pt 143: THE OCELOT & THE EAGLE

Scampi: It should be remembered of course that nothing is certain.

Peter: Certainly!

Scampi: Oh, look who’s decided to go all jocular all of a sudden.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: I, of course, am busy feeling up the grooves of history with my anthropologic tongue.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: It’s a textured approach.

Peter: Would you like some tea?

Scampi: Damn right.

PETER WRINKLES HIS NOSE IN DISTASTE LIKE AN ADOLESCENT SKUNK.

Scampi: Whatsa matter?

Peter: There is no matter.

Scampi: Except for the matter at hand, which is that you entertain the delicacy of a gourmand. Nobody knows why, mind you.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: It would be entirely possible to doze off in the shade of these reeds.

Peter: What reeds?

Scampi: The ones on the riverbank, of course.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: What I’m trying to explain, you know.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Well, it’s all very here and there. That’s all I’m saying.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: There’s no need to emit such a noise. I am not a dentist.

Peter: [huffily] I have never accused you of dentistry.

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Sometimes I feel so completely surrounded by history. As though it’s in my living room.

Peter: From my well-stuffed and starched perception of the universe, I can tell you that history is behind you. And the future is ahead, and no one is in your living room.

Scampi: I’ll believe that when I see it.

Peter: Time proceeds in a linear fashion.

Scampi: You have no way of knowing what’s going on in my living room while you loll about on a riverbank.

Peter: [peevishly] Nobody said we were on a riverbank.

Scampi: False! History cuddles you from all sides, like the words of your grandmothers.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: You just have to run through it.

Peter: Run through what?

Scampi: I don’t know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: To get to the other side?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I can’t think straight.

Peter: Yes. This is readily apparent.

SCAMPI TOSSES SPINY DARTS AT PETER’S HEAD, PLAYFULLY.

Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: Indeed. The people loved their maize. And eagles and snakes, and jaguars and frogs and human blood and sunshine.

Peter: People like many things.

Scampi: Yes. But we don’t build so many statues any more, do we?

Peter: I do not build statues.

Scampi: No. I could almost just drift off, in this dappled shade.

Peter: What time is it?

Scampi: I’m not sure. It’s either an hour earlier or an hour later.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: One can almost hear the gulls.

Peter: What gulls?

Scampi: From the nineteen-thirties. Calling out on an English beach.

Peter: Nonsense.

Scampi: The noises of the past are one simple eyelash away.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: See? That sigh wasn’t even yours. It was taken directly from the Regency Period.

Peter: You do natter on.

Scampi: Who are you, René Descartes?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Therefore you don’t think? Har har.

Peter: I admit the reeds are pleasant.

Scampi: I admit I don’t know what time it is. Luckily, you’re Peter and I’m Scampi.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Oh, look!

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: A coracle.

Peter: How suspicious.

Scampi: Quick, let’s climb in.

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: How else are we supposed to find out which way the river flows?

Peter: By standing in it?

Scampi: We aren’t statues, Peter.

Peter: No. We are not statues.

Scampi: Right.

Peter: What are we then?

Scampi: Sailors, apparently.

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pt 142: LOONS

Scampi: What saint looks after lovers?

Peter: Ah yes, the lives of the saints.

Scampi: There’s no need to be such a sourpuss.

Peter: This again.

Scampi: Says you. You know, we used to have two moons?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: One for each of us. ‘Cause we didn’t want to share.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: Nothing. Jupiter’s got lots.

Peter: Of moons? Certainly.

Scampi: No, for parking in.

PAUSE.

Scampi: [hums] Tell me old shipmates I’m takin’ a trip, mates.

Peter: How folksy.

Scampi: I am a volksmensch, after all. Imagine looking up at the sky and seeing two moons.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Of course, this isn’t very interesting for you. You probably look up at the sky and see two moons all the time. After a sufficient quantity of wine.

Peter: Indeed, this is not the case.

