pt 55: JAYBIRDS

Scampi: Hello?

Peter: Are you awake?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: You are?

Scampi: Basically.

Peter: There are two enormous bluejays on my balcony.

Scampi: Oh yes.

Peter: They are the size of seagulls.

Scampi: Very nice.

Peter: They are very large.

Scampi: Do you think they might be us?

Peter: I’m referring to the feathered creatures.  Not the baseball team we play on.

Scampi: You’re funny.

Peter: You should see them.

Scampi: I can’t see them.

Peter: Well, maybe they’ll come back.

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pt 136: I’M SORRY, PUSHKIN

Scampi: [YAWNS.]

Peter: Excuse me.

Scampi: Hm?

Peter: Your hand seems to be waving about in front of my spectacles.

Scampi: Ah, yes.  [YAWNS.] Like this?

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Oh, look.

Peter: Mm?

Scampi: Ripe mulberries. They are falling all around us.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Here, have one.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: I couldn’t possibly.

Scampi: That’s incorrect.  You could.

Peter: Please.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Could you – ?

Scampi: Could I what? Have a mulberry.

Peter: Very well.

Scampi: Chomp. Delicious.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know they kept fighting on the Western Front even after the war was done, right?

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: They kept fighting.  And dying.

Peter: Well then, the war was not done.

Scampi: Officially, I mean.  The peace had been signed.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: They kept it up.  They kept on sending out black telegrams and smoking cigarettes.

Peter: What does smoking cigarettes have to do with it?

Scampi: I don’t know, Peter.  I didn’t start the fire.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Pushkin was the Shakespeare of Russia, you know.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: Didn’t you know that?

Peter: I do not know what you are trying to say.

Scampi: Because of how good he was, and that sort of thing.

Peter: Because of his Bardic qualities?

Scampi: Kharms said he couldn’t grow a beard.  Or a moustache, or whatever.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yeah.  Because of how much he contributed to the language. He was worth his weight in new words.

Peter: How much did he weigh?

Scampi: Really! That’s a private matter.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: If you were Pushkin, I would say, ‘I’m sorry, Pushkin.’

Peter: Ah.  And who would you be?

Scampi: That has nothing to do with it.

Peter: [CLEARS A RUBYTHROATED HUMMINGBIRD FROM HIS THROAT.]

Scampi: Oh, look.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: It vanished into the sun.

Peter: What did?

Scampi: Just now.

Peter: Apparently, I missed this miraculous event.

Scampi: I’ll say.

PETER EMITS A DELICATE, INVISIBLE COUGH.

Scampi: Sometimes, this is more difficult than others.

Peter: Yes. 

PAUSE.

Peter: What is?

Scampi: Everything.

Peter: Yes.

pt 125: HACKLES

Scampi: I guess I still do.

Peter: What do you still do?

Scampi: This is the saddest song.

Peter: I hear no song.

Scampi: That’s a separate debate.

Peter: Humph.

Scampi: Do you know what Caledonia is?

Peter: Scotland?

Scampi: Sometimes.

Peter: Yes.  And sometimes we call it “Scotland”.

Scampi: No, no.

Peter: No?

Scampi: No.

PREGNANT PAUSE.

Scampi: Sometimes it could mean something else.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Such as the coal mines of Glace Bay.

Peter: In Nova Scotia?

Scampi: Not to be confused with New Caledonia.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You’ll find that there aren’t too many happy songs about miners.

Peter: You are correct.  This is something that I have found.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: The hardships of life in the mines have been well-publicised.

Scampi: What?

Peter: I said –

Scampi: I know what you said.  You think that’s tacky?

Peter: That you heard what I said?  I think it is perhaps unusual.

Scampi: You think the hardships of life in the coal mines is tacky?

Peter: That, for example, is not what I said.

Scampi: It was the way you said it.

Peter: Oh?  What way was that?

Scampi: You’re the one who said it.  I’m sure you know how you said it.

Peter: There was nothing wrong with my diction.

Scampi: Diction, quite frankly, is the least of your troubles.

