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.

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pt 123: AQUINAS

Scampi: Personally, I’m not concerned with whether we exist or not.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Right?

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: Peter!

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: I am concerned with other features.

 

Peter: Features.

 

Scampi: What are you, a parakeet?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Ho ho.  Of course not.  The very idea.  It’s absurd.

 

Peter: Correct.

 

Scampi: The wind, it howls.

 

Peter: This has been observed.  Over time.

 

Scampi: Overtime!  The good guys win it all!

 

Peter: I do not follow sports.

 

Scampi: That’s not what they say in England.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: They call it sport.  Singular.

 

Peter: Singular, indeed.

 

Scampi: I don’t even believe we have any feelings.

 

Peter: We?

 

Scampi: Any of us.  Why should we?

 

Peter: As in, what practical use do they serve?

 

Scampi: You Darwinian monster.

 

Peter: Pardon me?

 

Scampi: I just mean, why should we, why shouldn’t we?  It’s highly uninteresting.

 

Peter: I see.  Not to pry, but what is interesting?

 

Scampi: Oh, you know.

 

Peter: Enlighten me.

 

Scampi: Everything else.  Pretty much.

 

Peter: Such as?

 

Scampi: Mollusks.  Typography.  That sort of thing.

 

Peter: Thank you for clearing up this issue.

 

Scampi: I am at your service.  As per usual.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: This exists, that exists.  I am unconcerned with these questions.

 

Peter: Yes, I can see that.

 

Scampi [eagerly]: Can you?

 

Peter: Indeed.

 

Scampi: How?

 

Peter: By the way you keep harping on them.

 

Scampi: Whoa, grumpiness.

 

Peter: I am not grumpy.

 

Scampi: Hokay.  Step away from de vehicle.

 

Peter: What are you talking about?

 

Scampi: Oh, you know me.  Just twiddling my opposable thumbs.

 

SCAMPI REFLECTS ON THE PAWS BEFORE HER.

 

Scampi: Opposable thumbs, hey?  This is pretty nice.

 

Peter: PACES ANGRILY.

 

Scampi: Yo, what’s up, doc?

 

Peter: I am stretching my legs.

 

Scampi: I am stretching my synapses.  Hey, remember the apple orchard?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: No?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Not at all?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Oh.

 

Peter: Why do you ask?

 

Scampi: Just wondering.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have you noticed that we’re surrounded by natural beauty?

 

Peter: I have.

 

Scampi: Well?

 

Peter: Well what?

 

Scampi: What do you think of that?

 

Peter: I think it’s fine.

 

Scampi: It certainly is.  Roly poly mammals, craggy cliffs.  What more could you want?

 

Peter: I haven’t seen any cliffs.

 

Scampi: Of course you have.

 

Peter: I have not.  Not recently.

 

Scampi: Perhaps you should look up.

 

Peter: Not today.

 

Scampi: Why not?  Scared?

 

Peter: Not today.

 

Scampi: Tomorrow they may be gone.

pt 132: GLOW-BEASTS

Scampi: Take, for example, a pigeon on a post.

Peter: What sort of a post?

Scampi: A telephone pole.

Peter: On the pole or on the wire?

Scampi: What, you can’t take my word for it?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: On the post, the post.  The top of the log.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I mean, the pole.  Turning this way and that.  Pecking around.  Surveying the territory.

PETER PLAYS A GAME OF CAT’S CRADLE WITH HIS CHIN.

Scampi: What is a bird doing, I wonder, turning round and round like that?

Peter: Like what?

Scampi: The way a dog does on a hearth.

Peter: Do birds get dizzy?

Scampi: Basically – no.

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: Cf: Yes.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: No can be compared with yes.  No?

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: Why not?  Compared to yes, no isn’t likely to be something a snake might say.

Peter: You feel that snakes tend towards optimism?

Scampi: Or hissing, at least.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I don’t think you have to be an optimist to look on the bright side. 

Peter: This is not my area of expertise.

Scampi: Certainly not!  Har har.

Peter: [OFFENDED.]

Scampi: Do you know what ‘e.g.’ stands for?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Uh-huh.

Peter: I know what ‘e.g.’ stands for.

Scampi: It stands for truth, justice, and brotherhood.  For starters.

Peter: Naturally.

Scampi: It also stands for exempli gratia.

Peter: Why the italics?

Scampi: Latin is often spoken in italics.  The country’s full of them.

Peter: What country?

Scampi: Italy.

Peter: Is full of?

Scampi: Italians.

Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: Humph.  Some people OFTEN confuse ‘cf’ with ‘for example’.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: I am not naming names, however.  As you can see.

Peter: Yes, you are startlingly gracious.

Scampi: You certainly appear startled.  Like a turtle-dove.

Peter: Thank you. 

Scampi: Coo. Cf: noises made by snakes.

Peter: Rattle. 

PAUSE.

Scampi: I am also surveying the territory.

Peter: And how does our kingdom appear?

Scampi: It appears to best advantage in this light.

Peter: Excellent.

Scampi: Actually, everything appears to best advantage in this light.

Peter: How advantageous.

Scampi: I am pro-sunshine.

Peter: Good for you.

Scampi: Good for plants, too.  Plants are pro-sunshine.

Peter: I see little controversy in this statement.  Unless the implication is that plants are sentient.

Scampi: They are!

Peter: Plants?

Scampi: Of course.  Look at you: you’re a plant.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: You don’t need an excuse to have vines for toes.  I’m as open-minded as the next guy.

Peter: I am not a plant.  Really.

Scampi: You’re sentient, aren’t you?

Peter: I believe so, most of the time.

Scampi: Plants are, too.  You’re a plant!

Peter: That manoeuvre has a name.

Scampi: Don’t I know it.  I practically invented the genre.

Peter: [SIGH-perbole.]

Scampi: That’s what happens if you’re going to sigh while talking.  No one will see what you’re saying.

PETER ANGLES ONE OF HIS TENDRILS SKYWARD.

Scampi: Anyway, some plants glow at night.  Like mushrooms.

Peter: I am not a mushroom.

Scampi: Tee hee.  No, certainly not.  You are a cellist.

Peter: Incorrect.

Scampi: How so?

Peter: I do not play the cello.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I – it’s not something I know how to do.

Scampi: Well, you should learn.  That’s my view.

Peter: Yes.  Quite.

Scampi: Our verdant and herbaceous friends are welcome to take up the cello.  This string quartet is non-discriminatory.

Peter: I shall take that into account.

Scampi: Pray, do.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know, some people miss the sun all winter long.

Peter: Yes.  I am not one of those people.

Scampi: Neither am I.

Peter: I might be.

Scampi: Yes.  It’s the chlorophyll in your veins.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: You must soak your toes in water.  This will keep you fresh and alive.

Peter: Perhaps I shall avail myself of this excellent advice.

Scampi: [suspiciously] Oh?

Peter: [FALLS ASLEEP.]

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, that was unexpected.

pt 121: AS YOUR FATHER TILLED THE SOIL

Scampi: You look like a statue of yourself.

Peter: I regret to inform you that this is incorrect.

Scampi: I regret to inform you that a pigeon just shat on your head.

Peter: [alarmed] What?

Scampi: Ha ha, ho ho.  Just joking.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: A plaster of Paris.  A concrete imperialist.

Peter: Why must you do this?

Scampi: I’m not the one who annexed Scotland.

Peter: That doesn’t make any sense.

Scampi: Have you ever been plastered in Paris?  Or does that offend your Teutonic sensibilities?

Peter: I do not know how to respond to such a barrage.

Scampi: Nobody knows the trouble you’ve seen.

Peter: That is not what I said.

Scampi: Of course it isn’t.  What do you know about prehistoric Spain?

Peter: Prehistoric?

Scampi: Or like, paleo-something.

Peter: Paleolithic?

Scampi: Paleohispanic.  You know what that is?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: No, you don’t.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: Nobawdy knooooows your sorrow.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It was the language they spoke on the Iberian Peninsula.  Before they spoke Spanish, obviously.

Peter: Yes, this is obvious.

Scampi: Like, imagine a map of Spain.  Like a big chunk.

Peter: I wish to lean against this tree.

Scampi: Is something wrong?

Peter: No.  I resent the inference.

Scampi: Was something inferred?

Peter: I prefer to rest myself against this tree.

Scampi: I resent the preference.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: Well, I’m sure the tree does.

Peter: Excuse me.  I must rifle through the pockets of my coat.

Scampi: What do you know about our paleo-historical Spanish friends?  Not much, that’s for sure.

Peter: No.  Not much.

Scampi: Me neither.  This isn’t some kind of etymological manhunt, you know.

Peter: Ah.  A great relief.

Scampi: No need to stutter.

PAUSE.

Scampi: NO NEED TO TALK ABOUT PROTO-INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGE BLAH BLAH.

Peter: Why are you shouting?

