(This fictional story was written in early March 2011 when Berlusconi was due to appear in 4 different court cases. It was prompted by my Creative Writing teacher, Dave Lordan, who challenged us to write an argumentative piece.)
Sylvio Berslusconi is stopped by a supporter of the Women Against Sexploitation Party outside the Italian Parliament building in Rome, asking him: “ Excuse me, Prime Minister, how can you sleep at night the way you try to hoodwink the Italian people and mistreat our women, especially underage girls, you old bastard?”
“Young lady, please treat my office with respect. I have to say you are an attractive young woman. What is your name? You may call me Sylvio” retorted Berlusconi, as his handlers tried to move him to his waiting car.
“Your flattery doesn’t work with me, sir. Answer my question, please.”
“You misunderstand me, miss. I have great respect for all women, young and old. Just look at my cabinet, there are plenty of talented ladies there.”
Getting annoyed at his evasion of her question, she remarked “I’m not so sure their talents are in making laws. How can you stand here in front of me and use that as an excuse for exploiting young girls for your own gratification at sex parties?”
Rising to her challenge, Berlusconi shot back “These are all foul lies from my enemies in the media – I have never exploited any young women. What did you say your name was again, young lady?”
Her face getting redder as she digested his conflicting reply, she spat out her response “ I DIDN’T SAY. Are you trying to tell me all those girls are telling lies about you and your sex parties? Why don’t you sue them for libel if that’s the case?”
Smiling, now that he had riled her, he carried on with his bluster “Miss, I like to know who my accuser is. Surely you can let me have your first name. You are a very pretty young lady – would you like to audition for one of my TV shows?”
Shaking off the P M’s security guards who wanted to end this public spectacle, as a crowd gathered, she replied “NO, thank you. You disgust me, you dirty old man. I know how you work, you…I, um, I…..”, losing her train of thought and struggling to get her thoughts together, she blurted out “My name is Claudia – oh, no, why did I say that.”
Smiling, he now pressed on as he said to her “OK, Claudia, have you worked in TV before?” Her supporters booed his change of tack, while his mostly male fans chorused “Sylvio, Sylvio, Sylvio…” from those surrounding the duelling pair.
Gathering herself together, her eyes watering, her neck flushed, she went back on the attack “Listen you devious bastard, stop confusing the issue. I don’t know how you can tell barefaced lies to this nation saying you do not exploit women. Do you think the Italian people are stupid? Your own acolytes and your “kiss and tell” girls can’t all be telling lies.” Behind her, the crowd cheered her recovery and listened for the P M’s reply.
Staying his guards, he responded to her barbs “Claudia, my dear, I am a very powerful man in politics and business with enemies around every corner. Why do you think so many rival newspapers and media outlets, as well as the judiciary are supporting these spurious claims against me? I am an easy target. Its all lies.”
Keeping her thoughts focussed on the attack, she said “Mr. Berlusconi, you know very well there is rarely smoke without fire. Your day in court is almost on you and you have nowhere to hide. Italian women will be safer after you are convicted.”
Fidgeting now, he signalled to his guards to start moving him towards the car, he said “I’m not so sure about that. These judges think they can bring down the most powerful man inItalyover a few petty foibles. Believe me, my cute Claudia, they might be having a field day in the media but I will win out in the end, as I always do.”
Following to his car, she spoke privately to him as he sat into the rear seat, “You must be delusional if you think you will wriggle out of this one. By the way, do you have a contact number for your TV game show producer?”