Peter: My troubles?

Scampi: Of course, that’s what they called it in Northern Ireland.  The Troubles.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What do you know?

Peter: Doubtless I know very little, in comparison to your majestic self.

Scampi: Ho ho.  Majestic!  Don’t mind if I do!

PETER PREENS CRABBILY IN THE WINDOW.

Scampi: Look at you.  You cobra.

Peter: I am demonstrating my feathers to best advantage.

Scampi: That’s evident.

Peter: [re: what Peter clearly just said] I would never say that.

Scampi: Sure.  The question is, for whose benefit is this occurring?

Peter: I am simply looking out the window.

Scampi: Oh, of course.  Now he looks out the window.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: You’re like a serpent coquette, gyrating for the local snakecharmer.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Dancing around in your basket for all the market to see.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Time to cross your eyes and go back to bed.

Peter: Are you saying that snakes cross their eyes?

Scampi: So, you think of yourself as a snake?

Peter: I don’t cross my eyes.  And I don’t believe it’s actually possible for a snake to cross its eyes.

Scampi: Aha!  So you are a snake!

Peter: That is a perversion of logic.

Scampi: Excessive vanity is the perversion of a healthy ego.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Sorry?

Peter: What does that even mean?

Scampi: Sorry?

Peter: I said, What does that mean?

Scampi: You don’t know what sorry means?  (Unsurprising.)

Peter: ARGH.

Scampi: Woah.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, there’s no need to get upset.

PETER’S HAIR STANDS UP ON END.

Scampi: You’re so punk rock.

Peter: I assure you, it is unintentional.

Scampi: You know what’s unintentional?

Peter: Do enlighten me.

Scampi: Participating in history.  This is unintentional.

Peter: How so?

Scampi: You have to do something intentional to not participate in history.  Tu t’en tires.  Or.  Tu t’en tire une balle.

Peter: I do not know what that means.

Scampi: Oh, naturally.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you believe that the Troubles are over?

Peter: In Ireland?  They are over.

Scampi: Technically.  Your troubles, however, are not.

Peter: Likely not.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know, sometimes I look out at the sky and see birds in a vee formation.

Peter: Up at the sky.

Scampi: No.  Out.  In the direction of the horizon.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: There they are, flapping all around.

Peter: This is a common activity for birds.

Scampi: Not penguins.

Peter: Or ostriches.

Scampi: Ostriches, Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: How ridiculous.  I’m talking about birds in flight.

Peter: Such as “not penguins”.

Scampi: Right.  I wonder if the birds have any idea of the sorts of longings they engender in terrestrial types such as myself.

Peter: Surely not.

Scampi: What are you, a bird-reader?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Flock psychology?  Cygnet Freud?

Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: Have you ever been to Caledonia?

Peter: [consulting a chart] New Caledonia?  The French-owned island in the – ?  Pacific.

Scampi: South-west Pacific.

Peter: There is no need to hyphenate.

Scampi: You know why they called it the Pacific?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Because it was so peaceful.

Peter: Yes, I knew that.

Scampi: Because it was so blue.  Like yourself.

Peter: I am not blue.

Scampi: Nor black, like a miner.

Peter: I do not have coal soot on my face.

Scampi: That is your good luck.

Peter: You may choose to see it that way.

Scampi: I do.  So you’ve never been to Caledonia.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Me neither.  This is a very sad song.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I thought you said you couldn’t hear it.

Peter: I couldn’t.

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 82: APRIL

Scampi: Let us listen to the birds sing.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We shall be immune to the trivial fripperies and discontentments of the modern-day world.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Like that snooty guy in the bookstore.

Peter: He wasn’t snooty.

Scampi: Who said he was?

Peter: You did.  You just did.

Scampi: [snorts] Nonsense.

DIAPHANOUS SILENCE.

Scampi: It sure is a beautiful day.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: This is springtime, right?

Peter: Is it?

Scampi: Well?

Peter: What do you wish to know?

Scampi: What season is this?

Peter: Spring.

