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.

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pt 87: THE MOUTH OF THE RIVER

Scampi: Teeter eeter.

Peter: What are you doing?

Scampi: Teader toader.

Peter: Gibberish.

Scampi: Basically.

THE RAIN OF THE AGES.

Scampi: This keeps happening.

Peter: What does?

Scampi: It keeps happening to me.

Peter: The weather?

Scampi: No, no.

Peter: Are you all right?

Scampi: Does it matter?

Peter: Don’t be a child.

Scampi: I wasn’t aware there was an option.

Peter: I have rolled up my trouser cuffs.

Scampi: Good for you.

Peter: This will prevent them from absorbing moisture.

Scampi: The inclement elements.

Peter: The very ones.

Scampi: I am here.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I am here I am here I am here.  You are, too.

Peter: If you say so.

Scampi: What did you say?

Peter: Just now?

Scampi: Did you just say that?

Peter: Say what?

Scampi: Jesus H.

Peter: What does the ‘h’ stand for?

Scampi: Helvetica.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: [sighs]

Peter: What?

Scampi: I was just sighing.  To myself.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Not that it matters.

PETER SAMPLES A FINGERTIP.

Scampi: Why are you grimacing?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Wow.  Look.

Peter: A lake.

Scampi: Looks like a lake.

Peter: Let’s take a look.

Scampi: Stop talking like that.

Peter: Pish posh.

Scampi: It is a lake.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: A body of water, anyway.

Peter: Could be a loch.

Scampi: Could be a tarn.

Peter: Tarnation!

Scampi: That wasn’t funny.

Peter: What are you laughing about then?

Scampi: Well yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: A body of water, anyway.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: We could dip our toes.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: It would be refreshing.  We could use a little refreshment.

Peter: Rather.

Scampi: What do you think?

Peter: I am troubled.

Scampi: No, you aren’t.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: You know what he said?

Peter: Who?

Scampi: That’s what I’m saying.  Anyway, he said we must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Can you imagine?  What a thing to say.

Peter: We must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Scampi: Yes.  Can you do that?

Peter: Imagine things?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Oh, well.  That’s conclusive.

Peter: Why must we do this?

Scampi: I don’t need to tell you.

Peter: Illuminating.

Scampi: I don’t.  Can you do it?

Peter: I have not yet tried.

Scampi: Oh, for crying out loud.

Peter: Calm yourself.

Scampi: You calm yourself.

Peter [philosophically]: I do.

Scampi: Lies.

Peter: Don’t start.

Scampi: We are always starting.  Always coming up new.

Peter: I don’t know what you mean by this.

Scampi: Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I am here.  I mean, look at my skin.

Peter: A beautiful sheath.

Scampi: What?

Peter: I thought we were talking about skin.

Scampi: We were, we weren’t.  No difference.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I am here, right?  So what?  So are you.  You are here!

Peter: If you say so.

Scampi: Oh no.

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 123: AQUINAS

Scampi: Personally, I’m not concerned with whether we exist or not.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Right?

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: Peter!

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: I am concerned with other features.

 

Peter: Features.

 

Scampi: What are you, a parakeet?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Ho ho.  Of course not.  The very idea.  It’s absurd.

 

Peter: Correct.

 

Scampi: The wind, it howls.

 

Peter: This has been observed.  Over time.

 

Scampi: Overtime!  The good guys win it all!

 

Peter: I do not follow sports.

 

Scampi: That’s not what they say in England.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: They call it sport.  Singular.

 

Peter: Singular, indeed.

 

Scampi: I don’t even believe we have any feelings.

 

Peter: We?

 

Scampi: Any of us.  Why should we?

 

Peter: As in, what practical use do they serve?

 

Scampi: You Darwinian monster.

 

Peter: Pardon me?

 

Scampi: I just mean, why should we, why shouldn’t we?  It’s highly uninteresting.

 

Peter: I see.  Not to pry, but what is interesting?

 

Scampi: Oh, you know.

 

Peter: Enlighten me.

 

Scampi: Everything else.  Pretty much.

 

Peter: Such as?

 

Scampi: Mollusks.  Typography.  That sort of thing.

 

Peter: Thank you for clearing up this issue.

 

Scampi: I am at your service.  As per usual.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: This exists, that exists.  I am unconcerned with these questions.

 

Peter: Yes, I can see that.

 

Scampi [eagerly]: Can you?

 

Peter: Indeed.

 

Scampi: How?

 

Peter: By the way you keep harping on them.

 

Scampi: Whoa, grumpiness.

 

Peter: I am not grumpy.

 

Scampi: Hokay.  Step away from de vehicle.

 

Peter: What are you talking about?

 

Scampi: Oh, you know me.  Just twiddling my opposable thumbs.

 

SCAMPI REFLECTS ON THE PAWS BEFORE HER.

 

Scampi: Opposable thumbs, hey?  This is pretty nice.

