pt 119: TOUGH

Scampi: Look at the sky!  What a grisly fog.

Peter: The sky is grey.

Scampi: Grizzled.  In sable silvered.

Peter: It is to be expected.

Scampi: Oh yeah.

PETER COORDINATES A SERIES OF PRIVATE MOMENTS WITH HIMSELF.

Scampi: What are you doing?

Peter: Reading.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I had the strangest dreams.

Peter: And you are ascribing this occurrence to the barometric pressure?

Scampi: Of course I ain’t!  My comments on the grazing fog are separate from my comments on the strange dreams.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Grazing fog.

Peter: Yes, grazing fog.

Scampi (expectantly): Yes!

Peter: Why are you looking at me like that?

Scampi: Nothing.  Grazing.

Peter: You keep repeating this word.

Scampi: I know!  It doesn’t make any sense.

Peter: Agreed.

Scampi: Like smouldering chunks of the petrified forest.

Peter: Yes.  That is also nonsense.

Scampi: I dreamed I met a Galilean.

Peter: Pilate?

Scampi: Peter?

PAUSE.

Scampi: No, but really.  How can there be a cherry that’s got no stone?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, seed, if you prefer.

Peter: I have no preference.

Scampi: Quel surprise.  In my opinion, a cherry when it’s blooming is not a cherry.

Peter: A cherry tree?

Scampi: A cherry flower.  The blossom on the tree.  Is that a cherry to you?

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: In the sense of a cherry.  That you put in your mouth.

Peter: I would not put a cherry blossom in my mouth.

Scampi: Well, no.  Although perhaps you should.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I can see it now!  Peter with a mouthful of cherry blossoms.

Peter: Distasteful.

Scampi: Likely bitter.  Let’s go try it out.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Let’s fill up your mouth with cherry blossoms and see what happens.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome!  Let’s do it.

Peter: I regretfully decline.

Scampi: You liar.  Regretfully nothing.

Peter: I dislike it when you accuse me of lying.

Scampi: I dislike it when you lie about your declinations.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Declensions!  Anyway, a flower is not a fruit.  I think we can agree on that.

Peter: What makes a fruit a fruit?

Scampi: It’s about the seeds and the juiciness and things.  In biology.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: The seeds.  I mean, versus a berry.

Peter (suspiciously): Ah.

Scampi: If love was really a book, or a tale or whatever, then presumably it would end.

Peter: Unless it was the neverending story.

Scampi: The Neverending Story.  Which ended, of course.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Milk and eggs, jam and bread.

Peter: A fine shopping list.

Scampi: Shopping list!

Peter: List of ingredients?

Scampi: Could be, could be.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you like amber?

Peter: Who?

Scampi: The, uh, the thing.

Peter: The substance?

Scampi: Oh, the substance.  Hoity toity.  Yes.

Peter: What do you mean, do I like it?

Scampi: That’s what I mean.  Do you?

Peter: I hold nothing against it.

Scampi: Not even your own skin?  A palm full of amber beads?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: What is it made of?  Do you know?

Peter: Amber is made from.

Scampi: Yes?

Peter: It is a, ahem.

Scampi: Do you know what it is, or don’t you?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: Resin.

Scampi: I knew that.

Peter: [intake of atmosphere]

Scampi: I was just wondering.

Peter: Amber can contain plant and animal detritus.

Scampi: Detritus?  You mean corpses.

SCAMPI SHUDDERS.

Peter: Amber is a yellowish translucent fossilised resin deriving from extinct trees.

Scampi: Especially coniferous.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Showoff.

Peter: If you do not wish to hear an answer, please refrain from asking questions.

Scampi: Hey, chill out, bro.

Peter: I am not your brother.

Scampi: Of course you are, Peter.  We are all brothers.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: We all harden up like resin, I suppose.

PAUSE.

Peter: Are you suggesting that we contain fossilised insect life?

Scampi: Perhaps.  It’s all very mysterious, really.

Peter: Unnecessarily so.  We are not discussing an opaque material.

Scampi: Aren’t we?

Peter: Perhaps I have lost the train of thought.

Scampi: Probably ‘cause it left the platform an hour ago.  Oklahoma-bound!

PAUSE.

Scampi: I take that back.  Oklahoma makes me sad.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Indian Territory.  That’s what they called it, you know.

Peter: This is no longer what they call it.

Scampi: No.  But the germ of tragedy remains.

Peter: As in seed?

Scampi: Or stone.

Peter: Or resin-bound arthropod?

Scampi: Something hard, anyway.

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pt 52: NICKEL

Scampi: It is deep down in the earth.  Like, in the mines, but they aren’t mines, just rock below us.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Seams of, I dunno, emotion and like, raw material.

