pt 82: APRIL

Scampi: Let us listen to the birds sing.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We shall be immune to the trivial fripperies and discontentments of the modern-day world.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Like that snooty guy in the bookstore.

Peter: He wasn’t snooty.

Scampi: Who said he was?

Peter: You did.  You just did.

Scampi: [snorts] Nonsense.

DIAPHANOUS SILENCE.

Scampi: It sure is a beautiful day.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: This is springtime, right?

Peter: Is it?

Scampi: Well?

Peter: What do you wish to know?

Scampi: What season is this?

Peter: Spring.

Scampi: Well.  That’s what I was asking.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I love this song.

Peter: What song?

Scampi: It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Fine.

SCAMPI HUMS HAPPILY.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: What?

PAUSE.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Lovely weather.

Scampi: I said that already.

Peter: Not exactly.

Scampi: Yes, I did.

Peter: You said—

Scampi: Don’t tell me what I said.  I am not a gnat.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: As though I have the memory of an infant octopus.  I know what I said.

Peter: Octopi are relatively bright creatures.

Scampi: Octopuses.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Yeah, yeah.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: You are being dismissive.

Scampi: Jealous?

Peter: I decline to comment.

Scampi: Heh.  Ha.

Peter: What’s so funny?

Scampi: You want some lemonade?

Peter: No.  I do not.

Scampi: Ha.  Ho ho.

Peter: What are you laughing about?

Scampi: Why are you so against laughing?  All of a sudden?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Well then.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Is it spring now?  Or was it spring then?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Did this happen already?

Peter: What?

Scampi: This.

Peter: Now?

Scampi: Or then.  I mean, if this has already occurred, then it isn’t now.

Peter: I am not enamoured with this breed of sophistry.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: What time is it?

Peter: After noon.

Scampi: But that’s everything.  Everything except twelve o’clock, anyway.

Peter: After noon.  Before sunset.

Scampi: What breathtaking accuracy.

Peter: I lay no claims upon perfection.

Scampi: You should live in Switzerland.  And get adjusted one one thousandth of a second per annum.

Peter: That’s not what happens.

Scampi: Maybe not yet.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: But it might be what happens next.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Will you remember this spring separately?

Peter: From what?

Scampi: From all the others.

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: Come on.

Peter: Presumably I will remember certain events.  In their context.

Scampi: I don’t even know what that means.

Peter: I cannot predict the future.

Scampi: I can.

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pt 79: SUCH AND SO FINELY BOLTED DIDST THOU SEEM

Scampi: I fell asleep.

Peter: I shall inform the relevant newsmedia.

Scampi: Piss off.

Peter: PARDON?

Scampi: It’s an expression.

Peter: A distasteful one.

Scampi: A delectable linguisto-fest, in fact.

Peter: That’s.  I.

Scampi: Ding!  Peter-eter, down for the count!

Peter: There is no need to howl so.

Scampi: I shan’t howl then.

Peter: Why are you speaking this way?

Scampi: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Peter: “Shan’t.”

Scampi: Hee haw.  You sound like the emir in Tintin.

PETER LETS HIS RACQUET FALL.

Scampi: Can I offer you a beverage?

Peter: It appears that you have.

Scampi: Harumph.  Coffee?

Peter: I acquiesce.

Scampi: You’re terribly good at that.

PETER’S FACE IS A BLANK SHEET OF SPRING RAIN.

Scampi: Well, moving right along.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What would you say if I said my heart was broken?

Peter: I suspect you wouldn’t say that.

Scampi: That’s what you’d say?

Peter: No.  I.

Scampi: What would you say?

Peter: I would.  Express my sympathies, I suppose.

Scampi: Yeah, right.  I doubt it.

Peter: Well.  I’m glad I was able to assist you with your query.

Scampi: Thanks a lot.  Why didn’t you just direct me to the reference desk?

Peter: Because I am not a library.

