Nicolas Cage woke up in his California King-sized bed made of solid gold under sheets woven of unicorn hair farmed from his own menagerie. But rather than pushing the emerald button (made out of a giant real emerald) embedded in the the Swarovski crystal bedside table that opened the trap door in the floor and sent the bed (and the table) into the incinerator, as he used to do every morning in the boom years, he simply put on his Corinthian leather Elvis head slippers and padded down to breakfast. Everyone was doing some belt tightening these days, and the new castle rule was that solid gold beds had to be slept in twice before they were burned and replaced.
Nicolas Cage was not immune to the current economic crisis.
At the foot of the wide, marble staircase, three out of four of Nicolas Cage’s personal attendants were waiting. No sign of Slave #2. When he had first purchased them from the Indonesian black market he had decided to give them all clever nicknames based on his favorite hotels in Las Vegas, but after one day he had realized he did not feel like remembering them, because remembering was for civilians, and so he just called them Slave. The number changed, but was always in descending order of which slave he liked best at any given time.
“Your majesty,” Slave #3 said, bowing. Nicolas Cage had thought it would be funny to make all of his servants call him “Your Majesty,” but it was also respectful. They did work for him after all. “Right this way, sire. Your foie gras pancakes with caviar hash are getting cold.”
“Fire Slave #2,” Nicolas Cage said, as they made their way to the revolving, underwater breakfast nook. “It will help us to keep costs down in this difficult economic climate, and I never did like the way he pronounced ‘mangosteen.'”
“Absolutely, sire. I will prepare the canons this morning.”
Whenever anyone was released from Nicolas Cage’s service, they were loaded into a cannon and fired over the Northern wall. Between the celebratory parade, the four-story champagne fountain, and the lawsuits, it cost nearly a full-year Slave’s salary just to fire a Slave. But traditions are important, especially in these difficult, unsure times. They give hope, and a semblance of normalcy.
After breakfast, Nicolas Cage had the kitchen gutted and renovated for lunch. Sleeping in a bed twice was one thing, but he could not be expected to ingest something that had touched a countertop on which something else he’d ingested had been prepared. What was he, an animal? HAD THE ECONOMIC CRISIS REDUCED HIM TO THE LEVEL OF A DISGUSTING ANIMAL?
In an effort to save electricity, he turned his lifesize sentient Elvis hologram with tracking-technology off for 20 minutes a day (although of course another lifesize Elvis hologram with tracking-technology operated at all times in the Space Castle’s Mars-View Boom Boom Room). He hired a pilot for his private jet rather than keeping a live-in pilot in the Pilot House behind the vineyard. Yes, when he finished a telephone call he threw his iPhone-mini (not yet in production) in the garbage, but he no longer had his garbage dipped in molten lead and sunk to the bottom of his private ocean by a hired staff he once called Garbage Force. The Garbage Force Team was completely dismantled (and there were skidmarks and bloodstains all along the exterior grasses of the Northern wall to prove it). He put his garbage out on the curb like an asshole.
He went for a swim in his vault of gold coins, but in another striking sign of how much things had changed, even from just last October, he did not throw the gold coins away.
Nicolas Cage shook his head, “this economy is very difficult and it does not look like it is getting better.”