pt 83: PINFEATHERS

Scampi: Calm down, Peter.

 

Peter: Insufferable.

 

Scampi: There you go again.

 

Peter: Go?  Me?

 

Scampi: Ha!  Caught in the act!

 

Peter: [registers disdain]

 

Scampi: Grouchiness incarnate.  Stop the presses, baby!  We’ve got a new front page!

 

Peter: Nonsense.

 

Scampi: Correct.  Non-sense.  I am taking the nonsensical approach to mood resurrection therapy.

 

Peter: Stop talking.

 

Scampi: Never!

 

Peter: [grimaces]

 

Scampi: The look on your face.  Stupendous.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: So anyway.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I am watching conifers gesticulate in the sunshine.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: What do you think about that?

 

Peter: Pompadours?  What?

 

Scampi: They are not deciduous.

 

Peter: What are you talking about?

 

Scampi: It was a hint.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: The fauna.  Is it breaking your heart?

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: The wildlife.  The creatures.

 

Peter: Comprehension level currently ranking at zero.

 

Scampi: Lost in the woods.  Your fellow creatures breaking your heart.

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: In two.

 

Peter: Is this educational?

 

Scampi: Yes.  Science is the way of the future.  We study the natural world.  We learn to survive.  Et cetera.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: The study of owls, the study of brokenness.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: You see what I’m driving at here, naturally.

 

Peter: [acidly]  Oh, naturally.

 

Scampi: Right.  Can we stop for lunch?

 

Peter: Stop what?

 

Scampi: Whatever it is we’re doing.

 

PETER SPUTTERS.

 

Scampi: I’ll take that as a yes.  Tunafish?

 

Peter: Thank you.

 

Scampi: You’re welcome.

 

Peter: Where did you say we were?

 

Scampi: That’s really not the question.

 

Peter: Oh.

 

Scampi: [grandly]  Yes.

 

Peter: What is the question?  If I may ask.

 

Scampi: Hahahahahha.  Ho.

 

Peter: I wasn’t joking.

 

Scampi: I know.

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pt 84: ROSES

Scampi: Bones, bones.

Peter: Are you addressing me?

Scampi: No.

Peter: What did you say?

Scampi: I said no.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Before that, I said bones bones.

Peter: Why?

Scampi: I’m not sure.

PETER SCRUTINISES HIS REFLECTION.

Scampi: Echo!

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: That’s the complementary noise to your current activity.

Peter: Don’t be tiresome.

Scampi: I shall not.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I move that we are in the woods.  The sand trap, if you will.

Peter: Aren’t those two different places?

Scampi: Don’t be so fussy.

Peter: [SPUTTERS, LIKE A WET FLAME.]

Scampi: We just need to figure out which direction to head in.  You see?

Peter: North, south, east, west.

Scampi: Where’s the one that I love best?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: As you are familiar with the nature of a compass rose.

Peter: I am.

Scampi: I needn’t point out that we might head north by north west.  South by south east.

Peter: We might.

Scampi: You sound exhausted.  Are you suffering from exhaustion?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: You might be.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Well, try and take it easy now.  We don’t want you dropping like  a cat.

Peter: What?

Scampi: That’s what I’m saying.  Now, let’s head in the direction of the sun, shall we?

Peter: If you like.

Scampi: But is the sun rising or setting?

Peter: It is difficult to tell.

Scampi: I suppose that’s why they call it an adventure.

Peter: I suppose so.

Scampi: Cheer up, Peter.

Peter: I am in perfectly good spirits.

Scampi: [snorts]  Sunward, ho.  Aren’t you coming?

Peter: [REVOLVES.]

Scampi: Hm?

Peter: Yes.  I am.

pt 73: LUSTRE, BALUSTRADE

Scampi: Whew! Hahh!

 

Peter: You seem to be out of breath.

 

Scampi: Not completely.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Pretty damn close, though.

 

Peter: Excuse me? Do you want a coffee of your own?

 

Scampi: No, no. That sip’ll do me.

 

Peter: (DISAPPROVES.)

 

Scampi: Remember Mr. Bannister?

 

Peter: Who?

 

Scampi: Bannister comma Mr.

 

Peter: Was he your childhood etiquette teacher?

 

Scampi: No.

 

Peter: If so, I wouldn’t mind having a word or two with him.

