SLEEPING BEAUTY

Craning their necks, and virtually piled atop one another in a vertical column, five small children peer through a door that has been pushed slightly ajar. They face upstage, turned away from us, to witness one of the prevailing mysteries of their neighborhood: Big Bill’s mother sleeping at noon. Although we cannot see her — for the bedroom is artificially darkened, heavy drapery sealed against the midday sun — some inexplicable radiance seems nevertheless to emerge from that blackness. Certainly no audience will fail to be reminded of W.G. Sebald’s observation about Peter Weiss’s Der Hausierer (The Peddler): at the far left of Weiss’s landscape sits a small circus tent, of which Sebald notes that “its opening is both the lightest and the darkest part of the picture.”*

BIG BILL: Shhhhhh! She’s asleep.

LITTLE BRENDAN: Why is she sleeping? It’s the day. Did she get tolt to take a nap?

BIG LISA: She’s pretty my bedtime is 7:30 almost 8:30.

BIG CARTER: Wow, that’s your mom?

BIG BILL: Shhhhh! Yeah. She sleeps in the day cause she works the knife shift. She works at Holiday Magic.

LITTLE JEFF: What’s holiday magic?

BIG LISA: Don’t be such a retard Little Jeff a lipstick company stupid.

BIG BILL: Shhhhhh!

LITTLE BRENDAN: She makes lipstick?

BIG BILL: Shhhhh! Yeah, at night. OK, now I’ll show you guys how to squeeze Wonder Bread back into dough. Come on!


* W.G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction (Anthea Bell, trans., Random House, New York, 2003), p. 171

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