pt 143: THE OCELOT & THE EAGLE

Scampi: It should be remembered of course that nothing is certain.

Peter: Certainly!

Scampi: Oh, look who’s decided to go all jocular all of a sudden.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: I, of course, am busy feeling up the grooves of history with my anthropologic tongue.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: It’s a textured approach.

Peter: Would you like some tea?

Scampi: Damn right.

PETER WRINKLES HIS NOSE IN DISTASTE LIKE AN ADOLESCENT SKUNK.

Scampi: Whatsa matter?

Peter: There is no matter.

Scampi: Except for the matter at hand, which is that you entertain the delicacy of a gourmand. Nobody knows why, mind you.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: It would be entirely possible to doze off in the shade of these reeds.

Peter: What reeds?

Scampi: The ones on the riverbank, of course.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: What I’m trying to explain, you know.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Well, it’s all very here and there. That’s all I’m saying.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: There’s no need to emit such a noise. I am not a dentist.

Peter: [huffily] I have never accused you of dentistry.

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Sometimes I feel so completely surrounded by history. As though it’s in my living room.

Peter: From my well-stuffed and starched perception of the universe, I can tell you that history is behind you. And the future is ahead, and no one is in your living room.

Scampi: I’ll believe that when I see it.

Peter: Time proceeds in a linear fashion.

Scampi: You have no way of knowing what’s going on in my living room while you loll about on a riverbank.

Peter: [peevishly] Nobody said we were on a riverbank.

Scampi: False! History cuddles you from all sides, like the words of your grandmothers.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: You just have to run through it.

Peter: Run through what?

Scampi: I don’t know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: To get to the other side?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I can’t think straight.

Peter: Yes. This is readily apparent.

SCAMPI TOSSES SPINY DARTS AT PETER’S HEAD, PLAYFULLY.

Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: Indeed. The people loved their maize. And eagles and snakes, and jaguars and frogs and human blood and sunshine.

Peter: People like many things.

Scampi: Yes. But we don’t build so many statues any more, do we?

Peter: I do not build statues.

Scampi: No. I could almost just drift off, in this dappled shade.

Peter: What time is it?

Scampi: I’m not sure. It’s either an hour earlier or an hour later.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: One can almost hear the gulls.

Peter: What gulls?

Scampi: From the nineteen-thirties. Calling out on an English beach.

Peter: Nonsense.

Scampi: The noises of the past are one simple eyelash away.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: See? That sigh wasn’t even yours. It was taken directly from the Regency Period.

Peter: You do natter on.

Scampi: Who are you, René Descartes?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Therefore you don’t think? Har har.

Peter: I admit the reeds are pleasant.

Scampi: I admit I don’t know what time it is. Luckily, you’re Peter and I’m Scampi.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Oh, look!

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: A coracle.

Peter: How suspicious.

Scampi: Quick, let’s climb in.

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: How else are we supposed to find out which way the river flows?

Peter: By standing in it?

Scampi: We aren’t statues, Peter.

Peter: No. We are not statues.

Scampi: Right.

Peter: What are we then?

Scampi: Sailors, apparently.

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pt 49 ½: PAR CONTRE

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Good.  High five.

Peter: My god.  How did you manage to get that much dirt under your fingernails?

Scampi: Me?

Peter: They’re filthy.

Scampi: Yeah.

Peter: When did that happen?

Scampi: While you were reading the map.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I was looking for something.

Peter: What?

Scampi: I’m not sure.

Peter: Was it a recipe for mud pies?

Scampi: No, no.  Nothing like that.

Peter: I certainly hope you found it.

Scampi: I had a good time looking, anyway.

Peter: So it would seem.

Scampi: [LAUGHS.]

Peter: What’s so funny?

Scampi: I don’t know.  But it’s working.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: Hee hee.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You seem a little under the weather today.

Peter: Do I?

Scampi: You do.

Peter: Well, there you have it.

Scampi: I don’t like to see you so down, Grumplestiltskin.  We’re heading in the right direction, aren’t we?

Peter: Yes.  For those who wish to go to Mexico.

Scampi: That’s us.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter, that’s us.  Right?

Peter: So it would seem.

Scampi: Do you want some tea from my thermos?  It’s still really hot.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: Are you sure?  Yummy delicious tea.

Peter: No.  I am sure I don’t want any tea.  It is your tea.  You should drink it.

Scampi: Okay.  Just let me know if you change your mind, okay?

