Executive Suite, Hell; somewhere in time post April 23 1616: Satan has had a bit of a result. You see, being virtually illiterate, he has for an age now been looking for a ghost writer to pen his memoirs. Good fortune has smiled; a stroke of luck no less as news reached him that William Shakespeare has been sent from Heaven to Hell. The official reason for the Bard’s demise is that God believes that his play, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is too much on the ‘gay’ side – and simply will not do as it sends out all the wrong signals to Heaven’s other punters. In truth it is rumoured that He simply couldn’t face another day of Shakespeare wandering about Heaven speaking mainly in quotations from his plays. Regardless, in the light his arrival in Hell William Shakespeare has been invited over to dine with the Devil in order to discuss the project at hand. We join the pair just prior to the meal being served.
Satan: “Stroll on, that was a bit of bad luck you had there with God and all that. I always had you marked down as one of the good guys mate. Still His loss is my gain what with you being a proper writer and all that. So, as to me memoir Bill you’re up for the gig then?”
Bill: “What’s past is prologue. What’s done cannot be undone. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
Satan: “That’s settled then, you’ll have a life of luxury here mate; no stoking the fires of Hell for you Billy boy. Good on you son, nice one. I think a little celebration is in order then. Oy, serving wench time for a bottle of bubbly. Bring it on girl.”
ENTER THE WENCH WHO SERVES UP SAID ‘BUBBLY’
Bill: “Forsooth, doth mine eyes serve to deceive. The wench resembles Lucrezia Borgia methinks.”
Satan: “Good spot, right on the money. There’s certainly no flies on you Bill, it is indeed Lucrezia herself. She got here a while back and I thought to meself that she was too lovely looking to be put to the torture of the damned in the Chasms of Hell. How wrong I bloody was though.”
Bill: “How so?”
Satan: “I’ll tell you ‘how so’ alright. Well I knew she had a penchant for a bit of poisoning yet when I appointed her to head up the kitchens – my God (so to speak) her pie and mash is to die for – I had no idea she’d gone a bit OCD on that front. I mean you can’t actually kill anyone here yet a drop of arsenic can give one a staggeringly awful guts ache. She adulterated the whelk soup and had me stokers coiled up in tortuous pain for days. Hell nearly powered down – even I felt a bit chilly.”
Bill: “Though she be but little, she is fierce?”
Lucy: “Hang on a mo. Satan that’s a bit out of order. I told you I couldn’t help myself and you promised me that I could have a bit of incest if I cut out the poisoning. I’m gagging I can tell you.”
Satan: “Look luv I’ve got nothing against incest – in fact I positively advocate it – but I’ve got to feel comfortable you’re not going on another poisonous rampage before I unshackle that brother of yours Cesare. Stay pure for another eon and he’s all yours. By the way you haven’t put a Micky Finn in Bill’s bubbly have you?”
Satan: “Hold up I know that look Lucy girl – you have haven’t you?”
Lucy: “Well….I might have….only a bit though.”
Satan: “Bloody hell, Bill’s drunk his and we’ve not even had our starters yet. For Christ’s sake Lucy.”
Bill: “Oh, I am fortune’s fool!”
WITH THAT SHAKESPEARE’S GLASS SMASHES UPON THE STONE TILES AND HE TUMBLES FROM HIS CHAIR AND IS NOW LYING PRONE UPON THE FLOOR.
Satan: “Stuff me Lucy I was just about to impart me life story to Billy Boy and now you’ve taken him out of the game. It’ll be days before he’s back with us. Stupid cow.”
Lucy: “Sorry Satan. Look I’m rather taken with Shakespeare if the truth be told. Do you think he’d write me my very own sonnet? If he does I give you my word that I will never, never ever poison anyone again – ever!”
Satan: “What do you bloody think? When he comes back to us I imagine he’ll say, ‘Oh thanks Lucy for causing me anguish and pain; but look I’ve just written you a sonnet.’ Sonnet my arse. You just can’t help yourself can you?”
Lucy: “A sonnet would have been nice though – I just have no luck with men and I so want to be normal. Look I think he stirs a little. Told you I didn’t overdo my poisonous infusion didn’t I.”
A FEW GROANS LATER SHAKESPEARE WITH A LITTLE ASSISTANCE FROM SATAN IS MIRACULOUSLY SAT BACK UPON HIS CHAIR ALBEIT LOOKING A LITTLE PEEKY.
Bill: “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it; that surfeiting; the appetite may sicken, and so die.”
Satan: “Well I’ll be damned – you must have the constitution of an oxen Bill. How you feeling now? You look a bit rough.”
Bill: “Dispute not with her: she is lunatic.”
Satan: “How very true mate. Lucy bring in the starters now and if you’ve tampered with them at all then rest assured I’ll be on your case. It’ll be De Sade for you girl.”
Lucy: “De Sade you say? The very thought has made me come over all tingly. I still fancy Shakespeare though”
Bill: “I pray you do not fall in love with me, for I am falser than vows made in wine.”
Satan: “Nice one mate. You tell her.”
Bill: “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
Satan: “Kind of you for saying so. But looking at you I think it may be time you had a kip – you know sleep it off. We can reconvene in the am. You’re getting a bit delirious. Lucy that’ll be dinner for just the one now – you’ve buggered up the whole evening.”
Bill: “These violent delights have violent ends.”
Satan: “Yes mate, take of your leave I should. Lucy show him to his rooms before you serve up girl.”
LUCREZIA AFFORDS SHAKESPEARE THE SUPPORT OF HER ARM AND THEY HEAD TOWARD THE BARD’S BEDCHAMBER.
Bill: “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”
Satan: “And Lucy, just in case you’re thinking of any funny business with Bill remember what I said about De Sade.”
Bill: “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
Lucy: “Hope he’s not talking about sex – don’t sound too good if he is. Still maybe that’ll give me time to have Shakespeare and De Sade all in the one night!”
Satan: “Lucy girl hold that disgusting tongue of yours.”
SATAN SITS ALONE AT THE DINING TABLE AWAITING LUCREZIA’S RETURN. TO HIMSELF HE SPEAKS ALOUD.
Satan: “Oh bollocks, maybe it could have been worse. I’ve got an eternity to write me memoirs.”