pt 102: LORD ACTON

Scampi: You know what I said then?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Are you listening to my story?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Argh.

Peter: Excuse me.

Scampi: Fine.

Peter: You were saying?

Scampi: I might have been saying anything.  Who cares?

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: I refuse to accept your dictum!

Peter: Are you speaking to me?

Scampi: You and the pope.

Peter: I am not a papist.

Scampi: What vocabulary.  Like a sixteenth century magistrate.

Peter: [disgruntled]

Scampi: For shame.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What were we talking about?

Peter: You were talking.

Scampi: Peter.

Peter: You call me by my true name.

Scampi: I do.

Peter: My head.

Scampi: It looks nice.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: I am still tired.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I reject the idiot shrapnel.

Peter: This seems a sound policy.

Scampi: Do you know what I’m talking about?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Fired from all directions.

Peter: An assault.

Scampi: I do not accept it.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: Is it time to sleep?

Peter: Please, do not let me interfere with your plans.

Scampi: That is the opposite.

Peter: Of what?

Scampi: The point.

Peter: Perhaps I did not understand the point.

Scampi: Lord.  Perhaps.

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pt 124: MUCH MORE FUN IN THE NEW HOUSE

Scampi: “…..and as they made their way through the woods, the air grew darker and darker.”

SCAMPI SIPS A CUP OF TEA.

Scampi: “However, they bravely continued on their way, although the path through the underbrush was littered with gnarled roots and suspicious piles of leaves.  Suddenly,”

Peter: To whom are you speaking?

Scampi: Peter.  When did you get here?

Peter: Are you being wry?

Scampi: It’s story hour.  Surely you know this.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Oh, right.  You hate stories.

Peter: I don’t hate stories.

Scampi: Great.  Shall I keep reading this one?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Right.  Well, there you have it.

Peter: I do not hate stories.

Scampi: Of course not.

Peter: Don’t use that tone with me.

Scampi: Would you rather I used it against you?

Peter: You are in a toxic mood.

Scampi: That is incorrect.

Peter: A prime example!  You are being disagreeable.

Scampi: No.

Peter: I rest my case.

Scampi: You have no case.  You have chosen the putrid path of moral nonewhatsoeverness.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Oh, lord.

Peter: Yes, let us pray.

SCAMPI GUFFAWS.  PETER RECOILS.

Scampi: Oh lord, I don’t wanna eat my words.  Hail, hail!  Snowdrops too.  Almond.

Peter: Amen?

Scampi: Hallelooja!

PAUSE.

Peter: What is the ideal way to wrap a scarf about one’s neck for maximal warmth and coverage?

Scampi: Around and around.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: In a clockwise direction.  With the beating heart of time.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: That’s our Peter.  Gale-force.

Peter: Are you using the Beaufort Scale?

Scampi: (The Beaufort Wind Force Scale.)  Naturally.  Would you like to know some biographical facts about Mr. Beaufort?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: Of course you would.  Sir Francis Beaufort, what country was he born in?

Peter: England.

Scampi: No.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Ireland.

Peter: In what year?

Scampi: Eighteen-thirty-six.

Peter: Really?

Scampi: No.  1774, upon the 27th day of May.

Peter: At which point Ireland was part of the British empire.

Scampi: This is a repulsive thing to boast about.

Peter: I was not boasting.

Scampi: Sure.  Anyhow, I’m telling you it’s amazing.

Peter: What is?

Scampi: It’s amazing how one poor man can run from a massacre into the jaws of moral ambiguity.

Peter: I do not follow this.

Scampi: Don’t you?

Peter: [irritably] What does this have to do with the Beaufort Scale?

Scampi: The Beaufort Wind Force Scale?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: History has exhausted me.  You wouldn’t understand.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: [patiently] History has exhausted me.  You wouldn’t understand.

SCAMPI HANDS PETER A TOME ON THE SUBJECT OF THE ST. BARTHOLOMEW’S DAY MASSACRE.  PETER DECLINES TO READ IT.

Peter: Anyhow.

SCAMPI THROWS AN EGG AT THE WALL.  IT BREAKS.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: [sorrowfully] That was a waste of food.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Of course, when John Donne passed away, you didn’t say much.

Peter: Ahem.  I would point out that I was not alive when the poet passed.

Scampi: Fancy mouth.

Peter: Yes, fancymouth.  What are you talking about?

Scampi: Batter my heart, four-eyed Pete!

Peter: I do wear eye glasses.

Scampi: As the old saying goes, people with eyeglasses oughtn’t throw stones.

Peter: That is not how the saying goes.

Scampi: The world is asleep beneath the snow.  Or, more likely, the snow is asleep upon the living world.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What do you think of that?

Peter: People say this sort of thing sometimes.

