Sorgel’s sleepless nights were mixed with the fear that it was a hoax, or possibly an illusion, and the longing hope that he might in some way become Shakespeare. Memories began to return as visual images and then, auditory sounds that issued from him when Sorgel sang a melody he had never heard before. In a few days, Sorgel’s speech took on the r’s and open vowels of the sixteenth century. He began to sound like Shakespeare.
Memory was not the stretch of rolling hills with green meadows and natural springs that Sorgel had hoped for. It was a mountain range with beautiful and, at the same time. terrifying peaks, frigid temperatures and the threatening crevasse just around the corner. Some memories were shadowy, and some were so traumatic that they were hidden forever. Sorgel enjoyed the happiness of the moment, and then his mood darkened from an unwanted memory.
At first, Sorgel’s and Shakespeare’s memories were separate and easily distinguishable from each other. Then they began to mix, and finally “Shakespeare’s Memory” overpowered his own causing Sorgel to question his sanity and wonder how little time was left before he was no longer the man he once knew.
It became clear that Sorgel had no choice but to give “Shakespeare’s Memory” away. He dialed telephone numbers at random. At first they were met with skepticism and then an abrupt hang-up. In time, he reached a more receptive gentleman, and Sorgel said, “Do you want “Shakespeare’s Memory?” And to Sorgel’s surprise, the voice answered, “I will take that risk. I accept “Shakespeare’s Memory.”
“Shakespeare’s Memory” was transferred a little at a time, and it was irregular at best. But years later, some residue still remained. “I am now a man among men,” Sorgel wrote. “In my waking hours I am Professor Emeritus Hermann Sorgel. I putter about the card catalog and compose erudite trivialities, but at dawn I sometimes know that the person dreaming is that other man. Every so often in the evening I am unsettled by small, fleeting memories that are perhaps authentic.”