pt 119: TOUGH

Scampi: Look at the sky!  What a grisly fog.

Peter: The sky is grey.

Scampi: Grizzled.  In sable silvered.

Peter: It is to be expected.

Scampi: Oh yeah.

PETER COORDINATES A SERIES OF PRIVATE MOMENTS WITH HIMSELF.

Scampi: What are you doing?

Peter: Reading.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I had the strangest dreams.

Peter: And you are ascribing this occurrence to the barometric pressure?

Scampi: Of course I ain’t!  My comments on the grazing fog are separate from my comments on the strange dreams.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Grazing fog.

Peter: Yes, grazing fog.

Scampi (expectantly): Yes!

Peter: Why are you looking at me like that?

Scampi: Nothing.  Grazing.

Peter: You keep repeating this word.

Scampi: I know!  It doesn’t make any sense.

Peter: Agreed.

Scampi: Like smouldering chunks of the petrified forest.

Peter: Yes.  That is also nonsense.

Scampi: I dreamed I met a Galilean.

Peter: Pilate?

Scampi: Peter?

PAUSE.

Scampi: No, but really.  How can there be a cherry that’s got no stone?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, seed, if you prefer.

Peter: I have no preference.

Scampi: Quel surprise.  In my opinion, a cherry when it’s blooming is not a cherry.

Peter: A cherry tree?

Scampi: A cherry flower.  The blossom on the tree.  Is that a cherry to you?

Peter: In what sense?

Scampi: In the sense of a cherry.  That you put in your mouth.

Peter: I would not put a cherry blossom in my mouth.

Scampi: Well, no.  Although perhaps you should.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: I can see it now!  Peter with a mouthful of cherry blossoms.

Peter: Distasteful.

Scampi: Likely bitter.  Let’s go try it out.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Let’s fill up your mouth with cherry blossoms and see what happens.

Peter: No, thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome!  Let’s do it.

Peter: I regretfully decline.

Scampi: You liar.  Regretfully nothing.

Peter: I dislike it when you accuse me of lying.

Scampi: I dislike it when you lie about your declinations.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Declensions!  Anyway, a flower is not a fruit.  I think we can agree on that.

Peter: What makes a fruit a fruit?

Scampi: It’s about the seeds and the juiciness and things.  In biology.

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: The seeds.  I mean, versus a berry.

Peter (suspiciously): Ah.

Scampi: If love was really a book, or a tale or whatever, then presumably it would end.

Peter: Unless it was the neverending story.

Scampi: The Neverending Story.  Which ended, of course.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Milk and eggs, jam and bread.

Peter: A fine shopping list.

Scampi: Shopping list!

Peter: List of ingredients?

Scampi: Could be, could be.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you like amber?

Peter: Who?

Scampi: The, uh, the thing.

Peter: The substance?

Scampi: Oh, the substance.  Hoity toity.  Yes.

Peter: What do you mean, do I like it?

Scampi: That’s what I mean.  Do you?

Peter: I hold nothing against it.

Scampi: Not even your own skin?  A palm full of amber beads?

Peter: Uh.

Scampi: What is it made of?  Do you know?

Peter: Amber is made from.

Scampi: Yes?

Peter: It is a, ahem.

Scampi: Do you know what it is, or don’t you?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Well?

Peter: Resin.

Scampi: I knew that.

Peter: [intake of atmosphere]

Scampi: I was just wondering.

Peter: Amber can contain plant and animal detritus.

Scampi: Detritus?  You mean corpses.

SCAMPI SHUDDERS.

Peter: Amber is a yellowish translucent fossilised resin deriving from extinct trees.

Scampi: Especially coniferous.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Showoff.

Peter: If you do not wish to hear an answer, please refrain from asking questions.

Scampi: Hey, chill out, bro.

Peter: I am not your brother.

Scampi: Of course you are, Peter.  We are all brothers.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: We all harden up like resin, I suppose.

PAUSE.

Peter: Are you suggesting that we contain fossilised insect life?

Scampi: Perhaps.  It’s all very mysterious, really.

Peter: Unnecessarily so.  We are not discussing an opaque material.

Scampi: Aren’t we?

Peter: Perhaps I have lost the train of thought.

Scampi: Probably ‘cause it left the platform an hour ago.  Oklahoma-bound!

PAUSE.

Scampi: I take that back.  Oklahoma makes me sad.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Indian Territory.  That’s what they called it, you know.

Peter: This is no longer what they call it.

Scampi: No.  But the germ of tragedy remains.

Peter: As in seed?

Scampi: Or stone.

Peter: Or resin-bound arthropod?

Scampi: Something hard, anyway.

Advertisements

pt 130: ESSE QUAM VIDERI

Scampi: But I can’t sleep.

 

Peter: Oh? Why?

