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 53: ENGLAND SWINGS

Scampi: I’ve been thinking about things.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Don’t get too excited, now.

Peter: I shall do my utmost to remain calm.

Scampi: Commendable.

Peter: Rather.

Scampi: Anyhow, I’ve been thinking.

Peter: The brain is a gift.

Scampi: Yes.  An evolutionary bouquet of surprises.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Cortex’s gold!  A big man on hippocampus!

Peter: Really.

Scampi: I saw you laughing at that.

Peter: Absolutely not.

Scampi: I saw you snickering into your handkerchief.

Peter: Now,

Scampi: Come on, Peter, don’t lie.

Peter: I am not a liar.

Scampi: Yes, yes.  And no one has accused you of being one.

Peter: You just –

Scampi: But back to the real revolution here, if you will.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: For starters, we have the beauty of the outdoors.

Peter: We do.

Scampi: We have the bare bones of trees, a huge sky.

Peter: Theoretically.

Scampi: I mean, obviously I’m not going to list off everything.  We could be here all day.

Peter: SHUDDERS.

Scampi: Well, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  Or anything.

Peter: Maybe you should go into weather forecasting.

Scampi: What a thing to say.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Preposterous.

Peter: It was just a suggestion.

Scampi: I bite my lip, and then a perfect cloud appears overhead.  A perfect, fluffy slice of cumulus.  I brush my hair out of my eyes, and the wind plays a minuet on the shingles across the street.  And you want me to go into weather forecasting!  Really.

Peter: Am I to infer that you believe there is a causal relationship between your facial tics and the current weather systems?

Scampi: Do you believe in God, Peter?

Peter: Well, I need a bit more context to answer that question.

Scampi: Right.  Ridiculous.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: I am so in love with the sun today.  And you just sit here punching me in the face with frozen slabs of like, Adorno.

Peter: I resent these accusations.

Scampi: While I present these adumbrations.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Do you feel like dancing?

Peter: No.

Scampi: This is unsurprising.

Peter: Yes.  Well.

Scampi: I feel like stretching my legs.

Peter: How do you plan to do that?

Scampi: I just need to find a long pond.  To leap over, you see.

Peter: You might get your feet wet.

Scampi: Well.  One of us has to.

pt 114: BELLAS ARTES, BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Scampi: Peter.

Peter: This is what they call me.

Scampi: Let me tell you a story.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: What, you don’t want to hear a story?

Peter: Is it long?

Scampi: It’s a story.  Stories are to you as corn was to the Maya.

Peter: Plentiful?

Scampi: Among other things.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, let us begin with the beginning.

Peter: A wise decision.

Scampi: In this case, yes.  I believe so.

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: Once.  No, screw that.

Peter: An auspicious commencement.

Scampi: Uh-huh.  Do you know who Porfirio Diaz is?

Peter: No.

Scampi: He was like, the President of Mexico.  A million years ago.

Peter: A million years ago?  Was this on the Mayan calendar?

Scampi: A long time ago.  He had many detractors, you see.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Right, it happens.  But he had a beautiful wife.  And pious.  She was renowned for her delicate sensibilities and refined European tastes.  Even his detractors thought she was pretty good stuff.

Peter: No doubt this added balance to the relationship.

Scampi: It’s all about the love, Peter.

Peter: You say that as though I had suggested it was all about the acrimony.

Scampi: Think of this: You look at a beautiful structure, classical, a classic, a colonial triumph.  Wings on all the angels, leaves and snakes and marble muses.

Peter: Which building?

Scampi: Whichever one.  You think: there’s blood beneath the marble.  Slave labour, human misery, conquistadors.

Peter: I think this?

Scampi: Damn right you do.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: But it’s so beautiful, anyway.  Knocks you out.  There’s a man with a ferret on a leash in front of the Musée de Beaux Arts and sixty schoolkids are staring up at the cupola like it’s the Milky Way.  Do you know what this is?

Peter: Hyperbole?

Scampi: (PAUSE.) Close.  It’s a love story.

Peter: I fail to apprehend the narrative arc here.

Scampi: We are surrounded by beauty, Peter.

Peter: This is something you’ve observed.

Scampi: This is the tale I am trying to tell you.

Peter: Sorry, but how is it a tale?

Scampi: You don’t seem sorry.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Why is a love story a story?

Peter: I don’t know, why?

Scampi: It’s not a knock-knock joke.  What do you think?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: The love is the story.

Peter: This has the trappings of a cheap evasion.

Scampi: You are familiar, of course, with the musical compositions of J.S. Bach?

Peter: I am.

Scampi: To be sure.  And of course you know what an organ is.  A pipe organ.  In a church.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: This is quite tedious.

Scampi: So you don’t know what an organ is?

Peter: I know what an organ is.

Scampi: Please, calm yourself.

PETER SETTLES.

Scampi: [Ah, the layered approach.  Like sedimentary rock.]

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: To continue.

