pt 57: ROOSTING

Scampi: See, Peter,

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Well, I’m just saying.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: Well.  So there are these pigeons roosting all over the place.  Everywhere.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I know you know this.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: You’ve seen a pigeon or two, in your time.

Peter: They are members of a moderately ubiquitous species.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Moving on in this vein.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: If you will.

Peter: I may.

Scampi: The city is full of brick buildings.  They are red-brick.  Or yellow.  Actually, there are a number of possibilities.

Peter: I do not dispute this.

Scampi: No, well.  I mean, you wouldn’t, would you?

Peter: I didn’t, which is rather more the material point.

Scampi: The material in question is in fact brick.  Whatever colour it might be.  The colour is immaterial.

Peter: You had something to say about pigeons.

Scampi: And I said it.  It led to bricks, basically.

Peter: Pigeons lead to bricks?

Scampi: Effectively.

Peter: That’s absurd.

Scampi: It isn’t.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: Look, if you see a whole bunch of pigeons.  Taking it easy I mean.

Peter: If I did.

Scampi: Where are they?

Peter: Are we expecting someone?

Scampi: What?

Peter: Where are who?

Scampi: The pigeons.

Peter: What pigeons?

Scampi: The hypothetical theoretical pigeons.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Peter!  The pigeons I was talking about.

PETER STARES LIKE A CABBAGE ON A BARROW AT THE COUNTY FAIR.

Scampi: I said, If you were to see all these pigeons.  Like, just say you did.

Peter: If they were gathered en masse.

Scampi: Which, you’ll admit, is not such a rarity.

Peter: You speak the truth.

Scampi: Well, where might they be sitting?

Peter: In the eaves.  On the roof.

Scampi: Quite right.

PETER SHRUGS.

Scampi: Of a brick building!  That’s what I’m saying.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: That it’s not such a stretch as you made out.  Pigeons to brick.  So,

PAUSE.

Scampi: What are you doing with that measuring tape?

Peter: Ensuring our continued felicity.

Scampi: Are you distancing yourself from me?

Peter: I’m just checking up on the numbers, my friend.

Scampi: My friend!  Funny guy.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I just think how you talk is funny sometimes.  In a good way.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Is that okay with you?

Peter: I suppose it is.

Scampi: That’s the best supposition you’ve made all day.

Peter: Humph.

Scampi: You should have it framed.  Bronzed, even.

Peter: Are you quite alright?

Scampi: I dunno.  Why do you ask?

Peter: Far be it from me to pry.

Scampi: [Snickers.]

Peter: Ahem.  But you don’t seem exactly yourself today.

Scampi: I suppose that’s true.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yes.  I feel more like a reasonable facsimile.

Peter: Why’s that?

Scampi: I don’t know.  Or maybe I do.

Peter: I think that correctly identifies the two possibilities.

Scampi: Thankyou.

Peter: Can I get you something?

Scampi: Naw.  Maybe.

Peter: A coffee, perhaps?

Scampi: Um yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Thanks, Peter.

Peter: My pleasure.

Scampi: Yes.  I think I’m trying to situate myself.  You know?  The pigeons, the brick.  I mean, I haven’t talked about the weather.

Peter: You have not.

Scampi: Are we in a snowglobe?  Are we galloping across the plains?

Peter: What questions.

Scampi: In my left hand is the entire sky.  Including the ground it’s touching.

Peter: It looks rather like a coffee mug.

Scampi: No, no.  Listen Peter.

Peter: Don’t burn yourself.

Scampi: In my right hand, I’ve got the weather, the time of day.  That stuff.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: I am juggling my own hands.  I am flapping them at a birdcage full of nouns.

Peter: I don’t follow you.

Scampi: No, you don’t.

Peter: Hm.  At least that’s settled.

Scampi: I just thought it would be nice to talk about some stable items.  Otherwise the extrapolation might vanquish me.  On a day like today I mean.  Surely you can see this.

Peter: You look peakish.

Scampi: I’m afraid to look down.

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pt 23: HUMIDITY

Peter: Today I feel old.

 

Scampi: How adolescent of you.

 

Peter: (Glowers.)

 

Scampi: Can I touch your stubble?

 

Peter: No!

 

Scampi: But I want to see what it’s made of.

 

Peter: It’s made of hair.

 

Scampi: Imagine having hair coming out of your face!

pt 34: PHILOSOPHAURUS REX

Peter: Is the radio bothering you?

Scampi: I couldn’t care less.  It can’t be any worse than the static in my head.

Peter: This is not the fault of my radio.

Scampi: Nope.  I am reading about the constructivist approach to education.

