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 39: SCAMPI TAKES A LONG WALK, PETER DOZES BENEATH AN APPLE TREE, FLOWER IN HAND (Also sometimes referred to as: THY NEIGHBOUR DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH)

Scampi: I like your tie, Peter.

 

Peter: Oh, stop.

 

Scampi: No, really.  It brings out the best in us all.

 

Peter: Shucks.

 

Scampi: Have you ever had frostbite?

 

Peter: Seemingly.

 

Scampi: Sometimes people take a long walk on Christmas Eve in the late nineties.  Their quadriceps turn blue.

 

Peter: Is that so?

 

Scampi: This is a fact.  Bona fide.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Well, really.  White more.  But you know what I mean.

 

Peter: I am immune to the elements.

 

Scampi: Oh?

 

Peter: Well, as compared to you.  I am coated in an impenetrable crust.

 

Scampi: Of dirt?

 

Peter: It’s my Anglo-Saxon skin.  It protects me from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

 

Scampi: That’s lovely.

 

Peter: I’m trying to think.

 

Scampi: Does that bother you?

 

Peter: Mm.  In fact, I am actually trying not to think.  It is a great relief to me.  I am enjoying the smells that are closest to my own nose.  I am just breathing them in.

 

Scampi: Would that be the smell of your moustache, for example?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Oh.

 

Peter: It is springtime in my nose.  It is warm and happy.

 

Scampi: Your nose is replete with the promise of happiness?

 

Peter: It is happy.  I am very content.  Look how happy I am.

 

Scampi: Perhaps it’s time for me to go outside and build an igloo.  I could be good at that.

 

Peter: Yes.  We could all be good at something.

 

Scampi: For me, it’s igloo-building.

 

Peter: Perhaps.

 

Scampi: For you, it’s simple narratives in the Romantic style.  (Peppered lightly with Industrial-age-jargon.)

 

Peter: In the Zeitgeist cookbook, you will find me on page ninety-seven.

 

Scampi: Oh, I have that on hold at the library.

 

PETER PLACES A LARGE FELT HAT UPON HIS HEAD.

 

Scampi: Nice touch.  Would you like to walk down to the library with me?

 

Peter: Certainly not.  I shall be staying in tonight.

 

Scampi: Oh?  Why is that?

 

Peter: I must count all of my blankets.  I only have one sheet, but I have several blankets.  I must count them in order of softness.

 

Scampi: That sounds like fun.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Well, I’ll catch you later.  I have snow to build.

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 136: I’M SORRY, PUSHKIN

Scampi: [YAWNS.]

Peter: Excuse me.

Scampi: Hm?

Peter: Your hand seems to be waving about in front of my spectacles.

Scampi: Ah, yes.  [YAWNS.] Like this?

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Oh, look.

Peter: Mm?

Scampi: Ripe mulberries. They are falling all around us.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Here, have one.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: I couldn’t possibly.

Scampi: That’s incorrect.  You could.

Peter: Please.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Could you – ?

Scampi: Could I what? Have a mulberry.

Peter: Very well.

Scampi: Chomp. Delicious.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know they kept fighting on the Western Front even after the war was done, right?

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: They kept fighting.  And dying.

Peter: Well then, the war was not done.

Scampi: Officially, I mean.  The peace had been signed.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: They kept it up.  They kept on sending out black telegrams and smoking cigarettes.

Peter: What does smoking cigarettes have to do with it?

Scampi: I don’t know, Peter.  I didn’t start the fire.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Pushkin was the Shakespeare of Russia, you know.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: Didn’t you know that?

Peter: I do not know what you are trying to say.

Scampi: Because of how good he was, and that sort of thing.

Peter: Because of his Bardic qualities?

Scampi: Kharms said he couldn’t grow a beard.  Or a moustache, or whatever.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yeah.  Because of how much he contributed to the language. He was worth his weight in new words.

Peter: How much did he weigh?

Scampi: Really! That’s a private matter.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: If you were Pushkin, I would say, ‘I’m sorry, Pushkin.’

Peter: Ah.  And who would you be?

Scampi: That has nothing to do with it.

