Oct. 14th, 2011

The monkeys worked non-stop, rows upon rows of them, all with noses to the grindstone, as it were. They focused on their labors, never looking up, never chattering. They were professionals.

Which is not to say they worked in silence. The monkeys pounded on the printing-contraptions that Sir Roger Bacon had invented, and the racket in the close confines as the wood-type presses rearranged their blocks and slammed ink to paper was deafening. It was only because of Bacon's apparatus, plus his good friend Hobbes' philosophical experimentation that enlightened monkeys enough to write, not to mention the British East India Company procuring hundreds of thousands of monkeys in the first place, that it was possible for Shakespeare to have this writing mill and be celebrated as a great and prolific author.

Shakespeare himself patrolled the aisles, peering over the shoulders of his creative workers, suggesting corrections here and demanding a rewrite there. He stopped next to one monkey and ripped the freshly-inked paper from the leaves of the press. As he read the monkey sat cross-legged on its stool and waited, its sepia-stained paws clasped, resigned.

"When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes," read Shakespeare, "I all alone beweep my outcast state / And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries / And look upon myself and smack my mate." Shakespeare tossed the page back in the monkey's face.

"Change that last line," he commanded, and moved on. The monkey dutifully pushed the buttons to reset the blocks and reloaded a fresh sheet of paper.

And then Shakepeare was at Gerald's table. Gerald was trouble. He insisted on smoking a pipe, for instance, and often balked at taking direction. He had talent, Shakespeare knew that much, but he was frequently a thorn in one's side.

Shakespeare pulled the paper Gerald had been stamping on and read it.

"why must itself up every of a park," read Shakespeare, "anus stick some quote statue unquote to / prove that a hero equals any jerk / who was afraid to dare to answer 'no'?"

Shakespeare threw the paper down and frowned. "Random words, Gerald?" he growled. "Really?"

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