• Caroline Naughton

Retired Kingdom

My kingdom is retiring. Cloaked in red robes, crossed with T’s and signed by rosary beads. My mother always wanted me to be a priest, so I rose to the occasion and became a priest, a prophet, and a king. Triple threat.

I was given three different offices. I was to be the President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. I was to coordinate the efforts and talents of a conglomeration of people in order to help them achieve a common purpose. My specialty was delegating and passing out jobs to people who had resources but didn’t know what to do with them.

I reported to duty every morning, just like my father. He was an admiral in the navy. I showed them what to do with their money. Sometimes I didn’t have to say a word. I just walked around and showed the company what it’s worth. “You’re in good company,” I assured them.

My knights gathered around the roundtable every afternoon. They needed to know how to be valued. What was their cause? They were quick to pass me their blood money, but I wouldn’t have a thing to do with it. I made them invest. They wanted to get it off their hands, but I nodded, “Not so quick.” They didn’t know where it was going. I’d make them into missionaries, and send them off to share the word. These were our developers.

My office was a confessional. People stated their grievances, and offered their prayers. All for the sake of growth. They wanted their company to grow up, on time. Bigger is better in our books. Our entourage was looking bright.

There were times when I felt called to invite distinguished men from far-distant kingdoms to ally with us. Needless to say, many of them fell in love with our pride, leaving their home to become a new recruit. It was an effortless hire. They knew we paid well. The company was being promoted by the best in town.

When the court was in order, we had a strict code of conduct. Suits, ties, and phones on airplane mode. Ample lunch breaks and team trips to the golf course. The rewards were endless, for the greater the bounty we may give. I’ve fired the lazy. I’m not afraid to reign.

This company has been my family for thirty years, but I believe that its time is up. I am at a crossroads. Everyone is wondering who will take my seat. Where is my firstborn son when I need him?

I am ashamed that it is not my own son who will inherit my seat, but someone else’s. Once I leave, the table may as well fold. This company is nothing without my blood.

I suppose I never took my father’s place either. I wasn’t up for the draft. I opted for a degree instead. Plus, he died when I was 32 years old. I was raised by my boss.

Anti-nepotism laws prevented me from hiring my son. We had to go behind closed doors and let him in through the back. I pretended I didn’t pick favorites, but my son was in on the secret.

I’ve even paid for my three nephews’ education. My brother is a mortgage broker, but only because he’s broke. But he was a damn good fixer. I never had to bring my car to the shop.

Now my son swivels on a leather chair designed by another line of knights. He too belongs to a public company. There are so many investors that we often forget the names of those we’re trying to please. It may not be obvious, but we’re on the same team. It’s a private company, but shhh.

Oh, how the king has learned the illusion of public life. The sanctity of the private sphere has always been honored by my wife, as she holds the connection dear to her heart. She is waiting for me to let him settle in the empty nest, so that I may go off on the grail quest.

The quest for the holy grail is a reconciliation with my mother. Once we’re reunited, my wife can be my wife again. She can also be a mother to her own children - who, by the way, are already approaching their Saturn return. Better late than never, hey?

Oh how I wish my little princess knew her mother earlier. I wish my queen could have raised her on her own terms. Instead, my daughter was raised by men from some other family.

At my funeral, I will my daughter to write an account of my coronation. She followed my adventure toward the holy grail, and waited on me to finish before she took rule. She was curious how I earned my way up. I have to admit - I was curious how she even got in!

She heard the bells on Wall Street. In my left hand, I rang to her; and in the right, I took to the pen.

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