Scampi: Well.  That’s what I was asking.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I love this song.

Peter: What song?

Scampi: It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Fine.

SCAMPI HUMS HAPPILY.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: What?

PAUSE.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Lovely weather.

Scampi: I said that already.

Peter: Not exactly.

Scampi: Yes, I did.

Peter: You said—

Scampi: Don’t tell me what I said.  I am not a gnat.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: As though I have the memory of an infant octopus.  I know what I said.

Peter: Octopi are relatively bright creatures.

Scampi: Octopuses.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Yeah, yeah.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: You are being dismissive.

Scampi: Jealous?

Peter: I decline to comment.

Scampi: Heh.  Ha.

Peter: What’s so funny?

Scampi: You want some lemonade?

Peter: No.  I do not.

Scampi: Ha.  Ho ho.

Peter: What are you laughing about?

Scampi: Why are you so against laughing?  All of a sudden?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Well then.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Is it spring now?  Or was it spring then?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Did this happen already?

Peter: What?

Scampi: This.

Peter: Now?

Scampi: Or then.  I mean, if this has already occurred, then it isn’t now.

Peter: I am not enamoured with this breed of sophistry.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: What time is it?

Peter: After noon.

Scampi: But that’s everything.  Everything except twelve o’clock, anyway.

Peter: After noon.  Before sunset.

Scampi: What breathtaking accuracy.

Peter: I lay no claims upon perfection.

Scampi: You should live in Switzerland.  And get adjusted one one thousandth of a second per annum.

Peter: That’s not what happens.

Scampi: Maybe not yet.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: But it might be what happens next.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Will you remember this spring separately?

Peter: From what?

Scampi: From all the others.

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: Come on.

Peter: Presumably I will remember certain events.  In their context.

Scampi: I don’t even know what that means.

Peter: I cannot predict the future.

Scampi: I can.

pt 113: LARKS

Scampi: Have you ever woken up to birdsong?

Peter: In the sense that  the noise of the birds woke me up?

Scampi: I dunno.  It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: I love it.  The noise of traffic in the road, the putput of pollution.

Peter: Are you implying that pollution makes a noise?

Scampi: Well, it does.  Scientifically.  Anyway, who doesn’t like waking up to sunlight in the windows?

Peter: Perhaps a man who has just undergone eye surgery.

Scampi: That’s what you think.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: In some places in the world, it is always spring.  Did you know this?

Peter: No.  I do not find that statement to be credible.

Scampi: You’re lucky you found it at all.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, I mean, not the season spring, perhaps.  But the weather.

Peter (sagaciously): Ah yes, the weather.

Scampi: In our conversations, for example, it is not always spring.

Peter: Noho!

Scampi (defensively): Well, sometimes it is.

PETER OCCUPIES HIMSELF WITH PERSONAL GROOMING.

Scampi: Yech.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever been to a little town in Ontario?

Peter: Ah yes.  The province in central Canada, I presume?

Scampi: There is no need to be coy.

Peter: I have, as you well know, been to a small town in Ontario.

Scampi: As have I.  It can be very sad.

Peter: Rural travel?

Scampi: The graveyards.  The monuments to conflicts past.

Peter: Have you been rooting around in graveyards?

Scampi: Rooting around!  The idea.

Peter: Oh, do excuse me.

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: My, the sun is bright today.  Perhaps we should sit beneath the jacaranda tree.

Peter: The what?

Scampi: The jacaranda is in bloom.  The goddam larks are singing their hearts out.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You free the top button of your collar.  I fan myself with my hands like leaves.

Peter: How many buttons is my collar supposed to have?

Scampi: Two.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s only right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The magnolias are also in bloom.

Peter: Of course.

Scampi: You could reach up and pick one, if you wanted.

Peter: But why destroy something beautiful in nature?

Scampi: Why indeed.

[Peter: That’s not exactly how I put it.

Scampi: Well, that what you meant.]

pt 55: JAYBIRDS

Scampi: Hello?

Peter: Are you awake?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: You are?