 

Peter: PACES ANGRILY.

 

Scampi: Yo, what’s up, doc?

 

Peter: I am stretching my legs.

 

Scampi: I am stretching my synapses.  Hey, remember the apple orchard?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: No?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Not at all?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Oh.

 

Peter: Why do you ask?

 

Scampi: Just wondering.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have you noticed that we’re surrounded by natural beauty?

 

Peter: I have.

 

Scampi: Well?

 

Peter: Well what?

 

Scampi: What do you think of that?

 

Peter: I think it’s fine.

 

Scampi: It certainly is.  Roly poly mammals, craggy cliffs.  What more could you want?

 

Peter: I haven’t seen any cliffs.

 

Scampi: Of course you have.

 

Peter: I have not.  Not recently.

 

Scampi: Perhaps you should look up.

 

Peter: Not today.

 

Scampi: Why not?  Scared?

 

Peter: Not today.

 

Scampi: Tomorrow they may be gone.

pt 88: CRITTERS

Scampi: Do I look worried to you?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: This is my favourite time of year.

Scampi: Yeah, right.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: I know.

Peter: Then why?  Actually, forget it.

Scampi: ‘Tis forgotten.

Peter: I’m glad you’re not fiddling around with that compass.

Scampi: Oh really?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: I found it tiresome.

Scampi: Hoity toity.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: “This is my favourite time of year.”  “I hate your compass.”

Peter: You’re being rude.

Scampi: Oh, that’s rich.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Whatever.

Peter: Are you tired?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Maybe you need to take a nap.

Scampi: You can’t tell me what to do.

Peter: Not to push the idiomatic envelope here,

Scampi: I’ll push your envelope.

Peter: Goodness.

Scampi: Also, badness.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Is this a lecture on moral philosophy?

Peter: Why do you ask?

Scampi: Because if it is, I’m leaving.

Peter: Well, that is your choice.

PAUSE.

Peter: Why are you looking at me like that?

Scampi: I’m not actually leaving.  Peter.

Peter: Oh.  I see.

Scampi: I wonder if you do.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: I really do.  I wonder all the time.

Peter: You are certainly full of questions.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Oh.  Right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you –

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: I mean.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I mean, have you ever do you?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: This is very frustrating.

Scampi: What?  What is?

Peter: The way you are speaking.

Scampi: I’m just trying.  To say.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Bravery.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: I am loathe to make this request in light of how unlikely it is that you will honour it.  However: please explain yourself.

Scampi: I am, I am.  I just want to know what you think about bravery.

Peter: As a quality?

Scampi: No, as a book title.

Peter: I suppose this could be a book by Tom Clancy.

Scampi: Peter.  I mean, are we brave?

Peter: We?

Scampi: Are you?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: Like, are you scared?

Peter: Right now?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: There’s no need to sound so surprised.

Scampi: How else am I supposed to register my surprise?  Eh?

PAUSE.

Scampi: So you aren’t scared.  You’re like, ready.

Peter: For what?

Scampi: The eventualities.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Of like, existence.  Or whatever.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: I’m not worried.  You said.

Peter: I did?

Scampi: Basically.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are we brave, Peter?

Peter: I don’t know.  I don’t understand the question.

Scampi: I want to be.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: But I don’t know how.

pt 75: POLITICS

Scampi: Oh, “Peter”.

Peter (warily): Yes?

Scampi: How are you this fine day?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: What?

Peter: I am well.

Scampi: Well, indeed.  That’s where I’m headed, too.  Back to the well.  Once again.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Of course you do.  You’re not the Chancellor of the Exchequer for nothing!

Peter: The what?

Scampi: You’re a busy man, you are.  An immunodiplomatic powerhouse.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: A clay pot in a dowager’s garden.

Peter: I need a haircut.  Do you think I need a haircut?

Scampi: I think I should sharpen myself to a fine point, bounce off the west wall at atomic speed, and raze you a crewcut with my trajectories.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Pull up a chair.

Peter: Why’s that?

Scampi: You’re pacing.

Peter: That is my own business.

Scampi: Of course it is, Your Excellency.  Humblest apologies.

Peter: What’s with all the honorifics?

Scampi: What’s with being the Minister of Finance?

Peter: That’s not a rebuttal.

Scampi: What is it then?

Peter: It’s a, well, it’s not true.

Scampi: How dare you?

Peter: What?

Scampi: The truth is sacred here.  We are great proponents of truth and justice and such.

Peter: We are?

Scampi (pompously): Yes.

Peter: I was not aware of this.

Scampi: Hardly surprising.  Given your record.

Peter: What record?

Scampi: There are many records.  Records are kept.

Peter: And the archivist in charge?

SCAMPI CACKLES KNOWINGLY.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: That’s right.  Hm indeed.

SCAMPI WHISTLES A FRANCO-ROMANIAN BALLAD.

