pt 86: DIRECT SUNLIGHT, LIMBS

Scampi: Can you speak Italian?

Peter: Are you asking me?

Scampi: Who else would I be asking?

Peter: If I speak Italian?

Scampi: Do you?

Peter: Certainly not.

Scampi: Yeah I knew that.

Peter: Then why did you ask?

SILENCE.

Scampi: Have you ever tried to see the backs of your legs?  It’s impossible.

Peter: I can see my calves.

Scampi: Yeah, so can I.  I mean the backs of your legs.  That you can’t see.

Peter: Why do you wish to know?

Scampi: I dunno.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I do not know.

Peter: Perhaps I shall avail myself of a siesta.

Scampi: A siesta?  Avail yourself?

Peter: Both.

Scampi: Je-suss.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: The sun is shining.

Peter: Yes.  It fatigues me.

Scampi: Fatigues you?

Peter: That is what I said.

Scampi: Goddam.

Peter: So much bluster.

Scampi: Well, yes.  It’s the only appropriate response to this sort of – mania.

Peter: My desire to take a nap?

Scampi: Precisely.  Who do you think you are, Rip van Winkle?

Peter: Certainly not.

Scampi: You don’t sound so sure.

Peter: I am not debating this.

Scampi: Why?  Because you can’t?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh ho!

Peter: What does that even mean?  That doesn’t mean anything.

Scampi: Why don’t you just curl up under the mountain?  On a pile of treasure?

Peter: Because I am not a dragon.

Scampi: Says you.  What happened to embracing the world?

Peter: Someone’s arms got tired.

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: Who said anything about embracing the world, anyway?

Scampi: I did.  I just did.

Peter: Yes.  Well, now’s your chance.

Scampi: How many times do I have to say this, Peter?  We’re in this venture together.

Peter: What venture?

Scampi: This one.

Peter: Are we venture capitalists?  Is that what you’re saying?

Scampi: Of a sort.  Perhaps.

Peter: I didn’t hear anything about embracing the world.  That wasn’t in the contract.

Scampi: Ebenezer Scrooge.

Peter: This analogy montage is giving me cerebral spasms.

Scampi: Keep up.

Peter: Calm down.

THANKS TO PETER AND HIS WAYS, AN IMPASSE IS FORCED.

Scampi: Thanks a lot.

Peter: Wait, how was this my fault?

Scampi: Such protestations.  Goodness.

Peter: I don’t appreciate this sort of –

Scampi: Jerrymandering?

Peter: Japery.

Scampi: Oh, Peter.

Peter: That is my name.

Scampi: We know.  That is the one thing we’ve been able, with the available instruments,  to establish, time and time again.

Peter: What instruments?

Scampi: The ones at our disposal, evidently.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: I could build a fire.

Peter: Out of what?

Scampi: It’s something we can do.  We human creatures.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: We could have some coffee.  Would you like some coffee?

Peter: I feel faint.

Scampi: It will get better.  Keep your limbs moving.

Peter: I feel.  Ah.

Scampi: I know.  It won’t last.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: It will get better.  Soon.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Keep moving.

pt 51: TANTI BACCI, TANT PIS

Scampi: Hello?

Peter: I am having a nap.

Scampi: Oh.

Peter: Humph.

Scampi: Don’t you think it’s time to wake up?

Peter: Why would you ask me such a question?

Scampi: It’s like, rhetorical.  It means Get up.

Peter: I am snoozing.

Scampi: You’ve been snoozing for about three weeks.

Peter: I have not.

Scampi: It makes me feel like I’m gonna die here.

Peter: This is hardly appropriate.

Scampi: I do not feel the cultural imperative to appropriate.

Peter: Oh, really?

Scampi: I feel the cultural imperative to keep moving.  For example.

Peter: [YAWNS.]

Scampi: I had big plans.

Peter: Yes, yes.  We all had big plans.

Scampi: Oh.

pt 115: RUNNING WITH THE HORSES

Scampi: This discussion is about arms.  Arms are required.

Peter: Arms are very helpful.

Scampi: Yes, they are.  They are sometimes necessary.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: The long arm of the law.  Ug.

Peter: The law is necessary?