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: It’s funny, when you say that, it’s almost like you’re saying, “Quiet!”.  I think that’s pretty funny.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Quite.

SCAMPI LAUGHS AT THIS UNTIL SUNSET, GIVE OR TAKE, AT WHICH TIME PETER DECIDES TO HAVE SOME TEA, AFTER ALL.

pt 113: LARKS

Scampi: Have you ever woken up to birdsong?

Peter: In the sense that  the noise of the birds woke me up?

Scampi: I dunno.  It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: I love it.  The noise of traffic in the road, the putput of pollution.

Peter: Are you implying that pollution makes a noise?

Scampi: Well, it does.  Scientifically.  Anyway, who doesn’t like waking up to sunlight in the windows?

Peter: Perhaps a man who has just undergone eye surgery.

Scampi: That’s what you think.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: In some places in the world, it is always spring.  Did you know this?

Peter: No.  I do not find that statement to be credible.

Scampi: You’re lucky you found it at all.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, I mean, not the season spring, perhaps.  But the weather.

Peter (sagaciously): Ah yes, the weather.

Scampi: In our conversations, for example, it is not always spring.

Peter: Noho!

Scampi (defensively): Well, sometimes it is.

PETER OCCUPIES HIMSELF WITH PERSONAL GROOMING.

Scampi: Yech.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever been to a little town in Ontario?

Peter: Ah yes.  The province in central Canada, I presume?

Scampi: There is no need to be coy.

Peter: I have, as you well know, been to a small town in Ontario.

Scampi: As have I.  It can be very sad.

Peter: Rural travel?

Scampi: The graveyards.  The monuments to conflicts past.

Peter: Have you been rooting around in graveyards?

Scampi: Rooting around!  The idea.

Peter: Oh, do excuse me.

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: My, the sun is bright today.  Perhaps we should sit beneath the jacaranda tree.

Peter: The what?

Scampi: The jacaranda is in bloom.  The goddam larks are singing their hearts out.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You free the top button of your collar.  I fan myself with my hands like leaves.

Peter: How many buttons is my collar supposed to have?

Scampi: Two.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s only right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The magnolias are also in bloom.

Peter: Of course.

Scampi: You could reach up and pick one, if you wanted.

Peter: But why destroy something beautiful in nature?

Scampi: Why indeed.

[Peter: That’s not exactly how I put it.

Scampi: Well, that what you meant.]

pt 80: OLD TIME

Scampi: We were having lunch this one time.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: We were having lunch.

Peter: I believe it.

Scampi: Ugh.  Anyway, out in a restaurant.  And you were like, The waitress is a ninja.

Peter: I was?

Scampi: She was stealthy.  She crept up.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Do you remember this?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Well, I do.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Nice weather we’re having.

Peter: Oh yes.

Scampi: Shit.

Peter: What?

Scampi: I dunno.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Fresh herbs for summer salads.  Here today, gone tomorrow!

Peter: Are you reading something?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: I’m just saying.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Halfway to Mexico, and what do we do?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: We stop going there.

Peter: Is that what happened?

Scampi: Well, I don’t know.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: We could take a boat.  To England.

Peter: From where?

Scampi: I dunno.  Plymouth Rock?

PETER, A STUFFED PEACOCK, DISAPPROVES.

Scampi: Hee hee.

Peter: What?

Scampi: The world, as they say, is your oyster.  Did you know that?

Peter: I did not.

Scampi: Why, don’t you think it’s true?

Peter: As an apt metaphor?

Scampi: Who cares?

Peter: What?

Scampi: The world as a crustacean, the world as a shellfish.  You’ve got a problem with this?

Peter: Well.  I.

Scampi: Don’t you feel lucky?

Peter: Ah.  Certainly.

Scampi: Yeah, well.  You don’t act like it, buddy.

Peter: What is that supposed to mean?

Scampi: Nothing, nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The luck, the luckiness.  It sneaks up on you like a ninja waitress.  One minute you’re finishing your tea, the next minute the bill is in front of you, right there on the table.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: How the hell did this get here? you say.  It was the goddam ninja waitress.

Peter: Some service industry professionals are certainly very skilled at their métier.

Scampi: Poppycock!

PETER SCRATCHES HIS HEAD.

Scampi: Look at you.

Peter: Me?

Scampi: Clawing away.

Peter: It itches.

Scampi: The truth always does.

Peter: This is incorrect.

Scampi: Itchy itchy scratchy scratchy.  That’s you.