Scampi: That’s right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Sometimes, things come so slowly.  Like biscuits baking in an oven that’s off.

Peter: That is a long time.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Well, that would take a long time.  For the biscuits to cook.

Scampi: Southern biscuits?  Or English biscuits?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: [snorts] English ones, obviously.  Since we’re on the topic.

Peter: Of time?

Scampi: Of sadness.  Over time.

Peter: What do you have against the English?

Scampi: Nothing at all.  I am going to the park.

Peter: Hyde Park?

Scampi: Perhaps.  I shall sing carols amid the winter snow.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: “The branches grew thickly across the path.  They had to be pushed out of the way like humans.”

PETER COUGHS.

Scampi: Perhaps we’ll finish this story tomorrow.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Sir Beaufort was a brilliant man.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: He had an excellent work ethic.

Peter: This is admirable.

Scampi: Yes.  Instead of weeping all day long, he chose to apply himself scientifically.

Peter: A positive choice.

Scampi: Hats off to you, Sir B!

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: Have you looked through this window?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I’ve made a hole in the frost.

Peter: Well done.

Scampi: Through it, you can see the entire world.  Look.

Peter: I see a dark street.

Scampi: Look more carefully.

pt 91: THE BROOD MARE IN THE SULTAN’S STABLES

Scampi: When I was a child.

 

Peter: When was this?

 

Scampi: Very hilarious.

 

Peter: I am simply looking for a degree of clarity.

 

Scampi: A modicum, if you will.

 

Peter: Could be.

 

Scampi: Could be.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: You like adventure stories.

 

Peter: Oh?

 

Scampi: At sea.

 

Peter: When I was a boy.

 

Scampi: Yes.

 

Peter: There was a certain appeal.

 

Scampi: Are you suggesting that the appeal is gone?

 

Peter: I am no longer a boy.

 

Scampi: No debate there.

 

Peter: I didn’t say there was.

 

Scampi: And I agree wholeheartedly.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: With the whole of my heart.

 

PETER CAREFULLY PLACES HIS HANDS INTO HIS POCKETS.

 

Scampi: I like tales of adventure.  Myself.

 

Peter: [sighs] You certainly do.

 

Scampi: Feats of bravery, clever castaways.

 

Peter: Uh.

 

Scampi: I am for it.  You know.

 

Peter: Fairy tales.

 

Scampi: Adventure.

 

Peter: What are you driving at?  May I ask?

 

Scampi: Why do we always have to talk about what I’m driving at?

 

Peter: One wonders.

 

Scampi: Coffee?

 

Peter: No, thank you.

 

Scampi: Really?

 

Peter: Yes.  Really.

 

Scampi: Fine.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: What do you think of harmony?

 

Peter: Uh, harmoniousness.  Or, possibly, two or more individuals producing complementary note combinations.

 

Scampi: What are you, a dictionary?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Right.  I said what do you think about harmony.  Not what is it.

 

Peter: How do these two subjects differ?

 

Scampi: What you think about something and what it is?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Come on.

 

Peter: I am here.

 

Scampi: I wonder sometimes.

 

PETER SHRUGS, IRRITABLY.

 

Scampi: Oh, very nice.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Nothing.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Have you ever held a baby?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: That’s all?

 

Peter: Have I misunderstood the question?

 

Scampi: I mean, Yes?  That’s all?

 

Peter: I have held a baby.

 

Scampi: What did you think about it?

 

Peter: I was very careful.

 

Scampi: Did this happen only once?

 

Peter: On each occasion.

 

Scampi: God.

 

Peter: You do like to invoke the Judeo-Christian deity.

 

Scampi: You like to presume.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: Ah, a clearing.

 

Peter: You call this a clearing?

 

Scampi: What do you call it?  A meadow?

 

Peter: I might.

 

Scampi: You might.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Well, do you?

 

Peter: I could.

 

Scampi: Look, Peter.  A meadow!

 

Peter: This is very nice.

 

Scampi: Let us rest awhile.

 

Peter: Where?

 

Scampi: How about here?

 

Peter: Hm.

 

Scampi: Or here?

 

Peter: Yes.  Or perhaps just there.

 

Scampi: Okay.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I can hear the humble-bees.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Buzz buzz.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: The clover.  The honeyed air.

 

Peter: Mm.

 

Scampi: Are you sleeping?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Do you know a story?

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: Tell it!

 

Peter: Perhaps another time.

 

Scampi: Why not now?

 

Peter: Now is not the time.

 

Scampi: Why not?

 

Peter: B- – snurfle – vor – – fleece.

 

Scampi: What?  What?

 

Peter: My voice becomes muffled when my hat is resting on my face.

 

Scampi: I’ll say.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: I like stories.

 

Peter: You certainly do.