Scampi: The days are growing longer now, Peter.

Peter: Indeed they are.

Scampi: I’ve noticed this isn’t doing much for you.

Peter: What’s that supposed to mean?

Scampi: Well, the light, you know, the longer-lit days. It isn’t doing much for your outlook.

Peter: Why should it?

Scampi: Why shouldn’t it?

Peter: I refuse to engage in this childish match of table tennis.

Scampi: You would.

Peter: There’s a hole in my trousers.

Scampi: It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Peter: It has.

Scampi: That looks mendable. No fear, Peter: help is on the way.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Sure. What’s that high, buzzing noise?

Peter: What?

Scampi: Can’t you hear it?

Peter: No. I cannot.

Scampi: You can’t hear that?

Peter: I told you so.

Scampi: Well, I can. It’s very frustrating.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Ugh.


Scampi: Ah, there. It’s stopped.

Peter: Congratulations.

Scampi: How come I could hear it and you couldn’t?

Peter: Perhaps this has to do with our temporal locations.

Scampi: Huh?

Peter: I’m suggesting.

Scampi: Because I’m ten hours and fifteen minutes away from you, you mean?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I don’t see why that has to get in the way.

Peter: [SIGHS.] Okay.

Scampi: Do you see what I see?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: A star, a star!

Peter: I don’t see it.

Scampi: Shining in the night, with a tail as big as a kite!

Peter: Oh god.

Scampi: Precisely. Bam BA bam BA, da da da da DA, da da DA bam BA bam bam BA!

Peter: Aahh.

Scampi: [humming happily] Do you know what I know?

Peter: I can’t even imagine.

Scampi: Oh, Peter. What a burden.

Peter: [tightly] I assure you, I am in perfect spirits.

Scampi: Perfection without imagination? Where’s the spirit there?

Peter: You misconstrue.

Scampi: I do. You misrepresent.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: I like the song, but I don’t like the volume.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: That’s right. The noise of the music is cluttering the music itself.

Peter: What music?

Scampi: The music in my ear.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: You see?

Peter: I really don’t know what I’m supposed to say to that.

Scampi: I’m sure you’ll think of something. Eventually.

Peter: I am so tired.

Scampi: I know you are, Peter. I’m tired, too.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: We could have some coffee.

Peter: Maybe later.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: I have always loved the view from this window.

Scampi: The light is clear.

Peter: Clearly what?

Scampi: See-through. You can see all the way down to the water.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Feel free to sit a while.

Peter: Thank you. I shall.



Scampi: There will be no discussion of the sky today.

Peter: What mood is this?

Scampi: Mood? What mood?

Peter: That’s what I said.

Scampi: I was simply trying to steer the conversation away.

Peter: From what?

Scampi: Why are you harping on this? Let’s talk about something else.


Scampi: I would accept a cup of coffee at any interval here.

Peter: I see. Would you like some coffee?

Scampi: In fact, I would.


Scampi: You are very kind.

Peter: I do my best, as you know.

Scampi: I know.

Peter: It is certainly a beautiful day.

Scampi: It is, it is. God.

Peter: What?

Scampi: My head, my head.

Peter: What about your head?

Scampi: I don’t know.

Peter: What are you looking for?

Scampi: Lumps and bumps.

Peter: Goodness. Were you in a scrap?

Scampi: Ha! In a scrap! You quaint little teakettle.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Oh, Peter.

Peter: I was only asking—

Scampi: Yes, yes. All I’m saying is, maybe my head hurts.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: And maybe it doesn’t. There’s no way of knowing, really.

Peter: [MURMURS.]

Scampi: Now, don’t make those doubtful noises. You may as well leap into the void.

Peter: The void?

Scampi: I may as well. Ha, ha. Leap in. Ha. Har.

Peter: Are you quite sane at the moment?

Scampi: Oohh, getting all into the skill-testing questions, are we? Suave, suave.

Peter: This is very frustrating.

Scampi: What is?

Peter: Speaking with you.

Scampi: Oh, is that what you’re doing?

Peter: I am.

Scampi: Who knew?

