Something which is owed that is ruthlessly required to be paid back.
This derives from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, 1596. The insistence by Shylock of the payment of Antonio's flesh is the central plot device of the play:

SHYLOCK:
The pound of flesh which I demand of him Is deerely bought, 'tis mine, and I will have it.

The figurative use of the phrase to refer to any lawful but nevertheless unreasonable recompense dates to the late 18th century.
by 345790 September 24, 2010
persistent and/or unreasonable demands, largely made through misguided feelings of entitlement.
"It will be inevitable that the children will each want their pound of flesh during the holidays, so in order for us to make this vacation feasible, we will have to stand firm to our budget."
by Polo October 12, 2011

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