Hamlet Off Book

As eerie fog crept across the parapet of Elsinore Castle in Denmark of old, the king’s ghost disappeared in the darkness up stage right.
Prince Hamlet—dressed in his usual dreary black attire—and Horatio (author’s note: who cares how he’s dressed because he’s just a friend) stared at the receding figure, who died not a fortnight ago (author’s note: It might have been longer. What difference does it make?)
They pondered the message of the forlorn spirit—a tale of love, marriage, seduction, eating leftover food, and murder.
Hamlet sighed, “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.” And then, out of nowhere, he broke into a bout of giggles.
“What ho, my lord,” Horatio responded, “what doth provoke this strange response?”
“It’s all the clichés,” Hamlet responded. “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark. How many times have you heard that stale old chestnut?”
“Why, never, my lord, not since the words came trippingly off your tongue just now.”
“Thou dost pull my leg.” Hamlet couldn’t stop laughing. “And that sweets to the sweet? Why, the old broad’s talking about flowers not candy.”
Horatio glanced into the dark abyss of the theater auditorium. “Why, my lord, I have never heard those words spoken thusly before. Maybe in another couple of acts.”
“Oh, Hoorah-tee-oh, knock it off.” Prince Hamlet sounded less and less like himself.
“Remember, my lord, thine director repeatedly told thou mine name doth be spoken Horatio with a ‘sh’ sound in the middle.”
“But there isn’t a “sh” in the middle,” Hamlet doth protest too much.
“I dost think there’s going to be a lot of “sh” hit the middle of the fan quite soon.” Horatio’s voice carried nary a hint of irony.
“Thou dost take this frivolity too seriously.” Hamlet patted his shoulders. “Tis the dress rehearsal, nothing more.”
Horatio grabbed him and pushed him to the edge of the proscenium. “Look upon the darkness, Prince Hamlet. If thou dost study the void carefully, you will see eyes, hundreds of eyes that hath paid a pretty farthing to watch William Shakespeare’s greatest play performed in character, sans giggles, sans commentary, sans anything not written by the Bard himself.”
Hamlet paused, peered and nearly peed his pants.
“Alas, my poor acting career! I shall miss it well, Hoorah-te-oh.”
(Author’s note to devotees of Shakespeare: If this satire doth offend, I only meant to amuse you in this time of pandemic which I cannot defend. ‘Tis a trifle, which I shall print nevermore. I hope this will make amends. Oh, and I apologize for mixing in a little Poe. Come! Let us be friends!)

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