Peter: You see?

Scampi: I do. You dislike my speaking voice.

Peter: That’s not what I—


Peter: Ah.


Peter: Stop it.

Scampi: Oh fine.

Peter: That was very unpleasant.

Scampi: Spoilsport.

Peter: Pardon? Pardon me?

Scampi: You are pardoned. By the way, I like how these ribbons of light come in the window. It’s very nice. Genteel.

Peter: Where?

Scampi: Right here. There’s one on the end of your nose, presently.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Do you remember that one time? When we were walking down the road?

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: And you said something funny and I laughed? Or, I said something funny and you laughed?

Peter: That sounds accurate.

Scampi: A good time was had by all.

Peter: I can imagine.

Scampi: No one’s asking you to imagine. Do you remember it?

Peter: It sounds familiar.

Scampi: It was.


Scampi: Imagine if you were from someplace that started with The.


Peter: Yes?


Scampi: Well?


Peter: Well what?


Scampi: Imagine if you were.


Peter: If I was what?


Scampi: From someplace that started with The.


Peter: With the – ?


Scampi: Yes.


Peter: With the what?


Scampi: No, just The. The word, “the”.


Peter: It is a word, yes.


Scampi: Like, The Hague. Imagine.


Peter: You want me to imagine that I am from The Hague?


Scampi: Not necessarily. I mean, you can if you want.


Peter: I am not particularly compelled.


Scampi: There’s news.


Peter: Where is this leading?


Scampi: Down the garden path, of course.


Peter: I see no garden.


Scampi: (sadly) No.




Scampi: On the bright side, gardening is a healthful practice. We could all stand to do some gardening.


Peter: And this is the bright side?


Scampi: It is. An order of new buds, sunny side up.


Peter: Oh.


Scampi: “Wow, the sun’s so far north, now.”


Peter: It is?


Scampi: I was quoting.


Peter: Quoth you.


Scampi: God wot. Or doth ‘e?


Peter: Duffy?


Scampi: Yes, Bob?


Peter: Pardon me?


Scampi: Oh, sorry. Do you prefer to be called Robert?


Peter: Absolutely not.


Scampi: Have it your way. The sun is setting.


Peter: That has nothing to do with me.


Scampi: It does if you’re where the action is.


Peter: Oh? And where is that?


Scampi: Sure ain’t in the east.


Peter: You are one of logic’s finest.


Scampi: Do you really think so?


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: [PREENS.]


Peter: Really.


Scampi: What?


Peter: Is this demonstration quite necessary?


Scampi: Necessary! What kind of a demonstration would that be?


Peter: A useful one.


Scampi: In your dreams, buster. This is a gratuitous display, thank you very much.


Peter: Oh, don’t thank me.


Scampi: I insist.


Peter: For a change.


Scampi: Snip snap. You’re quite the clippership today.




Scampi: What are you trying to do there? Molt?


Peter: I am not paying attention.


Scampi: Well, you should probably start. Unless you’re in the market for an emergency tracheotomy.


Peter: Certainly not.


Scampi: Good. Your body is your tempest.


Peter: Temple.


Scampi: Um—forehead!


Peter: Pardon?


Scampi: You lose!


Peter: At what?


Scampi: Word association, of course. Ho, ho.


Peter: There is nothing admirable in grandstanding.


Scampi: Yeah, sure. There’s nothing fun in having no fun.


Peter: [GROANS.]


Scampi: Jeez, Peter. There’s a difference between a tautology (garden variety) and like, a poisoned spear.


Peter: (weakly) I suppose.


Scampi: You do. Anyhow, speaking of gardens (once again), I am reminded of great joy.


Peter: How so?


Scampi: It’s the logical next step.




Scampi: I am reminded of the profound feeling of great joy that neither of us is currently experiencing.


Peter: What sort of a statement is that?


Scampi: An accurate one.


Peter: I really have to protest.


Scampi: As well you should. We should be howling from the rooftops.


Peter: How utterly undignified.


Scampi: Don’t talk about yourself that way.




Scampi: Look over there!


Peter: [SQUINTS.]


