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.

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pt 95: _______

Scampi: Good to see you.

Peter: I realise you like to keep a diary.

Scampi: I don’t.

Peter: Well, whatever you like to call it.

Scampi: What?

Peter: I did not realise this was such a sensitive subject for you.

Scampi: I have no idea what you’re on about.  But, what do you think?

Peter: Of inaccurate records?

Scampi: No: Eugene?

Peter: Who?

Scampi: Do you think Onegin really meant to kill Lensky?

Peter: I do not follow that sort of thing.

Scampi: That’s ridiculous.

PAUSE.

Scampi: He can’t really have wanted to.  But then why did he do it?

Peter: I do not know.

Scampi: Clearly.

Peter: Well, it’s nice to see you, too.

Scampi: We see each other all the time.  So what?

Peter: I feel that this is not the case, in fact.

Scampi: Stop bickering.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Some people [astronomers] felt that it was divine, being able to foretell the motions of the planets.  The heavens.

Peter: Divine?  You mean in the Middle Ages?

Scampi: L’Âge des ténèbres!

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: Maybe I’m talking about the Reformation.

Peter: Perhaps you are.

Scampi: After the days of darkness.  The days of light!

Peter: The Enlightenment?

Scampi: I’m not saying we have to dwell on history or anything.  Around here.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: I said it already.  I distinctly mentioned astronomy.

Peter: I didn’t hear you.

Scampi: Humph.  Do you know what a contrarian is?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: No you don’t.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: A contrarian is someone who buys stocks.

Peter: I believe the term for that individual would be “stockbroker”.

Scampi: Hilarious.  Someone who buys stocks when others are selling and sells when others are buying.

Peter: Where did you find this information?

Scampi: Why?  Are you jealous?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Well, there you have it.

Peter: That is not an answer.

Scampi: Not for King Herod, anyway.

Peter: Are you suggesting that I am a fop?

Scampi: No.  Impossible.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I just think it’s fun when we learn new words.

Peter: Education is important.

Scampi: And no one knows this better than you!  Har har.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I can’t go on.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: I said,

Peter: You look tired.

Scampi: Hardly.

Peter: Slightly.

Scampi: One brick on top of the other.  This is how you build a house.

Peter: I thought we discussed the finer points of architecture previous to this juncture.

Scampi: I thought there was no architecture previous to this juncture.

Peter: How so?

Scampi: What a delightful fresco!

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I’m being a lady in Italy.  Looking at the buildings.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: That’s right.  We could go to Italy.

Peter: It is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Scampi: What did you say?  I know what you said.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Well, let’s go!

Peter: Ah, there are a few complications, of course.

Scampi: We can work as deckhands, on a steamer.  We can work in a café, on the Arno.

Peter: The plausibility.

Scampi: Yes?

Peter: It seems a stretch.

PAUSE.

Peter: I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to upset you.

Scampi: Does it matter if you mean to?

Peter: It does, I believe.

Scampi: And then Tatyana was married.  She rebuffed his advances.

Peter: Is this another Russian literature reference?

Scampi: Time is moving, Peter.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: It’s like a river.  Even if we just sit there, it moves us along.

Peter: I suppose this depends on the river in question.

Scampi: It’s a deep one.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: That, too.