Monday, September 7, 2015


by frederick flynn

illustrated by danny delacroix

vic nelson had finally made it.

as he had always known he would.

it had been a long hard climb.

not made any easier by the way everybody had always been against him.

but now here he was.

ruler of the world.

not just the most powerful person, but the absolute ruler.

it felt good.

he leaned back in his chair and looked across his polished mahogany desk and out the clear glass window and across the harbor at the tall buildings of the city . most of the buildings were glass and reflected the bright rays of the mid day sun.

the first meeting, with the nominal “rulers” of the twenty largest nations, had gone well.

vic had been cool and polite, but let them know he was going to be the boss.

tomorrow he would have another meeting, with the presidents of the twenty-one largest corporations on earth. he would have to be a little firmer with them.

but he had no doubt he would get his message across. after all, he was the boss.

he decided to relax, celebrate a little.

and what better way to celebrate than to demonstrate his new power to the twenty billion inhabitants of his new kingdom.

nothing too tough or onerous - he wasn’t a bad guy - maybe even something kind of funny - just something to show them all who was master.

after a little reflection, he decided he would have everybody on earth have the same thing for dinner. tomorrow night. surely that wasn’t too tough. he would even have the same thing himself.

he would have everybody have his own favorite meal. chicken cordon bleu, with french fries and brussels sprouts. with irish coffee. and chocolate ice cream for dessert.


vic pressed the button on his desk, summoning his secretary, who appeared in about thirty seconds.

vera varney had been secretary to the seven preceding rulers of the world. no one had anything bad to say against her, and since she knew all the routines there was no reason to replace her. in fact, vic had hardly thought about her.

she looked about forty-five years old, neither fat nor thin, good-looking nor ugly. she wore a plain blue suit, with a white shirt and a red tie.

“yes,sir?” she enquired politely, without either obsequiousness or the proverbial “air of efficiency”.

“take this down.”

“i don’t have to take anything down, sir. i have a perfect memory. that is one reason i am here.”

vic shrugged. “all right.” he then informed her of his plan for the meal.

she listened expressionlessly until he had finished. “if you do not mind my saying so, sir, i don’t think that is a very good idea.”

vic laughed. “you don't, huh? why not? i am the ruler of the world, aren’t i?”

“of course, sir. but most of the gentlemen who preceded you thought it the best policy only to issue executive world orders on - on the most pressing economic and social issues. issuing such orders as the one you suggest smacks just a bit of - well, let’s just say that although you mean it in good fun, some elements in this all too volatile planet might not take it as such. and also it might seem just a little - ”

vic noticed some movement outside the opened door to the office. “hey, who’s that?”

vera half turned around. “oh, that is just dave.”

“dave! who’s dave?”

“he is your bodyguard, sir.”

“bodyguard! what do i need a bodyguard for? isn’t this whole building ringed with security? isn’t the building one big security check?”

“of course. dave is just what you might call a last final precautionary measure. he has been here almost as long as i have, and the gentlemen before you have found him quite satisfactory.” vera turned to the door. “ dave, come here in here and meet mister nelson.”

dave entered. he was a big, not huge, football player type with a bland face and a buzz haircut. he wore a blazer the same shade of blue as vera’s suit, and a red tie identical to hers.

“pleased to meet you, sir,” he greeted vic with the same easy familiarity as vera had shown.

“do i really need you?” vic asked. “and for what?”

“that’s for you to decide, mister nelson,” dave answered. “i’m just a bodyguard - a last line of defense in the unlikely event everything else fails.” when vic just stared at him, he added. “i can be anything else you want me to be - i can be your best buddy and you can talk to me all day long, or you can completely ignore me. it is all the same to me.”

“i’ll think about it,” vic told him. he turned to vera. “as for that other thing, i appreciate your good intentions, but just do it.”

“of course, sir, “ vera answered. “by the way, have you really taken the time to look at the view yet? it is a perfect day, and this is the perfect time of day to appreciate it.” she pointed out the window. “you really should look at it.”

dave decided to humor her. “sure, why not?” he got up from behind his desk.

dave’s office was , of course, on the top floor of the ninety-one story building. a spiral stairwell led to the roof above, and he followed vera up it, with dave behind him.

the roof was wide enough to land two small planes. it was perfectly flat and unadorned except for a small robotically controlled control tower to guide incoming planes and helicopters.

the building itself was located on a tiny constructed island about a mile from the harbor and the shore.

“the view is best over there,” vera pointed east, toward the ocean.

vic squinted into the bright blue sky. he was not much for “views” or anything to do with the outdoors, but he followed vera over to the railing. a slightly less than chest high railing.

“if you look over there,” vera said, “on a clear day you can see bermuda.”

“very nice,” vic agreed, gripping the railing. he really just wanted to get back inside and sit at his big desk.

dave came up behind vic, grabbed him under the arms and threw him over the railing in one motion.

vera and dave watched vic disappear. they knew he would hit the water and sink without a trace as the spot had been especially prepared for just that purpose.

as vic sailed downward he wondered, who was it that got me? what son of a bitch set me up? but before he could begin to consider…

“he didn’t last long,” vera said to dave.

“that might have been the record,” dave answered. “he didn’t even get to meet the money people.”

“no, there was that von schleppingberg fellow,” said vera. “he didn’t get to meet them either, and his first meeting was only about forty-five minutes.”

“whatever. where do they get these people?” dave turned to go back down to the office, and vera followed.

vera shook her head when they got back down. “could you believe that nonsense? chicken cordon bleu!”

dave laughed. “maybe we should have that tonight ourselves. the least we can do to honor the poor bastard’s memory.”

“sure, why not?” vera agreed. “except i think i’ll have strawberry ice cream instead of chocolate.”

vera was on record as having served seven rulers of the world and dave six, but there had been nine others, now including vic, whose tenures had been so short that they had never even been identified as new rulers in the world media.

and so vic expired, as he had mostly lived, unknown.


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