Peter: [FOLDING SHEETS.] I much prefer the destructivist approach.

PETER LIFTS HIS ARMS LIKE A TYRANNOSAUR.

Peter: ARGH.  Children, today we will SMASH THINGS!

Scampi: Tee-hee.

Peter: We’ll start with THE STATE!

Scampi: That’s good.

Peter: [REFOLDING HIS SHEET.]  Thank you.

Scampi: Do it again.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: [SIGHS.]

Peter: Pum-tum-pum-ta-tum.

Scampi: What do you call it when someone looks at you all funny?  Funny and mean?

Peter: Tum-pum-ta-tum-pum.

Scampi: Fish-eyes?  No, stinkeye.

Peter: Ha.

Scampi: Someone gave me the stinkeye.

Peter: Oh?  Who was it?

Scampi: Don’t you know?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’m not telling.

Peter: You know what would be even more secretive than asking questions in this manner and then not answering them?

Scampi: What?

Peter: Not asking in the first place!

Scampi: Well, that’s not very nice.  Anyway, I did answer.

Peter: I disagree.

Scampi: Maybe you were just too busy humming to yourself to notice.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Should we talk about the Frankfurt school?

Peter: Should we what?

Scampi: Well, should we?

Peter: Why would we do that?

Scampi: I dunno.  It could make you appear more cultured.

Peter: I am highly cultured.

Scampi: Of course you are.

Peter: I am a highly cultured individual.

Scampi: Naturally.  I just thought we could expose that some more.

PETER CONSIDERS THIS.

Scampi: (aside) While Peter isn’t listening, I would like to point out that he knows a lot less than some about the Frankfurt school.  I bet he doesn’t even know where Frankfurt is.  Ha.  Haha.

Peter: What are you laughing about?

Scampi: Hee hee.

Peter: You’re nuts.

Scampi: Haw haw haw haw.  I bet you don’t even know where Frankfurt is!

PETER STOPS MIDWAY RUNNING HIS HAND THROUGH HIS HAIR.

Scampi: Hahahahaha.  Your hair!  You look like Einstein in the bath!

Peter: You sure have ants in your pants today.

Scampi: [respiratory difficulties] Oh, Peter.  You make philosophy accessible to us all.

Peter: [flustered.)  Well.

Scampi: Here.  Let me help you out with those sheets.

pt 136: I’M SORRY, PUSHKIN

Scampi: [YAWNS.]

Peter: Excuse me.

Scampi: Hm?

Peter: Your hand seems to be waving about in front of my spectacles.

Scampi: Ah, yes.  [YAWNS.] Like this?

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Oh, look.

Peter: Mm?

Scampi: Ripe mulberries. They are falling all around us.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Here, have one.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: I couldn’t possibly.

Scampi: That’s incorrect.  You could.

Peter: Please.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Could you – ?

Scampi: Could I what? Have a mulberry.

Peter: Very well.

Scampi: Chomp. Delicious.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know they kept fighting on the Western Front even after the war was done, right?

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: They kept fighting.  And dying.

Peter: Well then, the war was not done.

Scampi: Officially, I mean.  The peace had been signed.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: They kept it up.  They kept on sending out black telegrams and smoking cigarettes.

Peter: What does smoking cigarettes have to do with it?

Scampi: I don’t know, Peter.  I didn’t start the fire.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Pushkin was the Shakespeare of Russia, you know.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: Didn’t you know that?

Peter: I do not know what you are trying to say.

Scampi: Because of how good he was, and that sort of thing.

Peter: Because of his Bardic qualities?

Scampi: Kharms said he couldn’t grow a beard.  Or a moustache, or whatever.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yeah.  Because of how much he contributed to the language. He was worth his weight in new words.

Peter: How much did he weigh?

Scampi: Really! That’s a private matter.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: If you were Pushkin, I would say, ‘I’m sorry, Pushkin.’

Peter: Ah.  And who would you be?

Scampi: That has nothing to do with it.

Peter: [CLEARS A RUBYTHROATED HUMMINGBIRD FROM HIS THROAT.]

Scampi: Oh, look.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: It vanished into the sun.

Peter: What did?

Scampi: Just now.

Peter: Apparently, I missed this miraculous event.

Scampi: I’ll say.

PETER EMITS A DELICATE, INVISIBLE COUGH.

Scampi: Sometimes, this is more difficult than others.

Peter: Yes. 

PAUSE.

Peter: What is?

Scampi: Everything.

Peter: Yes.

pt 73: LUSTRE, BALUSTRADE

Scampi: Whew! Hahh!

 

Peter: You seem to be out of breath.

