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 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 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 113: LARKS

Scampi: Have you ever woken up to birdsong?

Peter: In the sense that  the noise of the birds woke me up?

Scampi: I dunno.  It doesn’t matter.

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: I love it.  The noise of traffic in the road, the putput of pollution.

Peter: Are you implying that pollution makes a noise?

Scampi: Well, it does.  Scientifically.  Anyway, who doesn’t like waking up to sunlight in the windows?

Peter: Perhaps a man who has just undergone eye surgery.

Scampi: That’s what you think.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: In some places in the world, it is always spring.  Did you know this?

Peter: No.  I do not find that statement to be credible.

Scampi: You’re lucky you found it at all.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Well, I mean, not the season spring, perhaps.  But the weather.

Peter (sagaciously): Ah yes, the weather.

Scampi: In our conversations, for example, it is not always spring.

Peter: Noho!

Scampi (defensively): Well, sometimes it is.

PETER OCCUPIES HIMSELF WITH PERSONAL GROOMING.

Scampi: Yech.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Have you ever been to a little town in Ontario?

Peter: Ah yes.  The province in central Canada, I presume?

Scampi: There is no need to be coy.

Peter: I have, as you well know, been to a small town in Ontario.

Scampi: As have I.  It can be very sad.

Peter: Rural travel?

Scampi: The graveyards.  The monuments to conflicts past.

Peter: Have you been rooting around in graveyards?

Scampi: Rooting around!  The idea.

Peter: Oh, do excuse me.

Scampi: Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: My, the sun is bright today.  Perhaps we should sit beneath the jacaranda tree.

Peter: The what?

Scampi: The jacaranda is in bloom.  The goddam larks are singing their hearts out.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You free the top button of your collar.  I fan myself with my hands like leaves.

Peter: How many buttons is my collar supposed to have?

Scampi: Two.

PAUSE.

Scampi: It’s only right.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The magnolias are also in bloom.

Peter: Of course.

Scampi: You could reach up and pick one, if you wanted.

Peter: But why destroy something beautiful in nature?

Scampi: Why indeed.

[Peter: That’s not exactly how I put it.

Scampi: Well, that what you meant.]

pt 108: DECIDERIUS ERASMUS

Scampi: Let’s go to Nassau.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: We will start in the Caribbean, reprovision in Madagascar, and then make our way to the Malabar Coast.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Taking all the East India Shipping boats by surprise as we go.

Peter: You want to be a pirate.

Scampi: In the seventeenth century sense.

Peter: And what sense is that?

Scampi: A historical one.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: “The great affair is to move.”

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Have you looked at the weathervane?

Peter: I have not seen a weathervane.

Scampi: How about the windsock?

Peter: What windsock?

Scampi: Well, what direction is the wind coming in from?

Peter: I do not know.

Scampi: It’s coming from the northwest.  Lightly.  Cat’s paws on the water.

Peter: You are certainly full of information today.

Scampi: I am.

PLUS TARD.

Scampi: I’m tired.

Peter: Yes.  I am tired also.

pt 145: IT IS NO LONGER TRUE

Scampi: I imagine St. Augustine and Plutarch to have this very dry sort of conversation.

Peter: Did they meet?

Scampi: Well.

Peter: I don’t recall them meeting.

Scampi: Very funny.

Peter: I really –

Scampi: I, Claudius.

Peter: No but I really do not know what you are speaking about.

Scampi: I am speaking about the aridity of the convo between St. Augustine and Plutarch.

Peter: Which they did not have.

[PAUSE.]

Peter: Wait, am I Plutarch?

Scampi: Ha! Ha, har. Oh. Ho.

Peter: [offended] What?

Scampi: Thinks he’s Plutarch!

Peter: Should you require reminding, you have called me Plutarch before. Numerous times.

Scampi: Oh ho, numerous.

Peter: Well, more than once.

Scampi: Need I so needfully remind you, there’s a great difference between perhaps being called Plutarch (Ploo-tark) and self-identifying as Plutarch. Like a lunatic. Loon attic.

Peter: [RUFFLED.]

Scampi: Why is it?

Peter: What?

Scampi: People are just awful, sometimes. So [CURSING] horrid.

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Censorship. It’s my new thing.

Peter: Since when?

Scampi: Since never. I no longer plan to practise it.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes well. I am only saying.

Peter: Ah yes. You and your ‘sayings’.

Scampi: Don’t take that tone with me. Har, har.

Peter: [SIGHS.]

Scampi: I have some things to say, you see.

Peter: So you claim.

Scampi: Can you imagine how terrible we are to each other?

Peter: Is this a pointed remark?

Scampi: Lucullus’ mother, you know, was notorious for her wild lifestyle.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yes.

[PAUSE.]

