Scampi: Did you know this, Peter?  Apparently there’s no such thing as a grain.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi:  Yeah.  According to Doctor something.

Peter: If there’s no such thing as a grain, how can you have multigrain bread?

Scampi: Well, how can you have multitheistic approaches if there’s no God?

Peter: Or, uh, a multi-unicorn stable, for that matter.

Scampi: Yes!

Peter: You know what’s even better?

Scampi: No, what?

Peter: Solar flares.

Scampi: Sure I knew that.  I’ve always liked those.

Peter: In the 1800s

[Scampi: On September 2nd, 1859, to be exact.

Peter: How did you know that?

Scampi: Research.

Peter: Oh.]

Peter: there was a crazy instance of solar flares.  Such a thing hasn’t happened since.

Scampi: No way.

Peter: Telegraph offices caught on fire.

Scampi: And compasses all over the world went crazy.

Peter: Really?

Scampi: Yup.  ‘Cause of magnets and stuff.

Peter: Imagine if this were to happen today.  With all our computers and technologies.

Scampi: The sky went fire engine red, in a pre-fire-engine time.  What do you think people compared it to?

Peter: Blood.


Peter: Blood is nothing to shudder at.  It is composed of –

Scampi: Oh, I know this one!  Alphabets!

Peter: What?

Scampi: Don’t get so scrumptiously befuddled.  Everyone knows that blood is made of alphabets.  Standoffish ‘O’s and triumphant ‘A’s.  And so forth.

Peter: Well, I suppose that’s one perspective.

Scampi: I like to think that it’s several.  Contrary to your supposition but no offense intended.

Peter: Science is nothing to scoff at.

Scampi: I never scoff at science.  I dance with it ‘til morning.

Peter: The solar flares mark the skies up with incandescent aurora.  Did you know that?

Scampi: Or alphabet-pumping firehoses, as the case may be.  Either way, magnetic north goes on vacation.

Peter: Yes.  We all need one of those.

Scampi: We’re getting there, Peter.  Just you wait.


pt 37: CAMELOT

Scampi: Each year, from December to December.


Peter quoth: Hark!  I have slain the evil sorceress who liveth at the edge of the forest.


Scampi: That wasn’t very nice.


Peter quoth: Nay, but for that I slew her with my goodness and incomparable beauty.


Scampi: Oh.


Peter quoth: She knew me not.  I blinded her with white light, that she could not look upon my face.


Scampi: Who do you think you are?  Sir Galahad?


Peter: No.  I don’t talk like that.


Scampi: I suppose all good things must come to an end.


Peter: Yes.  Especially when they are works of fiction.


Scampi: What do we know about Ohio?

Peter: Other than the fact that we’re in it?

Scampi: Or at least on it.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: So, that’s the extent of our knowledge, then?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: Yes?

Peter: Well, we can surmise, that is to say, ascertain, that, judging by—

Scampi: It’s really hard for you to admit that you don’t know anything about Ohio, isn’t it?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I understand.  If it makes you feel better, I don’t know anything about it either.


Scampi: It seems like spring is a good season to be passing through though.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: And you know, it’s just going to get springier as we go.

Peter: How do you mean?

Scampi: Because we’re heading south.  Due south.  Or I mean south-west.  Which is pretty much the same thing.

Peter [flustered]: First of all—

Scampi: Why do you have such a penchant for discrediting my whimsy?  Eh?

Peter: We’re heading into summer.  You have everything backwards.

Scampi: Yes, Peter.  I know.

Peter [somewhat appeased]: Well.  Well.

Scampi: I love springtime.  It makes me feel like a plant or an animal.  Or a major-league baseball player from nineteen fifty one.

Peter: Perhaps we should stop and have a siesta soon.

Scampi: You know, the further south we get, the more culturally acceptable this suggestion will become.  Did you know that?

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: You see?  This journey is full of perks.

Peter: This state we are traversing is rather vowel-heavy.

Scampi: Yes.  Is that all right with you?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Good.


Scampi: Would you say that we are working together in concert to achieve a common goal?

Peter: Why do you ask?

Scampi: Oh, I dunno.  Just curious.

Peter: At the very least, we are headed in the same direction.

Scampi: On purpose.

Peter: Correct.


Scampi: I like your tie, Peter.


Peter: Oh, stop.


Scampi: No, really.  It brings out the best in us all.


Peter: Shucks.


Scampi: Have you ever had frostbite?