 

Scampi: Not completely.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Pretty damn close, though.

 

Peter: Excuse me? Do you want a coffee of your own?

 

Scampi: No, no. That sip’ll do me.

 

Peter: (DISAPPROVES.)

 

Scampi: Remember Mr. Bannister?

 

Peter: Who?

 

Scampi: Bannister comma Mr.

 

Peter: Was he your childhood etiquette teacher?

 

Scampi: No.

 

Peter: If so, I wouldn’t mind having a word or two with him.

 

Scampi: Come on.

 

Peter: Nope.

 

Scampi: How about, Sir. Roger. (Gilbert.) Bannister. No?

 

Peter: Dramatic pauses notwithstanding, I have no idea what you’re on about.

 

Scampi: Way to stay abreast of current events, Peter. He ran the four minute mile, of course.

 

Peter: Current events? In what year did this happen?

 

Scampi: Nineteen fifty four.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: You probably don’t even know what year it is right now. Who could blame you?

 

Peter: Certainly not you.

 

Scampi: Absolutely.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: The four-minute-mile, eh? Pretty impressive stuff.

 

Peter: I suppose there is a body of documentation on this.

 

Scampi: You suppose!

 

Peter: I do.

 

Scampi: Sure there is. Famous.

 

Peter: Fame is fleeting, we are told.

 

Scampi: And the fleet are famous.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi: When they are fleet enough.

 

Peter: Fleetingly famous, anyhow.

 

Scampi: Flight-footed. What a guy.

 

Peter: Can I help you today?

 

Scampi: What do you mean?

 

Peter: Perhaps you’d rather be chatting with Sir Bannister.

 

Scampi: Indeed!

 

PETER SULKS.

 

Scampi: This is not be, however.

 

Peter: I do not sulk.

 

Scampi: (Peter doth protest too much!)

 

Peter: I heard that.

 

Scampi: Sure you did.

 

Peter: I did.

 

Scampi: I am sure of it. Moving along, you look a little shaky.

 

Peter: I do?

 

Scampi: You do. Are you quite well?

 

Peter: I am in perfect health. Of course.

 

Scampi: Of course.

 

Peter: Perhaps I am slightly.

 

Scampi: Yes?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Slightly what?

 

Peter: In fact, I am in perfect health. I cannot complain.

 

Scampi: A laughable falsehood.

 

Peter: What’s this?

 

Scampi: You cannot complain. You were saying.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: You seem lonely.

 

Peter: (scoffs.)

 

Scampi: Your hair seems lonely.

 

Peter: What are you suggesting? That I’m falling victim to male pattern baldness?

 

Scampi: No. Would you like a sucker?

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: Hard candy, you know. On a stick.

 

Peter: No, no.

 

Scampi: Hold on. I’ve got, uh, raspberry and butterscotch. Hey?

 

Peter: I couldn’t possibly.

 

Scampi: Go on.

 

PETER SELECTS THE BUTTERSCOTCH.

 

Scampi: How’s that?

 

Peter: Mrgh. Hh.

 

Scampi: They kind of stick to the back of your teeth though.

 

Peter: Mm.

 

Scampi: Have you ever read the Bible?

 

Peter: (choking sounds.)

 

Scampi: You know, you’re supposed to hold on to the stick part. Not swallow it.

 

Peter: Yes. I realise.

 

Scampi: So, have you?

 

Peter: A few relevant passages.

 

Scampi: There’s a great deal of adventure in there, isn’t there?

 

Peter: This depends on what you consider to be adventure.

 

Scampi: Oh, you know me, Peter.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: Well, you know. General excitement. Quests, and the like.

 

Peter: You are fond of a quest.

 

Scampi: Aren’t you?

 

Peter: I suppose having a specific goal is pleasant. It certainly can’t hurt.

 

Scampi: Remember when you said you never go fishing?

 

Peter: Not exactly, but it’s true enough.

 

Scampi: True enough? You never go fishing.

 

Peter: I do not. Correct.

 

Scampi: That was sort of poignant.

 

Peter: How so?

 

Scampi: Maybe you’ve always wanted to. It’s very touching.

 

Peter: I wouldn’t say that.

 

Scampi: That’s what makes it so touching. You look a little wobbly on your feet today. Did you know that?

 

Peter: I believe you are seeing things.

 

Scampi: I am. I’m observing.

 

Peter: Things that are not there.

 

Scampi: Aren’t they?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Are the shackles of the quotidian weighing you down?

 

Peter: Not unduly, no.

 

Scampi: What is then?

 

Peter: What is what?

 

Scampi: (That is a separate question.) What’s weighing you down?

 

Peter: Nothing.