Scampi: Not that kind of arms.  I was thinking of something else.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You don’t see many occurrences of kilometres in song.  Have you noticed this?

Peter: Implicitly or explicitly?

Scampi: In the words.

Peter: The lyrics.

Scampi: That’s what I said.  You don’t hear anyone singing about his lover/home/bloodhound o so many kilometres away.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: Well, that’s what I’m saying.

Peter: You believe that the music industry is prejudiced against the metric system?

Scampi: You make me sound like a conspiracy theorist.  I’m just pointing things out.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You look utterly exhausted.

Peter: I do?

Scampi: You do.

Peter: I am slightly tired.

Scampi: Well, that’s no way to be.

Peter: It is unnecessary to inform me of such gratuitous facts.

Scampi: Oh, you would say that.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Well, I think it’s very necessary.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I bee.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Done!  You cee, I bee.  I-bis.  Sea biscuit.  Be-bop-a-lula.

Peter: Rawr.

Scampi: Are you growling?

Peter: Sh.

Scampi: Don’t sh me.  Sh yourself.  Sh-bang-whiz.  Popsicle face.

Peter: Could you please cease this infernal racket.

Scampi: Ha.  Racquet.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Would you like some toast?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Are you sure?

Peter: I do not want any toast.

Scampi: “I do not want any toast.”  Jeez.  Want a coffee?

PAUSE.

Scampi: I think you want a coffee.  I’m going to make you one.

Peter: You may do what you will.

Scampi: It certainly follows.

THE HOURS AND DAYS NIMBLY PERCOLATE.

Scampi: My arms are full of wildflowers.  I found them by the side of the road.

Peter: Achoo.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What’s your opinion on the ocean?

Peter: Ahem, the ocean.

Scampi: That’s what I said.

Peter: Yes.  The great bathtub covering this planet we call home.

Scampi: You don’t have to put on that voice, you know.

Peter: Oh?  And how would you prefer me to respond to your inane queries?

Scampi: Inane!

Peter: I know, it is a stretch.

Scampi: Oh, you.  What are you, afraid of the ocean or something?

Peter: I?

Scampi: Is that it?

Peter: No.

Scampi: It’s understandable.  Home of the GIANT SQUID and all that.

Peter: The ocean is home to numerous creatures, including cephalopods of elephantine proportions.

Scampi: I know.  Gargantuan, even.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Peter: We are blessed with the fecundity of the depths.

Scampi: Yeah.

LONELY SILENCE.

Scampi: I’m going to do a handstand.

Peter: (fearfully) Oh?

Scampi: Don’t look at me like that.  It’s not like I’m going to kick you in the face.

Peter: I should think not.

Scampi: Phew!

Peter: That was a handstand.

Scampi: Yes.  It was edifying.

Peter: How so?

Scampi: Wouldn’t you love to know?  Eh?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Love is a song that never ends.  Did you know that?

Peter: A delicate metaphor, to be sure.

Scampi: A cervine cartoon lullaby.

Peter: Supine?

Scampi: That, too.  Tell me, does it bother you when they call you Homunculus Rex?

Peter: No one calls me that.

Scampi: I just did.

Peter: Yes, you did.  Please stop.

Scampi: Oh, I see.  So you don’t like to be called Homunculus Rex, is that it?

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Okay.  I was just checking, you know.

Peter: I see.  Well, thank you for taking the time to check.

Scampi: You are most welcome O mighty sovereign of manlings!

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: GUFFAWS.

Peter: What a damned clatter.

Scampi: (philosophically) If you do, if you don’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are you trying to circumscribe the world, or are you trying to give it a hug?

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Which?

Peter: I am distinctly unaware of engaging in either of the above activities.

Scampi: Above?  Above what?  You’re above them?

Peter: No.

Scampi: How circumspect.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know what this is called?

Peter: Nonsense?

Scampi: It’s called embracing the something or other.  Are you doing that?

Peter: (Whatever it might be.)

Scampi: Or are you, like, trying to poke the world in the stomach?

Peter: I have never poked anything in the stomach.

Scampi: Oh, right.  Except for our earth.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: You can hum and haw all you like.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: I’m just looking for some answers here.  Just snooping around the water cooler.

