Short Fiction for Guests of the Wordfeeder
Monday, August 22, 2011
As is the case with everything I write,
except for a few details, this is a true story.
(To a short short story? Why not?)
As you may already know, there are literary historians who contest the notion that William Shakespeare (4/26/1564 – 4/26/1616) was, in fact, the prolific author he is reputed to be. (Yes, he died on the same day of the same month on which he was born.) It is their theory that, acting as a front, Shakespeare took credit for the works of one or more of his contemporaries, namely Francis Bacon (1/22/1561 – 4/9/1626) and/or Christopher Marlowe (2/26/1564 until he was stabbed to death on 5/30/1593 at the age of only 29). Most scholars believe this debate is unwarranted and that William Shakespeare was, in fact, the genius creator of the works to which he signed his name.
In any case, relationships among these three men – Shakespeare, Bacon and Marlowe – varied from cordial, even warm, particularly between Shakespeare and Marlowe, to angry, resentful and distrusting. Some have even suggested that Bacon – who was known to have a nasty disposition, generally lacking any sense of humor and occasionally ruthless – may have arranged for Marlowe’s demise, envious of his closeness to Shakespeare and angered by certain blasphemous remarks, quite shocking for their time, made by Marlowe about Bacon which Sir Francis took personally. Who knows?
What is known for sure is that Shakespeare’s remarkable productivity stalled abruptly in late 1599, with no output – no play or poem – through most of 1600. The best he could manage was some reworking of Hamlet which he had first written in 1589. Why? Could it be that Shakespeare was distracted and, instead of writing, chose instead to spend the year rolling around with Gwyneth Paltrow? (Who wouldn’t?) Of course not. That was the movie. In fact, no one really knows, but there is a school of thought that believes Shakespeare, who was a superstitious person, was affected by a gift he received about that time from none other than Francis Bacon himself. Alleged by Sir Francis to have been presented to encourage a reconciliation between the two, there are those who believe the gift had a much more sinister purpose.
It was early on the perfect Saturday morning, Jake’s favorite day. He’d been up for a while, wrapping up one of the columns that would one day make possible the nice house in the country which was their dream. For now, their one bedroom city apartment would have to do. His nimble fingers were flying over his laptop’s keyboard, until they stopped abruptly, for just a moment, before hitting the final period. “Done.”