pt 142: LOONS

Scampi: What saint looks after lovers?

Peter: Ah yes, the lives of the saints.

Scampi: There’s no need to be such a sourpuss.

Peter: This again.

Scampi: Says you. You know, we used to have two moons?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: One for each of us. ‘Cause we didn’t want to share.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: Nothing. Jupiter’s got lots.

Peter: Of moons? Certainly.

Scampi: No, for parking in.

PAUSE.

Scampi: [hums] Tell me old shipmates I’m takin’ a trip, mates.

Peter: How folksy.

Scampi: I am a volksmensch, after all. Imagine looking up at the sky and seeing two moons.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Of course, this isn’t very interesting for you. You probably look up at the sky and see two moons all the time. After a sufficient quantity of wine.

Peter: Indeed, this is not the case.

Scampi: Ooh, indeed. Tra-la-la.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I mean, maybe it wouldn’t make any difference. What do I know?

Peter: You seem to know a great deal about making noise.

Scampi: You would say that. That’s a precise example of something you would say.

Peter: I did say it.

Scampi: Typical.

Peter: No doubt you will now treat me to a delightful series of infantile musings – “Peter, pray tell me why is the sky blue? How deep is the ocean?”

Scampi: First of all – oh wait, and secondly, I bet you have no idea how deep the ocean is. And firstly, the sky is not blue.

Peter: Thank you for sharing this fresh take on chronology with me.

Scampi: That’s right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You’ve never really shown a huge interest in sharks. Would you say that’s fair comment?

Peter: I am not certain what this sort of judgment is intended to procure.

Scampi: Procure? What are you, a drygoods store?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Yes, I’d like a bolt of blue poplin and a pound of flour, please.

Peter: I am not a drygoods store.

Scampi: You know, most people don’t have the occasion to make such protestations.

Peter: I agree.

Scampi: It’s a little suspicious, don’t you think? That you feel the need to deny being a drygoods store?

Peter: Be that as it may, I am still most emphatically not a drygoods store.

Scampi: Well, whatever makes you feel comfortable. If you’d rather be thought of as a greengrocer, or what have you, I’m perfectly prepared to accommodate your manly whims.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Maybe it wouldn’t be that different. Two moons. Herds of brontosaurs chomping at will.

Peter: What connection does the apatosaurus have with the extra moon you’ve been bewailing all afternoon?

Scampi: Aftermoon. That’s what they should call this era.

Peter: You are a little geologist.

Scampi: That I am. I am imagining if the world was slightly different. Only slightly.

Peter: With two moons and one herd of thundering herbivorous lizards?

Scampi: Well, sure. Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference.

Peter: The tides might be different.

Scampi: But not the tides of our LIVES.

Peter: Good lord.

Scampi: You wake up one morning, right? Two moons are just fading from the white sky. Your wife is not in bed next to you because she is gone. She’s gone off to Kentucky to sit and strum the mandolin under the blue moons with some guy who isn’t you.

Peter: This is quite the tale.

Scampi: What’s a brontosaur here or there compared to your broken heart? That’s what I’d like to know.

Peter: My heart is not broken.

Scampi: What?

Peter: [abashed] My heart is not broken.

Scampi: Peter.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Don’t fib.

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pt 126: WE CAN’T ALL COME FROM SOMEWHERE

Scampi: Blah blah. Blah blah.

MUSICAL INTERLUDE.

Scampi: And so it goes.

Peter: Am I included in this?

Scampi: Peripherally, I suppose.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: But not really.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: If you’re going to sit on the tracks, you must sit next to them.

Peter: This does not parse.

Scampi: If you wish to sit down, amidst the urban landscape, you can’t get in the way of the train.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: It isn’t the point. It will cause you to miss the point.

Peter: I wouldn’t want to do that.

Scampi: Well, no.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you think of yourself as a scientist?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I don’t think of you as being a scientist.

Peter: Then we are agreed.

Scampi: If that’s how you want to see it.

Peter: Are we not agreed?

Scampi: Be it resolved.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Sometimes, you know, people put those spiky things on buildings. So the pigeons can’t sit on them.

Peter: This is true.