Scampi: Gorgeous!


Peter: I am probably not the first to inform you of the detrimental effects of staring into the sun.


Scampi: Probably. Anyway, I wasn’t pointing at the sun.


Peter: I see.


Scampi: I was looking underneath it.


Peter: Underneath it?


Scampi: Yes. At the flowers.


Peter: I see no flowers.


Scampi: Yet.


Scampi: Peter.

Peter: ‘Tis I.

Scampi: You know what Dan said?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: [READS ALOUD.]


Scampi: Can you imagine!  He said for me to mention this to you.

Peter: I believe Matthew Arnold said that.

Scampi: Ridiculous.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Matthew Arnold has never asked me to mention anything.  To you or anyone else.

Peter: That quote.

Scampi: Oh.  Matthew Arnold wrote it, maybe.

Peter: There isn’t much maybe about it.

Scampi: Humph.

Peter: So, this is some sort of classical bullshit fest?

Scampi: Peter, how could you?

Peter: How could I what?

Scampi: But it’s so pretty.

Peter: We are all pretty.

Scampi: Well, well.  Mr Cocksure.


Scampi: I can feel the sandy beach.  I can see the cliffs!

Peter: You can do a lot of things, it seems.

Scampi: Yeah, sure.  I can lick an icecreamcone if I’d of bought one last summer on the side of the highway.

Peter: Tense disagreement.

Scampi: That’s no lie.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Perhaps.  In time.  Hum.  Do you think Matthew Arnold accepts fan letters?

Peter: Are you having some massive hemorrhage that’s affecting your grasp of chronology?

Scampi: Says you.  Maybe I’m a mystic.

Peter: [hisses like an alkaline battery.]

Scampi: If I may say, your own existence is highly implausible.  Before you start twittering baroque minuets in my ear.

Peter: Before I what?

Scampi: It’s true, I’m not a mystic.  But the point is, I could be.  And you’d just be sitting there buzzing like a giant calculator.  Taking up a New York block with your messianic algorithms.

Peter: I would do no such thing.

Scampi: Don’t bet on it, mister.

Peter: I am not a betting man.

Scampi: That’s none of my business.  Save it for Blaise Pascal.


Scampi: Woah.


Scampi [whispering]: I’m just going to make some tea.

Peter: Whilst I shall glower to myself for full five minutes.

Scampi: And may I compliment you on your choice of ties?

Peter: [sighs] You may.

Scampi: Thank you.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: We can see each other.  Can’t we?

Peter: Can we not?  Why wouldn’t we?

Scampi: If we had fully descended into darkness, would we think we could see each other?  When we couldn’t?

Peter: If it was dark enough, I don’t see how we could see anything.  We are not, ahem, bats.

Scampi: Maybe you aren’t.

Peter: Are you a bat?

Scampi: Why don’t you bounce some sound waves off me and find out?

Peter: I decline.

Scampi: Like a verb.  Sans action.  Oh, hum.  The tea is ready!


Scampi: Here you are.

Peter: What were you laughing at?

Scampi: When?

Peter: What were you laughing at just now?

Scampi: I was just getting us some tea.  This is not a crime.

Peter: It is not.

Scampi:  Agreed.  A just conclusion, to be sure.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: I wonder if my memory of you would outlast you yourself.  Or the greyscale in the air between us.

Peter: I don’t know what that means.

Scampi: I do.

Peter: I have my doubts.

Scampi: Yes.  You parade them daily.

Peter: Excuse me.

Scampi: Explain yourself first.

Peter: There’s nothing to explain.

Scampi: Then there is nothing to excuse.


Scampi: If you were an idea of mine, glowing in my head, you know, glittering like freezing rain or that type of thing.

Peter: If.

Scampi: Would you be bright enough to light your own way?

Peter: You’ve lost me.

Scampi: But in the leftover shine you could find your way back.

Peter: That’s not the sort of thing I understand.

Scampi: Yeah yeah.

Peter: In fact, I don’t think that’s the sort of thing anyone understands.

Scampi: Sour grapes.

Peter: I can’t hear you.  You’re mumbling.