Scampi: Basically.

Peter: There are two enormous bluejays on my balcony.

Scampi: Oh yes.

Peter: They are the size of seagulls.

Scampi: Very nice.

Peter: They are very large.

Scampi: Do you think they might be us?

Peter: I’m referring to the feathered creatures.  Not the baseball team we play on.

Scampi: You’re funny.

Peter: You should see them.

Scampi: I can’t see them.

Peter: Well, maybe they’ll come back.

pt 145: IT IS NO LONGER TRUE

Scampi: I imagine St. Augustine and Plutarch to have this very dry sort of conversation.

Peter: Did they meet?

Scampi: Well.

Peter: I don’t recall them meeting.

Scampi: Very funny.

Peter: I really –

Scampi: I, Claudius.

Peter: No but I really do not know what you are speaking about.

Scampi: I am speaking about the aridity of the convo between St. Augustine and Plutarch.

Peter: Which they did not have.

[PAUSE.]

Peter: Wait, am I Plutarch?

Scampi: Ha! Ha, har. Oh. Ho.

Peter: [offended] What?

Scampi: Thinks he’s Plutarch!

Peter: Should you require reminding, you have called me Plutarch before. Numerous times.

Scampi: Oh ho, numerous.

Peter: Well, more than once.

Scampi: Need I so needfully remind you, there’s a great difference between perhaps being called Plutarch (Ploo-tark) and self-identifying as Plutarch. Like a lunatic. Loon attic.

Peter: [RUFFLED.]

Scampi: Why is it?

Peter: What?

Scampi: People are just awful, sometimes. So [CURSING] horrid.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Censorship. It’s my new thing.

Peter: Since when?

Scampi: Since never. I no longer plan to practise it.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes well. I am only saying.

Peter: Ah yes. You and your ‘sayings’.

Scampi: Don’t take that tone with me. Har, har.

Peter: [SIGHS.]

Scampi: I have some things to say, you see.

Peter: So you claim.

Scampi: Can you imagine how terrible we are to each other?

Peter: Is this a pointed remark?

Scampi: Lucullus’ mother, you know, was notorious for her wild lifestyle.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yes.

[PAUSE.]

Scampi: We are all a touch wild, I suppose.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: A pack of insubordinate animals. How can one man trust another?

Peter: I trust my fellow-man.

Scampi: Oh, right.

Peter: I resent this antagonism.

Scampi: What antagonism?

Peter: You doubt the love I tender my brother?

Scampi: Oh yes, your estimable brother. Indeed.

Peter: There’s no need to hold humanity hostage to your mercurial moods.

Scampi: I blame the weather.

Peter: The weather, the Holy Roman Empire, the gender imbalance.

Scampi: Well yes. Have you understood me at last?

Peter: [EXASPERATED.]

Scampi: That’s exactly it, isn’t it?

Peter: Are you being facetious?

Scampi: No.

Peter: [suspicious] Oh.

Scampi: But it would be decent of people not to break each other’s hearts, sometimes.

Peter: Oh, this.

Scampi: This.

FOUR ALBATROSSES COAST BY, RIDING THE WIND LIKE A PACK OF NASCARS.

Scampi: Shall we walk?

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: You can see the moss already. Coming up green.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: The chanterelles, the tubers.

Peter: Sshh. The woods.

Scampi: I know. There’s nothing wrong with aspiration, of course. Except in the areas of a) food intake; and b) height.

Peter: What? Height?

Scampi: No man is taller than a man.

Peter: I feel like that is one of those things that you say that does not mean anything.

Scampi: Well then, o ye of ickle faith. Parse it.

Peter: A truism?

Scampi: It wouldn’t kill you to think and feel at the same time, you know. In fact –

Peter: Facts!

Scampi: Don’t bark at me. Maybe you should brush up on your nautical terms instead of howling at the moon like this.

Peter: I am ‘up’ on my nautical terms, thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome.

[PAUSE.]

Scampi: Tender: Nautical (of a ship) leaning or readily inclined to roll in response to the wind.