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

Scampi: That’s because I’m on an island in the middle of nowhere.  Or in the middle of Greenwich, if you’re going to get all longitudinal at me.

Peter: [SIGHS.]  Are you having a geographically-based episode or something?

Scampi: Episode?  Am I a teevee show?

Peter: You seem to be in a highly agitated state.

Scampi: What, like Arkansas?

Peter: Really.

Scampi: Ha ha.  Ho ho.

Peter: Come now.

Scampi:  Hey hey, ho ho, Peter wants my puns to go!

Peter: Jesus!

Scampi: Yes, Judas?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Oh.  Oops.  Uh.  Sorry?  Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: I’m only teasing.

Peter: To what end?

Scampi: I dunno.  I’m in a goofy mood.

Peter: You are giving me a migraine.

Scampi: Sorry.

Peter: Fine.

Scampi: I was thinking about all sorts of stuff.  I was thinking about precious metals and everything.

Peter: You had better go to bed.

Scampi: Aye, skip.  Full’n’bye.

Peter: Now.

Scampi: Oh, now?

Peter: Probably.

Scampi: I think you’re right.

pt 138: MA DOULEUR

Peter: Calm yourself.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Really.

Scampi: Who said I wasn’t calm?

Peter: You just did.

Scampi: Did not.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I know you’ve often had occasion to ignore the works of Paul Éluard.

Peter: Who?

Scampi: Precisely.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: We see a vision of ourselves in a glacial lake.

Peter: We do?

Scampi: Maybe.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Why not? The sun in the frozen water.

Peter: Ice?

Scampi: No. Water that is cold.  Frozen water.

Peter: Freezing water?

Scampi: Stop picking on me.  Jesus.

Peter: I am not picking on you.

Scampi: Oh, you feel the weight o’ the world, don’t ya?

Peter: That seems an excessive description.

Scampi: Impossible! Such insolence.

Peter: Naturally, no one would consider your illuminating ruminations to be insolent.

Scampi: Naturally. The pain of the world bounces back at us from the water. In the shape of sunlight.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes. The glacial lake.

Peter: What’s all this about a lake?

Scampi: I dunno.  What do you have against lakes?

Peter: Nothing.

Scampi: Imagine, if you will.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: You are standing on the shore.

Peter: I am?

Scampi: You are. The sun is on the water. The water is primordially frosty.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: You watch the light reflect off the water and your heart is full and also empty.  And the water is frozen and on fire.

Peter: Is this a metaphor?

Scampi: Stop that.

Peter: What?

Scampi: “Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,/And left the vivid air signed with their honor.”

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Spender. Stephen.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: What are you doing this afternoon?

Peter: I have no fixed arrangements, per se.

Scampi: Want to go sign the vivid air with our honour?

Peter: Well, perhaps.

Scampi: Great!

Peter: What will this entail?

Scampi: Oh, you know. It’ll be fun.

Peter: Perhaps I should change my coat.

Scampi: Formal wear is not required.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We can go down to the water.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: We can even remove our shoes.

Peter: Anything is possible.

Scampi: That’s correct.

pt 118: HILLS MADE OUT OF DUST

Scampi: I can’t quite put it into words.

Peter: I can’t hear you.

Scampi: I’m not mumbling!

Peter: Sorry?

Scampi: Urgh!

A PAUSE REPLETE WITH MAGENTA AND BANANA LEAVES.

Sacmpi: I wish I could explain this to you.

Peter: I am simply going about my daily life.  I am a busy man.

Scampi: You’re always a busy man.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: These days.

Peter: I have many responsibilities.

Scampi: Yeah, like what?

Peter: I have important work to do.  I have bills to pay.

Scampi: False.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Forget it.

SILENCE.

Scampi: Could I offer you a tiny cup of scalding coffee laced with cardamom?

Peter: Oh?  What’s this all about?

Scampi: This is one way to have coffee, between friends.

Peter: Were you intending to be friendly?

Scampi: Really!  Don’t be preposterous!

Peter: Ah.  This is one way to have coffee.

Scampi: Yes.  We might discuss the days gone by and the days to come.

Peter: And what of the days at hand?

Scampi: They are swarming me.  Like fishes and bees.

Peter: Is something amiss?

Scampi: I don’t think so.  I believe it is all right as rain.

Peter: Is it raining?

Scampi: Somewhere it is.  Presumably.

Peter: Is this a meteorological fact?  That it is raining in some location at all times?

Scampi: Well, isn’t it?

Peter: No.  Perhaps.

Scampi: Just not in Antarctica, the driest place on earth.