Scampi: Oops.

Peter: You know why no one understands that sort of thing?

Scampi: I’m not listening.

Peter: Because it doesn’t make any sense.  That’s why.

Scampi: You pause to make dents?  Is that what you said?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I guess I’m not the only one who mumbles!  Around here.


Scampi: Hee hee.  You should see yourself right now.

Peter: No thanks.

Scampi: Your incisors look like they’re ready to pop out of your face.  Canus petursus.

Peter: Spurious Latin.

Scampi: Don’t talk about Latin that way.

Peter: You know very well what I meant.

Scampi: Maybe I do.  Maybe I don’t.

Peter: No need to look so pleased with yourself.

Scampi: Why’s that?  Do you find it maddening?


Scampi: Say what you want about it.

Peter: About what?

Scampi: Clocks.

Peter: I do maintain, they move clockwise.

Scampi: We are the noisy armies and the detritus they leave behind and the quiet before they arrived.  All at once.

Peter: We who?

Scampi: And we are a couple of swallows.  A couple of sideswiping crustacea on the beach, blinking crabbily back and forth.

Peter: No doubt we are all these things.

Scampi: And because you are glowing in the dark—

Peter: I am doing no such thing.

Scampi: Then what am I using to read?  A pocket flashlight?


Scampi: Certainly not.  Calm yourself.


Scampi: There’s no way I can see this far for nothing.


Scampi: I like to be near the water.


Peter: Mm.


Scampi: Did you know that? Peter?


Peter: Hm?


Scampi: The water. I like it.


Peter: Have some water. Help yourself.


Scampi: No, no. Like, the shoreline, like, a body of water.


Peter: Oh, heave ho.


Scampi: Sail away!




Scampi: Right.


Scampi: I would like to begin this essay by first establishing.


Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Well, what do you think?

Peter: I think it’s time for some spring cleaning.

Scampi: It isn’t spring yet.

Peter: In Mesopotamia it is.

Scampi: The rivers.  They are warming in the sun.

Peter: I am currently planning to wash my drapes?

Scampi: Was that a question?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: It certainly sounded like one.

Peter: If I could just.  Argh!

Scampi: Maybe you should leave the curtains for another day.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: You can approach your intended goal in small, manageable chunks.

Peter: This is a strategy.

Scampi: It is.  You might do well to employ it.

Peter: Allow me to prevaricate further on this matter.

Scampi: Of course.  I suggest you leave the curtains, though.  For the moment.

Peter: But.  Ah.

Scampi: The dust, you see.

Peter: Oh.  Yes.

Scampi: Do you know what I’m doing?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: I know you don’t.


Scampi: I’m sorting through these ribbons.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I’m laying them out, you see, such that they don’t get creased.

Peter: [glancing over] What are those?

Scampi: Ribbons.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: This one here for example.  It’s the colour of your eyes.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Lies!

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Unless your eyes are black and white polkadots.  Which I suppose they are.

Peter: There’s this splinter in my thumb.

Scampi: What are you planning to do about that?

Peter: Nothing.  I suppose.

Scampi: I could help remove it.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: It would be easy peasy.  A simple operation.

Peter: No thank you.

Scampi: Are you sure?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Really?  Sure sure?

Peter: I’m positive.

Scampi: Fine then.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Be that way.

Peter: I shall.

Scampi: No one doubts it.


Scampi: Oh, that’s very productive.

Peter: [muffled] Sorry?

Scampi: No man is an island!

Peter: (ARGH!)  An oft-expressed sentiment.

Scampi: I suppose you imagine yourself to be some sort of peninsula?

Peter: Mnph.

Scampi: Did you get it?

Peter: Half.

Scampi: What happened?

Peter: It broke off.

Scampi: Ha.

Peter: Were you saying something about the Balkans?  Just now?

Scampi: You wish.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: [cackles]  If you wish.

Peter: I sometimes think you have an unhealthy fixation on the Balkans.  I believe.

Scampi: Oh ho.  That’s rich.

Peter: Balkan this.  Balkan that.

Scampi: How your own mind betrays you!

