pt 66: SKILSAW, BIRDSONG

Scampi: The days are growing longer now, Peter.

Peter: Indeed they are.

Scampi: I’ve noticed this isn’t doing much for you.

Peter: What’s that supposed to mean?

Scampi: Well, the light, you know, the longer-lit days. It isn’t doing much for your outlook.

Peter: Why should it?

Scampi: Why shouldn’t it?

Peter: I refuse to engage in this childish match of table tennis.

Scampi: You would.

Peter: There’s a hole in my trousers.

Scampi: It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Peter: It has.

Scampi: That looks mendable. No fear, Peter: help is on the way.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Sure. What’s that high, buzzing noise?

Peter: What?

Scampi: Can’t you hear it?

Peter: No. I cannot.

Scampi: You can’t hear that?

Peter: I told you so.

Scampi: Well, I can. It’s very frustrating.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Ugh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Ah, there. It’s stopped.

Peter: Congratulations.

Scampi: How come I could hear it and you couldn’t?

Peter: Perhaps this has to do with our temporal locations.

Scampi: Huh?

Peter: I’m suggesting.

Scampi: Because I’m ten hours and fifteen minutes away from you, you mean?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I don’t see why that has to get in the way.

Peter: [SIGHS.] Okay.

Scampi: Do you see what I see?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: A star, a star!

Peter: I don’t see it.

Scampi: Shining in the night, with a tail as big as a kite!

Peter: Oh god.

Scampi: Precisely. Bam BA bam BA, da da da da DA, da da DA bam BA bam bam BA!

Peter: Aahh.

Scampi: [humming happily] Do you know what I know?

Peter: I can’t even imagine.

Scampi: Oh, Peter. What a burden.

Peter: [tightly] I assure you, I am in perfect spirits.

Scampi: Perfection without imagination? Where’s the spirit there?

Peter: You misconstrue.

Scampi: I do. You misrepresent.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: I like the song, but I don’t like the volume.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: That’s right. The noise of the music is cluttering the music itself.

Peter: What music?

Scampi: The music in my ear.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: You see?

Peter: I really don’t know what I’m supposed to say to that.

Scampi: I’m sure you’ll think of something. Eventually.

Peter: I am so tired.

Scampi: I know you are, Peter. I’m tired, too.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: We could have some coffee.

Peter: Maybe later.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: I have always loved the view from this window.

Scampi: The light is clear.

Peter: Clearly what?

Scampi: See-through. You can see all the way down to the water.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Feel free to sit a while.

Peter: Thank you. I shall.

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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 92: THE CRANES ARE DIGGING

Scampi: [STRETCHES EXPANSIVELY]

Peter: Hey now.

Scampi: What?

Peter: You might do well to manage your limbs a little more comprehensively.

Scampi: Yes, yes.

Peter: What time is it?

Scampi: I don’t see what that has to do with anything.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Do you feel a chill?

Peter: A chill?

Scampi: That’s what I said.  In the air.

Peter: Hm.  Not really.

Scampi: Not really?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’m going to make some coffee.

Peter: Are you chilly?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I’m fine.

Peter: I am going to take a walk.

Scampi: You are?

Peter: I am.

Scampi: Right now?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: There’s no need to sound so – put-upon.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Like it’s such a big hassle for you.  Talking to me.

Peter: Well, if you’re going to say things like that.

Scampi: I wouldn’t say things like that if you didn’t go around sounding so put-upon.

Peter: I am unfamiliar with this expression.

Scampi: Lies!

Peter: I am going to step outside.

Scampi: We are outside.

Peter: We are not.

Scampi: We are!

Peter: This argument is tedious.

Scampi: How could you?

Peter: I shall absent myself.

Scampi: Stop saying that.

PETER STEPS OUTSIDE.

Scampi: We ARE outside!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Oh me.

Peter: Is something the matter?

Scampi: I thought you left.

Peter: Momentarily, perhaps.

Scampi: Why would you do that?

Peter: I think you take certain things too seriously.

Scampi: Not true.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: Really?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I am slightly excitable.

Peter: Rather.

Scampi: Today.

Peter: What’s up?

