Scampi: It should be remembered of course that nothing is certain.

Peter: Certainly!

Scampi: Oh, look who’s decided to go all jocular all of a sudden.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: I, of course, am busy feeling up the grooves of history with my anthropologic tongue.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: It’s a textured approach.

Peter: Would you like some tea?

Scampi: Damn right.


Scampi: Whatsa matter?

Peter: There is no matter.

Scampi: Except for the matter at hand, which is that you entertain the delicacy of a gourmand. Nobody knows why, mind you.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: It would be entirely possible to doze off in the shade of these reeds.

Peter: What reeds?

Scampi: The ones on the riverbank, of course.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: What I’m trying to explain, you know.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Well, it’s all very here and there. That’s all I’m saying.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: There’s no need to emit such a noise. I am not a dentist.

Peter: [huffily] I have never accused you of dentistry.

Scampi: Humph.


Scampi: Sometimes I feel so completely surrounded by history. As though it’s in my living room.

Peter: From my well-stuffed and starched perception of the universe, I can tell you that history is behind you. And the future is ahead, and no one is in your living room.

Scampi: I’ll believe that when I see it.

Peter: Time proceeds in a linear fashion.

Scampi: You have no way of knowing what’s going on in my living room while you loll about on a riverbank.

Peter: [peevishly] Nobody said we were on a riverbank.

Scampi: False! History cuddles you from all sides, like the words of your grandmothers.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: You just have to run through it.

Peter: Run through what?

Scampi: I don’t know.


Scampi: To get to the other side?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I can’t think straight.

Peter: Yes. This is readily apparent.


Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: Indeed. The people loved their maize. And eagles and snakes, and jaguars and frogs and human blood and sunshine.

Peter: People like many things.

Scampi: Yes. But we don’t build so many statues any more, do we?

Peter: I do not build statues.

Scampi: No. I could almost just drift off, in this dappled shade.

Peter: What time is it?

Scampi: I’m not sure. It’s either an hour earlier or an hour later.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: One can almost hear the gulls.

Peter: What gulls?

Scampi: From the nineteen-thirties. Calling out on an English beach.

Peter: Nonsense.

Scampi: The noises of the past are one simple eyelash away.


Scampi: See? That sigh wasn’t even yours. It was taken directly from the Regency Period.

Peter: You do natter on.

Scampi: Who are you, René Descartes?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Therefore you don’t think? Har har.

Peter: I admit the reeds are pleasant.

Scampi: I admit I don’t know what time it is. Luckily, you’re Peter and I’m Scampi.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Oh, look!

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: A coracle.

Peter: How suspicious.

Scampi: Quick, let’s climb in.

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: How else are we supposed to find out which way the river flows?

Peter: By standing in it?

Scampi: We aren’t statues, Peter.

Peter: No. We are not statues.

Scampi: Right.

Peter: What are we then?

Scampi: Sailors, apparently.



Peter: Crunch crunch.


Scampi: That is an unusually crunchy sandwich you’ve got there.


Peter: It is an onion sandwich.




Peter: Well.  You’re awfully quiet today.




Peter: Not that I’m complaining.  In fact, most of the time, your voice is like a jigsaw in my ear.  Whining and spewing sawdust.  Ug.


Scampi: Good call.


Peter: I was thinking of buying a new broom.


Scampi: To sweep the floor with?


Peter: In so many words.


Scampi: What?


Peter: You can’t take a hint, can you?


Scampi: No.  Of course I can’t.


Peter SIGHS.


Scampi: Why should I?


Peter: Well.  It’s the grown-up thing to do.


Scampi: I think the grown-up thing to do is to say what you mean.  Anyway, what do you know about grownups?




Peter: Look, I’m going to boil the water for tea.  Would you like a cup?


Scampi: Yeah I’ll have one.  Thank you.


Peter: No, no.  I insist: thank you.


Scampi: The pleasure is all mine.


Peter: You’re too kind.


Scampi: I guess kindness is important.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: Do you think you’re kind, very much?  I mean, do you think of yourself as a kind person?


