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Poor Sport

Title Poor Sport

Author Eglantine_br

Marlowe and Kyd

Rating G

Word Count 700

Poor Sport

I headed home.

I knew the small man's name now. Watson had confirmed it, between clenched teeth as they bound his hands. The man I had met, twice now, by chance, was the great Kit Marlowe.

He was a confection of bluster and gloss, he drew the eye. He was a small man, a crowing gamecock. But heavenly words may come from such a man. And they may come from an unremarkable man too. I am proof of that.

Money would be paid to keep Marlowe from jail fever. Allyn would see him moved up from the oubliette; Watson too, I would make sure of it.

This, because Marlowe had been the making of Ned Allyn.

Allyn walked the stage, and the people came to see. They screamed and clapped, and threw things. They swooned over words, stories, plots. They left with their souls tingling. He gave them his face,and the words of other men. They near wet themselves. And they paid, and paid. And they came back again, and brought their friends, and paid. It made money for Ned Allyn. And it made more money for Master Henslowe, the owner of the Rose.

Very little money trickled back to the gamecock. This I knew from my own bitter experience. Tom Watson mocked me for my scrivening. He thought it sport when I took the stage myself. “Sporting Tom,” he called me. It was not sport, merely that I like to eat.

I thought on these things as I walked. I stopped briefly to buy some milk for the pup.

He had not eaten my new play, as it turned out. He had been suckling my spare shirt.. He waddled toward me, wagging his stub of a tail. And I picked him up and lifted him to my face. His little belly was hot in my hand, and he licked at the corner of my mouth.

There was no point in going to the Rose before sundown. I tucked the puppy against my side and slept.


Several times in the dark, Kit trod on someone. Some grunted response at his apology, some cursed him in mechanical tones. Some men were chained to the wall and could not move. Some were not chained, but immobile with flux and vile secretions. Several he kicked by mistake made no outcry. Kit wondered if they were already dead.

At the edge of his vision one candle wobbled light against the wall. It made everything worse. It made the dark thicker. Now he could hear the scurry and squeak at the light's edge. Now he could smell them. The rats that Kit had known were mostly honest things. Fine for a wandering boy to see them, in a field, or swimming in a canal somewhere. Many times he had stopped to watch a rat's sleek streak shooting out of sight. But here there was no freedom, no breath. There was only dark and fear. Here all were debased, rats along with men. Here they were just another horror.

Somewhere off in the dark a voice was praying; a cracked voice, an old man's voice. Latin. They were forbidden prayers of course. Treason to speak them, or to hear them, But the old voice went on and on even so, mumbling the comfort of a dead childhood.

“Here, Kit.” Watson had found a spot by the wall, and pulled him down. There was room for the two of them to curl close, and share a little heat. Kit could feel the sinews of Watson's long leg beside his own. Watson wormed an arm around him. It was friendship, pure, Kit knew. Watson had shared rooms with him, last year. Watson spoke of nothing but women. Kit had kept his eyes and hands to himself. So, friendship offered, friendship returned.

Kit rested his head on his knees. There was nothing left to rob him of. He had no money, they held his sword. He had the skin he stood up in, and whatever was left of his tattered virtue.

Tomorrow would come, he had only to wait. He shut his eyes and tried to sleep.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 14th, 2012 10:44 am (UTC)
Poor Sport
You have a time machine. You were there - admit it! Awesome. Just a question: How old are they now? Kyd and Marlowe?
I love the pup. We have to thank him for eating the shirt not the play, huh? :) Go on! We want to know all of it!
Oct. 14th, 2012 01:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Poor Sport
Yes poor pup, he misses him mom.

I am so pleased that this worked for you. I was worried that it would come across as an info dump. Kyd has the leisure right now to think about things. That helps. Poor Marlowe is just in the ugly moment. (he will use his memory of prison in writing later--everything into the pot,)

At this time Marlowe is 23-- Kyd is 28.

Oct. 14th, 2012 02:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Poor Sport
Thanks for information. This is a very good opportunity to learn more about Marlowe and his time and also his art. I liked your description of him as a crowing gamecock. If you think about it: in five years he created world literature... It must have been a hard time back then.
Funny though, I imagined Kyd to be the younger one :)
Oct. 15th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
Oct. 15th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
Brilliant. The prison scenes are so vividly described. Though I'm not sure if Kit is as brave and detached as he things he is.
Oct. 15th, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
No, he certainly is not. He sees himself as he wishes he were, and shapes his actions accordingly. But his curled up body language is kind of a giveaway. He does not have the bamf-to-the-bone quality of Archie, for example. Archie is not as weak as he thinks himself. Kit is the reverse I think.
Oct. 17th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about what you said here all week. They are so different, Archie and Kit, but you can see the one in the other. Like you said, the body language is a giveaway, the curling in on himself.
Oct. 17th, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
I am totally flattered that you went on thinking about it, during the week.

Now I am wondering more about Archie and Kit. They are about the same age, by the time Archie gets back from Spain. But to me, Archie seems older. I know that Kit was a spy, and an international man of mystery. And he also had more formal education that Archie. (CM had a masters degree.) Still, if I were in trouble I think it would be Archie I would turn to first.

It seems a terrible thing to say, somehow. Maybe it is that Archie is nearer to me in time, so his ideas are less alien, somehow. Maybe I have just lived with Archie's voice longer, and written about him more, and know him better.

The people we write are like family, aren't they? We can love them while being acutely aware of their faults.
Oct. 19th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)
Of course I was thinking about it! Your writing always leaves me with things to think about.

Still, if I were in trouble I think it would be Archie I would turn to first.
Yes, I would too. Perhaps it just comes down to how much you know a character, how close you are to them.

The people we write are like family, aren't they? We can love them while being acutely aware of their faults.
Oh yes, definitely. Look at Horatio, he is a case in point.
Sep. 28th, 2016 04:44 am (UTC)
This is starting to make a tiny bit more sense. So they did meet twice already. I haven't done any googlework yet so I still have no idea who anyone is or what they have written. Will take it in spoonfuls as you dole it out.

Do you not think that Archie curled up in prison too? I think of Archie as wearily enduring what he could not help, and then getting on with his life as best he could afterwards, but I do picture him all curled up. The don't fall and the chains and dark certainly remind me of Archie, poor dear. I'm glad Kit has someone to curl up with.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )