pt 111: FUITE EN AVANT

Scampi: Forfooth!

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Forfooth!  Haw haw.

Peter: I am not following.

Scampi: Get it?

Peter: Fourth hoof?

Scampi: On a tri-legged horse.  Ha.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: No, no.  “My fweete lady!”

Peter: Tweet?

Scampi: FWEET.

PETER STARES BLANKLY.

Scampi: See, the effs are esses.  Get it?

Peter: No.

Scampi: In an old-fashioned song. I am being a classical text.

Peter: Oh, of course.  A classical text.

Scampi: Look.

SCAMPI SPELLS IT OUT FOR POOR, SLOW PETER.

Peter: What are you saying about me?

Scampi: Nothing.  I haven’t said a thing.

Peter: I suspect this is untrue.

Scampi: Suspect?  Did you hear me say anything?

Peter: Not quite.

Scampi: Well then.

PAUSE.

Scampi: In the classical days, all the effs were esses.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I mean, the other way around.  Are you even listening to me?

Peter: Yes.  My attention is currently centred on your fascinating discourse.

Scampi: Thank you.

Peter: YAWNS.

Scampi: How rude.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Did you know, it’s polite to cover your gigantic maw when you yawrp like that?

Peter: Oh, do excuse me.  You are, as usual, a beacon of social grace in the wild darkness of my neverending font of sloth.

Scampi: I certainly am.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Yes.  Today I feel like a hundred pieces of myself.  Like each of the leaves on the trees.  Which are falling.  The leaves are, I mean.  The trees are not.

Peter: What trees?

Scampi: The trees in the park, of course.

Peter: Ah yes.  They are not falling.

Scampi: No, they are not.  Unless you’re planning to chop them down.  I wouldn’t put it past you.

Peter: That was not a part of my plans.

Scampi: Really?

Peter: Really.

Scampi: So, you have plans?

Peter: What do you mean?

Scampi: You just said you did.

Peter: Did I?

Scampi: You said, “This was not part of my plans, to cut them parky trees down”.

Peter: Ahem.  I do not believe those were my exact words.

Scampi: That was the meat of it.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: So, you have plans.  As you said yourself.

Peter: In an unspecific fashion, I suppose.

Scampi: What are you planning?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: A coup d’état?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh, can I be in it?

Peter: I am not planning a coup.

Scampi: I would be great in it.

Peter: Doubtless.

Scampi: I could make all the posters.  I am very competent in bubble and three-dimensional lettering techniques.

Peter: Competent in bubble?

Scampi: Bubble letters.  They look like balloons.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: As you well know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Sometimes I have a great urge to stare up at the night sky.

Peter: Well, don’t let me stop you.

Scampi: From what?

Peter: Observing the dome of heaven.

Scampi: At night.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: But it’s not night.

Peter: You are correct: it is not night.

Scampi: This makes it hard to see the stars.

Peter: You are chock-full of keen observations today.

Scampi: Who made you the big expert?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.  What are you doing tonight?

Peter: I’m busy.

Scampi: Want to observe the stars through the fractal trees?

Peter: I believe this is a misuse of the word “fractal”.

Scampi: You would.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s kaleidoscopic, how I feel.

Peter: Perhaps you should sit down.

Scampi: Perhaps I can feel your heartbeat.

Peter: This is highly unlikely, from across the room.

Scampi: We aren’t in a room.

Peter: I thought we were.

Scampi: I don’t think we are.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: We are in a field.

Peter: This is implausible.

Scampi: A field of stones.

Peter: A quarry?

Scampi: How dark.

Peter: You have something against quarries?

Scampi: Don’t you?  With a name like Peter.

Peter: No.

Scampi: What do you think the difference is, do you think?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: I mean the difference between the rocks being made and the rocks being broken.

Peter: [boomingly] Perhaps they are one and the same.

Scampi: There’s no need to narrate like that.  Perhaps they are one and the same.

Peter: I was not disagreeing.

Scampi: Sure, sure.  Like a broken plate.

Peter: I am like a broken plate?

Scampi: No, the mess is the same.  The mess of the pieces on the kitchen floor, and the mess of the plate when it was whole.

Peter: Pottery is a messy business.

Scampi: Ceramics.

Peter: A skilled trade.

Scampi: This whole thing.  It’s a messy business.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s a mess, Peter.

Peter: You seem agitated.

PAUSE.

Peter: Is it really necessary to stare like that?

Scampi: In fact, it is.

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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.

pt 127: BEFORE THE CITY FELL, WHEN WE LOVED ONE ANOTHER

Scampi: Are you aware of how the twits of Russia felt about poetry?

Peter: I did not realise that you harboured a dislike for Russians.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Do you have something against Russians?

Scampi: I love our Russki brethren.  I was referring to the Soviet jerks.

Peter: Who?

Scampi: Sending poets off to the gulag for what?  Being decadent and metaphysical.  What do you think about that?

Peter: That is truly unfortunate.

Scampi: Unctuous words on troubled waters.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I hope I’m not being too decadent and metaphysical for you, Herr Kommandant.

Peter: That is not Russian.

Scampi: What a linguist you are today.  Boy oh boy.

Peter: [SNIFFS DELICATELY, LIKE A VICTORIAN LADY]

Scampi: Ho, ho.

Peter: What is the joke, pray tell?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

PAUSE.

Peter: Where did we go wrong?

A SPOON CLATTERS TO THE FLOOR.

Scampi: We you and me?  Or we the human race?

Peter: Let’s start small.  We us.

Scampi: E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle!

Peter: I do not know what that means.

Scampi: Do you know what Dante means?

Peter: You behave as though I mistake myself for a classical scholar.

Scampi: You behave as though you mistake yourself for a classical scholar.

PAUSE.

Scampi: “And then we emerged to see the stars again.”

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: To gaze upon the stars.

Peter: A noble pursuit, no doubt.

Scampi: You say that as though there were doubt involved.

Peter: This was unintentional.

Scampi: It’s all unintentional.  That’s the problem.

Peter: This could be a problem.

Scampi: It certainly could.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: You have seen the stars before, I presume?

Peter: The stars?

Scampi: Viz., the constellations.  Such as Andromeda.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: It is permitted to see the stars.

Peter: Lovely.

Scampi: Yes.  The Andromeda Galaxy is very far away.

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: Technically.

Peter: I believe it is also very far away in layman’s terms.

Scampi: What would you call a collision with the Milky Way?  In layman’s terms.

Peter: Well.  Although I am not an astronomer.

Scampi: You know who’s an astronomer?

Peter: A number of persons are astronomers.

Scampi: Says you.  Abd el-Rahman al-Sufi.  That’s who.

Peter: Are you trying to hint at something?

Scampi: Preposterous.

Peter: If you’ll excuse me, there seems to be a theme here.

Scampi: Themes, my friend, are one thing.  Hinting, on the other hand, is not my strong suit.

Peter: [LAUGHS].

Scampi: Humph.  You know, I don’t picture you looking at the stars.

Peter: I can look at the stars as well as the next man.

Scampi: It’s got nothing to do with looking well.

Peter: Thank you for keeping me aware of your fascinating world view.

Scampi: A man could die and leave all his letters behind.

Peter: This is something that could happen.

Scampi: In the pockets of the populace.  A man could die and have his letters burned in Vienna.

Peter: These are all possibilities.

Scampi: How do you feel about your correspondence being published in the paper?

Peter: [alarmed] Is my correspondence being published in the paper?

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I mean at some future date.

Peter: I have nothing to hide.

Scampi: Oh ho!

PETER GLOWERS.

Scampi: The milky circles over our heads.

Peter: Haloes?

Scampi: If you like.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Can you fly?

Peter: [sharply] Why would ask that?

Scampi: I dunno.  Just curious.

Peter: I have no idea why you would imagine that I could fly.

Scampi: I was just asking.  Pigeons can fly.

Peter: That has been determined.

Scampi: We’ve all been determined.  Some time.

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: But have we all been pigeons at some point?

Peter: No.

Scampi: How can you be so sure?

Peter: We have not been pigeons.

Scampi: But we have been stars.