pt 140: FRUIT TREES

Scampi: I’ll draw it for you.

Peter: That really is not necessary.

Scampi: Let me make you this diagram.

Peter: To what end?

Scampi: I want to draw it out for you.  To make things clearer.

Peter: Are we in great need of clarity, all of a sudden?

Scampi: No, no.  It has come up on us, bit by bit.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You are like a rock on the seashore.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: In the sense that I said so.

Peter: Ah. Right.

Scampi: Baking in the sunshine like a loaf of wheat.

Peter: Loaf of wheat? What?

Scampi: Why are you so critical today?

Peter: Was I being critical?

Scampi: Yes. Very picky. For some reason. Which I do not know what it is.

Peter: Perhaps you are misinterpreting my words.

Scampi: Impossible!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever seen a cactus?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What, really?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I mean, not in a plant shop.  Or at the zoo.

Peter: They have cactuses at the zoo?

Scampi: Why shouldn’t they? People can have a cactus if they want.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: So, what? You’ve been to the desert, is that what you’re saying?

Peter: That is not what I am saying.

Scampi: Where did you see a cactus then?

Peter: I cannot recall.

Scampi: Humph. This all smacks of trickery.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Perhaps you were driving along one day in your little Volkswagen.

Peter: I do not own a Volkswagen.

Scampi: Oh look! sez you to yourself. It be a cactoos yonder.

Peter: I do not speak this way.

Scampi: You’re in a very disagreeable mood today.

Peter: I –

Scampi: What? Do you disagree? Ho, ho!

Peter: Really.

Scampi: And truly. Furthermore, I’d like to know where this boat is going.

Peter: Yes, wouldn’t we all.

Scampi: [craftily] So you admit we’re in a boat.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Please pay attention to the map. Do you have anything against maps?

Peter: Certainly not.

Scampi: That’s what I’m saying. We don’t want to end up on a shoal.

Peter: Naturally.

Scampi: Well.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What does the chart say?

Peter: [irritably] You haven’t given me a chart.

Scampi: Says you.

Peter: Indeed.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I suppose we could ease up. Drift awhile, fish for smelt in the noonday sun.

Peter: I shall simply tip my chapeau over my eyes like so, and avail myself of a siesta.

Scampi: La-de-da. For my part, I shall read aloud from the book of Deuteronomy.

Peter: I would really rather you did not.

Scampi: Heathen!

Peter: Please. There is no need to shriek like a mynah bird.

Scampi: And why not?

Peter: I am right here.

Scampi: Oh. Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Would you like a cushion?

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: The book of Deuteronomy is full of stiff necks, you know.

Peter: I am fine, thank you.

Scampi: Suit yourself.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know what?

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: The shore is so beautiful this afternoon. I feel like a plover.

Peter: Wonderful.

Scampi: Yes. Are you listening to me?

Peter: Mm. Certainly.

Scampi: Okay. What did I just say?

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Just checking.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Will I wake you if I catch a fish?

Peter: No thank you.

Scampi: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever been in love?

Peter: I think so.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Oh. Shall I wake you in case something exciting happens?

Peter: Such as?

Scampi: Uh, dragonflies.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Will you fall in love again, do you think?

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I am taking a nap.

Scampi: Yes, yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have I ever been in love?

Peter: I do not know.

Scampi: Oh.

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pt 114: BELLAS ARTES, BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Scampi: Peter.

Peter: This is what they call me.

Scampi: Let me tell you a story.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: What, you don’t want to hear a story?

Peter: Is it long?

Scampi: It’s a story.  Stories are to you as corn was to the Maya.

Peter: Plentiful?

Scampi: Among other things.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, let us begin with the beginning.

Peter: A wise decision.

Scampi: In this case, yes.  I believe so.

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: Once.  No, screw that.

Peter: An auspicious commencement.

Scampi: Uh-huh.  Do you know who Porfirio Diaz is?

Peter: No.

Scampi: He was like, the President of Mexico.  A million years ago.

Peter: A million years ago?  Was this on the Mayan calendar?

Scampi: A long time ago.  He had many detractors, you see.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Right, it happens.  But he had a beautiful wife.  And pious.  She was renowned for her delicate sensibilities and refined European tastes.  Even his detractors thought she was pretty good stuff.

Peter: No doubt this added balance to the relationship.

Scampi: It’s all about the love, Peter.

Peter: You say that as though I had suggested it was all about the acrimony.

Scampi: Think of this: You look at a beautiful structure, classical, a classic, a colonial triumph.  Wings on all the angels, leaves and snakes and marble muses.

Peter: Which building?

Scampi: Whichever one.  You think: there’s blood beneath the marble.  Slave labour, human misery, conquistadors.

Peter: I think this?

Scampi: Damn right you do.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: But it’s so beautiful, anyway.  Knocks you out.  There’s a man with a ferret on a leash in front of the Musée de Beaux Arts and sixty schoolkids are staring up at the cupola like it’s the Milky Way.  Do you know what this is?