 

Scampi: Come on.

 

Peter: Nope.

 

Scampi: How about, Sir. Roger. (Gilbert.) Bannister. No?

 

Peter: Dramatic pauses notwithstanding, I have no idea what you’re on about.

 

Scampi: Way to stay abreast of current events, Peter. He ran the four minute mile, of course.

 

Peter: Current events? In what year did this happen?

 

Scampi: Nineteen fifty four.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: You probably don’t even know what year it is right now. Who could blame you?

 

Peter: Certainly not you.

 

Scampi: Absolutely.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: The four-minute-mile, eh? Pretty impressive stuff.

 

Peter: I suppose there is a body of documentation on this.

 

Scampi: You suppose!

 

Peter: I do.

 

Scampi: Sure there is. Famous.

 

Peter: Fame is fleeting, we are told.

 

Scampi: And the fleet are famous.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi: When they are fleet enough.

 

Peter: Fleetingly famous, anyhow.

 

Scampi: Flight-footed. What a guy.

 

Peter: Can I help you today?

 

Scampi: What do you mean?

 

Peter: Perhaps you’d rather be chatting with Sir Bannister.

 

Scampi: Indeed!

 

PETER SULKS.

 

Scampi: This is not be, however.

 

Peter: I do not sulk.

 

Scampi: (Peter doth protest too much!)

 

Peter: I heard that.

 

Scampi: Sure you did.

 

Peter: I did.

 

Scampi: I am sure of it. Moving along, you look a little shaky.

 

Peter: I do?

 

Scampi: You do. Are you quite well?

 

Peter: I am in perfect health. Of course.

 

Scampi: Of course.

 

Peter: Perhaps I am slightly.

 

Scampi: Yes?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Slightly what?

 

Peter: In fact, I am in perfect health. I cannot complain.

 

Scampi: A laughable falsehood.

 

Peter: What’s this?

 

Scampi: You cannot complain. You were saying.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: You seem lonely.

 

Peter: (scoffs.)

 

Scampi: Your hair seems lonely.

 

Peter: What are you suggesting? That I’m falling victim to male pattern baldness?

 

Scampi: No. Would you like a sucker?

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: Hard candy, you know. On a stick.

 

Peter: No, no.

 

Scampi: Hold on. I’ve got, uh, raspberry and butterscotch. Hey?

 

Peter: I couldn’t possibly.

 

Scampi: Go on.

 

PETER SELECTS THE BUTTERSCOTCH.

 

Scampi: How’s that?

 

Peter: Mrgh. Hh.

 

Scampi: They kind of stick to the back of your teeth though.

 

Peter: Mm.

 

Scampi: Have you ever read the Bible?

 

Peter: (choking sounds.)

 

Scampi: You know, you’re supposed to hold on to the stick part. Not swallow it.

 

Peter: Yes. I realise.

 

Scampi: So, have you?

 

Peter: A few relevant passages.

 

Scampi: There’s a great deal of adventure in there, isn’t there?

 

Peter: This depends on what you consider to be adventure.

 

Scampi: Oh, you know me, Peter.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: Well, you know. General excitement. Quests, and the like.

 

Peter: You are fond of a quest.

 

Scampi: Aren’t you?

 

Peter: I suppose having a specific goal is pleasant. It certainly can’t hurt.

 

Scampi: Remember when you said you never go fishing?

 

Peter: Not exactly, but it’s true enough.

 

Scampi: True enough? You never go fishing.

 

Peter: I do not. Correct.

 

Scampi: That was sort of poignant.

 

Peter: How so?

 

Scampi: Maybe you’ve always wanted to. It’s very touching.

 

Peter: I wouldn’t say that.

 

Scampi: That’s what makes it so touching. You look a little wobbly on your feet today. Did you know that?

 

Peter: I believe you are seeing things.

 

Scampi: I am. I’m observing.

 

Peter: Things that are not there.

 

Scampi: Aren’t they?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Are the shackles of the quotidian weighing you down?

 

Peter: Not unduly, no.

 

Scampi: What is then?

 

Peter: What is what?

 

Scampi: (That is a separate question.) What’s weighing you down?

 

Peter: Nothing.

 

Scampi: So, you’re floating.

 

Peter: Floating?

 

Scampi: To put it another way, what are you using for ballast?