Peter: What are you implying?


Scampi: I’m not.  [PAUSE.]  I’m really not.


Peter: Fine.


Scampi: I just mean – I don’t know.  I don’t know if people think of themselves as kind.


Peter: Perhaps I don’t think of myself at all.


Scampi: Yes, you do.


Peter: Sometimes, I think that my mind is a disease.  Does this count?


Scampi: Yes.  According to Depeche Mode, everything counts.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: Sometimes one’s mind can be hard on one.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: Maybe all this housecleaning is upsetting you.


Peter: Impossible.


Scampi: Maybe you should read a book.  Get back your special glow.


Peter: I already ate an onion sandwich.  I am not short on creature comforts.


Scampi: You are truly a self-made man.


Peter: Goodbye.


Scampi: What?


Peter: I am tired of your chatter.  It is tiresome.  I can’t think.


Scampi: But I haven’t had any tea yet!


Peter: Oh well.


Scampi: Oh well.


Peter: See ya later!  Ciao!



pt 49 ½: PAR CONTRE

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Good.  High five.

Peter: My god.  How did you manage to get that much dirt under your fingernails?

Scampi: Me?

Peter: They’re filthy.

Scampi: Yeah.

Peter: When did that happen?

Scampi: While you were reading the map.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I was looking for something.

Peter: What?

Scampi: I’m not sure.

Peter: Was it a recipe for mud pies?

Scampi: No, no.  Nothing like that.

Peter: I certainly hope you found it.

Scampi: I had a good time looking, anyway.

Peter: So it would seem.

Scampi: [LAUGHS.]

Peter: What’s so funny?

Scampi: I don’t know.  But it’s working.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: Hee hee.


Scampi: You seem a little under the weather today.

Peter: Do I?

Scampi: You do.

Peter: Well, there you have it.

Scampi: I don’t like to see you so down, Grumplestiltskin.  We’re heading in the right direction, aren’t we?

Peter: Yes.  For those who wish to go to Mexico.

Scampi: That’s us.


Scampi: Peter, that’s us.  Right?

Peter: So it would seem.

Scampi: Do you want some tea from my thermos?  It’s still really hot.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: Are you sure?  Yummy delicious tea.

Peter: No.  I am sure I don’t want any tea.  It is your tea.  You should drink it.

Scampi: Okay.  Just let me know if you change your mind, okay?

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: It’s funny, when you say that, it’s almost like you’re saying, “Quiet!”.  I think that’s pretty funny.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Quite.


pt 72: SPORT

Scampi: What do we know about cricket?

Peter: The sport?

Scampi: No, the grasshopper.

Peter: Is a cricket the same thing as a grasshopper?

Scampi: Yes the sport.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: I am not much of a sportsman.

Scampi: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Peter: Does this answer your question?

Scampi: No.  Yes, in part.

Peter: Which part?

Scampi: We might attend a cricket match.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: I’m just saying, we could.  It could be fun.

Peter: Who we?  You and I?

Scampi: You and me.

Peter: I don’t think so.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: Well why?

Scampi: Ridiculous.  So, you know nothing about cricket.

Peter: I wouldn’t say nothing.

Scampi: I would.

Peter: Perhaps, next to nothing.

Scampi: Fine.  Why not?

Peter: For example, I know it’s a sport.  There’s a bat and a ball.

Scampi: You’re a regular polymath.  A Pollyanna.

Peter: Yes.  Wait, what was the last part?

Scampi: You look very Pollyannaish in that white shirt.

Peter: Do I?

Scampi: With those buttons.

Peter: You take exception to the buttons on my shirt?

Scampi: I do not.

Peter: Oh.  Good.

Scampi: I am not an exceptionalist.

Peter: I might take exception to that.

Scampi: How exceptionalist of you.  A king among men, you are.

Peter: That’s not what I said.

Scampi:  No.  I said it.

Peter: You did.

Scampi: I did.

Peter: Where is this going?

Scampi: Nowhere.  You’re the one who won’t talk to me.

Peter: Stuff and nonsense.

