Part Eight: “What is the end of study? Let me know.”24 October 2018
It was 1578. William Shakespeare was 14 years old when he left school. Then he disappeared. Between 1578 and 1582, there is no documented evidence linking the bard to any job or location. Nobody knows what Shakespeare did in those years. Until now.
The wormhole doth fizzle and crackle by some books in the library. Professor Volkas, the head of quantum physics at the University, was wiring some pegs and jotting down some notes on a clipboard. He typed some mathematical and science-y words into his laptop and switched on a device; a bolt of lightning cracked in the air. The purple disk, swirling like water, a sea in the storm, fizzled and sucked.
“I’ve done it,” he cackled. He’d always wanted to cackle like that.
Shakespeare was throwing his head on his laptop, trying to distinguish between Chicago and MLA style referencing. His head, upon hitting his keys, had writ some arbitrary letters on the screen. He’d finally had enough of this foreign world and he wanted to flee. He pondered, perhaps he could avoid sitting his exams if the mind that doth fill him pulled his body back to his homeland. After all, he was a genius, supposedly; surely he of all people could fix that pestilent wormhole, the cause of all his woes. He wouldn’t take any plays with him, just his mind and the knowledge that he’d one day be great. Chloe ambled into the library at this point, a weariness upon her eyes.
“How’s your study going?” She slurred, drunk on her lack of sleep.
“A plague is upon my heart am I to lend this study any more time.”
“Mate, try to chill a little. Space yourself out. Just because you’re studying doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of all fun.”
“Yes, but the addition of pleasure to my study will deprive me of slumber, and how a nap can end the shocks that my flesh is air to.”
“How I should stab your eyes for being so myopic.”
“Yeah, don’t worry I get what you mean,” her words almost running into one another.
“You know, I’m contemplating leaving this place. Its studying rules and manipulative tutors, its frightening woes and confusing customs.”
“Oh mate, don’t talk like that. Don’t leave me, you can’t go.”
“If I mend that disk yclept wormhole, then I’ll leave, I’ll leave this pestilent place.”
“Okay, well,” Chloe’s eyes fell a bit, “I guess you’re homesick. Do you think you’d bring any of your plays?”
“I shall not riddle time any more, I shall write my plays with my own hand and without the aid of completeness. I want to achieve greatness, not have it thrust at me. I am more than a medium to transfer cleverness from one era to another.”
“I guess that’s true.”
That night, Shakespeare got an email from Professor Volkas requesting a meeting for the following day. Our bard dutifully accepted and anticipated what such a meeting could mean. Perhaps he had been summoned to assist in the writing of a contemporary play, or maybe they would invite him to attend a great feast or help develop a new flavour of pie. The possibilities, really, were endless.
The following day, our bard perambulated to Professor Volkas’ office. He sat himself comfortably in a wheelie chair, then quietly enjoyed how he could twirl from side to side. Volkas was idle: a bespectacled man at his desk, his glasses sliding down his nose.
“So I’ve fixed the wormhole,” Professor Volkas chimed. Our bard perked up.
“What good news you bring!”
“Well, it was quite a lot of work, so this is going to cost you $3000.”
“What doth thou mean? Such money I do not possess.”
“Well I’d also accept your flesh.” Our bard stared dumbfounded, until Volkas spilt out some laughter. “I’m totally messing with you, Shakespeare. It’s completely free.”
“Oh, for this relief much thanks.”
“Now, because you were missing for four years, we can only send you back to 1582 but because there’s a time travel function here, you can basically go back whenever you like. So what do you want to do? Do you want to go back now or spend a little more time here?”
Shakespeare went to speak, to say of his desire to go home at once. He thought of his wicked tutor Dan, those evil ticket inspectors, those bothersome essays. Such a cold and uncaring world. But then he paused. He stopped and he thought. How he wished he could leave, pursued by no care. But he did care. He now cared for this world. He thought of Chloe, his friendship, the laughter and joy. He thought of Professor David and the comedy show he performed. Such warmth and love this world did possess. ‘Twas a mingled yarn, with good and ill together.
“So what do you want to do?” Volkas repeated.
Shakespeare looked up. He had made his decision.