Peter: Is this entirely necessary?

Scampi: Of course.  Were you aware, then, of how Mr. Bach – our excellent friend – felt about organs?

Peter: I suspect he would feel profoundly ambivalent about this conversation.  To put it mildly.

Scampi: He loved them.  Organs and the glory of God.  Our good buddy J.S. was all over that shit.  You know?

Peter: RUBS HIS MIDSECTION WITH GUSTO.

Scampi: That’s a love story, see.  Church tunes and Bach.

Peter: I enjoy curried onions.

Scampi: As is well-known by any of us blessed with olfactory capacities.

Peter: Humph.  I am fond of large sandwiches as well.  No doubt this is a love story?

Scampi: It is not.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: We have beauty in the world.

Peter: You do like to harp on this.

Scampi: Harp!  You octopod!

PETER WAVES ALL EIGHT LEGS AKIMBO IN PROTEST.

Scampi: Beauty and lovers of beauty.  These are some things we have.

Peter: We sure do.

Scampi: We sure do.

Peter: If I may.

Scampi: You may.

Peter: Perhaps you would not take exception to the suggestion that you are embracing a false dichotomy?

Scampi: Whatever that means.

Peter: It means –

Scampi: Take Robin Hood and Little John.

Peter: Two beloved folk heroes of my ancestral patrimony.

Scampi: Indeed.  There they go, smiting state mercenaries and guzzling ale.  Remember the grand adventure?

Peter: Weren’t they all?

Scampi: You and me and the open road.  x plus y times possibility.

Peter: This is your idea of a love story?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: But it could be yours.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Sh!  The Sheriff’s men approach.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: We must wait for nightfall.  Then we take the high road.

Peter: What?  Where are we going?

Scampi: The coast.

Peter: And then?

Scampi: Precisely.

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 110: THE NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

Scampi: Ai.

Peter: This is a strange noise.

Scampi: Please, don’t mind me.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I would like to discuss some of the socio-politico-geodesical implications.

Peter: As you know, I am apolitical.

Scampi: This is nothing to be proud of.

Peter: I didn’t say that!

Scampi: What?

Peter: Wait, did you say “geodesical”?

Scampi: And?  What if I did?

Peter: I don’t understand.

Scampi: What else is new?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Remember when we were talking about pirates?

Peter: On numerous occasions.

Scampi: Incorrect.  Anyway, I’m not interested in having a conversation about murder, and that sort of thing.  I am interested in having a conversation about ADVENTURE ON THE HIGH SEAS.

Peter: You had planned to reprovision in Madagascar.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: You do remember our conversations!

Peter: This should not be a surprise.

Scampi: Well, you know what a geodesic dome is, of course.

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Those things are great.

Peter: Innately?

Scampi: Have you ever seen one that wasn’t great?

Peter: Great how?

Scampi: Like, Oh, excellent, a geodesic dome!

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Ha!  You see?

Peter: You are certainly in a mood.

Scampi: I am not.  Jerk.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: You know what else?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Familiarity breeds contempt.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: So, obviously I’m not in a mood.  As you put it.

Peter: I fail to see the sense in this line of reasoning.

Scampi: Maybe you should get your eyes checked.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Don’t sigh at me.

PAUSE.

SCAMPI SIGHS LOUDLY.

Scampi: Haw haw.  Now I see why you sigh all the time.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: It’s fun!

SCAMPI SIGHS FIVE TIMES IN A ROW.

Scampi: I could be a professional!

Peter: [inadvertently] SIGHS.

Scampi: Ahahahahahaha!  Amazing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I’m sure you would enjoy the life of a buccaneer.

Peter: I am very distracted by all the important work I have to do.

Scampi: This would be true, if you were a buccaneer.  Imagine what we would call our boat.

Peter: Our boat?

Scampi: Yes, our boat.  Oh, was that a name suggestion?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I like it.  In lettering on the prow – what kind of lettering, do you think?

Peter: Roman.

Scampi: No, no.  I am asking about the font.

Peter: I have no idea.

Scampi: Well, how about Comic Sans, then?

Peter: No!

Scampi: I knew you had an opinion on this.

Peter: We do not have a boat.

Scampi: We don’t have one yet.  Per se.

Peter: We don’t have one at all.

Scampi: Untrue!

Peter: I am feeling restless.

Scampi: Perfect.

Peter: I want to go for a walk.

Scampi: You can go for a walk once we land on the Malabar Coast.

Peter: Of India?

Scampi: Where did you think we were going?  Sudetenland?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Look at the sunset.  It is a sad sight.

Peter: It is a gaseous orb.

Scampi: That’s what I said.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: When the light is gone, it will get cold very quickly.

pt 129: NOUGHTS & CROSSES

Scampi: Let’s have a strategic plenary session.

Peter: To what end?

Scampi: I’m just giving you an example of how people talk.

Peter: Well-executed.

Scampi: [SHUDDERS.]

Peter: Are you chilly?

