pt 143: THE OCELOT & THE EAGLE

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.

PETER WRINKLES HIS NOSE IN DISTASTE LIKE AN ADOLESCENT SKUNK.

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.

PAUSE.

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.

PAUSE.

Scampi: To get to the other side?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: I can’t think straight.

Peter: Yes. This is readily apparent.

SCAMPI TOSSES SPINY DARTS AT PETER’S HEAD, PLAYFULLY.

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.

PETER SIGHS.

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.

Advertisements

pt 36: ONION SANDWICHES

Peter: Crunch crunch.

 

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

 

Peter: It is an onion sandwich.

 

Scampi: Hm.  [SCAMPI HAS NO AVAILABLE COMMENTS HERE.  THERE ARE NO OPTIONS.]

 

Peter: Well.  You’re awfully quiet today.

 

PAUSE.

 

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?

 

SCAMPI AND PETER REALISE AT THIS PRECISE MOMENT THAT THEY HAVE REACHED AN IMPASSE.  OR PERHAPS A CANYON.  ON THE ONE SIDE OF WHICH ARE CAMPED GROWNUPS.  ON THE OTHER SIDE OF WHICH SCAMPI AND PETER SQUABBLE LIKE CHILDREN.

 

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!

 

SCAMPI IS ALREADY HALFWAY ACROSS THE CITY, PLAYING PINBALL AND LISTENING TO THE WHO, AND THUS, SHE MISSES THIS LAST REMARK.  EVEN IF SHE HAD HEARD IT, HOWEVER, SHE DOES NOT SPEAK ITALIAN.

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.

PAUSE.

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.

PAUSE.

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.

SCAMPI LAUGHS AT THIS UNTIL SUNSET, GIVE OR TAKE, AT WHICH TIME PETER DECIDES TO HAVE SOME TEA, AFTER ALL.

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.

PAUSE.

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.

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 62: LET US BE TRUE

Scampi: Peter.

Peter: ‘Tis I.

Scampi: You know what Dan said?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: [READS ALOUD.]

PAUSE.

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.

PAUSE.

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.

THUNDER.

Scampi: Woah.

PAUSE.

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!

PAUSE.

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.

PAUSE.

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.

PAUSE.

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?

A GULL ALIGHTS ON A POCKET OF AIR JUST OUTSIDE THE WINDOW.

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?

Peter: A POCKET FLASHLIGHT?  What?

Scampi: Certainly not.  Calm yourself.

PETER SIMMERS.

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

pt 30: DEER ON THE TRACKS

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.

 

[PAUSE.]

 

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.

 

[PETER INSPECTS HIS NAILS.]

 

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.

pt 109: HEARTBEATS

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

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What a thing to say.

Peter:

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 YAWNS.  PETER YAWNS.

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.

PETER TURNS THE PAGE OF HIS MAGAZINE WITH PRECISION.

Scampi: You little Gatling gun, you.

Peter: Are you speaking to me?

Scampi: No.

PAUSE.

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.

PAUSE.

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.

PAUSE, IN WHICH PETER’S SEETHING CAN BE PRESUMED, IF NOT PROVEN.

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.

PAUSE.

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.

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.

pt 70: HATCHLINGS

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.

 

PAUSE.

 

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.