Scampi: Ooh, indeed. Tra-la-la.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I mean, maybe it wouldn’t make any difference. What do I know?

Peter: You seem to know a great deal about making noise.

Scampi: You would say that. That’s a precise example of something you would say.

Peter: I did say it.

Scampi: Typical.

Peter: No doubt you will now treat me to a delightful series of infantile musings – “Peter, pray tell me why is the sky blue? How deep is the ocean?”

Scampi: First of all – oh wait, and secondly, I bet you have no idea how deep the ocean is. And firstly, the sky is not blue.

Peter: Thank you for sharing this fresh take on chronology with me.

Scampi: That’s right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You’ve never really shown a huge interest in sharks. Would you say that’s fair comment?

Peter: I am not certain what this sort of judgment is intended to procure.

Scampi: Procure? What are you, a drygoods store?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Yes, I’d like a bolt of blue poplin and a pound of flour, please.

Peter: I am not a drygoods store.

Scampi: You know, most people don’t have the occasion to make such protestations.

Peter: I agree.

Scampi: It’s a little suspicious, don’t you think? That you feel the need to deny being a drygoods store?

Peter: Be that as it may, I am still most emphatically not a drygoods store.

Scampi: Well, whatever makes you feel comfortable. If you’d rather be thought of as a greengrocer, or what have you, I’m perfectly prepared to accommodate your manly whims.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Maybe it wouldn’t be that different. Two moons. Herds of brontosaurs chomping at will.

Peter: What connection does the apatosaurus have with the extra moon you’ve been bewailing all afternoon?

Scampi: Aftermoon. That’s what they should call this era.

Peter: You are a little geologist.

Scampi: That I am. I am imagining if the world was slightly different. Only slightly.

Peter: With two moons and one herd of thundering herbivorous lizards?

Scampi: Well, sure. Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference.

Peter: The tides might be different.

Scampi: But not the tides of our LIVES.

Peter: Good lord.

Scampi: You wake up one morning, right? Two moons are just fading from the white sky. Your wife is not in bed next to you because she is gone. She’s gone off to Kentucky to sit and strum the mandolin under the blue moons with some guy who isn’t you.

Peter: This is quite the tale.

Scampi: What’s a brontosaur here or there compared to your broken heart? That’s what I’d like to know.

Peter: My heart is not broken.

Scampi: What?

Peter: [abashed] My heart is not broken.

Scampi: Peter.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Don’t fib.

pt 140: FRUIT TREES

Scampi: I’ll draw it for you.

Peter: That really is not necessary.

Scampi: Let me make you this diagram.

Peter: To what end?

Scampi: I want to draw it out for you.  To make things clearer.

Peter: Are we in great need of clarity, all of a sudden?

Scampi: No, no.  It has come up on us, bit by bit.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You are like a rock on the seashore.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: In the sense that I said so.

Peter: Ah. Right.

Scampi: Baking in the sunshine like a loaf of wheat.

Peter: Loaf of wheat? What?

Scampi: Why are you so critical today?

Peter: Was I being critical?

Scampi: Yes. Very picky. For some reason. Which I do not know what it is.

Peter: Perhaps you are misinterpreting my words.

Scampi: Impossible!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever seen a cactus?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What, really?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I mean, not in a plant shop.  Or at the zoo.

Peter: They have cactuses at the zoo?

Scampi: Why shouldn’t they? People can have a cactus if they want.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: So, what? You’ve been to the desert, is that what you’re saying?

Peter: That is not what I am saying.

Scampi: Where did you see a cactus then?

Peter: I cannot recall.

Scampi: Humph. This all smacks of trickery.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Perhaps you were driving along one day in your little Volkswagen.

Peter: I do not own a Volkswagen.

Scampi: Oh look! sez you to yourself. It be a cactoos yonder.

Peter: I do not speak this way.

Scampi: You’re in a very disagreeable mood today.

