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Short story: <i>My Kingdom</i>

He turns his face up toward the sun, and lets the warmth cascade down him like water, getting deep into the wrinkles that cut up his skin.

It creeps around and slides down behind his cauliflower ears. He can hear birds, twittering quietly amongst themselves in the branches of the rustling trees. He can hear scratching in the earth from little creatures and insects. He can hear the droning of drunken bees—not in a swarm, more a companionable party.

He settles back onto his seat. He’s boss here, boss of the whole world, but now the sun has him in a torpor and his old bones melt together and his breath feels exactly the same temperature as the air outside and it’s like not breathing at all.

If they need him, somebody will ring. The message will be passed through a herald or a flunky, down the line, someone who’s been deemed important enough to speak to him will come on down and stand in front of him, and cough respectfully, and wait for him to incline his head to acknowledge them or to just ignore them, on his sun-drenched seat, until they decide to try again or just leave him alone, on his seat, with his sunshine and his bees and the life exploding lazily behind his eyelids and the rustling of his kingdom. Maybe today he will make a declaration, a ruling, a decree, start a war, finish a game of polo, enforce an amnesty. Maybe today he will sit in the sun on his bench, all day.

He turns up his face to the sun. Other people might turn away from him, here, in this park where he sits on his own bench that he’s been occupying for the last ten years. They might give him distasteful looks, hurry past, grab their children’s hands, hold tighter to the leashes of their purebred dogs. But that doesn’t worry him at all. Because from behind his eyelids, with the sun stroking his hands and playing with his face, he’s in his kingdom, and he’s boss.

This is the result of a thirty minute writing exercise. The only constrictions were the time limit and five randomly selected words from the dictionary. Today the words were: ring, herald, cauliflower, amnesty, and swarm.

Image courtesy of Letícia Cruz.

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