pt 88: CRITTERS

Scampi: Do I look worried to you?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: This is my favourite time of year.

Scampi: Yeah, right.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: I know.

Peter: Then why?  Actually, forget it.

Scampi: ‘Tis forgotten.

Peter: I’m glad you’re not fiddling around with that compass.

Scampi: Oh really?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: I found it tiresome.

Scampi: Hoity toity.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: “This is my favourite time of year.”  “I hate your compass.”

Peter: You’re being rude.

Scampi: Oh, that’s rich.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Whatever.

Peter: Are you tired?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Maybe you need to take a nap.

Scampi: You can’t tell me what to do.

Peter: Not to push the idiomatic envelope here,

Scampi: I’ll push your envelope.

Peter: Goodness.

Scampi: Also, badness.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Is this a lecture on moral philosophy?

Peter: Why do you ask?

Scampi: Because if it is, I’m leaving.

Peter: Well, that is your choice.

PAUSE.

Peter: Why are you looking at me like that?

Scampi: I’m not actually leaving.  Peter.

Peter: Oh.  I see.

Scampi: I wonder if you do.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: I really do.  I wonder all the time.

Peter: You are certainly full of questions.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Oh.  Right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you –

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: I mean.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I mean, have you ever do you?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: This is very frustrating.

Scampi: What?  What is?

Peter: The way you are speaking.

Scampi: I’m just trying.  To say.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Bravery.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: I am loathe to make this request in light of how unlikely it is that you will honour it.  However: please explain yourself.

Scampi: I am, I am.  I just want to know what you think about bravery.

Peter: As a quality?

Scampi: No, as a book title.

Peter: I suppose this could be a book by Tom Clancy.

Scampi: Peter.  I mean, are we brave?

Peter: We?

Scampi: Are you?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: Like, are you scared?

Peter: Right now?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: There’s no need to sound so surprised.

Scampi: How else am I supposed to register my surprise?  Eh?

PAUSE.

Scampi: So you aren’t scared.  You’re like, ready.

Peter: For what?

Scampi: The eventualities.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Of like, existence.  Or whatever.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: I’m not worried.  You said.

Peter: I did?

Scampi: Basically.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are we brave, Peter?

Peter: I don’t know.  I don’t understand the question.

Scampi: I want to be.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: But I don’t know how.

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pt 39: SCAMPI TAKES A LONG WALK, PETER DOZES BENEATH AN APPLE TREE, FLOWER IN HAND (Also sometimes referred to as: THY NEIGHBOUR DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH)

Scampi: I like your tie, Peter.

 

Peter: Oh, stop.

 

Scampi: No, really.  It brings out the best in us all.

 

Peter: Shucks.

 

Scampi: Have you ever had frostbite?

 

Peter: Seemingly.

 

Scampi: Sometimes people take a long walk on Christmas Eve in the late nineties.  Their quadriceps turn blue.

 

Peter: Is that so?

 

Scampi: This is a fact.  Bona fide.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Well, really.  White more.  But you know what I mean.

 

Peter: I am immune to the elements.

 

Scampi: Oh?

 

Peter: Well, as compared to you.  I am coated in an impenetrable crust.

 

Scampi: Of dirt?

 

Peter: It’s my Anglo-Saxon skin.  It protects me from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

 

Scampi: That’s lovely.

 

Peter: I’m trying to think.

 

Scampi: Does that bother you?

 

Peter: Mm.  In fact, I am actually trying not to think.  It is a great relief to me.  I am enjoying the smells that are closest to my own nose.  I am just breathing them in.

 

Scampi: Would that be the smell of your moustache, for example?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Oh.

 

Peter: It is springtime in my nose.  It is warm and happy.

 

Scampi: Your nose is replete with the promise of happiness?

 

Peter: It is happy.  I am very content.  Look how happy I am.

 

Scampi: Perhaps it’s time for me to go outside and build an igloo.  I could be good at that.

 

Peter: Yes.  We could all be good at something.

 

Scampi: For me, it’s igloo-building.

 

Peter: Perhaps.

 

Scampi: For you, it’s simple narratives in the Romantic style.  (Peppered lightly with Industrial-age-jargon.)

 

Peter: In the Zeitgeist cookbook, you will find me on page ninety-seven.

 

Scampi: Oh, I have that on hold at the library.

 

PETER PLACES A LARGE FELT HAT UPON HIS HEAD.

 

Scampi: Nice touch.  Would you like to walk down to the library with me?

