King for a day.
by P.S. Gifford
“Be treated like a King,” the flashy brochure said about the off the beacon track boutique hotel in Bordeaux. After the last few weeks I felt that I deserved to be treated like a king.
My wife left me four weeks ago for the marriage councilor my therapist had advised me to go to. I found myself still paying the mortgage to me three-bedroom semi-detached house in the fashionable side of town to a squalid bed sit in the seediest region.
It was as I was counting the cockroaches scurrying across the floor of the kitchenette the brochure caught my eye. It must have fallen out of my men’s magazine I purchased earlier that day. I drained my sixth can of bitter as I picked it up. Grabbing my seventh beer I sat on the bed settee.
I gazed out of the window towards the drizzle and fog and then focused on the lush greenery of Bordeaux encapsulated in the brochure. The sun was shining, people were smiling, and images of high quality food and wine engaged my imagination.
I had vacation time due to me. In fact I had four years worth.
The following day all was set. My boss agreed that a “Jolly good holiday,” would be just what I needed. He insisted that I take it immediately.
So that is how I came to be here in Bordeaux.
I arrived yesterday. The sun indeed was shining and people were full of smiles. I feasted on a seven course meal last night as I drained two of the finest bottle of wines that ever passed my lips. All of my troubles were indeed starting to slip away. I considered my wife…She had done me a favor. For years I had slogged away day after day trying to provide her the lifestyle she always aspired to. The insurance business had served me well. I would soon be in another house, perhaps with a younger woman by my side. I am only forty-six after all I considered.
It was then things went decidedly pear shaped.
I remember retiring to my bed. And oh what a bed it was! I was surrounded by the finest down comforter. The pillows felt as if my head was resting on clouds, and the sheets were of the finest quality silk which felt exquisite against my naked flesh. Soon I drifted into the most peaceful sleep I had experienced in years. I dreamt of nymphs and angels catering to my every whim.
Then I awoke.
It took me a moment to separate reality from dreams.
Had it morphed into a nightmare?
I realized that I am naked and that my hands were bound behind my back. I was on my knees, my head secure in place looking at a velvet lined basket.
I am in a guillotine.
Perhaps when I read I would be treated like a King I should have questioned which one…