pt 112: LIKE VEINS THE ROADS

Scampi: Imagine walking across Australia.

Peter: I would rather not.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: Are you saying you couldn’t imagine walking across Australia?

Peter: One imagines it would be a lengthy walk.

Scampi: Well yes.  Naturally.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: The epic journey!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are you tired?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh.

Peter: Do I seem tired?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Imagine the plant and animal life.

Peter: The flora and fauna of Australia.

Scampi: Yes?  This holds no fascination for you?

Peter: I am not a biologist.

Scampi: [sadly] No.

PAUSE.

Scampi: [quoting] Like veins, the roads travel everywhere.

Peter: Who said that?

Scampi: Who didn’t say it?

Peter: I did not.

Scampi: I mean veins in the sense of things that are commonly running around all over the place.

Peter: When I said that I was not a biologist, I did not mean to imply that I am completely ignorant of all aspects of human physiology.

Scampi: Big words, buster.  Wanna take this outside?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi Ho ho!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Here we are, on the road together.

Peter: ‘We’ who?

Scampi: Oh, you know, the two us.  By which I mean THE HUMAN RACE.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: One thing we haven’t really addressed –

Peter: Only one?

Scampi: Look here.  What about the period between the testaments?

Peter: Oh, yes.  How about that period.

Scampi: Alex the Great, Jerusalem, Babylonians, King Cyrus.  Eh?

Peter: Did you just say Alex the Great?

Scampi: Oh, pardon me for being so familiar.

Peter: Rather.

Scampi: I mean, you don’t want to study the marsupial population of New South Wales.

Peter: No, I do not.

Scampi: Grinch.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: But like, would you walk across Mesopotamia?

Peter: I highly doubt it.

Scampi: What, never?

Peter: Perhaps I have been biased by the daily news.

Scampi: Daily news!  What do you know about it?

Peter: [offended]

Scampi: Anyway, there’s a lot going on in Mesopotamia.

Peter: This is perhaps relevant to my inclination against participating in the great Mesopotamian walking tour.

Scampi: As led by Herodotus!

Peter: Presumably the tour kicks off with his exhumation?

Scampi: Scandalous.

Peter: Potamos.

Scampi: Mezzo-potamus.  On stage, one night only!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you hear music?

Peter: Regularly.

Scampi: No, right now.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: What do you mean, perhaps?

Peter: It is a possibility.

Scampi: I’ll tell you what’s a possibility.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Humph.  Have you ever groomed a horse?

Peter: Certainly not.

Scampi: There’s no need to be so defensive.

Peter: I have not groomed a horse.

Scampi: You probably would have, though, if you were a horse farmer.

Peter: Isn’t there a word for that?

Scampi: Yes.  It’s called good stewardship.

Peter: A horse-farmer.

Scampi: Thanks for putting that hyphen in there.  So, uh, I didn’t confuse this for a conversation about farmer who is a horse.

Peter: I seek to introduce clarity.

Scampi: We’ve met.

Peter: Ahem.  It was not apparent.

Scampi: If you stood up, you’d be a comedian.  A barrel of laughs.

Peter: I am filled with humours.

Scampi: How phlegmatic.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: That’s you.  Phlegm all over.  You should go live in Belgium.

Peter: I do enjoy frites.

Scampi: Freets!  Amazing.  You’re like, the king of Belgium already.

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Are too.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Yup.  Peter Freetsnflem, King of Belgium & Grand Vizier to the Organ Grinders’ Association of Moravia.

Peter: Organ grinders?  How did this come up?

Scampi: I’m not the Grand Vizier around here.  You tell me.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Or as the Russians have it, шарманка.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Sharmanka.  The hurdy-gurdy man, that’s you.

Peter: I take a great interest in personal fitness, you know.

Scampi: Oh, lord.  What’s next, democratic fitness?

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: I highly doubt it.  In that sense.

Peter: You doubt democratic fitness?

Scampi: Yes.  In this case, specifically rather than generally.

Peter: Are you casting aspersions on my good character?

Scampi: I am rejecting the premise.  The question is thus mooted and diffused with accuracy and grace.

PETER, NOT KNOWING WHERE TO BEGIN, DOES NOT BEGIN.  OVERCOME WITH EMOTION, SCAMPI EMBRACES HIM LIKE A LOCKET.

Peter: Argh!

Scampi: What?

Peter: Is it entirely necessary to attack me in this manner?

Scampi: Yes.  It’s definitive.