Scampi: We are all a touch wild, I suppose.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: A pack of insubordinate animals. How can one man trust another?

Peter: I trust my fellow-man.

Scampi: Oh, right.

Peter: I resent this antagonism.

Scampi: What antagonism?

Peter: You doubt the love I tender my brother?

Scampi: Oh yes, your estimable brother. Indeed.

Peter: There’s no need to hold humanity hostage to your mercurial moods.

Scampi: I blame the weather.

Peter: The weather, the Holy Roman Empire, the gender imbalance.

Scampi: Well yes. Have you understood me at last?

Peter: [EXASPERATED.]

Scampi: That’s exactly it, isn’t it?

Peter: Are you being facetious?

Scampi: No.

Peter: [suspicious] Oh.

Scampi: But it would be decent of people not to break each other’s hearts, sometimes.

Peter: Oh, this.

Scampi: This.

FOUR ALBATROSSES COAST BY, RIDING THE WIND LIKE A PACK OF NASCARS.

Scampi: Shall we walk?

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: You can see the moss already. Coming up green.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: The chanterelles, the tubers.

Peter: Sshh. The woods.

Scampi: I know. There’s nothing wrong with aspiration, of course. Except in the areas of a) food intake; and b) height.

Peter: What? Height?

Scampi: No man is taller than a man.

Peter: I feel like that is one of those things that you say that does not mean anything.

Scampi: Well then, o ye of ickle faith. Parse it.

Peter: A truism?

Scampi: It wouldn’t kill you to think and feel at the same time, you know. In fact –

Peter: Facts!

Scampi: Don’t bark at me. Maybe you should brush up on your nautical terms instead of howling at the moon like this.

Peter: I am ‘up’ on my nautical terms, thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome.

[PAUSE.]

Scampi: Tender: Nautical (of a ship) leaning or readily inclined to roll in response to the wind.

Peter: Certainly, certainly.

Scampi: Tender that to your brother.

Peter: Hm.

Scampi: The wind is blowing.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: It will be a long night, I fear.

Peter: YAWNS.

Scampi: And the fog is rolling in.

pt 54: A PAIR OF SHOES AND RAIN

Scampi: Peter, what do you have to say about love?

 

Peter: Pardon me?

 

Scampi: Oh, cross that out.

 

Peter: LOVE.

 

Scampi: Or, you know what, just leave it.

 

Peter: Make up your mind.

 

Scampi: Well, I’m trying.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Don’t make those dubious noises at me.  Or, at any rate, what do you think about fishing trips?

 

Peter: What fishing trips?

 

Scampi: You know, like the ones you take with your dad.

 

Peter: I don’t take any fishing trips with my dad.

 

Scampi: Obviously.  But if you did.

 

Peter: I don’t.

 

Scampi: I know.  But some people do that kind of thing.

 

Peter: I don’t know anything about it.

 

Scampi: Yes you do.

 

Peter: Noo.

 

Scampi: It’s common knowledge, everyone knows that.

 

Peter: Everyone who?

 

Scampi: Stop being so preposterous.  I know you know.  (aside) Peter knows.  He does.

 

Peter: Who are you talking to?

 

Scampi: To whom.

 

Peter: What?

 

Scampi: Pardon?

 

Peter: SIGHS.

 

Scampi: So, you don’t want to talk about male bonding excursions.  That’s fine.  That leaves us with a) the weather and / or b) our foundering humanity.

 

Peter: Jesus Christ.

 

Scampi: Oh, right.  That’s c) religion.

 

Peter: It’s raining.

 

Scampi: I don’t believe you.

 

Peter: It is currently raining.

 

Scampi: What, right now?

 

Peter: Yes.  Currently.

 

Scampi: What a know-it-all you are.

 

PAUSE.

 

Scampi: You know what that is?

 

Peter: A pair of shoes.

 

Scampi: No, no.

 

Peter: It appears to be a pair of shoes.

 

Scampi: No, the rain.

 

Peter: Ah, so you’ve acknowledged it’s raining.

 

Scampi: Pathetic fallacy.  That’s what it is.

 

Peter: I prefer to think of it as precipitation.

 

Scampi: How precipitous!

 

Peter: Or condensation.

 

Scampi: How condescending!

 

Peter: Is this going to be all about your inability to accept science?

 

Scampi: Don’t tell fibs, Peter.  Fibbing forms no portion of the scientific method.

 

Peter: For the last time, stop calling me a liar.

 

Scampi: At the risk of unduly upsetting you, may I point out that this is very likely not the last time you will make that statement?

 

Peter: TAKES COMFORT IN HIS HAIRCUT.

 

Scampi: Your arms are all akimbo.  Maybe you should have a bath.

 

Peter: Yes.  Maybe.

 

Scampi: In any event, maybe we should focus on finding an umbrella.