Peter: This is what you love best.

Scampi: What do you know about it?

Peter: Oh, nothing at all, I’m sure.

Scampi: Yeah, well.  Is that a new jacket?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You didn’t even look.

Peter: I did not have to look.  I know which jacket I am wearing at present.

Scampi: Snob.

Peter: And how does this make me a snob?

Scampi: It doesn’t.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: If you please, m’lord.

Peter: Now I’m an aristocrat?  Because I am not wearing a new jacket?

Scampi: Oho, convivialising with the peasantry!  That can’t be good for morale.

Peter: It is possibly an inopportune moment for this brand of horsing around.

Scampi: What?  You object to equine amusements?  I say!  Call in Lord Mulberry Face!  We must organise a symposium.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Hee hee.

PETER PERUSES LAST MONTH’S NEWS WITH STUDIED PRECISION.

Scampi: You certainly know how to turn a page with gusto.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: If you get my drift.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: Don’t mind me.

Peter: I am attempting not to.

Scampi: Excellent, excellent.

PAUSE.

Peter: Perhaps it is time for me to go.

Scampi: Go?  Go where?  Why would you go somewhere?  Where are you going?

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: It’s dark out.  You should wait for a break in traffic.

Peter: What traffic?

Scampi: I dunno.  It’s an expression.

Peter: I really should be going.

Scampi: Can I come?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: Because.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: I am going to sleep.  I regret to inform you that you cannot join me in this venture.

Scampi: Says who?

Peter: That is the fact of the matter.

Scampi: That’s what you think.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Well, don’t go yet.  Wait five minutes.

Peter: All right.

pt 101: TYPHUS & DANCING

Scampi: I’m trying to make you a cup of coffee.

Peter: You may do as you wish.

Scampi: That’s not the point.

Peter: Ah.  Terribly sorry.

Scampi: What?

PAUSE.

Scampi: You are not.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Why are you making that noise?

Peter: It is hot.

Scampi: Yes.  Would you like me to mop your brow for you?

Peter:  Ugh.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Please.

Scampi: I have been dancing up a storm.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What do you think of that?

Peter: The statement appears to be plausible.

Scampi: You haven’t danced in two years.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I was learning awful things about dying of typhus.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Gaol fever.  With a gee, in the olde style.

Peter: Perhaps I should open the window.

Scampi: That’s what they called it.  Carried around in the excretions of lice.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Disgusting.

Peter: May I remind you that I did not bring up the subject?

Scampi: Well, I thought it was all just awful.

Peter: For what purpose were you investigating this disease?

Scampi: Investigating!  What do you think this is, Scotland Yard?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: Well, you’re correct.  This is not Scotland Yard.

Peter: I will make a note of it.

Scampi: Good.

PAUSE.

Scampi: These poor people.  Peter.

Peter: What people?

Scampi: Wilting with fever and deliriums.

Peter: This occurred in the past.

Scampi: I know when this occurred.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You look drawn.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Like a charcoal sketch.

Peter: It is too hot.

Scampi: You know what else?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: We are very lucky.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I could put ice in your coffee.

Peter: No thank you.

Scampi: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: Could you please explain the presence of your head on my scapula?

Scampi: It’s heavy.

pt 120: GAMBOL

Scampi: Let’s put out coats on.

Peter: Our coats?

Scampi: Yes.  We each get one.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Standard issue.

PAUSE.

Scampi: And our scarves.  Let’s go out into the world.

Peter: Perhaps later on.

Scampi: Later on?  What’s wrong with you?

Peter: That is a personal question.

Scampi: You wish.  You don’t want to go out into the world?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: What are you, scared?

Peter:  No.

Scampi: Oh, I see.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Nothing.  I guess you just – don’t want to go for a walk.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: For whatever reason.

Peter: That is correct.

Scampi: Do you want some more coffee?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: This is a good season to walk amidst the weather.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: To look up at the sky, for example.

Peter: This is always possible.

Scampi: That’s what you think.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: One never encounters you listening to motown music.  I’ve noticed.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: I’m just saying.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: I dunno.  The coffee is weak.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Sorry.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: We should dance.

Peter: [alarmed] Right now?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: But we should.  Sometime this year.