Scampi: I’m not shouting.

Peter: You were.

Scampi: You were.  I was minding my very own business, personally.

A SPRING RAIN FALLS.

Peter [observantly]: It is not springtime.

Scampi: No, it isn’t.  You’re becoming an old man in your boots.

Peter: What boots?

Scampi: Your feet on the earth.  You stand in one spot and grow older.

Peter: Are you trying to say I am stagnating?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Oh.  I see.

Scampi: You can just sit around all night buying tomatoes.

Peter: Where would I do this?

Scampi: I have no idea.  Right off the vine.  Who cares?  No one’s buying any tomatoes around here, that’s for sure.

Peter: Not at the present moment.

Scampi: The present moment.  The moment is a present.

Peter [acidly]: Yes.

Scampi: A gift, Peter.  Don’t you like gifts?

Peter: I am becoming damp in this rain.

Scampi: I’m noticing that.

Peter: What are your plans?

Scampi: “The great affair is to move.”

Peter: Hmph.

Scampi: Steady on.

Peter: Don’t touch me.

Scampi: Fine.  Sway all you want.  I don’t mind the hurricane.

Peter [above the wind]: What?

Scampi: Nothing!

Peter: Eh?

Scampi: Forget it!

PETER STRUGGLES WITH HIS COLLAR.

Scampi: Collard greens.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: I can’t hear you.

Peter: I’ve been thinking about my father.

Scampi: Oh, great.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Let’s get out of this rain.

Peter: I don’t want to get out of this rain.  I like it here.

Scampi: So what?  So do I.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Hm?

Peter: Do you want to go inside?

Scampi: What?

Peter: I’ve been thinking about my father.

Scampi: You’ve been thinking about yourself.

Peter: What?

Scampi: You have to keep up with yourself.

Peter: It’s raining.

Scampi: (I know.)

Peter [mumbling]: The rain is falling.

Scampi: So are we.

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 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.

pt 132.5: SECUELAS

SCAMPI WATERS THE PLANTS.

Peter: Argh!

Scampi: Oh, Peter.  You’re awake.

Peter: Did you just dump a glass of water on my face?

Scampi: Uh.

Peter: [SPUTTERS.]

Scampi: I was experimenting.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Hey, that was fun.  Go back to sleep.

Peter: No, thank you.

pt 122: EMBRACEABLE YOU

Scampi: Let me get this straight.

 

Peter: Is there a time limit on this activity?

 

Scampi: Good point.  Now we know why you sigh so much.

 

Peter: Why is that?

 

Scampi: SIGHS.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Ah.  Still got it.

 

Peter: What are you doing?

 

Scampi: Nothing.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have we given up on existence?  Because I haven’t.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: You sure are touchy today.

 

Peter: Do excuse me.

 

Scampi: Perhaps.  Guess what I’m doing?

 

Peter: No thankyou.

 

Scampi: I’m fashioning a bailing bucket out of an old household cleaner container.  What do you think of that?

 

Peter: Ingenious.

 

Scampi: Yes.  You can’t leave the shore without a bailing bucket.

 

Peter: Are you boating somewhere?

 

Scampi: It never hurts to be prepared.

 

PETER WINCES.

 

Scampi: Well, I suppose it sometimes hurts a little.  In any case, we can leave this for the international criminal courts to adjudicate!

 

Peter [dully]: Yes.

 

Scampi: You’re not even listening to me.

 

Peter: True.  I am not.

 

Scampi: Humph.  It’s as though there are no thoughts in my head.

 

Peter: Unusual.

 

Scampi: It is unusual.  I am not a concrete brick wall.

 

Peter: Did someone say you were?

 

Scampi: Yes: you did.

 

Peter: I did no such thing.

 

Scampi: Did, too.

 

Peter: This is incorrect.

 

Scampi: You wish.  What would you wish for?

 

Peter: I am not a wishing man.

 

Scampi: I am not a wishing well.

 

PETER CHUCKLES BITTERLY.

 

Scampi: Jeez.  Maybe you should take a chill pill.

 

Peter: None were available.

 

Scampi: The animals have gone to the river.  Why do you think that is?

 

Peter: They are likely thirsty.

 

Scampi: Yes, likely.

 

PAUSE.

 

Peter [suspiciously]: Wait, what animals?

 

Scampi: Oh, you know.  It’s watering time, of course.  We must all drink our fill.

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Did you ever think of doing anything?

 

Peter [sharply]: What do you mean by that?

