The Most Powerful Man in the World

(Proem version)
by Dan Harris-Warrick
The most powerful man in the world
isn't a president,
or a king,
or a CEO.
He's an assistant general manager at a large grocery store.

He lives with his wife and two children
in a pleasant suburban home
outside of Chicago.
They don't know that he's
the most powerul man in the world.
He keeps it a careful secret.
Sometimes
his children don't obey him.
Sometimes
he fights with his wife.
But it doesn't bother him,
because he knows that he's really
the most powerful man in the world.

The most powerful man in the world
has operatives spread throughout the globe,
ready to do his bidding.
Most world leaders,
or their trusted advisors,
take orders from him.
They don't know his name or face, of course;
He's kept his true identity
a secret.

Most of the time,
the most powerful man in the world
acts exactly like a normal person.
He goes to work every day,
coaches a Little League team
and has occasional dinner parties for his friends and neighbors.
But
when he finds out about something in the world that he wants changed,
he sends a coded message to one of his agents,
through one of his friends or relatives.

Coded messages can be letters,
or phone calls,
or e-mails.
Once, he sent one in the form of a postcard from a vacation he and his wife were taking in Kansas City.
To an ordinary person, these messages look just like
normal,
friendly
notes.
Even the friends and relatives who get them
don't know what they are.
But they pass them along,
not knowing why,
and eventually the messages reach one of his agents,
who carry out the hidden orders.

The most powerful man in the world's
orders are usually
subtle.
A little influence here,
a vote in the right direction there...
they're often things
that aren't even important enough
to make the papers.
But he knows
he's slowly molding the world into what he wants it to be.

The most powerful man in the world
is incredibly rich.
He has billions of dollars
stashed away
in secret bank acounts
all around the globe.
He has never touched the money.
His agents accumulated it for him gradually, as they grew in number and influence,
and they use it to carry out his orders.
Sometimes
he and his wife can't afford something they want.
He could
take money out of his secret accounts to pay for it,
but he never does
because he doesn't want to risk blowing his cover.
Still, he never worries about money,
because he knows
that he has all of those billions stashed away
if he ever needs them.

The day job of
the most powerful man in the world
isn't very interesting.
Little changes at a grocery store
from day to day,
so there are no situations he hasn't faced a thousand times before.
But he doesn't get bored,
because the whole time he's working,
he's planning his next decisions in his
slow strategy
to reshape the world.
And he never finds the job frustrating,
because he knows
the job's just a cover
that he could leave at any time.

The most powerful man in the world's
minions
include a number of brilliant scientists,
who have developed for him
technology far more advanced
than what the general public has.
He could have a jet-car to get him to work in seconds,
or a holographic entertainment system that produces images
indistinguishable from reality.
He could have an advanced genetic treatment which would
cure the thinning hairline
that his wife and co-workers have started teasing him about.
But if he used any of this technology,
he would draw attention
to himself.
So he uses the same technology as everyone else
around him.

The most powerful man in the world
employs a number of
highly skilled assassins.
They can kill
anyone
without a trace,
leaving behind a body that looks like it died of natural causes.
A number of people who stood in the way of his
master plan
have died in this way.
Sometimes
a neighbor or a co-worker makes
the most powerful man in the world
mad, and he considers
sending one of his assassins after the person.
But he never does,
because he's a fundamentally good man.
He orders deaths only for the good of
his plan,
never for petty vindictive or emotional reasons

The most powerful man in the world,
through his
network of minions,
controls most of the world's armies,
including all of its nuclear weapons.
If he wanted to, he could
declare himself
the ruler of the world
today.
National governments would capitulate very quickly to his awesome power.
Soon,
every human on the planet
would swear allegiance
to him.

Perhaps
someday
he will do that.
But for now, everything is going to
plan
and
the most powerful man in the world
is content to live a
comfortable
anonymous life and
rule

in secret.

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