By John Shakespeare
Graytonio Powellatello, an ambitious field hand on the estate of Lord Stefan, with a fondness for beer
Bran Hogan, a young Celt, working part time at a Church run community center where he teaches swimming to kids age 3 to 10, prone to picking up things that don’t belong to him, and to regrets.
Lord Stefan Jobes, master of Cuperteen, an immense estate famous for its orchards
Bruce of Legal, counsel to Lord Stefan
Chen, Hermann, Lamb, and Diaz, of the house of Geezmodo, liegemen and lackeys to Master Denton
The Tipster, roommate and friend to Hogan
Various shadowy figures
The Digital Chorus
Act 1, scene 1: a Germanic tavern in Silicon Valley, a land flowing with 1% milk and organic honey
Powellatello: Ho, tavern keeper! My cup is empty. Filleth it asth quickly asth pothable
Staudtelli, tavern keeper: Willingly, Graytonio. [aside] But you’ll soon be IN your cups at this rate.
Powellatello [deftly draining half of the new flagon] Wish me well, tavern keeper.
Staudtelli: Prithee, why?
Powellatello: My lord Stefano has entrusted me with contriving a marvelous device, framed by the scientific arts and inventive powers. And I carry a prototype in my pocket.
Staudtelli: And the purpose of this marvel?
Powellatello: Why, to let us speak anywhere with anyone, and to sport and do all manner of games, to do all this with the greatest of ease, and to be the coolest of them all. But the hour grows late and I must away.
Staudtelli: But not before you settle your tab, eh, Graytonio?
Powellatello: [laying a finger alongside his nose and intoning solemnly] There’s an app for that.
Act 2, the tavern, later that same night; sundry inebriates, Bran Hogan
Inebriate, the first: Zounds! What strange device is this I see before me?
Inebriate, the second: That’s a bottle, you oaf.
Inebriate, the first: Then it be not strange. I mean this! [brandishes a dark oblong] Mayhap it belongs to this lad, who is obviously damp from swimming.
Bran Hogan: Nay, good sir, it belongeth not to me. Though…wait, I beg thee. Mayest I study this gleaming slab more closely?
Inebriate, the first: Take it, lad. It holds no drink, hence no value, for me.
Bran Hogan: Verily this is a strange artifact, wondrously made. [lifting his voice slightly in the hubbub of a tavern full of inebriates] I say, you tavern dwellers. Dost this object belong to any amongst you? It would seem not. [aside] I shall cleave to this wondrous strange device. Mayhap I can find its true owner through dint of earnest search. [Exit]
Scene 3, exterior of the tavern, late at night
Graytonio Powellatello: [He pounds furiously at the closed tavern door, shouting] Staudtelli! Awake, thou withered bull’s pizzle! Hast thou my strange device? Answer me, I beg you.
Staudtelli: [throws open an upper window] For the last time, get thee hence, Graytonio. I tell you, yet once more, no device, strange or not, has been returned here. The only strangeness is thyself. Thou art wondrously pretty hectic about it.
Powellatello: [clutching his head] Woe is me. My lord Stefano will wax wroth. [Exit]
[End, Act 1]
Act II, Scene 1: The town square, next morning
Bran Hogan: My lady, prithee, hast thou lost some strange device? No? You, good sir: perhaps you have? Or do you know someone who has? Perhaps a relative? Or one of their inlaws? Or one of your relatives’ inlaws’ friends’ acquaintances? Madam, attend, I implore thee: is some wondrous device missing from your household? Oh, sir! Have you…
[a full fifteen minutes later]
Bran Hogan: Alas and alack. I have labored long and diligently, leaving word where ere I can think, to find the object’s true owner. And I must away to assist my aunt and sister with fundraising for their work to provide medical care to orphans in Kenya.
The Tipster: Your diligence and industry, to say nothing of your good intentions, is worth some small favor surely. Let us inquire of Wyred, Engagé, and the House of Geezmodo to learn what value they may ascribe.
Bran Hogan: I am of your way of thinking entirely, Tipster. Lead on. [Exunt]
Scene 2, the House of Geezmodo
Master Denton, to his liegemen: What thinkest thou of this lad’s tale, and more to the point of this device?