Scampi: I’ll say.  You don’t even have a photocopying machine.

Peter: I do not.  You are correct.

Scampi: And if you did, it would be cleft in twain.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Like my heart.

Peter: Ah yes.  Your heart.

Scampi: Ug.  Don’t say it like that.

Peter: Like what?  I have often been complimented on my excellent, above-average elocution.

Scampi: [snorts] Yeah huh.  We are referring to my fiery engine red construction paper heart here.  Not a lab experiment featuring amphibians.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: If only this were the case.

Peter: There’s nothing wrong with my vision.

Scampi: (That a little corrective eyewear can’t fix.)

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: Corrective.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I have fallen asleep at a barbecue once.  Did you know that?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Well, I didn’t really.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: But I could have.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: See?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’m just saying, I almost fell asleep at a barbecue once.  Or twice.

Peter: Well, good for you.

Scampi: I can get very sleepy.  That’s all.

Peter: We have been tired.  We are a tiresome race.

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: I said—

Scampi: I know what you said.

Peter: Well then.

Scampi: You want some cake or something?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: So?

Peter: I don’t want any cake.

Scampi: Fine.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: You are terribly welcome.

Peter: How kind.

Scampi: Most certainly.  With utmost amounts of certitude.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: With unscientific amounts of certitude.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: With a blind, mad degree of certainty that contradicts the whole spirit of the scientific method.  With—

Peter: I think that’s quite enough.

Scampi: Enough what?

Peter: Chatter.

Scampi: Ho ho.  You would.

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Kids used to like to lick on candy, down to a seed in their palms.  You know what I’m talking about?

Peter: Roughly.

Scampi: Do they still do that, kids?

Peter: Why not?

Scampi: Well, why not?  Why not not?

Peter: Please.

Scampi: What manners!

PETER INSPECTS HIS UNCOMPLEX HANDS.

Scampi: Ho ho.

Peter: Wait a moment.  What are you saying about my hands?

Scampi: Me?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Me?  I didn’t say anything.

Peter: I suspect—

Scampi: Oh, that’s a change.

Peter: This coffee is.  Delicious.

Scampi: You’re kind of slow today.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: That’s okay.  I am broken.

Peter: Ah yes.  Your cardboard heart.

Scampi: Construction paper.

Peter: Inflammable, at any rate.

Scampi: We are.

pt 72: SPORT

Scampi: What do we know about cricket?

Peter: The sport?

Scampi: No, the grasshopper.

Peter: Is a cricket the same thing as a grasshopper?

Scampi: Yes the sport.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: I am not much of a sportsman.

Scampi: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Peter: Does this answer your question?

Scampi: No.  Yes, in part.

Peter: Which part?

Scampi: We might attend a cricket match.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: I’m just saying, we could.  It could be fun.

Peter: Who we?  You and I?

Scampi: You and me.

Peter: I don’t think so.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Well why?

Scampi: Ridiculous.  So, you know nothing about cricket.

Peter: I wouldn’t say nothing.

Scampi: I would.

Peter: Perhaps, next to nothing.

Scampi: Fine.  Why not?

Peter: For example, I know it’s a sport.  There’s a bat and a ball.

Scampi: You’re a regular polymath.  A Pollyanna.

Peter: Yes.  Wait, what was the last part?

Scampi: You look very Pollyannaish in that white shirt.

Peter: Do I?

Scampi: With those buttons.

Peter: You take exception to the buttons on my shirt?

Scampi: I do not.

Peter: Oh.  Good.

Scampi: I am not an exceptionalist.

Peter: I might take exception to that.

Scampi: How exceptionalist of you.  A king among men, you are.

Peter: That’s not what I said.

Scampi:  No.  I said it.

Peter: You did.

Scampi: I did.

Peter: Where is this going?

Scampi: Nowhere.  You’re the one who won’t talk to me.

Peter: Stuff and nonsense.

Scampi: About cricket.

