King for a Day

September 7, 2010
I was just 7 years old when I first heard of a magical place where little boys and girls’ dreams came true. An infamous classmate of mine, Jerry Gonslick, had returned to school after missing a few glorious days, during which we all believed he had finally taken everyone’s advice, and died. A gaggle of students encircled Jerry on the playground that day as he leaned against the see-saw, a greasy smirk adorning his stupid face.
After much prodding and begging he finally admitted where he had been. Jerry told us that he and his family had been to a crazy village down in Florida where giant characters from our favorite movies lived and took pictures and signed their names for normal people. According to Jerry this place was full of rides and excitement and even a giant castle. To finish off his story Jerry pulled out a tiny plastic crown from behind his back. The words “King Jerry” was emblazoned on the front as a loud gasp came up from the crowd.

I always found Jerry to be full of crap so I was the first to stride up to him, waving a finger in his face. “You probably got your mom to buy that from Toys-R-Us you giant faker!” I yelled, as the rest of the children stared in shock.

“Oh? Did I?” Jerry sneered as he showed me the back of the crown. “Look at that Benny Boy, ‘Made in the Magic Kingdom’. I believe it’s time for you to go find another see-saw to hang around,” he paused, “Pudding Boy”.

I held back my anger as the crowd began to turn against me. I grabbed my friend Joseph and stomped over to the swing-set, waving my hands in the air like a mad-man. “Where does he get the nerve?! What kind of a place would make him king? And Pudding Boy? That was low,” I stammered. A few months earlier I had accidentally left the dessert part of my lunch on my kitchen table and my dear old mother showed up in the middle of lunch, in front of all of my friends, and delivered my pudding cup. Let’s just say it had been huge on the playground for weeks and I, along with my peers, had finally gotten over it until Jerry brought it back up again.

“I think I know the place he was talking about,” stated Joseph, in mid-swing. “My brother told me that my family used to go to such a place a long time ago, before I was born. It was just like Jerry described it, down to every last detail. Hey, I wonder why they stopped going.” Joseph had a puking problem and I figured that was probably the reason his family never took him anywhere.

Later that day I interrogated my mother on what she knew about this place and she smiled and informed me that the family had been waiting until I was old enough to take me there. My grandparents lived only a few hours away from Awsome-World and we would be going down to visit them next month.
When the time finally came I made sure I was ready for my trip. See, as I figured, if they had given a guy like Jerry Gonslick a dinky crown then they must be saving the whole kingdom for a guy like me. Heck, they had probably been waiting for years for me to come along, how terrible of me to keep them waiting any longer.

I packed my suitcase full of all what a new king requires, adding a few extra special objects such as my first little-league home run ball and my light saber (just in case they had run out of swords). I figured I could never be too careful, especially if I was to be fighting dragons and ninjas and such, so I threw in a couple Buzz Lightyear band-aids, better safe than sorry. I made sure to pack my best shirts and pants; a king needs to look good, and finally was ready to take the throne. After a grueling plane ride in which, after much convincing and pleading, my parents finally convinced the airline people that I was not going to use my lightsaber to hijack the plane, we finally reached Orlando, Florida. Walking through the airport I saw signs with pictures of castles and big-eared mice, just like Jerry described. I couldn’t wait to go find my future kingdom.

But before I could achieve my rightful place as king of the world we had to go visit with my grandparents. I love both of my grandparents very much but they aren’t what some may call, “party people”. They pretty much sit around all day watching fishing shows on television and playing card games. I think they really like company because my grandpa gets to explain to me all the different types of fish in the world while my grandma gets to bake cookies. I placated them with a nice smile and a pat on the head because, as I informed both of them, I was going to be a king soon and even a king needs his grandma and grandpa.

The next morning we set off nice and early. I had a slight stomachache from all the cookies I had eaten the night before but I wasn’t going to let it bother me, today was to be the greatest day of my life. We finally passed a sign of a giant mouse saying “Welcome to Walt Disney World! Where your dreams come true!” I turned to my baby brother and nodded my head solemnly, “That’s a very smart mouse”. He just burped and laughed. What a rude way to treat your future king.