Chen: Verily, Master, it does seem to be the genuine article, the rumored wondrous device from Lord Stefan’s smithy.
Master Denton: Yet some might say the lad filched it.
Lamb: We know not if it was stolen. We. Know. Not.
Diaz: What should young Hogan be expected to do then? Walk into Lord Stefan’s estate and give the device to some stripling who might just end up selling it in the market?
Master Denton: Well said, Diaz. Chen, pay the lad 5,000 ducats. Yet, attend closely: we pay only for “access” to the device.
Lamb: We. Know. Not.
Chen: My lord, a close examination shows an address. Mayhap it is that of the one first possessed it.
Master Denton: Send Hermann and Diaz to inquire forthwith.
Lamb: We. Know. Not.
All: We. Know. Not.
Scene 3, the House of Geezmodo
[Hermann and Diaz enter]
Master Denton: What news? Yet I pray thee, make it not mainstream news.
Hermann: My lord, one Graytonio Powellatello, of the House of Cuperteen, confessed and did not deny that the device was in his possession.
Diaz: He sounded tired and broken. But at least, he's alive. And apparently, he may still be working for Lord Stefano.
Lamb: We. Know. Not.
Servant: My lord Denton. Bruce of Legal, emissary of Lord Stefano, craves audience.
Lamb: WE. KNOW. NOT!
Bruce of Legal: It has come to our attention that the House of Geezmodo, of Gohker, is currently in possession of a device that belongs to my lord Stefan. We formally request that you return the device.
Lamb: Bruce, thanks. Here is Chen, who holds the device. Happy to have you pick up this thing. Was burning a hole in our pockets. Just so you know: we didn’t know this was stolen when we bought it.
Diaz: When we got it.
Hermann: When we paid for access to it.
Master Denton: Verily, we were convinced not that the device was even a genuine prototype until the weekend, after we got it and tooketh it to pieces. Especially now that it turns out to be Lord Stefan’s.
All [save Bruce of Legal]: We. Knew. Not.
Act 3, scene 1, the House of Geezmodo a few days later
Chen: My lord! My lord! The bailiffs waylaid me at my home last night, demanding entrance to search for evidence that we had acted criminally in paying Powellatello.
Master Denton: What villainy is this?
Chen: The magistrate had granted them a warrant. And though I did brandish my shieldlaw, those bluecoat dolts only laughed, saying it would not protect us. I was forced to yield.
Master Denton: Do they not realize we are journalists, fighters for truth, amidst a complacent tech press? Despised though we may be by the mainstream media, who are in truth roundly despised in return, yet we are men of parts! Yea, verily, I feel guilt: when we sit on a great story because we're afraid of upsetting someone or losing access.
Lamb: Could we have been wrong, my lord?
Master Denton: How many visitors cameth to our Website to read this news of great import?
Lamb: A gazillion, my lord.
Master Denton: You have your answer, Lamb.
Servant: My lord, Geoffrey of Bornstein, counsel to Bran Hogan, craves audience.
Geoffrey of Bornstein: Master Denton, this thing has gotten completely, completely out of control. Young Bran regrets his mistake in not doing more to return the phone.
Master Denton: Does he indeed?
Geoffrey: Even though he did obtain some compensation from the House of Geezmodo, Bran thought that it was so that your liegemen could review the phone.
Liegemen and lackeys: [laughter]
Master Denton: Where now is the regretful youth?
Geoffrey: His family has relocated to an undisclosed location, to avoid the media’s frenzy.
Master Denton: [aside] Yet near enough to a money-changer to safeguard his 5,000 ducats, I’ll wager. [aloud] I fear he will never be beyond the reach of Lord Stefano, whose wrath is legendary.
Jon, jester to Denton of Gohker: Come on, Lord Stefano! Chill out with the paranoid corporate genius stuff. Don't go all Howard Hughes on us.
Lamb: We. Knew. Not.
All: [hearty laughter]
[Author’s note: much, if not most, of the dialog and details above are based on quotes or statements in published sources (tweets, blog posts, news stories), recast in faux-Shakespearean English.]