Peter: Dare I ask?

Scampi: For a definition?

Peter: Likely not.

Scampi: There you go again, answering your own questions.

Peter: As you know, I am loyal to the Socratic method.

Scampi: You know what?

Peter: I have resigned myself.

Scampi: Don’t do that, Peter.

Peter: What?

Scampi: I’m not sure.  I wanted to say something about the brisk sunlight.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Shall we go for a walk?

Peter: It could happen.

Scampi: The germ of possibility.

Peter: Rearing its beak once again.

Scampi: Its beak!  Ha!

Peter: We could go for a walk.

Scampi: Prove it.

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pt 60: BEASTS

Scampi: Well, Peter.

 

Peter: Well.

 

Scampi: It seems to me.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Or, to look at it another way.

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: I’m just trying to appreciate all angles here.

 

Peter: Okay.

 

Scampi: However.

 

Peter: Indeed.

 

Scampi: I wasn’t finished.

 

Peter: Oh.

 

Scampi: Have you ever gone to Australia?

 

Peter: I have not.

 

Scampi: Oh. I knew that, actually.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: How do you imagine it to be?

 

Peter: I don’t, really. I don’t think about Australia that much.

 

Scampi: And why would you?

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: But really the question is, why wouldn’t you? Eh?

 

Peter: Because it is not in my brain. There is no need.

 

Scampi: Maybe you need to learn a little more about your neighbours. Did you ever think of that?

 

Peter: What neighbours?

 

Scampi: On this earth. Your fellow men. Your humanoid compatriots.

 

Peter: Humanoid? Do you mean human?

 

Scampi: Don’t patronise me, mister. I know what I mean.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: And I’m not the only one. You know what I mean, too.

 

Peter: Oh really.

 

Scampi: Yes. Anyway, if we need to learn about Australia, we can jolly well learn about Australia.

 

Peter: If.

 

Scampi: That’s right. Besides, I bet you know a lot more about Australia than you let on.

 

Peter: How much are you betting?

 

Scampi: It’s an expression. It means, I am correct.

 

Peter: Hm.

 

Scampi: For example, in Australia, everyone walks around upside down. Did you know that?

 

Peter: Please.

 

Scampi: What? What?

 

Peter: Refrain from this prattle.

 

Scampi: Prattle? Pardon me?

 

Peter: You just said that in Australia people are walking around upside down.

 

Scampi: Perhaps I did. Perhaps they are.

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: The world is rife with strange beasts.

 

Peter: PICKS AT HIS TEETH.

 

Scampi: And perhaps we are the strangest beasts of all. Some of us anyway.

 

Peter: Are you talking about me?

 

Scampi: No. I am talking to you.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Fungi floppily cushion the forest floor. Behind the trees, brown bears dip their magnificent paws in wild honey.

 

Peter: Is this a children’s tale?

 

Scampi: Is that what you think? Bears and mushrooms belong in fairytales?

 

Peter: Perhaps.

 

Scampi: Well, I think they belong in the world. We are all in the world.

 

Peter: Is this what passes for philosophy these days?

 

Scampi: Don’t start with me. Philosophy is welcome to take a long walk off a short pier.

 

PETER REMOVES HIS EYEGLASSES AND RUBS HIS EYES WITH ONE PALE, CRUMPLED PAW.

 

Scampi: I am sure you have no wish to deny the existence of bears, mulching leaves, mushrooms, and Australia.

 

Peter: The existence of them?

 

Scampi: That’s right. You do not deny it. Do you?

 

Peter: Uh. No.

 

Scampi: Precisely! That’s what I’m saying. We’re all in this together.

 

Peter: Well, now—

 

Scampi: Don’t well now me. We are all crunching and whispering across the forest floor. Going from here to there. Looking for a soft place to sleep.

 

Peter: Well yes.

 

Scampi: Of course. There could be a blanket of snow, there could be a blanket of leaves, there could be a blanket of fine alpaca fur.

 

Peter: One has to have dreams, I suppose.

 

Scampi: What?

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: What was that?

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: Dreams? Are you talking about dreams?

 

Peter: It was a just a.

 

Scampi: Do you have dreams? Is this what you’re saying?

 

Peter: I wasn’t really. Saying anything.

 

Scampi: Dreams. The finely silted dreams of Peter.

 

Peter: Silted? What are you talking about?

 

Scampi: I don’t know.

 

PAUSE.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I don’t know.