 

Peter: Certainly not.  I shall be staying in tonight.

 

Scampi: Oh?  Why is that?

 

Peter: I must count all of my blankets.  I only have one sheet, but I have several blankets.  I must count them in order of softness.

 

Scampi: That sounds like fun.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Well, I’ll catch you later.  I have snow to build.

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 71: HE LIVES BY THE RIVER

Scampi: I would like to begin this essay by first establishing.

HOURS PASS, LIKE HONEYBEES.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Well, what do you think?

Peter: I think it’s time for some spring cleaning.

Scampi: It isn’t spring yet.

Peter: In Mesopotamia it is.

Scampi: The rivers.  They are warming in the sun.

Peter: I am currently planning to wash my drapes?

Scampi: Was that a question?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: It certainly sounded like one.

Peter: If I could just.  Argh!

Scampi: Maybe you should leave the curtains for another day.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: You can approach your intended goal in small, manageable chunks.

Peter: This is a strategy.

Scampi: It is.  You might do well to employ it.

Peter: Allow me to prevaricate further on this matter.

Scampi: Of course.  I suggest you leave the curtains, though.  For the moment.

Peter: But.  Ah.

Scampi: The dust, you see.

Peter: Oh.  Yes.

Scampi: Do you know what I’m doing?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: I know you don’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I’m sorting through these ribbons.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I’m laying them out, you see, such that they don’t get creased.

Peter: [glancing over] What are those?

Scampi: Ribbons.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: This one here for example.  It’s the colour of your eyes.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Lies!

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Unless your eyes are black and white polkadots.  Which I suppose they are.

Peter: There’s this splinter in my thumb.

Scampi: What are you planning to do about that?

Peter: Nothing.  I suppose.

Scampi: I could help remove it.

Peter: No, no.

Scampi: It would be easy peasy.  A simple operation.

Peter: No thank you.

Scampi: Are you sure?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Really?  Sure sure?

Peter: I’m positive.

Scampi: Fine then.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Be that way.

Peter: I shall.

Scampi: No one doubts it.

PETER SNUFFLES AT HIS HAND, COLTISHLY.

Scampi: Oh, that’s very productive.

Peter: [muffled] Sorry?

Scampi: No man is an island!

Peter: (ARGH!)  An oft-expressed sentiment.

Scampi: I suppose you imagine yourself to be some sort of peninsula?

Peter: Mnph.

Scampi: Did you get it?

Peter: Half.

Scampi: What happened?

Peter: It broke off.

Scampi: Ha.

Peter: Were you saying something about the Balkans?  Just now?

Scampi: You wish.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: [cackles]  If you wish.

Peter: I sometimes think you have an unhealthy fixation on the Balkans.  I believe.

Scampi: Oh ho.  That’s rich.

Peter: Balkan this.  Balkan that.

Scampi: How your own mind betrays you!

Peter: What now?

Scampi: That certainly sharpened you up.  Your ears just stood on end, my boy.

Peter: Poppycock.

Scampi: So, watcha wanna talk about?  The Iberian peninsula, maybe?  Perchance?

Peter: (primly) I have nothing against it.

Scampi: Such an assiduous opinionist you are.  La-dee-da.

Peter: At least I’m not a reactionary.

Scampi: Certainly not.  You wouldn’t react if I paid you.

Peter: Like a common thug!  Foul idea.

Scampi: Not you!  You wouldn’t react if I poked your patella with a toothshaped hammer!

Peter: Leave my reflexes out of this.

Scampi: I couldn’t drag them in if I tried.  Last I heard, they were on extended leave.

Peter: My reflexes?

Scampi: Never heard of them.  You rock of the ages.  Watertight, eh?

Peter: I am not made of stone.

PETER FILLS A COFFEE CAN WITH WATER.

Scampi: What are you doing with that thing?

Peter: Nothing.

Scampi: Observing your reflection?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh, Peter.

Peter: What?

Scampi: You’re a human bean, of course.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Not a rock at all.  Of course not.

Peter: Did you say bean?

Scampi: A furry little beanstalk.

Peter: Few have called me little.  If I could insert a parenthesis.

Scampi: Brackets away!

Peter: I am not familiar with this expression.

Scampi: For which the subcommittee forgives you preemptively.

Peter: Preemptively?  But I said it just now.

Scampi: They’d forgiven you already.

Peter: The subcommittee.

Scampi: Yes.  They can’t resist you.

Peter: I’ll leave that to your discretion.

Scampi: What?

Peter: The train of thought.

