For this one: You must convince a budding dramatist to sabotage an arrangement between young lovers.
DRAMATIST (any gender, mid twenties to late life)
Your story is extraordinary. It moves me. And hence I am moved to beg you:
Go no further, sir.
I have no legal reason to block you. But you have a higher duty and you must take the letter back from whence it came. You can say that you were unable to deliver the letter to the boy. You can say that I blocked your passage because of disease in the valley. It's close enough to the truth.
In the meantime I will let the other messenger through. And that messenger will tell the boy that his beloved is dead. The boy will kill himself. You've told me of his fickle moods. When the girl awakes from her false death, she will have no choice but to kill herself, marry her suitor or join a nunnery.
All three outcomes are alike in dignity.
What has no dignity is your Friar's plan-- at least as you have told it to me:
The boy learns his beloved will come to him?
She awakes and is led to him?
They live in secrecy as husband and wife?
They come back to the city in one year and present themselves?
That is not dignity. That is rebellion. That is deceit. That is chaos.
Sir, you are a dramatist in your spare time, are you not? Surely you know what we call chaos that ends happily? We call such a story a comedy. It celebrates chaos. It makes light of authority. It teaches our youth to follow shallow impulses. It teaches our clergy to sneak in the shadows, playing God. It teaches... it teaches our rival houses to continue in their rage, since things must end happily, anyhow.
Take the Friar's letter back home. The boy and the girl? Let their story end as a tragedy. Dramatize it. Deflect some of the local sting, perhaps. Set it in some far off country-- perhaps Italy-- but write this tragedy and let it be known around the world.
Sir, you hold in your hand you hold an instrument of chaos. Bring it back. Bring the world back to order.
Copyright 2016 by Matt Haynes. If you would like to use this piece, please credit: "Courtesy of Matt Haynes and The Pulp Stage