Peter: To what end?

Scampi: It’s the right thing to do.

Peter: I am unsure.

Scampi: I know.  I’ve been thinking about raccoons.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Not that much, though.

Peter: Well, thank you for keeping me informed.

Scampi: No problem.  I’m here for you, Peter.

PETER RUBS HIS EYES.

Scampi: Rubbler.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: Yes, this coffee is weak.

Peter: Yes.  You spoke about this earlier.

Scampi: I know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you know what a lute is?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Hm.  It has to do with cats’ guts and love.

Peter: Of course!  What doesn’t?

Scampi: None of that: I’m just speaking about like, mid-century romantic-type ballads.  Minstrels and such.

Peter: Mid what century?

Scampi: An old one.  Say, sixteen.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Finger plucking.  Courtly love.

Peter: I suppose you no longer wish to go for a stroll?

Scampi: I never said that.

Peter: Said what?

Scampi: I didn’t say I didn’t want to go for a stroll.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you want to?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: It’s still daylight.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: We could walk down by the river.

Peter: What river?

Scampi: I don’t know.  The Euphrates?

Peter: The Danube?

Scampi: Absolutely.  Lute-lee.

Peter: Pum-pum-pum-pa-pum-

Scampi: Pum-PA-pum-PA!  A waltz.

Peter: Where have I placed my necktie?

Scampi: Forget it.  This is an informal outing.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: It is a beautiful day.

Peter: Yes.  I feel an irrationally excessive surge of ill-will.

Scampi: Oh?

Peter: This is unavoidable, it would seem.

Scampi: Maybe I can help.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh, look!  A sparrow.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: Sh.  Stay still.

Peter: Umph?

THE SPARROW ALIGHTS ON PETER’S STANDARD ISSUE COAT.  THE LIGHT ADJUSTS.

Scampi: Ah.

Peter: Well, that was interesting.

Scampi: You made a friend.

Peter: I did?

Scampi: I think so.  Yes.

pt 91: THE BROOD MARE IN THE SULTAN’S STABLES

Scampi: When I was a child.

 

Peter: When was this?

 

Scampi: Very hilarious.

 

Peter: I am simply looking for a degree of clarity.

 

Scampi: A modicum, if you will.

 

Peter: Could be.

 

Scampi: Could be.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: You like adventure stories.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: At sea.

 

Peter: When I was a boy.

 

Scampi: Yes.

 

Peter: There was a certain appeal.

 

Scampi: Are you suggesting that the appeal is gone?

 

Peter: I am no longer a boy.

 

Scampi: No debate there.

 

Peter: I didn’t say there was.

 

Scampi: And I agree wholeheartedly.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: With the whole of my heart.

 

PETER CAREFULLY PLACES HIS HANDS INTO HIS POCKETS.

 

Scampi: I like tales of adventure.  Myself.

 

Peter: [sighs] You certainly do.

 

Scampi: Feats of bravery, clever castaways.

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: I am for it.  You know.

 

Peter: Fairy tales.

 

Scampi: Adventure.

 

Peter: What are you driving at?  May I ask?

 

Scampi: Why do we always have to talk about what I’m driving at?

 

Peter: One wonders.

 

Scampi: Coffee?

 

Peter: No, thank you.

 

Scampi: Really?

 

Peter: Yes.  Really.

 

Scampi: Fine.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: What do you think of harmony?

 

Peter: Uh, harmoniousness.  Or, possibly, two or more individuals producing complementary note combinations.

 

Scampi: What are you, a dictionary?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Right.  I said what do you think about harmony.  Not what is it.

 

Peter: How do these two subjects differ?

 

Scampi: What you think about something and what it is?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Come on.

 

Peter: I am here.

 

Scampi: I wonder sometimes.

 

PETER SHRUGS, IRRITABLY.

 

Scampi: Oh, very nice.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Nothing.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have you ever held a baby?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: That’s all?

 

Peter: Have I misunderstood the question?

 

Scampi: I mean, Yes?  That’s all?

 

Peter: I have held a baby.

 

Scampi: What did you think about it?

 

Peter: I was very careful.

 

Scampi: Did this happen only once?

 

Peter: On each occasion.

