pt 99: OUR ANIMAL NATURE

Scampi: I think I was dreaming.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Sometimes I can’t tell.  You know.

Peter: I do not know.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: But how do you know that you don’t?

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I can’t tell if I’m dreaming or not.  Occasionally.

Peter: What are you suggesting?

Scampi: No need to get so nervous.  I’m just saying.

Peter: I am not nervous.

Scampi: Sure.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What do you dream about?

Peter: Peace and quiet.

Scampi: Very funny.  Can’t you remember your dreams?

Peter: I can.

Scampi: Well.  And what are they about?

Peter: This is very tedious.

Scampi: Isn’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I sometimes feel as if I inhabit a waking fog.

Peter: Perhaps you should have some coffee.

Scampi: That has nothing to do with it.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I am like a monster of my own creation.  Half-asleep.

Peter: Perhaps you should keep such thoughts to yourself.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean?

Peter: Forgive me.  I have a headache.

Scampi: Oh.  Okay.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Sorry.

Peter: It’s quite all right.

Scampi: Do you think we are in the dark?

Peter: That would certainly soothe this migraine.

Scampi: We’re in a cave, a bed of leaves.

Peter: Are you suggesting that we are hibernating?

Scampi: Like bears.

Peter: I am not a bear.

Scampi: We have collapsed from the exhaustion of open spaces.

Peter: I wouldn’t say “collapsed”.

Scampi: No, of course not.  You’d just do it.

Peter: I am a human man.

Scampi: An overdose of beauty can be a tricksy thing, Peter.  Beauty and possibilities.

Peter: Which causes you to transform into an apostate ursus experiencing a low degree of consciousness under a rock somewhere?

Scampi: Perhaps.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: There is the question of our animal nature.

Peter: We are bound by the flesh.

Scampi: I don’t know about you.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Oh, nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What good is the meadow if one’s mind remains a howling wilderness?

Peter: Do you feel that your mind is a howling wilderness?

Scampi: I feel that my memory of the meadow grows swampy.

Peter: Perhaps you are unwell.

Scampi: What a thing to say!

Peter: Lower your voice.

Scampi: I did.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: Maybe we should get some sleep.

Peter: We?

Scampi: I sleep, you sleep.

Peter: This is fundamentally illogical.

Scampi: Is not.  You might as well be sleeping.  If I’m asleep.

Peter: This is not the case.

Scampi: It might as well be.

Peter: SIGHS.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Can you hear the sound of running water?

Peter: A leaky faucet?

Scampi: I believe it is the sea.

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pt 131: BREAKWATER

Scampi: If you are searching for a safe harbour, let me give you some advice.

 

Peter: What could possibly entice you to believe that I am in need of a harbour?

 

Scampi: So, you don’t want my advice?

 

Peter: That is not what I said.

 

Scampi: So you do want my advice.

 

Peter: Well,

 

Scampi: I advise you, most firstly, to identify what it is you wish to be safe from, before you start ferreting around amongst the breakwaters.

 

Peter: Ahem. I would like to advise you, most firstly –

 

Scampi: What a strange way of putting things.

 

Peter: Pardon me?

 

Scampi: Not that we all couldn’t use a little shelter from the storm. This theme has been rigorously explored in popular song.

 

Peter: [SNIFFING ARISTOCRATICALLY.] Popular song?

 

Scampi: Don’t try hoaxing me. You know all about it.

 

PETER STROLLS THROUGH THE ENGLISH GARDEN IN HIS HEAD.

 

Scampi: Oh, are the robins out?

 

Peter: What’s that?

 

Scampi: Doctors have been known to do good work.

 

Peter: Well, yes.

 

Scampi: Doctor Grenfell, for example.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: I know that you do not know who that is.

 

Peter: That is not the accurate statement it purports to be.

 

Scampi: Purports! What’s that, the noise a tortoise makes when it walks?

 

Peter: Absurd.

 

Scampi: Doctor Grenfell worked in Labrador. He was a helper, you know.

 

Peter: Helping is important.

 

Scampi: For those who take the Hippopotamus Oaf, it is.

 

Peter: Now, really.

 

Scampi: What? What?

 

Peter: I refuse to rise to this bait.

 

Scampi: I like how the Hypostatic Oak functions as bait, to you. Such a gulping carp, you are.

 

Peter: [Hippocratically] I am not a carp.

