pt 135: THE MAN WITH TWO UMBRELLAS

Scampi: If I may, I’d like to bring the topic around.

Peter: Oh? What ails it?

Scampi: Har har.  I’d like to bring the topic around to the Linnaean Society, of course.

Peter: Of course.

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pt 119: TOUGH

Scampi: Look at the sky!  What a grisly fog.

Peter: The sky is grey.

Scampi: Grizzled.  In sable silvered.

Peter: It is to be expected.

Scampi: Oh yeah.

PETER COORDINATES A SERIES OF PRIVATE MOMENTS WITH HIMSELF.

Scampi: What are you doing?

Peter: Reading.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I had the strangest dreams.

Peter: And you are ascribing this occurrence to the barometric pressure?

Scampi: Of course I ain’t!  My comments on the grazing fog are separate from my comments on the strange dreams.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Grazing fog.

Peter: Yes, grazing fog.

Scampi (expectantly): Yes!

Peter: Why are you looking at me like that?

Scampi: Nothing.  Grazing.

Peter: You keep repeating this word.

Scampi: I know!  It doesn’t make any sense.

Peter: Agreed.

Scampi: Like smouldering chunks of the petrified forest.

Peter: Yes.  That is also nonsense.

Scampi: I dreamed I met a Galilean.

Peter: Pilate?

Scampi: Peter?

PAUSE.

Scampi: No, but really.  How can there be a cherry that’s got no stone?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, seed, if you prefer.

Peter: I have no preference.

Scampi: Quel surprise.  In my opinion, a cherry when it’s blooming is not a cherry.

Peter: A cherry tree?

Scampi: A cherry flower.  The blossom on the tree.  Is that a cherry to you?

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: In the sense of a cherry.  That you put in your mouth.

Peter: I would not put a cherry blossom in my mouth.

Scampi: Well, no.  Although perhaps you should.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I can see it now!  Peter with a mouthful of cherry blossoms.

Peter: Distasteful.

Scampi: Likely bitter.  Let’s go try it out.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Let’s fill up your mouth with cherry blossoms and see what happens.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome!  Let’s do it.

Peter: I regretfully decline.

Scampi: You liar.  Regretfully nothing.

Peter: I dislike it when you accuse me of lying.

Scampi: I dislike it when you lie about your declinations.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Declensions!  Anyway, a flower is not a fruit.  I think we can agree on that.

Peter: What makes a fruit a fruit?

Scampi: It’s about the seeds and the juiciness and things.  In biology.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: The seeds.  I mean, versus a berry.

Peter (suspiciously): Ah.

Scampi: If love was really a book, or a tale or whatever, then presumably it would end.

Peter: Unless it was the neverending story.

Scampi: The Neverending Story.  Which ended, of course.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Milk and eggs, jam and bread.

Peter: A fine shopping list.

Scampi: Shopping list!

Peter: List of ingredients?

Scampi: Could be, could be.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you like amber?

Peter: Who?

Scampi: The, uh, the thing.

Peter: The substance?

Scampi: Oh, the substance.  Hoity toity.  Yes.

Peter: What do you mean, do I like it?

Scampi: That’s what I mean.  Do you?

Peter: I hold nothing against it.

Scampi: Not even your own skin?  A palm full of amber beads?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: What is it made of?  Do you know?

Peter: Amber is made from.

Scampi: Yes?

Peter: It is a, ahem.

Scampi: Do you know what it is, or don’t you?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: Resin.

Scampi: I knew that.

Peter: [intake of atmosphere]

Scampi: I was just wondering.

Peter: Amber can contain plant and animal detritus.

Scampi: Detritus?  You mean corpses.

SCAMPI SHUDDERS.

Peter: Amber is a yellowish translucent fossilised resin deriving from extinct trees.

Scampi: Especially coniferous.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Showoff.

Peter: If you do not wish to hear an answer, please refrain from asking questions.

Scampi: Hey, chill out, bro.

Peter: I am not your brother.

Scampi: Of course you are, Peter.  We are all brothers.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: We all harden up like resin, I suppose.

PAUSE.

Peter: Are you suggesting that we contain fossilised insect life?