Peter: Seemingly.


Scampi: Sometimes people take a long walk on Christmas Eve in the late nineties.  Their quadriceps turn blue.


Peter: Is that so?


Scampi: This is a fact.  Bona fide.




Scampi: Well, really.  White more.  But you know what I mean.


Peter: I am immune to the elements.


Scampi: Oh?


Peter: Well, as compared to you.  I am coated in an impenetrable crust.


Scampi: Of dirt?


Peter: It’s my Anglo-Saxon skin.  It protects me from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.


Scampi: That’s lovely.


Peter: I’m trying to think.


Scampi: Does that bother you?


Peter: Mm.  In fact, I am actually trying not to think.  It is a great relief to me.  I am enjoying the smells that are closest to my own nose.  I am just breathing them in.


Scampi: Would that be the smell of your moustache, for example?


Peter: No.


Scampi: Oh.


Peter: It is springtime in my nose.  It is warm and happy.


Scampi: Your nose is replete with the promise of happiness?


Peter: It is happy.  I am very content.  Look how happy I am.


Scampi: Perhaps it’s time for me to go outside and build an igloo.  I could be good at that.


Peter: Yes.  We could all be good at something.


Scampi: For me, it’s igloo-building.


Peter: Perhaps.


Scampi: For you, it’s simple narratives in the Romantic style.  (Peppered lightly with Industrial-age-jargon.)


Peter: In the Zeitgeist cookbook, you will find me on page ninety-seven.


Scampi: Oh, I have that on hold at the library.




Scampi: Nice touch.  Would you like to walk down to the library with me?


Peter: Certainly not.  I shall be staying in tonight.


Scampi: Oh?  Why is that?


Peter: I must count all of my blankets.  I only have one sheet, but I have several blankets.  I must count them in order of softness.


Scampi: That sounds like fun.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: Well, I’ll catch you later.  I have snow to build.


Scampi: Do you know where Dubrovnik is?


Peter: Of course.


Scampi: (I doubt that Peter knows.)


Peter: Pardon?




Peter: What was that?


Scampi: Remember how I was telling you about Mexico?


Peter: Uh huh.


Scampi: Well, get a load of this. In Mexico, when you have three or more people who commit a crime, they count as a cartel. Amazing!


Peter: Uh.


Scampi: Eh? Don’t you think?


Peter: And how does this affect us?


Scampi: Oh, Peter, don’t be so coy. You must know that I am thinking of our future as Mexican criminals!


Peter: How so?


Scampi: Do you think we should give our cartel a name? Or do we angle for the subtle air of mystery?


Peter: I just don’t think we have a cartel.


Scampi: Please do not allow your cynicism to infest our glorious future.


Peter: I am not a cynic.


Scampi: Don’t be so negative. Grumble grumble.


Peter: You’re really asking for it today, aren’t you?


Scampi: Asking for what? A whirlwind tour of crime and romance?


Peter: Well, for starters, what’s so romantic about a life of crime anyhow?


Scampi: Oh, I don’t know, Peter. The way it’s spelled.


Peter: The etymological gesture to Crimea? Is that what you’re talking about?


Scampi: If you like.


Peter: Because I don’t think the Crimean War has anything to do with Mexican cartels.


Scampi: It could be fun. We could be cowboys.


Peter: I don’t think Mexico has cowboys.


Scampi: Ridiculous! Of course it does. They just call them gauchos.


Peter: Are you sure about that?


Scampi: Are we ever sure, Peter?


Peter: SIGHS.


Scampi: Maybe we can carry flintlock Napoleonic pistols. Like wild west pirates.


Peter: This historico-linguistical pastiche is causing me to experience some degree of nausea.


Scampi: No worries. That’s just wedding jitters. It happens to everyone.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: Don’t sound so pained. People will start to think you’re backing out.


Peter: Of what?


Scampi: The grand adventure.




Scampi: Not that I’m calling you a coward.


Peter: I resent these implications!


Scampi: What implications? I told you, I’m not calling you a coward.


Peter: Very well.


Scampi: I’m just a little excited, is all.


Peter: Might I pose what I feel is a rather relevant question?


Scampi: Of course! This is a participatory plutocracy.


Peter: What?


Scampi: Go ahead, go ahead.


Peter: What exactly is this, ah, cartel of ours going to do?


Scampi: What do you mean?


