Will sat still in the corner, listening intently to the conversations around him. Kit was reading out his latest piece, carelessly thrown together in the last half hour – or so Will felt.  Kit was the most successful playwright of them all. Why some weeks he had plays running at two or more city theatres as well as some being tried in smaller cities, ready for the big city launch if they were successful.

The Playwrights Corner in the pub was a very desirable place to be for an up and coming writer, even more so for an aspiring one. Everyone had a mug of something, to keep warm. Will’s was rather diluted ale, all he could afford. He’d give his eye teeth for a really good wine now. But that wasn’t to be.

He’d been regarded as quite the thing back home, but on arriving in the big city he’d discovered his talent wasn’t anything unusual. So many playhouses, all clamouring for new material, but no-one wanted his.

Four weeks later at another session in the Playwrights Corner, attending what Kit called Writing 101 the tutor finally talked to him. “Ok you, yes YOU “ he said as Will tried to hid further in the corner. What do you have to read for us today?

Will stood nervously. He had decided to bring all of his re-written plays with him tonight, just in case.

He started reading. Some frowns, some smiles, two of the group called loudly for the waiter. All pretty normal.

He had read several pages, getting through the first scenes setting the style, location and basics of the piece. Just as he was ready to get into the meatier stuff, Kit stood up, yawned and stretched. “Well Will”, he said “after all I heard about you in the backwoods, you are a sore disappointment.” Will swallowed, his throat closing up. He looked down, unable to bear the weight of his disappointment.

“I’d heard your characters were robust, real and almost flesh and blood” continued Kit, but I bet none of them, or you for that matter, could string together a really good insult to provoke a fight.

“Oh you, you…” Will stammered. “You coxcomb, you clay-brained coxcomb, no you addle-pated clay-brained coxcomb, I can throw an insult as well as the next man. I just spent 3 days taking them out to make my plays fit for the genteel ears of the cityfolk.”

Kit laughed, “Well Will Shakespeare, it seems there could be life in your quill yet! Come see Mr Patmore and me tomorrow, he needs something bawdy for next week, just don’t bring your mealy-mouthed versions.”

Kit Marlowe sauntered out, smiling. He’d just discovered the writer to beat them all and was ready to claim his reward.

14 thoughts on “Insult

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