Writing Prompt: When Romeo and Juliet goes wrong

Romeo and Juliet, Derailed


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You watch the play.

“I don’t remember Romeo and Juliet going like this,” you whisper to your companion.

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7 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: When Romeo and Juliet goes wrong

  1. Tom T

    Capitol Idea in Two Parts
    Scene I
    Mitch the McConnell, leader of the Montegues is conversing with John the Cornyn of Texas in the chamber of the seat of power of the Americas.

    “The Capulet’s may have the majority but by God we’ve got the necessary votes to stop the madness of their wastrel agenda”, Mitch of the Montague said.
    “Ay, we can, and it makes them foggy of mind”, responded Cornyn of Texas.
    At that moment, Harold of Reeds, Leader of the Capulets, approached.
    “Be still my lad, for he has anger in his eyes”, Mitch said
    “Greetings, my lord, it tis a fine morning in the Capitol of our Nation”, Harold saluted.
    “Indeed”, Mitch replied.
    “I cross the aisle at center, to ask fair consideration for our poor brethren who are in need”, the Capulet leader asked.
    “Ah, who of this nation of bounty and good fortune could find themselves thus?”, John of Texas asked
    “I am know that you surely jest, in thy comment”, for you know of hardships that befell our fellow Americans?”, Harold responded with incredulity.
    “I know of only the slovenly and unworthy, Sir, no one else”, The Montague stated forcefully.
    “Lord, I beg your indulgence in this moment of grace that, to be sure, could be had, if only you will thus to vote for disbursement of temporary help. One has to believe that but for the grace of God go I. When never knows one’s future fortunes”.
    “Sir, I tell you now, never”
    Harold turned and left without another word, shaking his head witnessing his fallen spirit.
    John turned to Mitch the Leader and whispered thus, “You are correct my Lord. We cannot give the Capulets any cause for elation. For without the Montague’s help their cohorts will most assuredly look to us for their relief”

    Scene II
    The Chief Magistrate, in a statement, begged the two factions, who have been fighting for 100 years, to set aside their differences to allow those most needy to fill their assured needs.
    “My dear Capulets and Montagues please know what thou hast cast with thy votes. Beware of thy brethren who are of suffering mightily and await thy help. The time has come, Nay, it has come and past when, the voices’ of the people of American ignore no longer. Their fate is in thy hands”.
    Mitch the Leader of the Montagues bristled at the Magistrates’ admonition and arose from the seat of his power.
    “Allow me to address our Magistrate in this fashion thus. Sir you are a profligate spendthrift and a socialist. To continue thusly with your agenda makes worse the matters of state. Contribute if you must but from thy own pocket, not the sacks of our beleaguered payers of taxes. The time has come, and past, when those who have need look to themselves for their relief and not to us”.
    After much debate and accusations hurled to and fro across the aisle at center, the Capulet matter was defeated by the Montegues. And the peoples of the American land were spurned!

  2. Evelyn

    The Thurman high school auditorium crawled with activity like the breached wall of an ant hill. The buzz of teenage chatter mixed with cell phone chimes and blasts had me longing for silence. When the house lights dimmed and inspired a hush across the audience, I nearly applauded.

    The curtains opened revealing unevenly painted plywood props fashioned to resemble a public square. Two actors dressed in wolf costumes strolled across the stage growling old English. I leaned over to my daughter Tiffany and whispered, “I don’t remember Romeo and Juliet going like this.”

    “Duh mom, I told you it’s an adaption of Shakespeare’s play, not the original.”

    “Is everyone going to be wearing a wolf costume?”

    “No mom, the Capulets are werewolves and the Montagues are vampires.”

    Good grief. “So Juliet’s a werewolf?”

    “No, only the male Capulets are werewolves.”

    “But Romeo’s a vampire?”

    “Yeah mom. Just watch. It’s cool.”

    The mostly teenage audience sat enraptured by the circus on stage. I had chewed through a pack of gum and downed all my tic-tacs by intermission. When the house lights went up I scanned the crowd looking for a like-minded, non-enraptured face, but every expression looked delighted.

    I left Tiffany in a gab fest with her BFFs, and got in line for coffee. Testing the waters, I asked the young woman behind me, “What do you think of the performance?”

    “Amazing,” she answered.

    Amazing good or amazing bad? I studied her face hoping for a hint of amazing bad.

    “It’s so creative,” she continued.

    I decided to wade in deeper. “I never pictured Romeo with fangs. I think it’s a bit of stretch, don’t you?”

    “The werewolf-vampire thing, it’s huge right now. My cousin goes to Claremont, and they’re doing the Sound of Music. Werewolves are invading Austria, and the family of singers von-Pire has to escape over the mountains.”

    “Let’s hope they bring their SP two-billion sun block!” My joke met with silence. “I guess I’m just an old-fogey, I prefer the original version.”

    “Original version?”

    “Yeah. Julie Andrews, wearing a nun’s habit, singing ‘The hills are alive –‘”

    “Nun’s habit? Do you mean hobbit?”

    “Nope, no hobbits in this tale. No hobbits, or wizards, werewolves, vampires or other fantasy beings. Just people. It was based on a true story. In fact, I think some of von Trapp grandchildren sing professionally today.”

    “So, vampires really are safe climbing mountains.”

    “Yep, absolutely.”

  3. Martha W

    Zac – this was fun!

    Mark – Yes. I know I "modified" the last line… *grin* Loved your story.


