This came to me in a dream while I was napping after a combination hot tub / wet sauna / tropical shower at the spa (and damned if I didn’t need all of that, too). I then came back home, wrote it all down, and then hit Publish before I came to my senses. Because, really, this is awful. Too awful not to share.
Time Intervention File #1599-SHA-COMM
Good morning, team. The text that you are about to read showed up this morning in an authenticated, pre-First Folio 1602 AD copy of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Before anybody asks: yes, it absolutely is real. Well, real now.
What ails thee, my lord?
My head is filled with din of war, monsieur;
The march of feet in cruelest steel rebounds
Inside my skull; the wine I quaffed last e’en
Was brewed from grapes whose traitor’s roots were steeped
In poison foul; but, still! So sweet, and rich.
My lord, thou needs to find an Advil now.
An anvil? Ha! That well describes my head.
No, not an anvil, sir; an Advil is what
You need to cure these imbalanced humors.
This Advil that you speak so sweetly of,
Belike it be some Faerie dust, all gold
At night, but in harsh day transforms to leaves?
Nay, nay, good sir! Fie, fie upon that thought!
Tis but a nostrum from the noble Art
That seeks to turn base dross to gold, and here
Turns headaches grim to pleasant smiling joy.
Perhaps there is no grave sin here to risk,
But I mislike the thought of strange powders…
My lord, it also shields one from tooth-ache.
Where is my horse? I must now fly anon!
Yes, it looks like somebody’s been stranded in time again. This text does not appear in either the 1619 quarto or the First Folio, thankfully, which gives us some decent clues as to when the interference occurred. Our best bet for the preliminary insertion is going to be 1599 AD; hopefully, you won’t need more than two or three mini-jumps to lock down the best point to rescue the time castaway.
Of course, that’s just the actual rescue. Cleaning up the cultural contamination before it gets fixed into the timeline is another thing entirely. Particularly since there’s a couple of groups out there who wouldn’t mind having commercial advertising become a standard part of English playwriting. Try not to be too messy in convincing them otherwise, please? Too many running gun battles through the Globe Theater is why we ended up having to burn it down early.