Oftentimes, I start poems or stories here, then copy them to Facebook, only to neglect to return. Life is hectic like that. This was written in a hurry, especially the end, but I had a strong feeling to offer it as is. The formatting is wrong after going to Facebook finishing it on Facebook. I don’t have time to fix it right now. Sorry.
The Last Trick of Ego
There was once a boy named Ego who set out to conquer the world.
When Ego was small, his first kingdom was small. And though conquering this first kingdom was satisfying, it was a small satisfaction, and in time, this small satisfaction grew into dissatisfaction. He knew then that it was time to enlarge his kingdom. With this goal in mind, he set out into the world.
Ego exited his kingdom and entered a new land, armed only with a rubber ball, a gift he had received from the subjects of his first kingdom. (For he was beloved.) He had heard that there were other rubber balls in this new land, but not very many, and that rubber balls were generally regarded as a great source of joy and were treasured. It did not take long for the natives of this new land to gather in awe of this weapon, and Ego became confident that his victory there would be as easy as was his victory over his own kingdom.
For a while, this is exactly what seemed to happen. Ego and his rubber ball were very popular in the new territory and he enjoyed his new life immensely. But he soon realized that the inhabitants there hardly regarded him as king. Stricken with panic, he tried to assert himself, to assert his natural right to rule, but it was of no use. He was not beloved there; in fact, the more he tried to assert himself, the less beloved he became until, eventually, the natives of that land treated him as if he was no different than anyone else.
Heartbroken, Ego retreated deep into his own kingdom, back to his throne room, and refused to come out for any reason. (Not even for sweets.) Soon, word came to him that emissaries from the new land had pursued him and were just outside the doors of the kingdom. They were seeking diplomatic relations, he reasoned, most likely with a thought of the rubber ball, and certainly with no thought for him. Ego decided to send word that there was no ball and that they should depart immediately, and that is exactly what he did.
Though he anticipated no further dealings with the natives of the new territory, they returned for several days thereafter. Each time, Ego repeated that there was no ball, and that they should go away. Finally, on the last day of the week, the inhabitants came with a surprising new message. Somehow, they had managed to procure their own ball and they very much wished for Ego to come back with them to their own kingdom to celebrate. For a moment, he was filled with great joy and nearly ran to them. But then he remembered what it had been like in the new territory, in a place where he was not king. Now, with a new ball, there would be even less reason for the inhabitants to worship him. He would not be loved. He would not go, he decided. He sent word that they should depart and not return.
When the next day came and the diplomats persisted, he bid his subjects to ignore their presence. When they came again the next day, he told them to profess that he no longer lived there. Curious about how they would react to this news, this time he went to an upper window to listen. However, instead of hearing his subjects relay his message, he heard them tell the diplomatic party to not give up, to please continue to seek Ego out for as long as they were willing. Filled with rage, Ego returned to his throne room and barred all subjects from entry.
He ruminated there in his solitude. How could this have happened? He had lost his grip on his own kingdom. Perhaps he had never even had it, had never even been king at all. Ego realized bitterly, he had never been loved.
It was then that a brilliant thought occurred to him. He might be a king without a kingdom, but he would not be deposed. He formulated his final move.
The next morning, he unlocked his throne room and left open the door. He returned to his throne, sat down, closed his eyes, and waited.
When the first of his subjects came and told him of the diplomats return, Ego told her there was no one there and not to bother him. When a second subject came and implored him to come to court, he told him that there was no court. When several subjects came and begged Ego to attend to the needs of the kingdom, he told them that there was no kingdom and to go away. Finally, at end of the day, when the queen mother came and implored him to eat his dinner, Ego told her there was no need, for there was no Ego.
That night, weak with hunger and lonely for companionship, Ego relished his victory. For you see, finding that he could not be the king of anything, Ego became the king of everything. To do this, the trick had been simple. In the end, to become the king of everything, all he had to do was reduce everything to nothing.