 

Scampi: God.

 

Peter: You do like to invoke the Judeo-Christian deity.

 

Scampi: You like to presume.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: Ah, a clearing.

 

Peter: You call this a clearing?

 

Scampi: What do you call it?  A meadow?

 

Peter: I might.

 

Scampi: You might.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Well, do you?

 

Peter: I could.

 

Scampi: Look, Peter.  A meadow!

 

Peter: This is very nice.

 

Scampi: Let us rest awhile.

 

Peter: Where?

 

Scampi: How about here?

 

Peter: Hm.

 

Scampi: Or here?

 

Peter: Yes.  Or perhaps just there.

 

Scampi: Okay.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I can hear the humble-bees.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Buzz buzz.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: The clover.  The honeyed air.

 

Peter: Mm.

 

Scampi: Are you sleeping?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Do you know a story?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Tell it!

 

Peter: Perhaps another time.

 

Scampi: Why not now?

 

Peter: Now is not the time.

 

Scampi: Why not?

 

Peter: B- – snurfle – vor – – fleece.

 

Scampi: What?  What?

 

Peter: My voice becomes muffled when my hat is resting on my face.

 

Scampi: I’ll say.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I like stories.

 

Peter: You certainly do.

pt 56: BUILDINGS

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: That is my name.  How may I help you?

Scampi: Oh, I don’t know.  I’m just wondering some stuff.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I’m looking at this stunning view.

Peter: Are you?

Scampi: Well, I was two days ago.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: I was looking at this stunning view.  A crane in a construction pit.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: It was more than okay, boy.

Peter: If you say so.

Scampi: I do say so.  Don’t pretend you didn’t see the cumulus.  I know you did.  I have proof.

Peter: You’re right.  I saw the cumulus.

Scampi: I know you did.  Was that not the most beautiful thing?

Peter: It was very nice.

Scampi: It was freaking massive, my friend.

Peter: The clouds were large.

Scampi: The sky was the colour of a kindergartner’s coral necklace.  Come on, Peter.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Don’t what me.

Peter: Here.

Scampi: Oh, excellent.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Thanks for the coffee.

Peter: The pleasure is all mine.

Scampi: Okay.  So, to sum up, I was looking at the sky.

Peter: I have been getting that impression.

Scampi: It impressed itself upon me.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: I will maybe remember that sky for the rest of my life.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: What do you mean, perhaps?

Peter: It might blend itself in with other skies.  Possibly.

Scampi: Jesus.

PETER GENUFLECTS.

Scampi: Hee hee.

Peter: I did not genuflect.

Scampi: Sure, sure.

Peter: I don’t even know how.

Scampi: You heathen.

PAUSE.

Scampi: That sky was beautiful, and I’m in no mood to let it go.

Peter: You may have to, some day.

Scampi: I want it, though.  I want it forever.

Peter: There will be other skies.

Scampi: But only one forever.

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.

pt 70: HATCHLINGS

Scampi: I, for one, have no problem discussing things that aren’t there.

 

Peter: Isn’t that called gossiping?

 

Scampi: Not at all. Gossiping is discussing people that aren’t there.

 

Peter: I agree.

 

Scampi: But I said things. Things.

 

Peter: So, you like to gossip about things.

 

Scampi: You are deliberately obfuscating my purposes.

 

Peter: How dare you.

 

Scampi: Ditto.

 

Peter: I didn’t realise you were in such a foul mood today.

 

Scampi: And this is how you achieve détente? Honestly.

 

Peter: Détente?

 

Scampi: Oh, I’m sorry. That entry in your lexicon has probably been hacked out. With a pair of plastic children’s arts and crafts scissors. Probably.

 

Peter: With what?

 

Scampi: Forget it.

 

Peter: How can I forget it if I don’t know what it is?

 

Scampi: [Nice use of italics. Copycat.]

 

Peter: Excuse me?

 

Scampi: Nice weather we’re having.

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: Fancy a trip to the ballet?

 

Peter: What, now?

 

Scampi: Why the hell not, Peter?

 

Peter: There’s no need to say my name so…..

 

Scampi: Acidly?

 

Peter: Well, yes.

 

Scampi: I wasn’t.

