pt 126: WE CAN’T ALL COME FROM SOMEWHERE

Scampi: Blah blah. Blah blah.

MUSICAL INTERLUDE.

Scampi: And so it goes.

Peter: Am I included in this?

Scampi: Peripherally, I suppose.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: But not really.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: If you’re going to sit on the tracks, you must sit next to them.

Peter: This does not parse.

Scampi: If you wish to sit down, amidst the urban landscape, you can’t get in the way of the train.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: It isn’t the point. It will cause you to miss the point.

Peter: I wouldn’t want to do that.

Scampi: Well, no.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you think of yourself as a scientist?

Peter: No.

Scampi: I don’t think of you as being a scientist.

Peter: Then we are agreed.

Scampi: If that’s how you want to see it.

Peter: Are we not agreed?

Scampi: Be it resolved.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Sometimes, you know, people put those spiky things on buildings. So the pigeons can’t sit on them.

Peter: This is true.

Scampi: Doesn’t that bother you?

Peter: No.

Scampi: No?

Peter: I must confess, it does not.

Scampi: Just wait ‘til I put spiky things on your desk chair. Then we’ll see what bothers you.

Peter: There is no need to be so threatening.

Scampi: Where you see no need, I see need everywhere.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: We are different creatures, you and I.

Peter: We are not a different species, however.

Scampi: How can you be so sure?

Peter: It is a fact.

Scampi: You and your facts. Facts have never stood up to anything.

Peter: What have you got against facts?

Scampi: What did Senator McCarthy have against facts?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Nothing at all. He just rolled on over, like a monster truck.

Peter: And you wish to take McCarthy’s attitude towards truth?

Scampi: I wish to inform you.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Facts are very nice in your little basement apartment.

Peter: I don’t have a basement apartment.

Scampi: In your little hibernation cave. But they won’t save you, in the end.

Peter: Do I require saving?

Scampi: That’s all I’m saying about that.

Peter: Very helpful.

Scampi: I am helpful. Not that you care.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You can see your breath.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: This is a sign.

Peter: Of respiration?

Scampi: Basically.

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pt 132: GLOW-BEASTS

Scampi: Take, for example, a pigeon on a post.

Peter: What sort of a post?

Scampi: A telephone pole.

Peter: On the pole or on the wire?

Scampi: What, you can’t take my word for it?

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: On the post, the post.  The top of the log.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I mean, the pole.  Turning this way and that.  Pecking around.  Surveying the territory.

PETER PLAYS A GAME OF CAT’S CRADLE WITH HIS CHIN.

Scampi: What is a bird doing, I wonder, turning round and round like that?

Peter: Like what?

Scampi: The way a dog does on a hearth.

Peter: Do birds get dizzy?

Scampi: Basically – no.

Peter: Erm.

Scampi: Cf: Yes.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: No can be compared with yes.  No?

Peter: I suppose.

Scampi: Why not?  Compared to yes, no isn’t likely to be something a snake might say.

Peter: You feel that snakes tend towards optimism?

Scampi: Or hissing, at least.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I don’t think you have to be an optimist to look on the bright side. 

Peter: This is not my area of expertise.

Scampi: Certainly not!  Har har.

Peter: [OFFENDED.]

Scampi: Do you know what ‘e.g.’ stands for?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Uh-huh.

Peter: I know what ‘e.g.’ stands for.

Scampi: It stands for truth, justice, and brotherhood.  For starters.

Peter: Naturally.

Scampi: It also stands for exempli gratia.

Peter: Why the italics?

Scampi: Latin is often spoken in italics.  The country’s full of them.

Peter: What country?

Scampi: Italy.

Peter: Is full of?

Scampi: Italians.

Peter: Stop that.

Scampi: Humph.  Some people OFTEN confuse ‘cf’ with ‘for example’.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: I am not naming names, however.  As you can see.

Peter: Yes, you are startlingly gracious.

Scampi: You certainly appear startled.  Like a turtle-dove.

Peter: Thank you. 

Scampi: Coo. Cf: noises made by snakes.

Peter: Rattle. 

PAUSE.

