Amidst the backstage politicking of a mediaeval state Machiavelli sat for an official portrait. He was poised, serious. “How do I appear?” he asked the painter, who craned around the easel.
“Austere, astute,” the painter remarked.
“Very good,” whispered Machiavelli, barely moving his lips.
“Although… sometimes I long to stop painting surfaces,” the painter moaned. “Imagine the art I could create if I captured the inner workings of a man for all to see – his beliefs, his conscience!”
“Pah!” Machiavelli almost cracked a smile. “Then your canvases wouldn’t sell. A conscience looks like vomit. So, paint lies and get paid.”
This piece of flash fiction was written for Friday Fictioneers: a story in 100 words prompted by a picture that Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts every Wednesday. Here’s the link to the stories and this week’s picture is below, copyright Madison Woods.