Scampi: About cricket.

Peter: But I don’t know anything about cricket.  I said so.

Scampi: Practically nothing.

Peter: Do you know anything about cricket?

Scampi: I might.

Peter: Do you?

Scampi: You wouldn’t know.

Peter: Not at this rate, in any case.

Scampi: We could learn about it.  Cricket.

Peter: Theoretically.

Scampi: Practically.

Peter: I’m just not interested.

Scampi: I know something about cricket that you like.

Peter: And what is that?

Scampi: Curry.

Peter: What?

Scampi: People eat curry at a cricket match.

Peter: Do tell.

Scampi: Some of the best curry in England.

Peter: Good for them!

Scampi: Yes.  It is.  You know what else?

Peter: No.

Scampi: If we were cricket fans, we could follow it in the news.

Peter: This would hardly be revolutionary.  Of us.

Scampi: Right.  Hardly.  We would follow the league stats and our favourite players.  And then while I made tea, for example, you would say, “Have you noticed how well the Rajasthan Royals have been doing this season?” and I would say, “Yeah, yeah.  This year could be the one.”  You see?

Peter: We would discuss statistics.

Scampi: Damn right we would.  You see what I mean?

Peter: I’m not sure.

Scampi: Don’t you?

Peter: Perhaps I do not.

Scampi: Fine.  What do you want to talk about?

Peter: Oh, I have no preference, really.

Scampi: Yeah right.

Peter: Perhaps I do not wish to talk.

Scampi: Do you?

Peter: Wish to talk?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: It isn’t supposed to mean anything.

Scampi: It has to mean something.

Peter: The epistemology of cricket chat.  Is that where we are?

Scampi: No.  We’re talking about the purpose of language.  Yours.

Peter: There’s only one?

Scampi: Purpose or language?

Peter: Either.

Scampi: There’s at least one of each, that’s all I’m saying.

Peter: How descriptivist of you.

Scampi: Why are you so terrified?

Peter: I imagine you consider that to be some sort of segue.

Scampi: It requires no consideration.

Peter: Then I shan’t consider it.

Scampi: Classic knee-jerk response.

Peter: To what?

Scampi: Fear.

Peter: What is?

Scampi: All this batting about.

Peter: You and your bats.

Scampi: Our bats.

Peter: Yours.

Scampi: Ours.  We’re sharing.

Peter: Untrue.

Scampi: But if I’m sharing with you.

Peter: That’s none of my business.

Scampi: Then you must be sharing with me.

Peter: That is called something. I cannot remember what it’s called.

Scampi: Would you like a hint?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You’re not some kind of palefaced German tragedian, you know.

Peter: I am most certainly not.

Scampi: That’s right.  Everyone is alone, and all that.  The rose on the hill.

Peter: Rose on a hill?

Scampi: That’s not you.

Peter: I am not a rose.

Scampi: Well, we can’t go that far.

Peter: We can ruddy well stop that short.

Scampi: Of being a rose?

Peter: Yes.  Of all this nonsense.

Scampi: Do you prefer plain sense?

Peter: In fact, I do.

Scampi: It doesn’t incense you?

Peter: I abhor the smell of incense.

Scampi: You do?

Peter: Sometimes.

Scampi: Funny, I can smell some on the air.  Right now.

Peter: What?  Ghastly.

Scampi: Can you?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You’re not even trying.

Peter: And why would I?

Scampi: Why wouldn’t you?

Peter: What, try harder to inhale scents that I abhor?  As they waft past on the air?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: I will not dignify the question.

Scampi: Likely not.  So you can’t smell it?

Peter: No.

Scampi: It’s gone now anyway.

Peter: This has nothing to do with me.

Scampi: A comfortable fantasy, isn’t it?

Peter: What is?

Scampi: Jeder ist allein.

Peter: I don’t know what that is.

Scampi: It’s nothing.


Scampi: Today is a mixture of sun and cloud.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Would you like to have a nap?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I could watch the door.

Peter: For what?

Scampi: Meteorological dissonance.

