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.

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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 123: AQUINAS

Scampi: Personally, I’m not concerned with whether we exist or not.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Right?

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: Peter!

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: I am concerned with other features.

 

Peter: Features.

 

Scampi: What are you, a parakeet?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Ho ho.  Of course not.  The very idea.  It’s absurd.

 

Peter: Correct.

 

Scampi: The wind, it howls.

 

Peter: This has been observed.  Over time.

 

Scampi: Overtime!  The good guys win it all!

 

Peter: I do not follow sports.

 

Scampi: That’s not what they say in England.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: They call it sport.  Singular.

 

Peter: Singular, indeed.

 

Scampi: I don’t even believe we have any feelings.

 

Peter: We?

 

Scampi: Any of us.  Why should we?

 

Peter: As in, what practical use do they serve?

 

Scampi: You Darwinian monster.

 

Peter: Pardon me?

 

Scampi: I just mean, why should we, why shouldn’t we?  It’s highly uninteresting.

 

Peter: I see.  Not to pry, but what is interesting?

 

Scampi: Oh, you know.

 

Peter: Enlighten me.

 

Scampi: Everything else.  Pretty much.

 

Peter: Such as?

 

Scampi: Mollusks.  Typography.  That sort of thing.

 

Peter: Thank you for clearing up this issue.

 

Scampi: I am at your service.  As per usual.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: This exists, that exists.  I am unconcerned with these questions.

 

Peter: Yes, I can see that.

 

Scampi [eagerly]: Can you?

 

Peter: Indeed.

 

Scampi: How?

 

Peter: By the way you keep harping on them.

 

Scampi: Whoa, grumpiness.

 

Peter: I am not grumpy.

 

Scampi: Hokay.  Step away from de vehicle.

 

Peter: What are you talking about?

 

Scampi: Oh, you know me.  Just twiddling my opposable thumbs.

 

SCAMPI REFLECTS ON THE PAWS BEFORE HER.

 

Scampi: Opposable thumbs, hey?  This is pretty nice.

 

Peter: PACES ANGRILY.

 

Scampi: Yo, what’s up, doc?

 

Peter: I am stretching my legs.

 

Scampi: I am stretching my synapses.  Hey, remember the apple orchard?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: No?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Not at all?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Oh.

 

Peter: Why do you ask?

 

Scampi: Just wondering.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have you noticed that we’re surrounded by natural beauty?

 

Peter: I have.

 

Scampi: Well?

 

Peter: Well what?

 

Scampi: What do you think of that?

 

Peter: I think it’s fine.

 

Scampi: It certainly is.  Roly poly mammals, craggy cliffs.  What more could you want?

 

Peter: I haven’t seen any cliffs.

 

Scampi: Of course you have.

 

Peter: I have not.  Not recently.

 

Scampi: Perhaps you should look up.

 

Peter: Not today.

 

Scampi: Why not?  Scared?

 

Peter: Not today.

 

Scampi: Tomorrow they may be gone.

pt 89: PROXY

Scampi: There are a couple of things to say.

Peter: Regarding?

Scampi: Yes.  Regarding the subject of beauty.

Peter: Oh, this.

Scampi: Correct.  This.

Peter: Beauty is subjective.

Scampi: Incorrect.  Do not fill my ear with stupidities.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Look, I’m just saying.  Don’t mind me.

Peter: You look utterly exhausted.

Scampi: No, I don’t.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Beauty is like luck.

Peter: Evasive?

Scampi: Ha!  You’re so cunning, Peter.

Peter: What?

Scampi: With your little jokes.

Peter: Oh.  Well.

Scampi: To continue.

Peter: To continue.

Scampi: It is a difficult thing, this moving along.

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: One foot and then the next.

Peter: This is how we walk.

Scampi: Yes, but that’s what I’m saying.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: We walk, we walk.  One foot in front of the other.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Where the hell are we going?

Peter: That way.

Scampi: And more to the point, why aren’t we running?

pt 19: SCIENCE IS OBVIOUS

Scampi: Is this a good time to talk about beauty?

 

Peter: What are you talking about?

 

Scampi: [glares]

 

Peter: Okay, okay. What do you mean?

 

Scampi: You know what I mean. Maybe you don’t.

 

Peter: Maybe I don’t.

 

Scampi: No.

 

Peter: Well. That’s settled, then!

 

Scampi: I don’t believe a word of it.

 

Peter: Do you think I’m lying?

 

Scampi: You’re a sucky liar, for a liar.

 

Peter: Don’t call me a liar!

 

Scampi: What was that, liar? I mean, uh, Mr Lying-Pants.

 

Peter: I object. I really do.

 

Scampi: Peter’s mad and I’m glad.

 

Peter: [is livid.]

 

Scampi: Have some more coffee. Here, I’ll pour it for you, all nice. And, I mean, you see that bird? At the top of the tree out the window? I don’t even know what kind of bird that is. See it? What is that?

 

Peter: We have already ascertained that none of us know what kind of bird that is.

 

Scampi: And all the leaves. What do you call that?

 

Peter: Foliage.

 

Scampi: But it’s spring, it’s springtime. I can feel it in the muscles of my arms. Aren’t you excited?

 

Peter: I am unamused.

 

Scampi: Liar! You’re totally amused!

 

Peter: [stony silence]

 

Scampi: Oh. Sorry. (Pause.) You know that wasn’t on purpose. Come on.

 

Peter: Well.

 

Scampi: I told you. I wanna talk about like, beauty. Like, mercy in the world. You know?

 

Peter: Que la vie est dur.

 

Scampi : You look nice today.

 

Peter: Thank you.

 

Scampi: I want to touch you and those green leaves at the same time.

 

Peter: There have always been leaves that are green. There have equally been leaves of other colours.

 

Scampi: Not to mention no leaves at all.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: I like your plumage just fine, Peter. I think you are nicely plumed.

 

Peter: Hm. Ah.

 

Scampi: It’s the season. It’s the season to march out the door in your feathered best.

 

Peter: I don’t have a feathered vest.

 

Scampi: What? What’s wrong with you?

 

Peter: Excuse me?

 

Scampi: I said feathered best. BEST.

 

Peter: Oh.

 

Scampi: You and your eyelashes. Don’t get so cagey with how gorgeous things can be. Open up your eyes, baby. Drink up.

 

Peter: W—

 

Scampi: I’m talking about everything. I’m talking about how good everything looks, or at least some things, at least right now. I’m saying you should pay attention. I’m telling you to effing pay attention to this shit.

 

Peter: Sometimes, you are very noisy.

 

Scampi: Goddammit Peter.

 

Peter: Don’t swear at me.

 

Scampi: But you have such beautiful hands.

 

PETER INSPECTS HIS HANDS.

 

Scampi: No wonder you have no money.