Peter: Well, in my experience (which, I would like to point out, is entirely theoretical, in this context)


Scampi: (and in every other context, too)


Peter (valiantly): it is the case that criminals commit crimes. Ergo, I was wondering what types of crimes you had planned to commit. In Mexico.


Scampi: Oh, the usual.


Peter: Please elaborate.


Scampi: Well, we’ll be on horseback. As we have already discussed. I think this implies a little horse-thievery. And cattle-rustling.


Peter: Okay.


Scampi: And you know what? Speaking of plutocracies, there is great economic disparity in Mexico. I think you know what that means.


Peter: An impossibly unbridgeable chasm between rich and poor?


Scampi: Robin Hood!


Peter: Oh. So we’re to commit felonies based on principles of social justice.


Scampi: Jeez, Peter. You make us sound like assholes.


Peter: I suspect, somehow, that this is rather your line of work.


Scampi: Now, now. If you don’t want to rob the rich to feed the poor, that’s fine. I’ll think of something else for us to do. After all, your happiness is paramount. It’s at the top of my social calendar, right next to Sunday.


Peter: Your generosity touches us all.


Scampi: Perhaps we can sell pears illegally. They will be outlawed because of their deliciousness. Furthermore, they will make an indelible dent in the Mexican national consciousness. What do you think?


Peter: Pears.


Scampi: Yes: delicious, juicy pears. What do you say?


Peter: You want us to form a fruit-selling Mexican cartel.


Scampi: Do I!


Peter: Whom do you intend to include in this cartel?


Scampi: What do you mean?


Peter: Well, according to the intelligence you were imparting to me earlier, we need a third member to qualify as a cartel.


Scampi: That’s true. But maybe we could be handicapped.


Peter: What?


Scampi: We would think of ourselves as having three members. Or even five, really. But in fact, it would just be us. Conceptually, we’d be a cartel, and the law would view us as such.


Peter: Right. To sum up: Peter and Scampi go to Mexico on horseback armed with Napoleonic dueling pistols to start up a fruit-based, understaffed, conceptual cartel. Did I get that straight?


Scampi: You did! That was really great.


Peter: And when does this charming adventure commence?


Scampi: We ride at sunset.



Peter: I have never wanted to go to Mexico.


Scampi: But Mexico City is beautiful. It’s full of colonial buildings that are sinking.


Peter: Oh?


Scampi: It’s built on a lake, you know. The like, Aztecs sunk boats of dirt into it.


Peter: I didn’t know the Aztecs had boats.


Scampi: They were like, skiffs. As big as two cars.


Peter: Why would they do such a thing?


Scampi: They had a vision. Maybe, of a bird on a cactus.


Peter: But why would the Spanish choose to build their capital on a lake?


Scampi: Because they had a vision of Venus in bluejeans.


Peter: Pardon?


Scampi: They were like, Look at her, with that Botticelli face and those 501s hangin’ off her hips.


Peter: This is hardly credible. Firstly, I don’t believe Levi’s had been invented at that point.


Scampi: Says you.


Peter: They say the temperature’s on the rise.


Scampi: Oh yeah?


Peter: They say it’ll be plus seven by Friday.


Scampi: Ah. We must prepare ourselves for the neverending heartbreak of baseball season.


Peter: What?


Scampi: Baseball.


Peter: No, what kind of bird is that?


Scampi: It’s a hawk.


Peter: What’s it doing?


Scampi: Devouring that deeply lacerated pigeon.


Peter: Truly wondrous. Although I have sympathy for the pigeon as well.


Scampi: I know how you love your tetrachromats.


Peter: Yes. As I know how you hate inanity over brunch.


Scampi: Do you?




Scampi: Imagine if we wanted to play ball or hockey on this road.


Peter: Yes?


Scampi: That sign over there would prevent us.


Peter: Damn those municipal ordinances.


Scampi: [giggles.]


Peter (huffily): Well, that’s what they’re called.


Scampi: Yes, Peter.


Peter (scuffling up the stairs): But why do they call them ordinances, I wonder?


Scampi: Something about Latin people and orders.


Peter: Ah yes.


Scampi: Shall we have some tea?


Peter: That would be lovely.


Scampi: Wouldn’t it just.


Peter (skipping down the hallway): I am being carried about by a flock of angels.


Scampi: I have always known this about you.


Peter: Or perhaps a bevy of hawks, such as the one we saw today.


Scampi: Yes.


Peter: Although, as I mentioned previously, my sympathies also lie with the pigeon community.


