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 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 144: THE WARSAW PACT

Scampi: Isn’t it funny to you how a map can look like a bloodstain?

Peter: What?

Scampi: You heard me.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: It is meet to point out that I heard the words, but was unable to glean their meaning. In this context.

Scampi: Oh, this is how we’re talking today?

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: I ain’t the Pope. I ain’t the state o’ the nation. No pardons dispensed here.

Peter: I think you may have misunderstood the term “State of the Nation”.

Scampi: I am a mixologist.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Remember the Communist blob?

Peter: I believe that was ‘bloc’.

Scampi: Just a big red blob on a map. And now what?

Peter: Perhaps we should identify the appropriate cartographic terms before continuing.

Scampi: Nonsense. You never have any fun.

Peter: [pensively] No.

Scampi: See? Ghastly.

A GHOST STROLLS PAST, SELF-CONSCIOUSLY WRINGING ITS HANDS.

Scampi: What a world.

Peter: Wait, what’s going on here?

Scampi: I dunno. Nothing.

Peter: Did the power just go out?

Scampi: Who cares? That’s what I say.

Peter: You certainly do.

SCAMPI TOSSES A TEN-GALLON HAT IN THE AIR.

Scampi: Yeehaw!

Peter: My head. It spins.

Scampi: That’s not your normal sentence structure. Are you okay?

Peter: [dubiously] I suppose.

Scampi: Here we are, the kings of supposition. And no electric lightbulbs, to boot.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: That could be cathartic. Electric lightbulb-booting.

Peter: There is no need for violence.

Scampi: What about violins?

Peter: Well, yes. Violins yes.

Scampi: A full string section, of course.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: So you wouldn’t say, Ah history, the giant bloodstain?

Peter: I have never said such a thing.

Scampi: I have.

Peter: We are all aware of this.

Scampi: Good, good. This is an awareness program, after all.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Speaking of which, garrigue.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: Garrigue.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Do you know what that is?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Do you?

Peter: Not particularly.

Scampi: Scrub.

Peter: What?

Scampi: That’s what it is. Low-lying scrub. You know, like foliage. In the Mediterranean Basin.

Peter: Ah, the basin.

Scampi: Scrubs and shrubs. They change the taste of the air and the taste of the wine.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: A covering over the hills, running down to the sea.

Peter: I know what scrub is.

Scampi: One wouldn’t think so, to look at your neck.

Peter: I bristle at such remarks.

Scampi: I can see that.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I couldn’t get out of bed today.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Or perhaps I could. I can’t remember.

Peter: We all have beds. And difficulties.

Scampi: I suppose if this is a dream, I haven’t gotten out of bed yet. How shall I tell?

Peter: I thought we had abandoned this line of inquiry.

Scampi: You would say that, as a dream-figment. Trying to throw me off the scent.

Peter: Consciousness is not a children’s mystery novel.

Scampi: There’s no need to be so severe about everything. It’s not The Pilgrim’s Progress either, you know.

Peter: I am not a puritan.

Scampi: Don’t tell me. Tell them.

Peter: Who?

Scampi: I dunno.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: You seem a trifle skittish.

Peter: [skittishly] I am not.

Scampi: Mm. It seems darker.

Peter: It?

Scampi: The world. The weather.

Peter: We are preparing for a healthy bout of condensation, I would say.

Scampi: I concur.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Will we ever be heroes, Peter?

Peter: Why would we want to be heroes?

Scampi: Why wouldn’t we?

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 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 133: A BRITISH GENTLEMAN

Scampi: I have, which will unsurprise you, some few things to say.

Peter: I confess, it is undifficult to imagine such a circumstance.

Scampi: Yeah.  I know.  Some of what I have to say involves correspondence.

Peter: You plan to convey your thoughts in a letter?

Scampi: No.  I’ve just been thinking about the way people used to write to each other.

Peter: People can write to each other whenever they like.

Scampi: What if they can’t write?

Peter: Were you speaking about illiterate people?

Scampi: No.  I wasn’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Once upon a time, things were not so different from the way they are now.

Peter: Presumably.

Scampi: One British gentleman might address another.

Peter: This is most assuredly the case.

Scampi: The case now is one of a fragmented empire. And my de-masted heart.

Peter: This nautical analogy escapes me, I’m afraid.

Scampi: What are you talking about?

Peter: What are you talking about? You believe your left ventricle is seaworthy?

Scampi: Her Majesty’s Navy sailed upon a sea of tears.  Or something.

Peter: You seem distressed.

Scampi: I love it when you get all observant.  I’m, uh, so impressed.

Peter: There is no need to address me in this fashion.

Scampi: Fashion?  I love your style, Peter.

Peter: Oh, well.  I do what I can.

Scampi: You give tweed the stench of truth.  No one wears a garment like you do.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: King Arthur slept with his own sister.

Peter: Wasn’t she his half-sister?

Scampi: I’m pretty sure he got with both halves.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Beaufort slept with his own sister.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: He didn’t mean to.

Peter: I am unsure of where this is leading.

Scampi: Yes!  I know.  I am unsure of where this is leading.

PAUSE.

