pt 75: POLITICS

Scampi: Oh, “Peter”.

Peter (warily): Yes?

Scampi: How are you this fine day?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: What?

Peter: I am well.

Scampi: Well, indeed.  That’s where I’m headed, too.  Back to the well.  Once again.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Of course you do.  You’re not the Chancellor of the Exchequer for nothing!

Peter: The what?

Scampi: You’re a busy man, you are.  An immunodiplomatic powerhouse.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: A clay pot in a dowager’s garden.

Peter: I need a haircut.  Do you think I need a haircut?

Scampi: I think I should sharpen myself to a fine point, bounce off the west wall at atomic speed, and raze you a crewcut with my trajectories.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Pull up a chair.

Peter: Why’s that?

Scampi: You’re pacing.

Peter: That is my own business.

Scampi: Of course it is, Your Excellency.  Humblest apologies.

Peter: What’s with all the honorifics?

Scampi: What’s with being the Minister of Finance?

Peter: That’s not a rebuttal.

Scampi: What is it then?

Peter: It’s a, well, it’s not true.

Scampi: How dare you?

Peter: What?

Scampi: The truth is sacred here.  We are great proponents of truth and justice and such.

Peter: We are?

Scampi (pompously): Yes.

Peter: I was not aware of this.

Scampi: Hardly surprising.  Given your record.

Peter: What record?

Scampi: There are many records.  Records are kept.

Peter: And the archivist in charge?

SCAMPI CACKLES KNOWINGLY.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: That’s right.  Hm indeed.

SCAMPI WHISTLES A FRANCO-ROMANIAN BALLAD.

Peter: That noise.

Scampi: What?

Peter: God.

Scampi: What?  A guy can whistle.

Peter: You’re not a guy.

Scampi: What does that have to do with anything?  Eh?

SILENCE.

Scampi: I’m a wanderer.

Peter: Intellectually?

Scampi: A tinker a tailor.

Peter: You certainly like tinkering.

Scampi: I’m a candlestick maker.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: I am, in fact.  Would you like to purchase a candlestick?

Peter: Not today.

Scampi: What do you mean, not today?

Peter: Perhaps another time.

PAUSE.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Oh.  I’m not sure.

Peter: Was that?  Did you just?

Scampi: It fell.

PETER SIGHS.

Peter: Let me get the broom.

Scampi: No, no.  I’ll do it.

Peter: [Acquiesces.]

Scampi: Sorry.  It fell.

Peter: It doesn’t matter.

Scampi: [humming distractedly] La bohème, la bohème…..

Peter: I think it fell over there.

Scampi: Oh, right, right.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Sorry.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I happen to know.

Peter: Full stop?

Scampi: I happen to know that this was not your favourite wineglass or anything.

Peter: Oh?  And how do you know that?

Scampi: I just know.

Peter: Convenient for you, isn’t it?

Scampi: (philosophically) It can be.

Peter: Great.

Scampi: Peter?  Petereteretereteretereter.

Peter: Elocution issues?

Scampi: I was just checking if you can hear me.

Peter: I can.

Scampi: I wasn’t sure, you see.  I had to check.

Peter: Who were you under the impression you were engaging in conversation with?

Scampi: Dr Preposition and the Fullstops.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I am unsure how to proceed.

Peter: Affirmative.

Scampi: Affirmative?

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: What the hell does that mean?

Peter: At the risk of behaving like a thesaurus.

Scampi: I know what it means.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: I don’t know what you mean.  By it.  What do you mean?

Peter: I think you need to take a break.  Take a breather.

Scampi: From what?  You can’t tell me what to do.

Peter: That’s nice.  Very nice.

Scampi: What are you saying?

Peter: You’re babbling.

Scampi: So what?  What else is new?

Peter: Slow down.

Scampi: No.

Peter: Okay.  Don’t.

Scampi: I won’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I can’t stop.

Peter: Why is that?

Scampi: I don’t know where I’m going.

