Now then, whilst traveling through the highways of history, one is inclined to need to pull over at a rest stop once every hundred or so years. It is a very long journey, after all. Therefore, in our own journey through the highways of history, we, too, will make several rest stops. By "rest stops", I of course mean little side trips in history that, in the general scheme of things, don't tend to stick out too much, but have played their part anyway. But mostly we'll just be taking them because the author needs something to occupy her mind whilst trying to figure out what her next actual chapter will be about. So, on our first rest stop, we will take a generalized look at another "intelligent" group of thinkers.

Rest Stop Number One: The Village Idiot

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "Wait a minute! Village idiots were, well, idiotic! They didn't have any intelligent contribution to the thinkings of modern society!" and that well may be a legitimate line of thinking. But many of these so-called "village idiots" were really not completely wrong in their thinking. Many people, for example, thought that the world was flat at one time, before a clumsy fellow named Christopher Columbus, who didn't know his directions properly, accidentally discovered that the earth was indeed round. However, in the days before 1492, and Columbus' expedition, those who thought, quite correctly, that the earth was round, were not exactly in abundance. Therefore, the people who thought, quite incorrectly, that the world was flat, thought those smarter people to be idiots. Hence the term "village idiot" was concieved. Had you or I met these people in the streets back then, knowing what we now know, we might find them to be very intelligent people. One of them, a fellow by the name of Harold, actually had some idea of chemistry. There was often smoke seen streaming from the windows of his little hut, when he played with various kinds of liquids to make other kinds of liquids. Harold, however, was not as intelligent as his adventures in the world of chemistry liked to convey. One day, he decided to try drinking a concoction of a handful of lead scrapings from his dinner plate, water from the nearby river (which, by the way, was where the peasants often took dumps or baths, so you know how dirty that must have been), and tomato juice. The unfortunate scientist thought he'd found a cure for constipation, as his bowels seemed to be moving with more than a little ease (thanks to the river water). That is, until forty eight hours later, when the lead took its effect, and poor Harold fell down dead. So much for curing constipation. When it was found that tomato juice had been put into the drink, the tomato was thought to be poisonous. Actually it was this evidence, plus the fact that the red fruit is a member of the deadly nightshade family, which is poisonous, that falsely incriminated the tomato as a poisonous food. The peasants knew that it couldn't possibly be the lead, since that was what they ate off of. This might have explained the low life expectancy of your average peasant during the thirteenth century. Other village idiots had primitive grasps of quantum physics, or astronomy, but it was Harold who was really a good example of the village idiot among the people who weren't as smart, and simply didn't want to admit it. Some of you may think that Harold was stupid for having drunk this concoction. However, when you think about it, Harold didn't know that lead was poisonous, or that river water was bad for you. He was simply testing out an idea. As a matter of fact, humans have continued the practice of testing out things and seeing if they explode or help constipation to this day. We call them experiments.

Now, thanks to that little side trip, we are up-to-date with our next historical example of intelligent thought (meaning that your dilligently working author has just come up with a plot idea!). The place: sixteenth century England. Our hero is a writer of plays. His name is not William Shakespeare, nor is it Christopher Marlowe, the playwright who is credited by many with having written many of Shakespeare's works. As a matter of fact, our hero isn't even a he! Our hero, or rather our heroine, is Georgia Wilkins, an unknown playwright. Perhaps, however, she will not be unknown for long, as soon as I list the plays that she was responsible for writing. Are you, dear reader, familiar with Romeo and Juliet? How about The Taming of the Shrew? What about A Midsummer Night's Dream? Yes, it was Georgia, and not Marlowe, who actually wrote Shakespeare's plays. Shakespeare himself, though charming, was just a little dim when it came to writing. He'd actually gotten into the business so that he could sleep with pretty women, never mind that he was already married with three kids. It was, he decided later, a bad reason to get into the business. Georgia was just the girl who happened to work with him. The story of how they began their long partnership is not exactly complicated. Shakespeare was actually trying to write a play, and doing very badly at it. Georgia, the landlady, went up to Shakespeare's room, and opened the door to yell at him because he was late with the rent yet again. She was new at the whole landlady thing, taking over for her late husband. She was young, and not much of a businesswoman, having little experience in the vocation. As a result, Georgia was currently as poor as a churchmouse, and the sooner she got her rent, the better. She needed the money.

"Master Shakespeare?" she called, as she opened the door. She found the room to be empty of any occupants. Great. This happened EVERY time! She resolved to leave a note. She ripped off a piece of parchment, and borrowed Shakespeare's quill to write one.

Master Shakespeare,
This is Georgia Wilkins, your landlady. Perhaps you would be so kind in paying your rent, which you have neglected to pay for the last two months. You currently owe me twenty pounds, and I would very much like to have that money. Not only your livelihood as well as mine rests on this rent being paid. Please give me your rent promptly, or I shall be forced to turn you out.
Georgia Wilkins

Georgia was about to leave, when she noticed several pages sitting on Shakespeare's desk. She looked at them. These pages of parchment would later be known as Romeo and Juliet, which would later become his breakout hit, with the help of Georgia.