Scampi: A gentleman can express himself so beautifully.  And yet.

Peter: Many gentlemen do not express themselves well at all.

Scampi: Correct.  And a thing of beauty –

Peter: Is a Greek vase?

Scampi: Ha!  Look at us, slumming it on pottery row.

Peter: There is nothing wrong with a little crockery.

Scampi: Certainly not.  Certainly not.

Peter: You seem a touch out of spirits.

Scampi: Oh, there are plenty of spirits.  Stacked up high, a turbanful of ghosts.

Peter: A turban is quite a jaunty thing.  I enjoy a turban as well as the next man.

Scampi: What I want to know is, who’s the next man?

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: What’s that noise supposed to mean?

Peter: What noise?

Scampi: You just made a noise.

Peter: I don’t recall it.

Scampi: But you just did it.

Peter: I am sorry to disappoint you.

Scampi: Yeah, right.

Peter: That was uncalled for.

Scampi: Are you accustomed to being called for? By like, Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

Peter: I am accustomed to you brandishing my name with, ahem, vigour. If that applies.

Scampi: Someone has to apply himself with vigour.  Why not me?

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: “Indeed.”

PAUSE.

Scampi: I miss the ocean.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Didn’t I once accuse you of missing the ocean?

Peter: That sounds familiar.

Scampi: I want to spend some time by the shore.  Tonight.

Peter: Tonight?

Scampi: Yes.  That is what I want.

Peter: Hey.

Scampi: If you touch my shoulder in this manner, I might disintegrate.

Peter: Oh.  Are you having composition issues?

Scampi: Perhaps it is a question of salinity.

Peter: Of the ventricle?

Scampi: Thar she blows!

Peter: [produces spyglass] Aye.

Scampi: She’s afloat, you see.  The salt buoys her up.

PAUSE.

Peter: That’s well.

Scampi: [speaking into the wind] Better.

Peter: Better?

Scampi: Yes.  Yes.

pt 137: THE MAN WITH TWO UMBRELLAS, PART II

Scampi: Remember when we saw that man with two umbrellas?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: And we were like, Why does he have two umbrellas? It’s not even raining.

Peter: Why did he have two umbrellas?

Scampi: Maybe he was carrying an umbrella to his wife.

Peter: What a gentleman.

Scampi: That’s right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: His wife was at home in the gazebo with no umbrellas, waiting.

Peter: I suppose that is a possibility.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.  Does it?

Peter: Doubtless, there are more painful trials to be withstood than carrying an extra umbrella.

Scampi: I’ll say.

Peter: That was a good day.

Scampi: Why do you say that?

Peter: I do not know. Making conversation?

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Remember how I thought perhaps he was carrying his extra umbrella to his former self in case it rained on them both in the future?

Peter: That does sound familiar.  I suppose.

Scampi: Yes. We arm ourselves against the future.  We arm ourselves in solidarity with the past, even as we poke it with the sharp butts of our umbrellas.

Peter: We do?

Scampi: We do.  We have like, seventeen umbrellas.  Jesus Christ.  We’re like a goddam umbrella emporium around here.

Peter: You seem agitated.

Scampi: Oh ho! I wonder what’s giving you that idea!

Peter: Well,

Scampi: The notions you entertain, my friend.  Positively outlandish.

Peter: Well, you do seem a trifle – vigorous.

Scampi: Join the living, Peter.  We are a vigorous tribe.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Don’t look so put off.  You adore the filthy universe.

Peter: Please do not speak of the universe in this way.

Scampi: You love it.

Peter: I confess, I do.

Scampi: Good.  Good.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Imagine.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Two hundred years from now, or something, some lady’s waiting for you in the gazebo.  Waiting for some raingear to greet the day.

Peter: This is some sort of whimsical temporal jaunt, I take it?

Scampi: You certainly do. Throw an extra anorak in your satchel and embrace the future!

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Is your throat sore?

Peter: Not quite.

Scampi: Excellent.  We should carry extra lunches.

Peter: Are we carrying any lunches?

Scampi: We might be.  Who doesn’t like lunch?

Peter: Late risers, perhaps.

Scampi: No, no.  Late risers simply prefer late lunches.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We will carry extra lunches for our future selves.  And extra socks.  And extra brains!

Peter: I am not following this tangent.

Scampi: It’s not a tangent.  It’s a sidestep.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: Have you had too much sun?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Are you sure?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I think you’ve had too much sun.

Peter: Good for you.

Scampi: Thank you.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Would you like this parasol?

Peter: [alarmed] Where did you get that?

Scampi: [SHRUGS.]

Peter: I suppose a little shade would not go amiss.

Scampi: Go on.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: Any time.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: You heard me.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Let’s just sit for a while.

Peter: If you insist.

Scampi: The pond is so still.

Peter: Pond!

Scampi: It’s right in front of you.

Peter: Yes.  It is.

Scampi: Look at the surface.  Glassy.

Peter: I didn’t know there was a pond here.

Scampi: There is.

Peter: [drawls] Lovely afternoon.

Scampi: Rather.

Peter: Shall we stay here a while, do you think?

Scampi: Certainly.  Just until yesterday.