 

Peter: Are you suggesting I’m some kind of hot air balloon?

 

Scampi: Ha! Possibly. Or a ship.

 

Peter (pensively): Yes, or a ship.

 

Scampi: I hope I’m not upsetting you.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Presumably that’s what the ballast is for.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Whatever it is.

 

Peter: I just remembered.

 

Scampi: Hm?

 

Peter: I have several things to do.

 

Scampi: You and what army?

 

Peter: Some items on the old to do list.

 

Scampi: What a to-do!

 

Peter: I just remembered.

 

Scampi: That’s a good sign. Normal brain function.

 

PETER CASTS HIS FOREHEAD INTO HIS HANDS LIKE DOUGH.

 

Scampi: Did you hear that?

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Just now. Like, a fighter jet.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: It flew overhead.

 

Peter: That was me, moaning.

 

Scampi: No it wasn’t.

 

Peter: I didn’t hear it.

 

Scampi: It was louder than you. It was doing a polka on the sound barrier.

 

Peter: While my background in physics is not at, say, the doctoral level –

 

Scampi: So you didn’t hear it?

 

Peter: I heard nothing.

 

Scampi: Your head was in your hands.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: This fighter jet flew overhead. Right over our heads.

 

Peter: I didn’t see it.

 

Scampi: I could feel it. You couldn’t feel it?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: It shook my bones.

 

PETER RUBS HIS EYES, DELICATELY.

 

Scampi: Like a jeep ride across the archipelago.

 

Peter: I have never been on this journey.

 

Scampi: It’s a bumpy one.

 

Peter: I am getting that impression.

 

Scampi: You know why they call them suckers, Peter? Because you’re supposed to suck on them.

 

PETER PICKS MUTELY AT HIS TEETH.

 

Scampi: As opposed to, say, crunching them up all at once. I don’t mind though. You do what you must.

 

Peter: I do.

 

Scampi: A ship at sea.

 

Peter (sharply): What about it?

 

Scampi: About, on a ship, means turning around.

 

Peter: I was aware of this.

 

Scampi: You were. Interesting.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have you ever owned a tuxedo?

 

Peter: No. Why?

 

Scampi: No reason.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Only I can picture you in one, at the top of a spiral stair, right?

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: With your hair sort of on end. Clutching the balustrade.

 

Peter: This is all very appealing, of course.

 

Scampi: For dear life.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: There’s a party going on downstairs.

 

Peter: There is? Presently?

 

Scampi: No. In this picture.

 

Peter: Right. Of Tuxedoland.

 

Scampi: Everyone’s like, Peter, join the party won’t you? But there you are up top.

 

Peter: First we’re an aircraft carrier. Now this.

 

Scampi: Like I said, clutching the balustrade. As if your very life depended on it.

 

Peter: And what is the purpose of this illustration? If I may be so bold?

 

Scampi: You may.

 

Peter: Well?

 

Scampi: Can’t you picture it?

 

Peter: This is some sort of stock photo, is it? From your catalogue.

 

Scampi: Something like that.

 

Peter: Well, fine.

 

Scampi: It comes in black and white, and colour. Either or.

 

Peter: Very nice.

 

Scampi: Which of us can run fastest, do you think?

 

Peter: I confess, I hadn’t thought about it.

 

Scampi: I suppose if I was running over to see you, it wouldn’t matter, would it?

 

Peter: This depends. Am I sitting still?

 

Scampi: You are now.

pt 82: APRIL

Scampi: Let us listen to the birds sing.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We shall be immune to the trivial fripperies and discontentments of the modern-day world.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Like that snooty guy in the bookstore.

Peter: He wasn’t snooty.

Scampi: Who said he was?

Peter: You did.  You just did.

Scampi: [snorts] Nonsense.

DIAPHANOUS SILENCE.

Scampi: It sure is a beautiful day.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: This is springtime, right?

Peter: Is it?

Scampi: Well?

Peter: What do you wish to know?

Scampi: What season is this?

Peter: Spring.

Scampi: Well.  That’s what I was asking.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I love this song.

Peter: What song?

Scampi: It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Fine.

SCAMPI HUMS HAPPILY.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: What?

PAUSE.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Lovely weather.

Scampi: I said that already.

Peter: Not exactly.

Scampi: Yes, I did.

