ACT ONE, SCENE ONE.
The curtains open up to an empty stadium in full view of the audience of one.
My pants fall down as the first voice whispers from below, and I’m dancing a dance that can only be danced by a one-man show. Rhythmic tapping, short humming that cascades throughout my body as I try to remember my lines.
The lines I’m crossing.
Then sounds the applause, and with a snap of my fingers, the audience grows silent. Stage lights fake heat that emanates from my sweating body. I’m so nervous because it’s my first time performing. The judges show no mercy, I will be asked so many questions just like the rest.
Tied by tongues as whispers echo incoherently throughout the halls, all eyes on me, waiting for the first move. And I begin to sing. Stratosphere.
“In the air, he screams
To bring the lust of lovers
And I will sing the anthem
Of my heart for all of you…
That you might be crowned
King of it all
My clouds point to the stratosphere…
Empty notions, empty fears…
And I will sing…
I will sing…
And won’t you feel me, precious
Special angel move your strings
Play the harp of the gods
As you awake, singing of absent rings…
And I will sing…
Yes, my dear, I will sing…”
Your promise stays with me like the memory of a certain wedding I attended years ago. He never showed, and I was left standing at the altar, singing. Singing that song. Familiar tune, annoying. But you promise to listen until I’m finished.
But I’m not yet finished…
I won’t stop until I hear your breath again. I want to choke you on it all. I want this audience of one to adore me, because it feels like he does. But I won’t let him speak of it, no. I want to keep this feeling forever.
My voice will sink into your ears like an ocean, and the part of me that’s had the worst is a side you’ll never see. Backstage. I can hear him laughing now, my knees begin to buckle not from nervousness, but from the thought of what he did to me.
Still I keep dancing. Still I keep singing. Singing for who?
The eager mouth which swallows my misspent words that coarse through my body like a foreign dish he cannot help but devour.
And I sink into the play once again. I put on an act for my many fans and lovers like this. I lie back, exposed, the highlight of my monologue permeating every facet of their being.
I, the captive stealer of souls.
Of course I let down inhibitions once I’m far enough in. The pounding starts. My heart is ready to explode in a vigorous outpouring of emotion. I need this like I need air, though I can barely breathe.
Cigarette ashes gently fall on my face, followed by the exhaling wind that brushes them away.
Short of breath now.
You promised to let me walk with you through the fields of our dreams together. You promised never to let me fall, you sat and cried with me even if I should trip.
I skinned my knee once, crying like a child. The same skinned knees which now buckle under the weight of your BREAKING.
But still. I sing, and I dance. This man does not know me, but I venture. I reach out for his touch just to feel something of life again within me, and yet without is the feeling I shall leave him with. This poor man was never a soul, just a body. We don’t have souls, you see.
And when the curtain falls, he shall be a man broken. A man destroyed. A man with so many separate pieces that to rejoin them would take several billion years that echo forth from our dying sun.
When the curtain falls, he will no longer be remembered as a man. I took him from you like he took me. Not him, but the one before.
What does it matter.
The shadows that now dance across your face are reflective of the ones I always see as I gaze into a body of water. Lights gather and tell stories of the sad departure of royalty, and I dare say that once, I was a king.
I had you all. All of you.
But let what I say, my friends, bear little meaning to your existence, for there once was a man who indeed spirited away my soul as well.
I am merely a body of all the dreams that never existed within me once he took my breath away without my consent.
We go on making promises, and we go on breaking them. If there ever was a promise in this world that was true, it is that many have hated me. Many will still hate me once this monologue to you is finished.
My vindication comes with the knowledge that I may perform for you at all.
All that matters is that I’ve told you this story.
The spotlight is fading, and my soul becomes another shadow in the dark to take you away, screaming in your sleep, awoken violently from your nightmares that I may feed. I may feed you your desires, I may talk as a lover does, I may even sing for you as sweetly as the rain pours down upon your windows…
But despite all this, you do not care. My voice echoes through this hall to call on the birds you keep caged deep in the recesses of your minds. My knees are buckling at the thought of your treachery!
So cries the assassin. But I am not him. I am here to save you, you see. Your mouth is still open and I’m still feeding you my lust as the curtain starts to tear.
Those who have ears, let them hear.
“He spoke to me once…
He said it oh so true…
That we would walk through gardens
And meet God halfway,
In the child,
In the child who crosses our path
She sang, she sang
And I’m still singing her sweet little tune…”
Never do we know ourselves until we are at play.
And this play is mine. Are you ready to hear another monologue?
The audience of one is choking on the tears that spew forth from my body like a plague. Rotten, dirty tears. Tears of infection. Tears that equate to my passion for the one before him, tears that need not be shed, for then the truth would become him inside my newest lover.
Tears that soon shall make amends.
This man chokes on my words. He absorbs my truth knowing he doesn’t have to, he listens knowing that at any point in time, he is permitted to take leave of me. But he doesn’t leave, he won’t stop.
I rather like it this way.
Pants down, knees buckled. Fake love.
Fake sweats that break out on my face like a rash to show the poison within me, the heat from the stage lights becomes too much to bear.
And I crash. I crash because I loved you, because you promised me so much more that was never given much more than a fleeting consideration…or the chance hearing of a few uttered, meaningless words which tell you little of my acting ability to play the part of your greatest friend and lover.
So now I sing…and I will sing myself to sleep. Tears no longer present, and I sink into a new void that you surely must have created again to entrap me within myself forever.
This, my love, was the theatricality of your promise.
Enter, thunderous applause.
Curtains falling. I shatter.