Peter: I disagree.

Scampi: As a default.  We know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: When you think of walks we took, over the years.

Peter: I don’t.

Scampi: Harumph.  The seasons all roll together, don’t they?

Peter: We live in a temperate zone.

Scampi: Maybe you do.

Peter: We do.

Scampi: The winter, the spring.

Peter: Temperate seasons.

Scampi: The years.

Peter: Yes.

PAUSE.

Peter: You’re pacing.

Scampi: I am.

Peter: It’s hurting my head.

Scampi: So what?

PAUSE.

Scampi: I’m sorry.

Peter: Acknowledged.

Scampi: Shall we stick our head out the window?

Peter: Our head?

Scampi: Yes.  Your head, my head.  Should we test the air?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Not today.

Peter: No.

Scampi: The winds of change are blowing.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: They are rustling the herbs in the flowerpots.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: They appear at your door without warning.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: And then they disappear!

Peter: Right.

Scampi: And you’re stuck in the doorway, holding the bill.

Peter: What bill?

Scampi: You pretend you’re not following this train of thought.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: You do.  But your amateur theatrics don’t fool me!

Peter: This is bordering on hysteria.

Scampi: Hysterical.

Peter: I presume that you are cognisant of the time?

Scampi: I am.  

pt 43: I HOPE THIS KNOWLEDGE OF CARTELS

Scampi: Do you know where Dubrovnik is?

 

Peter: Of course.

 

Scampi: (I doubt that Peter knows.)

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

PAUSE.

 

Peter: What was that?

 

Scampi: Remember how I was telling you about Mexico?

 

Peter: Uh huh.

 

Scampi: Well, get a load of this. In Mexico, when you have three or more people who commit a crime, they count as a cartel. Amazing!

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: Eh? Don’t you think?

 

Peter: And how does this affect us?

 

Scampi: Oh, Peter, don’t be so coy. You must know that I am thinking of our future as Mexican criminals!

 

Peter: How so?

 

Scampi: Do you think we should give our cartel a name? Or do we angle for the subtle air of mystery?

 

Peter: I just don’t think we have a cartel.

 

Scampi: Please do not allow your cynicism to infest our glorious future.

 

Peter: I am not a cynic.

 

Scampi: Don’t be so negative. Grumble grumble.

 

Peter: You’re really asking for it today, aren’t you?

 

Scampi: Asking for what? A whirlwind tour of crime and romance?

 

Peter: Well, for starters, what’s so romantic about a life of crime anyhow?

 

Scampi: Oh, I don’t know, Peter. The way it’s spelled.

 

Peter: The etymological gesture to Crimea? Is that what you’re talking about?

 

Scampi: If you like.

 

Peter: Because I don’t think the Crimean War has anything to do with Mexican cartels.

 

Scampi: It could be fun. We could be cowboys.

 

Peter: I don’t think Mexico has cowboys.

 

Scampi: Ridiculous! Of course it does. They just call them gauchos.

 

Peter: Are you sure about that?

 

Scampi: Are we ever sure, Peter?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Maybe we can carry flintlock Napoleonic pistols. Like wild west pirates.

 

Peter: This historico-linguistical pastiche is causing me to experience some degree of nausea.

 

Scampi: No worries. That’s just wedding jitters. It happens to everyone.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Don’t sound so pained. People will start to think you’re backing out.

 

Peter: Of what?

 

Scampi: The grand adventure.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Not that I’m calling you a coward.

 

Peter: I resent these implications!

 

Scampi: What implications? I told you, I’m not calling you a coward.

 

Peter: Very well.

 

Scampi: I’m just a little excited, is all.

 

Peter: Might I pose what I feel is a rather relevant question?

 

Scampi: Of course! This is a participatory plutocracy.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Go ahead, go ahead.

 

Peter: What exactly is this, ah, cartel of ours going to do?

 

Scampi: What do you mean?

 

Peter: Well, in my experience (which, I would like to point out, is entirely theoretical, in this context)

 

Scampi: (and in every other context, too)

 

Peter (valiantly): it is the case that criminals commit crimes. Ergo, I was wondering what types of crimes you had planned to commit. In Mexico.

 

Scampi: Oh, the usual.

 

Peter: Please elaborate.

 

Scampi: Well, we’ll be on horseback. As we have already discussed. I think this implies a little horse-thievery. And cattle-rustling.

 

Peter: Okay.

