The Snail Factory

Winslow's Sword

The Snail Factory

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Winslow's desk was a massive, heavy slab of pure obsidian. He had a chair once but outgrew it once he became C.E.O. and stayed fully engorged on blood. They say he lives, feeds and sleeps atop his great black desk, though nobody has ever seen him sleep.

The red Helminth House insignia at the front of his desk is a single, hollow sheet of blown glass, behind which is a back-light and inside of which is the blood of his predecessor. He keeps Paul's blood as a reminder of the former company head's strengths and weaknesses.

Paul was daring and clever, he would never hesitate to act on his will, to sack any employee that dragged the company down or to buy, at any cost, a patent or subsidiary that could provide an edge in the industry. But Paul was not perfect, not in Winslow's mind. Paul was blind to the ambitions of his underlings. He didn't see Winslow's gradual purchase of a controlling interest in Helminth House. And Paul gave little consideration to his surroundings and safety.

Paul might have lasted as an adviser or consultant despite Winslow's takeover if not for his lack of care. When, on a warm summer afternoon in 1928, Paul heard a delivery was coming to his office, Paul simply shouted for them to drop it off and never bothered to look up. If he had read the manifest, he might have objected to Winslow's presumption to have his own office furniture delivered to the C.E.O. office. Paul might have moved out of the way after telling the crew to leave their cargo. But he did not, and Winslow's desk was a massive, heavy slab of pure obsidian.