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pt 93: TACK DOWN!

Scampi: This is unusual.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: No, well, I guess it’s normal.  Actually.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: Are you even listening to me?

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: Suspect.

Peter: [highly insulted]

Scampi: I’m tired.

Peter: Have some coffee.

Scampi: I did.

Peter: Oh.  Well.

Scampi: You’re ignoring me.

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: You are you are you are.  You are.

Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: I have the strangest dreams.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Hello?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: I can’t even sleep.

Peter: Is it not necessary that you fall asleep in order to dream?

Scampi: I dunno.

Peter: I believe it is.

Scampi: And what do you know about it?

Peter: I have a certain amount of knowledge.  At my disposal.

Scampi: A certain amount!  Humph.

Peter: Rapid eye movement.  The flowerings of the subconscious mind.

Scampi: Oh that.

Peter: What’s wrong with that?

Scampi: It has nothing to do with anything.

Peter: I believe this statement to be flawed.

Scampi: Ah, the fatal flaw!

Peter: Well.

Scampi: I can dream when I’m awake.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yup.

Peter: Well, there you have it.

Scampi: Prove me wrong.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: Just try.

Peter: I am not engaging with this.

Scampi: This?  Me?

Peter: The topic at hand.

Scampi: Oh, just back away.  That’s right.

Peter: Why must you needle me?

Scampi: Do not.

Peter: Read any good books lately?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Oh nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You wouldn’t believe the things I see.

Peter: While dreaming?

Scampi: Whenever.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You wouldn’t begin to know what to make of it.

Peter: I cannot say.

Scampi: No.

Peter: Of course, it is not as though I have never dreamed, myself.

Scampi: Almost.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: It’s almost that way.

Peter: Is that an insult?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Can we take a nap?

Peter: It is the middle of the day.

Scampi: Who cares?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: Are your eyes closed?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh.

Peter: I am going to prepare some coffee.

Scampi: Gimme some.

Peter: You may have coffee as well, if you wish.

Scampi: Thank you.

Peter: You’re welcome.

Scampi: I’m going to go to sleep right now.

Peter: I would prefer if you didn’t.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: That is my preference.

Scampi: Are you glad we altered our course?

Peter: We altered our course?

Scampi: Yes.  Eastward.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We go where the wind blows.

Peter: We appear to.

Scampi: This way.

Peter: East is fine.

Scampi: It had better be.

pt 72: SPORT

Scampi: What do we know about cricket?

Peter: The sport?

Scampi: No, the grasshopper.

Peter: Is a cricket the same thing as a grasshopper?

Scampi: Yes the sport.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: I am not much of a sportsman.

Scampi: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Peter: Does this answer your question?

Scampi: No.  Yes, in part.

Peter: Which part?

Scampi: We might attend a cricket match.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: I’m just saying, we could.  It could be fun.

Peter: Who we?  You and I?

Scampi: You and me.

Peter: I don’t think so.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Well why?

Scampi: Ridiculous.  So, you know nothing about cricket.

Peter: I wouldn’t say nothing.

Scampi: I would.

Peter: Perhaps, next to nothing.

Scampi: Fine.  Why not?

Peter: For example, I know it’s a sport.  There’s a bat and a ball.

Scampi: You’re a regular polymath.  A Pollyanna.

Peter: Yes.  Wait, what was the last part?

Scampi: You look very Pollyannaish in that white shirt.

Peter: Do I?

Scampi: With those buttons.

Peter: You take exception to the buttons on my shirt?

Scampi: I do not.

Peter: Oh.  Good.

Scampi: I am not an exceptionalist.

Peter: I might take exception to that.

Scampi: How exceptionalist of you.  A king among men, you are.

Peter: That’s not what I said.

Scampi:  No.  I said it.

Peter: You did.

Scampi: I did.

Peter: Where is this going?

Scampi: Nowhere.  You’re the one who won’t talk to me.

Peter: Stuff and nonsense.

