Polonius’ Last Stand

by Mark Broucek

Polonius was just about finished with his nightly litany of advice to Laertes when a man entered the scene stage left and ruined his monologue. Judging by the interlopers early 21st, rather than late 16th, century attire, Polonius had a pretty good idea of what was going on. He was being served. But, as the saying went, the show must go on …

“Are you Samuel G. Beltran?” the man asked. When he had logged onto his Fulham County webpage this morning and had seen that this Beltran character had evaded numerous process servers over the last month, he welcomed the challenge. But this was a new one.

Beltran figured that if he could just prolong the scene long enough and get this guy booed off the stage, he stood a chance of evading his (soon to be ex) wife’s lawyers. “Who is this Beltran of which you speak?” he thundered. “I am Polonius, chief minister to Claudius.” He gestured to the sullen teenager sitting at his feet. “And this is my son, Laertes.”

“Laertes”, who was carrying beneath his tunic, glanced up at the man (who looked like a narc), said “I’m outta here” and slouched offstage as quickly as a semi-stoned teenager could. Cretin, thought Beltran, I guess I’m on my own. As I like it. To the man: “What is this manner of dress you employ?” The audience tittered nervously. Emboldened by their reaction, he continued, “And what be this parchment you wave?” More laughter. When the man froze for a moment, Beltran thought, I’ve got him.

But the man was Fulham County’s Finest for a reason. He was always prepared. “This be a summons for your dalliances with the Merry Wives of Windsor,” he said. The audience guffawed. Beltran sagged briefly but, being the professional that he was, rallied. “We are not in Windsor, but in Denmark, kind sir,” he said. Your move, he thought. And move, the man did.

“Well, something sure smells rotten here,” he said. The audience whooped. The man went in for the kill. “And, I might add, you’re an adulterate beast.”

Beltran just stared at him. Who is this guy?, he thought. Barely two scenes later, as the Ghost (for, as usual in Shakespearian plays, actors played numerous roles), Beltran would utter those exact words. Beltran may not have been the best actor around but he could always read the room. Time to end this. “Yes, I’m Samuel Beltran,” he said.

As the man stepped forward to hand him the papers, the stage manager pulled a wire and the curtain came down on Hamlet and Beltran’s career.