WS: Prithee, sirrah. What dost thou to earn the daily shilling?
SK: Well, I write... a little.
WS: Go to! Was it good fortune, or design which set we two together as dining companions? I too make my living with the quill.
SK: (looking at the place card) Yes, I think I may have read some of your work... Will. You've written a few plays, haven't you?
WS: Aye, and poetry too.
SK: Poetry? Ah, well, the closest I ever got to that was a little tongue twister in one of my novels - ''He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.''
WS: (laughing) Most satisfactory.... Stephen. Ghosts, you say? Phantoms have made their appearance in my works. Dost thou write plays?
SK: No... but most of my work seems to end up being dramatised eventually. Either for the big screen and the idiot-box. Even more than yours have, I believe. I have done the screenwriting myself for one or two of them, so yes, in a way, I have written plays, you might say.
WS: What think thou of iambic pentameter?
SK: It's out of favour nowadays, Will. As pleasing on the ear as it undoubtedly is... Constant Reader just doesn't have the patience now to read it... or writers to write it. But one of my writing heroes, H P Lovecraft, who I consider to be the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale, was an expert in the craft.
WS: Ah, Gramercy, Stephen. Excellent, excellent well! I doff my hat to this bawcock. Would that I could meet him. Is he, perchance, in our company, this e'en?
SK: Well, he could be around here somewhere. But, you know, Will, I think you and I may have a lot in common. As well as ghosts, your plays are full of love, intrigue, murder and betrayal, and so are my novels. We are both experts in the study of human nature, you might say.
WS: Marry! Let us raise a merry goblet of sack to the masters of the quill.