Peter: Certainly, certainly.

Scampi: Tender that to your brother.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: The wind is blowing.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: It will be a long night, I fear.

Peter: YAWNS.

Scampi: And the fog is rolling in.

pt 58: PANACEA

Scampi: Peter?  Peter!

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: Jeez.  Louise.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Oh nothing.

Peter: What?  What was that?

Scampi: I’ll wait ‘til it’s done.

Peter: Sorry?

Scampi: [WAITS.]

Peter: Ah, that’s better.

Scampi: Well, yes and no.

Peter: Only I couldn’t hear you, you see.

Scampi: I see.

Peter: Above all that cello.

Scampi: It was a sight to be seen.

Peter: Pum pum.  Pum-pa-pum.

Scampi: Yes yes.  The virtuosity cannot be denied.

Peter: I have no wish to deny it.

Scampi: Nor do I.  I embrace the virtuosity of your cellist.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: A four-string miracle.  Angels in the snowbanks.  Et cetera.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: I’m all nerves.

Peter: I won’t offer to make a fresh pot, then?

Scampi: Oh won’t you?

Peter: What?

Scampi: Nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Nothing!

Peter: Have you quite taken leave of your senses?

Scampi: Yeah, yeah.

Peter: Inside voices.

Scampi: Are concealed their venomous intent.

Peter: Pardon me?

PAUSE.

Peter: Uh, it seems to me—

Scampi: Don’t start.

Peter: Could I finish?

Scampi: Look, I’ll be better.

Peter: Would you like to stretch your legs?

Scampi: I’ve never heard you say that before.

Peter: I’m trying new things.

Scampi: I see.  So you want to go for a stroll?

Peter: Well, it’s a possibility.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: One of myriad possibilities, really.

Scampi: There are an astounding number of options.

Peter: There are.

Scampi: I suppose it would be hackneyed to discuss paralysis at this juncture.

Peter: Rather.

BIRDS PERFORM EXOTIC DANCES ON THE PORCH, BY THE WINDOW.

Scampi: Are they like, cold?  Do you think?

Peter: Who?

Scampi: You know, the birds.

Peter: Noooo.  I don’t think so.

Scampi: Oh.  Okay.

Peter: Anthropomorphising our animal friends is rarely a wise idea.

Scampi: I already knew that.

Peter: Good.

Scampi: You should get a birdbath.

Peter: I will consider it.

Scampi: In this same vein, if you will,

Peter: Oh really?

Scampi: Do you accept the like, premise, that under the snow the earth and all it’s earth-type stuff is sleeping?

Peter: Is that really a premise?

Scampi: It’s like one, anyway.  Is the earth asleep?

Peter: Figuratively?

Scampi: However you like.

Peter: Well, I wouldn’t put it that way.

Scampi: No.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Would you say that I am asleep?  Underneath the snow?

Peter: When?

Scampi: Now!  Now, Peter.

Peter: I would say that you are not.  I would say that you are neither.

Scampi: Figuratively?

Peter: You are pecking at my literal bones.

Scampi: Your painter’s loose.  You’re adrift in the damp seas.

Peter: An act of vandalism I do not appreciate.

Scampi: Surely I can see this.  Surely I should return this conversation to dry land.  Where you have cell phone reception.  Where dust gathers on your eyeglasses.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: You want to talk about sports teams?

Peter: Never.

Scampi: I know.  Thus we are stuck with the metaphorical balletdance.

Peter: I refuse to accept your axiom.

Scampi: [Curtsies.]

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Shall we?

Peter: Shall we what?

Scampi: Waltz.

Peter: I will do no such thing.

Scampi: Too late.

Peter: [Drowned out by cello.]

pt 109: HEARTBEATS

Scampi: Did I tell you about the other time I fell in love?

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What a thing to say.

Peter:

Scampi: Well, can you imagine?

Peter: Ho hum.

Scampi: So it’s like this.

Peter: Are you upset about something?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: That’s right.

SCAMPI YAWNS.  PETER YAWNS.