Scampi: About cricket.

Peter: But I don’t know anything about cricket.  I said so.

Scampi: Practically nothing.

Peter: Do you know anything about cricket?

Scampi: I might.

Peter: Do you?

Scampi: You wouldn’t know.

Peter: Not at this rate, in any case.

Scampi: We could learn about it.  Cricket.

Peter: Theoretically.

Scampi: Practically.

Peter: I’m just not interested.

Scampi: I know something about cricket that you like.

Peter: And what is that?

Scampi: Curry.

Peter: What?

Scampi: People eat curry at a cricket match.

Peter: Do tell.

Scampi: Some of the best curry in England.

Peter: Good for them!

Scampi: Yes.  It is.  You know what else?

Peter: No.

Scampi: If we were cricket fans, we could follow it in the news.

Peter: This would hardly be revolutionary.  Of us.

Scampi: Right.  Hardly.  We would follow the league stats and our favourite players.  And then while I made tea, for example, you would say, “Have you noticed how well the Rajasthan Royals have been doing this season?” and I would say, “Yeah, yeah.  This year could be the one.”  You see?

Peter: We would discuss statistics.

Scampi: Damn right we would.  You see what I mean?

Peter: I’m not sure.

Scampi: Don’t you?

Peter: Perhaps I do not.

Scampi: Fine.  What do you want to talk about?

Peter: Oh, I have no preference, really.

Scampi: Yeah right.

Peter: Perhaps I do not wish to talk.

Scampi: Do you?

Peter: Wish to talk?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: It isn’t supposed to mean anything.

Scampi: It has to mean something.

Peter: The epistemology of cricket chat.  Is that where we are?

Scampi: No.  We’re talking about the purpose of language.  Yours.

Peter: There’s only one?

Scampi: Purpose or language?

Peter: Either.

Scampi: There’s at least one of each, that’s all I’m saying.

Peter: How descriptivist of you.

Scampi: Why are you so terrified?

Peter: I imagine you consider that to be some sort of segue.

Scampi: It requires no consideration.

Peter: Then I shan’t consider it.

Scampi: Classic knee-jerk response.

Peter: To what?

Scampi: Fear.

Peter: What is?

Scampi: All this batting about.

Peter: You and your bats.

Scampi: Our bats.

Peter: Yours.

Scampi: Ours.  We’re sharing.

Peter: Untrue.

Scampi: But if I’m sharing with you.

Peter: That’s none of my business.

Scampi: Then you must be sharing with me.

Peter: That is called something. I cannot remember what it’s called.

Scampi: Would you like a hint?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You’re not some kind of palefaced German tragedian, you know.

Peter: I am most certainly not.

Scampi: That’s right.  Everyone is alone, and all that.  The rose on the hill.

Peter: Rose on a hill?

Scampi: That’s not you.

Peter: I am not a rose.

Scampi: Well, we can’t go that far.

Peter: We can ruddy well stop that short.

Scampi: Of being a rose?

Peter: Yes.  Of all this nonsense.

Scampi: Do you prefer plain sense?

Peter: In fact, I do.

Scampi: It doesn’t incense you?

Peter: I abhor the smell of incense.

Scampi: You do?

Peter: Sometimes.

Scampi: Funny, I can smell some on the air.  Right now.

Peter: What?  Ghastly.

Scampi: Can you?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You’re not even trying.

Peter: And why would I?

Scampi: Why wouldn’t you?

Peter: What, try harder to inhale scents that I abhor?  As they waft past on the air?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: I will not dignify the question.

Scampi: Likely not.  So you can’t smell it?

Peter: No.

Scampi: It’s gone now anyway.

Peter: This has nothing to do with me.

Scampi: A comfortable fantasy, isn’t it?

Peter: What is?

Scampi: Jeder ist allein.

Peter: I don’t know what that is.

Scampi: It’s nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Today is a mixture of sun and cloud.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Would you like to have a nap?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I could watch the door.

Peter: For what?