Peter: But I don’t know anything about cricket.  I said so.

Scampi: Practically nothing.

Peter: Do you know anything about cricket?

Scampi: I might.

Peter: Do you?

Scampi: You wouldn’t know.

Peter: Not at this rate, in any case.

Scampi: We could learn about it.  Cricket.

Peter: Theoretically.

Scampi: Practically.

Peter: I’m just not interested.

Scampi: I know something about cricket that you like.

Peter: And what is that?

Scampi: Curry.

Peter: What?

Scampi: People eat curry at a cricket match.

Peter: Do tell.

Scampi: Some of the best curry in England.

Peter: Good for them!

Scampi: Yes.  It is.  You know what else?

Peter: No.

Scampi: If we were cricket fans, we could follow it in the news.

Peter: This would hardly be revolutionary.  Of us.

Scampi: Right.  Hardly.  We would follow the league stats and our favourite players.  And then while I made tea, for example, you would say, “Have you noticed how well the Rajasthan Royals have been doing this season?” and I would say, “Yeah, yeah.  This year could be the one.”  You see?

Peter: We would discuss statistics.

Scampi: Damn right we would.  You see what I mean?

Peter: I’m not sure.

Scampi: Don’t you?

Peter: Perhaps I do not.

Scampi: Fine.  What do you want to talk about?

Peter: Oh, I have no preference, really.

Scampi: Yeah right.

Peter: Perhaps I do not wish to talk.

Scampi: Do you?

Peter: Wish to talk?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: It isn’t supposed to mean anything.

Scampi: It has to mean something.

Peter: The epistemology of cricket chat.  Is that where we are?

Scampi: No.  We’re talking about the purpose of language.  Yours.

Peter: There’s only one?

Scampi: Purpose or language?

Peter: Either.

Scampi: There’s at least one of each, that’s all I’m saying.

Peter: How descriptivist of you.

Scampi: Why are you so terrified?

Peter: I imagine you consider that to be some sort of segue.

Scampi: It requires no consideration.

Peter: Then I shan’t consider it.

Scampi: Classic knee-jerk response.

Peter: To what?

Scampi: Fear.

Peter: What is?

Scampi: All this batting about.

Peter: You and your bats.

Scampi: Our bats.

Peter: Yours.

Scampi: Ours.  We’re sharing.

Peter: Untrue.

Scampi: But if I’m sharing with you.

Peter: That’s none of my business.

Scampi: Then you must be sharing with me.

Peter: That is called something. I cannot remember what it’s called.

Scampi: Would you like a hint?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You’re not some kind of palefaced German tragedian, you know.

Peter: I am most certainly not.

Scampi: That’s right.  Everyone is alone, and all that.  The rose on the hill.

Peter: Rose on a hill?

Scampi: That’s not you.

Peter: I am not a rose.

Scampi: Well, we can’t go that far.

Peter: We can ruddy well stop that short.

Scampi: Of being a rose?

Peter: Yes.  Of all this nonsense.

Scampi: Do you prefer plain sense?

Peter: In fact, I do.

Scampi: It doesn’t incense you?

Peter: I abhor the smell of incense.

Scampi: You do?

Peter: Sometimes.

Scampi: Funny, I can smell some on the air.  Right now.

Peter: What?  Ghastly.

Scampi: Can you?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You’re not even trying.

Peter: And why would I?

Scampi: Why wouldn’t you?

Peter: What, try harder to inhale scents that I abhor?  As they waft past on the air?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: I will not dignify the question.

Scampi: Likely not.  So you can’t smell it?

Peter: No.

Scampi: It’s gone now anyway.

Peter: This has nothing to do with me.

Scampi: A comfortable fantasy, isn’t it?

Peter: What is?

Scampi: Jeder ist allein.

Peter: I don’t know what that is.

Scampi: It’s nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Today is a mixture of sun and cloud.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Would you like to have a nap?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I could watch the door.

Peter: For what?