Peter: Hyperbole?

Scampi: (PAUSE.) Close.  It’s a love story.

Peter: I fail to apprehend the narrative arc here.

Scampi: We are surrounded by beauty, Peter.

Peter: This is something you’ve observed.

Scampi: This is the tale I am trying to tell you.

Peter: Sorry, but how is it a tale?

Scampi: You don’t seem sorry.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Why is a love story a story?

Peter: I don’t know, why?

Scampi: It’s not a knock-knock joke.  What do you think?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: The love is the story.

Peter: This has the trappings of a cheap evasion.

Scampi: You are familiar, of course, with the musical compositions of J.S. Bach?

Peter: I am.

Scampi: To be sure.  And of course you know what an organ is.  A pipe organ.  In a church.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: This is quite tedious.

Scampi: So you don’t know what an organ is?

Peter: I know what an organ is.

Scampi: Please, calm yourself.

PETER SETTLES.

Scampi: [Ah, the layered approach.  Like sedimentary rock.]

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: To continue.

Peter: Is this entirely necessary?

Scampi: Of course.  Were you aware, then, of how Mr. Bach – our excellent friend – felt about organs?

Peter: I suspect he would feel profoundly ambivalent about this conversation.  To put it mildly.

Scampi: He loved them.  Organs and the glory of God.  Our good buddy J.S. was all over that shit.  You know?

Peter: RUBS HIS MIDSECTION WITH GUSTO.

Scampi: That’s a love story, see.  Church tunes and Bach.

Peter: I enjoy curried onions.

Scampi: As is well-known by any of us blessed with olfactory capacities.

Peter: Humph.  I am fond of large sandwiches as well.  No doubt this is a love story?

Scampi: It is not.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: We have beauty in the world.

Peter: You do like to harp on this.

Scampi: Harp!  You octopod!

PETER WAVES ALL EIGHT LEGS AKIMBO IN PROTEST.

Scampi: Beauty and lovers of beauty.  These are some things we have.

Peter: We sure do.

Scampi: We sure do.

Peter: If I may.

Scampi: You may.

Peter: Perhaps you would not take exception to the suggestion that you are embracing a false dichotomy?

Scampi: Whatever that means.

Peter: It means –

Scampi: Take Robin Hood and Little John.

Peter: Two beloved folk heroes of my ancestral patrimony.

Scampi: Indeed.  There they go, smiting state mercenaries and guzzling ale.  Remember the grand adventure?

Peter: Weren’t they all?

Scampi: You and me and the open road.  x plus y times possibility.

Peter: This is your idea of a love story?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: But it could be yours.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Sh!  The Sheriff’s men approach.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: We must wait for nightfall.  Then we take the high road.

Peter: What?  Where are we going?

Scampi: The coast.

Peter: And then?

Scampi: Precisely.

pt 54: A PAIR OF SHOES AND RAIN

Scampi: Peter, what do you have to say about love?

 

Peter: Pardon me?

 

Scampi: Oh, cross that out.

 

Peter: LOVE.

 

Scampi: Or, you know what, just leave it.

 

Peter: Make up your mind.

 

Scampi: Well, I’m trying.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Don’t make those dubious noises at me.  Or, at any rate, what do you think about fishing trips?

 

Peter: What fishing trips?

 

Scampi: You know, like the ones you take with your dad.

 

Peter: I don’t take any fishing trips with my dad.

 

Scampi: Obviously.  But if you did.

 

Peter: I don’t.

 

Scampi: I know.  But some people do that kind of thing.

 

Peter: I don’t know anything about it.

 

Scampi: Yes you do.

 

Peter: Noo.

 

Scampi: It’s common knowledge, everyone knows that.

 

Peter: Everyone who?

 

Scampi: Stop being so preposterous.  I know you know.  (aside) Peter knows.  He does.

 

Peter: Who are you talking to?

 

Scampi: To whom.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Pardon?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: So, you don’t want to talk about male bonding excursions.  That’s fine.  That leaves us with a) the weather and / or b) our foundering humanity.

 

Peter: Jesus Christ.

 

Scampi: Oh, right.  That’s c) religion.

 

Peter: It’s raining.

 

Scampi: I don’t believe you.

 

Peter: It is currently raining.

 

Scampi: What, right now?

 

Peter: Yes.  Currently.

 

Scampi: What a know-it-all you are.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: You know what that is?

 

Peter: A pair of shoes.

 

Scampi: No, no.

 

Peter: It appears to be a pair of shoes.

 

Scampi: No, the rain.

 

Peter: Ah, so you’ve acknowledged it’s raining.

 

Scampi: Pathetic fallacy.  That’s what it is.

 

Peter: I prefer to think of it as precipitation.

 

Scampi: How precipitous!

 

Peter: Or condensation.

 

Scampi: How condescending!

 

Peter: Is this going to be all about your inability to accept science?