Scampi: Don’t patsy me.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I can see what you’re doing.  Trying to coddle me with the vernacular.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are you laughing at me?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I get the feeling it’s autumn.  Do you know what I mean?

Peter: It is not.

Scampi: I know.

pt 64: ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Scampi: There will be no discussion of the sky today.

Peter: What mood is this?

Scampi: Mood? What mood?

Peter: That’s what I said.

Scampi: I was simply trying to steer the conversation away.

Peter: From what?

Scampi: Why are you harping on this? Let’s talk about something else.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I would accept a cup of coffee at any interval here.

Peter: I see. Would you like some coffee?

Scampi: In fact, I would.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You are very kind.

Peter: I do my best, as you know.

Scampi: I know.

Peter: It is certainly a beautiful day.

Scampi: It is, it is. God.

Peter: What?

Scampi: My head, my head.

Peter: What about your head?

Scampi: I don’t know.

Peter: What are you looking for?

Scampi: Lumps and bumps.

Peter: Goodness. Were you in a scrap?

Scampi: Ha! In a scrap! You quaint little teakettle.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Oh, Peter.

Peter: I was only asking—

Scampi: Yes, yes. All I’m saying is, maybe my head hurts.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: And maybe it doesn’t. There’s no way of knowing, really.

Peter: [MURMURS.]

Scampi: Now, don’t make those doubtful noises. You may as well leap into the void.

Peter: The void?

Scampi: I may as well. Ha, ha. Leap in. Ha. Har.

Peter: Are you quite sane at the moment?

Scampi: Oohh, getting all into the skill-testing questions, are we? Suave, suave.

Peter: This is very frustrating.

Scampi: What is?

Peter: Speaking with you.

Scampi: Oh, is that what you’re doing?

Peter: I am.

Scampi: Who knew?

Peter: You see?

Scampi: I do. You dislike my speaking voice.

Peter: That’s not what I—

Scampi: Very well. PERHAPS I SHOULD BELLOW, EN LETTRES MAJUSCULES?

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: HOW DOES THAT SUIT YOU?

Peter: Stop it.

Scampi: Oh fine.

Peter: That was very unpleasant.

Scampi: Spoilsport.

Peter: Pardon? Pardon me?

Scampi: You are pardoned. By the way, I like how these ribbons of light come in the window. It’s very nice. Genteel.

Peter: Where?

Scampi: Right here. There’s one on the end of your nose, presently.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Do you remember that one time? When we were walking down the road?

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: And you said something funny and I laughed? Or, I said something funny and you laughed?

Peter: That sounds accurate.

Scampi: A good time was had by all.

Peter: I can imagine.

Scampi: No one’s asking you to imagine. Do you remember it?

Peter: It sounds familiar.

Scampi: It was.

pt 106: SUCH A LOVELY GIRL WAS SHE

Scampi: I have no opinion on that subject.

Peter: I am a busy man.

Scampi: What does that have to do with anything?

Peter: Ah.  One of these moods.

Scampi: Moods?  What are you talking about?

Peter: Please do not interrupt my self-satisfactions.

Scampi: Oh, yes.  Of course, of course.

Peter: Pardon?  What is going on?

Scampi: You were talking about your self-satisfaction levels.

Peter: I was discussing nothing of the kind.

Scampi: Oh ho.

Peter: As you well know.

Scampi: Says you.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I’ve decided to make some changes.

Peter: Ah yes.  “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Scampi: Stop reading fridge magnets at me.

Peter: You were saying?

Scampi: Well, I don’t know.  Should I climb more trees?  Or fewer trees?

Peter: I have never witnessed you climbing a tree of any description.

Scampi: That’s a boldfaced lie.

Peter: Perhaps you wish to be alone.

Scampi: No.  I do not.

Peter: Interesting.

Scampi: We should listen to some music.

Peter: You may listen to some music.

Scampi: Urgh!

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I’m trying to get to the bottom of something here.

Peter: May I be of assistance?

Scampi: No.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Yes.  I need you to do some research for me.

Peter: I am a busy man.

Scampi: Oh for the love of god.

Peter: YHWH.

Scampi: Don’t get all fancy with me.