Peter: You said—

Scampi: Don’t tell me what I said.  I am not a gnat.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: As though I have the memory of an infant octopus.  I know what I said.

Peter: Octopi are relatively bright creatures.

Scampi: Octopuses.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Yeah, yeah.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: You are being dismissive.

Scampi: Jealous?

Peter: I decline to comment.

Scampi: Heh.  Ha.

Peter: What’s so funny?

Scampi: You want some lemonade?

Peter: No.  I do not.

Scampi: Ha.  Ho ho.

Peter: What are you laughing about?

Scampi: Why are you so against laughing?  All of a sudden?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Well then.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Is it spring now?  Or was it spring then?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Did this happen already?

Peter: What?

Scampi: This.

Peter: Now?

Scampi: Or then.  I mean, if this has already occurred, then it isn’t now.

Peter: I am not enamoured with this breed of sophistry.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: What time is it?

Peter: After noon.

Scampi: But that’s everything.  Everything except twelve o’clock, anyway.

Peter: After noon.  Before sunset.

Scampi: What breathtaking accuracy.

Peter: I lay no claims upon perfection.

Scampi: You should live in Switzerland.  And get adjusted one one thousandth of a second per annum.

Peter: That’s not what happens.

Scampi: Maybe not yet.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: But it might be what happens next.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Will you remember this spring separately?

Peter: From what?

Scampi: From all the others.

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: Come on.

Peter: Presumably I will remember certain events.  In their context.

Scampi: I don’t even know what that means.

Peter: I cannot predict the future.

Scampi: I can.

pt 79: SUCH AND SO FINELY BOLTED DIDST THOU SEEM

Scampi: I fell asleep.

Peter: I shall inform the relevant newsmedia.

Scampi: Piss off.

Peter: PARDON?

Scampi: It’s an expression.

Peter: A distasteful one.

Scampi: A delectable linguisto-fest, in fact.

Peter: That’s.  I.

Scampi: Ding!  Peter-eter, down for the count!

Peter: There is no need to howl so.

Scampi: I shan’t howl then.

Peter: Why are you speaking this way?

Scampi: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Peter: “Shan’t.”

Scampi: Hee haw.  You sound like the emir in Tintin.

PETER LETS HIS RACQUET FALL.

Scampi: Can I offer you a beverage?

Peter: It appears that you have.

Scampi: Harumph.  Coffee?

Peter: I acquiesce.

Scampi: You’re terribly good at that.

PETER’S FACE IS A BLANK SHEET OF SPRING RAIN.

Scampi: Well, moving right along.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What would you say if I said my heart was broken?

Peter: I suspect you wouldn’t say that.

Scampi: That’s what you’d say?

Peter: No.  I.

Scampi: What would you say?

Peter: I would.  Express my sympathies, I suppose.

Scampi: Yeah, right.  I doubt it.

Peter: Well.  I’m glad I was able to assist you with your query.

Scampi: Thanks a lot.  Why didn’t you just direct me to the reference desk?

Peter: Because I am not a library.

Scampi: I’ll say.  You don’t even have a photocopying machine.

Peter: I do not.  You are correct.

Scampi: And if you did, it would be cleft in twain.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Like my heart.

Peter: Ah yes.  Your heart.

Scampi: Ug.  Don’t say it like that.

Peter: Like what?  I have often been complimented on my excellent, above-average elocution.

Scampi: [snorts] Yeah huh.  We are referring to my fiery engine red construction paper heart here.  Not a lab experiment featuring amphibians.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: If only this were the case.

Peter: There’s nothing wrong with my vision.

Scampi: (That a little corrective eyewear can’t fix.)

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: Corrective.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I have fallen asleep at a barbecue once.  Did you know that?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Well, I didn’t really.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: But I could have.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: See?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’m just saying, I almost fell asleep at a barbecue once.  Or twice.

Peter: Well, good for you.

Scampi: I can get very sleepy.  That’s all.

Peter: We have been tired.  We are a tiresome race.

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: I said—

Scampi: I know what you said.

Peter: Well then.

Scampi: You want some cake or something?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: So?

Peter: I don’t want any cake.

Scampi: Fine.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: You are terribly welcome.

Peter: How kind.

Scampi: Most certainly.  With utmost amounts of certitude.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: With unscientific amounts of certitude.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: With a blind, mad degree of certainty that contradicts the whole spirit of the scientific method.  With—

Peter: I think that’s quite enough.

