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Hamlet's New Solution

Hamlet looked up quickly from his berth at the sound of the knock on his cabin door. "Enter," he stated in a princely manner.

"Sir," the nervous sailor trembled. "We have arrived in Denmark. Is there anything you need, or any messages you need sent?"

"Yes," mused Hamlet. "Should I send one to the king as well as Horatio?" he thought to himself. "No," he decided firmly. "No need to let the enemy know what I am planning."

"Just this one for Horatio," he handed the letter to the sailor. "Dismissed."

The sailor hurried out of the room and Hamlet returned to his planning.

The king looked up quickly in surprise at the trumpeting. He grabbed a passing servant and demanded to know what was going on.

"Prince Hamlet has returned, Your Majesty," the servant muttered and quickly escaped.

"Hamlet returned?" the king roared. "Those numskulls in England were supposed to kill him!"

When he realized what he had just said, he quickly quieted, but it was too late. The many servants stared in shock at their king, and began whispering among themselves. Then Hamlet strode into the throne room.

"Foul murderer!" Hamlet screamed in fury. "My name is Hamlet. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

With those fatal words, Hamlet ran his rapier through the king's throat. The servants stood gaping at the dying former king, and then hailed Hamlet as the new king.

Hamlet sat on his bloodied throne, surveying his throne room. "I'll have to do a litttle redecorating," he decided. Just then, Laertes burst into the room.

"Hamlet!" he cried. "I will now avenge my father's death!"

Before anyone could react, Laertes smote off Hamlet's head with his sword, and sobbing, began stabbing the body. Fortinbras stalked into the room like a huge, dangerous cat.

"Laertes, it is done. You have achieved vengeance. He was a good man once. Come on man, it is over." He gestured and servants leaped to his command, some leading the stricken Laertes away, others taking the dismembered corpse outside.

A fortnight later, Fortinbras, the new king of Denmark, ambled through his castle with his new chief advisor, Laertes. They talked of the kingdom and the improvements they were planning. As they began walking down a flight of stairs, Fortinbras' nose began to wrinkle.

"Laertes," he asked. "Do you smell something?"

I've always found this alternate ending to Hamlet to be gut-wrenchingly funny, morbid as it may be. I seem to recall considering having Laertes say the same thing as both Hamlet and the guy in The Princess Bride, but decided it would be too over-the-top (as if it weren't already). Nobody every seems to get the last two paragraphs, which makes me sad, but I'll explain. Hamlet killed Laertes's father and stuffed the body under the stairs and no one ever found him. Beyond the fact that the corpse went unfound, it was otherwise unaddressed by the play. But come on, it would start smelling after a while!

Okay, maybe it's not really funny, but I still think it is. I'm tasteless.


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