Scampi: Meteorological dissonance.

Peter: I am slightly tired.

Scampi: It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

Peter: It is.

pt 49: A WORKING MAN’S HANDS

Scampi: See those flowers?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: They remind me of you.

Peter: I don’t know why.

Scampi: I do.  They’re just like you.

Peter: They are not.

Scampi: They are.  Look at them.

Peter: I am looking at them.  This is how I can surmise that we are nothing alike.

Scampi: Those tulips remind me exactly of you.

Peter: I don’t understand this.

Scampi: Well, they do.

PAUSE.

Scampi: For starters, you’re both sort of delicate.  And stemmed.

Peter: Stemmed?

Scampi: Uh, yes.  Yup.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: Although, to be fair, you don’t have a brilliant stripe of scarlet for a throat.  Do you?

Peter: That’s private.

Scampi: Well, the tulips are two-tone.  You, on the other hand, are a monochrome gentleman.  I mean, am I wrong here?

Peter: I’m lost.

Scampi: While the tulips are grounded.  They are rooted in the earth.

Peter: Sometimes I’m rooted in the earth.

Scampi: I know.  I’ve seen it.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I notice you don’t get calluses from reading books.

Peter: Me?

Scampi: Or anyone, really.

Peter: That’s true.  Theoretically, someone could have a callus.  Depending on how they held the book.

Scampi: Or how silly they were.

Peter: What?

Scampi: You like to read a book or two.

Peter: I don’t deny this.

Scampi: But this doesn’t give you, say, back pain for example.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Or you don’t lose all the cartilage in one of your knees.

Peter: It is true that there is cartilage in both my knees.

Scampi: Right.  Your patellae are as ripe as oats.

Peter: What?

Scampi: You don’t have pains in your knees.

Peter: No, I don’t.  Should I?

Scampi: Not at all.  You’re beautiful as is.

Peter: Oh.  Ah.

Scampi: You and those tulips.

pt 99: OUR ANIMAL NATURE

Scampi: I think I was dreaming.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Sometimes I can’t tell.  You know.

Peter: I do not know.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: But how do you know that you don’t?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I can’t tell if I’m dreaming or not.  Occasionally.

Peter: What are you suggesting?

Scampi: No need to get so nervous.  I’m just saying.

Peter: I am not nervous.

Scampi: Sure.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What do you dream about?

Peter: Peace and quiet.

Scampi: Very funny.  Can’t you remember your dreams?

Peter: I can.

Scampi: Well.  And what are they about?

Peter: This is very tedious.

Scampi: Isn’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I sometimes feel as if I inhabit a waking fog.

Peter: Perhaps you should have some coffee.

Scampi: That has nothing to do with it.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I am like a monster of my own creation.  Half-asleep.

Peter: Perhaps you should keep such thoughts to yourself.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: Forgive me.  I have a headache.

Scampi: Oh.  Okay.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Sorry.

Peter: It’s quite all right.

Scampi: Do you think we are in the dark?

Peter: That would certainly soothe this migraine.

Scampi: We’re in a cave, a bed of leaves.

Peter: Are you suggesting that we are hibernating?

Scampi: Like bears.

Peter: I am not a bear.

Scampi: We have collapsed from the exhaustion of open spaces.

Peter: I wouldn’t say “collapsed”.

Scampi: No, of course not.  You’d just do it.

Peter: I am a human man.

Scampi: An overdose of beauty can be a tricksy thing, Peter.  Beauty and possibilities.

Peter: Which causes you to transform into an apostate ursus experiencing a low degree of consciousness under a rock somewhere?

Scampi: Perhaps.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: There is the question of our animal nature.

Peter: We are bound by the flesh.

Scampi: I don’t know about you.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What good is the meadow if one’s mind remains a howling wilderness?

Peter: Do you feel that your mind is a howling wilderness?

Scampi: I feel that my memory of the meadow grows swampy.