Scampi: No.  Although I hear the river Jordan is.

Peter: One would imagine it to be temperate.

Scampi: What do you know about it?

Peter: [AFFRONTED.]

Scampi: Do you need a new pair of shoes?

Peter: Perhaps.  No.

Scampi: For our new set of adventures, I mean.

Peter: Did we have an old set of adventures?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: It’s important to go out into the world equipped with adequate footwear.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: Well, that’s what I’m saying.

Peter: No one doubts your expertise when it comes to footwear.

Scampi: In fact, I am too warm.  Like a woolly sheep in spring.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Well, what are we going to do?

Peter: Are we shepherds?

Scampi: What?  No.

Peter: What are we going to do about what?

Scampi: I don’t know.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: I am not sure what happens next, you see.

Peter: No one is sure of that.

Scampi: No one?  Pfft.

Peter: If you don’t want my opinion,

Scampi: Opinions?  Who said anything about opinions?

Peter: In my opinion, you did.

Scampi: This is not the juncture to introduce subjective lollygagging into the conversation.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: This is a time for action!

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Action!  Let’s direct a western!

Peter: Why would we do that?

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Firstly,

Scampi: No, no.  This could be our big break.

Peter: There’s no business like show business.

Scampi: I propose we call our picture “The Adventures of Peter and Scampi”.

Peter: I feel that would be uncomfortable.

Scampi: What?

Peter: For us.

Scampi: Nonsense.

Peter: I don’t think that it would be possible.  At this time.

Scampi: That’s ridiculous.  It’ll be about two birds named, say, Scampi and Peter.  They’re riding across the wild west, looking for the horizon.  When they find it, there’s a big party.  Everyone attends.  A Mexican fiesta.  Yeehaw!

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: What could possibly go wrong?

Peter: It is a risky strategy.  I believe.

Scampi: How so?

Peter: Well, it seems, perhaps –

Scampi: Spit ‘er out there, pardner.

Peter: Autobiographical.

Scampi: What?

Peter: The storyline.

Scampi: That’s absurd!

Peter: Is it?

Scampi: Certainly.

Peter: Some of the facts do seem to line up, you know.

Scampi: With what?

Peter: With what is already there.

Scampi: What are you talking about?

Peter: Us.

Scampi: What about us?

Peter: Our western sounds a lot like us.

Scampi: That’s madness.  We’re not birds.

PENSIVELY, PETER BURIES HIS BEAK IN HIS FEATHERS.

Peter: I just don’t know if we’re ready for the movies.

Scampi: You’ll be a star!

Peter: I feel a sense of foreboding.

[DANGEROUS INSTRUMENTALS.]

Scampi: No fear.  That’s just the score.

Peter: What are you doing?

Scampi: Now?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

FIN.

pt 97: FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW

Scampi: Your nose is shimmering in the heat.

Peter: Hardly.

Scampi: It is.

Peter: I feel rather sluggish.

Scampi: Like a slug!  Ha.

Peter: Not slug-like.

Scampi: A briny, spotted sluggy.

Peter: As you wish.

Scampi: I wish.

Peter: Do you think my face looks different?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: If we are apprehended, will you stick up for me?

Peter: Why would we be apprehended?

Scampi: On our grand adventure.  Anything is possible.

Peter: I do not believe you need to worry.

Scampi: Famous last words.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Would you?

Peter: Be apprehended?

Scampi: Stick up for me.  You know, take my side.

Peter: I suppose that would depend on what you had done.

Scampi: What I had done?  What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: Well, I don’t know what you’ve been apprehended for.  How do I determine whether or not I will take your part in the debate?

Scampi: Ridiculous.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: You’re supposed to be my partner in crime.

Peter: I am not a criminal.

Scampi: Of course not.  Neither am I.

Peter: [SIGHS.]

Scampi: Maybe we should be more careful.

Peter: In what respect?

Scampi: You know, cover our tracks.  That sort of thing.

Peter: We have nothing to hide.

Scampi: Do you think so?

Peter: This is a transparent operation.

Scampi: Oh, so it’s an operation, is it?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Well, that’s a comfort.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Maybe we could drag leaves behind us when we walk.  To cover our footprints in the snow.

Peter: It isn’t snowing.

Scampi: I know.  Don’t you think I know that?

Peter: I am unsure.

Scampi: Oh ye of little faith.

Peter: Are you addressing me?

Scampi: Apparently.

Peter: I cannot recall when last it snowed.

Scampi: So what?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I can.

Peter: Oh?  And when was it?

Scampi: I’m sure we’d all like to know that.  Ho.  Ha ha.

Peter: And?

Scampi: It snowed in the wintertime.  Winter is for snowing.

Peter: Thank you.  That was terribly informative.

Scampi: Big, fat flakes.  All over your face, and the windows.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: We wandered into the woods, and were not found.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: We hid the evidence as we went.

Peter: I do not remember this occasion.

Scampi: It was a secret.