The new Christopher Moore book came out…Shakespeare for Squirrels. There is a character, Fool, that he uses in the Shakespearian stories he writes and the plots are basically perversions of the plays. One was King Lear, and the other was Merchant of Venice although he incorporated some of the other plays and characters. When you’re doing a play, especially without a public address system, you can’t really do voice-overs to tell the audience what the character is thinking or feeling. In that case, Shakespeare employed a ghost to express the thought process, to further the plot, to show the emotional and mental state of the character. In Moore’s books, the protagonist often has arguments with the ghost, and the ghost has an agenda as well. It leads to some very silly dialog.
So Shakespeare would write–
Ghost: Murder most foul, as in the best it is. But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
You could expect this from Moore:
Ghost: Murder most fowl, as in the best it is, especially on Sundays when the cook visits the hen house. But this most fowl, strange and unnatural that the victim’s neck was throttled and all his clothes ripped off and the victim deep-fried past crispiness.
It got me thinking. What if the ghosts were just consciences personified? And random?
Scrooge: Are you the ghost of Christmas Future?
GoCF: … ( he never talks in the play, he just points)
Scrooge: I fear thee most…
Ghost of DeNiro Future: You talkin’ to ME? I don’t see anybody…oh Sorry George, I’ll just wait for you to say your lines.
GoCF: …Looks menacingly at Ghost of DeNiro…though it’s difficult to tell since you can’t see under the hood.
Scrooge: His name’s George?
GoCF: …Returns his gaze to Scrooge
Ghost of DeNiro Future: *whispers off stage, “lines?”* Loud whisper from stage Left, “He doesn’t have lines, he just points.”
GoCF: *Smacks forehead. Forgets he’s carrying a scythe.* Ow!
Scrooge: He speaks!
Both Ghosts: Shut up!
What if random ghosts just showed up during the performances?
Hamlet: Alas, poor Yoric.
Yorik’s ghost: WHAT! I was just getting to sleep
George’s ghost: Wait until you see Dicken’s ghosts!
Hamlet: I knew him!
Yorik’s ghost: *Trying to scowl without his head*…You knew me?! Where were you when they yelled duck?
George’s ghost: Didn’t you duck?
Yorik’s ghost: I thought they were asking me to do an impression, so I quacked
Hamlet: I wasn’t there when he died. But here’s his head. Where’s the rest of him?
Gravedigger: He couldn’t afford a casket…
George’s ghost: Cheap bugger.
Yorik’s Ghost: Is that Dickens guy the one that’s looking for a fool? Auditions maybe?
George’s ghost: A Fool’s Ghost, or a Ghost for a Fool?
Hamlet: Dickens for the first and Christopher Moore for the second?
Horatio: WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING TO?!
Though it would be cool to have the ghosts in the courtroom telling everyone what the witnesses are thinking during their testimony.
Perry Mason: Isn’t it true that you went to the house with the intention of confronting your ex-wife?
Mr. Hughes: I knew for a fact that her Tai Chi group met from 2:00-3:00 on Thursdays and I just needed some stuff from my home office.
Mrs. Hughes’ ghost: Yes, truly he speaks because every time I went for Tai Chi, he would ask me where I was going. Every. single. time. And every time He said, “How long have you been going at 2:00?” And I would say, “You forgot to change the clocks from daylight savings time, it’s 3:00!”
Perry Mason: Let the records show Mr. Hughes arrived at his house at precisely 2:47 PM.
MHG: He never does anything precisely…
Perry Mason: Mr. Hughes, how did you get into the house?
Mr. Hughes: I walked in.
Perry Mason: There were no impediments to your entry?
Mr. Hughes: There was a mop near the stairs.
MHG: “See? I was paying attention! I’m not the jerk you make me out to be to your girlfriends!” Did you have to walk around the bucket?
Perry Mason: Did you have to walk around the bucket?
Jury: Is the ghost feeding Perry his lines?
Mr. Hughes: I didn’t notice
MHG: Why didn’t you fall on your ass on the slick floor?
Perry Mason: Did the floor look freshly cleaned?
Mr. Hughes: Um
MHG: That was a witty answer… Now he’s thinking, “I could say I went to the kitchen and checked the water temp and it was cold so it had been sitting there for a while.” Wait for it. Mason’s not going to give him the chance…
Perry Mason: Mr. Hughes, isn’t it true that you tracked in dirt on the freshly cleaned floor and went directly up the stairs to your wife’s room where you saw her changing into her Tai Chi clothes?
Mr. Hughes: Um
MHG: Ya, couldn’t be bothered to mop up the footprints on the Clean Floor!
Perry Mason: And when she saw you and she screamed, isn’t it true that you rushed to her and threw her through the window and into the garden on the tomato towers?
MHG: and thinking to yourself, “Ooo! fertilizer! AND mulch!”
Mr. Hughes: Shut up!
Perry Mason: I beg your pardon!
Mr. Hughes: Not you, you blowhard, the fricken Ghost!
MHG: You said that out loud, didn’t you!
Jury: Yup he did.
Mr. Hughes: Wait…you mean you guys are hearing the ghost too?
Everyone in the courtroom: Yes.
Mr. Hughes: oh…shit.
Yes, ghosts would make an interesting addition to our world.