Peter: That noise.

Scampi: What?

Peter: God.

Scampi: What?  A guy can whistle.

Peter: You’re not a guy.

Scampi: What does that have to do with anything?  Eh?

SILENCE.

Scampi: I’m a wanderer.

Peter: Intellectually?

Scampi: A tinker a tailor.

Peter: You certainly like tinkering.

Scampi: I’m a candlestick maker.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: I am, in fact.  Would you like to purchase a candlestick?

Peter: Not today.

Scampi: What do you mean, not today?

Peter: Perhaps another time.

PAUSE.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Oh.  I’m not sure.

Peter: Was that?  Did you just?

Scampi: It fell.

PETER SIGHS.

Peter: Let me get the broom.

Scampi: No, no.  I’ll do it.

Peter: [Acquiesces.]

Scampi: Sorry.  It fell.

Peter: It doesn’t matter.

Scampi: [humming distractedly] La bohème, la bohème…..

Peter: I think it fell over there.

Scampi: Oh, right, right.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Sorry.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I happen to know.

Peter: Full stop?

Scampi: I happen to know that this was not your favourite wineglass or anything.

Peter: Oh?  And how do you know that?

Scampi: I just know.

Peter: Convenient for you, isn’t it?

Scampi: (philosophically) It can be.

Peter: Great.

Scampi: Peter?  Petereteretereteretereter.

Peter: Elocution issues?

Scampi: I was just checking if you can hear me.

Peter: I can.

Scampi: I wasn’t sure, you see.  I had to check.

Peter: Who were you under the impression you were engaging in conversation with?

Scampi: Dr Preposition and the Fullstops.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I am unsure how to proceed.

Peter: Affirmative.

Scampi: Affirmative?

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: What the hell does that mean?

Peter: At the risk of behaving like a thesaurus.

Scampi: I know what it means.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: I don’t know what you mean.  By it.  What do you mean?

Peter: I think you need to take a break.  Take a breather.

Scampi: From what?  You can’t tell me what to do.

Peter: That’s nice.  Very nice.

Scampi: What are you saying?

Peter: You’re babbling.

Scampi: So what?  What else is new?

Peter: Slow down.

Scampi: No.

Peter: Okay.  Don’t.

Scampi: I won’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I can’t stop.

Peter: Why is that?

Scampi: I don’t know where I’m going.

pt 99: OUR ANIMAL NATURE

Scampi: I think I was dreaming.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Sometimes I can’t tell.  You know.

Peter: I do not know.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: But how do you know that you don’t?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I can’t tell if I’m dreaming or not.  Occasionally.

Peter: What are you suggesting?

Scampi: No need to get so nervous.  I’m just saying.

Peter: I am not nervous.

Scampi: Sure.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What do you dream about?

Peter: Peace and quiet.

Scampi: Very funny.  Can’t you remember your dreams?

Peter: I can.

Scampi: Well.  And what are they about?

Peter: This is very tedious.

Scampi: Isn’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I sometimes feel as if I inhabit a waking fog.

Peter: Perhaps you should have some coffee.

Scampi: That has nothing to do with it.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I am like a monster of my own creation.  Half-asleep.

Peter: Perhaps you should keep such thoughts to yourself.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: Forgive me.  I have a headache.

Scampi: Oh.  Okay.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Sorry.

Peter: It’s quite all right.

Scampi: Do you think we are in the dark?

Peter: That would certainly soothe this migraine.

Scampi: We’re in a cave, a bed of leaves.

Peter: Are you suggesting that we are hibernating?

Scampi: Like bears.

Peter: I am not a bear.

Scampi: We have collapsed from the exhaustion of open spaces.

Peter: I wouldn’t say “collapsed”.

Scampi: No, of course not.  You’d just do it.

Peter: I am a human man.

Scampi: An overdose of beauty can be a tricksy thing, Peter.  Beauty and possibilities.

Peter: Which causes you to transform into an apostate ursus experiencing a low degree of consciousness under a rock somewhere?

Scampi: Perhaps.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: There is the question of our animal nature.

Peter: We are bound by the flesh.

Scampi: I don’t know about you.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What good is the meadow if one’s mind remains a howling wilderness?

Peter: Do you feel that your mind is a howling wilderness?

Scampi: I feel that my memory of the meadow grows swampy.

Peter: Perhaps you are unwell.

Scampi: What a thing to say!

Peter: Lower your voice.

Scampi: I did.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: Maybe we should get some sleep.

Peter: We?

Scampi: I sleep, you sleep.

Peter: This is fundamentally illogical.

Scampi: Is not.  You might as well be sleeping.  If I’m asleep.

Peter: This is not the case.

Scampi: It might as well be.

Peter: SIGHS.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Can you hear the sound of running water?

Peter: A leaky faucet?

Scampi: I believe it is the sea.