Peter: I am slightly tired.

Scampi: It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

Peter: It is.


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


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

Peter: Amen?

Scampi: Hallelooja!


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.


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.


Peter: Anyhow.


Peter: What was that?

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

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes.


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.


Scampi: What do you think of that?

Peter: People say this sort of thing sometimes.

Scampi: That’s right.


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.”


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.


Scampi: Peter.

Peter: ‘Tis I.

Scampi: You know what Dan said?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: [READS ALOUD.]


Scampi: Can you imagine!  He said for me to mention this to you.

Peter: I believe Matthew Arnold said that.

Scampi: Ridiculous.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Matthew Arnold has never asked me to mention anything.  To you or anyone else.

Peter: That quote.

Scampi: Oh.  Matthew Arnold wrote it, maybe.

Peter: There isn’t much maybe about it.

Scampi: Humph.

Peter: So, this is some sort of classical bullshit fest?

Scampi: Peter, how could you?

Peter: How could I what?

Scampi: But it’s so pretty.

Peter: We are all pretty.

Scampi: Well, well.  Mr Cocksure.


Scampi: I can feel the sandy beach.  I can see the cliffs!

Peter: You can do a lot of things, it seems.

Scampi: Yeah, sure.  I can lick an icecreamcone if I’d of bought one last summer on the side of the highway.

Peter: Tense disagreement.

Scampi: That’s no lie.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Perhaps.  In time.  Hum.  Do you think Matthew Arnold accepts fan letters?

Peter: Are you having some massive hemorrhage that’s affecting your grasp of chronology?

Scampi: Says you.  Maybe I’m a mystic.

Peter: [hisses like an alkaline battery.]

Scampi: If I may say, your own existence is highly implausible.  Before you start twittering baroque minuets in my ear.

Peter: Before I what?

Scampi: It’s true, I’m not a mystic.  But the point is, I could be.  And you’d just be sitting there buzzing like a giant calculator.  Taking up a New York block with your messianic algorithms.

Peter: I would do no such thing.

Scampi: Don’t bet on it, mister.

Peter: I am not a betting man.

Scampi: That’s none of my business.  Save it for Blaise Pascal.


Scampi: Woah.


Scampi [whispering]: I’m just going to make some tea.

Peter: Whilst I shall glower to myself for full five minutes.

Scampi: And may I compliment you on your choice of ties?

Peter: [sighs] You may.

Scampi: Thank you.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: We can see each other.  Can’t we?

Peter: Can we not?  Why wouldn’t we?

Scampi: If we had fully descended into darkness, would we think we could see each other?  When we couldn’t?

Peter: If it was dark enough, I don’t see how we could see anything.  We are not, ahem, bats.

Scampi: Maybe you aren’t.

Peter: Are you a bat?

Scampi: Why don’t you bounce some sound waves off me and find out?

Peter: I decline.

Scampi: Like a verb.  Sans action.  Oh, hum.  The tea is ready!


Scampi: Here you are.

Peter: What were you laughing at?

Scampi: When?

Peter: What were you laughing at just now?

Scampi: I was just getting us some tea.  This is not a crime.

Peter: It is not.

Scampi:  Agreed.  A just conclusion, to be sure.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: I wonder if my memory of you would outlast you yourself.  Or the greyscale in the air between us.

Peter: I don’t know what that means.

Scampi: I do.

Peter: I have my doubts.

Scampi: Yes.  You parade them daily.

Peter: Excuse me.

Scampi: Explain yourself first.

Peter: There’s nothing to explain.

Scampi: Then there is nothing to excuse.


Scampi: If you were an idea of mine, glowing in my head, you know, glittering like freezing rain or that type of thing.

Peter: If.

Scampi: Would you be bright enough to light your own way?

Peter: You’ve lost me.

Scampi: But in the leftover shine you could find your way back.

Peter: That’s not the sort of thing I understand.

Scampi: Yeah yeah.

Peter: In fact, I don’t think that’s the sort of thing anyone understands.

Scampi: Sour grapes.