Scampi: Enough what?

Peter: Chatter.

Scampi: Ho ho.  You would.

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Kids used to like to lick on candy, down to a seed in their palms.  You know what I’m talking about?

Peter: Roughly.

Scampi: Do they still do that, kids?

Peter: Why not?

Scampi: Well, why not?  Why not not?

Peter: Please.

Scampi: What manners!

PETER INSPECTS HIS UNCOMPLEX HANDS.

Scampi: Ho ho.

Peter: Wait a moment.  What are you saying about my hands?

Scampi: Me?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Me?  I didn’t say anything.

Peter: I suspect—

Scampi: Oh, that’s a change.

Peter: This coffee is.  Delicious.

Scampi: You’re kind of slow today.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: That’s okay.  I am broken.

Peter: Ah yes.  Your cardboard heart.

Scampi: Construction paper.

Peter: Inflammable, at any rate.

Scampi: We are.

pt 81: LOVE LETTERS FROM THE FRONT

Scampi: Have you been reading comic books?

Peter: No.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are you nervous about something?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Sure?

Peter: Not at all.

Scampi: Like, you’re not sure?

Peter: I am not nervous about anything.

Scampi: Ever?

Peter: Could I posit something?

Scampi: Blarg.

Peter: Please do not make that face at me.

Scampi: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Peter: Well.  I believe that it is you who is the nervous one.

Scampi: Ridiculous.

Peter: That may be.

Scampi: No comics, no nervousness.  I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on around here.

Peter: As per usual, your sleuthing techniques are impeccable.

Scampi: Shucks.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I can’t think straight!

Peter: For godssake.

Scampi: What?

Peter: There is no need to raise your voice in that manner.

Scampi: Manner shmanner.

Peter: My ears.

Scampi: Your ears?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Humph.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: I can’t think.  Straight.

Peter: I didn’t say you had to whisper.

Scampi: I don’t care what you say about it.

Peter: Then why are you asking me?

Scampi: Asking nothing.

Peter: Telling.

Scampi: Fine.  I rescind the previous statement.

Peter: Fine.

PAUSE.

Peter: There is something special by the railroad tracks.

Scampi: What is it?

Peter: I think you should find out for yourself.

Scampi: What is it?

Peter: A large, plastic dinosaur head.

Scampi: Oh ho.

A PAUSE FOR SUNLIGHT.

Scampi: Qu’est ce que la verité?

pt 80: OLD TIME

Scampi: We were having lunch this one time.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: We were having lunch.

Peter: I believe it.

Scampi: Ugh.  Anyway, out in a restaurant.  And you were like, The waitress is a ninja.

Peter: I was?

Scampi: She was stealthy.  She crept up.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Do you remember this?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Well, I do.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Nice weather we’re having.

Peter: Oh yes.

Scampi: Shit.

Peter: What?

Scampi: I dunno.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Fresh herbs for summer salads.  Here today, gone tomorrow!

Peter: Are you reading something?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: I’m just saying.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Halfway to Mexico, and what do we do?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: We stop going there.

Peter: Is that what happened?

Scampi: Well, I don’t know.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: We could take a boat.  To England.

Peter: From where?

Scampi: I dunno.  Plymouth Rock?

PETER, A STUFFED PEACOCK, DISAPPROVES.

Scampi: Hee hee.

Peter: What?

Scampi: The world, as they say, is your oyster.  Did you know that?

Peter: I did not.

Scampi: Why, don’t you think it’s true?

Peter: As an apt metaphor?

Scampi: Who cares?

Peter: What?

Scampi: The world as a crustacean, the world as a shellfish.  You’ve got a problem with this?

Peter: Well.  I.

Scampi: Don’t you feel lucky?

Peter: Ah.  Certainly.

Scampi: Yeah, well.  You don’t act like it, buddy.

Peter: What is that supposed to mean?

Scampi: Nothing, nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The luck, the luckiness.  It sneaks up on you like a ninja waitress.  One minute you’re finishing your tea, the next minute the bill is in front of you, right there on the table.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: How the hell did this get here? you say.  It was the goddam ninja waitress.

Peter: Some service industry professionals are certainly very skilled at their métier.

Scampi: Poppycock!

PETER SCRATCHES HIS HEAD.