 

Scampi: I don’t like American history.

 

Peter: What it is about American history that you dislike?

 

Scampi: It’s just so mean.

 

Peter: Who do you think did a better job? Of history?

 

Scampi: I don’t know. It’s the way they say things, so sly.

 

Peter: Who?

 

Scampi: Like Andrew Jackson.

 

Peter: Can you give me an example of Andrew Jackson speaking in a sly way?

 

Scampi: Oh, Peter. The way you phrase things.

 

Peter: I am simply repeating what you’ve said.

 

Scampi: No, no. Anyway.

 

Peter: [YAWNS.]

 

Scampi: Do you know the machines that window-washers use?

 

Peter: I have seen them.

 

Scampi: Of course you have.

 

Peter: You asked.

 

Scampi: “I have seen them.” You say that like it’s some kind of state secret.

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: Well, have you ever been on one?

 

Peter: Ah. No.

 

Scampi: Are you sure?

 

Peter: I believe so.

 

Scampi: It’s all about belief of course, window-washing. Keeping our sightlines clear, and such.

 

Peter: Ah, sight.

 

Scampi: You use your glasses to see.

 

Peter: I do.

 

Scampi: This is pretty funny.

 

Peter: How so?

 

Scampi: I dunno. Like a lady with a snuffbox.

 

Peter: Pardon me?

 

Scampi: You know. You hold something up to your face to improve your outlook.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Anyway, you’re aware of the Bessemer process, naturally?

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: The Bessemer Process. Named after Henry Bessemer, you know.

 

Peter: Yes, what of it?

 

Scampi: Here.

 

Peter: What is this?

 

Scampi: Can’t you read?

 

Peter: I can.

 

Scampi: It’s Bessemer’s autobiography. In which you can learn that he was born in Hertfordshire.

 

Peter: Oh. I was not aware of this.

 

Scampi: How about this?

 

Peter: Oomph.

 

Scampi: What?

 

Peter: Please do not hurl books at me.

 

Scampi: Hurl! As if.

 

Peter: “Father of the Steel Industry”.

 

Scampi: That’s right.

 

Peter: I did not realise you were such an avid aficionado of the steel industry.

 

Scampi: Pff! What sort of thing to say is that? And, speaking of things to say, listen to this: “I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem inasmuch as I had no fixed ideas derived from long-established practice to control and bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that whatever is, is right.”

 

Peter: Yes, ignorance is a great boon to the inventor.

 

Scampi: What do you know about it?

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: If we were in a tall building, it would need its windows washed, of course.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: And if we were in America, history would be prickling our skin all the time.

 

Peter: Are we in America?

 

Scampi: We might have been. When we were cowboys.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Or farmers.

 

Peter: I don’t remember being farmers.

 

Scampi: You and your memory. Do you remember the name of the hoisty thing that window washers use?

 

Peter: Remember it?

 

Scampi: Precisely. Do you know, the Bessemer Process helped to make artillery, 16-pounder guns. That sort of thing.

 

Peter: That would make sense.

 

Scampi: What?

 

Peter: That would make sense.

 

Scampi: No it would not. There is nothing sensible about artillery.

 

Peter: Doesn’t this depend on the context of the discussion?

 

Scampi: What discussion? How vile.

 

Peter: I believe it was your choice of topic.

 

Scampi: Sensible.

 

Peter: Saw-see-bluh?

 

Scampi: This is a French word.

 

Peter: Ah.

 

Scampi: And béchamel is a French sauce. But what does that have to do with anything?

 

Peter: I like sauces.

 

Scampi: Oh, naturally.

 

Peter: What do you have against sauces?

 

Scampi: Nothing, nothing. I have something against the sixteen-pounder gun, though.

 

Peter: What is that?

 

Scampi: It is the tender heart of history.

 

Peter: I see.

 

Scampi: Yes. It’s being held against the pride of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces as we speak.

 

Peter: It is?

 

Scampi: Or whatever. I certainly can’t convert anything to steel, myself.

 

Peter: Perhaps you should start with the tender heart of history.

 

Scampi: Oh, Peter. You clownfish.

 

PETER BURNS AN ORANGE STRIPED BLUSH.

 

Scampi: I suppose it’s just a simple pulley system, really.

 

Peter: What is?

 

Scampi: The window-washing platform. What holds it up, et cetera.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Scampi: A system of pulleys and cables. It’s a dangerous job, of course.

 

Peter: Compared to floor washing?

 

Scampi: That’s right. It’s important to see where we are, in a building.

 

Peter: I suppose it is.

 

Scampi: Rather than where we’re going.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: We aren’t going anywhere.

 

Peter: At present.

 

Scampi: But we can see for miles.

 

Peter: Can we?

 

Scampi: I can. Mind you, don’t look down.