Peter: Are you incapable of doing your own research?

Scampi: What the hell is that supposed to mean?

PETER CLEARS HIS THROAT.

Scampi: Yeah, well.  Let me tell you something.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Who signed the Magna Carta?

Peter: Are you asking me something, or telling me something?

Scampi: Just you wait.  So, who?

Peter: Ah.  King John.

Scampi: False!  Ha!

Peter: I believe I am correct.

Scampi: You would.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, no one signed it.

Peter: This is highly suspicious.

Scampi: Um, it was sealed.  Like, King John, he stamped it with a seal.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: But he didn’t sign it.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: No one did.

Peter: Thank you for this enlightening factoid.

Scampi: Which you didn’t know before.

Peter: I did not.

Scampi: Neither did I.  I just found out.

Peter: Ah ha.

Scampi: I was going to talk about some other things.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: But now maybe I won’t.

Peter: I am glad to be informed.

Scampi: Your tone belies your words, sir.

Peter: Don’t call me sir.

Scampi: Don’t slather me with pomposity.

SCAMPI AND PETER ARE AT AN IMPASSE THAT IS AS LONG AS A WHEAT FIELD.  AND AS IMPASSIVE.

Scampi: Would you like some coffee?

Peter: You always seem to think that I require caffeination.

Scampi: You do.

Peter: Hm.  Perhaps.

Scampi: Perhaps you are awake.

Peter: It certainly appears that way.

Scampi: And I am asleep.

Peter: [sharply] Pardon?

Scampi: I am dreaming.  Perhaps.

Peter: God.  My head.

Scampi: Would you like some coffee?

Peter: Perhaps that would be best.

Scampi: Probably.

PAUSE.

Scampi: We are in the woods, Peter.  Or rather, I am in the woods.  Peter?  Do you follow me?

Peter: COUGHS.

Scampi: We might as well make ourselves at home.

pt 57: ROOSTING

Scampi: See, Peter,

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Well, I’m just saying.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: Well.  So there are these pigeons roosting all over the place.  Everywhere.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I know you know this.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: You’ve seen a pigeon or two, in your time.

Peter: They are members of a moderately ubiquitous species.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Moving on in this vein.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: If you will.

Peter: I may.

Scampi: The city is full of brick buildings.  They are red-brick.  Or yellow.  Actually, there are a number of possibilities.

Peter: I do not dispute this.

Scampi: No, well.  I mean, you wouldn’t, would you?

Peter: I didn’t, which is rather more the material point.

Scampi: The material in question is in fact brick.  Whatever colour it might be.  The colour is immaterial.

Peter: You had something to say about pigeons.

Scampi: And I said it.  It led to bricks, basically.

Peter: Pigeons lead to bricks?

Scampi: Effectively.

Peter: That’s absurd.

Scampi: It isn’t.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: Look, if you see a whole bunch of pigeons.  Taking it easy I mean.

Peter: If I did.

Scampi: Where are they?

Peter: Are we expecting someone?

Scampi: What?

Peter: Where are who?

Scampi: The pigeons.

Peter: What pigeons?

Scampi: The hypothetical theoretical pigeons.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Peter!  The pigeons I was talking about.

PETER STARES LIKE A CABBAGE ON A BARROW AT THE COUNTY FAIR.

Scampi: I said, If you were to see all these pigeons.  Like, just say you did.

Peter: If they were gathered en masse.

Scampi: Which, you’ll admit, is not such a rarity.

Peter: You speak the truth.

Scampi: Well, where might they be sitting?

Peter: In the eaves.  On the roof.

Scampi: Quite right.

PETER SHRUGS.

Scampi: Of a brick building!  That’s what I’m saying.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: That it’s not such a stretch as you made out.  Pigeons to brick.  So,

PAUSE.

Scampi: What are you doing with that measuring tape?

Peter: Ensuring our continued felicity.

Scampi: Are you distancing yourself from me?

Peter: I’m just checking up on the numbers, my friend.

Scampi: My friend!  Funny guy.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I just think how you talk is funny sometimes.  In a good way.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Is that okay with you?

Peter: I suppose it is.