 

Scampi: And you know what? Speaking of plutocracies, there is great economic disparity in Mexico. I think you know what that means.

 

Peter: An impossibly unbridgeable chasm between rich and poor?

 

Scampi: Robin Hood!

 

Peter: Oh. So we’re to commit felonies based on principles of social justice.

 

Scampi: Jeez, Peter. You make us sound like assholes.

 

Peter: I suspect, somehow, that this is rather your line of work.

 

Scampi: Now, now. If you don’t want to rob the rich to feed the poor, that’s fine. I’ll think of something else for us to do. After all, your happiness is paramount. It’s at the top of my social calendar, right next to Sunday.

 

Peter: Your generosity touches us all.

 

Scampi: Perhaps we can sell pears illegally. They will be outlawed because of their deliciousness. Furthermore, they will make an indelible dent in the Mexican national consciousness. What do you think?

 

Peter: Pears.

 

Scampi: Yes: delicious, juicy pears. What do you say?

 

Peter: You want us to form a fruit-selling Mexican cartel.

 

Scampi: Do I!

 

Peter: Whom do you intend to include in this cartel?

 

Scampi: What do you mean?

 

Peter: Well, according to the intelligence you were imparting to me earlier, we need a third member to qualify as a cartel.

 

Scampi: That’s true. But maybe we could be handicapped.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: We would think of ourselves as having three members. Or even five, really. But in fact, it would just be us. Conceptually, we’d be a cartel, and the law would view us as such.

 

Peter: Right. To sum up: Peter and Scampi go to Mexico on horseback armed with Napoleonic dueling pistols to start up a fruit-based, understaffed, conceptual cartel. Did I get that straight?

 

Scampi: You did! That was really great.

 

Peter: And when does this charming adventure commence?

 

Scampi: We ride at sunset.

 

pt 42: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

Peter: I have never wanted to go to Mexico.

 

Scampi: But Mexico City is beautiful. It’s full of colonial buildings that are sinking.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: It’s built on a lake, you know. The like, Aztecs sunk boats of dirt into it.

 

Peter: I didn’t know the Aztecs had boats.

 

Scampi: They were like, skiffs. As big as two cars.

 

Peter: Why would they do such a thing?

 

Scampi: They had a vision. Maybe, of a bird on a cactus.

 

Peter: But why would the Spanish choose to build their capital on a lake?

 

Scampi: Because they had a vision of Venus in bluejeans.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: They were like, Look at her, with that Botticelli face and those 501s hangin’ off her hips.

 

Peter: This is hardly credible. Firstly, I don’t believe Levi’s had been invented at that point.

 

Scampi: Says you.

 

Peter: They say the temperature’s on the rise.

 

Scampi: Oh yeah?

 

Peter: They say it’ll be plus seven by Friday.

 

Scampi: Ah. We must prepare ourselves for the neverending heartbreak of baseball season.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Baseball.

 

Peter: No, what kind of bird is that?

 

Scampi: It’s a hawk.

 

Peter: What’s it doing?

 

Scampi: Devouring that deeply lacerated pigeon.

 

Peter: Truly wondrous. Although I have sympathy for the pigeon as well.

 

Scampi: I know how you love your tetrachromats.

 

Peter: Yes. As I know how you hate inanity over brunch.

 

Scampi: Do you?

 

Peter: [DECLINES TO COMMENT.]

 

Scampi: Imagine if we wanted to play ball or hockey on this road.

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: That sign over there would prevent us.

 

Peter: Damn those municipal ordinances.

 

Scampi: [giggles.]

 

Peter (huffily): Well, that’s what they’re called.

 

Scampi: Yes, Peter.

 

Peter (scuffling up the stairs): But why do they call them ordinances, I wonder?

 

Scampi: Something about Latin people and orders.

 

Peter: Ah yes.

 

Scampi: Shall we have some tea?

 

Peter: That would be lovely.

 

Scampi: Wouldn’t it just.

 

Peter (skipping down the hallway): I am being carried about by a flock of angels.

 

Scampi: I have always known this about you.

 

Peter: Or perhaps a bevy of hawks, such as the one we saw today.

 

Scampi: Yes.

 

Peter: Although, as I mentioned previously, my sympathies also lie with the pigeon community.

 

Scampi (nodding sagely): This is no secret.

 

Peter: The angels are with me wherever I go.

 

Scampi: Hosanna in excelsis.

 

Peter: Hallelujah.

 

Scampi: Indeed.