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 104: STOUT

Peter: Are you suggesting I lack nous?

Scampi: What a vocabulary!

Peter: I am very sensitive about my vocabulary.

Scampi: I know you are, Peter.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: You enjoy meats and cheeses.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Don’t you?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Of course you do.

Peter: I do.

Scampi: You like to eat pork.  The flesh of pigs.

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: Why do you think that is?

Peter: It is delicious.

Scampi: Beware of subjective truths!

Peter: Me?

Scampi: The epistemological pot calling the linguistical kettle black?  Is that what you’re saying?

Peter: Yes.

PAUSE.

Peter: That doesn’t make any sense.

Scampi: How did you understand it, then?

Peter: Did I?

Scampi: You did.  You assented.

Peter: I did.

Scampi: Are you having a crisis of faith?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Are you sure?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I am not a man of the cloth.

Scampi: I suppose not.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are you having a crisis of faith?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Yes, I would say that you lack a modicum of nous.  I would.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes.  It is quite apparent.

Peter: You are certainly entitled to your opinion.

Scampi: I hadn’t noticed that.  Says who?

Peter: A nice, clear day.  Clear skies.

Scampi: I remarked on that already.  I already pointed it out.

Peter: When?

Scampi: I did.  You were sleeping, like Rapunzel.

Peter: I wasn’t sleeping.

Scampi: Neither was Rapunzel.  Technically.

Peter: I am not blonde.

Scampi: I am not a spinach farmer.  So what?

Peter: There is no need to be so argumentative.

Scampi: Really?  Who told you that?

Peter: I have spoken.

Scampi: Yes, you have.  Do you want a new shirt?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I have shirts.

Scampi: So what?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Cotton shirts are very popular amongst men of your generation.

Peter: What generation?

Scampi: Well, that is the question.  That’s what I’m saying.

Peter: Pardon me, but I find it exceedingly difficult to keep track of what it is that you are saying.  From one day to the next, if you will.

Scampi: I won’t!

Peter: How juvenile.

Scampi: No pasarán!

PAUSE.

Scampi: Ah ha!  You don’t even know what that means!

Peter: Knowing what a word means, and knowing what you mean by it are two rather different things.

Scampi: But of course!  A whole new kettle of fish!

Peter: Would it be possible for you to modulate your voice?

Scampi: In what sense?

Peter: Lower it.

Scampi: Oh ho.  Hello, children, and welcome to the imperative.

Peter: There are many tasks to be accomplished.

Scampi: Yes, of course.  Let us preserve the Anglo-Saxon hegemony.  Et cetera.  [YAWNS THEATRICALLY]

Peter: What are you suggesting about me?

Scampi: ‘Scusi?

Peter: I feel that you are making inferences and allusions.  Offensive ones.

Scampi: You would.

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Want to make some prank calls?

Peter: No.

Scampi: What?  Really?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Yes, you do want to make prank calls?

Peter: No.

Scampi: No what?

Peter: No, I do not.

Scampi: Oh.  Have you ever met a man whose woman you didn’t like?

Peter: Woman?

Scampi: Yes.  Those creatures you feign disinterest in.

Peter: I am not sure what is being asked of me.

Scampi: Wherein lies the disingenuous germ of your existential crisis.

Peter: This is very rude.

Scampi: No, no.  That’s not the intent at all.  I’m simply asking a question.

Peter: Of course.  You have a tendency to do this.

Scampi: I do not.  Anyhow, you were right about the weather.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: It’s a beautiful day.  It really is.

Peter: [SIGHS.]  Yes.

Scampi: Do you believe there will be others?

Peter: Other whats?

Scampi: Days like this.

Peter: I am not a meteorologist.

Scampi: No.  I suppose you aren’t.

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: But the light today.  It’s just so pretty.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: Perhaps there will be light like this tomorrow.

Peter: It is a possibility.

Scampi: [bitterly] Yes.

pt 66: SKILSAW, BIRDSONG

Scampi: The days are growing longer now, Peter.

Peter: Indeed they are.

Scampi: I’ve noticed this isn’t doing much for you.

Peter: What’s that supposed to mean?

Scampi: Well, the light, you know, the longer-lit days. It isn’t doing much for your outlook.

Peter: Why should it?

Scampi: Why shouldn’t it?

Peter: I refuse to engage in this childish match of table tennis.

Scampi: You would.

Peter: There’s a hole in my trousers.

Scampi: It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Peter: It has.

Scampi: That looks mendable. No fear, Peter: help is on the way.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Sure. What’s that high, buzzing noise?

Peter: What?

Scampi: Can’t you hear it?

Peter: No. I cannot.

Scampi: You can’t hear that?

Peter: I told you so.

Scampi: Well, I can. It’s very frustrating.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Ugh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Ah, there. It’s stopped.

Peter: Congratulations.

Scampi: How come I could hear it and you couldn’t?

Peter: Perhaps this has to do with our temporal locations.

Scampi: Huh?

Peter: I’m suggesting.

Scampi: Because I’m ten hours and fifteen minutes away from you, you mean?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I don’t see why that has to get in the way.

Peter: [SIGHS.] Okay.

Scampi: Do you see what I see?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: A star, a star!

Peter: I don’t see it.

Scampi: Shining in the night, with a tail as big as a kite!

Peter: Oh god.

Scampi: Precisely. Bam BA bam BA, da da da da DA, da da DA bam BA bam bam BA!