Peter: What now?

Scampi: That certainly sharpened you up.  Your ears just stood on end, my boy.

Peter: Poppycock.

Scampi: So, watcha wanna talk about?  The Iberian peninsula, maybe?  Perchance?

Peter: (primly) I have nothing against it.

Scampi: Such an assiduous opinionist you are.  La-dee-da.

Peter: At least I’m not a reactionary.

Scampi: Certainly not.  You wouldn’t react if I paid you.

Peter: Like a common thug!  Foul idea.

Scampi: Not you!  You wouldn’t react if I poked your patella with a toothshaped hammer!

Peter: Leave my reflexes out of this.

Scampi: I couldn’t drag them in if I tried.  Last I heard, they were on extended leave.

Peter: My reflexes?

Scampi: Never heard of them.  You rock of the ages.  Watertight, eh?

Peter: I am not made of stone.


Scampi: What are you doing with that thing?

Peter: Nothing.

Scampi: Observing your reflection?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh, Peter.

Peter: What?

Scampi: You’re a human bean, of course.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Not a rock at all.  Of course not.

Peter: Did you say bean?

Scampi: A furry little beanstalk.

Peter: Few have called me little.  If I could insert a parenthesis.

Scampi: Brackets away!

Peter: I am not familiar with this expression.

Scampi: For which the subcommittee forgives you preemptively.

Peter: Preemptively?  But I said it just now.

Scampi: They’d forgiven you already.

Peter: The subcommittee.

Scampi: Yes.  They can’t resist you.

Peter: I’ll leave that to your discretion.

Scampi: What?

Peter: The train of thought.

Scampi: Oh.  That’s very generous of you.


Scampi: You could use the water to water some plants.

Peter: That is what I had planned.

Scampi: Is it?

Peter: I had planned that already.

Scampi: I don’t doubt it.

Peter: Then the matter is settled.

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: Don’t call me sir.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Just don’t.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: I don’t like it.

Scampi: Does it make you feel old?

Peter: No.

Scampi: The auld sod.

Peter: Nothing of the sort.

Scampi: Shall I call you Ol’ Man Pete?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Would you like that?

Peter: I would not.

Scampi: That’s Ol’ Man Pete for ya.  Short and to the point!  Oh yes.  Yes sir.

Peter: There you go again.

Scampi: You’re glowing like a sunbeam.

Peter: I am?

Scampi: You almost laughed just now.  I saw it.

Peter: Hearsay.

Scampi: That’s right.  I’m here, and I say so.

Peter: I—

Scampi: You concede the point with your silence.  I understand.


Peter: Whatever it might be.

Scampi: Agreed.  How’s the spring cleaning coming?

Peter: Fine.

Scampi: I’m not sure how up to date you are with geography and such.

Peter: I am a modern man.

Scampi: Or a variation thereof.  A peninsula, as you may know, might sometimes drift out to sea.

Peter: Impossible.

Scampi: I mean break off, you know.  Like splinters.

Peter: Yes, well.  It might.

Scampi: The land, however.  It’s the same.

Peter: I am not following you.

Scampi: It doesn’t matter.  On either side of the water.  Same dirt.  Following be damned.

Peter: Are you discussing soil samples?

Scampi: History takes a long view of things, Peter.

Peter: And how does this pertain to soil samples?

Scampi: We all do, Peter.  In the end.


Scampi: I, for one, have no problem discussing things that aren’t there.


Peter: Isn’t that called gossiping?


Scampi: Not at all. Gossiping is discussing people that aren’t there.


Peter: I agree.


Scampi: But I said things. Things.


Peter: So, you like to gossip about things.


Scampi: You are deliberately obfuscating my purposes.


Peter: How dare you.


Scampi: Ditto.


Peter: I didn’t realise you were in such a foul mood today.


Scampi: And this is how you achieve détente? Honestly.


Peter: Détente?


Scampi: Oh, I’m sorry. That entry in your lexicon has probably been hacked out. With a pair of plastic children’s arts and crafts scissors. Probably.


Peter: With what?


Scampi: Forget it.