Peter: [CLEARS A RUBYTHROATED HUMMINGBIRD FROM HIS THROAT.]

Scampi: Oh, look.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: It vanished into the sun.

Peter: What did?

Scampi: Just now.

Peter: Apparently, I missed this miraculous event.

Scampi: I’ll say.

PETER EMITS A DELICATE, INVISIBLE COUGH.

Scampi: Sometimes, this is more difficult than others.

Peter: Yes. 

PAUSE.

Peter: What is?

Scampi: Everything.

Peter: Yes.

pt 33: STURGEON AND THE FUTURE

Scampi: Let me tell you something.  There was a distinct trout theme to yesterday.  Has this ever happened to you?

 

Peter: A trout has never happened to me.

 

Scampi: Not that you would know.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi: I was more curious about thematic coherence.  Are your days ever a symphony of thematic coherence?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: If you’re busy or you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine.

 

Peter: What’s that supposed to mean?

 

Scampi: I just think you’re not really taking the time to think about my question before you answer.

 

Peter: [SIGHS.]  Uh, that some sort of theme animal would intermittently splash up through the fluid of my daily grind?  No, I don’t think so.

 

Scampi: Fine.  Well yesterday for me contained about nine hundred occurrences of trout.

 

Peter: What kind of trout?

 

Scampi: Just trout.

 

Peter: What about sturgeon?

 

Scampi: No sturgeon.  Not really.

 

Peter: What do you mean, not really?

 

Scampi: That’s what I mean.

 

Peter: In my experience (limited though it may perhaps be) there is either a sturgeon, or there isn’t.

 

Scampi: That’s why you are Peter, and I am Scampi.

 

Peter: I find this response to be dissatisfactory.

 

Scampi: I don’t expect factories to be sated.  I am looking for joy elsewhere, my friend.

 

Peter:  Like where?

 

Scampi: Well, not in the auto sector, for starters.

 

Peter: Are you implying that I look for joy in the auto sector?

 

Scampi: Don’t get all offended.  I wasn’t implying anything.  I was just saying, that’s not where I’m looking.  [PAUSE.]  I mean, you aren’t either.  You’re exemplary.

 

Peter: Really.

 

Scampi:  Sure.  You set an example for us all.

 

PETER COUNTS HIS BEARD.

 

Scampi: Are you looking forward to something?

 

Peter: I look forward to many things.

 

Scampi: Like what?

 

Peter: I am looking forward to having a bath.

 

Scampi: Oh.

 

Peter: Is that not sufficient?

 

Scampi: Well, a bath is fine, I guess.  But I meant something larger, like snow.

 

Peter: The computers of the future?

 

Scampi: Aren’t they here already?

 

Peter: No.  The computers of the present are here.  The computers of the future have not yet arrived.

 

Scampi: But you’re excited for them.

 

Peter: About them.

 

Scampi: Maybe they’ll be made of people.

 

Peter: Absolutely not.

 

Scampi: Then they might be happy.  Then you could be excited for them.

 

Peter: This belongs in a comic book for twelve year olds.  It has nothing to do with computers.

 

Scampi: You’re very touchy today.

 

Peter: I am bogged down by the incessant howling of my nervous system.

 

Scampi: Oh.  I’m sorry.

 

[PAUSE.]

 

Scampi: I’m not part of your nervous system am I?

 

Peter: [COMES DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO LAUGHING.]  No.

 

Scampi: Okay.  So, if you were one of the knights of the Round Table, which one would you be?

 

Peter: If I was what?

 

Scampi: You know what I’m talking about.  King Arthur’s knights.

 

Peter: Yes, I am aware of them.

 

Scampi: I know you are.  Which one would you be?

 

Peter: Are there any named Peter?

 

Scampi: Come on.  If you could be any of them.

 

Peter: Which one got the most sleep?

 

Scampi: You know what I think?  I think you’d be King Pellinore.

 

Peter: That’s wonderful.

 

Scampi: You don’t know who King Pellinore is, do you?

 

Peter: [GLARES.]

 

Scampi: Ok, ok.  But see, King Pellinore had this thing for the Questing Beast.  He was always looking for it.

