a drink or two at Odume’s before nightfall.

The Eye watched them leave the shadow of Green Rock. They were a curious sight: half-a-dozen men in the first flush of adulthood. They were dressed in the most incongruous clothes: threadbare trousers that gave up at the shins, knickers pulled over trousers that had lost more vital parts – and the tops – jackets and shirts that had lost elbows and lapels. Each man seemed to wear his entire wardrobe – an average of three tops and two and a half trousers. Then there was their footwear: mismatched in the main, here a left sneaker marched in tandem with a right boot, there a left sandal paired with a right court shoe.

Yet, it was not the clothes that drew the attention of The Eye, which had seen many things in its time. It was the laughter and the jokes, and there were plenty of both. It was impossible to chisel granite and joke at the same time – not with the supervisors they had – but they could walk and joke, and they did. And the leader, Orisi, seemed such a wag that they often had to pause awhile for those that had collapsed from laughter on handy boulders.

And the Eye – that wizened veteran of the cocktail chuckle, the boardroom belly laugh, and all manner of monied amusements – which knew all things, which owned all things with the penetrating hunger with which it sought all things, and which could do all things from its vast panoply of splendid might, swelled and filled that green-tinged hillside with the static of its baffled presence as it tried to penetrate the abandon of their laughter, set beside the irrelevance of their lives, the hopelessness of their futures, and their powerlessness over their fates.
And for the first time in eternity, the Eye knew envy.

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