Lust’s Dominion, and Other Bawdy Stories
By Jeff Baker
The fog was so thick Kit worried about stumbling into a tree.
“This fog, so thick I can barely…Halt! Identify yourself or feel my steel!”
“It is I! Ingrim Frizer!”
“Frizer! My old friend! What brings ye here to skulk in the fog?” Kit said.
“I am in hiding,” Frizer said. “I am sought for murder. Murder most foul.”
“Murder!” Kit gasped. “Then the deed is done.”
“Yes,” Frizer’s grin glinted in the fog. “You were apparently kill’d in a dispute at the Crown and Bull Tavern.”
“Tragic!” Kit said rubbing his hands together. “I hope there were witnesses!”
“Plenty!” Frizer said. “At least one of the more lucid ones had actually been one of the group that stabbed you to death and so played the role of a witness when the local constable arrived.”
“The players did their work well!” Kit said.
“Indeed,” Ingrim said. “None suspected anything but an act of brutal violence.”
“And my remains?” Kit asked. This had been the crucial part of the plan.
“Returned to the property room of the Theater, to play the role of a dead man on a battlefield, as he did once for Her Majesty. Or, if needed, to be pressed into service as a scarecrow.”
“The Coroner, the Coroner,” Kit said impatiently.
“As we hoped, he was easily bribed with coin and mugs of mead. He signed the necessary papers.”
“While money does not buy love, it puts you in a greater bargaining position,” Kit said. “The same with Coroners.”
“True!” Frizer said.
“And the Privy Council?” Kit asked.
“Easily fooled. They may as well have been on the privy.” Kit and Frizer both laughed. Then, Frizer continued. “None examined at your burial to see that we were lowering an empty casket.”
Kit breathed a sigh of relief. “We owe to the Inquiry and their Sham of Testimony the fragment of an Idea which led to this elegant ruse.”
“But, Kit, you must hurry and be on your way, lest curiosity compel them to dig up your bones and find no bones there. They may realize that you have other activities far more worthy in their eyes of death than the facetious treason they made appear like a conjurer’s trick.”
“Espionage, even for the crown, remains an uncertain career proposition,” Kit said.
“When will I see you next?” Frizer asked.
“I do not know,” Kit said. “Perhaps never. Unless you come with me”
“I cannot,” Frizer said. “I am, in truth sought for murder, but the Council wishes to reward me, not place my head on a pike. Would that I could run with you, but I must stay to allay suspicions of our plot.”
“Then, let it be thus, here in the fog, as was ever in secret.”
For a moment the two men embraced and kissed.
Then; “I must be off,” Kit said turning. An instant later he turned back. “Hold,” he said. “There is a document in my lodgings, on my bed-table. It is titled ‘Lust’s Dominion.’ It must be destroyed.”
“Secrets purloined by you?” Frizer asked.
“Nay, the first draft of another play of mine,” Kit said. “This one wretched. Put it to the fire, and never let it be seen by… Nay!” Kit’s smile lit up the growing darkness. “Give it to Will. Say it was my last masterpiece. He may pass it off as his own if I know Will! A last jest!”
The two men laughed again. Then Kit turned to walk away.
“Fare-well Ingrim Frizer!” Kit said.
“Fare-well Christopher Marlowe!” Ingrim said.
AUTHOR’S NOTE; A largely fictionalized version of the death (and maybe faked death) of playwright Christopher “Kit” Marlowe in 1594. He really was a spy, possibly was gay and that last play was re-discovered about 75 years later. All the characters herein were real people and given Marlowe’s spy activities, this story may not be not too far-fetched. Oh, and Will himself was not above using players (the Elizabethan kind) as characters in his plays, so this fits!