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 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 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 105: CREAM

Scampi: Would you want to be a guitar soloist?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Seriously?

Peter: I do not play the guitar.

Scampi: Well, there’s no debate about that.  Is it chestnut season?

Peter: When is that?

Scampi: You know.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: Oh, I don’t know.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: In fact, I don’t even know what chestnut season is.  If it’s the season they blossom, or the season you eat them.

Peter: It is a mystery.

Scampi: No it isn’t.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: I am icing my wounds.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: I’m not, actually.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I was just checking.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you seen the sky today?

Peter: Presumably.

Scampi: It’s the colour of iced cream.  Like a grey lake.

Peter: Ice cream?

Scampi: No, no.

Peter: That is what you said.

Scampi: Untrue.  I said iced cream.

Peter: And what, pray tell, is ICED cream?

Scampi: The name says it all.

Peter: Frozen cream?

Scampi: Perhaps.  “It’s a mystery.”

Peter: Don’t look at me like that.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Ok, let’s pretend we’re on a boat.

Peter: We are not on a boat.

Scampi: Incorrect.

Peter: This is a boat?

Scampi: Avast!

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: The milky air.  The grey waves.

Peter: That sounds like a fog.

Scampi: It is.

pt 98: WATER

Scampi: I didn’t know that that episode of Tintin with the Emir and Prince Abdullah and everything used to be different.

 

Peter: Excuse me?

 

Scampi: Peter!

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: Pay attention.

 

Peter: Different in what way?

 

Scampi: When it was first written. Before the Germans took Belgium.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: Well, yeah. Then he changed it. Hergé. You know what I’m saying?

 

Peter: A Tintin book was revised.

 

Scampi: The one with the Emir.

 

Peter: I could point out, ahem.

 

Scampi: What?

 

Peter: I believe there are several occasions where the Emir makes an appearance in a Tintin comic.

 

Scampi: So what?

 

Peter: So you can’t say, “The one with the Emir”.

 

Scampi: Yes, I can. I just did.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: If we were in a boat.

 

Peter: [alarmed] Are we in a boat?

 

Scampi: Oh, I see.

 

Peter: We are not in a boat. Currently.

 

Scampi: Make up your mind.

 

Peter: It was you who brought it up.

 

Scampi: I did. Boats.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: It was hypothetical. Theoretical.

 

Peter: The vessel?

 

Scampi: Vessel! The situation.

 

Peter: Oh.

 

Scampi: Do you want to cross the water?

 

Peter: Now? Or in general?

 

Scampi: Such questions.

 

Peter: I have a certain amount of maritime competence.

 

Scampi: Oh, no doubt.

 

Peter: It is the case.

 

Scampi: The water is wide.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Would you trail your fingers in the water?

 

Peter: When?

 

Scampi: In the boat. That we aren’t in.

 

Peter: I have no idea.

 

Scampi: Part of me can see it. Them. You know. Your fingers trailing along in the lake.

 

Peter: Fascinating.

 

Scampi: That’s right. But the other part.

 

Peter: GRUMBLES & RUMBLES.

 

Scampi: A blackness. There’s a hole where the picture should be.

 

Peter: This is all very exciting.

 

Scampi: Well, yes. It is. Are you leaning back, drifting? Happy?

 

Peter: Your imagination is getting the best of you, it seems.

 

Scampi: Or it’s getting the worst of you.

 

Peter: I don’t know what that means.

 

Scampi: Precisely!

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I could steer.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: You could scan the sky for weather.

 

Peter: In our non-existent watercraft.

 

Scampi: Yes.

 

Peter: I’m sure that would be very nice.

 

Scampi: Are you humouring me?

 

Peter: Perhaps unsuccessfully.

 

Scampi: I think we need to make it to the other side. I think this could be the way.

 

Peter: Such urgency. Are we attempting some sort of escape?

 

Scampi: What do you think?

 

Peter: I think you are behaving like a felon on the run.

 

Scampi: So?

 

Peter: What I said earlier about your imagination still stands.

 

Scampi: You should be so lucky.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: Talking about my imagination like that.

 

Peter: There was no insult intended.

 

Scampi: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

 

Peter: I do not tend to mistake human flesh for comestible material.

 

Scampi: Yeah, sure.

 

PETER GLOWERS. BUT LIGHTLY.

 

Scampi: Did you know that the only thing filthier than a human bite is the bite of a Komodo dragon?

 

Peter: This is plausible, I suppose.

 

Scampi: Komodo dragons go around biting things and then going back and gobbling them up once they, the things, pass on. They eat rotten stuff.

 

Peter: I shall have to look this up.

 

Scampi: Oh, right. Don’t take my word for it.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: You know the capital of North Dakota?

 

Peter: Excuse me?

 

Scampi: Stop stalling. Do you know it?

 

Peter: Well, I. Let me think.

 

Scampi: Bismarck!

 

Peter: Right. Yes.

 

Scampi: Ha.

 

Peter: What are you crowing about now?

 

Scampi: Nothing. Just talking about the world at large.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: Mature conversation.

 

Peter: Perhaps you should work on the art of the segue.

 

Scampi: Fiddlesticks.

 

Peter: It was simply a suggestion.

 

Scampi: Thank you for your feedback. It will be processed in due course.

 

Peter: The air is cooler when the sun sets.

 

Scampi: Nice segue.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi: I am suddenly so tired.

 

Peter: Perhaps a small cup of coffee would not go amiss.

 

Scampi: I think that’s true.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Do you think we were different before the war?

 

Peter: What war?

 

Scampi: I don’t know.