pt 139: KNIGHTS ERRANT

Scampi: “Lucullus, when frugality could charm,/ Had roasted turnips in the Sabine farm”.

Plutarch: What?

Scampi: Oh! Ploo-tark.

Peter: What’s this?

Scampi: I thought we were having a classical moment.

PAUSE.

Scampi: No?

Peter: I am very busy with my important work.

Scampi: Oh. Okay.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I would like some ice cubes.  Do you have any ice cubes?

Peter: Yes.  I have seventy.

Scampi: Very nice.  I will take five.

Peter: Did you just throw five ice cubes onto the floor?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I was juggling.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Like you juggle your busy schedule: home, work, family, community.  You are a modern woman.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: It’s all very vulgar of course.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Giving in to the modern life. Better to retire to your country home, your concubines and four-legged friends.

Peter: Perhaps you have mistaken me for someone else.

Scampi: Impossible! You are Pewter, Vice Undersecretary to the Minster of the Interior.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: You stand to make a fortune at the next Queen’s Plate with Secretariat, your namesake.

Peter: When did Secretariat win the Queen’s Plate?

Scampi: Well, he didn’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Anyway, it’s all very exhausting.

Peter: Galloping?

Scampi: Oh, everything.

PAUSE.

Peter: I am not a horse.

Scampi: I never said you were a horse.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Well, I didn’t. Of course, we all have our problems.

Peter: Are you having problems?

Scampi: No!

Peter: I am also not having any.

Scampi: We have so much in common.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Why don’t we take a walk through the gardens and look at the flutterbys?

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Danaus plexippus. The Monarch, no?

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Oh, look, azaleas and shit.

Peter: Yes. Pungent.

Scampi: You know what that is?

Peter: A butterfly.

Scampi: Is it a scarce swallowtail?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Of course not. Let’s just stroll through the King’s gardens, thinking of nothing.

Peter: Ah yes.  The King.

Scampi: And you.

Peter: And I.

Scampi: You know, Peter, I’ve been thinking.

Peter: Is that not against the drift of this exercise?

Scampi: We can all get some exercise of course. I’m not stopping anyone.

Peter: Naturally.

Scampi: Sometimes the plants are very lonely, the way they’re set up.  And sometimes all bunched together.  See?

Peter: Indeed. Horticulture.

Scampi: I’m not talking about a kitchen garden here. Rows of beans and such.

Peter: I never claimed that you were.

Scampi: Right. Sometimes my mind is a tangle of roses.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What are you going to do about that? I’d like to know.

Peter: I hadn’t planned on anything.

Scampi: I should think not.

PAUSE.

Scampi: A tangle of roses, I’m telling you. Peach trees.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Well, Peter. I certainly hope that you do.

pt 145: IT IS NO LONGER TRUE

Scampi: I imagine St. Augustine and Plutarch to have this very dry sort of conversation.

Peter: Did they meet?

Scampi: Well.

Peter: I don’t recall them meeting.

Scampi: Very funny.

Peter: I really –

Scampi: I, Claudius.

Peter: No but I really do not know what you are speaking about.

Scampi: I am speaking about the aridity of the convo between St. Augustine and Plutarch.

Peter: Which they did not have.

[PAUSE.]

Peter: Wait, am I Plutarch?

Scampi: Ha! Ha, har. Oh. Ho.

Peter: [offended] What?

Scampi: Thinks he’s Plutarch!

Peter: Should you require reminding, you have called me Plutarch before. Numerous times.

Scampi: Oh ho, numerous.

Peter: Well, more than once.

Scampi: Need I so needfully remind you, there’s a great difference between perhaps being called Plutarch (Ploo-tark) and self-identifying as Plutarch. Like a lunatic. Loon attic.

Peter: [RUFFLED.]

Scampi: Why is it?

Peter: What?

Scampi: People are just awful, sometimes. So [CURSING] horrid.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Censorship. It’s my new thing.

Peter: Since when?

Scampi: Since never. I no longer plan to practise it.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes well. I am only saying.

Peter: Ah yes. You and your ‘sayings’.

Scampi: Don’t take that tone with me. Har, har.

Peter: [SIGHS.]

Scampi: I have some things to say, you see.

Peter: So you claim.

Scampi: Can you imagine how terrible we are to each other?

Peter: Is this a pointed remark?

Scampi: Lucullus’ mother, you know, was notorious for her wild lifestyle.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yes.

[PAUSE.]

Scampi: We are all a touch wild, I suppose.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: A pack of insubordinate animals. How can one man trust another?

Peter: I trust my fellow-man.

Scampi: Oh, right.

Peter: I resent this antagonism.

Scampi: What antagonism?

Peter: You doubt the love I tender my brother?

Scampi: Oh yes, your estimable brother. Indeed.

Peter: There’s no need to hold humanity hostage to your mercurial moods.

Scampi: I blame the weather.

Peter: The weather, the Holy Roman Empire, the gender imbalance.

Scampi: Well yes. Have you understood me at last?

Peter: [EXASPERATED.]

Scampi: That’s exactly it, isn’t it?

Peter: Are you being facetious?

Scampi: No.

Peter: [suspicious] Oh.

Scampi: But it would be decent of people not to break each other’s hearts, sometimes.

Peter: Oh, this.

Scampi: This.

FOUR ALBATROSSES COAST BY, RIDING THE WIND LIKE A PACK OF NASCARS.

Scampi: Shall we walk?

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: You can see the moss already. Coming up green.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: The chanterelles, the tubers.

Peter: Sshh. The woods.

Scampi: I know. There’s nothing wrong with aspiration, of course. Except in the areas of a) food intake; and b) height.

Peter: What? Height?

Scampi: No man is taller than a man.

Peter: I feel like that is one of those things that you say that does not mean anything.

Scampi: Well then, o ye of ickle faith. Parse it.

Peter: A truism?

Scampi: It wouldn’t kill you to think and feel at the same time, you know. In fact –

Peter: Facts!

Scampi: Don’t bark at me. Maybe you should brush up on your nautical terms instead of howling at the moon like this.

Peter: I am ‘up’ on my nautical terms, thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome.

[PAUSE.]

Scampi: Tender: Nautical (of a ship) leaning or readily inclined to roll in response to the wind.

Peter: Certainly, certainly.

Scampi: Tender that to your brother.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: The wind is blowing.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: It will be a long night, I fear.

Peter: YAWNS.

Scampi: And the fog is rolling in.