 

Scampi: Oh, nothing.  Would you like to lie in the grass while I explore the apple orchard?

 

Peter: What apple orchard?

 

Scampi: This one.

 

Peter: It’s snowing.

 

Scampi: Those are macintosh blossoms.  Golden delicious.

 

Peter: It is wintertime.

 

Scampi: Tell that to the orchard.

 

PETER CLOSES HIS EYES.

 

Scampi: That’s the spirit.  I’m going to check on the view from the treetops.

 

Peter: Yes, do.

 

Scampi: Ahoy!  Bluebirds and grey skies ahead!  Man the pommey-slicer!  Steady down below!

 

Peter [lazily]: That doesn’t mean anything.

 

Scampi: Then why are you smiling?

 

Peter: Did you just dump snow on my head?

 

Scampi: Apple blossoms.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Let’s stay all afternoon.

 

Peter: Impossible.

 

Scampi: How so?

 

Peter: It’s already dark out.

 

Scampi: Certainly not.

 

Peter: Why do you want to stay here?

 

Scampi: Why don’t you?

 

Peter: I didn’t say that.

 

Scampi: All afternoon.

 

Peter: Right.

 

Scampi: Because it’s beautiful.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Because we can.

pt 124: MUCH MORE FUN IN THE NEW HOUSE

Scampi: “…..and as they made their way through the woods, the air grew darker and darker.”

SCAMPI SIPS A CUP OF TEA.

Scampi: “However, they bravely continued on their way, although the path through the underbrush was littered with gnarled roots and suspicious piles of leaves.  Suddenly,”

Peter: To whom are you speaking?

Scampi: Peter.  When did you get here?

Peter: Are you being wry?

Scampi: It’s story hour.  Surely you know this.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Oh, right.  You hate stories.

Peter: I don’t hate stories.

Scampi: Great.  Shall I keep reading this one?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Right.  Well, there you have it.

Peter: I do not hate stories.

Scampi: Of course not.

Peter: Don’t use that tone with me.

Scampi: Would you rather I used it against you?

Peter: You are in a toxic mood.

Scampi: That is incorrect.

Peter: A prime example!  You are being disagreeable.

Scampi: No.

Peter: I rest my case.

Scampi: You have no case.  You have chosen the putrid path of moral nonewhatsoeverness.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Oh, lord.

Peter: Yes, let us pray.

SCAMPI GUFFAWS.  PETER RECOILS.

Scampi: Oh lord, I don’t wanna eat my words.  Hail, hail!  Snowdrops too.  Almond.

Peter: Amen?

Scampi: Hallelooja!

PAUSE.

Peter: What is the ideal way to wrap a scarf about one’s neck for maximal warmth and coverage?

Scampi: Around and around.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: In a clockwise direction.  With the beating heart of time.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: That’s our Peter.  Gale-force.

Peter: Are you using the Beaufort Scale?

Scampi: (The Beaufort Wind Force Scale.)  Naturally.  Would you like to know some biographical facts about Mr. Beaufort?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Of course you would.  Sir Francis Beaufort, what country was he born in?

Peter: England.

Scampi: No.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Ireland.

Peter: In what year?

Scampi: Eighteen-thirty-six.

Peter: Really?

Scampi: No.  1774, upon the 27th day of May.

Peter: At which point Ireland was part of the British empire.

Scampi: This is a repulsive thing to boast about.

Peter: I was not boasting.

Scampi: Sure.  Anyhow, I’m telling you it’s amazing.

Peter: What is?

Scampi: It’s amazing how one poor man can run from a massacre into the jaws of moral ambiguity.

Peter: I do not follow this.

Scampi: Don’t you?

Peter: [irritably] What does this have to do with the Beaufort Scale?

Scampi: The Beaufort Wind Force Scale?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: History has exhausted me.  You wouldn’t understand.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: [patiently] History has exhausted me.  You wouldn’t understand.

SCAMPI HANDS PETER A TOME ON THE SUBJECT OF THE ST. BARTHOLOMEW’S DAY MASSACRE.  PETER DECLINES TO READ IT.

Peter: Anyhow.

SCAMPI THROWS AN EGG AT THE WALL.  IT BREAKS.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: [sorrowfully] That was a waste of food.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Of course, when John Donne passed away, you didn’t say much.

Peter: Ahem.  I would point out that I was not alive when the poet passed.

Scampi: Fancy mouth.

Peter: Yes, fancymouth.  What are you talking about?

Scampi: Batter my heart, four-eyed Pete!

Peter: I do wear eye glasses.