Peter: Perhaps you are unwell.

Scampi: What a thing to say!

Peter: Lower your voice.

Scampi: I did.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: Maybe we should get some sleep.

Peter: We?

Scampi: I sleep, you sleep.

Peter: This is fundamentally illogical.

Scampi: Is not.  You might as well be sleeping.  If I’m asleep.

Peter: This is not the case.

Scampi: It might as well be.

Peter: SIGHS.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Can you hear the sound of running water?

Peter: A leaky faucet?

Scampi: I believe it is the sea.

pt 116: AUTUMN LEAVES

Scampi: I have a few things to tell you.

Peter: I’m busy.

Scampi: Well, I have a few things to tell you anyway.

Peter: Is that the case?

Scampi: Yes.  Feeling defensive?

Peter: Is this one of the things you had to tell me?

Scampi: No.  It was a question.

Peter: I can sense a headache approaching.

Scampi: Well, change seats.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: If you can’t see the show, you know.  Switch seats.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Anyway, there are some Spanish expressions involving mules.  Did you know that?

Peter: I confess that it does not surprise me.

Scampi: Well ceded.

Peter: I ceded nothing.

Scampi: For a change.  Do you know what the expressions are?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: One is ‘burro de Caleta’.  You know what that means?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: It means you’re drunk all the time.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: The expression.  It’s about a beer-fed mule.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Obviously, if you were a mule who hung around drinking beer all day, you’d be drunk.

Peter: Obviously.

Scampi: I like to think we’re making progress here.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: I don’t know.  I don’t think it’s true, in any event.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I’m just sampling, you know.  From an array of available platitudes.

Peter: I heartily approve of this program.

Scampi: Oh, good.

Peter: I did not say that.

Scampi: Yes, you did.

Peter: In no way, shape, or form did I make that statement.

Scampi: Oh, right.  Who said it then?

Peter: No one said it.

Scampi: If no one said it, then what are we talking about?

Peter: That is illogical.

Scampi: I’m sure you’d like to think so.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Let’s put down blankets and bivouac here.

Peter: Right here?

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: That’s right.  We can watch the stars rattle.

Peter: Stars do not rattle.  Rattling is not a property of gaseous entities.

Scampi: Ha!  You should look in the mirror.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.  I want to lie down.

Peter: Very well.

Scampi: We’re in Georgia.  Did you know?

Peter: We are?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Which Georgia?

Scampi: The one that’s on our way.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We’re here for the peaches.  We’re here to sleep.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Your hair grows faster while you’re sleeping.

Peter: Incorrect.

Scampi: Pah.  You’d like to think so.

Peter: You are taking a very cavalier attitude toward scientific facts today.

Scampi: That’s right.  Scientific facts are welcome to hop on for a canter.  We cavaliers like to see the world!

Peter: Go to bed.

Scampi: What are you talking about?

Peter: I hope you’re not waiting for me to fall asleep.

Scampi: I don’t care if you do or if you don’t.

Peter: Fine.  I intend to remain lucid a while longer.

Scampi: Lucid!  You wish.

Peter: You are tired.  Sleep.

Scampi: You’re tired, yourself.

Peter: I am.

Scampi: And cold.  Have a sweater?

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: It’s wool.  It will keep you warm.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: No problem.

Peter: Good night, Scampi.

Scampi: Good night, Peter.

pt 113: LARKS

Scampi: Have you ever woken up to birdsong?

Peter: In the sense that  the noise of the birds woke me up?

Scampi: I dunno.  It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: I love it.  The noise of traffic in the road, the putput of pollution.

Peter: Are you implying that pollution makes a noise?

Scampi: Well, it does.  Scientifically.  Anyway, who doesn’t like waking up to sunlight in the windows?

Peter: Perhaps a man who has just undergone eye surgery.

Scampi: That’s what you think.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: In some places in the world, it is always spring.  Did you know this?

Peter: No.  I do not find that statement to be credible.