 

Scampi: So, you’re floating.

 

Peter: Floating?

 

Scampi: To put it another way, what are you using for ballast?

 

Peter: Are you suggesting I’m some kind of hot air balloon?

 

Scampi: Ha! Possibly. Or a ship.

 

Peter (pensively): Yes, or a ship.

 

Scampi: I hope I’m not upsetting you.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Presumably that’s what the ballast is for.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Whatever it is.

 

Peter: I just remembered.

 

Scampi: Hm?

 

Peter: I have several things to do.

 

Scampi: You and what army?

 

Peter: Some items on the old to do list.

 

Scampi: What a to-do!

 

Peter: I just remembered.

 

Scampi: That’s a good sign. Normal brain function.

 

PETER CASTS HIS FOREHEAD INTO HIS HANDS LIKE DOUGH.

 

Scampi: Did you hear that?

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Just now. Like, a fighter jet.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: It flew overhead.

 

Peter: That was me, moaning.

 

Scampi: No it wasn’t.

 

Peter: I didn’t hear it.

 

Scampi: It was louder than you. It was doing a polka on the sound barrier.

 

Peter: While my background in physics is not at, say, the doctoral level –

 

Scampi: So you didn’t hear it?

 

Peter: I heard nothing.

 

Scampi: Your head was in your hands.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: This fighter jet flew overhead. Right over our heads.

 

Peter: I didn’t see it.

 

Scampi: I could feel it. You couldn’t feel it?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: It shook my bones.

 

PETER RUBS HIS EYES, DELICATELY.

 

Scampi: Like a jeep ride across the archipelago.

 

Peter: I have never been on this journey.

 

Scampi: It’s a bumpy one.

 

Peter: I am getting that impression.

 

Scampi: You know why they call them suckers, Peter? Because you’re supposed to suck on them.

 

PETER PICKS MUTELY AT HIS TEETH.

 

Scampi: As opposed to, say, crunching them up all at once. I don’t mind though. You do what you must.

 

Peter: I do.

 

Scampi: A ship at sea.

 

Peter (sharply): What about it?

 

Scampi: About, on a ship, means turning around.

 

Peter: I was aware of this.

 

Scampi: You were. Interesting.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have you ever owned a tuxedo?

 

Peter: No. Why?

 

Scampi: No reason.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Only I can picture you in one, at the top of a spiral stair, right?

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: With your hair sort of on end. Clutching the balustrade.

 

Peter: This is all very appealing, of course.

 

Scampi: For dear life.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: There’s a party going on downstairs.

 

Peter: There is? Presently?

 

Scampi: No. In this picture.

 

Peter: Right. Of Tuxedoland.

 

Scampi: Everyone’s like, Peter, join the party won’t you? But there you are up top.

 

Peter: First we’re an aircraft carrier. Now this.

 

Scampi: Like I said, clutching the balustrade. As if your very life depended on it.

 

Peter: And what is the purpose of this illustration? If I may be so bold?

 

Scampi: You may.

 

Peter: Well?

 

Scampi: Can’t you picture it?

 

Peter: This is some sort of stock photo, is it? From your catalogue.

 

Scampi: Something like that.

 

Peter: Well, fine.

 

Scampi: It comes in black and white, and colour. Either or.

 

Peter: Very nice.

 

Scampi: Which of us can run fastest, do you think?

 

Peter: I confess, I hadn’t thought about it.

 

Scampi: I suppose if I was running over to see you, it wouldn’t matter, would it?

 

Peter: This depends. Am I sitting still?

 

Scampi: You are now.

pt 125: HACKLES

Scampi: I guess I still do.

Peter: What do you still do?

Scampi: This is the saddest song.

Peter: I hear no song.

Scampi: That’s a separate debate.

Peter: Humph.

Scampi: Do you know what Caledonia is?

Peter: Scotland?

Scampi: Sometimes.

Peter: Yes.  And sometimes we call it “Scotland”.

Scampi: No, no.

Peter: No?

Scampi: No.

PREGNANT PAUSE.

Scampi: Sometimes it could mean something else.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Such as the coal mines of Glace Bay.

Peter: In Nova Scotia?

Scampi: Not to be confused with New Caledonia.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You’ll find that there aren’t too many happy songs about miners.

Peter: You are correct.  This is something that I have found.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: The hardships of life in the mines have been well-publicised.

Scampi: What?

Peter: I said –

Scampi: I know what you said.  You think that’s tacky?

Peter: That you heard what I said?  I think it is perhaps unusual.

Scampi: You think the hardships of life in the coal mines is tacky?

Peter: That, for example, is not what I said.