 

Scampi: And I am not a hypocrite. Tee hee.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Naturally, fish do not have legs.

 

Peter: Tadpoles do.

 

Scampi: Tadpoles are not fish. And neither are we, for that matter.

 

Peter: Fishy.

 

Scampi: Hee haw. How galvanising. Peter Punster’s back in action!

 

Peter: That is not my surname.

 

Scampi: Oh, really?

 

Peter: Really.

 

Scampi: What is your surname, then?

 

Peter: I decline to mention it.

 

Scampi: Got something to hide, have we?

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: Trying to be all incognito, I see. Are you looking for work as a private eye, perhaps?

 

Peter: I am not. Each pronoun is as private as the next, to my way of thinking.

 

Scampi: Such a clever detective.

 

Peter: I am not a detective.

 

Scampi: Agreed. No doubt you are simply looking for a place to rest.

 

Peter: I?

 

Scampi: Aye.

 

THE LAPPING OF WAVES IS VERY CALMING, TO SOME.

 

Peter: What’s that?

 

Scampi: Calm down. It’s just the sound of the water.

 

Peter: What water?

 

Scampi: Relax. Honestly.

 

Peter: There is nothing honest about an individual of my temperament engaging in relaxation.

 

Scampi: [CHORTLES.]

 

Peter: I do not see what is so terribly funny.

 

Scampi: This may well be the icing on the cake.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: You know when you have a thought, and a lightbulb illuminates above your head?

 

Peter: I am not a cartoon.

 

Scampi: Really?

 

Peter: [uncomfortably] Yes.

 

Scampi: You know, you should stop defining yourself in negative terms. It can’t be good for your constitution.

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Always a-sighing, like a maiden on the seashore.

 

A WORDSWORTH-SHAPED LIGHTBULB ILLUMINES ABOVE PETER’S HEAD.

 

Peter: Eh? What?

 

Scampi: [reflectively] I suppose we have Nikola Tesla to thank for that.

 

Peter: Stop being so reflective. It hurts my eyes.

 

Scampi: Sorry.

 

Peter: Yes well.

 

Scampi: We can help each other, of course.

 

Peter: Theoretically.

 

Scampi: That’s what friends are for.

 

Peter: Who told you this?

 

Scampi: A little bird.

 

Peter: A bird?

 

Scampi: Right. Phylum: Chordata.

 

Peter: Ah ha.

 

Scampi: Backbone is important.

 

Peter: When classifying animals.

 

Scampi: Or when lost at sea.

 

Peter: Are we lost at sea? Is that what you’re saying?

 

Scampi: No, no.

 

Peter: Oh. Ok.

 

Scampi: Wouldn’t I tell you if we were?

 

Peter: Uh. Yes?

 

Scampi: This is a beautiful English word.

 

Peter: It is?

 

Scampi: Yes.

pt 74: THE LONESOME DOVE (THE LOAN), THE VIEW

Peter: [RUBS HIS EYES.]

 

Scampi: Tired?

 

Peter: [STRETCHES.]

 

Scampi: Did you just wake up?

 

Peter: No, no. I am merely enjoying a little midmorning constitutional.

 

Scampi: Like a walk?

 

Peter: I am facilitating blood flow.

 

Scampi: Is it working?

 

Peter: I feel a surge of renewed vigour.

 

Scampi: Can you touch your toes?

 

Peter: That’s private.

 

Scampi: It isn’t.

 

Peter: [SHOCKED.]

 

Scampi: What?

 

Peter: A man’s body is his—

 

Scampi: Corpus?

 

Peter: Porpoise?

 

Scampi: Christi?

 

Peter: None of that, now.

 

Scampi: Heh. Har.

 

Peter: You are up to no good.

 

Scampi: Says who?

 

Peter: That is my opinion.

 

Scampi: Based on what?

 

Peter: Based on the diabolical noises you were just making.

 

Scampi: Always something.

 

Peter: Ahem.

 

Scampi: There’s a hole in your sock.

 

Peter: Perhaps.

 

Scampi: Your stocking.

 

Peter: I do not wear stockings.

 

Scampi: Your stocking feet. That’s how they said it.

 

Peter: Who did?

 

Scampi: You know. The people.

 

Peter: Oh, naturally.

 

Scampi: Maybe the floor isn’t smooth enough.

 

Peter: Or the peanut butter.