Peter: I –

Scampi: What? Do you disagree? Ho, ho!

Peter: Really.

Scampi: And truly. Furthermore, I’d like to know where this boat is going.

Peter: Yes, wouldn’t we all.

Scampi: [craftily] So you admit we’re in a boat.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Please pay attention to the map. Do you have anything against maps?

Peter: Certainly not.

Scampi: That’s what I’m saying. We don’t want to end up on a shoal.

Peter: Naturally.

Scampi: Well.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What does the chart say?

Peter: [irritably] You haven’t given me a chart.

Scampi: Says you.

Peter: Indeed.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I suppose we could ease up. Drift awhile, fish for smelt in the noonday sun.

Peter: I shall simply tip my chapeau over my eyes like so, and avail myself of a siesta.

Scampi: La-de-da. For my part, I shall read aloud from the book of Deuteronomy.

Peter: I would really rather you did not.

Scampi: Heathen!

Peter: Please. There is no need to shriek like a mynah bird.

Scampi: And why not?

Peter: I am right here.

Scampi: Oh. Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Would you like a cushion?

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: The book of Deuteronomy is full of stiff necks, you know.

Peter: I am fine, thank you.

Scampi: Suit yourself.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know what?

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: The shore is so beautiful this afternoon. I feel like a plover.

Peter: Wonderful.

Scampi: Yes. Are you listening to me?

Peter: Mm. Certainly.

Scampi: Okay. What did I just say?

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Just checking.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Will I wake you if I catch a fish?

Peter: No thank you.

Scampi: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever been in love?

Peter: I think so.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Oh. Shall I wake you in case something exciting happens?

Peter: Such as?

Scampi: Uh, dragonflies.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Will you fall in love again, do you think?

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I am taking a nap.

Scampi: Yes, yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have I ever been in love?

Peter: I do not know.

Scampi: Oh.

pt 126: WE CAN’T ALL COME FROM SOMEWHERE

Scampi: Blah blah. Blah blah.

MUSICAL INTERLUDE.

Scampi: And so it goes.

Peter: Am I included in this?

Scampi: Peripherally, I suppose.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: But not really.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: If you’re going to sit on the tracks, you must sit next to them.

Peter: This does not parse.

Scampi: If you wish to sit down, amidst the urban landscape, you can’t get in the way of the train.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: It isn’t the point. It will cause you to miss the point.

Peter: I wouldn’t want to do that.

Scampi: Well, no.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you think of yourself as a scientist?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I don’t think of you as being a scientist.

Peter: Then we are agreed.

Scampi: If that’s how you want to see it.

Peter: Are we not agreed?

Scampi: Be it resolved.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Sometimes, you know, people put those spiky things on buildings. So the pigeons can’t sit on them.

Peter: This is true.

Scampi: Doesn’t that bother you?

Peter: No.

Scampi: No?

Peter: I must confess, it does not.

Scampi: Just wait ‘til I put spiky things on your desk chair. Then we’ll see what bothers you.

Peter: There is no need to be so threatening.

Scampi: Where you see no need, I see need everywhere.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: We are different creatures, you and I.

Peter: We are not a different species, however.

Scampi: How can you be so sure?

Peter: It is a fact.

Scampi: You and your facts. Facts have never stood up to anything.

Peter: What have you got against facts?

Scampi: What did Senator McCarthy have against facts?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Nothing at all. He just rolled on over, like a monster truck.

Peter: And you wish to take McCarthy’s attitude towards truth?

Scampi: I wish to inform you.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Facts are very nice in your little basement apartment.

Peter: I don’t have a basement apartment.

Scampi: In your little hibernation cave. But they won’t save you, in the end.

Peter: Do I require saving?

Scampi: That’s all I’m saying about that.

Peter: Very helpful.

Scampi: I am helpful. Not that you care.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You can see your breath.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: This is a sign.

Peter: Of respiration?

Scampi: Basically.