We parked the car and joined a large crowd all walking towards the same place. I craned my neck, desperate for a glance of the castle but could not see anything over all the fat foreign people walking in front of us. We reached a giant platform where people could ride a boat over to the Magic Kingdom, take a cool thing called a Mono-rail, or be weird and walk there. “Kings shouldn’t hurt their legs too much by silly exercise,” I informed my mother as we took the scenic boat ride over to the kingdom instead. On the boat I saw from a distance what I had been waiting to see for a whole month. “My castle!” I pointed out to my mother. She was too busy studying the map to hear me but a little boy across the aisle looked up and replied, “It’s not your castle dumbnuts, it’s Mickey’s castle”. I shook my head, “Listen carrotbrain, I don’t know who Mickey is, but that’s my castle. So tell your friend Mickey to stick it where the sun don’t shine”. He gasped and started crying. What a baby.

The boat finally stopped as I got a good first look at my kingdom. It was a thing of beauty. Not only was there a giant castle but apparently there were tons of fun adventures you could go on. It was made up of a bunch of little lands that people were heading off in different directions to. “I don’t know about you guys but I’m going to the castle,” I informed my mother, who wasn’t paying attention again. I waddled off, dodging other people and giant characters. Jerry was right again. Maybe I’ll send everybody a post-card from the castle, just so they don’t think I’ve forgotten about them. As I got closer to the spectacle I noticed that it was heavily guarded by subjects in weirdly-colored outfits. I walked right up to one of them, “Excuse me, I’m Ben Simpson, future king, how does this kind of thing work? Do I just get the job immediately? Or is there some kind of ceremony? I kinda need to know so I can tell my teacher that I’m not going to be coming back”.

The guy looked at me with a grin, “Ha-ha kid very funny. Sorry, I can’t let you into the restaurant without your parents. Cute lightsaber by the way”.

I shook my head, “Surely this is a joke kind sir. I was told to report here to fulfill my duty as lord of this land. And this lightsaber is not cute, it is a killing machine and I will have to use it on you if you don’t stop playing around and let me into my own castle!” I couldn’t believe no one had given this guy the memo that I had arrived.

He began to chuckle nervously, “You are a piece of work little buddy. What are you, five? I can get Mickey to come down here and take a picture with you if you want”.

It was starting to get pretty serious now, apparently this Mickey fellow had the entire village in his pocket. “Sure my good man, bring me Mickey. I have been waiting to have a word with him”. He smiled and left for a few minutes. If I was going to be the best I had to beat the best so I practiced some of my lightsaber moves in anticipation of Mickey’s arrival. I had worked up a pretty good sweat when the guard came back with what looked to be a giant mouse. He was the same one from all the signs I had seen. My jaw dropped as Mickey waved as he got closer. He was going to be quite a formidable opponent.

“This kid said he wanted to meet you Mickey! Isn’t he a cutie!” said the guard.
“Well hey there little guy! My name is Mickey! Nice Lightsaber! Can I touch it?” said the giant mouse reaching towards my weapon.What an ill-advised move to make, as his hand neared my saber I struck him with all the force my little body could muster.
“There can only be one king!” I shouted as I pelted both Mickey and his minion with blows from my saber. I apparently was doing plenty of damage as they both ran away shouting for help. I stood there proudly, admiring myself and the battle I had just won. I went to go find another way into the fortress as Mickey and the guard came back, this time with more friends. “You’re not going anywhere you little devil!” they grabbed me as I screamed for help. I couldn’t believe it, I had lost. Mickey had won the crown.
They took me to some sort of a jail where they made me call my parents to come get me. My mom and dad weren’t too happy but they eventually got over it and we spent the rest of the day on crazy rides and taking pictures with every character, except Mickey of course. It truly was the greatest day of my life and as we were about to go I spotted a shop with plastic crowns in the window. “Wait! We have to get a crown!” I exclaimed as I rushed in. I searched everywhere for one with my name but to no avail. The closest they had was one that said “King Ken” on the front. I made my mom buy it anyways, because it was close enough.
A few days later we were back in Virginia and I had everyone on the playground circling me, begging to find out where I had been. I smirked and told him about slaying a giant mouse and getting thrown into prison. To top it all off I pulled the crown from behind my back. I knew they would be speechless, as no one said anything for a long time until a tiny voice from the back piped up and said, “Who’s Ken?”

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