Scampi: It was the way you said it.

Peter: Oh?  What way was that?

Scampi: You’re the one who said it.  I’m sure you know how you said it.

Peter: There was nothing wrong with my diction.

Scampi: Diction, quite frankly, is the least of your troubles.

Peter: My troubles?

Scampi: Of course, that’s what they called it in Northern Ireland.  The Troubles.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What do you know?

Peter: Doubtless I know very little, in comparison to your majestic self.

Scampi: Ho ho.  Majestic!  Don’t mind if I do!

PETER PREENS CRABBILY IN THE WINDOW.

Scampi: Look at you.  You cobra.

Peter: I am demonstrating my feathers to best advantage.

Scampi: That’s evident.

Peter: [re: what Peter clearly just said] I would never say that.

Scampi: Sure.  The question is, for whose benefit is this occurring?

Peter: I am simply looking out the window.

Scampi: Oh, of course.  Now he looks out the window.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: You’re like a serpent coquette, gyrating for the local snakecharmer.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Dancing around in your basket for all the market to see.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Time to cross your eyes and go back to bed.

Peter: Are you saying that snakes cross their eyes?

Scampi: So, you think of yourself as a snake?

Peter: I don’t cross my eyes.  And I don’t believe it’s actually possible for a snake to cross its eyes.

Scampi: Aha!  So you are a snake!

Peter: That is a perversion of logic.

Scampi: Excessive vanity is the perversion of a healthy ego.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Sorry?

Peter: What does that even mean?

Scampi: Sorry?

Peter: I said, What does that mean?

Scampi: You don’t know what sorry means?  (Unsurprising.)

Peter: ARGH.

Scampi: Woah.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, there’s no need to get upset.

PETER’S HAIR STANDS UP ON END.

Scampi: You’re so punk rock.

Peter: I assure you, it is unintentional.

Scampi: You know what’s unintentional?

Peter: Do enlighten me.

Scampi: Participating in history.  This is unintentional.

Peter: How so?

Scampi: You have to do something intentional to not participate in history.  Tu t’en tires.  Or.  Tu t’en tire une balle.

Peter: I do not know what that means.

Scampi: Oh, naturally.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you believe that the Troubles are over?

Peter: In Ireland?  They are over.

Scampi: Technically.  Your troubles, however, are not.

Peter: Likely not.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know, sometimes I look out at the sky and see birds in a vee formation.

Peter: Up at the sky.

Scampi: No.  Out.  In the direction of the horizon.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: There they are, flapping all around.

Peter: This is a common activity for birds.

Scampi: Not penguins.

Peter: Or ostriches.

Scampi: Ostriches, Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: How ridiculous.  I’m talking about birds in flight.

Peter: Such as “not penguins”.

Scampi: Right.  I wonder if the birds have any idea of the sorts of longings they engender in terrestrial types such as myself.

Peter: Surely not.

Scampi: What are you, a bird-reader?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Flock psychology?  Cygnet Freud?

Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: Have you ever been to Caledonia?

Peter: [consulting a chart] New Caledonia?  The French-owned island in the – ?  Pacific.

Scampi: South-west Pacific.

Peter: There is no need to hyphenate.

Scampi: You know why they called it the Pacific?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Because it was so peaceful.

Peter: Yes, I knew that.

Scampi: Because it was so blue.  Like yourself.

Peter: I am not blue.

Scampi: Nor black, like a miner.

Peter: I do not have coal soot on my face.

Scampi: That is your good luck.

Peter: You may choose to see it that way.

Scampi: I do.  So you’ve never been to Caledonia.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Me neither.  This is a very sad song.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I thought you said you couldn’t hear it.

Peter: I couldn’t.

pt 110: THE NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

Scampi: Ai.

Peter: This is a strange noise.

Scampi: Please, don’t mind me.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I would like to discuss some of the socio-politico-geodesical implications.

Peter: As you know, I am apolitical.

Scampi: This is nothing to be proud of.

Peter: I didn’t say that!

Scampi: What?

Peter: Wait, did you say “geodesical”?

Scampi: And?  What if I did?

Peter: I don’t understand.

Scampi: What else is new?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Remember when we were talking about pirates?

Peter: On numerous occasions.

Scampi: Incorrect.  Anyway, I’m not interested in having a conversation about murder, and that sort of thing.  I am interested in having a conversation about ADVENTURE ON THE HIGH SEAS.

Peter: You had planned to reprovision in Madagascar.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: You do remember our conversations!

Peter: This should not be a surprise.

Scampi: Well, you know what a geodesic dome is, of course.

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Those things are great.

Peter: Innately?