Peter: I can’t hear you.  You’re mumbling.

Scampi: Oops.

Peter: You know why no one understands that sort of thing?

Scampi: I’m not listening.

Peter: Because it doesn’t make any sense.  That’s why.

Scampi: You pause to make dents?  Is that what you said?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I guess I’m not the only one who mumbles!  Around here.


Scampi: Hee hee.  You should see yourself right now.

Peter: No thanks.

Scampi: Your incisors look like they’re ready to pop out of your face.  Canus petursus.

Peter: Spurious Latin.

Scampi: Don’t talk about Latin that way.

Peter: You know very well what I meant.

Scampi: Maybe I do.  Maybe I don’t.

Peter: No need to look so pleased with yourself.

Scampi: Why’s that?  Do you find it maddening?


Scampi: Say what you want about it.

Peter: About what?

Scampi: Clocks.

Peter: I do maintain, they move clockwise.

Scampi: We are the noisy armies and the detritus they leave behind and the quiet before they arrived.  All at once.

Peter: We who?

Scampi: And we are a couple of swallows.  A couple of sideswiping crustacea on the beach, blinking crabbily back and forth.

Peter: No doubt we are all these things.

Scampi: And because you are glowing in the dark—

Peter: I am doing no such thing.

Scampi: Then what am I using to read?  A pocket flashlight?


Scampi: Certainly not.  Calm yourself.


Scampi: There’s no way I can see this far for nothing.


Scampi: I’m angry.


Peter: Mm.  Uninteresting.


Scampi: I went walking on the railroad tracks last week.


Peter: Uh-huh.


Scampi: I sat down in the middle of the tracks and had a picnic.  The sun was setting.


Peter: On the tracks?


Scampi: How poetic!  No, in the sky.


Peter: You sat down on the tracks?


Scampi: I don’t think it counts as a picnic if you’re standing up.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: It was beautiful.  My mouth was full of apple.




Right when the sun was turning into grey soup at the end of the view, I saw a deer.


Peter: On the tracks?


Scampi: Yeah on the tracks.  She looked at me with her big deer eye.


Peter: She?


Scampi: Yes.


Peter: What leads you to believe it was a she?


Scampi: Because the Yankee’s ballcap she had on her head was pink.  How do you think I knew?


Peter: Oh.


Scampi: I had the urge to lie down on the tracks, dig myself a groove like a fairy tale hero, and just let the train come.




Imagine all those commuters, flying over me like rubberband airplanes.


Peter: Eviscerating your cranium…..


Scampi: You wish.  Will you have some tea?


Peter: No.  Thank you.


Scampi: I think you’re wrong about me.


Peter: Pardon?


Scampi: I think, for your own convenience, you’ve made up things about me that aren’t true.


Peter: Oh?  What makes you think that?


Scampi: Because you wear them like a hooded sweatshirt.


Peter: That’s your opinion.


Scampi: I can see the strings dangling all the way down your front.


Scampi: Did I tell you about the other time I fell in love?

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What a thing to say.


Scampi: Well, can you imagine?

Peter: Ho hum.

Scampi: So it’s like this.

Peter: Are you upset about something?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: That’s right.


Scampi: I would like to talk about humanism.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Desiderius Erasmus.  Eh?  This means something to you?

Peter: I am familiar with the name.

Scampi: Ho ho.

Peter: I know who Erasmus is.

Scampi: Oh, I don’t doubt it.  Not for a second!

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: I don’t know anything about him.  It’s all very tragical.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: These Reformation types and their crazy ways.  I want no part of it!

Peter: Has someone been inviting you to take part in the Reformation?

Scampi: Ridiculous.  Peter, you are simply nuts.

Peter: [offended]

Scampi: Well, there’s no need to take offence.

Peter: You have just accused me of being nuts.

Scampi: Impossible!  I simply want some tea.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Do you want some tea?

Peter: Well.

Scampi: Oh, please, do take your time.  I am a tea-making factory, here for your convenience.


Scampi: You little Gatling gun, you.

Peter: Are you speaking to me?

