Realpolitik and Paint

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.