The Merchant Of Venice Beach

Here’s a snippet from my WIP–a modernization of a work of Shakespeare with an m/m twist–this is part of Shylock’s WTF speech to Antonio–


We both watched as Sherlock stood and began his pacing routine. Jesse had already told me that this is what he did when he had to think about a difficult subject. I wasn’t stupid, though. I kept my eyes fixed on him, just to be sure.

“You know, fellas,” he said, barking out the words, “you’ve got an awful lot of nerve coming here and asking me for money.  I’ve heard the talk about what you and all your mincing, prancing gay friends think of me.” He stalked the carpted space between his desk and the bookself against the wall, fingering a small bust of a woman that looked to be solid gold. “Here comes that prick Sherlock, what an asshole.” He snorted, then turned to face us.

“A prick bleeds, though, my boys, and so does an asshole. You basically spit in my face with your perverted behavior, and you expect me to loan you ten thousand dollars?”

Bartholomew shrugged his shoulders.

“It’s a business decision, man. Nothing personal,” he said. Sherlock shook his head.

“Oh, that’s where you’re wrong,” he whispered, an evil, almost feral grim spreading across his face. “It’s nothing but.” He walked back to his chair, sat down, and propped his feet on his desktop. “I’ll loan you the money for a period of two weeks, that’s it, but there’s going to be conditions.”  I nodded.

“All right, two weeks it is, but what are the conditions?”

Sherlock smiled.

“For this kind of thing, I can’t go through the bank, it has to be from my personal cash.” He sat up straight, putting his feet on the carpet. “I won’t even charge you interest, hotshot, and you can give the cash to your butt buddy there, but there IS something I want if you default and I call the loan due.”


It’s going to be part of a charity anthology for It Gets Better–stories taken from Shakespeare in honor of his birthday bard1🙂


29 thoughts on “The Merchant Of Venice Beach

  1. Nicely done, Kathy. The Merchant of Venice is one of my favorites, mostly because of Portia, but this sounds great. You definitely nailed the bigotry. 🙂


    1. Thanks 🙂 it’s one of mine, too. You’ll like Portia in this adaptation–I made him Porsche Keller, the gay son of a billionaire mother who named her kids after her favorite cars 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t like the Merchant of Venice, I’ll admit. A bit too anti-semitic for my taste. However, if Sherlock’s conversion is to ‘become’ gay (or to admit to himself that he is?), then I think I might really like this modern-day adaption. 😉


    1. Ah yes yes–Bartholomew (Bassanio). He’s looking for love yet again, and his friend Tony (Antonio) is more than a little tired of being an ATM, but he doesn’t hesitate to help his friend one more time 🙂 Thanks for the kind words 🙂 Let’s hope hi fins it in Porsche (Portia) 🙂


  3. Some really strong dialogue and characterisation – I’ve kind of forgotten the original Merchant of Venice (oops!) other than the ‘Do I not bleed’ bit – will have to give myself a refresher…


    1. Thanks much 🙂 I do love my Shakespeare; I was going to choose Hamlet but I had time and word restraints on that one. There was unabashed antisemitism in the original, of course, a bit too much, but that was the order of the day back in his time. I’m getting ready to map out the “quality of mercy” speech from Portia, or Porsche in this case 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s business, really–just like the original version. According to Shakespeare, Antonio was wildly antisemitic, but he needed to get the money for his friend and he knew he couldn’t get it anywhere else. Shylock saw an opportunity for revenge. My updated version is similar, except I changed it to Sherlock being homophobic and having to deal with gay, out and proud men. The reason Tony needed to use him stayed somewhat the same.


  4. I loved this play on Shakespeare’s description of Jews: ‘A prick bleeds, though, my boys, and so does an asshole.’ are you going to work in a line about a pound of flesh, too?


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it–I was kind of aiming for crassness 🙂 It’s been a challenge to modernize this particular play, and switch Shylock from a Jewish moneylender to a homophobe 🙂


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