 

Scampi: Don’t tell fibs, Peter.  Fibbing forms no portion of the scientific method.

 

Peter: For the last time, stop calling me a liar.

 

Scampi: At the risk of unduly upsetting you, may I point out that this is very likely not the last time you will make that statement?

 

Peter: TAKES COMFORT IN HIS HAIRCUT.

 

Scampi: Your arms are all akimbo.  Maybe you should have a bath.

 

Peter: Yes.  Maybe.

 

Scampi: In any event, maybe we should focus on finding an umbrella.

 

Peter: Figuratively?

 

Scampi: If you like.

pt 109: HEARTBEATS

Scampi: Did I tell you about the other time I fell in love?

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What a thing to say.

Peter:

Scampi: Well, can you imagine?

Peter: Ho hum.

Scampi: So it’s like this.

Peter: Are you upset about something?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: That’s right.

SCAMPI YAWNS.  PETER YAWNS.

Scampi: I would like to talk about humanism.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Desiderius Erasmus.  Eh?  This means something to you?

Peter: I am familiar with the name.

Scampi: Ho ho.

Peter: I know who Erasmus is.

Scampi: Oh, I don’t doubt it.  Not for a second!

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: I don’t know anything about him.  It’s all very tragical.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: These Reformation types and their crazy ways.  I want no part of it!

Peter: Has someone been inviting you to take part in the Reformation?

Scampi: Ridiculous.  Peter, you are simply nuts.

Peter: [offended]

Scampi: Well, there’s no need to take offence.

Peter: You have just accused me of being nuts.

Scampi: Impossible!  I simply want some tea.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Do you want some tea?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: Oh, please, do take your time.  I am a tea-making factory, here for your convenience.

PETER TURNS THE PAGE OF HIS MAGAZINE WITH PRECISION.

Scampi: You little Gatling gun, you.

Peter: Are you speaking to me?

Scampi: No.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You wouldn’t have guessed this about me.

Peter: Guessed what?

Scampi: Precisely!  No one would have guessed.

Peter: I am not fond of guessing.

Scampi: No, you aren’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s not impossible to imagine, however, that I would have spent four days of my life sleeping through the night, for example.

Peter: A contradiction in terms?

Scampi: Please do not be such an asshole, Peter.

PAUSE, IN WHICH PETER’S SEETHING CAN BE PRESUMED, IF NOT PROVEN.

Peter: Would you not say ‘proved’, rather?

Scampi: Mind your own business!  God.

Peter: Deus.

Scampi: Out of the machine!

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: It could have been four days.  It could have been six nights.

Peter: Of sleeping?

Scampi: Of perfection.

Peter: Ah, perfection.

Scampi: I don’t appreciate your sneering.

Peter: I?  Sneering?

Scampi: Your mouth is full of melted butter.

Peter: [with difficulty] It is not.

Scampi: If I had known, I would’ve made popcorn.  Anyway, we can make room in our lives for our humanist friends, of course.

Peter: Ah yes, our humanist friends.

Scampi: Not to mention our four-legged brethren.

Peter: Yes, such as cats.  Do cats like to eat catnip?

Scampi: No.  It causes them to vomit.

Peter: Really?

Scampi: Of course.

Peter: I am suspicious of this information.

Scampi: Well, that says plenty about you.  But nothing about catnip.

Peter: I –

Scampi: Your mastery of the first-person pronoun has been recorded.  Now, what was I saying?

Peter: It is impossible to determine.

Scampi: One day you might wake up in the morning to an appropriately-coloured sky.  There is a human creature sleeping next to you.

Peter: This is hardly controversial.

Scampi: Exactly.

Peter: You have a problem with the colour of the sky?

Scampi: I do not.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Another morning, you do not wake up at all.  You sleep until dusk.

Peter: [nervously] Oh, the lifestyle of the common layabed.

Scampi: Are you nervous about something?

Peter: [nervously] No.

Scampi: Because you seem nervous.

Peter: Stop interfering with my delivery.  I am entirely lacking in nerves.

Scampi: Have I hit a nerve?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: In either case, you are both of them, the happy early riser, and the lonely evening layabed.  Both of them at once.

Peter: Where is this going?

Scampi: Nowhere.  You get out of bed, you don’t get out of bed.  Doesn’t matter.

Peter: I see.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know what happened to me yesterday?

Peter: You got out of bed and fell in love?

Scampi: No.  In the afternoon I heard the sound of birds and went outside.

Peter: A daring tangent.

Scampi: I looked up into the tree, it was all green leaves.  I could hear the birds everywhere, you know, like a chipmunk farm.

Peter: Ahem.  Our winged neighbours are sometimes rather loud.

Scampi: Yes.  But I couldn’t see them.

Peter: Because of the leaves?

Scampi: I don’t know.  I couldn’t see a single one.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: That’s what happened to me yesterday.

Peter: Did anything else happen?

Scampi: Not really, no.