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You stroll through the White House, tossing your kingly robe off one shoulder. The lighting could use some improvements, and there are a few paintings you don't like. As an assistant stands by with a clipboard, you dictate a list of decorational changes to be made. He scurries off to arrange them.

Alone in a West Wing hall, you remark to yourself, "It's good to be the king."

Just then, you hear a soft footstep on the carpet. You turn to look.

A graying, well-dressed man emerges from a shadow in the hallway.

"Hello, John," he rasps.

"Who?" you begin to ask, squinting at him. You recognize his face. It all becomes clear.

"Looks like we'll be doing business together over the next few years. I hope it all goes well for both of us," David Koch tells you. "Just remember how you got here."

You are speechless. You think it may have been a mistake to accept the crown. After all, you spent your entire life, up until that point, working in service of the Constitution. Why, at that moment, did you change?

"Oh, and one more thing, John," David Koch says. "I like NPR too."

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Chris Good and Alex Hoyt

Chris Good is an associate editor and online politics writer for The Atlantic. Alex Hoyt does story research for The Atlantic and illustrations for TheAtlantic.com.

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