NERO FIDDLES WHILE ROME BURNS

NERO FIDDLES WHILE ROME BURNS

A Story by alanwgraham
"

Throughout history evil men are touched by madness. You know who they are!

"

MEN’S INSANA IN CORPORE INSANO


(An insane mind in an unhealthy body)


The fleshy Emperor reclines on plumped cushions fashioned slavishly from the empire’s finest silk. He reigns uneasily on a quaking pyramid of fear. He is indisputably, stark, gibbering, mad.


Two members of his guard stand ashen faced at the gilded door of his chamber. That very morning the Emperor ordered them to execute their captain. He had the temerity to yawn in the Emperors presence.


‘Cut off his tongue. Make him eat it! Take out his heart - feed it to the lions … no, no - feed it to that senator, the one that coughed in my divine presence.


The Emperor strolls to the window and regards his city, sprawling around the seven hills. He smiles but without pleasure - a malign rictus of self-loathing. Beyond the city, lies the empire, beyond the empire, emptiness.


The Emperor's mind rambles off into dank,dark places. 


I am their father. Like all children they are wayward and need disciplined. They must love me as I love them. I will make them love me. These scum from the western quarter. We are starving, they said. I had the ringleaders crucified - pour encourager les autres!

 

‘Ha, ha, ha, ha.’ He cackles hysterically. ‘Guard, bring Livius.’


Where was I? Ah - father - b*****d - I did everything to please you but all I got were beatings. Black and blue, blue and black, children sob and ducks quack. Children sob and ......


A b*****d, that’s me. Mother got what she deserved. Here, mother, a tasty omelette with your favourite mushrooms. Oh how she suffered. He, he, he. Her lover was one of the palace guards. Couldn’t find him - I killed them all! Oh so gently, so slooooowly - such fun! Ouch! They all confessed.


Ah, my dear Livius. As I was carried to the temple in my litter I saw citizens gathering in small groups conversing. They are plotting. Issue a proclamation. Place two guards on every square and every street, day and night. Arrest anyone congregating and interrogate them. I want names - promise them release.’

‘And then, revered emperor?

‘Boil them in vats - all of them all.’


The Emperor returns to his cushions. He frowns. He needs a s**t. This always twists him into gut wrenching anxiety. A replay runs in his head like torture.


‘Father, father - it was an accident.’ 

‘Can’t even S**T PROPERLY. Go on, rub your face in it you worthless little t**d. You’ll never forget, you shitface.’


He has never forgotten. Defecating has become an obsessive process of excruciating habit - watching his father die slowly, the only reward. At these moments his secret voice, speaks seductively to him.


Now, now my Emperor. You think they love you. They bow, they scrape, they  plot. They want you dead. They spread their filth to you. They s**t and touch everything - the doors, the seats, your plates, your clothes, your food. You know you smell it everywhere, you taste it in everything.'


Yes, their s**t is everywhere. What can I do?


You are a god, not a sniveling worm sniffing s**t. You must cleanse with fire. Burn everything. Burn the city.


What are you Emperor?

I am a god.

What are you?

I am a God.


What must you do?

I must cleanse, scorch, burn, everything. He,he,he ha,ha.


The guards in the chamber look on with alarm as their Emperor lay giggling and apparently talking to himself. His eyes dart around, unfocused. They know at these times they are in mortal peril.


Horatio, the senior guard, inches towards his companion and whispers through the side of his mouth.  'May the Gods help us Grampius. Luna will shine undiminished in four days.'


Slowly the Emperor regains his wits. He regards them suspiciously. Horatio plucks up courage.

‘Is there anything you desire Emperor?’

He sighs deeply. The guards know that look. ‘Bring me three girls - newly blooded.’

 ‘Anything else? They asked fearfully. He pauses for a moment. ‘And two boys - young. That will suffice.’  They know his tastes. ‘You know what to do with them after.’

 

After, and as always, he remains unsated, full of self-loathing - at his most dangerous.

LIVIUS!’

‘I’m here, Emperor.’

‘Are you spying on me? Issue a proclamation.'


...

The Emperor demands that every citizen and slave enters their dwelling at fall of darkness and remains until sunrise. On pain of death. Our Enemies will spread false news, believe no-one. At this moment the legions are Building a Wall around the city to keep out the Vermin. We are surrounded by Filth.

...


As the light fades the Emperor calls for his stringed instrument and goes out to the balcony. His view over the city is without equal - the setting sun touches the great buildings of state and pleasure, dubs the seven hills in lurid tints. The Emperor’s palace is extraordinary, out-trumping all, a gilded, sun struck, monolith, but seen by not one single citizen, all cowering fearful in their dwellings. The Emperor smiles as he watches the Praetorian guard with their flaming torches spreading out, spreading a fiery death, like a contagion.


He starts playing and loses himself in the crazed melody. Below him the city burns. Above, Luna pulls at his sanity. His siren voice within speaks to him.


You are a God! What are you?


I AM A GOD!


In ages to come, other men who grew grotesque from innocence, hear that same voice.


We all, each one of us, know their names. Trumpet it from the rooftops before our city burns. 

   

 

© 2020 alanwgraham


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Featured Review


Hail Alan, pon my very word sire, this is far too good to leave laying around in the Café for anyone to find.. You need to collect all ya got up and post a copy off to some publisher somewhere... Short historical and quirky tales would make extra fine reading for adults wherever they might be... I take me laurel leaves off to you sir and true.. Nowt less than top marks from this humble serf... N

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

9 Months Ago

Thanks Nevi!le, for your encouraging words. I have gathered about 50 stories with a view to kindle b.. read more
Neville

9 Months Ago

My fingers are crossed but I have every confidence in you Alan... yes, go for it..

