The realities of the lives of others have a funny way of intruding on the lives of even great men. Even kings.
I was engaged in my evenings toil, a chore of an hour or so, cleaning rumps and dressing small people for the evenings slumber, assisting them and singing their silly songs and reading their simple books aloud and cleaning up the castle which they had somehow managed to move into when the most dastardly realization snuck upon me. Finally, my comeuppance pounced upon me and the strangest thing happened. When it touched me it had the effect of not only making me realize I was in fact not dressed royally, but rather I was on my knees cleaning the human waste that I imagined for so long was a thing that humanity had solved. It occurred to me I had no idea the tasks that common people were engaged in just outside the castle walls. I took to my feet to look out upon my people and begin my window sill reflections for the evening when I caught site of myself in the glass, naked and dirty and appearing portly, bedraggled and downright feeble. I ran to my wardrobe to find it not manned by my trusty wardrobe man, Frostlechunk. Not knowing his organization system I struggled for coverage and found only old and ill fitting sporting attire which would have to do. Covered and reeling from the realizations of my reflections I sought my royal attire in hopes that I’d feel more myself if I were able to dress in my formals. For it was not to be. They must be out for cleaning. I’d have a word with Frostlechunk in the morning in regard to keeping me apprised of his schedule so this whole unpleasantness could be put behind us.
After catching my breath, and reclaiming my dignity I made my way to the window and lowered the wick to ensure I would not be seen. I gazed upon my kingdom. peeling the curtain back I looked down to a most startling sight. New Jersey. Or something like it, I couldn’t be sure. I had been on missions to this outpost in my missioning days and if it weren’t New Hersey, it certainly appeared to be. I could not have been more alarmed had the windows revealed to me the full light of the moon reflecting off the bed of clouds beneath me as I floated through the heavens.
This is not my beautiful house.
Suddenly, like the bleating of sheep, a piercing cry filled the air and it came from a beat up, overused, long in need of replacing monitoring system that lived on rechargeable batteries as it had lost it’s ability to take a charge years ago. I knew all this instantly and had no earthly idea why. This night simply could not have been more peculiar. I figured out the control system of the now deafening noise-making device and saw my children on the monitor crying in what looked very much like the royal quarters. I am not cold. I have a heart. I immediately called an impromptu meeting of the parliament. My
adversary partner, using very basic and hard to misconstrue language made clear that I was clearly the man for the job considering she was asleep for hours and I was in fact in sporting attire. Her argument was a good one and I did the only thing I could think to do. I tried to convince her that I’d had too much of the mead that remained from our evening entertaining. To which she replied we hadn’t ‘entertained’ (and if a tone of voice could be said to pronounce the intention of quotation marks surrounding one single word, hers did) in years and there wasn’t any mead or spirits in the house.
House? Seems dismissive of such a grand visage as a floating castle in New Jersey or some similar land, but okay. I’m a king and this is not on. After searching for the mead and finding it in the servant’s quarters I made my way to see the Prince’s. By the time I arrived at their door it occurred to me that my powers were reduced to little more than occasional exercises of free will in only the most irrelevant of circumstance. For my behavior, the behavior of the entirety of our tiny aristocracy had fallen prey over time to a silent coup. Not once in memory, had my royal druthers been heeded unless they were aligned with the wishes of the Prince’s. Not to mention, as I stood at the door listening to the silence that emanated from within it became clear that this was in fact the royal apartment that they were resting pamperedly in. There’s were the wishes being heeded. They were in fact my lords and I their servant.
While not an entirely thankless job it was still an enlightenment that hit me in the chest. I sat on the steps and took in my surroundings and began to deconstruct the passage of years that had flown so fleetingly as to be hardly noticed while hard worked. I won’t say there weren’t moments on that step where I didn’t question myself for allowing such a usurpation of power to occur, but in the end, they were good boys and if the kingdom were to be in others hands I’d want it to be them. That said, for the sake of keeping the kingdom in order I decided then and there that if the people of the kingdom, if the people outside these doors were willing to look past my lack of robes and glorious regal vestments for the sake of order, it was positively my duty to walk proudly, if nakedly through life continuing the charade of my splendor, authority and firm hold on the crown so as not to encourage a rebellion at a time when the
kings princes are so young and unable to fully use their powers outside these walls and outside their immediate, royal family.
So resolved I decided once again to call it a night and lie down next to my queen and fellow felled ruler having survived what I now realize was a silent siege for yet another day.
Before taking my rest I allowed sentimentality that had formed in my gut whilst thinking of the boys on the steps to overcome me and I went in to look at them. Such fine lads. They were sleeping like cherubs alongside adjoining walls, one in a simple crib, the other in a simple bed, blissfully unaware of their power. As I tucked them in pulling blankets and sheets from around them I noticed that these plush blankets were made of my former robes. A fitting and poetic end I thought. I held it to the skin of my cheek and reminisced of what it felt like to be king. It felt nice and I was happy for the boys. Then, beneath me their was a rustle and within me a rising panic.
In my mind I screamed, ‘Don’t wake up, dear prince. For the love of all that is benevolent, please, please allow me to slumber!’. I hummed gently Brahmas’ Lullabye and tiptoed slowly and mindfully from the room avoiding all the creaky floorboards and escaped my lords wrath.