Interludes near the Gates of Hell on an Ides of March

Interludes near the Gates of Hell on an Ides of March

In a room in the region of Purgatory closest to Hell, Niccolò Machiavelli sits chained in front of, of all things, a large screen, top of the line, 20017 model Samsung television. He is being forced to continuously watch purported news programs, shifting from CNN and NBC to Fox News, and then, in brief purported respites, to read purported news from the New York Times and the Washington Post. And of course, knowing the television’s multiple functionality (he’d seen the WikiLeaks reports), he was a bit self-conscious. Every once in a while, either in a willowy whisper or a desperate wail, he keeps repeating, “that’s not what I meant, that’s not what I was talking about”.

However, every once in a while, he pauses as something catches his interest and if the monitors are careless, he finds a bit of solace. One such instant occurred during the week ending on the Ides of March in the year then known as 2017. It dealt with, of all things, the president of Turkey, a fellow by the name of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his “machiavellian” manipulation of that day’s elections in the Dutch Republic (or the Netherlands as it was commonly called, a name strangely reminiscent of where Niccolò found himself at the time). The Dutch Prime Minister, a fellow by the name of Mark Rutte, seemed to be Erdogan’s then favorite puppet-violin (he apparently had a collection), and Niccolò could not suppress an admiring grin. An image of two birds dropping from a low lying branch on a willow tree, struck by a single stone, for some reason, formed in Niccolò’s understandably fevered brow.

A fellow by the name of Geert Wilders, reading a recently reauthorized release of a once classic German political text, smiled and looked on with interest.

Niccolò looked forward to meeting Recep soon and perhaps, Geert later.

The channel abruptly changed.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved

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