"Oh, a writer, eh?" she said to herself, looking through the pages. She read some of the lines. They were utter crap. The emotion was virtually nil. The action was slow, and the lines were very stiff, and short. It was almost disgusting. Georgia thought the play showed potential, but she decided that if it were to be a truly good play, somebody else would have to write it.

"I could do a better job than this!" she said to herself. It was then that something clicked inside of her head. She would write the play. She would give the finished pages to Shakespeare, who would, in turn, sell it to a theater. They could share the profits. Shakespeare would get money, Georgia would get her rent money. Everyone would be happy, and nobody would be the wiser. So, she took the pages, and added, hastily, at the bottom of the note,

P.S. I took the liberty of borrowing your atrocious play so that I might improve upon it. I have a business proposition for you, Master Shakespeare. If you are interested, I will finish your play, and you may sell it to a theater under your name. We could split the profits from said play. In exchange, I promise that I will not turn you out as long as our proposition stands. If you are interested in such a deal, please come to my rooms on the floor above as soon as you have read this note.

Georgia smiled, rather pleased with what she had just come up with. Perhaps she was a businesswoman after all.

Of course, you can imagine how baffled Shakespeare was when he returned home to find his pages missing, and a message from his landlady in its place. He was rather miffed when he found that Georgia disliked his play, rather angry when he discovered she'd borrowed it, and nearly furious when he read that she wanted to split the profits. He stormed upstairs, sputtering and cursing. He pounded on his landlady's door.

"Miss Wilkins, what is the meaning of this?" he shouted. The door opened slowly. Georgia smiled up at him.

"There's no need to shout, Master Shakespeare, I just decided to help the both of us out a little bit.

"How much damage have you done to my pages?"

"Now sir, I wouldn't call it damage, just a bit of artistic fixing up."

"Let me see my pages!" Shakespeare stormed past her, and started looking around frantically. He found them on her desk. There were about five pages added to the ten he'd already written.

"This is completely different from what I wrote!" he fumed, after reading the first page.

"That's what makes it better," Georgia informed him, "Perhaps you'd better calm down, and then you can actually appriciate the reconstruction I've done on your dismal little play. Please, have a seat, Master Shakespeare." Shakespeare fell into a chair as he started to read the play. Georgia decided to go and get some brandy from the cupboard. This, she thought to herself, was going to take a while.

"You know," Shakespeare informed her, when he had finished reading the revised play, "This isn't half bad."

"Well, I don't know about that, but it's most certainly better than what you wrote." Georgia leaned back in her own chair, and took a drink of brandy.

"How long do you think it would take you to finish?"

"Well, I'm a quarter of the way through just today, so I don't expect it should take too much longer. Perhaps three or four more days, I should think."

"This is wonderful! We should be partners, you and I," Shakespeare added, "I'm surprised you haven't thought of that already." Georgia blinked. Did he not realize that had been her intent the whole time? Had he not read the "P.S." at the bottom of the note? She shrugged it off. At least he was agreeing.

"Yes, yes I suppose we should."

"We can split profits, fifty-fifty."

"What a splendid idea. I'll have the pages down to you as soon as I'm done with them."

"Oh yes, and of course I'll need to sell them under my name, as they'll never buy a play by a woman." Georgia nodded in stunned agreement.

"It's a deal," she said, and shook his hand. Neither of them knew it at the time, but this partnership, though overlooked, would be a successful one for a number of years to follow.

The play, of course, was a huge success, and the partnership was cemented. All the plays that came after were mostly Georgia's work, except for "the Taming of the Shrew", which was written after they had gotten into an artistic quibble concerning the play in its early stages, and Shakespeare, miffed to the point of doing his own work for once, wrote the play himself. The play, in case you didn't know, or get it the first time, was about how even the most independently thinking of women can be broken. Georgia was not happy with the play, but she needed the money anyway, and accepted her half, begrudgingly, muttering, "It really didn't deserve to bought for that much money," as she counted out her profits. She decided that Shakespeare, though he'd gotten better at what he did (or half-did), still needed somebody to write for him. So, shakily, the partnership continued. After Shakespeare's death, Georgia decided not to write any more plays, and got a young artist to rent out the room. It turned out that advertising the rooms as "the former studio building of William Shakespeare" made the property quite successful in gaining occupants. Though Georgia never married again (after seeing Shakespeare's way with the ladies, she became suspicious of all men), she died happy, and with quite a decent stash of money for the time. She left it to The Globe theater, the theater that had paid her for almost all of the plays she'd written. Of course, this seemed totally random to them. They'd never even known who Georgia Wilkins was. But she'd left them money, and that was really all that mattered. In the end, that's really the only matters in most cases.