Scampi: I would like to talk about humanism.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Desiderius Erasmus.  Eh?  This means something to you?

Peter: I am familiar with the name.

Scampi: Ho ho.

Peter: I know who Erasmus is.

Scampi: Oh, I don’t doubt it.  Not for a second!

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: I don’t know anything about him.  It’s all very tragical.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: These Reformation types and their crazy ways.  I want no part of it!

Peter: Has someone been inviting you to take part in the Reformation?

Scampi: Ridiculous.  Peter, you are simply nuts.

Peter: [offended]

Scampi: Well, there’s no need to take offence.

Peter: You have just accused me of being nuts.

Scampi: Impossible!  I simply want some tea.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Do you want some tea?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: Oh, please, do take your time.  I am a tea-making factory, here for your convenience.

PETER TURNS THE PAGE OF HIS MAGAZINE WITH PRECISION.

Scampi: You little Gatling gun, you.

Peter: Are you speaking to me?

Scampi: No.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You wouldn’t have guessed this about me.

Peter: Guessed what?

Scampi: Precisely!  No one would have guessed.

Peter: I am not fond of guessing.

Scampi: No, you aren’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s not impossible to imagine, however, that I would have spent four days of my life sleeping through the night, for example.

Peter: A contradiction in terms?

Scampi: Please do not be such an asshole, Peter.

PAUSE, IN WHICH PETER’S SEETHING CAN BE PRESUMED, IF NOT PROVEN.

Peter: Would you not say ‘proved’, rather?

Scampi: Mind your own business!  God.

Peter: Deus.

Scampi: Out of the machine!

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: It could have been four days.  It could have been six nights.

Peter: Of sleeping?

Scampi: Of perfection.

Peter: Ah, perfection.

Scampi: I don’t appreciate your sneering.

Peter: I?  Sneering?

Scampi: Your mouth is full of melted butter.

Peter: [with difficulty] It is not.

Scampi: If I had known, I would’ve made popcorn.  Anyway, we can make room in our lives for our humanist friends, of course.

Peter: Ah yes, our humanist friends.

Scampi: Not to mention our four-legged brethren.

Peter: Yes, such as cats.  Do cats like to eat catnip?

Scampi: No.  It causes them to vomit.

Peter: Really?

Scampi: Of course.

Peter: I am suspicious of this information.

Scampi: Well, that says plenty about you.  But nothing about catnip.

Peter: I –

Scampi: Your mastery of the first-person pronoun has been recorded.  Now, what was I saying?

Peter: It is impossible to determine.

Scampi: One day you might wake up in the morning to an appropriately-coloured sky.  There is a human creature sleeping next to you.

Peter: This is hardly controversial.

Scampi: Exactly.

Peter: You have a problem with the colour of the sky?

Scampi: I do not.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Another morning, you do not wake up at all.  You sleep until dusk.

Peter: [nervously] Oh, the lifestyle of the common layabed.

Scampi: Are you nervous about something?

Peter: [nervously] No.

Scampi: Because you seem nervous.

Peter: Stop interfering with my delivery.  I am entirely lacking in nerves.

Scampi: Have I hit a nerve?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: In either case, you are both of them, the happy early riser, and the lonely evening layabed.  Both of them at once.

Peter: Where is this going?

Scampi: Nowhere.  You get out of bed, you don’t get out of bed.  Doesn’t matter.

Peter: I see.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know what happened to me yesterday?

Peter: You got out of bed and fell in love?

Scampi: No.  In the afternoon I heard the sound of birds and went outside.

Peter: A daring tangent.

Scampi: I looked up into the tree, it was all green leaves.  I could hear the birds everywhere, you know, like a chipmunk farm.

Peter: Ahem.  Our winged neighbours are sometimes rather loud.

Scampi: Yes.  But I couldn’t see them.

Peter: Because of the leaves?

Scampi: I don’t know.  I couldn’t see a single one.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: That’s what happened to me yesterday.

Peter: Did anything else happen?

Scampi: Not really, no.