Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Death of a Playwright

"Ellie! More wine!" Christopher Marlowe, lying on his back on the overstuffed settee, held his tankard in the air.

"Haven't you had enough?" Ingram Frizer raised his head from the table.

"No. My arse is still sore.." Marlowe looked for the innkeeper. "Ellie?"

"Not until you pay your tab." Eleanor Bull bustled from the kitchens. "Fourteen sovereigns are owed for the drink and the bowls of venison stew."

"Venison? Hardly, Madame." Nicholas Skeres looked up from his letter writing in the far corner. "I've eaten enough street rabbit in my time to recognise the taste."

"Street rabbit?" Robert Poley looked down at his dish. "I've never seen one of those."

"He means rats." Marlowe twisted in his seat. "It that true, Ellie? Are the streets of Deptford free of vermin thanks to your pot?"

"They will be when you've gone home." Eleanor stood to one side and handed him a scrap of parchment.

"What's this?" Marlowe looked at it. "The bill? Are you serious?"

"Deadly serious, sir. Put up or shut up, if you please."

"Oh, damn you, woman." Marlowe picked up Frizer's dagger and threw it at the table where he and Poley were sitting, It stuck in the wood, inches from Frizer's leg. "Frizer will pay. He's plenty of Walsingham gold in his purse."

"That could have hit me, you mincing buffoon." Frizer pulled the dagger out and stood."

"Better a mincing buffoon than a perfidious cocksucker." Marlowe swung his legs to the floor and stood. "It was you who passed information to Mary's chamberlain, wasn't it? Did he drop his pantaloons for you?" He made several hip thrusts to demonstrate.

"Prick." Frizer's face turned bright red as he advanced on the playwright. "Take that back."

"Like you did?" Marlowe turned and proffered his arse. "If you prick me, do I not bleed?"

"I'll prick you all right." Frizer leaned over as if to bugger him, but it was his dagger that pierced Marlowe, not his cock. He stood back as the playwright fell. and drew his rapier. "That was an accident, right?"

Skeres and Poley nodded.

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