 

Peter: Are you suggesting I’m always looking for something?

 

Scampi: No, I’m suggesting that you would be King Pellinore.

 

Peter: If we lived in the Arthurian legend.

 

Scampi: That’s right.  Isn’t that exciting?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Do you know who I’d be?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Me neither.  But I would help you look.

pt 29: TRADE WINDS

Scampi: You know what time it is?

 

Peter: I believe it is approximately two p.m.

 

Scampi: It’s time to start counting down the snowflakes.

 

Peter: What snowflakes?

 

Scampi: They’re on their way.

 

Peter: Are you gesturing at the advent of winter?

 

Scampi: The season is upon us.

 

Peter: What season?

 

Scampi: The season of DEMOCRACY!

 

Peter: Like, pumping your fist in the air?

 

Scampi: That’s right. DEMOCRACY is on its way. I can feel it in my teeth.

 

Peter: My teeth hurt.

 

Scampi: You should brush them more often.

 

Peter: I do brush them often.

 

Scampi: With a toothbrush I mean. And paste.

 

Peter: This may or may not be the correct interval to mention that I see no evidence of democracy or snowflakes in the air.

 

Scampi: I’m not sure that was the correct interval. I will make a note of your suggestion, and address it in due course.

 

Peter: Thank you.

 

Scampi: Speaking of snowflakes, I am finding the air uncommonly warm.

 

Peter: Yes, it buffets us about with its uncommon warmth. We are truly blessed.

 

Scampi: We are.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I have made a pot of tea. Would you like some?

 

Peter: No thank you.

 

SCAMPI DRINKS HER TEA. IT IS UTTERLY DELICIOUS.

 

Scampi: This tea is delicious.

 

Peter: I have no doubt.

 

Scampi: I do. I am plagued with doubts. They shimmy with me across the floor. They steep in my cup.

 

Peter: Oh.

 

Scampi: Have you ever looked out, way out, to the edge of the water?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Me too.

 

Peter: You’re looking a little queasy.

 

Scampi: I am?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: It’s the waves. They’re swamping me.

 

Peter: Oh. Perhaps I will have some tea after all.

 

Scampi: Help yourself.

 

PAUSE.

 

Peter: You, ah—

 

Scampi: Don’t say it.

 

Peter: Right.

 

Scampi: Your hands are still so delicate. They are like moths.

 

Peter: Um.

 

Scampi: They’re practically phosphorescent. I can tell you’ve been reading lots of books.

 

Peter: How can you tell that?

 

Scampi: From your hands. They’re as delicate as your synapses.

 

Peter: There’s nothing delicate about my synapses.

 

Scampi: Of course not. Your synapses are firing a sixteen gun salute as we speak.

 

Peter: How terrifying.

 

Scampi: For my part, I salute your synapses, and their utter lack of delicacy.

 

Peter: I think I’m getting a migraine.

 

Scampi: It’s all that gunpowder going off in your hippocampus.

 

Peter: [SHUDDERS.]

 

Scampi: That was theatrical.

 

Peter: Yes well.

 

Scampi: Can you feel the wind on your face?

 

Peter: Why wouldn’t I?

 

Scampi: As we have previously discussed, you have hair growing out of your face.

 

Peter: So what?

 

Scampi: So maybe you can’t feel the wind. I don’t know anything about it.

 

Peter: I can feel the wind.

 

Scampi: Can you feel it rifling through your beard, looking for secrets?

 

Peter: No. There are no secrets in my beard.

 

Scampi: If I had a beard, I would fill it to the max.

 

Peter: With secrets?

 

Scampi: Yes. It would be the ultimate piggy bank.

 

Peter: Well, good for you.

 

Scampi: Thank you. Covert operations are my specialty. What direction is this wind coming from?

 

Peter: It’s coming from the far side of the world.

 

Scampi: It smells a bit like yesterday.

 

Peter: Yes. This is due to physics.

 

Scampi: Tell me.

 

Peter: Tell you what?

 

Scampi: Something I don’t know.

 

Peter: First I will have more tea.

 

Scampi: Go ahead. I’ve got all day.