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 47: SYMPHONIC ASPIRATIONS (or, MICKEY MANTLE & WILLIE MAYS)

Scampi: What do we know about Ohio?

Peter: Other than the fact that we’re in it?

Scampi: Or at least on it.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: So, that’s the extent of our knowledge, then?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: Yes?

Peter: Well, we can surmise, that is to say, ascertain, that, judging by—

Scampi: It’s really hard for you to admit that you don’t know anything about Ohio, isn’t it?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I understand.  If it makes you feel better, I don’t know anything about it either.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It seems like spring is a good season to be passing through though.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: And you know, it’s just going to get springier as we go.

Peter: How do you mean?

Scampi: Because we’re heading south.  Due south.  Or I mean south-west.  Which is pretty much the same thing.

Peter [flustered]: First of all—

Scampi: Why do you have such a penchant for discrediting my whimsy?  Eh?

Peter: We’re heading into summer.  You have everything backwards.

Scampi: Yes, Peter.  I know.

Peter [somewhat appeased]: Well.  Well.

Scampi: I love springtime.  It makes me feel like a plant or an animal.  Or a major-league baseball player from nineteen fifty one.

Peter: Perhaps we should stop and have a siesta soon.

Scampi: You know, the further south we get, the more culturally acceptable this suggestion will become.  Did you know that?

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: You see?  This journey is full of perks.

Peter: This state we are traversing is rather vowel-heavy.

Scampi: Yes.  Is that all right with you?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Good.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Would you say that we are working together in concert to achieve a common goal?

Peter: Why do you ask?

Scampi: Oh, I dunno.  Just curious.

Peter: At the very least, we are headed in the same direction.

Scampi: On purpose.

Peter: Correct.

pt 82: APRIL

Scampi: Let us listen to the birds sing.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We shall be immune to the trivial fripperies and discontentments of the modern-day world.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Like that snooty guy in the bookstore.

Peter: He wasn’t snooty.

Scampi: Who said he was?

Peter: You did.  You just did.

Scampi: [snorts] Nonsense.

DIAPHANOUS SILENCE.

Scampi: It sure is a beautiful day.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: This is springtime, right?

Peter: Is it?

Scampi: Well?

Peter: What do you wish to know?

Scampi: What season is this?

Peter: Spring.

Scampi: Well.  That’s what I was asking.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I love this song.

Peter: What song?

Scampi: It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Fine.

SCAMPI HUMS HAPPILY.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: What?

PAUSE.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Lovely weather.

Scampi: I said that already.

Peter: Not exactly.

Scampi: Yes, I did.

Peter: You said—

Scampi: Don’t tell me what I said.  I am not a gnat.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: As though I have the memory of an infant octopus.  I know what I said.

Peter: Octopi are relatively bright creatures.

Scampi: Octopuses.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Yeah, yeah.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: You are being dismissive.

Scampi: Jealous?

Peter: I decline to comment.

Scampi: Heh.  Ha.

Peter: What’s so funny?

Scampi: You want some lemonade?

Peter: No.  I do not.

Scampi: Ha.  Ho ho.

Peter: What are you laughing about?

Scampi: Why are you so against laughing?  All of a sudden?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Well then.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Is it spring now?  Or was it spring then?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Did this happen already?

Peter: What?

Scampi: This.

Peter: Now?

Scampi: Or then.  I mean, if this has already occurred, then it isn’t now.

Peter: I am not enamoured with this breed of sophistry.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: What time is it?

Peter: After noon.

Scampi: But that’s everything.  Everything except twelve o’clock, anyway.

Peter: After noon.  Before sunset.

Scampi: What breathtaking accuracy.

Peter: I lay no claims upon perfection.

Scampi: You should live in Switzerland.  And get adjusted one one thousandth of a second per annum.

Peter: That’s not what happens.

Scampi: Maybe not yet.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: But it might be what happens next.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Will you remember this spring separately?

Peter: From what?

Scampi: From all the others.

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: Come on.

Peter: Presumably I will remember certain events.  In their context.

Scampi: I don’t even know what that means.

Peter: I cannot predict the future.

Scampi: I can.

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 19: SCIENCE IS OBVIOUS

Scampi: Is this a good time to talk about beauty?

 

Peter: What are you talking about?

 

Scampi: [glares]

 

Peter: Okay, okay. What do you mean?

 

Scampi: You know what I mean. Maybe you don’t.

 

Peter: Maybe I don’t.

 

Scampi: No.

 

Peter: Well. That’s settled, then!

 

Scampi: I don’t believe a word of it.

 

Peter: Do you think I’m lying?

 

Scampi: You’re a sucky liar, for a liar.

 

Peter: Don’t call me a liar!

 

Scampi: What was that, liar? I mean, uh, Mr Lying-Pants.

 

Peter: I object. I really do.

 

Scampi: Peter’s mad and I’m glad.

 

Peter: [is livid.]

 

Scampi: Have some more coffee. Here, I’ll pour it for you, all nice. And, I mean, you see that bird? At the top of the tree out the window? I don’t even know what kind of bird that is. See it? What is that?

 

Peter: We have already ascertained that none of us know what kind of bird that is.

 

Scampi: And all the leaves. What do you call that?

 

Peter: Foliage.

 

Scampi: But it’s spring, it’s springtime. I can feel it in the muscles of my arms. Aren’t you excited?

 

Peter: I am unamused.

 

Scampi: Liar! You’re totally amused!

 

Peter: [stony silence]

 

Scampi: Oh. Sorry. (Pause.) You know that wasn’t on purpose. Come on.

 

Peter: Well.

 

Scampi: I told you. I wanna talk about like, beauty. Like, mercy in the world. You know?

 

Peter: Que la vie est dur.

 

Scampi : You look nice today.

 

Peter: Thank you.

 

Scampi: I want to touch you and those green leaves at the same time.

 

Peter: There have always been leaves that are green. There have equally been leaves of other colours.

 

Scampi: Not to mention no leaves at all.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: I like your plumage just fine, Peter. I think you are nicely plumed.

 

Peter: Hm. Ah.

 

Scampi: It’s the season. It’s the season to march out the door in your feathered best.

 

Peter: I don’t have a feathered vest.

 

Scampi: What? What’s wrong with you?

 

Peter: Excuse me?

 

Scampi: I said feathered best. BEST.

 

Peter: Oh.

 

Scampi: You and your eyelashes. Don’t get so cagey with how gorgeous things can be. Open up your eyes, baby. Drink up.

 

Peter: W—

 

Scampi: I’m talking about everything. I’m talking about how good everything looks, or at least some things, at least right now. I’m saying you should pay attention. I’m telling you to effing pay attention to this shit.

 

Peter: Sometimes, you are very noisy.

 

Scampi: Goddammit Peter.

 

Peter: Don’t swear at me.

 

Scampi: But you have such beautiful hands.

 

PETER INSPECTS HIS HANDS.

 

Scampi: No wonder you have no money.