Scampi: You’re lucky you found it at all.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, I mean, not the season spring, perhaps.  But the weather.

Peter (sagaciously): Ah yes, the weather.

Scampi: In our conversations, for example, it is not always spring.

Peter: Noho!

Scampi (defensively): Well, sometimes it is.

PETER OCCUPIES HIMSELF WITH PERSONAL GROOMING.

Scampi: Yech.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever been to a little town in Ontario?

Peter: Ah yes.  The province in central Canada, I presume?

Scampi: There is no need to be coy.

Peter: I have, as you well know, been to a small town in Ontario.

Scampi: As have I.  It can be very sad.

Peter: Rural travel?

Scampi: The graveyards.  The monuments to conflicts past.

Peter: Have you been rooting around in graveyards?

Scampi: Rooting around!  The idea.

Peter: Oh, do excuse me.

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: My, the sun is bright today.  Perhaps we should sit beneath the jacaranda tree.

Peter: The what?

Scampi: The jacaranda is in bloom.  The goddam larks are singing their hearts out.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You free the top button of your collar.  I fan myself with my hands like leaves.

Peter: How many buttons is my collar supposed to have?

Scampi: Two.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s only right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The magnolias are also in bloom.

Peter: Of course.

Scampi: You could reach up and pick one, if you wanted.

Peter: But why destroy something beautiful in nature?

Scampi: Why indeed.

[Peter: That’s not exactly how I put it.

Scampi: Well, that what you meant.]

pt 141: SMOKE

Scampi: In the name of the Holy and Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity!

Peter: Are we embarking upon a chemistry experiment?

Scampi: Perhaps.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: In the name of the duodenum.

Peter: This scattering of vocabulary is difficult to parse.

Scampi: Oh really? Are you finding it hard to digest?

Peter: Really.

Scampi: Hee hee.  Haw haw.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I’m sure many before you have found transubstantiation to be quite the mouthful. You are by no means the first.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: A mouthful of wafer and a gulp of vino. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Peter: Are you addressing the duodenum of a Christian person?

Scampi: It’s possible.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Let’s build a fire.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Don’t you want to build a fire?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh. Why?

Peter: It is not the time to be building fires.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I believe that the midday sun is sufficiently scorching. Even for the likes of you.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean? Are you suggesting that I am a demon from hell?

PETER BARKS WITH LAUGHTER.

Scampi: Oh, I see. You’re a wolfhound all of a sudden.

PETER LICKS HIS PAW IN A CIRCUMSPECT FASHION.

Peter: Certainly not.

Scampi: Sure, sure.

Peter: This is no place for a fire.

Scampi: True. This is a place for a canteen. Lucky for you, you’re travelling with an intrepid desert explorer.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Here.

SCAMPI PASSES PETER A GOATSKIN FLASK CONTAINING WATER.

Peter: Euh.

Scampi: Take this, this is my something something.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Water. It’s good for you.

Peter: I suppose it is.

Scampi: Ah, excellent. The oasis approaches.

Peter: [shading his eyes from the sun] I believe that we are approaching the oasis.

Scampi: That’s what I said.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: You can have a rest beneath that lovely palm. Meanwhile, I shall peruse the saddlebags in search of victuals.

Peter: Vit-lz.

Scampi: Yes, yes.

Peter: Wait, why do we have saddlebags?

Scampi: To carry our provisions, of course.

Peter: I thought we didn’t have horses.

Scampi: Says who? Anyway, maybe they’re camels.

Peter: Camels?

Scampi: There’s no need to sound so alarmed.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: The Arabian horse is known for his petite, fiery temperament.

Peter: What?

Scampi: What?

Peter: Please stop with all this nonsense.

Scampi: Nonsense?

Peter: At least until we reach the shade.

Scampi: Well, look. We’ve reached it.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: That’s right. Calm yourself. Here, catch.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter? What are you doing?