Scampi: Have you ever seen one that wasn’t great?

Peter: Great how?

Scampi: Like, Oh, excellent, a geodesic dome!

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Ha!  You see?

Peter: You are certainly in a mood.

Scampi: I am not.  Jerk.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: You know what else?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Familiarity breeds contempt.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: So, obviously I’m not in a mood.  As you put it.

Peter: I fail to see the sense in this line of reasoning.

Scampi: Maybe you should get your eyes checked.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Don’t sigh at me.

PAUSE.

SCAMPI SIGHS LOUDLY.

Scampi: Haw haw.  Now I see why you sigh all the time.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: It’s fun!

SCAMPI SIGHS FIVE TIMES IN A ROW.

Scampi: I could be a professional!

Peter: [inadvertently] SIGHS.

Scampi: Ahahahahahaha!  Amazing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I’m sure you would enjoy the life of a buccaneer.

Peter: I am very distracted by all the important work I have to do.

Scampi: This would be true, if you were a buccaneer.  Imagine what we would call our boat.

Peter: Our boat?

Scampi: Yes, our boat.  Oh, was that a name suggestion?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I like it.  In lettering on the prow – what kind of lettering, do you think?

Peter: Roman.

Scampi: No, no.  I am asking about the font.

Peter: I have no idea.

Scampi: Well, how about Comic Sans, then?

Peter: No!

Scampi: I knew you had an opinion on this.

Peter: We do not have a boat.

Scampi: We don’t have one yet.  Per se.

Peter: We don’t have one at all.

Scampi: Untrue!

Peter: I am feeling restless.

Scampi: Perfect.

Peter: I want to go for a walk.

Scampi: You can go for a walk once we land on the Malabar Coast.

Peter: Of India?

Scampi: Where did you think we were going?  Sudetenland?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Look at the sunset.  It is a sad sight.

Peter: It is a gaseous orb.

Scampi: That’s what I said.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: When the light is gone, it will get cold very quickly.

pt 111: FUITE EN AVANT

Scampi: Forfooth!

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Forfooth!  Haw haw.

Peter: I am not following.

Scampi: Get it?

Peter: Fourth hoof?

Scampi: On a tri-legged horse.  Ha.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: No, no.  “My fweete lady!”

Peter: Tweet?

Scampi: FWEET.

PETER STARES BLANKLY.

Scampi: See, the effs are esses.  Get it?

Peter: No.

Scampi: In an old-fashioned song. I am being a classical text.

Peter: Oh, of course.  A classical text.

Scampi: Look.

SCAMPI SPELLS IT OUT FOR POOR, SLOW PETER.

Peter: What are you saying about me?

Scampi: Nothing.  I haven’t said a thing.

Peter: I suspect this is untrue.

Scampi: Suspect?  Did you hear me say anything?

Peter: Not quite.

Scampi: Well then.

PAUSE.

Scampi: In the classical days, all the effs were esses.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I mean, the other way around.  Are you even listening to me?

Peter: Yes.  My attention is currently centred on your fascinating discourse.

Scampi: Thank you.

Peter: YAWNS.

Scampi: How rude.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Did you know, it’s polite to cover your gigantic maw when you yawrp like that?

Peter: Oh, do excuse me.  You are, as usual, a beacon of social grace in the wild darkness of my neverending font of sloth.

Scampi: I certainly am.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Yes.  Today I feel like a hundred pieces of myself.  Like each of the leaves on the trees.  Which are falling.  The leaves are, I mean.  The trees are not.

Peter: What trees?

Scampi: The trees in the park, of course.

Peter: Ah yes.  They are not falling.

Scampi: No, they are not.  Unless you’re planning to chop them down.  I wouldn’t put it past you.

Peter: That was not a part of my plans.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: Really.

Scampi: So, you have plans?

Peter: What do you mean?

Scampi: You just said you did.

Peter: Did I?

Scampi: You said, “This was not part of my plans, to cut them parky trees down”.

Peter: Ahem.  I do not believe those were my exact words.

Scampi: That was the meat of it.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: So, you have plans.  As you said yourself.

Peter: In an unspecific fashion, I suppose.

Scampi: What are you planning?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: A coup d’état?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh, can I be in it?

Peter: I am not planning a coup.

Scampi: I would be great in it.

Peter: Doubtless.

Scampi: I could make all the posters.  I am very competent in bubble and three-dimensional lettering techniques.

Peter: Competent in bubble?

Scampi: Bubble letters.  They look like balloons.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: As you well know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Sometimes I have a great urge to stare up at the night sky.

Peter: Well, don’t let me stop you.

Scampi: From what?