Scampi: Meteorological dissonance.

Peter: I am slightly tired.

Scampi: It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

Peter: It is.

pt 75.5: DESERT EXPLORERS

PETER CHUCKLES.

 

Scampi: What are you laughing at?

 

Peter: I don’t know where you’re going, either.

 

Scampi: Of course you don’t.

 

Peter: I surely do not.

 

Scampi: But we’re in this together.

 

Peter: We are?

 

Scampi: If we aren’t in this together, I have no idea what you’re doing here.

 

Peter: [scratches his head] Good point.

 

PETER OFFERS HIS HAND. SCAMPI SHAKES IT.

 

DEMIPAUSE.

 

Scampi: Uh.

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: Are we shaking hands here?

 

Peter: Not any more.

 

Scampi: It just seemed a little. Uh.

 

Peter (hisses): Protracted?

 

Scampi: Why are you hissing at me?

 

Peter: The weather’s good.

 

Scampi: So what?

 

Peter: I’m a little restless.

 

Scampi: In that case, I say we head over that dune.

 

Peter: Why?

 

Scampi: I want to see the other side.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: So do you.

 

pt 61: THE SLOWER ROAD

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.

 

PETER FUMBLES HIS GLASSES IN FRUSTRATION.

 

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?

 

A NORTH SEA FOG DESCENDS UPON PETER’S HEAD, MUFFLING HIS VOICE.

 

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

 

PAUSE.

 

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.

 

PETER SCRATCHES HIS HEAD.

 

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!

 

PETER CLEARS HIS THROAT.

 

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.

 

PAUSE.

 

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.

pt 20: SCIENCE

Scampi: Are you equal to the sum of your three sides?

 

PAUSE.

 

Peter: What’s the – that’s no kind of definition of a triangle.

 

Scampi: LAUGHS UNCONTROLLABLY.

 

Scampi: You think of yourself as a triangle?

 

Peter: A triangle has three sides.

 

Scampi: Hahahahahahaha.

pt 76: BLACKPOOL

Scampi: What if you had been there and heard it on the radio?

 

Peter: And? What if I had?

 

Scampi: Actually, let’s abandon this line.

 

Peter: That should be quite simple.

 

Scampi: I don’t want to talk about the bombing of Coventry.

 

Peter: Okay.

 

Scampi: Horrible stuff.

 

Peter: What brings this up?

 

Scampi: Who cares?

 

Peter: Right.

 

Scampi: I don’t want to think about it, hearing the war on the radio.

 

Peter: I’m sure it would be nicer than hearing the war in your ears.

 

Scampi: What do you listen to the radio with? Your nose?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Well then.

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: It’s too hot.

 

MUSICAL INTERLUDE.

pt 44: EL BATALLÓN DE SAN PATRICIO

Scampi: You know what that is?

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: It’s Orion’s belt.

 

Peter: Yes. I did know that.

 

Scampi: I bet you haven’t seen the stars this clear in a million years.

 

Peter: Well,

 

Scampi: Oh, don’t start tabulating. I’m just saying it’s pretty.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Have you ever heard of St. Patrick’s Battalion?

 

Peter: I have not.

 

Scampi: A bunch of them were Irish defectors from the U.S. Army.

 

Peter: When?

 

Scampi: A hundred and fifty years ago. There were African-American slaves, and Germans and other Roman Catholic types, too. They fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American War. Yup. They were all granted Mexican citizenship, too.

 

Peter: Mm.

 

Scampi: Their flag was ultra-Irish. Green and gold with “Erin Go Bragh” on it.

 

Peter: Meaning?

 

Scampi: “Ireland forever.” You knew that.

 

Peter: Slightly.

 

Scampi: Americans said they were traitors. But the Mexicans said they were heroes.

 

Peter: That tends to be the way of things.

 

SCAMPI HUMS A SONG ABOUT HEROES.

 

Peter: Why are we doing this again?

 

Scampi: Because we can.