Scampi (nodding sagely): This is no secret.


Peter: The angels are with me wherever I go.


Scampi: Hosanna in excelsis.


Peter: Hallelujah.


Scampi: Indeed.


Scampi: I smell trouble.


Peter: You are trouble.


Scampi: Me?


Peter: You.


Scampi: Humph. That was uncalled for.


Peter: How’d you get that black eye?


Scampi: Dunno.


Peter: Hm?


Scampi: Oh, well, you know.


Peter: Right.


Scampi: Let’s go have a snowball fight.


Peter: No.


Scampi: Do you know how to whistle using a blade of grass?


Peter: Theoretically.


Scampi: What?


Peter: No.


Scampi: I am fond of the sound the sun makes on snow.


Peter: Melting?


Scampi: No. Of course not.


Peter: What sound are you referring to?


Scampi: Sometimes, I think one shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.


Peter SIGHS.


Scampi: One could end it with a RE-position instead. Or with an onomatopoeia. Like, BLARG!


Peter: Blarg is not onomatopoeic.


Scampi: Don’t advertise the narrow breadth of your experience, Peter. Of course it is.




Scampi: The sound is like cut glass.


Peter: Blarg?


Scampi: What? No! How ridiculous.


Peter: Oh, excuse me.


Scampi: How foolish. I was referring to the sound of sunlight on snow. It’s like cutting glass. It’s like the tinkle of Waterford crystal on a shelf. Or on a table, I suppose.


Peter: I believe you are experiencing aural hallucinations.


Scampi: I believe I’m in love.


Peter: With what?


Scampi: The season.


Peter: Did you, uh, put some ice on that shiner?


Scampi: Sure I did.




Scampi: Sure I did. I put some icing sugar on the tip of Kilimanjaro while I was at it.


Peter: The flesh is weak, but the spirit soars.


Scampi: Hell yeah.


Peter: Have you had lunch yet?


Scampi: No.


Scampi: Do you remember that – uh – what was it again?


Peter: I have no idea what it is that you speak of.


Scampi: Yes yes.


Peter: I might suggest, however, that it is perhaps less than germane.


Scampi: But no less German for it. Didn’t we establish that you don’t know where Frankfurt is?


Peter: I know where Frankfut is.


Scampi: Oh, yeah, where is it?


Peter: That way.


Scampi: I dunno. I think it’s rather to port of that.


Peter: I know where Frankfurt is.


Scampi: Says you. Moving along, I am so tired. I am so tired I can’t think of what it is I wanted to ask you.


Peter: This is not an unprecedented occurrence.


Scampi: Humph. You are such a beetle.


Peter: Excuse me?


Scampi: No excuses, junebug. I am a budding entomologist.


Peter: Congratulations.


Scampi: Thank you. I have just been awarded a medal of honour for my work in taxonomies of the rich and belegged.


Peter: The what?


Scampi: You know, bugs. Shiny ones.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: I won the metro-cum-national bug-athon.


Peter: Could I offer you a glass of water?


Scampi: I do believe you just did.


Peter: Ahem.


Scampi: My research has shown that bugs are often numerously legged.


Peter: As was previously established a lifetime ago, you have excellent research skills.


Scampi (graciously): Quite.


Peter: Do you think these trousers make me look distinguished?


Scampi: Ah. Certainly. You are a swinging bachelor! A regular fox on the run!


Peter: How distasteful. You must not clutter me with your vernacular in that fashion.


Scampi: Would I!


Peter: What?


Scampi: I said, Good day. I am practising my Australian accent.


Peter: Why?


Scampi (casually): For the school play.


Peter: The what?


Scampi: ‘Cause I feel like it.


Peter: Oh.


Scampi: Mate.


Peter: Are we playing chess?


Scampi: In Australia they are. Everyone over there wins at chess 78 times per day. Sensational.


Peter: Look how low my voice is.


Scampi: It is a treat.


Peter: It is.


Scampi: But you’re no Dan Dee. That’s all I’m saying.


Peter: I aim to bear this burden with dignity.


Scampi: You are a true stalwart.


Peter: I do my best.


Scampi: I know you do, Peter.


Peter: How am I breaking your heart?


Scampi: I dunno.




Peter: Sometimes we trade our dreams in for other more useful things. Like lunch vouchers.


Scampi: I know.


Peter: Sometimes we collect things for years, and other times we clean our houses.


Scampi: That’s true.


Peter: I am feeling emotionally fragile today.


