pt 140: FRUIT TREES

Scampi: I’ll draw it for you.

Peter: That really is not necessary.

Scampi: Let me make you this diagram.

Peter: To what end?

Scampi: I want to draw it out for you.  To make things clearer.

Peter: Are we in great need of clarity, all of a sudden?

Scampi: No, no.  It has come up on us, bit by bit.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You are like a rock on the seashore.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: In the sense that I said so.

Peter: Ah. Right.

Scampi: Baking in the sunshine like a loaf of wheat.

Peter: Loaf of wheat? What?

Scampi: Why are you so critical today?

Peter: Was I being critical?

Scampi: Yes. Very picky. For some reason. Which I do not know what it is.

Peter: Perhaps you are misinterpreting my words.

Scampi: Impossible!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever seen a cactus?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What, really?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I mean, not in a plant shop.  Or at the zoo.

Peter: They have cactuses at the zoo?

Scampi: Why shouldn’t they? People can have a cactus if they want.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: So, what? You’ve been to the desert, is that what you’re saying?

Peter: That is not what I am saying.

Scampi: Where did you see a cactus then?

Peter: I cannot recall.

Scampi: Humph. This all smacks of trickery.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Perhaps you were driving along one day in your little Volkswagen.

Peter: I do not own a Volkswagen.

Scampi: Oh look! sez you to yourself. It be a cactoos yonder.

Peter: I do not speak this way.

Scampi: You’re in a very disagreeable mood today.

Peter: I –

Scampi: What? Do you disagree? Ho, ho!

Peter: Really.

Scampi: And truly. Furthermore, I’d like to know where this boat is going.

Peter: Yes, wouldn’t we all.

Scampi: [craftily] So you admit we’re in a boat.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Please pay attention to the map. Do you have anything against maps?

Peter: Certainly not.

Scampi: That’s what I’m saying. We don’t want to end up on a shoal.

Peter: Naturally.

Scampi: Well.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What does the chart say?

Peter: [irritably] You haven’t given me a chart.

Scampi: Says you.

Peter: Indeed.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I suppose we could ease up. Drift awhile, fish for smelt in the noonday sun.

Peter: I shall simply tip my chapeau over my eyes like so, and avail myself of a siesta.

Scampi: La-de-da. For my part, I shall read aloud from the book of Deuteronomy.

Peter: I would really rather you did not.

Scampi: Heathen!

Peter: Please. There is no need to shriek like a mynah bird.

Scampi: And why not?

Peter: I am right here.

Scampi: Oh. Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Would you like a cushion?

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: The book of Deuteronomy is full of stiff necks, you know.

Peter: I am fine, thank you.

Scampi: Suit yourself.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know what?

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: The shore is so beautiful this afternoon. I feel like a plover.

Peter: Wonderful.

Scampi: Yes. Are you listening to me?

Peter: Mm. Certainly.

Scampi: Okay. What did I just say?

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Just checking.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Will I wake you if I catch a fish?

Peter: No thank you.

Scampi: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever been in love?

Peter: I think so.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Oh. Shall I wake you in case something exciting happens?

Peter: Such as?

Scampi: Uh, dragonflies.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Will you fall in love again, do you think?

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I am taking a nap.

Scampi: Yes, yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have I ever been in love?

Peter: I do not know.

Scampi: Oh.

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pt 138: MA DOULEUR

Peter: Calm yourself.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Really.

Scampi: Who said I wasn’t calm?

Peter: You just did.

Scampi: Did not.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I know you’ve often had occasion to ignore the works of Paul Éluard.

Peter: Who?

Scampi: Precisely.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: We see a vision of ourselves in a glacial lake.

Peter: We do?

Scampi: Maybe.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Why not? The sun in the frozen water.

Peter: Ice?

Scampi: No. Water that is cold.  Frozen water.

Peter: Freezing water?

Scampi: Stop picking on me.  Jesus.

Peter: I am not picking on you.

Scampi: Oh, you feel the weight o’ the world, don’t ya?

Peter: That seems an excessive description.

Scampi: Impossible! Such insolence.

Peter: Naturally, no one would consider your illuminating ruminations to be insolent.

Scampi: Naturally. The pain of the world bounces back at us from the water. In the shape of sunlight.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes. The glacial lake.

Peter: What’s all this about a lake?

Scampi: I dunno.  What do you have against lakes?

Peter: Nothing.

Scampi: Imagine, if you will.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: You are standing on the shore.

Peter: I am?

Scampi: You are. The sun is on the water. The water is primordially frosty.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: You watch the light reflect off the water and your heart is full and also empty.  And the water is frozen and on fire.

Peter: Is this a metaphor?

Scampi: Stop that.

Peter: What?

Scampi: “Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,/And left the vivid air signed with their honor.”

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Spender. Stephen.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: What are you doing this afternoon?

Peter: I have no fixed arrangements, per se.

Scampi: Want to go sign the vivid air with our honour?

Peter: Well, perhaps.

Scampi: Great!

Peter: What will this entail?

Scampi: Oh, you know. It’ll be fun.

Peter: Perhaps I should change my coat.

Scampi: Formal wear is not required.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We can go down to the water.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: We can even remove our shoes.

Peter: Anything is possible.

Scampi: That’s correct.

pt 118: HILLS MADE OUT OF DUST

Scampi: I can’t quite put it into words.