Scampi: That’s the best supposition you’ve made all day.

Peter: Humph.

Scampi: You should have it framed.  Bronzed, even.

Peter: Are you quite alright?

Scampi: I dunno.  Why do you ask?

Peter: Far be it from me to pry.

Scampi: [Snickers.]

Peter: Ahem.  But you don’t seem exactly yourself today.

Scampi: I suppose that’s true.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yes.  I feel more like a reasonable facsimile.

Peter: Why’s that?

Scampi: I don’t know.  Or maybe I do.

Peter: I think that correctly identifies the two possibilities.

Scampi: Thankyou.

Peter: Can I get you something?

Scampi: Naw.  Maybe.

Peter: A coffee, perhaps?

Scampi: Um yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Thanks, Peter.

Peter: My pleasure.

Scampi: Yes.  I think I’m trying to situate myself.  You know?  The pigeons, the brick.  I mean, I haven’t talked about the weather.

Peter: You have not.

Scampi: Are we in a snowglobe?  Are we galloping across the plains?

Peter: What questions.

Scampi: In my left hand is the entire sky.  Including the ground it’s touching.

Peter: It looks rather like a coffee mug.

Scampi: No, no.  Listen Peter.

Peter: Don’t burn yourself.

Scampi: In my right hand, I’ve got the weather, the time of day.  That stuff.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: I am juggling my own hands.  I am flapping them at a birdcage full of nouns.

Peter: I don’t follow you.

Scampi: No, you don’t.

Peter: Hm.  At least that’s settled.

Scampi: I just thought it would be nice to talk about some stable items.  Otherwise the extrapolation might vanquish me.  On a day like today I mean.  Surely you can see this.

Peter: You look peakish.

Scampi: I’m afraid to look down.

pt 23: HUMIDITY

Peter: Today I feel old.

 

Scampi: How adolescent of you.

 

Peter: (Glowers.)

 

Scampi: Can I touch your stubble?

 

Peter: No!

 

Scampi: But I want to see what it’s made of.

 

Peter: It’s made of hair.

 

Scampi: Imagine having hair coming out of your face!

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 93: TACK DOWN!

Scampi: This is unusual.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: No, well, I guess it’s normal.  Actually.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: Are you even listening to me?

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: Suspect.

Peter: [highly insulted]

Scampi: I’m tired.

Peter: Have some coffee.

Scampi: I did.

Peter: Oh.  Well.

Scampi: You’re ignoring me.

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: You are you are you are.  You are.

Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: I have the strangest dreams.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Hello?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: I can’t even sleep.

Peter: Is it not necessary that you fall asleep in order to dream?

Scampi: I dunno.

Peter: I believe it is.

Scampi: And what do you know about it?

Peter: I have a certain amount of knowledge.  At my disposal.

Scampi: A certain amount!  Humph.

Peter: Rapid eye movement.  The flowerings of the subconscious mind.

Scampi: Oh that.

Peter: What’s wrong with that?

Scampi: It has nothing to do with anything.

Peter: I believe this statement to be flawed.

Scampi: Ah, the fatal flaw!

Peter: Well.

Scampi: I can dream when I’m awake.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yup.

Peter: Well, there you have it.

Scampi: Prove me wrong.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: Just try.

Peter: I am not engaging with this.

Scampi: This?  Me?

Peter: The topic at hand.

Scampi: Oh, just back away.  That’s right.

Peter: Why must you needle me?

Scampi: Do not.

Peter: Read any good books lately?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Oh nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You wouldn’t believe the things I see.

Peter: While dreaming?

Scampi: Whenever.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You wouldn’t begin to know what to make of it.

Peter: I cannot say.

Scampi: No.

Peter: Of course, it is not as though I have never dreamed, myself.

Scampi: Almost.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: It’s almost that way.

Peter: Is that an insult?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Can we take a nap?

Peter: It is the middle of the day.

Scampi: Who cares?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: Are your eyes closed?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh.

Peter: I am going to prepare some coffee.

Scampi: Gimme some.

Peter: You may have coffee as well, if you wish.

Scampi: Thank you.

Peter: You’re welcome.

