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“You have a visitor,” said the guard. “It’s a woman.”

Silvio Berlusconi perked up at once. He was not enjoying his time in jail. The suits were distinctly unflattering to a man with his oily good looks, the shampoo was not oily enough for his Dracula-like hair and he hadn’t had the chance to slap a woman gratuitously on the bum for weeks.

He had been to a lot of Bunga Bunga parties, though not always by choice.

But now a woman was coming to visit him. They would, of course, be separated by a plastic screen and have to talk to each other by telephone, but this would be little obstacle to Silvio, who had one managed to get off with a woman who was passing him on a train going in the opposite direction.

He was led to the visiting room, sat down on his side of the screen, and looked up.

Angela Merkel was sitting on the other side.

His heart sank, but only for a second. She would certainly be a challenge, but a quick flash of his brilliant smile, a risqué remark and a quick flash of his – oh, I’ve said that already – and she would surely succumb to his charms, as dozens of women had before her.

Besides, he thought, it showed that he was still a vital cog in Europe. She had probably come asking his advice about the recession, or the Euro, or the Irish, or some other problem that she shouldn’t have had to worry her pretty little head about. He picked up the telephone on his side of the screen.

“Ciao bella,” he purred.

Angela picked up the phone on her side, then paused, frowned and took her mobile from her pocket. She looked at it and said “sorry, Silvio, I have to take this.”

She pressed the “Accept Call” button on her mobile. “Hi, sis,” she said. “No, nothing much, I’m just visiting Silvio Berlusconi in prison. I know, me too, so hard I got a stitch in my side. No, he looks good, he’s in a kind of orange jumpsuit, it matches his complexion. Oh,you’re right, he is, with a capital P. Anyway, how’s my lovely little niece? Really? A school play? Playing a daffodil? Oh, she must have looked so cute. Actually, put her on and let her tell me all about it. No, that’s fine, I’ll hang on till her Dad’s finished reading her bedtime story…”

Angela looked through the screen “Sorry you’re being kept waiting, Silvio”, she said sweetly. “It’s bloody annoying, isn’t it?”