    The theme song to Knight Rider blared from Jake’s phone, jarring him from his nap. “Hello?”

    “Hey Jake.”

    “Rayna? What time is it?”

    “Eight.” A loud rustling in the background almost drowned her out.

    He sat up from the couch, rubbing his eyes. He’d left his friend a message hours ago. “Wow. Okay.”

    “I can call you back.”

    “No.” He jumped up, even instantly alert. “I just want to know how you’re doing. You haven’t called me in a while.”

    “I’ve had stuff going on.” She rustled more paper, started mumbling, “This day’s black fate on more days doth depend…”


    “Oh. Sorry. Nothing.” He heard her take a deep breath. “Look, I gotta go. I’m a little busy. I just didn’t want you worrying about me.”


    “Later, Jake.” And she hung up.

    He dropped back on the couch, the open phone tumbling to the floor. Jake looked at it a minute then picked it up, closed it and put it in his pocket. What was that she said? Something about black fate.

    That didn’t sound good. Whatever it was.


    Her place was only a ten minute walk from his. Soon, Jake strained to hear anything from the other side of the plain cream door marked 306.

    A hiccup. Quiet words.

    “Thy lips are warm.”

    His brows scrunched together as an unfamiliar flare of jealousy singed his chest. He pressed closer to the wood panel separating him from her.

    “This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die.”

    His face paled at the desperate words. “No!” Jake stepped back and kicked the door open. He rushed inside her tiny studio apartment. He froze two steps inside at the sight in her living room.

    Rayna knelt with a toy dagger to her stomach while Angie, another Drama major, lay on the floor with a wine glass clutched in her hand. Both were splattered with red wine.

    “What is WRONG with you?” Rayna shoved to her feet. “You’re paying for that door, you psycho.”

    Jake looked over his shoulder and cringed at the broken door jam. “Sorry.”

    “You better give me more than sorry.”

    He shrugged; he chewed the inside of his lip. “I heard you say something about dying.”

    Rayna stopped in front of him. “So you thought you were saving me?” She obviously didn’t believe him.

    “Something like that.”

    Angie got to her feet, moving as quiet as she could to leave the room.

    Jake waved his arm in her direction but spoke to Rayna. “I don’t remember Romeo and Juliet going like that.”

    She smirked at him. “You probably don’t remember any of Romeo and Juliet. You slept through that lecture series.”

    “I do so.”

    “Prove it,” she said.

    Jake stepped close, framed her face with his hands. “How about, ‘Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.’”

    He kissed her lightly, leading her deeper before breaking away. “How was that?”

    “There is my Romeo.”

  4. Mark James

    Opening night at the Globe on the Avon, the first Shakespearean theatre ever built on a river barge, was attended by women who sparkled in diamonds, men whose wealth soared into the billions, and archangels whose wings glittered with starlight.

    Two actors walked across the stage, paused a moment, and one said, “The all-seeing sun ne’er saw her match since first the world begun."

    “What did he say?”

    “Be quiet and listen, Michael,” Raphael said. “William wrote some of the most beautiful poetry of the English language.”

    Perched on a catwalk that ran directly over the stage, leaning so far forward he nearly toppled down, Michael strained to hear.

    “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

    “Look,” Michael said, “I might be just some angel with a sword, but that’s not English.”

    Lucifer heaved a sigh. “Why don’t we go down there?” he said. “Make it interesting.”

    Raphael leaned across Michael who was still looking down, listening intently. “Why do you encourage him?”

    “Because I can,” Lucifer said, “because this is as dull as watching a damned soul sin.”

    A young woman came out onto a balcony below them.

    “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun,” the man on stage said.

    “Who’d you say wrote this?” Michael said.

    Raphael sighed. “No one you’ve ever heard of.”

    “But he’s dead, right?” Michael glanced at the stage. “I mean, he can’t keep writing this stuff, and making mortals pay to see it, can he?”

    “Most of the mortals below us would pay a fortune merely to own the words of this play written in the bard’s own hand.”

    “Some of them would sell their soul,” Lucifer said.

    Michael looked from one to the other. "How many sane ones does that leave?"

    Lucifer leaned close, whispered, “Costume change.”

    “If you do,” Raphael said, “it won’t be worth cooling your wings, forgiving sins in the confessional of Our Lady of Grace.”

    Angels can’t change the course of mortal affairs, only redirect, divert, distract. When intermission came, both Michael and Lucifer left the catwalk and drifted into the theater, slid quietly into box seats. When the mortals came back, Lucifer licked his lips at the sight of the woman, her low cut silk dress, its cream color only a shade darker than her skin; the split that went up well past her molded thigh.

    “Pay attention,” Michael said.

    “I am,” Lucifer said. “Every inch of her.”


    The dark angel smiled. “Almost since time began.”

    The lights dimmed, the curtains went up, and Romeo walked on stage wearing a fig leaf. Juliet was artfully covered in vines with large leaves.

    “I don’t remember Romeo and Juliet going like this,” the woman behind them whispered.

    “What did you say we’re calling this?” Michael said.

    Lucifer waved his hand and a snake twined around Juliet’s waist. “Temptation and Lust.”

    Behind them, the couple, who were both married, but not to each other, lost interest in the play.

    Lucifer smiled at the sound of silk ripping. “Who’s next?” he said.

    “You know we’ll both end up in Our Lady of Grace for this, right?”

    “Yes, but if I can’t sin, who on Earth can?”


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