Send e-mail to Jonathan Vos Post
RAYMOND CHANDLER'S HAMLET
Jonathan Vos Post
a short, short story;
winner of Honorable Mention in the
1995 International Imitation Raymond Chandler Competition;
approx. 500 words
Something was rotten in Denmark, rank and gross, as rotten as a dame
named Gertrude in bed with her husband's killer while the caterer recycled the
funeral baked meats for the wedding reception, at which the bride did not wear
Hamlet was sharp for a prince, good with a knife, but not sharp enough to handle
his old man kicking the bucket with an earfull of murder.
My name's Horatio, Hamlet's gumshoe buddy, trying to stay clean in a dirty castle.
A grizzled ghost pleaded the Fifth when I gave him the third degree, then split the scene
when the cock crew, like a guilty man before a marshall serving a summons.
King Claudius, cool as a cucumber after offing his brother, twisted nephew
Hamlet's arm not to return to college at Wittenberg, Caltech not having yet been built.
The air bit shrewdly, it was very cold, when the ghost came again. It was
Hamlet's father's spirit. His tale would freeze blood, pop out eyes, and make your
hair stand on end like porcupine quills. He demanded revenge for murder most foul.
The snake that killed him wore the crown. Me and Hamlet took the case.
Hamlet's main squeeze, Ophelia, a green girl, griped that Hamlet was pale as his
shirt, in dirty sox, acting weird. Fortinbras was gangbanging Polacks. The sun bred
maggots in a dead dog.
Hamlet played mad, but when the Santa Ana blew, he knew a hawk from a handsaw.
A bunch of non-Guild actors showed up for the castle venue.
"To be or not to be," mused Hamlet, thinking of a one-way ticket to the
At the play , "The Murder of Gonzago, " an actor dumped poison in the
play-King's ear. The real King freaked. Polonius hid behind Queen Gertrude's
bedroom curtain, but Hamlet smelled a rat and stabbed him dead.
"I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room," he said, then hid the corpse where worms
ate brunch and didn't leave a tip.
I heard Ophelia do the hey-nonny-nonny gig, singing about flowers and
Valentines, but a Valentine's Day Massacre was more like it. Laertes found his
sister Ophelia, poor wretch, in the weeping brook, drowned in muddy death. It was time
for the great axe to fall.
A couple of clowns found a skull a scream, when they tipped Ophelia into the grave.
Hamlet jumped in on top of her. Hamlet and Laertes got down to business with a couple of long knives while the Queen gulped down some poison Pinot Noir the King meant for Hamlet.
The Queen falls. Hamlet and Laertes cut each other up, then Hamlet swigs from the
deadly cup and stabs the King stone cold dead. Instant karma, I guess.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were snuffed. Fortinbras stomped into
Denmark with his gang, and lots of drums.
I was the last guy left. I heard a gunshot. I looked off into the distance, a
solid heavy man like a rock.
Then I began to wonder where my next paycheck was coming from.
*** The End ***
Want to tell the author what you think?
Copyright 1991 by Emerald City Publishing.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that
it is transmitted unaltered, in its
entirety, and without charge.