Scampi: As the old saying goes, people with eyeglasses oughtn’t throw stones.

Peter: That is not how the saying goes.

Scampi: The world is asleep beneath the snow.  Or, more likely, the snow is asleep upon the living world.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What do you think of that?

Peter: People say this sort of thing sometimes.

Scampi: That’s right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Sometimes, things come so slowly.  Like biscuits baking in an oven that’s off.

Peter: That is a long time.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Well, that would take a long time.  For the biscuits to cook.

Scampi: Southern biscuits?  Or English biscuits?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: [snorts] English ones, obviously.  Since we’re on the topic.

Peter: Of time?

Scampi: Of sadness.  Over time.

Peter: What do you have against the English?

Scampi: Nothing at all.  I am going to the park.

Peter: Hyde Park?

Scampi: Perhaps.  I shall sing carols amid the winter snow.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: “The branches grew thickly across the path.  They had to be pushed out of the way like humans.”

PETER COUGHS.

Scampi: Perhaps we’ll finish this story tomorrow.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Sir Beaufort was a brilliant man.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: He had an excellent work ethic.

Peter: This is admirable.

Scampi: Yes.  Instead of weeping all day long, he chose to apply himself scientifically.

Peter: A positive choice.

Scampi: Hats off to you, Sir B!

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: Have you looked through this window?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’ve made a hole in the frost.

Peter: Well done.

Scampi: Through it, you can see the entire world.  Look.

Peter: I see a dark street.

Scampi: Look more carefully.

pt 128: THE LONG ANSWER

Scampi: The result of this was, of course,

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Which part?

Peter: I am not speaking to you.

Scampi: To whom are you speaking?

Peter: It’s private.

Scampi: What are you, carrying around a two-way radio?

Peter: Affirmative.

Scampi: Oh.  Okay.

THE WIND WHISTLES “THE IRISH WASHERWOMAN”.

Scampi: Have you ever been to a vicarage?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh.

Peter: Why do you ask?

Scampi: Why wouldn’t I ask?

Peter: Do not speak to me in this manner.

Scampi: Don’t tell me what to do.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s odd, isn’t it?

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Telling someone not to tell you what to do.  Ridiculous!

Peter: It is gratifying to see you thus entertained at my expense.

Scampi: Your expense!

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: Oh, you’re so generous with your expenses.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: A vicarage is where a vicar lives.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Don’t pretend to know all about it.  You’ve never even been to one.

Peter: This does not preclude me from knowing what one is.

Scampi: Oh yeah?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What is it, then?

Peter: What?

Scampi: Pardon?

Peter: What is what?

Scampi: You sound so silly right now.  Like a gander.

Peter: What are you talking about?

Scampi: There’s no need to yell.  Just because you don’t know what a vicarage is.

Peter: Incorrect.

Scampi: What is it, then?

Peter: A vicarage?

Scampi: Obviously.

PETER EXPELS AN EXCESS OF AIR.

Peter: It is the residence of a vicar.

Scampi: I already told you that.  Doesn’t mean you know anything about it.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I love to watch the play of light upon the hills.

Peter: Charming.

Scampi: It is charming.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: It’s not like I’m suggesting you eat the hills or anything.

Peter: May one enquire as to the location of the geographic features to which you are referring?

Scampi: Features!  You gobbledy gander!

Peter: This is the second time today that you have identified me as a member of the Anatidae family.

Scampi: And?  What of it?

Peter: Furthermore, I do not see any hills.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Because there aren’t any there.

Scampi: Where?

Peter: In my line of vision.

Scampi: Well, perhaps you should change your line of vision.

Peter: It’s all hills and geese with you, today, I suppose.

Scampi: I have no idea why you would say such a thing.

PETER EMITS A SMALL SQUAWK, WORTHY OF A MEMBER OF THE SUBFAMILY ANSERINAE.

Scampi: I suppose we could talk about current events.

Peter: Such as?

Scampi: Or the latest teams to win the cup.

Peter: Ah, the Cup.

Scampi: “Home we brought you shoulder-high.”

PAUSE.

Scampi: The hills could be any hills, you know.  They could be mountains.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I like to watch the light drift.

Peter: Perhaps you are over-tired.

Scampi: Are you talking to me, or the radio?

Peter: I am speaking to you.

Scampi: One can never tell.  These days.

Peter: These are the days.

Scampi: We are quite lucky, really.  To be swaddled in days like this.

Peter: Is that so?

Scampi: Yes.  That’s so.