Peter: Aahh.

Scampi: [humming happily] Do you know what I know?

Peter: I can’t even imagine.

Scampi: Oh, Peter. What a burden.

Peter: [tightly] I assure you, I am in perfect spirits.

Scampi: Perfection without imagination? Where’s the spirit there?

Peter: You misconstrue.

Scampi: I do. You misrepresent.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: I like the song, but I don’t like the volume.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: That’s right. The noise of the music is cluttering the music itself.

Peter: What music?

Scampi: The music in my ear.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: You see?

Peter: I really don’t know what I’m supposed to say to that.

Scampi: I’m sure you’ll think of something. Eventually.

Peter: I am so tired.

Scampi: I know you are, Peter. I’m tired, too.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: We could have some coffee.

Peter: Maybe later.

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: I have always loved the view from this window.

Scampi: The light is clear.

Peter: Clearly what?

Scampi: See-through. You can see all the way down to the water.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Feel free to sit a while.

Peter: Thank you. I shall.

pt 117: O YE DAUGHTERS

Scampi: I have come to these several conclusions.

Peter: It is rather early.

Scampi: No, it isn’t.  Or do you mean premature?

Peter: It is eight o’clock in the morning.

Scampi: No, it isn’t.

Peter: Currently.  Yes it is.

Scampi: Peter, that isn’t true.

PETER CONSULTS A TIMEPIECE.

Peter: Ah.  Well perhaps it is noon.

Scampi: Or nightfall.  In any event, the conclusions are the same.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Inconclusive.  That’s what they are.

Peter: That certainly clears things up.

Scampi: Yes.  My heart is full.

Peter: Of what?

Scampi: Shiny treasures.

Peter (eagerly): Treasures?

Scampi: Well, no.  An assortment of items, really.

Peter: Ah.  Items.

Scampi: Have you ever inadvertently put a solid object in the laundry with your clothes?

Peter: My clothes are solid objects.

Scampi: No, no.  You know what I mean: something that makes a thunking noise.

Peter: I know what a thunking noise is.

Scampi: How ridiculous.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, that’s the noise I’m thinking of.

Peter: Good for you.

Scampi: This remains to be seen.  Can you tell me why you’re such an assiduous ignorer of history?

Peter: I did not come here to be insulted.

Scampi: Come here?  Nobody came here.  I was just wondering.

Peter: I do not ignore history.

Scampi: Of course not!  You just don’t pay any attention to it.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Nothing wrong with that.

Peter: Could we please change the topic of discussion?

Scampi: Naturally.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You first.

Peter: I have been observing my fingernails.

Scampi: You might do better to clean them.

Peter: I am currently in the observational phase.  These data may  be used for practical purposes at a later date.

Scampi: How scientific.

Peter: Indeed.

SCAMPI DRIFTS.

Peter: Were you sleeping just now?

Scampi: Perhaps.

pt 82: APRIL

Scampi: Let us listen to the birds sing.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We shall be immune to the trivial fripperies and discontentments of the modern-day world.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Like that snooty guy in the bookstore.

Peter: He wasn’t snooty.

Scampi: Who said he was?

Peter: You did.  You just did.

Scampi: [snorts] Nonsense.

DIAPHANOUS SILENCE.

Scampi: It sure is a beautiful day.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: This is springtime, right?

Peter: Is it?

Scampi: Well?

Peter: What do you wish to know?

Scampi: What season is this?

Peter: Spring.

Scampi: Well.  That’s what I was asking.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I love this song.

Peter: What song?

Scampi: It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Fine.

SCAMPI HUMS HAPPILY.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: What?

PAUSE.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Lovely weather.

Scampi: I said that already.

Peter: Not exactly.

Scampi: Yes, I did.

Peter: You said—

Scampi: Don’t tell me what I said.  I am not a gnat.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: As though I have the memory of an infant octopus.  I know what I said.

Peter: Octopi are relatively bright creatures.

Scampi: Octopuses.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Yeah, yeah.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: What?  What?

Peter: You are being dismissive.

Scampi: Jealous?

Peter: I decline to comment.

Scampi: Heh.  Ha.

Peter: What’s so funny?

Scampi: You want some lemonade?

Peter: No.  I do not.

Scampi: Ha.  Ho ho.

Peter: What are you laughing about?

Scampi: Why are you so against laughing?  All of a sudden?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Well then.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Is it spring now?  Or was it spring then?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Did this happen already?

Peter: What?

Scampi: This.

Peter: Now?

Scampi: Or then.  I mean, if this has already occurred, then it isn’t now.

Peter: I am not enamoured with this breed of sophistry.

Scampi: Peter!

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: What time is it?

Peter: After noon.

Scampi: But that’s everything.  Everything except twelve o’clock, anyway.

Peter: After noon.  Before sunset.

Scampi: What breathtaking accuracy.

Peter: I lay no claims upon perfection.

Scampi: You should live in Switzerland.  And get adjusted one one thousandth of a second per annum.

Peter: That’s not what happens.

Scampi: Maybe not yet.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: But it might be what happens next.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Will you remember this spring separately?

Peter: From what?

Scampi: From all the others.

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: Come on.

Peter: Presumably I will remember certain events.  In their context.

Scampi: I don’t even know what that means.

Peter: I cannot predict the future.

Scampi: I can.

pt 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.