Ne.. read more



Reviews

Same as it was, same as it will probably ever be, is all I can summon after reading this quite superb piece of writing.

Agree totally with Neville, this very much deserves a wider audience; and I also totally agree with your reply to lakinbob about Putin and others. Assad of Syria springing instantly to my mind; the pair of them, mass murderers in Armani suits.

Beccy.

Posted 7 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

7 Months Ago

Thanks for your great review Beccy. This just seemed to pop out of nowhere but when I got going it s.. read more
Indeed, I've written poetry on the insane ruler, a pleasing stance that always reeks of madness, well done, good read.

Posted 8 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

8 Months Ago

Thanks for your kind comments Thomas. I'm looking forward to reading your own writing - I did have a.. read more
I'm still catching up on my reading list from the 2 months I was writing my book & so I come upon this gem & I'm amazed at how it's EVEN MORE PERTINENT now, than a couple months ago when you might've conceived it!?!?! This is so amazing, the way it predicts how we've all become sequestered, our consumerism hog-tied due to the vermin of globalization! Sheesh! You're feckin' psychic! To be honest, this piece does not read as smoothly as your writing often does (a little bumpy to follow your meaning) but since I was already seeing this in terms of the current ridiculousness of our times, it wasn't hard to follow even a bumpy path to your snarky conclusion. I swear, if we can't defeat this "God" in our upcoming election, I'll have to migrate to Mexico, since Canada is too damn cold for this wimp! You have a way of inciting my deepest anxieties. Maybe this is part of the conspiracy, undermining our country's superiority by spoofing the big orange t**d who considers himself our diety. I need another cup of coffee and my first pipeload of the day, after reading this! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 8 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

8 Months Ago

Thanks Margie. This One just
came when the 'Nero fiddled' saying popped into my head. It see.. read more
This raised my hair and made me shiver thinking of insanity in high places. To think of such absolutely mad men controlling destinies and that it has gone on since time immemorial is a truly amazing. Very interesting and you delivered such an impact.

Posted 8 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

8 Months Ago

Thanks Rania. You are spot on. We have a lot to learn from history. 'The only thing necessary for th.. read more
Rania

8 Months Ago

Oh my God. You’re so right!
Is there a madness I see before me? Seems this post holds a place between comedy and horror, 'tween long crazed yesterdays and equally manipulative goings-on, 2020. When such creatures were created they came from similar malformed moulds. Your words are so powerful, theatrical and strangely witty though Monster Man more than likely died one of many deaths, most starting with the letter B - eg. blades, bowels, bugs and et tu, Brutus. Thoroughly enjoyed this story, so much going on, so many thoughts inter-woven, in fact could become a book or play or.. best seller!

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

9 Months Ago

Thanks Emma for this great review. I'll admit that I have my own moments of madness, thankfully few .. read more
emmajoy

9 Months Ago

I gather wives can be like that... husbands too, in a different way! Your post laid quite a few po.. read more
I could film this. And I did film at Uni so I mean what I say. Brilliant.
As good as Robert Graves.
And I am not unaware of the modern conotations. Obvious in that last line of this very theatrical piece.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

9 Months Ago

Than is Ken for your great review. I'm sure giving each other encouragement here spurs us on to grea.. read more
Hi Alan. Could not get enough of this wonderfully written and the sad reality of mad and insane men when put in positions of power and mass influence. I was at the edge of my seat reading this with all its horrific details. I like the similarities of personalities with modern ones that are full of themselves. If given the opportunity, they will use nuclear weapons to annihilate their enemies.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

9 Months Ago

Thanks for reading this and your kind review. The phrase 'Nero fiddles while Rome burns' popped into.. read more
Sami Khalil

9 Months Ago

Wow! So true. You are welcome.
Fabulous story Alan. A really good read with my morning cuppa. Yes on reflection Alan, there have been many rulers, particularly in the past that have ruled their kingdoms with terror. I can remember Calligua and what a b*****d he was, but there are just too many to mention. Madness? Yes some of them have been totally potty and their pure evil has inflicted incredible loss of life. Their depravity and cruelty sink to scary depths. Get this published. I agree with your other reviewers. Your best work here.

Chris

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

9 Months Ago

Brilliant Chris. Thanks very much. You'll know how sometimes you get a buzz when you're writing but .. read more
Christine Anne Shaw

9 Months Ago

It's because you turned into that b*****d while you were writing, that this turned out so good. Now .. read more
Plenty of insane, murderous b******s to choose from, and let us trust that every last one of them are in the permanent agony of hell. But just to choose one, how about Stalin, 20 million of his own people, (probably plenty more,) were killed under his rule.

This modern bunch are pussycats in comparison, but no less reprehensible.

PS. Agree with Neville, this is too good to be allowed to just languish here.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

9 Months Ago

Many thanks lakinbob. I've done some reading on Stalin's reign. Most people don't know what happened.. read more

Hail Alan, pon my very word sire, this is far too good to leave laying around in the Café for anyone to find.. You need to collect all ya got up and post a copy off to some publisher somewhere... Short historical and quirky tales would make extra fine reading for adults wherever they might be... I take me laurel leaves off to you sir and true.. Nowt less than top marks from this humble serf... N

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

9 Months Ago

Thanks Nevi!le, for your encouraging words. I have gathered about 50 stories with a view to kindle b.. read more
Neville

9 Months Ago

My fingers are crossed but I have every confidence in you Alan... yes, go for it..

Ne.. read more

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Added on February 2, 2020
Last Updated on February 6, 2020

Author

alanwgraham
alanwgraham

Scotland, United Kingdom



About
Married with three kids, I retired early from teaching physics but have always enjoyed mountains. In my forties I experienced a manic episode which kick-started a creative urge. I've written a novel .. more..

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