pt 47: SYMPHONIC ASPIRATIONS (or, MICKEY MANTLE & WILLIE MAYS)

Scampi: What do we know about Ohio?

Peter: Other than the fact that we’re in it?

Scampi: Or at least on it.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: So, that’s the extent of our knowledge, then?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: Yes?

Peter: Well, we can surmise, that is to say, ascertain, that, judging by—

Scampi: It’s really hard for you to admit that you don’t know anything about Ohio, isn’t it?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I understand.  If it makes you feel better, I don’t know anything about it either.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It seems like spring is a good season to be passing through though.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: And you know, it’s just going to get springier as we go.

Peter: How do you mean?

Scampi: Because we’re heading south.  Due south.  Or I mean south-west.  Which is pretty much the same thing.

Peter [flustered]: First of all—

Scampi: Why do you have such a penchant for discrediting my whimsy?  Eh?

Peter: We’re heading into summer.  You have everything backwards.

Scampi: Yes, Peter.  I know.

Peter [somewhat appeased]: Well.  Well.

Scampi: I love springtime.  It makes me feel like a plant or an animal.  Or a major-league baseball player from nineteen fifty one.

Peter: Perhaps we should stop and have a siesta soon.

Scampi: You know, the further south we get, the more culturally acceptable this suggestion will become.  Did you know that?

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: You see?  This journey is full of perks.

Peter: This state we are traversing is rather vowel-heavy.

Scampi: Yes.  Is that all right with you?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Good.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Would you say that we are working together in concert to achieve a common goal?

Peter: Why do you ask?

Scampi: Oh, I dunno.  Just curious.

Peter: At the very least, we are headed in the same direction.

Scampi: On purpose.

Peter: Correct.

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pt 71: HE LIVES BY THE RIVER

Scampi: I would like to begin this essay by first establishing.

HOURS PASS, LIKE HONEYBEES.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Well, what do you think?

Peter: I think it’s time for some spring cleaning.

Scampi: It isn’t spring yet.

Peter: In Mesopotamia it is.

Scampi: The rivers.  They are warming in the sun.

Peter: I am currently planning to wash my drapes?

Scampi: Was that a question?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: It certainly sounded like one.

Peter: If I could just.  Argh!

Scampi: Maybe you should leave the curtains for another day.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: You can approach your intended goal in small, manageable chunks.

Peter: This is a strategy.

Scampi: It is.  You might do well to employ it.

Peter: Allow me to prevaricate further on this matter.

Scampi: Of course.  I suggest you leave the curtains, though.  For the moment.

Peter: But.  Ah.

Scampi: The dust, you see.

Peter: Oh.  Yes.

Scampi: Do you know what I’m doing?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: I know you don’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I’m sorting through these ribbons.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I’m laying them out, you see, such that they don’t get creased.

Peter: [glancing over] What are those?

Scampi: Ribbons.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: This one here for example.  It’s the colour of your eyes.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Lies!

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Unless your eyes are black and white polkadots.  Which I suppose they are.

Peter: There’s this splinter in my thumb.

Scampi: What are you planning to do about that?

Peter: Nothing.  I suppose.

Scampi: I could help remove it.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: It would be easy peasy.  A simple operation.

Peter: No thank you.

Scampi: Are you sure?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Really?  Sure sure?

Peter: I’m positive.

Scampi: Fine then.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Be that way.

Peter: I shall.

Scampi: No one doubts it.

PETER SNUFFLES AT HIS HAND, COLTISHLY.

Scampi: Oh, that’s very productive.

Peter: [muffled] Sorry?

Scampi: No man is an island!

Peter: (ARGH!)  An oft-expressed sentiment.

Scampi: I suppose you imagine yourself to be some sort of peninsula?

Peter: Mnph.

Scampi: Did you get it?

Peter: Half.

Scampi: What happened?

Peter: It broke off.

Scampi: Ha.

Peter: Were you saying something about the Balkans?  Just now?

Scampi: You wish.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: [cackles]  If you wish.

Peter: I sometimes think you have an unhealthy fixation on the Balkans.  I believe.

Scampi: Oh ho.  That’s rich.

Peter: Balkan this.  Balkan that.

Scampi: How your own mind betrays you!

Peter: What now?

Scampi: That certainly sharpened you up.  Your ears just stood on end, my boy.

Peter: Poppycock.

Scampi: So, watcha wanna talk about?  The Iberian peninsula, maybe?  Perchance?

Peter: (primly) I have nothing against it.

Scampi: Such an assiduous opinionist you are.  La-dee-da.

Peter: At least I’m not a reactionary.

Scampi: Certainly not.  You wouldn’t react if I paid you.

Peter: Like a common thug!  Foul idea.

Scampi: Not you!  You wouldn’t react if I poked your patella with a toothshaped hammer!

Peter: Leave my reflexes out of this.

Scampi: I couldn’t drag them in if I tried.  Last I heard, they were on extended leave.

Peter: My reflexes?

Scampi: Never heard of them.  You rock of the ages.  Watertight, eh?

Peter: I am not made of stone.

PETER FILLS A COFFEE CAN WITH WATER.

Scampi: What are you doing with that thing?

Peter: Nothing.

Scampi: Observing your reflection?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh, Peter.

Peter: What?

Scampi: You’re a human bean, of course.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Not a rock at all.  Of course not.

Peter: Did you say bean?

Scampi: A furry little beanstalk.

Peter: Few have called me little.  If I could insert a parenthesis.

Scampi: Brackets away!

Peter: I am not familiar with this expression.

Scampi: For which the subcommittee forgives you preemptively.

Peter: Preemptively?  But I said it just now.

Scampi: They’d forgiven you already.

Peter: The subcommittee.

Scampi: Yes.  They can’t resist you.

Peter: I’ll leave that to your discretion.

Scampi: What?

Peter: The train of thought.

Scampi: Oh.  That’s very generous of you.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You could use the water to water some plants.

Peter: That is what I had planned.

Scampi: Is it?

Peter: I had planned that already.

Scampi: I don’t doubt it.

Peter: Then the matter is settled.

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: Don’t call me sir.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Just don’t.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: I don’t like it.

Scampi: Does it make you feel old?

Peter: No.

Scampi: The auld sod.

Peter: Nothing of the sort.

Scampi: Shall I call you Ol’ Man Pete?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Would you like that?

Peter: I would not.

Scampi: That’s Ol’ Man Pete for ya.  Short and to the point!  Oh yes.  Yes sir.

Peter: There you go again.

Scampi: You’re glowing like a sunbeam.

Peter: I am?

Scampi: You almost laughed just now.  I saw it.

Peter: Hearsay.

Scampi: That’s right.  I’m here, and I say so.

Peter: I—

Scampi: You concede the point with your silence.  I understand.

PETER CONCEDES THE POINT.

Peter: Whatever it might be.

Scampi: Agreed.  How’s the spring cleaning coming?

Peter: Fine.

Scampi: I’m not sure how up to date you are with geography and such.

Peter: I am a modern man.

Scampi: Or a variation thereof.  A peninsula, as you may know, might sometimes drift out to sea.

Peter: Impossible.

Scampi: I mean break off, you know.  Like splinters.

Peter: Yes, well.  It might.

Scampi: The land, however.  It’s the same.

Peter: I am not following you.

Scampi: It doesn’t matter.  On either side of the water.  Same dirt.  Following be damned.

Peter: Are you discussing soil samples?

Scampi: History takes a long view of things, Peter.

Peter: And how does this pertain to soil samples?

Scampi: We all do, Peter.  In the end.