Scampi: Perhaps.  It’s all very mysterious, really.

Peter: Unnecessarily so.  We are not discussing an opaque material.

Scampi: Aren’t we?

Peter: Perhaps I have lost the train of thought.

Scampi: Probably ‘cause it left the platform an hour ago.  Oklahoma-bound!

PAUSE.

Scampi: I take that back.  Oklahoma makes me sad.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Indian Territory.  That’s what they called it, you know.

Peter: This is no longer what they call it.

Scampi: No.  But the germ of tragedy remains.

Peter: As in seed?

Scampi: Or stone.

Peter: Or resin-bound arthropod?

Scampi: Something hard, anyway.

pt 144: THE WARSAW PACT

Scampi: Isn’t it funny to you how a map can look like a bloodstain?

Peter: What?

Scampi: You heard me.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: It is meet to point out that I heard the words, but was unable to glean their meaning. In this context.

Scampi: Oh, this is how we’re talking today?

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: I ain’t the Pope. I ain’t the state o’ the nation. No pardons dispensed here.

Peter: I think you may have misunderstood the term “State of the Nation”.

Scampi: I am a mixologist.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Remember the Communist blob?

Peter: I believe that was ‘bloc’.

Scampi: Just a big red blob on a map. And now what?

Peter: Perhaps we should identify the appropriate cartographic terms before continuing.

Scampi: Nonsense. You never have any fun.

Peter: [pensively] No.

Scampi: See? Ghastly.

A GHOST STROLLS PAST, SELF-CONSCIOUSLY WRINGING ITS HANDS.

Scampi: What a world.

Peter: Wait, what’s going on here?

Scampi: I dunno. Nothing.

Peter: Did the power just go out?

Scampi: Who cares? That’s what I say.

Peter: You certainly do.

SCAMPI TOSSES A TEN-GALLON HAT IN THE AIR.

Scampi: Yeehaw!

Peter: My head. It spins.

Scampi: That’s not your normal sentence structure. Are you okay?

Peter: [dubiously] I suppose.

Scampi: Here we are, the kings of supposition. And no electric lightbulbs, to boot.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: That could be cathartic. Electric lightbulb-booting.

Peter: There is no need for violence.

Scampi: What about violins?

Peter: Well, yes. Violins yes.

Scampi: A full string section, of course.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: So you wouldn’t say, Ah history, the giant bloodstain?

Peter: I have never said such a thing.

Scampi: I have.

Peter: We are all aware of this.

Scampi: Good, good. This is an awareness program, after all.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Speaking of which, garrigue.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: Garrigue.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Do you know what that is?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Do you?

Peter: Not particularly.

Scampi: Scrub.

Peter: What?

Scampi: That’s what it is. Low-lying scrub. You know, like foliage. In the Mediterranean Basin.

Peter: Ah, the basin.

Scampi: Scrubs and shrubs. They change the taste of the air and the taste of the wine.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: A covering over the hills, running down to the sea.

Peter: I know what scrub is.

Scampi: One wouldn’t think so, to look at your neck.

Peter: I bristle at such remarks.

Scampi: I can see that.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I couldn’t get out of bed today.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Or perhaps I could. I can’t remember.

Peter: We all have beds. And difficulties.

Scampi: I suppose if this is a dream, I haven’t gotten out of bed yet. How shall I tell?

Peter: I thought we had abandoned this line of inquiry.

Scampi: You would say that, as a dream-figment. Trying to throw me off the scent.

Peter: Consciousness is not a children’s mystery novel.

Scampi: There’s no need to be so severe about everything. It’s not The Pilgrim’s Progress either, you know.

Peter: I am not a puritan.

Scampi: Don’t tell me. Tell them.

Peter: Who?

Scampi: I dunno.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: You seem a trifle skittish.

Peter: [skittishly] I am not.

Scampi: Mm. It seems darker.

Peter: It?

Scampi: The world. The weather.

Peter: We are preparing for a healthy bout of condensation, I would say.

Scampi: I concur.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Will we ever be heroes, Peter?

Peter: Why would we want to be heroes?

Scampi: Why wouldn’t we?

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.