Peter: How can I forget it if I don’t know what it is?


Scampi: [Nice use of italics. Copycat.]


Peter: Excuse me?


Scampi: Nice weather we’re having.


Peter: Uh.


Scampi: Fancy a trip to the ballet?


Peter: What, now?


Scampi: Why the hell not, Peter?


Peter: There’s no need to say my name so…..


Scampi: Acidly?


Peter: Well, yes.


Scampi: I wasn’t.


Peter: Oh.


Scampi: I would never use your own name as a weapon against you.


Peter: Well, that’s a comfort.


Scampi: I was merely suggesting that perhaps a trip to the ballet’s in order.


Peter: Okay.


Scampi: Perfect. I shall book our tickets presently.


Peter: That is to say, I must first consult my schedule—


Scampi: There is a hard k sound in that word, I’ll have you know.


Peter: Perhaps I have a previous engagement. And of course, today may not be—


Scampi: Right.


Peter: You see.


Scampi: A simple ‘no’ would suffice.


Peter: When has a simple ‘no’ sufficed with you? May I be so presumptuous as to inquire?


Scampi: You wouldn’t know if it had.


Peter: Well, when has it?


Scampi: When last you tried it. And when was that?


Peter: Well, I—


Scampi: Bingo!


Peter: Are you calling me a hound?


Scampi: In a manner of speaking.




Scampi: Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of sunsets lately.


Peter: [murmurs.]


Scampi: Not that you care. But I have been present for a number of them. Setting suns. Well, I don’t always see them. But I know what’s going on.


Peter: When?


Scampi: When the sun sets. Like, I might not be watching the colour.


Peter: Fascinating.


Scampi: Yes. Nonetheless, I know night’s coming on.


Peter: It is?


Scampi: It has been. It was.


Peter: Is this a grammar review?


Scampi: Probably. With bonus background squalor.


Peter: Such as?


Scampi: The racket of crows. Racketeering.


Peter: But that means –


Scampi: I know what racketeering means, Maestro. Jay-sus.


Peter: I believe you just called me Maestro.


Scampi: I’d like to see you prove that in a court of law.


Peter: I could.


Scampi: No doubt. I am waiting, on tenterhooks, as they say.


Peter: I feel you are making a mockery.


Scampi: Of what, your legal aspirations?


Peter: No,


Scampi: Litigation’s not your strong suit, I don’t think.


Peter: I never said it was.


Scampi: Yes. And I’m saying it isn’t.


Peter: The accuracy of your judgment has been called into question before.


Scampi: By who? The invisible magistrate you’re busy romancing with your silver tongue?


Peter: Pardon me?


Scampi: Ha! Pardoned, my lord!


Peter: Really.


Scampi: Perambulation, now. This could be your strong suit.


Peter: I am an excellent walker.


Scampi: And a shameless braggart, to boot.


Peter: Are you speaking of me?


Scampi: Har. Not at all, not at all. I am speaking around you. Do you know what they call this?


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: That’s right. Circumlocution. Like a choo-choo train in the 1800s.


Peter: I object.


Scampi: Sustained!


Peter: That’s enough of that, that,


Scampi: Sustained, I say! Case closed!


Peter: Uh huh.


Scampi: Congratulations, counsel.


Peter: (flattered) Well, thank you.


Scampi: You are an excellent specimen of human elasticity!


Peter: Oh. I.


Scampi: A barrister of note! A solicitudinous solicitor!


Peter: Yes well.


Scampi: In light of your great achievements, I would hereby like to call you to the bar!


Peter: Wait, doesn’t that happen before—


Scampi: The COFFEE BAR!


Peter: What?


Scampi: Pardon? Or would you like some tea?


Peter: In fact, I would.


Scampi: Is that all? Why didn’t you say so in the first place?


Peter: I don’t know.


Scampi: One pot o’ tea, coming right up.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: Let me just put the kettle on.


Peter: Rather.


Scampi: Oh look!


Peter: Yes?


Scampi: The sun is setting.


Peter: Correct.


Scampi: The colours. At the risk of repeating myself.


Peter: You brave that precipice regularly.