Peter: Observing the dome of heaven.

Scampi: At night.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: But it’s not night.

Peter: You are correct: it is not night.

Scampi: This makes it hard to see the stars.

Peter: You are chock-full of keen observations today.

Scampi: Who made you the big expert?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.  What are you doing tonight?

Peter: I’m busy.

Scampi: Want to observe the stars through the fractal trees?

Peter: I believe this is a misuse of the word “fractal”.

Scampi: You would.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s kaleidoscopic, how I feel.

Peter: Perhaps you should sit down.

Scampi: Perhaps I can feel your heartbeat.

Peter: This is highly unlikely, from across the room.

Scampi: We aren’t in a room.

Peter: I thought we were.

Scampi: I don’t think we are.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: We are in a field.

Peter: This is implausible.

Scampi: A field of stones.

Peter: A quarry?

Scampi: How dark.

Peter: You have something against quarries?

Scampi: Don’t you?  With a name like Peter.

Peter: No.

Scampi: What do you think the difference is, do you think?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: I mean the difference between the rocks being made and the rocks being broken.

Peter: [boomingly] Perhaps they are one and the same.

Scampi: There’s no need to narrate like that.  Perhaps they are one and the same.

Peter: I was not disagreeing.

Scampi: Sure, sure.  Like a broken plate.

Peter: I am like a broken plate?

Scampi: No, the mess is the same.  The mess of the pieces on the kitchen floor, and the mess of the plate when it was whole.

Peter: Pottery is a messy business.

Scampi: Ceramics.

Peter: A skilled trade.

Scampi: This whole thing.  It’s a messy business.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s a mess, Peter.

Peter: You seem agitated.

PAUSE.

Peter: Is it really necessary to stare like that?

Scampi: In fact, it is.

pt 90: WHAT THE STARS LOOK LIKE

Scampi: Takin’ it easy on a Sunday!

Peter: It isn’t Sunday.

Scampi: Who cares?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Why?  It doesn’t matter.

Peter: In that case, why did you say that?

Scampi: It’s just something I wanted to say.  It doesn’t matter what day it is.

Peter: If it doesn’t matter what day it is, then I don’t see why you had to mention the day.  That it isn’t.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Lower your voice.

Scampi: Come on.  It can be whatever day we want.

Peter: That is incorrect.

Scampi: No, it isn’t.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Nope.  Isn’t.

Peter: It has to be the day that it is.

Scampi: Oh really?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Interesting.  So, what day is it?

Peter: I –

Scampi: Ha!  Foiled again!

Peter: Really.

Scampi: I like to think that we’re sitting on some lawn chairs.  You know.  On the porch, on the lawn.  Howsoever it may be.

Peter: Right now?

Scampi: Right now.  Sitting in our Muskoka chairs, our Adirondack chairs.  The low buzz of insects.

Peter: What sort of insects?

Scampi: Oh, Mr Inquisitive!

Peter: [offended] I was taking a polite interest.

Scampi: That’ll be the day.

PAUSE.

Scampi: We’re sitting in the sun.  And the shade.  I mean, we’re not being assaulted by the sun, but it’s sunny out.  What do you think of that?

Peter: I hope I am wearing a hat.

Scampi: Yes, yes.  It’s all taken care of.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You’re reading the paper.  No, I’m reading the paper.  I’m reading all the weird bits aloud.  To you.  It’s starting to get on your nerves.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: You see what I’m saying?

Peter: Suburban life has its trials and tribulations.

Scampi: No!

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: You were there with me!  That’s what I’m saying.

Peter: Where?

Scampi: With the paper.  And the reading and the sun and shade.  And the insects.

Peter: I was not.  I was here.

Scampi: But you thought you were there.

Peter: Untrue.

Scampi: Oh, for a moment.

PAUSE.

Scampi: How many constellations do you know?

Peter: Personally?

Scampi: No, no.  Like, how many can you tell what they are?

Peter: Several.

Scampi: Like what?

Peter: That’s the Big Dipper.

Scampi: In Ireland they called it The Plough.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: It’s true.

Peter: Did I say that I disbelieved you?

Scampi: You implied it.

Peter: In what way?

Scampi: With your tone.

Peter: A simple misinterpretation of my tone on your behalf, I assure you.

Scampi: Oh, right.

Peter: Don’t antagonise me.

Scampi: I wasn’t.

Peter: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The plow.  Furrows and furlongs.  What else?

Peter: I am not an expert on farming.

Scampi: What about astronomy?

Peter: There is the lure of celestial bodies, to be sure.

Scampi: Yes.  Like Tycho Brahe.

Peter: What about him?