Scampi: Look at you.

Peter: Me?

Scampi: Clawing away.

Peter: It itches.

Scampi: The truth always does.

Peter: This is incorrect.

Scampi: Itchy itchy scratchy scratchy.  That’s you.

Peter: I disagree.

Scampi: As a default.  We know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: When you think of walks we took, over the years.

Peter: I don’t.

Scampi: Harumph.  The seasons all roll together, don’t they?

Peter: We live in a temperate zone.

Scampi: Maybe you do.

Peter: We do.

Scampi: The winter, the spring.

Peter: Temperate seasons.

Scampi: The years.

Peter: Yes.

PAUSE.

Peter: You’re pacing.

Scampi: I am.

Peter: It’s hurting my head.

Scampi: So what?

PAUSE.

Scampi: I’m sorry.

Peter: Acknowledged.

Scampi: Shall we stick our head out the window?

Peter: Our head?

Scampi: Yes.  Your head, my head.  Should we test the air?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Not today.

Peter: No.

Scampi: The winds of change are blowing.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: They are rustling the herbs in the flowerpots.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: They appear at your door without warning.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: And then they disappear!

Peter: Right.

Scampi: And you’re stuck in the doorway, holding the bill.

Peter: What bill?

Scampi: You pretend you’re not following this train of thought.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: You do.  But your amateur theatrics don’t fool me!

Peter: This is bordering on hysteria.

Scampi: Hysterical.

Peter: I presume that you are cognisant of the time?

Scampi: I am.  

pt 78: THE IONIZED TWO-STEP

Scampi: The wind, it blows.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: What direction is the wind coming from?

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Don’t you know?

Peter: Of course I know.

Scampi: Well then?

Peter: Well.  That way.

Scampi: [ROLLS EYES.]

PAUSE.

Scampi: I can tell you something.

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: Peter?  Would you like to know what it is?

Peter: Do I have a choice?

Scampi: The wind is blowing over the rooftops.  The wind is rattling the branches.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: But what about me?

Peter: You are not doing either of these things.

Scampi: I am being buffeted about by the wind.  Paff boff.

Peter: You look rather stationary at present.

Scampi: That’s exactly the sort of thing you would think.

Peter: I do not deny it.

Scampi: That’s exactly the sort of thing you would say.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Do you know how to waltz?

Peter: No.  Not exactly.

Scampi: Do you know how to waltz imprecisely?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Like, just approximately?

Peter: Possibly.

Scampi: What’s that mean?  You can waltz in two four time?

Peter: Where is this avenue of inquiry leading?

Scampi: It’s leading the waltz.  That you are incapable of leading yourself.  Apparently.

Peter: I see.  I am being browbeaten over the issue of ballroom dance techniques.

Scampi: You wish.

Peter: I certainly do not.  I do not wish to be browbeaten.

Scampi: Well then.  Don’t be.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I’m lost.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You see?  Are you lost?

Peter: No.  Yes.

PETER GROWS FLUSTERED, AS A COCKATOO.

Scampi: The wind is blowing from over there.  Do we point our nose into the wind?  Do you think?  Do we keep the wind at our back?

Peter: What is this ‘we’?

Scampi: You’re lost.  I’m lost.  We’re trying to get unlost.  Aren’t we?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I mean, what else are we supposed to do?  Do you want some lunch?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I was in the country.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Recently.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: The country.  Bucolic.

Scampi: Rather.  Theoretically.

Peter: We have all been known to take a bucolic sojourn.

Scampi: We have.  There were likely many species.

Peter: Of?

Scampi: Birds.  Or whatever.

Peter: Birds?

Scampi: I guess.

PAUSE.

Scampi: There’s something missing.

Peter: From what?

Scampi: Or maybe something extra.

Peter: Which is it?

Scampi: The time signature would clarify this point.

Peter: Are we speaking of musical notation?

Scampi: Maybe.

PAUSE.

Scampi: If we are lopsided, top-heavy.  If we are empty.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Does it make a difference?

Peter: How do you mean?

Scampi: The negative charge, the positive charge.

Peter: Are you speaking of isotopes?

Scampi: I am speaking of equilibrium.

PETER SHUDDERS.

Scampi: Precisely.  I don’t know if it matters to which side Pisa is leaning.

Peter: It would perhaps matter to the gentleman underneath it.

