He wakes up and doesn’t remember who or where he is. He must be lying down because there is nothing under his feet and he feels pressure beneath his back. By that reasoning he might just as well be swimming while wearing a very heavy backpack or he could be tied to a tree with his legs dangling. It wouldn’t be the first time, but he supposes he’d be drowned if he were swimming while asleep. There’d be no air for a start. There’s not much point in guessing, so he opens his eyes
That doesn’t do much good because it’s dark wherever he is. He takes a deep breath and examines his options. At least he’s not underwater. He tests to see if he can sit up. He can’t. He seems to be stuffed in a box, but at least he’s not dead. In a minute someone will come by and tell him to come out of there.
He waits a long time and then goes back to sleep because being asleep in a box is better than being bored in a box.
He wakes up and traces a grain of wood for a while before he decides that he’s tired of sleeping and tired of waiting. The only alternative to those two is to take some initiative. “Hey you!” he yells, banging on the lid, “Whatsyername! Let me out of here!”
He is not surprised – why should he be – when the lid swings open and a face looks down at him. “Rosencrantz!” its owner yells as if he has seen a ghost. The name seems familiar, somehow, but he can’t quite place it.
“Is he a friend of yours? I can help look for him if you like.”
The other man helps him out and rolls his eyes. “You’re Rosencrantz,” he says. “I’m Guildenstern. And we’re both dead.”
Rosencrantz, if that is his name, is surprised. “Are we really?” he asks. “I don’t feel dead. And you look just like you did when you were alive so--” He remembers. Only bits and pieces at the moment, but it’s enough. “Oh, it’s you Guildenstern! Why didn’t you say so earlier?”
Guildenstern sighs and ignores this last one. “The fact of the matter is that we died. Therefore we must be dead.”
“How do you know?” Rosencrantz asks reasonably.
“Rhetoric,” he corrects automatically. “Point for me. But anyway, I remember dying, so I know I’m dead. End of story.”
“Maybe you remember it wrong,” he points out and Guildenstern is speechless for once. “After all, we’re obviously alive now.”
“I never thought of it like that,” he concedes. “Well, we’re Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and we were dead.”
“Alright, then. So what were we doing before that?” He’s not concerned about it, merely curious, but Guildenstern gets upset at the question.
“I don’t remember,” he says, blanching. “Why can’t I remember anything but those damn shutters?!”
“Maybe we were on our way to replace the shutters,” he suggests, but Guildenstern shakes his head.
“No,” he replies, “it was more important than that. We were sent for, weren’t we?” He paces back and forth as if his footsteps will provide some sort of answer.
“Do we still need to come if they all think we’re dead? We can’t even remember where we’re supposed to go, so maybe it all cancels out.”
“Shh! I’m thinking! Fact the first: we were sent for. This is known from the distant memory of our names being called through a set of shutters. Fact the second: no one is here to receive us. In fact, there’s nothing here to receive us. We didn’t even get a cross. Conclusion: this is not where we were sent to come.”
“I could have told you that” he says mildly when Guildenstern is done talking completely over his head. “Now let’s go somewhere else.” Then he remembers something else, something important. “As long as it’s anywhere but Denmark.”