Scampi: I do.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: It is a risk I am willing to take.


Peter: It is.


Scampi: I do love the colours, Peter.


Peter: I know you do.


Scampi: I love them every time.


Scampi: Peter, I don’t know what to think.


Peter: Oh? Why is that?


Scampi: Well, I don’t know.


Peter: Hardly surprising, I suppose.


Scampi: Everything’s going so slowly.


Peter: I thought you said just the other day that time was whipping past at an appalling rate.


Scampi: Perhaps I did. But things are going very slowly as well.


Peter: I see.


Scampi: Something or other haunts my dreams.


Peter: Something or other?


Scampi: Yes. It haunts me.


Peter: What does?


Scampi: I just told you.




Scampi: Oh, don’t give me that.


Peter: Give you what? I’ve given you nothing.


Scampi: No one’s going to argue with you on that score.


Peter: Pardon me?




Scampi: I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean that. You are a gift. A treasure, to be sure.




Scampi: Look, I didn’t mean that.


Peter: That I’m a treasure?


Scampi: No, the other part. Let’s forget it.


Peter: Okay.


Scampi: Sweet equanimity.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: I’m not sure what to make of anything, at present.


Peter: Oh?


Scampi: I know you’re not a big fan of jazz, for example.


Peter: What is that an example of, pray tell?


Scampi: Your musical tastes.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: No jazz: check. But me on the other hand.


Peter: But you on the other hand.


Scampi: That seems pretty much all there is to say about it, really. I am on another hand. If I’m anywhere at all.




Scampi: Are you very restless today?


Peter: No, I don’t think so. Why?


Scampi: All this moving about with your head and your accessories.


Peter: I do not feel that there has been undue movement.


Scampi: Well, not undue, no.


Peter: Then we are agreed.


Scampi: I love it when that happens!




Scampi: What would you compare me to, if you had to compare me to something?


Peter: I would not.


Scampi: A mountain? A bird’s nest?


Peter: No.


Scampi: It was worth a try.


Peter: What was?


Scampi: The poking, the prodding. It’s nice to figure out what’s going on.


Peter: In my warehouse of analogy?


Scampi: Precisely.


Peter: I believe that building belongs to you.


Scampi: I suppose it does.




Scampi (magnanimously): But you may visit whenever you like.


Peter: You are too kind.


Scampi: Ain’t it the truth. When was the last time you used a hammer?


Peter: Me?


Scampi: No, the postman.


Peter: What postman?


Scampi: Yes, you. A hammer. When did you use one last?


Peter: That’s not really the sort of thing I keep track of. That is to say,


Scampi: Maybe to put up a picture in your house?


Peter: Maybe.


Scampi: If I pressed a hammer into your hands at this very moment, what would you do with it?


Peter: I don’t know.


Scampi: Well. There you go, then.


Peter: What are you talking about?


Scampi: Tools.


Peter: I see.


Scampi (dreamily): I don’t know, either.


Scampi: Antarctica is full of snow.


Peter: What’s this?


Scampi: Valleys and plains, all made of snow. Lakes of snow.


Peter: Oh, really? Have you been?


Scampi: You know I have not.




Scampi: I am in the air on the subject, like a weather balloon.


Peter: What subject?


Scampi: I have been thinking.


Peter: Laudable.


Scampi: Is it?


Peter: Well, I suppose.


Scampi: You suppose so. Do you?


Peter: I suppose I do.


Scampi: Suffused with supposition. That’s you.


Peter: Where’s this going, now?


Scampi: Where do you want it to go? To the mountains?


Peter: Onward and upward.


Scampi: As they say.


Peter: They do. Wait, who does?


Scampi: They say it all the goddam time, Peter. You know this.


Peter: Are you in a violent frame of mind this morning?


Scampi: Who, me? I am a dove, a dove.








Scampi: Would you like to play a game?


Peter: Unlikely. What sort of game?


Scampi: A parlour game. An old-fashioned rigamarole of a time.


Peter: What?


Scampi: This diversion is called “Fill in the blanks”. Ready?


Peter: I suppose.


