The real king

Published 8:09 am Wednesday, December 8, 2010

“Good morning, Mr. Carter.”

It was his regular morning greeting as John C. Carter III strode past the mahogany desk encircling Sarah, the receptionist. Down the hall he went, past assistants and staff, toward his plush office.

The city was awakening through the floor-to-ceiling glass wall on the west side of the 24th floor. Sitting in his high-backed leather chair, John felt both the weight and pleasure of overseeing such a large company.

Ten thousand strong, they were. And growing. They all, in some way, answered to him, though he had direct contact with very few. Save for the board of directors, who generally deferred to his opinion, he enjoyed autonomy most men envied.

C.B, the chief financial officer, came in for the morning briefing. The figures looked good. John signed four documents with his customary flair, authorizing another million dollars of funding for the Bolton project.

The day saw a steady stream of officers and directors seeking either approval or advice for personnel and budget matters.

By five o’clock, John was more than ready for the solitary, but reflective elevator ride down to the lobby.

“Good day, Mr. Carter,” smiled the receptionist.

“Good evening, sir,” responded the doorman, opening the glass doors.

Pausing on the sidewalk, he turned and looked up all 24 floors and felt the rush of power through his veins. His building. His company. His position.

The driver was waiting.

“Home, Richards.”

Nestling into the black limo, he pondered his status during the half-hour ride home to the gated community of Collinswood.

Stepping out into the circular driveway, he walked between the white columns and opened the large, brass-handled door, looking for Lydia, his wife.

“It’s about time you got here,” she bristled. “Your clothes are still on the floor. They don’t pick themselves up, you know.”

“Yes, dear,” he murmured, shuffling off to the bedroom.

Rex Alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is