Scampi: The Swedish astronomer with the golden nose.  (Or Danish.)

Peter: I am aware of this personage.

Scampi: I know.  I thought we were talking about astronomy.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What else do you know about him?

Peter: Other than his gilt prosthetic proboscis?

Scampi: Uh huh.

Peter: He worked with Kepler.

Scampi: In Prague.

Peter: I believe so.

Scampi: I can just see it.

Peter: With Kepler, he developed the first three laws of planetary motion.

Scampi: Of course!

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: The heavens!

Peter: I’m not sure what you mean.

Scampi: They probably looked up a lot and said things like, “the heavens”.

Peter: Uh.  Possibly.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Oh sorry.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: I thought that was your hand.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Do you feel smaller?

Peter: Than what?

Scampi: Looking at the stars?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You don’t?

Peter: Smaller than a star?

Scampi: Smaller than yourself.

Peter: That is impossible.

Scampi: Is not.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I mean like, smaller than you think of yourself being.  This is a commonly understood concept.

Peter: That is no defence of its veracity, methinks.

Scampi: Showoff.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Oh, look: a shooting star.

Peter: I did not see it.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: Truly.

Scampi: Yeah.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I didn’t see it either.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: I wanted to say that, though.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Anyway, there might’ve been one.

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: Of course there could have.  It has to be possible.

Peter: That a shooting star could exist?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: We inhabit a garden of possibilities, Peter.

Peter: You are fond of repeating this.

Scampi: It’s true.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I put the paper down on the grass.  We are looking out at that gorgeous sunset.

Peter: We are lost out here.

Scampi: With the stars.

pt 129: NOUGHTS & CROSSES

Scampi: Let’s have a strategic plenary session.

Peter: To what end?

Scampi: I’m just giving you an example of how people talk.

Peter: Well-executed.

Scampi: [SHUDDERS.]

Peter: Are you chilly?

Scampi: No.  Although I hear the river Jordan is.

Peter: One would imagine it to be temperate.

Scampi: What do you know about it?

Peter: [AFFRONTED.]

Scampi: Do you need a new pair of shoes?

Peter: Perhaps.  No.

Scampi: For our new set of adventures, I mean.

Peter: Did we have an old set of adventures?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: It’s important to go out into the world equipped with adequate footwear.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: Well, that’s what I’m saying.

Peter: No one doubts your expertise when it comes to footwear.

Scampi: In fact, I am too warm.  Like a woolly sheep in spring.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Well, what are we going to do?

Peter: Are we shepherds?

Scampi: What?  No.

Peter: What are we going to do about what?

Scampi: I don’t know.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: I am not sure what happens next, you see.

Peter: No one is sure of that.

Scampi: No one?  Pfft.

Peter: If you don’t want my opinion,

Scampi: Opinions?  Who said anything about opinions?

Peter: In my opinion, you did.

Scampi: This is not the juncture to introduce subjective lollygagging into the conversation.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: This is a time for action!

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Action!  Let’s direct a western!

Peter: Why would we do that?

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Firstly,

Scampi: No, no.  This could be our big break.

Peter: There’s no business like show business.

Scampi: I propose we call our picture “The Adventures of Peter and Scampi”.

Peter: I feel that would be uncomfortable.

Scampi: What?

Peter: For us.

Scampi: Nonsense.

Peter: I don’t think that it would be possible.  At this time.

Scampi: That’s ridiculous.  It’ll be about two birds named, say, Scampi and Peter.  They’re riding across the wild west, looking for the horizon.  When they find it, there’s a big party.  Everyone attends.  A Mexican fiesta.  Yeehaw!

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: What could possibly go wrong?

Peter: It is a risky strategy.  I believe.

Scampi: How so?

Peter: Well, it seems, perhaps –

Scampi: Spit ‘er out there, pardner.

Peter: Autobiographical.

Scampi: What?

Peter: The storyline.

Scampi: That’s absurd!

Peter: Is it?

Scampi: Certainly.

Peter: Some of the facts do seem to line up, you know.

Scampi: With what?

Peter: With what is already there.

Scampi: What are you talking about?

Peter: Us.

Scampi: What about us?

Peter: Our western sounds a lot like us.

Scampi: That’s madness.  We’re not birds.

PENSIVELY, PETER BURIES HIS BEAK IN HIS FEATHERS.

Peter: I just don’t know if we’re ready for the movies.

Scampi: You’ll be a star!

Peter: I feel a sense of foreboding.

[DANGEROUS INSTRUMENTALS.]

Scampi: No fear.  That’s just the score.

Peter: What are you doing?

Scampi: Now?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

FIN.