Scampi: Doesn’t that bother you?

Peter: No.

Scampi: No?

Peter: I must confess, it does not.

Scampi: Just wait ‘til I put spiky things on your desk chair. Then we’ll see what bothers you.

Peter: There is no need to be so threatening.

Scampi: Where you see no need, I see need everywhere.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: We are different creatures, you and I.

Peter: We are not a different species, however.

Scampi: How can you be so sure?

Peter: It is a fact.

Scampi: You and your facts. Facts have never stood up to anything.

Peter: What have you got against facts?

Scampi: What did Senator McCarthy have against facts?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Nothing at all. He just rolled on over, like a monster truck.

Peter: And you wish to take McCarthy’s attitude towards truth?

Scampi: I wish to inform you.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Facts are very nice in your little basement apartment.

Peter: I don’t have a basement apartment.

Scampi: In your little hibernation cave. But they won’t save you, in the end.

Peter: Do I require saving?

Scampi: That’s all I’m saying about that.

Peter: Very helpful.

Scampi: I am helpful. Not that you care.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You can see your breath.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: This is a sign.

Peter: Of respiration?

Scampi: Basically.

pt 119: TOUGH

Scampi: Look at the sky!  What a grisly fog.

Peter: The sky is grey.

Scampi: Grizzled.  In sable silvered.

Peter: It is to be expected.

Scampi: Oh yeah.

PETER COORDINATES A SERIES OF PRIVATE MOMENTS WITH HIMSELF.

Scampi: What are you doing?

Peter: Reading.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I had the strangest dreams.

Peter: And you are ascribing this occurrence to the barometric pressure?

Scampi: Of course I ain’t!  My comments on the grazing fog are separate from my comments on the strange dreams.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Grazing fog.

Peter: Yes, grazing fog.

Scampi (expectantly): Yes!

Peter: Why are you looking at me like that?

Scampi: Nothing.  Grazing.

Peter: You keep repeating this word.

Scampi: I know!  It doesn’t make any sense.

Peter: Agreed.

Scampi: Like smouldering chunks of the petrified forest.

Peter: Yes.  That is also nonsense.

Scampi: I dreamed I met a Galilean.

Peter: Pilate?

Scampi: Peter?

PAUSE.

Scampi: No, but really.  How can there be a cherry that’s got no stone?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, seed, if you prefer.

Peter: I have no preference.

Scampi: Quel surprise.  In my opinion, a cherry when it’s blooming is not a cherry.

Peter: A cherry tree?

Scampi: A cherry flower.  The blossom on the tree.  Is that a cherry to you?

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: In the sense of a cherry.  That you put in your mouth.

Peter: I would not put a cherry blossom in my mouth.

Scampi: Well, no.  Although perhaps you should.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I can see it now!  Peter with a mouthful of cherry blossoms.

Peter: Distasteful.

Scampi: Likely bitter.  Let’s go try it out.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Let’s fill up your mouth with cherry blossoms and see what happens.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome!  Let’s do it.

Peter: I regretfully decline.

Scampi: You liar.  Regretfully nothing.

Peter: I dislike it when you accuse me of lying.

Scampi: I dislike it when you lie about your declinations.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Declensions!  Anyway, a flower is not a fruit.  I think we can agree on that.

Peter: What makes a fruit a fruit?

Scampi: It’s about the seeds and the juiciness and things.  In biology.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: The seeds.  I mean, versus a berry.

Peter (suspiciously): Ah.

Scampi: If love was really a book, or a tale or whatever, then presumably it would end.

Peter: Unless it was the neverending story.

Scampi: The Neverending Story.  Which ended, of course.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Milk and eggs, jam and bread.

Peter: A fine shopping list.

Scampi: Shopping list!

Peter: List of ingredients?

Scampi: Could be, could be.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you like amber?

Peter: Who?

Scampi: The, uh, the thing.

Peter: The substance?

Scampi: Oh, the substance.  Hoity toity.  Yes.

Peter: What do you mean, do I like it?

Scampi: That’s what I mean.  Do you?

Peter: I hold nothing against it.