Scampi: Ahem. The death of a loved one is ______?


Peter: What?


Scampi: You’re supposed to fill in the blanks.


Peter: I don’t understand this game.


Scampi: Why not?


Peter: It doesn’t make any sense.


Scampi: No. It doesn’t.


Peter: I would like to clear my throat.


Scampi: I support that.


Peter: Thank you.


Scampi: Have a clearance sale. Folks will come for miles. PETER’S BIGTIME THROAT-CLEARANCE SALE! EVERYTHING MUST GO!


Peter: I don’t know what manner of amphibian is setting up shop in there.


Scampi: In your throat?


Peter: Indeed. But I feel he should select a different habitat.


Scampi: Sometimes one has to move.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: Sometimes one is in the wrong spot.


Peter: Quite.


Scampi: The significance of this is not lost on me. For example.


Peter: Oh, very little is.


Scampi: Very funny.


Peter: I thought so.


Scampi: I could tell.




Scampi: Did we ever make it to Mexico?


Peter: I don’t know.


Scampi: Are we leaving them behind? Or are they leaving us?


Peter: Who?


Scampi: Our loved ones.


Peter: I don’t know.

pt 63: DUNKIRK

Scampi: I had heard – Peter, are you listening to me?


Peter: Hm?


Scampi: Peter. I’d heard that Jane Austen.




Scampi: You know who that is, right?


Peter: Of course I do.


Scampi: (Yeah, right.) Anyway, she signed her letters, “your affectionate sister, JA”.


Peter: Did she sign all of her correspondence in this manner? How unusual.


Scampi: Ugh. I mean her letters to her sister. Not her letters to like, the Archduke of Mumbleford or whatever.


Peter: Oh? And how did she sign those letters?


Scampi: Humph. Well, think about this: Seventeen thousand Senegalese people died defending France in 1940. Did you know that?


Peter: I did not.


Scampi: I find it very upsetting.


Peter: You do seem agitated.


Scampi: Thank you.




Scampi: Oh god.


Peter: What?


Scampi: The air is full of snowflakes.


Peter: So it is. Is there a problem?


Scampi: I don’t know, Peter. Sometimes the massive beauty of the world is just too much for me. I don’t know what to say.


Peter: I don’t understand your use of italics there.


Scampi: Peter!


Peter: Am I missing something here?


Scampi: Pay attention! Seventeen thousand troops from Senegal were killed defending France. The air is full of snowflakes.


Peter: There you go with those italics again.




Scampi: I was quoting myself. I was summing up.


Peter: What’s the difference between quoting yourself and repeating yourself?


Scampi (valiantly): Please look out the window.


Peter: The snow is falling.


Scampi: Or are we falling? Peter.


Peter: We seem fairly stable, as compared to the snow.


Scampi: (snorts)


Peter: What?


Scampi: Oh, you can have your opinions. Oh, certainly.


Peter: (offended)


Scampi: My tea is cold.




Scampi: Peter, I wonder –




Scampi: I’m not sure.


Peter: With whom are you speaking?


Scampi: You.


Peter: I see.


Scampi: Peter, I’m adressing you.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: Like a letter. Haw haw.




Scampi: You know what we should do?


Peter: I do not.


Scampi: We should go to church!


Peter: Pardon me?


Scampi: I know that you heard me.


Peter: I confess, I did.


Scampi: Confessing already! Let’s go find a church.


Peter: Why would we do that?


Scampi: I think it could be a fun adventure.


Peter: Don’t we have enough adventure in our lives?


Scampi: HA! That’s rich. The last tweed-covered person who had as many adventures as you was Sherlock Holmes. Ha ha.


Peter: I have no idea what you’re speaking of.


Scampi: Imagine: a church in the midst of all these snow flurries. So quaint. We will pretend to be foreign emissaries. We will receive a hero’s welcome.


Peter: From the rector?


Scampi: The rector! Hilarious.


Peter: What do you want to visit a church for?


Scampi: I want to light candles.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: I want to see in the dark.


Peter: But it isn’t dark out.


Scampi: In a church it is.