Scampi: But I can’t sleep.


Peter: Oh? Why?


Scampi: I don’t like American history.


Peter: What it is about American history that you dislike?


Scampi: It’s just so mean.


Peter: Who do you think did a better job? Of history?


Scampi: I don’t know. It’s the way they say things, so sly.


Peter: Who?


Scampi: Like Andrew Jackson.


Peter: Can you give me an example of Andrew Jackson speaking in a sly way?


Scampi: Oh, Peter. The way you phrase things.


Peter: I am simply repeating what you’ve said.


Scampi: No, no. Anyway.


Peter: [YAWNS.]


Scampi: Do you know the machines that window-washers use?


Peter: I have seen them.


Scampi: Of course you have.


Peter: You asked.


Scampi: “I have seen them.” You say that like it’s some kind of state secret.


Peter: SIGHS.


Scampi: Well, have you ever been on one?


Peter: Ah. No.


Scampi: Are you sure?


Peter: I believe so.


Scampi: It’s all about belief of course, window-washing. Keeping our sightlines clear, and such.


Peter: Ah, sight.


Scampi: You use your glasses to see.


Peter: I do.


Scampi: This is pretty funny.


Peter: How so?


Scampi: I dunno. Like a lady with a snuffbox.


Peter: Pardon me?


Scampi: You know. You hold something up to your face to improve your outlook.




Scampi: Anyway, you’re aware of the Bessemer process, naturally?


Peter: Hm?


Scampi: The Bessemer Process. Named after Henry Bessemer, you know.


Peter: Yes, what of it?


Scampi: Here.


Peter: What is this?


Scampi: Can’t you read?


Peter: I can.


Scampi: It’s Bessemer’s autobiography. In which you can learn that he was born in Hertfordshire.


Peter: Oh. I was not aware of this.


Scampi: How about this?


Peter: Oomph.


Scampi: What?


Peter: Please do not hurl books at me.


Scampi: Hurl! As if.


Peter: “Father of the Steel Industry”.


Scampi: That’s right.


Peter: I did not realise you were such an avid aficionado of the steel industry.


Scampi: Pff! What sort of thing to say is that? And, speaking of things to say, listen to this: “I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem inasmuch as I had no fixed ideas derived from long-established practice to control and bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that whatever is, is right.”


Peter: Yes, ignorance is a great boon to the inventor.


Scampi: What do you know about it?




Scampi: If we were in a tall building, it would need its windows washed, of course.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: And if we were in America, history would be prickling our skin all the time.


Peter: Are we in America?


Scampi: We might have been. When we were cowboys.




Scampi: Or farmers.


Peter: I don’t remember being farmers.


Scampi: You and your memory. Do you remember the name of the hoisty thing that window washers use?


Peter: Remember it?


Scampi: Precisely. Do you know, the Bessemer Process helped to make artillery, 16-pounder guns. That sort of thing.


Peter: That would make sense.


Scampi: What?


Peter: That would make sense.


Scampi: No it would not. There is nothing sensible about artillery.


Peter: Doesn’t this depend on the context of the discussion?


Scampi: What discussion? How vile.


Peter: I believe it was your choice of topic.


Scampi: Sensible.


Peter: Saw-see-bluh?


Scampi: This is a French word.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: And béchamel is a French sauce. But what does that have to do with anything?


Peter: I like sauces.


Scampi: Oh, naturally.


Peter: What do you have against sauces?


Scampi: Nothing, nothing. I have something against the sixteen-pounder gun, though.


Peter: What is that?


Scampi: It is the tender heart of history.


Peter: I see.


Scampi: Yes. It’s being held against the pride of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces as we speak.


Peter: It is?


Scampi: Or whatever. I certainly can’t convert anything to steel, myself.


Peter: Perhaps you should start with the tender heart of history.


Scampi: Oh, Peter. You clownfish.




Scampi: I suppose it’s just a simple pulley system, really.


Peter: What is?


Scampi: The window-washing platform. What holds it up, et cetera.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: A system of pulleys and cables. It’s a dangerous job, of course.


Peter: Compared to floor washing?


Scampi: That’s right. It’s important to see where we are, in a building.


Peter: I suppose it is.


Scampi: Rather than where we’re going.




Scampi: We aren’t going anywhere.


Peter: At present.


Scampi: But we can see for miles.


Peter: Can we?


Scampi: I can. Mind you, don’t look down.


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