The Most Powerful Man in the World

(Prose 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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