Scampi: I am also surveying the territory.

Peter: And how does our kingdom appear?

Scampi: It appears to best advantage in this light.

Peter: Excellent.

Scampi: Actually, everything appears to best advantage in this light.

Peter: How advantageous.

Scampi: I am pro-sunshine.

Peter: Good for you.

Scampi: Good for plants, too.  Plants are pro-sunshine.

Peter: I see little controversy in this statement.  Unless the implication is that plants are sentient.

Scampi: They are!

Peter: Plants?

Scampi: Of course.  Look at you: you’re a plant.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: You don’t need an excuse to have vines for toes.  I’m as open-minded as the next guy.

Peter: I am not a plant.  Really.

Scampi: You’re sentient, aren’t you?

Peter: I believe so, most of the time.

Scampi: Plants are, too.  You’re a plant!

Peter: That manoeuvre has a name.

Scampi: Don’t I know it.  I practically invented the genre.

Peter: [SIGH-perbole.]

Scampi: That’s what happens if you’re going to sigh while talking.  No one will see what you’re saying.

PETER ANGLES ONE OF HIS TENDRILS SKYWARD.

Scampi: Anyway, some plants glow at night.  Like mushrooms.

Peter: I am not a mushroom.

Scampi: Tee hee.  No, certainly not.  You are a cellist.

Peter: Incorrect.

Scampi: How so?

Peter: I do not play the cello.

Scampi: Why not?

Peter: I – it’s not something I know how to do.

Scampi: Well, you should learn.  That’s my view.

Peter: Yes.  Quite.

Scampi: Our verdant and herbaceous friends are welcome to take up the cello.  This string quartet is non-discriminatory.

Peter: I shall take that into account.

Scampi: Pray, do.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know, some people miss the sun all winter long.

Peter: Yes.  I am not one of those people.

Scampi: Neither am I.

Peter: I might be.

Scampi: Yes.  It’s the chlorophyll in your veins.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: You must soak your toes in water.  This will keep you fresh and alive.

Peter: Perhaps I shall avail myself of this excellent advice.

Scampi: [suspiciously] Oh?

Peter: [FALLS ASLEEP.]

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, that was unexpected.

pt 57: ROOSTING

Scampi: See, Peter,

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Well, I’m just saying.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: Well.  So there are these pigeons roosting all over the place.  Everywhere.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: I know you know this.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: You’ve seen a pigeon or two, in your time.

Peter: They are members of a moderately ubiquitous species.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Moving on in this vein.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: If you will.

Peter: I may.

Scampi: The city is full of brick buildings.  They are red-brick.  Or yellow.  Actually, there are a number of possibilities.

Peter: I do not dispute this.

Scampi: No, well.  I mean, you wouldn’t, would you?

Peter: I didn’t, which is rather more the material point.

Scampi: The material in question is in fact brick.  Whatever colour it might be.  The colour is immaterial.

Peter: You had something to say about pigeons.

Scampi: And I said it.  It led to bricks, basically.

Peter: Pigeons lead to bricks?

Scampi: Effectively.

Peter: That’s absurd.

Scampi: It isn’t.

PETER SIGHS.

Scampi: Look, if you see a whole bunch of pigeons.  Taking it easy I mean.

Peter: If I did.

Scampi: Where are they?

Peter: Are we expecting someone?

Scampi: What?

Peter: Where are who?

Scampi: The pigeons.

Peter: What pigeons?

Scampi: The hypothetical theoretical pigeons.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Peter!  The pigeons I was talking about.

PETER STARES LIKE A CABBAGE ON A BARROW AT THE COUNTY FAIR.

Scampi: I said, If you were to see all these pigeons.  Like, just say you did.

Peter: If they were gathered en masse.

Scampi: Which, you’ll admit, is not such a rarity.

Peter: You speak the truth.

Scampi: Well, where might they be sitting?

Peter: In the eaves.  On the roof.

Scampi: Quite right.

PETER SHRUGS.

Scampi: Of a brick building!  That’s what I’m saying.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: That it’s not such a stretch as you made out.  Pigeons to brick.  So,

PAUSE.