Scampi: Not even your own skin?  A palm full of amber beads?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: What is it made of?  Do you know?

Peter: Amber is made from.

Scampi: Yes?

Peter: It is a, ahem.

Scampi: Do you know what it is, or don’t you?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: Resin.

Scampi: I knew that.

Peter: [intake of atmosphere]

Scampi: I was just wondering.

Peter: Amber can contain plant and animal detritus.

Scampi: Detritus?  You mean corpses.

SCAMPI SHUDDERS.

Peter: Amber is a yellowish translucent fossilised resin deriving from extinct trees.

Scampi: Especially coniferous.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Showoff.

Peter: If you do not wish to hear an answer, please refrain from asking questions.

Scampi: Hey, chill out, bro.

Peter: I am not your brother.

Scampi: Of course you are, Peter.  We are all brothers.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: We all harden up like resin, I suppose.

PAUSE.

Peter: Are you suggesting that we contain fossilised insect life?

Scampi: Perhaps.  It’s all very mysterious, really.

Peter: Unnecessarily so.  We are not discussing an opaque material.

Scampi: Aren’t we?

Peter: Perhaps I have lost the train of thought.

Scampi: Probably ‘cause it left the platform an hour ago.  Oklahoma-bound!

PAUSE.

Scampi: I take that back.  Oklahoma makes me sad.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Indian Territory.  That’s what they called it, you know.

Peter: This is no longer what they call it.

Scampi: No.  But the germ of tragedy remains.

Peter: As in seed?

Scampi: Or stone.

Peter: Or resin-bound arthropod?

Scampi: Something hard, anyway.

pt 83: PINFEATHERS

Scampi: Calm down, Peter.

 

Peter: Insufferable.

 

Scampi: There you go again.

 

Peter: Go?  Me?

 

Scampi: Ha!  Caught in the act!

 

Peter: [registers disdain]

 

Scampi: Grouchiness incarnate.  Stop the presses, baby!  We’ve got a new front page!

 

Peter: Nonsense.

 

Scampi: Correct.  Non-sense.  I am taking the nonsensical approach to mood resurrection therapy.

 

Peter: Stop talking.

 

Scampi: Never!

 

Peter: [grimaces]

 

Scampi: The look on your face.  Stupendous.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: So anyway.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I am watching conifers gesticulate in the sunshine.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: What do you think about that?

 

Peter: Pompadours?  What?

 

Scampi: They are not deciduous.

 

Peter: What are you talking about?

 

Scampi: It was a hint.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: The fauna.  Is it breaking your heart?

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: The wildlife.  The creatures.

 

Peter: Comprehension level currently ranking at zero.

 

Scampi: Lost in the woods.  Your fellow creatures breaking your heart.

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: In two.

 

Peter: Is this educational?

 

Scampi: Yes.  Science is the way of the future.  We study the natural world.  We learn to survive.  Et cetera.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: The study of owls, the study of brokenness.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: You see what I’m driving at here, naturally.

 

Peter: [acidly]  Oh, naturally.

 

Scampi: Right.  Can we stop for lunch?

 

Peter: Stop what?

 

Scampi: Whatever it is we’re doing.

 

PETER SPUTTERS.

 

Scampi: I’ll take that as a yes.  Tunafish?

 

Peter: Thank you.

 

Scampi: You’re welcome.

 

Peter: Where did you say we were?

 

Scampi: That’s really not the question.

 

Peter: Oh.

 

Scampi: [grandly]  Yes.

 

Peter: What is the question?  If I may ask.

 

Scampi: Hahahahahha.  Ho.

 

Peter: I wasn’t joking.

 

Scampi: I know.

pt 100: ALBION CLIMES

Scampi: What’s between the water and the air?

Peter: Club soda?

Scampi: Was that a joke?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I don’t know what you have to be so cheerful about these days.  Jesus H.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You might think we’re between the water and the air, but we aren’t.

Peter: Duly noted.

Scampi: You’re not even listening to me.

Peter: My apologies.  Please, continue this nonsensical babble.

Scampi: Feh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Now, take chalk.  Are you with me?

Peter: Chalk.

Scampi: Yes!  Calcium.