Scampi: No.


Scampi: You wouldn’t have guessed this about me.

Peter: Guessed what?

Scampi: Precisely!  No one would have guessed.

Peter: I am not fond of guessing.

Scampi: No, you aren’t.


Scampi: It’s not impossible to imagine, however, that I would have spent four days of my life sleeping through the night, for example.

Peter: A contradiction in terms?

Scampi: Please do not be such an asshole, Peter.


Peter: Would you not say ‘proved’, rather?

Scampi: Mind your own business!  God.

Peter: Deus.

Scampi: Out of the machine!

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: It could have been four days.  It could have been six nights.

Peter: Of sleeping?

Scampi: Of perfection.

Peter: Ah, perfection.

Scampi: I don’t appreciate your sneering.

Peter: I?  Sneering?

Scampi: Your mouth is full of melted butter.

Peter: [with difficulty] It is not.

Scampi: If I had known, I would’ve made popcorn.  Anyway, we can make room in our lives for our humanist friends, of course.

Peter: Ah yes, our humanist friends.

Scampi: Not to mention our four-legged brethren.

Peter: Yes, such as cats.  Do cats like to eat catnip?

Scampi: No.  It causes them to vomit.

Peter: Really?

Scampi: Of course.

Peter: I am suspicious of this information.

Scampi: Well, that says plenty about you.  But nothing about catnip.

Peter: I –

Scampi: Your mastery of the first-person pronoun has been recorded.  Now, what was I saying?

Peter: It is impossible to determine.

Scampi: One day you might wake up in the morning to an appropriately-coloured sky.  There is a human creature sleeping next to you.

Peter: This is hardly controversial.

Scampi: Exactly.

Peter: You have a problem with the colour of the sky?

Scampi: I do not.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Another morning, you do not wake up at all.  You sleep until dusk.

Peter: [nervously] Oh, the lifestyle of the common layabed.

Scampi: Are you nervous about something?

Peter: [nervously] No.

Scampi: Because you seem nervous.

Peter: Stop interfering with my delivery.  I am entirely lacking in nerves.

Scampi: Have I hit a nerve?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: In either case, you are both of them, the happy early riser, and the lonely evening layabed.  Both of them at once.

Peter: Where is this going?

Scampi: Nowhere.  You get out of bed, you don’t get out of bed.  Doesn’t matter.

Peter: I see.


Scampi: You know what happened to me yesterday?

Peter: You got out of bed and fell in love?

Scampi: No.  In the afternoon I heard the sound of birds and went outside.

Peter: A daring tangent.

Scampi: I looked up into the tree, it was all green leaves.  I could hear the birds everywhere, you know, like a chipmunk farm.

Peter: Ahem.  Our winged neighbours are sometimes rather loud.

Scampi: Yes.  But I couldn’t see them.

Peter: Because of the leaves?

Scampi: I don’t know.  I couldn’t see a single one.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: That’s what happened to me yesterday.

Peter: Did anything else happen?

Scampi: Not really, no.


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?




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.


Scampi: I, for one, have no problem discussing things that aren’t there.


Peter: Isn’t that called gossiping?


Scampi: Not at all. Gossiping is discussing people that aren’t there.


Peter: I agree.


Scampi: But I said things. Things.


Peter: So, you like to gossip about things.


Scampi: You are deliberately obfuscating my purposes.


Peter: How dare you.


Scampi: Ditto.


Peter: I didn’t realise you were in such a foul mood today.


Scampi: And this is how you achieve détente? Honestly.


Peter: Détente?


Scampi: Oh, I’m sorry. That entry in your lexicon has probably been hacked out. With a pair of plastic children’s arts and crafts scissors. Probably.


Peter: With what?


Scampi: Forget it.


Peter: How can I forget it if I don’t know what it is?


Scampi: [Nice use of italics. Copycat.]


Peter: Excuse me?


Scampi: Nice weather we’re having.


Peter: Uh.


Scampi: Fancy a trip to the ballet?


Peter: What, now?


Scampi: Why the hell not, Peter?