Scampi: I’m going to go to sleep right now.

Peter: I would prefer if you didn’t.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: That is my preference.

Scampi: Are you glad we altered our course?

Peter: We altered our course?

Scampi: Yes.  Eastward.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We go where the wind blows.

Peter: We appear to.

Scampi: This way.

Peter: East is fine.

Scampi: It had better be.

pt 79: SUCH AND SO FINELY BOLTED DIDST THOU SEEM

Scampi: I fell asleep.

Peter: I shall inform the relevant newsmedia.

Scampi: Piss off.

Peter: PARDON?

Scampi: It’s an expression.

Peter: A distasteful one.

Scampi: A delectable linguisto-fest, in fact.

Peter: That’s.  I.

Scampi: Ding!  Peter-eter, down for the count!

Peter: There is no need to howl so.

Scampi: I shan’t howl then.

Peter: Why are you speaking this way?

Scampi: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Peter: “Shan’t.”

Scampi: Hee haw.  You sound like the emir in Tintin.

PETER LETS HIS RACQUET FALL.

Scampi: Can I offer you a beverage?

Peter: It appears that you have.

Scampi: Harumph.  Coffee?

Peter: I acquiesce.

Scampi: You’re terribly good at that.

PETER’S FACE IS A BLANK SHEET OF SPRING RAIN.

Scampi: Well, moving right along.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What would you say if I said my heart was broken?

Peter: I suspect you wouldn’t say that.

Scampi: That’s what you’d say?

Peter: No.  I.

Scampi: What would you say?

Peter: I would.  Express my sympathies, I suppose.

Scampi: Yeah, right.  I doubt it.

Peter: Well.  I’m glad I was able to assist you with your query.

Scampi: Thanks a lot.  Why didn’t you just direct me to the reference desk?

Peter: Because I am not a library.

Scampi: I’ll say.  You don’t even have a photocopying machine.

Peter: I do not.  You are correct.

Scampi: And if you did, it would be cleft in twain.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Like my heart.

Peter: Ah yes.  Your heart.

Scampi: Ug.  Don’t say it like that.

Peter: Like what?  I have often been complimented on my excellent, above-average elocution.

Scampi: [snorts] Yeah huh.  We are referring to my fiery engine red construction paper heart here.  Not a lab experiment featuring amphibians.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: If only this were the case.

Peter: There’s nothing wrong with my vision.

Scampi: (That a little corrective eyewear can’t fix.)

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: Corrective.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I have fallen asleep at a barbecue once.  Did you know that?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Well, I didn’t really.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: But I could have.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: See?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’m just saying, I almost fell asleep at a barbecue once.  Or twice.

Peter: Well, good for you.

Scampi: I can get very sleepy.  That’s all.

Peter: We have been tired.  We are a tiresome race.

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: I said—

Scampi: I know what you said.

Peter: Well then.

Scampi: You want some cake or something?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: So?

Peter: I don’t want any cake.

Scampi: Fine.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: You are terribly welcome.

Peter: How kind.

Scampi: Most certainly.  With utmost amounts of certitude.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: With unscientific amounts of certitude.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: With a blind, mad degree of certainty that contradicts the whole spirit of the scientific method.  With—

Peter: I think that’s quite enough.

Scampi: Enough what?

Peter: Chatter.

Scampi: Ho ho.  You would.

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Kids used to like to lick on candy, down to a seed in their palms.  You know what I’m talking about?

Peter: Roughly.

Scampi: Do they still do that, kids?

Peter: Why not?

Scampi: Well, why not?  Why not not?

Peter: Please.

Scampi: What manners!

PETER INSPECTS HIS UNCOMPLEX HANDS.

Scampi: Ho ho.

Peter: Wait a moment.  What are you saying about my hands?

Scampi: Me?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Me?  I didn’t say anything.

Peter: I suspect—

Scampi: Oh, that’s a change.

Peter: This coffee is.  Delicious.

Scampi: You’re kind of slow today.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: That’s okay.  I am broken.

Peter: Ah yes.  Your cardboard heart.

Scampi: Construction paper.

Peter: Inflammable, at any rate.

Scampi: We are.