Scampi: But the tower itself.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: It’s falling.

pt 74: THE LONESOME DOVE (THE LOAN), THE VIEW

Peter: [RUBS HIS EYES.]

 

Scampi: Tired?

 

Peter: [STRETCHES.]

 

Scampi: Did you just wake up?

 

Peter: No, no. I am merely enjoying a little midmorning constitutional.

 

Scampi: Like a walk?

 

Peter: I am facilitating blood flow.

 

Scampi: Is it working?

 

Peter: I feel a surge of renewed vigour.

 

Scampi: Can you touch your toes?

 

Peter: That’s private.

 

Scampi: It isn’t.

 

Peter: [SHOCKED.]

 

Scampi: What?

 

Peter: A man’s body is his—

 

Scampi: Corpus?

 

Peter: Porpoise?

 

Scampi: Christi?

 

Peter: None of that, now.

 

Scampi: Heh. Har.

 

Peter: You are up to no good.

 

Scampi: Says who?

 

Peter: That is my opinion.

 

Scampi: Based on what?

 

Peter: Based on the diabolical noises you were just making.

 

Scampi: Always something.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi: There’s a hole in your sock.

 

Peter: Perhaps.

 

Scampi: Your stocking.

 

Peter: I do not wear stockings.

 

Scampi: Your stocking feet. That’s how they said it.

 

Peter: Who did?

 

Scampi: You know. The people.

 

Peter: Oh, naturally.

 

Scampi: Maybe the floor isn’t smooth enough.

 

Peter: Or the peanut butter.

 

Scampi: Are you lonely, Peter?

 

Peter: You have an issue with peanut butter?

 

Scampi: We can overlook that for the moment. Are you lonelier?

 

Peter: Than I was when last you asked?

 

Scampi: No.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: It’s kind of wistful. How you’re staring out the window.

 

Peter: [PICKS AT DEBRIS ENCRUSTED ON HIS NECKTIE.]

 

Scampi: Your cravat is less than laundered.

 

Peter: [taking umbrage] My cravat is composed of the finest silk. It does not get laundered.

 

Scampi: Chinese silk?

 

Peter: Well.

 

Scampi: Is it?

 

Peter: I do not know.

 

Scampi: Doesn’t even know the provenance of his filthy necktie.

 

Peter: Uncalled for.

 

Scampi: I’ll call for it. Seres! Cerebus! Here, boy.

 

Peter: Are you speaking to my garments?

 

Scampi: No less. Your silks, I am.

 

Peter: Is that a riddle?

 

Scampi: Are you an equestrian?

 

Peter: I am not.

 

Scampi: Did you know something?

 

Peter: I did. I continue to know it.

 

Scampi: Jockeys wear silks. Did you know that?

 

Peter: Perhaps. Most likely.

 

Scampi: Didn’t think so. That’s what what they wear’s called, their outfit.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Their costume. Silks.

 

Peter: A light, attractive, yet durable fabric.

 

Scampi: I could wash your tie.

 

Peter: I don’t doubt it.

 

Scampi: Tell me what you see right now.

 

Peter: Where?

 

Scampi: Now.

 

Peter: Which direction am I looking in?

 

Scampi: I don’t know. What do you see?

 

Peter: Immediately? Or in the distance?

 

Scampi: Have you ever been to Spain?

 

Peter: I have not.

 

Scampi: Oh.

 

Peter: Why do you ask?

 

Scampi: Just curious.

 

Peter: I can see the view. And the pores in my nose.

 

Scampi: Ew!

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Pores. Yech.

 

Peter: Have you been to Spain?

 

Scampi: Who hasn’t?

 

PETER REMOVES HIS EYEGLASSES AND POLISHES THEM ON HIS THOROUGHLY-WORN NECKTIE OF FINEST INDIAN SILK.

 

Peter: I like the view from this window (of course),

 

Scampi: (of course)

 

Peter: but the sky is rather overcast.

 

Scampi: And that’s not something you like. Not something you’re a big fan of.

 

Peter: A fan? Am I a fan?

 

Scampi: You sound like a cockatoo, at present.

 

PETER SMOOTHES HIS FEATHERS WITH DIGNITY.

 

Peter: Say what you will.

 

Scampi: I shall.

 

Peter: Indeed.