 

Peter: Oh.

 

Scampi: I would never use your own name as a weapon against you.

 

Peter: Well, that’s a comfort.

 

Scampi: I was merely suggesting that perhaps a trip to the ballet’s in order.

 

Peter: Okay.

 

Scampi: Perfect. I shall book our tickets presently.

 

Peter: That is to say, I must first consult my schedule—

 

Scampi: There is a hard k sound in that word, I’ll have you know.

 

Peter: Perhaps I have a previous engagement. And of course, today may not be—

 

Scampi: Right.

 

Peter: You see.

 

Scampi: A simple ‘no’ would suffice.

 

Peter: When has a simple ‘no’ sufficed with you? May I be so presumptuous as to inquire?

 

Scampi: You wouldn’t know if it had.

 

Peter: Well, when has it?

 

Scampi: When last you tried it. And when was that?

 

Peter: Well, I—

 

Scampi: Bingo!

 

Peter: Are you calling me a hound?

 

Scampi: In a manner of speaking.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of sunsets lately.

 

Peter: [murmurs.]

 

Scampi: Not that you care. But I have been present for a number of them. Setting suns. Well, I don’t always see them. But I know what’s going on.

 

Peter: When?

 

Scampi: When the sun sets. Like, I might not be watching the colour.

 

Peter: Fascinating.

 

Scampi: Yes. Nonetheless, I know night’s coming on.

 

Peter: It is?

 

Scampi: It has been. It was.

 

Peter: Is this a grammar review?

 

Scampi: Probably. With bonus background squalor.

 

Peter: Such as?

 

Scampi: The racket of crows. Racketeering.

 

Peter: But that means –

 

Scampi: I know what racketeering means, Maestro. Jay-sus.

 

Peter: I believe you just called me Maestro.

 

Scampi: I’d like to see you prove that in a court of law.

 

Peter: I could.

 

Scampi: No doubt. I am waiting, on tenterhooks, as they say.

 

Peter: I feel you are making a mockery.

 

Scampi: Of what, your legal aspirations?

 

Peter: No,

 

Scampi: Litigation’s not your strong suit, I don’t think.

 

Peter: I never said it was.

 

Scampi: Yes. And I’m saying it isn’t.

 

Peter: The accuracy of your judgment has been called into question before.

 

Scampi: By who? The invisible magistrate you’re busy romancing with your silver tongue?

 

Peter: Pardon me?

 

Scampi: Ha! Pardoned, my lord!

 

Peter: Really.

 

Scampi: Perambulation, now. This could be your strong suit.

 

Peter: I am an excellent walker.

 

Scampi: And a shameless braggart, to boot.

 

Peter: Are you speaking of me?

 

Scampi: Har. Not at all, not at all. I am speaking around you. Do you know what they call this?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: That’s right. Circumlocution. Like a choo-choo train in the 1800s.

 

Peter: I object.

 

Scampi: Sustained!

 

Peter: That’s enough of that, that,

 

Scampi: Sustained, I say! Case closed!

 

Peter: Uh huh.

 

Scampi: Congratulations, counsel.

 

Peter: (flattered) Well, thank you.

 

Scampi: You are an excellent specimen of human elasticity!

 

Peter: Oh. I.

 

Scampi: A barrister of note! A solicitudinous solicitor!

 

Peter: Yes well.

 

Scampi: In light of your great achievements, I would hereby like to call you to the bar!

 

Peter: Wait, doesn’t that happen before—

 

Scampi: The COFFEE BAR!

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Pardon? Or would you like some tea?

 

Peter: In fact, I would.

 

Scampi: Is that all? Why didn’t you say so in the first place?

 

Peter: I don’t know.

 

Scampi: One pot o’ tea, coming right up.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Let me just put the kettle on.

 

Peter: Rather.

 

Scampi: Oh look!

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: The sun is setting.

 

Peter: Correct.

 

Scampi: The colours. At the risk of repeating myself.

 

Peter: You brave that precipice regularly.

 

Scampi: I do.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: It is a risk I am willing to take.

 

Peter: It is.

 

Scampi: I do love the colours, Peter.

 

Peter: I know you do.

 

Scampi: I love them every time.