Scampi: I can tell that.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: The days are getting longer and longer, aren’t they?


Peter: They are.


Scampi: After we traverse the desert ahead, can we press on to the ocean?


Peter: I think that’s a good idea.


Scampi: Thanks, Peter.


Peter: The next town after this is Muncie.


Scampi: Or Carmel.


Peter: Yes. Or Carmel.


Scampi: Well, do you want to stop in Muncie?


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: We could have a bottle of wine in a park somewhere.


Peter: As long as that doesn’t contravene any, uh –


Scampi: Municipal ordinances?


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: Don’t worry.


Peter: It is in my nature.


Scampi: I know it is. How far off are we?


Peter: An hour. Maybe two.


Scampi: Okay.




Scampi: Look at those clouds shot through with sunlight.


Peter: I noticed them.


Scampi: Maybe it’s not you after all. Maybe it’s the clouds.

pt 45: PILOTS

Scampi: Peter, did you know that Annie Oakley could split a playing card edge-on at a distance of ninety feet?


Peter: Who?


Scampi: With a twenty-two. You know, like a gun.


Peter: I would like to submit that I abhor violence.


Scampi: Yes yes. But she was a sharpshooter, like a marksman. Markswoman. In Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. No violence.


Peter: Hm.


Scampi: So, this playing card. Apparently Annie Oakley could put five or six more holes in it before it hit the ground.


Peter: So she didn’t like cards.


Scampi: This is a disingenuous response to what is in fact an extraordinary feat of hand-eye coordination. You know, what you use to play video games.


Peter: I do not.


Scampi: Sure.




Peter: Did you just give me the finger?


Scampi: No. Jeez, go back to what you were doing.




Scampi: What were you doing, anyway?


Peter (sighs): I am currently using my laptop to hack the mainframe.


Scampi: What?


Peter: Look, I’ll explain later.


Scampi: Fine. Be that way.


Peter (patiently): You will like it. I promise.


Scampi: Fine fine. Ok.




Scampi: You know what else about Annie Oakley?


Peter: No. What else about Annie Oakley?


Scampi: She was married to a man.


Peter: Call the papers!


Scampi: I wasn’t finished. When she died, of pernicious anaemia, her husband stopped eating. Frank Butler. Which was his name. He just stopped eating, and he died eighteen days later.


Peter: Can you source any of these statements?


Scampi: Maybe you should go use your laptop to hack the mainframe of the Tree of Knowledge.


Peter: What?


Scampi: Nothing. Death is pernicious, isn’t it?


Peter (yawning): It certainly seems that way.


Scampi: I want a twenty-two.


Peter: I feel that this would likely cause great damage to yourself. Not to mention me.


Scampi: Says you.


Peter: Yes. This is what I say.


Scampi: Many years ago, when airplanes were new, what do you think they looked like?


Peter: I know what they looked like. One does not require, ahem, excellent research skills to procure images of the Wright Brothers in action, for example.


Scampi: No, I mean what do you think they looked like? To the people?


Peter: Like airplanes.


Scampi: But there weren’t any airplanes before.


Peter: Before?


Scampi: Before that. So they wouldn’t of looked like airplanes at all. They would’ve looked like something completely new.


Peter: Perhaps.


Scampi: I know what I know, Peter.


Peter: Wittgenstein—


Scampi: Stop! No philosophy!


Peter: SIGHS.


Scampi: I hate philosophy.


Peter: No comment.


Scampi (sotto voce): And I hate you.


Peter: What did you say?


Scampi: Nothing!


Peter: You know—


Scampi: No, really. Nothing at all. I was just, ah, thinking out loud.


Peter: What?


Scampi: Nothing.


Peter: I think you should get some sleep.


Scampi: Yeah ok. Goodnight, Peter.


Peter: Goodnight.


Scampi: Peter?


Peter: Yes?


Scampi: Do you think we’ll make it over the border?


Peter: Presumably.


Scampi: Ok.


Peter: Why?


Scampi: Just curious.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: Peter?


Peter: Yes?


Scampi: What if we don’t?


Peter: Go to sleep.


Scampi: I am. But what if?


Peter: What?


Scampi: Nothing.


Peter: Sorry?


Scampi: Sorry. Nothing.



Scampi: Peter?


Peter: Uh-huh.


Scampi: Annie Oakley didn’t have anything against playing cards.


Peter: Ok.


Scampi: She was just being accurate.