Peter: I can’t hear you.

Scampi: I’m not mumbling!

Peter: Sorry?

Scampi: Urgh!

A PAUSE REPLETE WITH MAGENTA AND BANANA LEAVES.

Sacmpi: I wish I could explain this to you.

Peter: I am simply going about my daily life.  I am a busy man.

Scampi: You’re always a busy man.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: These days.

Peter: I have many responsibilities.

Scampi: Yeah, like what?

Peter: I have important work to do.  I have bills to pay.

Scampi: False.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Forget it.

SILENCE.

Scampi: Could I offer you a tiny cup of scalding coffee laced with cardamom?

Peter: Oh?  What’s this all about?

Scampi: This is one way to have coffee, between friends.

Peter: Were you intending to be friendly?

Scampi: Really!  Don’t be preposterous!

Peter: Ah.  This is one way to have coffee.

Scampi: Yes.  We might discuss the days gone by and the days to come.

Peter: And what of the days at hand?

Scampi: They are swarming me.  Like fishes and bees.

Peter: Is something amiss?

Scampi: I don’t think so.  I believe it is all right as rain.

Peter: Is it raining?

Scampi: Somewhere it is.  Presumably.

Peter: Is this a meteorological fact?  That it is raining in some location at all times?

Scampi: Well, isn’t it?

Peter: No.  Perhaps.

Scampi: Just not in Antarctica, the driest place on earth.

Peter: No.

Scampi: My mind is simply stuffed.

Peter: With Antarctic aridity?

Scampi: Absolutely not.  With emotions.

Peter: Er.

Scampi: I don’t even know what kind of a noise that is.

Peter: Eh?

Scampi: You’re like the Consul General of the British Isles.  With these noises.

Peter: That is not my present occupation, in fact.

Scampi: Well, it is in fiction.

A PLAINTIVE RATTLE OF MOURNING DOVES.

Scampi: Whereas I am so thrilled and lowly.

Peter: Holey?

Scampi: Amen!

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Low-some.  Down, down, in the depths of good cheer.

Peter: Is this the Homemaker’s Guide to Manic Depression?

Scampi: Oh, Peter.  Stop being so tense.  I’m simply explaining the state of affairs.

Peter: Well-stated.

Scampi: And speaking of the state of the nation, maybe you should go drape yourself in a colonial flag, like a cape, you know.

Peter: I have no reason to engage in such an activity.

Scampi: On the contrary, you love that sort of thing.

Peter: I feel I am being typecast.

Scampi: Typical.

Peter: There you go again.

Scampi: Don’t blame me for the faults of your feet.

Peter: That is a quote from something.

Scampi: Oho, “something”.  Well-cited.

Peter: It is not my task to cite your quotations for you.

Scampi: No, it certainly isn’t.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I am seeing a lot of beautiful things.  Of course.

Peter (yawning): Of course.

Scampi: Don’t let me disturb you with this familiar train of thought or anything.  But the beauty is manifesting itself differently.

Peter: I wonder if I should moisturise my beard.

Scampi: I don’t even know what’s being left behind.

Peter: Perhaps a residue of white flakes.

Scampi: Not in your beard, Peter.

Peter: Oh?  Where?

Scampi: With me.

Peter: You feel you are being left behind?

Scampi: No!

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: I’m trying to figure out these important things and all you do is talk about your beard.

Peter: Ah!  Thusly we see that in your estimation, my beard is unimportant.

Scampi: No, of course not.  Your beard is like a goddam christly miracle.  To me.  In its multitudinous bounty.

Peter: It is perhaps a touch full, of late.

Scampi: It is a thing in this world, anyway.

Peter: Or a portion of my face.

Scampi: Face shmace: we’re all things in this world.  Stack of dirhams in a treasury.

Peter: To whom does this treasury belong?

Scampi: One wonders.

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.

pt 28: SAND IN OUR SHOES

Scampi: We have all swept the sand from our hair at the end of the long day.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: I could shake the sand out of my hair. I could even shake your hand.

 

Peter: I reserve judgement.

 

Scampi: You certainly do. You are nothing if not judgemental, and reserved.

 

Peter: [sighs.]

 

Scampi: We could say something like: the water is this blue.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Let x be equal to the blueness of the water.

 

Peter: This is acceptable to me.

 

Scampi: Let y be equal to the violence we do to our neighbour.

 

Peter: Perhaps we can dispense with y.

 

Scampi: Y not?

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Har, har.

 

Peter: My skin is fitting my face better, these days.

 

Scampi: As well it should. We all need a goddam vacation.

 

Peter: The bombast of your rhetoric never fails to put me on edge.

 

Scampi: Go fill this basket with fruit from the garden.

 

Peter: Why?

 

Scampi: We’re having a party.

 

Peter: We are?

 

Scampi: We are.

 

Peter: What’s to celebrate?

 

Scampi: Our great good luck.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: The bruised and verdant earth. The worms oozing forth from the early apples of our smallest-handed selves.

 

Peter: I don’t want to eat worms.

 

Scampi: But you can swallow August whole and come up clean.

 

Peter: Your abstractions still make me wince.

 

Scampi: Go on out to the garden, Peter.

 

Peter: What are we meant to be celebrating again?

 

Scampi: The sublime coincidence.

 

Peter: Of what?

 

Scampi: Our great good luck.