 

Scampi: I shell. Shell on a shore. You know that whole thing about shells, right? Peter?

 

Peter: Are we discussing military history?

 

Scampi: No, please. I mean a shell on a beach.

 

Peter: An army could locate—

 

Scampi: It could be any beach, one of those hollow type shells.

 

Peter: A conch.

 

Scampi: Or whatever. Have you ever put one up to your ear?

 

Peter: In order to aurally witness “the sea”?

 

Scampi: Sure.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: You haven’t?

 

Peter: Well, I don’t think so.

 

Scampi: You don’t know? You don’t even know if you did or if you didn’t?

 

Peter: I am unsure.

 

Scampi: Yes. I thought maybe you were lonely.

 

Peter: You are entitled to your thoughts.

 

Scampi: I entitle my thought regularly. As you well know.

 

Peter: I’m not sure when I was last on a beach.

 

Scampi: You don’t have to be on the beach to hear the shell. You can be at home.

 

Peter: With a shell.

 

Scampi: Yes. You bring it home, and then the sound of the sea is only an arm’s length away.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: You hear. That’s how it works.

 

Peter: I don’t believe it does work, in fact.

 

Scampi: No, I know. I was just curious.

 

Peter: To know whether I had tried it?

 

Scampi: That’s right.

 

Peter: Have you tried this? With the shell?

 

Scampi: Nonsense. I can hear the sea right now.

 

Scampi:

 

Peter:

 

Scampi: I am up to my ankles.

 

Peter: It looks like rain.

 

Scampi: It certainly doesn’t taste that way.

pt 77: POPULAR MECHANICS & LA CHALEUR HUMAINE

Scampi: Speaking of equations.

 

Peter: Were we?

 

Scampi: No. Yes.

 

PETER CLEARS HIS THROAT.

 

Scampi: Well, that’s nothing new.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: It’s all you do these days. Clearing your throat.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi [derisive snorting]: On the ex wye axes.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Blah blah. Et cetera.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Do you want to take a nap?

 

Peter: Not at all. I want to fill my lungs with air.

 

Scampi: Good luck with that.

 

Peter: Thank you.

 

Scampi: There are several things to be said on each point.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: I can barely keep my eyes open.

 

Peter: I find that enjoying the outdoors can help.

 

Scampi: What do you know about it?

 

Peter: The outdoors?

 

Scampi: Or anything.

 

Peter: I know a few things about grade eight level mathematics.

 

Scampi: Buzz buzz.

 

Peter: Are you an insect?

 

Scampi: Would it matter?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: I think so. It would matter.

 

Peter: Uh. Are you crying?

 

Scampi: What the hell is wrong with you, Peter?

 

Peter: From an evolutionary perspective?

 

Scampi: Asking these insane questions.

 

Peter: [chuckles.]

 

Scampi: What are you laughing at?

 

PETER SIGHS.

 

Peter: In fact, I do not know.

 

Scampi: Usually.

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: You’re a bit on the perky side today.

 

Peter: Oh no. Not I.

 

Scampi: Fiddlesticks.

 

PETER GLOATS OVER HIS OWN HIGH SPIRITS.

 

Scampi: Pow.

 

Peter: What was that?

 

Scampi: Sharpshooting.

 

Peter: Are you still on about Annie Oakley?

 

Scampi: No. These are sixshooters.

 

Peter: What are?

 

Scampi: See these paws?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Pow pow pow pow.

 

Peter: What are you doing?

 

Scampi: I’m blasting all your posters off the walls. Yeehaw!

 

Peter: Must you?

 

Scampi: Bang-a-lang.

 

Peter: This is very childish behaviour.

 

Scampi: You are.

 

Peter: There you go again.

 

Scampi: I sure do. Smouldering goats! I’m on a RAM-PAGE.

 

Peter: Heavens.

 

Scampi: God, I’m tired.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: And don’t touch my forehead.

 

Peter: I was doing no such thing.

 

Scampi: I know.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Tangent.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

 

PAUSE.

 

SCAMPI SIGHS.

 

Scampi: The possibilities bloom like roses.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: Do you?

 

Peter: Well, no.

 

Scampi: The fixed points; the abstractions. Ex here, wye there.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: It all seems fairly straightforward.

 

Peter: Okay.

 

Scampi: We have the capacity, as humans.

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: And yet.

 

Peter: And yet.