My Briefcase - Libretto

1.

Opening
Si apre solo in questo senso.

Recit.
I had a briefcase, a favourite briefcase.
It was a present from my wife (his first wife).
It was Brown. It was Strong. Its make was Samsonite.
Its surface was sort of like simulated leather,
but not like any real animal or dinosaur;
more like the floor of a dried-up reservoir,
or crazy paving, where the children play games with the cracks.

3. Fugue
Where the bears and crocodiles lurk in the cracks
waiting for children, to eat them up.
Where the bears and crocodiles lurk in the cracks
waiting for dogs and children.

be careful - don’t get caught - mind where your feet go - you must be careful - they’re dangerous - they’re bad - they’re
very nasty (etc.) - mind your step - don’t tread on them.

4.

Recit. & Objections
My briefcase was capacious, holding all manner of articles.
With comfortable clearance from the hinges it could take A3 paper.
What’s that? A3? What’s that? metric?
We don’t like metric.
Down, down with Europe.
What’s wrong with Quarto?
What’s wrong with Foolscap?
Do you like numbers? I’ll tell you about Foolscap.

5.

Foolscap
One and one is two,
  One and two is three,
    Two and three is five,
      Three and five is eight,
        Five and eight is thirteen.
Foolscap’s edges are eight and thirteen so come in the Fibonacci series.
Because the edges are Fibonacci numbers, Foolscap approximates to the Golden Rectangle.

6.

Recit.
Never mind Quarto, never mind Foolscap.
Don’t forget there’s another size, not metric, not an A size:
Octavo - much used for music the whole world over -
That’s what my briefcase was used for.

7.

Music
Music.

8.

Recit.
And now for the sad part.
My briefcase was stolen from my wife’s car (his second wife).
I rang the baby-sitter (her name was Lisa).
I’ll be late. Lock the door. They’ve got the keys.
She was frightened; rang her father.
When I got home there were two men (big men)
and a Doberman Pinscher.

9.

Dog
Woof. Arf.

10.

Recit.
And now for my special memory of my briefcase.
It had on it an inscription in four languages: I remember but two.

11.

Close
Si apre solo in questo senso.
Which is to say: Opens this way only.

John Kilpatrick - 1998