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30 March 2012 @ 12:58 am
A mini-opera libretto  
A mini-opera inspired by Neil Gaiman's The Sweeper of Dreams.

Sans Everything


The scene is a busy sidewalk, early morning in the city. Everyone's in a hurry, except the Sweeper of Dreams, who holds his broom off the ground, observing dourly. First we hear from five characters about their dreams, either sequentially or overlapping.


SCHOOLBOY

I still remember

There was a snail

It ate up all the Mondays in the calendar

So school could never start


LOVER

I still remember

It was Abigail

Her eyebrow fell off and ran away and I caught it

And I tried to give it back


VETERAN

I still remember

Saving Dale

I blew a bubble and it held him and the bomb splashed

But he was mad


JUDGE

I still remember

I was in jail

And all the men I sent there sawed a hole in the wall

And told me to flee


SENIOR

I still remember

She gave me a fail

I was back in school and I couldn't find my paper

And my voice kept breaking


Now the Sweeper falls into step behind the Judge.


JUDGE

I crawled out through the hole

They closed it behind me

I escaped into the woods

There were nuns there

They told me--


The Sweeper sweeps the ground, once.


JUDGE

There were nuns!

They told me--


The Sweeper sweeps again.


JUDGE

I escaped!

There were--


A final sweep.


JUDGE

I always forget.


The Judge exits. The Sweeper falls in step behind the Veteran.


VETERAN

Dale said he was supposed to die

He said I'd disobeyed orders

He popped the bubble with a roaring sound

His arm went through and it was dead

And I was in the bathtub screaming

So then I--


Sweep.


VETERAN

A dead arm in my bathtub so I had to--


Sweep.


VETERAN

Dale was--


Sweep.


VETERAN

I can't remember.

Maybe I'll have that dream again.


The Veteran exits. The Sweeper falls in step behind the Senior.


SENIOR

Mrs. Carter said I'd flunked

Because I couldn't find my paper

On the sinking of the Lusitania

I told her I had too many wrinkles to stay in 4th grade another year

So she bit them off

Her teeth were so sharp that--


Sweep.


SENIOR

My face was--


Sweep.


SENIOR

Mrs. Carter was there and she--


Sweep.


SENIOR

It's lost.


The Senior exits. The Sweeper turns, bumps into the Lover, and stumbles. The Lover hurries on, oblivious. The Sweeper recovers, scowling, and falls in step behind the Schoolboy.


SCHOOLBOY

There were kingdoms and castles


Sweep.


SCHOOLBOY

Angels and owls


Sweep.


SCHOOLBOY

I ran with the deer


Sweep


SCHOOLBOY

It was all so wonderful


Sweep


SCHOOLBOY

Oh, if only I could remember!


The Schoolboy exits. The Sweeper falls in step behind the Lover, smiling nastily.


LOVER

I knew if I gave Abigail back her eyebrow

She would want me

So I took off my shirt

But she hadn't put it back on her face

She tore out her hair

The rest of her hair

And it was worms

Red worms

Scarlet worms


The Sweeper nods and exits.


LOVER

The worms crawled into my chest

Because I had no shirt

And Abigail laughed the way dolphins laugh

Because she had no hair so she was someone new

But I had worms in my heart

And I can still feel them

Why are they still there?


He stops walking and scratches madly at his chest.


LOVER

Scarlet worms

They're in my heart

Eating their way out

To daylight

It's daylight

She's shrieking in my ears

Why can I still hear her?


He claps his hands over his ears, and tries to scratch his chest with his elbows.


LOVER

The worms

Why don't I forget?

When will it all

go away?