 

Scampi: Are you lonely, Peter?

 

Peter: You have an issue with peanut butter?

 

Scampi: We can overlook that for the moment. Are you lonelier?

 

Peter: Than I was when last you asked?

 

Scampi: No.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: It’s kind of wistful. How you’re staring out the window.

 

Peter: [PICKS AT DEBRIS ENCRUSTED ON HIS NECKTIE.]

 

Scampi: Your cravat is less than laundered.

 

Peter: [taking umbrage] My cravat is composed of the finest silk. It does not get laundered.

 

Scampi: Chinese silk?

 

Peter: Well.

 

Scampi: Is it?

 

Peter: I do not know.

 

Scampi: Doesn’t even know the provenance of his filthy necktie.

 

Peter: Uncalled for.

 

Scampi: I’ll call for it. Seres! Cerebus! Here, boy.

 

Peter: Are you speaking to my garments?

 

Scampi: No less. Your silks, I am.

 

Peter: Is that a riddle?

 

Scampi: Are you an equestrian?

 

Peter: I am not.

 

Scampi: Did you know something?

 

Peter: I did. I continue to know it.

 

Scampi: Jockeys wear silks. Did you know that?

 

Peter: Perhaps. Most likely.

 

Scampi: Didn’t think so. That’s what what they wear’s called, their outfit.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: Their costume. Silks.

 

Peter: A light, attractive, yet durable fabric.

 

Scampi: I could wash your tie.

 

Peter: I don’t doubt it.

 

Scampi: Tell me what you see right now.

 

Peter: Where?

 

Scampi: Now.

 

Peter: Which direction am I looking in?

 

Scampi: I don’t know. What do you see?

 

Peter: Immediately? Or in the distance?

 

Scampi: Have you ever been to Spain?

 

Peter: I have not.

 

Scampi: Oh.

 

Peter: Why do you ask?

 

Scampi: Just curious.

 

Peter: I can see the view. And the pores in my nose.

 

Scampi: Ew!

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Pores. Yech.

 

Peter: Have you been to Spain?

 

Scampi: Who hasn’t?

 

PETER REMOVES HIS EYEGLASSES AND POLISHES THEM ON HIS THOROUGHLY-WORN NECKTIE OF FINEST INDIAN SILK.

 

Peter: I like the view from this window (of course),

 

Scampi: (of course)

 

Peter: but the sky is rather overcast.

 

Scampi: And that’s not something you like. Not something you’re a big fan of.

 

Peter: A fan? Am I a fan?

 

Scampi: You sound like a cockatoo, at present.

 

PETER SMOOTHES HIS FEATHERS WITH DIGNITY.

 

Peter: Say what you will.

 

Scampi: I shall.

 

Peter: Indeed.

 

Scampi: I shell. Shell on a shore. You know that whole thing about shells, right? Peter?

 

Peter: Are we discussing military history?

 

Scampi: No, please. I mean a shell on a beach.

 

Peter: An army could locate—

 

Scampi: It could be any beach, one of those hollow type shells.

 

Peter: A conch.

 

Scampi: Or whatever. Have you ever put one up to your ear?

 

Peter: In order to aurally witness “the sea”?

 

Scampi: Sure.

 

Peter: No.

 

Scampi: You haven’t?

 

Peter: Well, I don’t think so.

 

Scampi: You don’t know? You don’t even know if you did or if you didn’t?

 

Peter: I am unsure.

 

Scampi: Yes. I thought maybe you were lonely.

 

Peter: You are entitled to your thoughts.

 

Scampi: I entitle my thought regularly. As you well know.

 

Peter: I’m not sure when I was last on a beach.

 

Scampi: You don’t have to be on the beach to hear the shell. You can be at home.

 

Peter: With a shell.

 

Scampi: Yes. You bring it home, and then the sound of the sea is only an arm’s length away.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: You hear. That’s how it works.

 

Peter: I don’t believe it does work, in fact.

 

Scampi: No, I know. I was just curious.

 

Peter: To know whether I had tried it?

 

Scampi: That’s right.

 

Peter: Have you tried this? With the shell?

 

Scampi: Nonsense. I can hear the sea right now.

 

Scampi:

 

Peter:

 

Scampi: I am up to my ankles.

 

Peter: It looks like rain.

 

Scampi: It certainly doesn’t taste that way.