 

Peter: Figuratively?

 

Scampi: If you like.

pt 80: OLD TIME

Scampi: We were having lunch this one time.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter?

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: We were having lunch.

Peter: I believe it.

Scampi: Ugh.  Anyway, out in a restaurant.  And you were like, The waitress is a ninja.

Peter: I was?

Scampi: She was stealthy.  She crept up.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Do you remember this?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Well, I do.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Nice weather we’re having.

Peter: Oh yes.

Scampi: Shit.

Peter: What?

Scampi: I dunno.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Fresh herbs for summer salads.  Here today, gone tomorrow!

Peter: Are you reading something?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: I’m just saying.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Halfway to Mexico, and what do we do?

Peter: I don’t know.

Scampi: We stop going there.

Peter: Is that what happened?

Scampi: Well, I don’t know.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: We could take a boat.  To England.

Peter: From where?

Scampi: I dunno.  Plymouth Rock?

PETER, A STUFFED PEACOCK, DISAPPROVES.

Scampi: Hee hee.

Peter: What?

Scampi: The world, as they say, is your oyster.  Did you know that?

Peter: I did not.

Scampi: Why, don’t you think it’s true?

Peter: As an apt metaphor?

Scampi: Who cares?

Peter: What?

Scampi: The world as a crustacean, the world as a shellfish.  You’ve got a problem with this?

Peter: Well.  I.

Scampi: Don’t you feel lucky?

Peter: Ah.  Certainly.

Scampi: Yeah, well.  You don’t act like it, buddy.

Peter: What is that supposed to mean?

Scampi: Nothing, nothing.

PAUSE.

Scampi: The luck, the luckiness.  It sneaks up on you like a ninja waitress.  One minute you’re finishing your tea, the next minute the bill is in front of you, right there on the table.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: How the hell did this get here? you say.  It was the goddam ninja waitress.

Peter: Some service industry professionals are certainly very skilled at their métier.

Scampi: Poppycock!

PETER SCRATCHES HIS HEAD.

Scampi: Look at you.

Peter: Me?

Scampi: Clawing away.

Peter: It itches.

Scampi: The truth always does.

Peter: This is incorrect.

Scampi: Itchy itchy scratchy scratchy.  That’s you.

Peter: I disagree.

Scampi: As a default.  We know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: When you think of walks we took, over the years.

Peter: I don’t.

Scampi: Harumph.  The seasons all roll together, don’t they?

Peter: We live in a temperate zone.

Scampi: Maybe you do.

Peter: We do.

Scampi: The winter, the spring.

Peter: Temperate seasons.

Scampi: The years.

Peter: Yes.

PAUSE.

Peter: You’re pacing.

Scampi: I am.

Peter: It’s hurting my head.

Scampi: So what?

PAUSE.

Scampi: I’m sorry.

Peter: Acknowledged.

Scampi: Shall we stick our head out the window?

Peter: Our head?

Scampi: Yes.  Your head, my head.  Should we test the air?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Not today.

Peter: No.

Scampi: The winds of change are blowing.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: They are rustling the herbs in the flowerpots.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: They appear at your door without warning.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: And then they disappear!

Peter: Right.

Scampi: And you’re stuck in the doorway, holding the bill.

Peter: What bill?

Scampi: You pretend you’re not following this train of thought.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: You do.  But your amateur theatrics don’t fool me!

Peter: This is bordering on hysteria.

Scampi: Hysterical.

Peter: I presume that you are cognisant of the time?

Scampi: I am.  

pt 78: THE IONIZED TWO-STEP

Scampi: The wind, it blows.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: What direction is the wind coming from?

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: Don’t you know?

Peter: Of course I know.

Scampi: Well then?

Peter: Well.  That way.

Scampi: [ROLLS EYES.]

PAUSE.

Scampi: I can tell you something.

Peter: Likely.

Scampi: Peter?  Would you like to know what it is?

Peter: Do I have a choice?

Scampi: The wind is blowing over the rooftops.  The wind is rattling the branches.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: But what about me?

Peter: You are not doing either of these things.

Scampi: I am being buffeted about by the wind.  Paff boff.

Peter: You look rather stationary at present.

Scampi: That’s exactly the sort of thing you would think.

Peter: I do not deny it.

Scampi: That’s exactly the sort of thing you would say.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Do you know how to waltz?

Peter: No.  Not exactly.

Scampi: Do you know how to waltz imprecisely?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Like, just approximately?

Peter: Possibly.

Scampi: What’s that mean?  You can waltz in two four time?

Peter: Where is this avenue of inquiry leading?

Scampi: It’s leading the waltz.  That you are incapable of leading yourself.  Apparently.

Peter: I see.  I am being browbeaten over the issue of ballroom dance techniques.

Scampi: You wish.