Peter: It is difficult to speak with goatskin on one’s face.

Scampi: Oh. Sorry.

Peter: That’s quite all right. I shall have a miniscule snooze now.

Scampi: Go right ahead. I’m just going to nibble on some pemmican.

Peter: [drowsily] Can you please stop displacing us with your scrambled lexicon.

Scampi: I will do no such thing.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I’ll build us a nice, smoky fire so the rescue planes can find us.

Peter: Are we in need of rescuing?

Scampi: Well. No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: I’m just practising. For the eventualities, you know.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Don’t mind me.

Peter: [snorts]

Scampi: There’s no need to snuffle like a mule.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What blood type are you?

Peter: Why?

Scampi: Just wondering. Just in case.

Peter: I see. Can you refrain from building fires and/or performing transfusions while I sleep?

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome. I shall watch over you. Like a ptarmigan, as they say.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: When the stars appear, I shall identify our position.

Peter: Oh, lovely.

Scampi: Do you want some pemmican?

Peter: No. I want to sleep.

Scampi: Okay. I’ll keep watch.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: From the crow’s nest.

Peter: Am I going to wake up at sea?

Scampi: We are all at sea, Peter.

pt 55: JAYBIRDS

Scampi: Hello?

Peter: Are you awake?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: You are?

Scampi: Basically.

Peter: There are two enormous bluejays on my balcony.

Scampi: Oh yes.

Peter: They are the size of seagulls.

Scampi: Very nice.

Peter: They are very large.

Scampi: Do you think they might be us?

Peter: I’m referring to the feathered creatures.  Not the baseball team we play on.

Scampi: You’re funny.

Peter: You should see them.

Scampi: I can’t see them.

Peter: Well, maybe they’ll come back.

pt 97: FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW

Scampi: Your nose is shimmering in the heat.

Peter: Hardly.

Scampi: It is.

Peter: I feel rather sluggish.

Scampi: Like a slug!  Ha.

Peter: Not slug-like.

Scampi: A briny, spotted sluggy.

Peter: As you wish.

Scampi: I wish.

Peter: Do you think my face looks different?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: If we are apprehended, will you stick up for me?

Peter: Why would we be apprehended?

Scampi: On our grand adventure.  Anything is possible.

Peter: I do not believe you need to worry.

Scampi: Famous last words.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Would you?

Peter: Be apprehended?

Scampi: Stick up for me.  You know, take my side.

Peter: I suppose that would depend on what you had done.

Scampi: What I had done?  What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: Well, I don’t know what you’ve been apprehended for.  How do I determine whether or not I will take your part in the debate?

Scampi: Ridiculous.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: You’re supposed to be my partner in crime.

Peter: I am not a criminal.

Scampi: Of course not.  Neither am I.

Peter: [SIGHS.]

Scampi: Maybe we should be more careful.

Peter: In what respect?

Scampi: You know, cover our tracks.  That sort of thing.

Peter: We have nothing to hide.

Scampi: Do you think so?

Peter: This is a transparent operation.

Scampi: Oh, so it’s an operation, is it?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Well, that’s a comfort.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Maybe we could drag leaves behind us when we walk.  To cover our footprints in the snow.

Peter: It isn’t snowing.

Scampi: I know.  Don’t you think I know that?

Peter: I am unsure.

Scampi: Oh ye of little faith.

Peter: Are you addressing me?

Scampi: Apparently.

Peter: I cannot recall when last it snowed.

Scampi: So what?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I can.

Peter: Oh?  And when was it?

Scampi: I’m sure we’d all like to know that.  Ho.  Ha ha.

Peter: And?

Scampi: It snowed in the wintertime.  Winter is for snowing.

Peter: Thank you.  That was terribly informative.

Scampi: Big, fat flakes.  All over your face, and the windows.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: We wandered into the woods, and were not found.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: We hid the evidence as we went.

Peter: I do not remember this occasion.

Scampi: It was a secret.