Scampi: Oh.  That’s very generous of you.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You could use the water to water some plants.

Peter: That is what I had planned.

Scampi: Is it?

Peter: I had planned that already.

Scampi: I don’t doubt it.

Peter: Then the matter is settled.

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: Don’t call me sir.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Just don’t.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: I don’t like it.

Scampi: Does it make you feel old?

Peter: No.

Scampi: The auld sod.

Peter: Nothing of the sort.

Scampi: Shall I call you Ol’ Man Pete?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Would you like that?

Peter: I would not.

Scampi: That’s Ol’ Man Pete for ya.  Short and to the point!  Oh yes.  Yes sir.

Peter: There you go again.

Scampi: You’re glowing like a sunbeam.

Peter: I am?

Scampi: You almost laughed just now.  I saw it.

Peter: Hearsay.

Scampi: That’s right.  I’m here, and I say so.

Peter: I—

Scampi: You concede the point with your silence.  I understand.

PETER CONCEDES THE POINT.

Peter: Whatever it might be.

Scampi: Agreed.  How’s the spring cleaning coming?

Peter: Fine.

Scampi: I’m not sure how up to date you are with geography and such.

Peter: I am a modern man.

Scampi: Or a variation thereof.  A peninsula, as you may know, might sometimes drift out to sea.

Peter: Impossible.

Scampi: I mean break off, you know.  Like splinters.

Peter: Yes, well.  It might.

Scampi: The land, however.  It’s the same.

Peter: I am not following you.

Scampi: It doesn’t matter.  On either side of the water.  Same dirt.  Following be damned.

Peter: Are you discussing soil samples?

Scampi: History takes a long view of things, Peter.

Peter: And how does this pertain to soil samples?

Scampi: We all do, Peter.  In the end.

pt 42: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

Peter: I have never wanted to go to Mexico.

 

Scampi: But Mexico City is beautiful. It’s full of colonial buildings that are sinking.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: It’s built on a lake, you know. The like, Aztecs sunk boats of dirt into it.

 

Peter: I didn’t know the Aztecs had boats.

 

Scampi: They were like, skiffs. As big as two cars.

 

Peter: Why would they do such a thing?

 

Scampi: They had a vision. Maybe, of a bird on a cactus.

 

Peter: But why would the Spanish choose to build their capital on a lake?

 

Scampi: Because they had a vision of Venus in bluejeans.

 

Peter: Pardon?

 

Scampi: They were like, Look at her, with that Botticelli face and those 501s hangin’ off her hips.

 

Peter: This is hardly credible. Firstly, I don’t believe Levi’s had been invented at that point.

 

Scampi: Says you.

 

Peter: They say the temperature’s on the rise.

 

Scampi: Oh yeah?

 

Peter: They say it’ll be plus seven by Friday.

 

Scampi: Ah. We must prepare ourselves for the neverending heartbreak of baseball season.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Baseball.

 

Peter: No, what kind of bird is that?

 

Scampi: It’s a hawk.

 

Peter: What’s it doing?

 

Scampi: Devouring that deeply lacerated pigeon.

 

Peter: Truly wondrous. Although I have sympathy for the pigeon as well.

 

Scampi: I know how you love your tetrachromats.

 

Peter: Yes. As I know how you hate inanity over brunch.

 

Scampi: Do you?

 

Peter: [DECLINES TO COMMENT.]

 

Scampi: Imagine if we wanted to play ball or hockey on this road.

 

Peter: Yes?

 

Scampi: That sign over there would prevent us.

 

Peter: Damn those municipal ordinances.

 

Scampi: [giggles.]

 

Peter (huffily): Well, that’s what they’re called.

 

Scampi: Yes, Peter.

 

Peter (scuffling up the stairs): But why do they call them ordinances, I wonder?

 

Scampi: Something about Latin people and orders.

 

Peter: Ah yes.

 

Scampi: Shall we have some tea?

 

Peter: That would be lovely.

 

Scampi: Wouldn’t it just.

 

Peter (skipping down the hallway): I am being carried about by a flock of angels.

 

Scampi: I have always known this about you.

 

Peter: Or perhaps a bevy of hawks, such as the one we saw today.

 

Scampi: Yes.

 

Peter: Although, as I mentioned previously, my sympathies also lie with the pigeon community.

 

Scampi (nodding sagely): This is no secret.

 

Peter: The angels are with me wherever I go.

 

Scampi: Hosanna in excelsis.

 

Peter: Hallelujah.

 

Scampi: Indeed.