The potential of a life of clinical debauchery had its delectable merits, more so when one had the ear of The Pope. Better that than a lifetime of tedium, kneeling upon cold stone with glued palms and eyes closed tight dreaming only of forbidden celestial flesh. Given that hara-kiri was not of his fancy it was thus he had to deal with the pressing issue at hand.

Nuns, for the main part, had scant appeal, nor choirboys. Most definitely not the latter. That would never do. His reputation in a world of nosey clerics had to be maintained at any cost. Also, were it not for their foul language and a lack of that certain panache barmaids would suffice in a crisis yet could never be ideal. Decisions, decisions. At times like this he wished his sister were not his sister. She may well have sparkled like the midday sun yet was no tempting waning moon. A role model for the delights of original sin she was not. Such a pretty creature. Fetching yet oh so tiresome.

Having dismissed a galaxy of prospective intentions he had concluded that pliable angels were few and far between. What to do?

All was not lost. By way of curious fate and time’s own twists and turns the perfect specimen arrived in modern day Rome on the back of a donkey cart in the company of perspiring Vandals all seeking sanctuary from the unenlightened Goths of the Crimea. Sanctuary, of course, comes with a price. Given her recent perilous circumstances, ‘twas a price worth paying especially so for a gal who was the match for any ecclesiastic budding rake.

Inevitably he wrote her sonnets as quatrains. Erstwhile the ragged poem, the deceitful enchantment that neither attracted nor repelled. As a blind fool in a museum he gifted them her regardless. She kept them in a drawer in the company for buttons, cotton wool, corkscrews and little things that were once part of something else. In truth she read just some of his woeful words finding them not fit for purpose. Not worthy of her seduction. Would she be his tranquilized suffragette? The offer of consummating his bestial cravings, politely, yet firmly refused. ‘Such a proposal would be an almost agreeable dilemma were he the assertive Young Turk,’ her passing thought.

In the house of vivid memories she was often forgotten in a blink. In times of darkness particularly. Once awake wicked images of her ran rampant. His affliction, a virus named ‘indulgent adoration’. Strong liquor its only remedy. Her temper, a mushroom shaped cloud of exasperation told him a thing or two. To his discredit nothing he did not already know. The ever expanding ball of fire merely scorched his leathern flesh, albeit targeted his very being. To trade her heavenly body for a roof and fodder she deemed insufficient when the slug was no artist in or out of bed. After all a gal has standards.

Sat in what was now her chair, elbows upon oak armrests, chin perched on the cradled fingers of coupled palms she watched eagle-eyed as he died a thousand tortuous deaths.

Later that same day the head of a devout, frocked excuse was served upon a platter. A victory of sorts? Certainly his legacy would fund an open door to seventh heaven’s graceless house of ill fame. A dream come true. That she would wed his sister, a given.


    1. My intention was to write a satire on Prince Andrew yet it took the wrong turn somehow, somewhere. Tremendous fun to write yet a tad darker than originally planned. Cheers, young Leslie.

      1. Here’s a guy who’s had every privilege, and uses it unwisely and even criminally. The recent interview with him was a train wreck.

      2. In my former PI life I met with many who were…how shall one politely put it?…’were not telling the entire truth’. Body language is the best indicater. Also, recently I came across a photo of me taken 200 years ago. I am pictured at 19 years of age, a blonde gal at my side, arms draped about one another, in Green Park, London. While her name escapes me, I recall the event…one that might have become a romance of sorts, yet didn’t as she returned to her home in Switzerland. I only met her just two times, not for that long on either occasion, but even after all these years I remember. How could he, in vastly different circumstances yet in the relatively recent past, forget? Especially so as his supposed relation when many steps further than mine. It defies logic and reveals workings of the predatory male mind. I think those annoying yet very capable US lawyers would rip him appart in seconds.

      3. I think you’re exactly right. He is lying. And even though he claims he didn’t sweat during his encounters with that young woman I’ll bet he’s sweating now. I’m sure his mum has had her fill of his atrocious behavior.

  1. I don’t trust a one of them.
    Be with the buttons and wahtever.
    Hmm, maybe she married the first female pope, somewhere in the 1200’s AD.
    Very neat piece, Mike!

    1. My thanks, Resa. In truth this tale began with a satire in mind…namely a satire regarding Prince Andrew. The thing is/was that whatever I write, be it dark or light, the gals must win. It’s my rule and I inevitably stay true to it. The Prince’s story…thus far…shows no sign of victorious gals although I hope that changes along the way. Whatever, my tale took a side step and became something else. Most pleased you enjoyed. Regards, The Old Fool

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece – in my mind I conjured images of the Marquis de Sade and Salome (now there’s a combination) – and I loved the dark undercurrent. Masterful!

  3. Ah, to walk the doomed path of unrequited love…for that is what anyone is when they continue on despite all the warnings, isn’t it? Doomed.

    Beautifully lush language once again, Master Steeden. xxxxx

    1. Ah, my Prince Andrew piece that took a different path. You know, young Ms Lee ‘The House of Vivid Memories’ eclipsed said boring Prince. The only similarity being they are all doomed as you rightly say.

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