Peter: [stage whispering] Is that a secret?

Scampi: What?

Peter: Why are you speaking of calcium in this manner?

Scampi: We’re talking about chalk.

Peter: Ahem.  Calcium carbonate.

Scampi: I was getting to that.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Right.  You know when you can see the air do that shimmering thing, because of the heat?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Well, what do you think of that?

Peter: I believe it would qualify as cliché, if it appeared in print.

Scampi: Print?  What are you talking about?

Peter: Literary mores.

Scampi: What do you know about it?  Anyway, I was talking about the weather.

Peter: Please, do not let me impede your progress.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Continue.

Scampi: When it’s so hot that the air doesn’t move, right?  What do you think about that?

Peter: That sounds very warm.

Scampi: Of course it’s warm.  Peter.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Is that all?

Peter: I am unsure as to what is being demanded at the present moment.

Scampi: What do you think of doves?

Peter: I approve of them.

Scampi: Without reservation?

Peter: [serious thought]  Yes.

Scampi: Okay.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know the way if you mix pigment you get like, black or brown, but if you mix light you don’t?

Peter: That is one way of putting it.

Scampi: The cliffs of Dover are made of chalk.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Not like us.

Peter: It is true that we are not composed of chalk.

Scampi: Are you sure?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: [craftily] Well, then, what are we composed of?

Peter: Matter.

Scampi: A coward’s explanation.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: What do you think about planets?

Peter: They are spherical in nature.

Scampi: [knowingly] They aren’t the only ones.

Peter: What are you suggesting?

Scampi: It’s very clear.  Like the view from the cliffs.

Peter: Have you visited in Dover?

Scampi: What does that have to do with anything?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I’ve been all around this world, mister.  Like the moons of Jupiter.

Peter: I am not sure I grasp the analogy.

Scampi: Ha.  Quel surprise.

PAUSE.

Scampi: [conciliatory]  You have an affinity for the natural sciences, of course.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Don’t deny it, Peter.

Peter: Well, we must begin by,

Scampi: Begin – nothing.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I’m sure your trundled carapace hides the heart of an astronomer.  A seasick lordling, teetering amidships.

Peter: I am confused.

Scampi: In what sense?

Peter: Temporally.

Scampi: Right: Reformation, Renaissance.  Wars, Second World; Napoleonic.  See?

Peter: Are you obliquely referring to England in an attempt to make me feel more comfortable?

Scampi: Yes.

SCAMPI WHISTLES LIKE A BLUEBIRD.

Scampi: How are you today?

Peter: I am well.

Scampi: Great.

Peter: Thank you.  And you?

Scampi: Oh yes.  Yeah, bigtime.

Peter: Wonderful.

Scampi: The thing is, if you don’t know what medium you’re working with, you can’t know if it will turn out brown or not.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I have been mixing all the colours at my disposal for quite some time now.

Peter: Well, good for you.

Scampi: But I don’t know if I’m building a blanched sheet of prismic perfection, or a mud puddle.

Peter: A quandary, to be sure.

Scampi: Are you paying attention to me?

Peter: It certainly appears that way.

Scampi: Humph.

Peter: With all due respect.

Scampi: (Oh, this’ll be good.)

Peter: You do seem to have a fondness for mud puddles.

Scampi: So what?

Peter: A simple observation.

Scampi: You and your observations.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Such a scientist.

Peter: There is nothing wrong with science.

Scampi: There is nothing wrong with anything.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Until the perfect view is destroyed by one’s presence in it.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you know what I’m saying to you?

Peter: I believe I do.

pt 117: O YE DAUGHTERS

Scampi: I have come to these several conclusions.

Peter: It is rather early.

Scampi: No, it isn’t.  Or do you mean premature?

Peter: It is eight o’clock in the morning.

Scampi: No, it isn’t.

Peter: Currently.  Yes it is.

Scampi: Peter, that isn’t true.

PETER CONSULTS A TIMEPIECE.

Peter: Ah.  Well perhaps it is noon.

Scampi: Or nightfall.  In any event, the conclusions are the same.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Inconclusive.  That’s what they are.

Peter: That certainly clears things up.

Scampi: Yes.  My heart is full.

Peter: Of what?

Scampi: Shiny treasures.

Peter (eagerly): Treasures?

Scampi: Well, no.  An assortment of items, really.

Peter: Ah.  Items.

Scampi: Have you ever inadvertently put a solid object in the laundry with your clothes?

Peter: My clothes are solid objects.

Scampi: No, no.  You know what I mean: something that makes a thunking noise.

Peter: I know what a thunking noise is.

Scampi: How ridiculous.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, that’s the noise I’m thinking of.

Peter: Good for you.

Scampi: This remains to be seen.  Can you tell me why you’re such an assiduous ignorer of history?

Peter: I did not come here to be insulted.

Scampi: Come here?  Nobody came here.  I was just wondering.

Peter: I do not ignore history.

Scampi: Of course not!  You just don’t pay any attention to it.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Nothing wrong with that.

Peter: Could we please change the topic of discussion?

Scampi: Naturally.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You first.

Peter: I have been observing my fingernails.

Scampi: You might do better to clean them.

Peter: I am currently in the observational phase.  These data may  be used for practical purposes at a later date.

Scampi: How scientific.

Peter: Indeed.

SCAMPI DRIFTS.

Peter: Were you sleeping just now?

Scampi: Perhaps.

pt 79: SUCH AND SO FINELY BOLTED DIDST THOU SEEM

Scampi: I fell asleep.

Peter: I shall inform the relevant newsmedia.

Scampi: Piss off.

Peter: PARDON?

Scampi: It’s an expression.

Peter: A distasteful one.

Scampi: A delectable linguisto-fest, in fact.

Peter: That’s.  I.

Scampi: Ding!  Peter-eter, down for the count!

Peter: There is no need to howl so.

Scampi: I shan’t howl then.

Peter: Why are you speaking this way?

Scampi: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Peter: “Shan’t.”

Scampi: Hee haw.  You sound like the emir in Tintin.

PETER LETS HIS RACQUET FALL.

Scampi: Can I offer you a beverage?

Peter: It appears that you have.

Scampi: Harumph.  Coffee?

Peter: I acquiesce.

Scampi: You’re terribly good at that.

PETER’S FACE IS A BLANK SHEET OF SPRING RAIN.

Scampi: Well, moving right along.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What would you say if I said my heart was broken?

Peter: I suspect you wouldn’t say that.

Scampi: That’s what you’d say?

Peter: No.  I.

Scampi: What would you say?

Peter: I would.  Express my sympathies, I suppose.

Scampi: Yeah, right.  I doubt it.

Peter: Well.  I’m glad I was able to assist you with your query.

Scampi: Thanks a lot.  Why didn’t you just direct me to the reference desk?

Peter: Because I am not a library.

Scampi: I’ll say.  You don’t even have a photocopying machine.

Peter: I do not.  You are correct.

Scampi: And if you did, it would be cleft in twain.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Like my heart.

Peter: Ah yes.  Your heart.

Scampi: Ug.  Don’t say it like that.

Peter: Like what?  I have often been complimented on my excellent, above-average elocution.

Scampi: [snorts] Yeah huh.  We are referring to my fiery engine red construction paper heart here.  Not a lab experiment featuring amphibians.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: If only this were the case.

Peter: There’s nothing wrong with my vision.

Scampi: (That a little corrective eyewear can’t fix.)

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: Corrective.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I have fallen asleep at a barbecue once.  Did you know that?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Well, I didn’t really.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: But I could have.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: See?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’m just saying, I almost fell asleep at a barbecue once.  Or twice.

Peter: Well, good for you.

Scampi: I can get very sleepy.  That’s all.

Peter: We have been tired.  We are a tiresome race.

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: I said—

Scampi: I know what you said.

Peter: Well then.

Scampi: You want some cake or something?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: So?

Peter: I don’t want any cake.

Scampi: Fine.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: You are terribly welcome.

Peter: How kind.

Scampi: Most certainly.  With utmost amounts of certitude.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: With unscientific amounts of certitude.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: With a blind, mad degree of certainty that contradicts the whole spirit of the scientific method.  With—

Peter: I think that’s quite enough.

Scampi: Enough what?

Peter: Chatter.

Scampi: Ho ho.  You would.

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Kids used to like to lick on candy, down to a seed in their palms.  You know what I’m talking about?

Peter: Roughly.

Scampi: Do they still do that, kids?

Peter: Why not?

Scampi: Well, why not?  Why not not?

Peter: Please.

Scampi: What manners!

PETER INSPECTS HIS UNCOMPLEX HANDS.

Scampi: Ho ho.

Peter: Wait a moment.  What are you saying about my hands?

Scampi: Me?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Me?  I didn’t say anything.

Peter: I suspect—

Scampi: Oh, that’s a change.

Peter: This coffee is.  Delicious.

Scampi: You’re kind of slow today.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: That’s okay.  I am broken.

Peter: Ah yes.  Your cardboard heart.

Scampi: Construction paper.

Peter: Inflammable, at any rate.

Scampi: We are.

pt 116: AUTUMN LEAVES

Scampi: I have a few things to tell you.

Peter: I’m busy.

Scampi: Well, I have a few things to tell you anyway.

Peter: Is that the case?

Scampi: Yes.  Feeling defensive?

Peter: Is this one of the things you had to tell me?

Scampi: No.  It was a question.

Peter: I can sense a headache approaching.

Scampi: Well, change seats.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: If you can’t see the show, you know.  Switch seats.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Anyway, there are some Spanish expressions involving mules.  Did you know that?

Peter: I confess that it does not surprise me.

Scampi: Well ceded.

Peter: I ceded nothing.

Scampi: For a change.  Do you know what the expressions are?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: One is ‘burro de Caleta’.  You know what that means?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: It means you’re drunk all the time.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: The expression.  It’s about a beer-fed mule.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Obviously, if you were a mule who hung around drinking beer all day, you’d be drunk.

Peter: Obviously.

Scampi: I like to think we’re making progress here.

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: I don’t know.  I don’t think it’s true, in any event.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I’m just sampling, you know.  From an array of available platitudes.

Peter: I heartily approve of this program.

Scampi: Oh, good.

Peter: I did not say that.

Scampi: Yes, you did.

Peter: In no way, shape, or form did I make that statement.

Scampi: Oh, right.  Who said it then?

Peter: No one said it.

Scampi: If no one said it, then what are we talking about?

Peter: That is illogical.

Scampi: I’m sure you’d like to think so.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Let’s put down blankets and bivouac here.

Peter: Right here?

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: That’s right.  We can watch the stars rattle.

Peter: Stars do not rattle.  Rattling is not a property of gaseous entities.

Scampi: Ha!  You should look in the mirror.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.  I want to lie down.

Peter: Very well.

Scampi: We’re in Georgia.  Did you know?

Peter: We are?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Which Georgia?

Scampi: The one that’s on our way.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We’re here for the peaches.  We’re here to sleep.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Your hair grows faster while you’re sleeping.

Peter: Incorrect.

Scampi: Pah.  You’d like to think so.

Peter: You are taking a very cavalier attitude toward scientific facts today.

Scampi: That’s right.  Scientific facts are welcome to hop on for a canter.  We cavaliers like to see the world!

Peter: Go to bed.

Scampi: What are you talking about?

Peter: I hope you’re not waiting for me to fall asleep.

Scampi: I don’t care if you do or if you don’t.

Peter: Fine.  I intend to remain lucid a while longer.

Scampi: Lucid!  You wish.

Peter: You are tired.  Sleep.

Scampi: You’re tired, yourself.

Peter: I am.

Scampi: And cold.  Have a sweater?

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: It’s wool.  It will keep you warm.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: No problem.

Peter: Good night, Scampi.

Scampi: Good night, Peter.

pt 77: POPULAR MECHANICS & LA CHALEUR HUMAINE

Scampi: Speaking of equations.

 

Peter: Were we?

 

Scampi: No. Yes.

 

PETER CLEARS HIS THROAT.

 

Scampi: Well, that’s nothing new.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: It’s all you do these days. Clearing your throat.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi [derisive snorting]: On the ex wye axes.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Blah blah. Et cetera.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Do you want to take a nap?

 

Peter: Not at all. I want to fill my lungs with air.

 

Scampi: Good luck with that.

 

Peter: Thank you.

 

Scampi: There are several things to be said on each point.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: I can barely keep my eyes open.

 

Peter: I find that enjoying the outdoors can help.

 

Scampi: What do you know about it?

 

Peter: The outdoors?

 

Scampi: Or anything.

 

Peter: I know a few things about grade eight level mathematics.

 

Scampi: Buzz buzz.

 

Peter: Are you an insect?

 

Scampi: Would it matter?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: I think so. It would matter.

 

Peter: Uh. Are you crying?

 

Scampi: What the hell is wrong with you, Peter?

 

Peter: From an evolutionary perspective?

 

Scampi: Asking these insane questions.

 

Peter: [chuckles.]

 

Scampi: What are you laughing at?

 

PETER SIGHS.

 

Peter: In fact, I do not know.

 

Scampi: Usually.

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: You’re a bit on the perky side today.

 

Peter: Oh no. Not I.

 

Scampi: Fiddlesticks.

 

PETER GLOATS OVER HIS OWN HIGH SPIRITS.

 

Scampi: Pow.

 

Peter: What was that?

 

Scampi: Sharpshooting.

 

Peter: Are you still on about Annie Oakley?

 

Scampi: No. These are sixshooters.

 

Peter: What are?

 

Scampi: See these paws?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Pow pow pow pow.

 

Peter: What are you doing?

 

Scampi: I’m blasting all your posters off the walls. Yeehaw!

 

Peter: Must you?

 

Scampi: Bang-a-lang.

 

Peter: This is very childish behaviour.

 

Scampi: You are.

 

Peter: There you go again.

 

Scampi: I sure do. Smouldering goats! I’m on a RAM-PAGE.

 

Peter: Heavens.

 

Scampi: God, I’m tired.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: And don’t touch my forehead.

 

Peter: I was doing no such thing.

 

Scampi: I know.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Tangent.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

 

PAUSE.

 

SCAMPI SIGHS.

 

Scampi: The possibilities bloom like roses.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: Do you?

 

Peter: Well, no.

 

Scampi: The fixed points; the abstractions. Ex here, wye there.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: It all seems fairly straightforward.

 

Peter: Okay.

 

Scampi: We have the capacity, as humans.

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: And yet.

 

Peter: And yet.

 

pt 17: CANYONS

Scampi: Today I would like to speak about Natural History.

 

Peter: I can hardly contain my anticipation.

 

Scampi: Natural History is all about birds, fish, the tips of trees that you cannot see because you are on the ground, and the human heart, that maudlin manic fist.

 

Peter: It does not take a top-notch prepschool education to disprove such nonsense.

 

Scampi: Peter, why don’t you open up your ribcage and breathe in some possibilities? You are behaving like a sucking chest wound.

 

Peter: I often have difficulty with the imagery you employ.

 

Scampi: We are all eminently employable, at heart.

 

Peter: Can I mention something about science fiction classics here?

 

Scampi (graciously): Yes. Now, on to brighter climes. Existence, like being a waitress, is a dance. It is a waltz, it is a foxtrot. It is a moshpit, and a bathroom overdose on the side, and it is a prayer, a softshoe jazz routine and a humble request to not fall over, please. It is a pickup truck, for god’s sake. It’s all a dance. Give me your hand.

 

Peter: You may look at it, but you can’t keep it.

 

Scampi: Peter’s fingers are surprisingly slender. I have known men with longer, thinner fingers than this, but those fingers were attached to longer, thinner men.

 

Peter: Are you insinuating something about my appearance?

 

Scampi: I insinuate nothing. I am toxic with infatuation.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: From the solar system right on down to the paint scraper in my pocket, I am idiotically infatuated with this world. You have no idea. It even hurts. It hurts like your stomach hurts when you’re laughing so hard you can’t breathe, but you still can’t stop. That’s how I feel about this world.

 

Peter: Hurt?

 

Scampi: Don’t mind if I do.