Peter: I certainly do not.  I do not wish to be browbeaten.

Scampi: Well then.  Don’t be.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I’m lost.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You see?  Are you lost?

Peter: No.  Yes.

PETER GROWS FLUSTERED, AS A COCKATOO.

Scampi: The wind is blowing from over there.  Do we point our nose into the wind?  Do you think?  Do we keep the wind at our back?

Peter: What is this ‘we’?

Scampi: You’re lost.  I’m lost.  We’re trying to get unlost.  Aren’t we?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: I mean, what else are we supposed to do?  Do you want some lunch?

Peter: I do.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I was in the country.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Recently.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Yes.

Peter: The country.  Bucolic.

Scampi: Rather.  Theoretically.

Peter: We have all been known to take a bucolic sojourn.

Scampi: We have.  There were likely many species.

Peter: Of?

Scampi: Birds.  Or whatever.

Peter: Birds?

Scampi: I guess.

PAUSE.

Scampi: There’s something missing.

Peter: From what?

Scampi: Or maybe something extra.

Peter: Which is it?

Scampi: The time signature would clarify this point.

Peter: Are we speaking of musical notation?

Scampi: Maybe.

PAUSE.

Scampi: If we are lopsided, top-heavy.  If we are empty.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: Does it make a difference?

Peter: How do you mean?

Scampi: The negative charge, the positive charge.

Peter: Are you speaking of isotopes?

Scampi: I am speaking of equilibrium.

PETER SHUDDERS.

Scampi: Precisely.  I don’t know if it matters to which side Pisa is leaning.

Peter: It would perhaps matter to the gentleman underneath it.

Scampi: But the tower itself.

Peter: Yes?

Scampi: It’s falling.

pt 120: GAMBOL

Scampi: Let’s put out coats on.

Peter: Our coats?

Scampi: Yes.  We each get one.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Standard issue.

PAUSE.

Scampi: And our scarves.  Let’s go out into the world.

Peter: Perhaps later on.

Scampi: Later on?  What’s wrong with you?

Peter: That is a personal question.

Scampi: You wish.  You don’t want to go out into the world?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: What are you, scared?

Peter:  No.

Scampi: Oh, I see.

Peter: What?

Scampi: Nothing.  I guess you just – don’t want to go for a walk.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: For whatever reason.

Peter: That is correct.

Scampi: Do you want some more coffee?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: This is a good season to walk amidst the weather.

Peter: Certainly.

Scampi: To look up at the sky, for example.

Peter: This is always possible.

Scampi: That’s what you think.

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: One never encounters you listening to motown music.  I’ve noticed.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: I’m just saying.

Peter: What are you saying?

Scampi: I dunno.  The coffee is weak.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Sorry.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: We should dance.

Peter: [alarmed] Right now?

Scampi: No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: But we should.  Sometime this year.

Peter: To what end?

Scampi: It’s the right thing to do.

Peter: I am unsure.

Scampi: I know.  I’ve been thinking about raccoons.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Not that much, though.

Peter: Well, thank you for keeping me informed.

Scampi: No problem.  I’m here for you, Peter.

PETER RUBS HIS EYES.

Scampi: Rubbler.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: Yes, this coffee is weak.

Peter: Yes.  You spoke about this earlier.

Scampi: I know.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you know what a lute is?

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Hm.  It has to do with cats’ guts and love.

Peter: Of course!  What doesn’t?

Scampi: None of that: I’m just speaking about like, mid-century romantic-type ballads.  Minstrels and such.

Peter: Mid what century?

Scampi: An old one.  Say, sixteen.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: Finger plucking.  Courtly love.

Peter: I suppose you no longer wish to go for a stroll?

Scampi: I never said that.

Peter: Said what?

Scampi: I didn’t say I didn’t want to go for a stroll.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Do you want to?

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: It’s still daylight.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: We could walk down by the river.

Peter: What river?

Scampi: I don’t know.  The Euphrates?

Peter: The Danube?

Scampi: Absolutely.  Lute-lee.

Peter: Pum-pum-pum-pa-pum-

Scampi: Pum-PA-pum-PA!  A waltz.

Peter: Where have I placed my necktie?

Scampi: Forget it.  This is an informal outing.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: It is a beautiful day.

Peter: Yes.  I feel an irrationally excessive surge of ill-will.

Scampi: Oh?

Peter: This is unavoidable, it would seem.

Scampi: Maybe I can help.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh, look!  A sparrow.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: Sh.  Stay still.

Peter: Umph?

THE SPARROW ALIGHTS ON PETER’S STANDARD ISSUE COAT.  THE LIGHT ADJUSTS.

Scampi: Ah.

Peter: Well, that was interesting.

Scampi: You made a friend.

Peter: I did?

Scampi: I think so.  Yes.