Scampi: What are you doing with that measuring tape?

Peter: Ensuring our continued felicity.

Scampi: Are you distancing yourself from me?

Peter: I’m just checking up on the numbers, my friend.

Scampi: My friend!  Funny guy.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I just think how you talk is funny sometimes.  In a good way.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Is that okay with you?

Peter: I suppose it is.

Scampi: That’s the best supposition you’ve made all day.

Peter: Humph.

Scampi: You should have it framed.  Bronzed, even.

Peter: Are you quite alright?

Scampi: I dunno.  Why do you ask?

Peter: Far be it from me to pry.

Scampi: [Snickers.]

Peter: Ahem.  But you don’t seem exactly yourself today.

Scampi: I suppose that’s true.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yes.  I feel more like a reasonable facsimile.

Peter: Why’s that?

Scampi: I don’t know.  Or maybe I do.

Peter: I think that correctly identifies the two possibilities.

Scampi: Thankyou.

Peter: Can I get you something?

Scampi: Naw.  Maybe.

Peter: A coffee, perhaps?

Scampi: Um yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Thanks, Peter.

Peter: My pleasure.

Scampi: Yes.  I think I’m trying to situate myself.  You know?  The pigeons, the brick.  I mean, I haven’t talked about the weather.

Peter: You have not.

Scampi: Are we in a snowglobe?  Are we galloping across the plains?

Peter: What questions.

Scampi: In my left hand is the entire sky.  Including the ground it’s touching.

Peter: It looks rather like a coffee mug.

Scampi: No, no.  Listen Peter.

Peter: Don’t burn yourself.

Scampi: In my right hand, I’ve got the weather, the time of day.  That stuff.

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: I am juggling my own hands.  I am flapping them at a birdcage full of nouns.

Peter: I don’t follow you.

Scampi: No, you don’t.

Peter: Hm.  At least that’s settled.

Scampi: I just thought it would be nice to talk about some stable items.  Otherwise the extrapolation might vanquish me.  On a day like today I mean.  Surely you can see this.

Peter: You look peakish.

Scampi: I’m afraid to look down.

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

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

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

Scampi: What?

Peter: Do you have something against Russians?

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

Peter: Who?

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

Peter: That is truly unfortunate.

Scampi: Unctuous words on troubled waters.

Peter: Pardon?

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

Peter: That is not Russian.

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

Peter: [SNIFFS DELICATELY, LIKE A VICTORIAN LADY]

Scampi: Ho, ho.

Peter: What is the joke, pray tell?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

PAUSE.

Peter: Where did we go wrong?

A SPOON CLATTERS TO THE FLOOR.

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

Peter: Let’s start small.  We us.

Scampi: E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle!

Peter: I do not know what that means.

Scampi: Do you know what Dante means?

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

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

PAUSE.

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

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: To gaze upon the stars.

Peter: A noble pursuit, no doubt.

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

Peter: This was unintentional.

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

Peter: This could be a problem.

Scampi: It certainly could.

Peter: Yes.

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

Peter: The stars?

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

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: It is permitted to see the stars.

Peter: Lovely.

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

Peter: Correct.

Scampi: Technically.

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

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

Peter: Well.  Although I am not an astronomer.

Scampi: You know who’s an astronomer?

Peter: A number of persons are astronomers.

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

Peter: Are you trying to hint at something?

Scampi: Preposterous.

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

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

Peter: [LAUGHS].

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

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

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

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

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

Peter: This is something that could happen.

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

Peter: These are all possibilities.

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

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

Scampi: No.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I mean at some future date.

Peter: I have nothing to hide.

Scampi: Oh ho!

PETER GLOWERS.

Scampi: The milky circles over our heads.

Peter: Haloes?

Scampi: If you like.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Can you fly?

Peter: [sharply] Why would ask that?

Scampi: I dunno.  Just curious.

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

Scampi: I was just asking.  Pigeons can fly.

Peter: That has been determined.

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

Peter: I suppose.

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

Peter: No.

Scampi: How can you be so sure?

Peter: We have not been pigeons.

Scampi: But we have been stars.

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.