Shaxper entered his apartment and slammed the door behind him. He tossed his cloak on the bed and ran his fingers through his hair in a gesture of frustration. He walked over to his washbasin and glanced in the mirror. Bruised and battered, he looked like something the landlady’s cat had half devoured.
Ben Jonson had infuriated him for the last time. He was never going drinking with him again. He had no further wish to waste his time sitting in the Boar’s Head watching a curmudgeonly pack of writers and actors knock back drinks while he paid the bill.
Those boorish bastards had tricked him. Jonson had it all figured out, when he had leapt onto the table, waved his arms and shouted at the top of his voice, “Gentlemen, I have a demand. Since our inscrutable Master Shake-scene is now the most highly-paid playwright in England and several of his comedies have already been published, it’s high time the upstart crow rewarded us for our friendship by buying drinks for everyone in the house!”
Customers banged on the tables and catcalled their approval.
“He can afford it,” Philip Henslowe said. “He’s a proper businessman now, owns ten percent of The Globe, and his plays are in constant reper- tory. I know, I keep very detailed records.” The theater manager proudly waved his ledger as proof.
“And he owns several homes in Stratford,” Drayton shouted, “not bad for an entrepreneur who sells loads of grain back home.”
“He sold ‘em a load of something,” Jonson muttered.
“Maybe he’ll show some civic pride and pay his delinquent taxes,” writer Thomas Dekker called out. “And let’s not forget his unpaid tithes.”
“He seems to have forgotten ‘em!” Jonson bellowed.
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