it’s good to be king

“This doesn’t look good, sir.”

“What do you mean, ‘this doesn’t look good’? What doesn’t look good?”

“Well, all of it.”

“Perhaps if you gave me examples, I wouldn’t have to try and read your mind.”

“I don’t even know where to start.”

“Stop being so dramatic. Ever since I hired you on as a king’s adviser you’ve done nothing but wallow in complaints.”

“You mean president’s adviser.”

“What?”

“Never mind. Look, sir, we have a major problem. In fact, we have many of them. The people are angry. There are protests outside the gates. Parliament is calling for an inquiry into your lavish lifestyle.”

“Lavish lifestyle? What exactly are you referring to?”

“Well, why don’t we start with the presidential palace. It cost almost $900 million to build. Complete with its own golf course, tennis courts and bowling alley; two IMAX movie theaters; a saltwater pool, olympic pool, four jacuzzis; an exotic greenhouse; personal helipad with a Batman logo. And let’s not forget about the 10,000 square foot climate-controlled showroom housing 84 classic automobiles and 26 sports cars. Is there anything I missed?”

“The zoo.”

“Ah, yes. The zoo, with over 240 different animals, some of which are endangered species. I don’t even know how you procured those.”

“I have connections.”

“I’m sure you do, sir.”

“So what’s your point?”

“My point is that these amenities help portray you as being excessively opulent, which isn’t a good image to have when the average worker in this country takes home less than $20,000 a year.”

“I don’t see how the two are related.”

“Ok. Let me put it this way. The people pay taxes – a lot of taxes – and they don’t feel it is fair for you to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single chandelier. Or millions of dollars on a gold toilet.”

“Come on! That was just a joke. I told Priscilla that when she married me she’d have a solid gold toilet to relieve herself.”

“Yes, but you took $10,000,000 worth of gold out of the reserve to have it built.”

“Look, it’s not a big deal. I’ll just give it back. Priscilla hardly uses it anyway. The woman never eats.”

“That’s a start, I guess. What about all the artwork? The citizens are outraged that you’ve purchased all of those priceless paintings and sculptures. Of course they wouldn’t have known about it had your wife not hired a camera crew to videotape her giving a tour of the place as if she was a curator at the Louvre.”

“Well, she loves the Louvre. And I can assure you that those works of art are not priceless. I paid a pretty penny for every one of them.”

“I see that. But $250,000 for a sculpture of a boar?”

“It’s my spirit animal.”

“I don’t doubt it. What about all the wine? I ran the numbers and there is over $3 million worth in the cellar.”

“The wine you can get rid of too – if you have to. It was another gift for my dear wife. She thinks it necessary for a queen to have a full cellar. For guests and such. She had her assistant locate the best vintages money can buy from all over Europe. Funny thing is, neither of us really like wine. Champagne, sure, but she’d rather drink a martini any day. I’m more of scotch man myself.”

“Yes, I know. You bought a case of a 1962 single malt scotch at $58,000 a bottle.”

“Damned good stuff. I would’ve bought more if there was any left in the world.”

“I’m sure you would have. And your wife, Priscilla, purchased a case of Diva vodka at $650,000 a bottle.”

“Yes, and she told me that was a bargain. Those bottles can run up to $1 million a piece, mostly because of the bottle itself. They’re made of Swarovski Crystal. And the vodka is actually filtered through diamonds! Pretty ingenious.”

“I couldn’t disagree more.”

“That’s because you’re not a king.”

“President.”

“Whatever. Are there any more things on that list of yours you want me to sell off? I feel like we’re having a garage sale.”

“What about the cars? Can we liquidate some of those?”

“I don’t know if I can part with any of them. They’re like my children.”

“I assumed this was going to be difficult. But sir, I have to be honest. It’s going to be hard to explain why you own 34 Mercedes, 22 Ferraris and 18 Porsches, not to mention the Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins.”

“I have a couple McLaren’s and Bugatti’s too. Oh, and a Ford GT40. 1968. Beautiful car.”

“I’m sure it is, but it cost $10 million.”

“That’s a steal! The man who sold it to me wanted $12 million.”

“I don’t doubt that he did. The thing is, every one of those cars is worth more than the annual salaries of 100 men.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Well the people protesting outside the gate – the ones who say they aren’t going to heed until you are put on trial – aren’t going to be very forgiving if they find out you’ve raided the national bank and pocketed most of the monies from the country’s oil and natural gas exports so that you can drive a different million dollar car each day.”

“Don’t be silly. I don’t drive them.”

“Then why can’t we sell some of them and put the proceeds back into the national bank? It’s really just a drop in the bucket, but I’m assuming you’re not going to give back any of the money you have in all of your offshore accounts. So that leaves all of the items here in the palace, which is in danger of being overrun. You can get rid of most of it, give the money back, and hopefully those members of Parliament who are calling for an official inquiry might be dissuaded from putting you on trial.”

“Me? On trial? You must be mad. I had a feeling you were going to cause problems. Why can’t you just be more like Bernard, my last adviser?”

“You mean the one who hung himself because he was worried about going to prison for the rest of his life? That is, if he wasn’t killed by a mob of angry protesters first.”

“Yes, that Bernard.”

“I’m sorry, sir. I was out of line. I’ll try to be more like Bernard.”

“Good. A king needs someone he can trust.”

“I understand, sir. I do have one more question if you don’t mind? I was wondering if you had any firearms in the palace?”

“Yes, of course. In the study there’s an entire armoire filled with antique weapons. Some of them are even worth more than the cars. Napoleon’s gold encrusted sword. A pair of Simon Bolivar’s pistols…”

“One of the pistols will do just fine.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *