pt 66: SKILSAW, BIRDSONG

Scampi: The days are growing longer now, Peter.

Peter: Indeed they are.

Scampi: I’ve noticed this isn’t doing much for you.

Peter: What’s that supposed to mean?

Scampi: Well, the light, you know, the longer-lit days. It isn’t doing much for your outlook.

Peter: Why should it?

Scampi: Why shouldn’t it?

Peter: I refuse to engage in this childish match of table tennis.

Scampi: You would.

Peter: There’s a hole in my trousers.

Scampi: It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Peter: It has.

Scampi: That looks mendable. No fear, Peter: help is on the way.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Sure. What’s that high, buzzing noise?

Peter: What?

Scampi: Can’t you hear it?

Peter: No. I cannot.

Scampi: You can’t hear that?

Peter: I told you so.

Scampi: Well, I can. It’s very frustrating.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Ugh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Ah, there. It’s stopped.

Peter: Congratulations.

Scampi: How come I could hear it and you couldn’t?

Peter: Perhaps this has to do with our temporal locations.

Scampi: Huh?

Peter: I’m suggesting.

Scampi: Because I’m ten hours and fifteen minutes away from you, you mean?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I don’t see why that has to get in the way.

Peter: [SIGHS.] Okay.

Scampi: Do you see what I see?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: A star, a star!

Peter: I don’t see it.

Scampi: Shining in the night, with a tail as big as a kite!

Peter: Oh god.

Scampi: Precisely. Bam BA bam BA, da da da da DA, da da DA bam BA bam bam BA!

Peter: Aahh.

Scampi: [humming happily] Do you know what I know?

Peter: I can’t even imagine.

Scampi: Oh, Peter. What a burden.

Peter: [tightly] I assure you, I am in perfect spirits.

Scampi: Perfection without imagination? Where’s the spirit there?

Peter: You misconstrue.

Scampi: I do. You misrepresent.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: I like the song, but I don’t like the volume.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: That’s right. The noise of the music is cluttering the music itself.

Peter: What music?

Scampi: The music in my ear.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: You see?

Peter: I really don’t know what I’m supposed to say to that.

Scampi: I’m sure you’ll think of something. Eventually.

Peter: I am so tired.

Scampi: I know you are, Peter. I’m tired, too.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: We could have some coffee.

Peter: Maybe later.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: I have always loved the view from this window.

Scampi: The light is clear.

Peter: Clearly what?

Scampi: See-through. You can see all the way down to the water.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Feel free to sit a while.

Peter: Thank you. I shall.

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pt 55: JAYBIRDS

Scampi: Hello?

Peter: Are you awake?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: You are?

Scampi: Basically.

Peter: There are two enormous bluejays on my balcony.

Scampi: Oh yes.

Peter: They are the size of seagulls.

Scampi: Very nice.

Peter: They are very large.

Scampi: Do you think they might be us?

Peter: I’m referring to the feathered creatures.  Not the baseball team we play on.

Scampi: You’re funny.

Peter: You should see them.

Scampi: I can’t see them.

Peter: Well, maybe they’ll come back.

pt 92: THE CRANES ARE DIGGING

Scampi: [STRETCHES EXPANSIVELY]

Peter: Hey now.

Scampi: What?

Peter: You might do well to manage your limbs a little more comprehensively.

Scampi: Yes, yes.

Peter: What time is it?

Scampi: I don’t see what that has to do with anything.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Do you feel a chill?

Peter: A chill?

Scampi: That’s what I said.  In the air.

Peter: Hm.  Not really.

Scampi: Not really?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’m going to make some coffee.

Peter: Are you chilly?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I’m fine.

Peter: I am going to take a walk.

Scampi: You are?

Peter: I am.

Scampi: Right now?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: There’s no need to sound so – put-upon.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Like it’s such a big hassle for you.  Talking to me.

Peter: Well, if you’re going to say things like that.

Scampi: I wouldn’t say things like that if you didn’t go around sounding so put-upon.

Peter: I am unfamiliar with this expression.

Scampi: Lies!

Peter: I am going to step outside.

Scampi: We are outside.

Peter: We are not.

Scampi: We are!

Peter: This argument is tedious.

Scampi: How could you?

Peter: I shall absent myself.

Scampi: Stop saying that.

PETER STEPS OUTSIDE.

Scampi: We ARE outside!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Oh me.

Peter: Is something the matter?

Scampi: I thought you left.

Peter: Momentarily, perhaps.

Scampi: Why would you do that?

Peter: I think you take certain things too seriously.

Scampi: Not true.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: Really?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I am slightly excitable.

Peter: Rather.

Scampi: Today.

Peter: What’s up?

Scampi: Don’t patsy me.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I can see what you’re doing.  Trying to coddle me with the vernacular.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are you laughing at me?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I get the feeling it’s autumn.  Do you know what I mean?

Peter: It is not.

Scampi: I know.

pt 73: LUSTRE, BALUSTRADE

Scampi: Whew! Hahh!

 

Peter: You seem to be out of breath.

 

Scampi: Not completely.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Pretty damn close, though.

 

Peter: Excuse me? Do you want a coffee of your own?

 

Scampi: No, no. That sip’ll do me.

 

Peter: (DISAPPROVES.)

 

Scampi: Remember Mr. Bannister?

 

Peter: Who?

 

Scampi: Bannister comma Mr.

 

Peter: Was he your childhood etiquette teacher?

 

Scampi: No.

 

Peter: If so, I wouldn’t mind having a word or two with him.

 

Scampi: Come on.

 

Peter: Nope.

 

Scampi: How about, Sir. Roger. (Gilbert.) Bannister. No?

 

Peter: Dramatic pauses notwithstanding, I have no idea what you’re on about.

 

Scampi: Way to stay abreast of current events, Peter. He ran the four minute mile, of course.

 

Peter: Current events? In what year did this happen?

 

Scampi: Nineteen fifty four.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: You probably don’t even know what year it is right now. Who could blame you?

 

Peter: Certainly not you.

 

Scampi: Absolutely.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: The four-minute-mile, eh? Pretty impressive stuff.

 

Peter: I suppose there is a body of documentation on this.

 

Scampi: You suppose!

 

Peter: I do.

 

Scampi: Sure there is. Famous.

 

Peter: Fame is fleeting, we are told.

 

Scampi: And the fleet are famous.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi: When they are fleet enough.

 

Peter: Fleetingly famous, anyhow.

 

Scampi: Flight-footed. What a guy.

 

Peter: Can I help you today?

 

Scampi: What do you mean?

 

Peter: Perhaps you’d rather be chatting with Sir Bannister.

 

Scampi: Indeed!

 

PETER SULKS.

 

Scampi: This is not be, however.

 

Peter: I do not sulk.

 

Scampi: (Peter doth protest too much!)

 

Peter: I heard that.

 

Scampi: Sure you did.

 

Peter: I did.

 

Scampi: I am sure of it. Moving along, you look a little shaky.

 

Peter: I do?

 

Scampi: You do. Are you quite well?

 

Peter: I am in perfect health. Of course.

 

Scampi: Of course.

 

Peter: Perhaps I am slightly.

 

Scampi: Yes?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Slightly what?

 

Peter: In fact, I am in perfect health. I cannot complain.

 

Scampi: A laughable falsehood.

 

Peter: What’s this?

 

Scampi: You cannot complain. You were saying.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: You seem lonely.

 

Peter: (scoffs.)

 

Scampi: Your hair seems lonely.

 

Peter: What are you suggesting? That I’m falling victim to male pattern baldness?

 

Scampi: No. Would you like a sucker?

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: Hard candy, you know. On a stick.

 

Peter: No, no.

 

Scampi: Hold on. I’ve got, uh, raspberry and butterscotch. Hey?

 

Peter: I couldn’t possibly.

 

Scampi: Go on.

 

PETER SELECTS THE BUTTERSCOTCH.

 

Scampi: How’s that?

 

Peter: Mrgh. Hh.

 

Scampi: They kind of stick to the back of your teeth though.

 

Peter: Mm.

 

Scampi: Have you ever read the Bible?

 

Peter: (choking sounds.)

 

Scampi: You know, you’re supposed to hold on to the stick part. Not swallow it.

 

Peter: Yes. I realise.

 

Scampi: So, have you?

 

Peter: A few relevant passages.

 

Scampi: There’s a great deal of adventure in there, isn’t there?

 

Peter: This depends on what you consider to be adventure.

 

Scampi: Oh, you know me, Peter.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: Well, you know. General excitement. Quests, and the like.

 

Peter: You are fond of a quest.

 

Scampi: Aren’t you?

 

Peter: I suppose having a specific goal is pleasant. It certainly can’t hurt.

 

Scampi: Remember when you said you never go fishing?

 

Peter: Not exactly, but it’s true enough.

 

Scampi: True enough? You never go fishing.

 

Peter: I do not. Correct.

 

Scampi: That was sort of poignant.

 

Peter: How so?

 

Scampi: Maybe you’ve always wanted to. It’s very touching.

 

Peter: I wouldn’t say that.

 

Scampi: That’s what makes it so touching. You look a little wobbly on your feet today. Did you know that?

 

Peter: I believe you are seeing things.

 

Scampi: I am. I’m observing.

 

Peter: Things that are not there.

 

Scampi: Aren’t they?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Are the shackles of the quotidian weighing you down?

 

Peter: Not unduly, no.

 

Scampi: What is then?

 

Peter: What is what?

 

Scampi: (That is a separate question.) What’s weighing you down?

 

Peter: Nothing.

 

Scampi: So, you’re floating.

 

Peter: Floating?

 

Scampi: To put it another way, what are you using for ballast?

 

Peter: Are you suggesting I’m some kind of hot air balloon?

 

Scampi: Ha! Possibly. Or a ship.

 

Peter (pensively): Yes, or a ship.

 

Scampi: I hope I’m not upsetting you.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Presumably that’s what the ballast is for.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Whatever it is.

 

Peter: I just remembered.

 

Scampi: Hm?

 

Peter: I have several things to do.

 

Scampi: You and what army?

 

Peter: Some items on the old to do list.

 

Scampi: What a to-do!

 

Peter: I just remembered.

 

Scampi: That’s a good sign. Normal brain function.

 

PETER CASTS HIS FOREHEAD INTO HIS HANDS LIKE DOUGH.

 

Scampi: Did you hear that?

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Just now. Like, a fighter jet.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: It flew overhead.

 

Peter: That was me, moaning.

 

Scampi: No it wasn’t.

 

Peter: I didn’t hear it.

 

Scampi: It was louder than you. It was doing a polka on the sound barrier.

 

Peter: While my background in physics is not at, say, the doctoral level –

 

Scampi: So you didn’t hear it?

 

Peter: I heard nothing.

 

Scampi: Your head was in your hands.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: This fighter jet flew overhead. Right over our heads.

 

Peter: I didn’t see it.

 

Scampi: I could feel it. You couldn’t feel it?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: It shook my bones.

 

PETER RUBS HIS EYES, DELICATELY.

 

Scampi: Like a jeep ride across the archipelago.

 

Peter: I have never been on this journey.

 

Scampi: It’s a bumpy one.

 

Peter: I am getting that impression.

 

Scampi: You know why they call them suckers, Peter? Because you’re supposed to suck on them.

 

PETER PICKS MUTELY AT HIS TEETH.

 

Scampi: As opposed to, say, crunching them up all at once. I don’t mind though. You do what you must.

 

Peter: I do.

 

Scampi: A ship at sea.

 

Peter (sharply): What about it?

 

Scampi: About, on a ship, means turning around.

 

Peter: I was aware of this.

 

Scampi: You were. Interesting.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have you ever owned a tuxedo?

 

Peter: No. Why?

 

Scampi: No reason.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Only I can picture you in one, at the top of a spiral stair, right?

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: With your hair sort of on end. Clutching the balustrade.

 

Peter: This is all very appealing, of course.

 

Scampi: For dear life.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: There’s a party going on downstairs.

 

Peter: There is? Presently?

 

Scampi: No. In this picture.

 

Peter: Right. Of Tuxedoland.

 

Scampi: Everyone’s like, Peter, join the party won’t you? But there you are up top.

 

Peter: First we’re an aircraft carrier. Now this.

 

Scampi: Like I said, clutching the balustrade. As if your very life depended on it.

 

Peter: And what is the purpose of this illustration? If I may be so bold?

 

Scampi: You may.

 

Peter: Well?

 

Scampi: Can’t you picture it?

 

Peter: This is some sort of stock photo, is it? From your catalogue.

 

Scampi: Something like that.

 

Peter: Well, fine.

 

Scampi: It comes in black and white, and colour. Either or.

 

Peter: Very nice.

 

Scampi: Which of us can run fastest, do you think?

 

Peter: I confess, I hadn’t thought about it.

 

Scampi: I suppose if I was running over to see you, it wouldn’t matter, would it?

 

Peter: This depends. Am I sitting still?

 

Scampi: You are now.

pt 90: WHAT THE STARS LOOK LIKE

Scampi: Takin’ it easy on a Sunday!

Peter: It isn’t Sunday.

Scampi: Who cares?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Why?  It doesn’t matter.

Peter: In that case, why did you say that?

Scampi: It’s just something I wanted to say.  It doesn’t matter what day it is.

Peter: If it doesn’t matter what day it is, then I don’t see why you had to mention the day.  That it isn’t.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Lower your voice.

Scampi: Come on.  It can be whatever day we want.

Peter: That is incorrect.

Scampi: No, it isn’t.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Nope.  Isn’t.

Peter: It has to be the day that it is.

Scampi: Oh really?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Interesting.  So, what day is it?

Peter: I –

Scampi: Ha!  Foiled again!

Peter: Really.

Scampi: I like to think that we’re sitting on some lawn chairs.  You know.  On the porch, on the lawn.  Howsoever it may be.

Peter: Right now?

Scampi: Right now.  Sitting in our Muskoka chairs, our Adirondack chairs.  The low buzz of insects.

Peter: What sort of insects?

Scampi: Oh, Mr Inquisitive!

Peter: [offended] I was taking a polite interest.

Scampi: That’ll be the day.

PAUSE.

Scampi: We’re sitting in the sun.  And the shade.  I mean, we’re not being assaulted by the sun, but it’s sunny out.  What do you think of that?

Peter: I hope I am wearing a hat.

Scampi: Yes, yes.  It’s all taken care of.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You’re reading the paper.  No, I’m reading the paper.  I’m reading all the weird bits aloud.  To you.  It’s starting to get on your nerves.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: You see what I’m saying?

Peter: Suburban life has its trials and tribulations.

Scampi: No!

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: You were there with me!  That’s what I’m saying.

Peter: Where?

Scampi: With the paper.  And the reading and the sun and shade.  And the insects.

Peter: I was not.  I was here.

Scampi: But you thought you were there.

Peter: Untrue.

Scampi: Oh, for a moment.

PAUSE.

Scampi: How many constellations do you know?

Peter: Personally?

Scampi: No, no.  Like, how many can you tell what they are?

Peter: Several.

Scampi: Like what?

Peter: That’s the Big Dipper.

Scampi: In Ireland they called it The Plough.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: It’s true.

Peter: Did I say that I disbelieved you?

Scampi: You implied it.

Peter: In what way?

Scampi: With your tone.

Peter: A simple misinterpretation of my tone on your behalf, I assure you.

Scampi: Oh, right.

Peter: Don’t antagonise me.

Scampi: I wasn’t.

Peter: Fine.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The plow.  Furrows and furlongs.  What else?

Peter: I am not an expert on farming.

Scampi: What about astronomy?

Peter: There is the lure of celestial bodies, to be sure.

Scampi: Yes.  Like Tycho Brahe.

Peter: What about him?

Scampi: The Swedish astronomer with the golden nose.  (Or Danish.)

Peter: I am aware of this personage.

Scampi: I know.  I thought we were talking about astronomy.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: What else do you know about him?

Peter: Other than his gilt prosthetic proboscis?

Scampi: Uh huh.

Peter: He worked with Kepler.

Scampi: In Prague.

Peter: I believe so.

Scampi: I can just see it.

Peter: With Kepler, he developed the first three laws of planetary motion.

Scampi: Of course!

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: The heavens!

Peter: I’m not sure what you mean.

Scampi: They probably looked up a lot and said things like, “the heavens”.

Peter: Uh.  Possibly.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Oh sorry.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: I thought that was your hand.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Do you feel smaller?

Peter: Than what?

Scampi: Looking at the stars?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You don’t?

Peter: Smaller than a star?

Scampi: Smaller than yourself.

Peter: That is impossible.

Scampi: Is not.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I mean like, smaller than you think of yourself being.  This is a commonly understood concept.

Peter: That is no defence of its veracity, methinks.

Scampi: Showoff.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Oh, look: a shooting star.

Peter: I did not see it.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: Truly.

Scampi: Yeah.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I didn’t see it either.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: I wanted to say that, though.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Anyway, there might’ve been one.

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: Of course there could have.  It has to be possible.

Peter: That a shooting star could exist?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: We inhabit a garden of possibilities, Peter.

Peter: You are fond of repeating this.

Scampi: It’s true.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I put the paper down on the grass.  We are looking out at that gorgeous sunset.

Peter: We are lost out here.

Scampi: With the stars.