Peter: There’s no need to say my name so…..


Scampi: Acidly?


Peter: Well, yes.


Scampi: I wasn’t.


Peter: Oh.


Scampi: I would never use your own name as a weapon against you.


Peter: Well, that’s a comfort.


Scampi: I was merely suggesting that perhaps a trip to the ballet’s in order.


Peter: Okay.


Scampi: Perfect. I shall book our tickets presently.


Peter: That is to say, I must first consult my schedule—


Scampi: There is a hard k sound in that word, I’ll have you know.


Peter: Perhaps I have a previous engagement. And of course, today may not be—


Scampi: Right.


Peter: You see.


Scampi: A simple ‘no’ would suffice.


Peter: When has a simple ‘no’ sufficed with you? May I be so presumptuous as to inquire?


Scampi: You wouldn’t know if it had.


Peter: Well, when has it?


Scampi: When last you tried it. And when was that?


Peter: Well, I—


Scampi: Bingo!


Peter: Are you calling me a hound?


Scampi: In a manner of speaking.




Scampi: Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of sunsets lately.


Peter: [murmurs.]


Scampi: Not that you care. But I have been present for a number of them. Setting suns. Well, I don’t always see them. But I know what’s going on.


Peter: When?


Scampi: When the sun sets. Like, I might not be watching the colour.


Peter: Fascinating.


Scampi: Yes. Nonetheless, I know night’s coming on.


Peter: It is?


Scampi: It has been. It was.


Peter: Is this a grammar review?


Scampi: Probably. With bonus background squalor.


Peter: Such as?


Scampi: The racket of crows. Racketeering.


Peter: But that means –


Scampi: I know what racketeering means, Maestro. Jay-sus.


Peter: I believe you just called me Maestro.


Scampi: I’d like to see you prove that in a court of law.


Peter: I could.


Scampi: No doubt. I am waiting, on tenterhooks, as they say.


Peter: I feel you are making a mockery.


Scampi: Of what, your legal aspirations?


Peter: No,


Scampi: Litigation’s not your strong suit, I don’t think.


Peter: I never said it was.


Scampi: Yes. And I’m saying it isn’t.


Peter: The accuracy of your judgment has been called into question before.


Scampi: By who? The invisible magistrate you’re busy romancing with your silver tongue?


Peter: Pardon me?


Scampi: Ha! Pardoned, my lord!


Peter: Really.


Scampi: Perambulation, now. This could be your strong suit.


Peter: I am an excellent walker.


Scampi: And a shameless braggart, to boot.


Peter: Are you speaking of me?


Scampi: Har. Not at all, not at all. I am speaking around you. Do you know what they call this?


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: That’s right. Circumlocution. Like a choo-choo train in the 1800s.


Peter: I object.


Scampi: Sustained!


Peter: That’s enough of that, that,


Scampi: Sustained, I say! Case closed!


Peter: Uh huh.


Scampi: Congratulations, counsel.


Peter: (flattered) Well, thank you.


Scampi: You are an excellent specimen of human elasticity!


Peter: Oh. I.


Scampi: A barrister of note! A solicitudinous solicitor!


Peter: Yes well.


Scampi: In light of your great achievements, I would hereby like to call you to the bar!


Peter: Wait, doesn’t that happen before—


Scampi: The COFFEE BAR!


Peter: What?


Scampi: Pardon? Or would you like some tea?


Peter: In fact, I would.


Scampi: Is that all? Why didn’t you say so in the first place?


Peter: I don’t know.


Scampi: One pot o’ tea, coming right up.


Peter: Ah.


Scampi: Let me just put the kettle on.


Peter: Rather.


Scampi: Oh look!


Peter: Yes?


Scampi: The sun is setting.


Peter: Correct.


Scampi: The colours. At the risk of repeating myself.


Peter: You brave that precipice regularly.


Scampi: I do.


Peter: Yes.


Scampi: It is a risk I am willing to take.


Peter: It is.


Scampi: I do love the colours, Peter.


Peter: I know you do.


Scampi: I love them every time.