Peter: No.

Scampi: My mind is simply stuffed.

Peter: With Antarctic aridity?

Scampi: Absolutely not.  With emotions.

Peter: Er.

Scampi: I don’t even know what kind of a noise that is.

Peter: Eh?

Scampi: You’re like the Consul General of the British Isles.  With these noises.

Peter: That is not my present occupation, in fact.

Scampi: Well, it is in fiction.

A PLAINTIVE RATTLE OF MOURNING DOVES.

Scampi: Whereas I am so thrilled and lowly.

Peter: Holey?

Scampi: Amen!

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Low-some.  Down, down, in the depths of good cheer.

Peter: Is this the Homemaker’s Guide to Manic Depression?

Scampi: Oh, Peter.  Stop being so tense.  I’m simply explaining the state of affairs.

Peter: Well-stated.

Scampi: And speaking of the state of the nation, maybe you should go drape yourself in a colonial flag, like a cape, you know.

Peter: I have no reason to engage in such an activity.

Scampi: On the contrary, you love that sort of thing.

Peter: I feel I am being typecast.

Scampi: Typical.

Peter: There you go again.

Scampi: Don’t blame me for the faults of your feet.

Peter: That is a quote from something.

Scampi: Oho, “something”.  Well-cited.

Peter: It is not my task to cite your quotations for you.

Scampi: No, it certainly isn’t.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I am seeing a lot of beautiful things.  Of course.

Peter (yawning): Of course.

Scampi: Don’t let me disturb you with this familiar train of thought or anything.  But the beauty is manifesting itself differently.

Peter: I wonder if I should moisturise my beard.

Scampi: I don’t even know what’s being left behind.

Peter: Perhaps a residue of white flakes.

Scampi: Not in your beard, Peter.

Peter: Oh?  Where?

Scampi: With me.

Peter: You feel you are being left behind?

Scampi: No!

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: I’m trying to figure out these important things and all you do is talk about your beard.

Peter: Ah!  Thusly we see that in your estimation, my beard is unimportant.

Scampi: No, of course not.  Your beard is like a goddam christly miracle.  To me.  In its multitudinous bounty.

Peter: It is perhaps a touch full, of late.

Scampi: It is a thing in this world, anyway.

Peter: Or a portion of my face.

Scampi: Face shmace: we’re all things in this world.  Stack of dirhams in a treasury.

Peter: To whom does this treasury belong?

Scampi: One wonders.

pt 53: ENGLAND SWINGS

Scampi: I’ve been thinking about things.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Don’t get too excited, now.

Peter: I shall do my utmost to remain calm.

Scampi: Commendable.

Peter: Rather.

Scampi: Anyhow, I’ve been thinking.

Peter: The brain is a gift.

Scampi: Yes.  An evolutionary bouquet of surprises.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Cortex’s gold!  A big man on hippocampus!

Peter: Really.

Scampi: I saw you laughing at that.

Peter: Absolutely not.

Scampi: I saw you snickering into your handkerchief.

Peter: Now,

Scampi: Come on, Peter, don’t lie.

Peter: I am not a liar.

Scampi: Yes, yes.  And no one has accused you of being one.

Peter: You just –

Scampi: But back to the real revolution here, if you will.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: For starters, we have the beauty of the outdoors.

Peter: We do.

Scampi: We have the bare bones of trees, a huge sky.

Peter: Theoretically.

Scampi: I mean, obviously I’m not going to list off everything.  We could be here all day.

Peter: SHUDDERS.

Scampi: Well, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  Or anything.

Peter: Maybe you should go into weather forecasting.

Scampi: What a thing to say.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Preposterous.

Peter: It was just a suggestion.

Scampi: I bite my lip, and then a perfect cloud appears overhead.  A perfect, fluffy slice of cumulus.  I brush my hair out of my eyes, and the wind plays a minuet on the shingles across the street.  And you want me to go into weather forecasting!  Really.

Peter: Am I to infer that you believe there is a causal relationship between your facial tics and the current weather systems?

Scampi: Do you believe in God, Peter?

Peter: Well, I need a bit more context to answer that question.

Scampi: Right.  Ridiculous.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: I am so in love with the sun today.  And you just sit here punching me in the face with frozen slabs of like, Adorno.

Peter: I resent these accusations.

Scampi: While I present these adumbrations.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Do you feel like dancing?

Peter: No.

Scampi: This is unsurprising.

Peter: Yes.  Well.

Scampi: I feel like stretching my legs.

Peter: How do you plan to do that?

Scampi: I just need to find a long pond.  To leap over, you see.

Peter: You might get your feet wet.

Scampi: Well.  One of us has to.