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.

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pt 138: MA DOULEUR

Peter: Calm yourself.

Scampi: What?

Peter: Really.

Scampi: Who said I wasn’t calm?

Peter: You just did.

Scampi: Did not.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I know you’ve often had occasion to ignore the works of Paul Éluard.

Peter: Who?

Scampi: Precisely.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: We see a vision of ourselves in a glacial lake.

Peter: We do?

Scampi: Maybe.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Why not? The sun in the frozen water.

Peter: Ice?

Scampi: No. Water that is cold.  Frozen water.

Peter: Freezing water?

Scampi: Stop picking on me.  Jesus.

Peter: I am not picking on you.

Scampi: Oh, you feel the weight o’ the world, don’t ya?

Peter: That seems an excessive description.

Scampi: Impossible! Such insolence.

Peter: Naturally, no one would consider your illuminating ruminations to be insolent.

Scampi: Naturally. The pain of the world bounces back at us from the water. In the shape of sunlight.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Yes. The glacial lake.

Peter: What’s all this about a lake?

Scampi: I dunno.  What do you have against lakes?

Peter: Nothing.

Scampi: Imagine, if you will.

Peter: Hm?

Scampi: You are standing on the shore.

Peter: I am?

Scampi: You are. The sun is on the water. The water is primordially frosty.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: You watch the light reflect off the water and your heart is full and also empty.  And the water is frozen and on fire.

Peter: Is this a metaphor?

Scampi: Stop that.

Peter: What?

Scampi: “Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,/And left the vivid air signed with their honor.”

Peter: What was that?

Scampi: Spender. Stephen.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: What are you doing this afternoon?

Peter: I have no fixed arrangements, per se.

Scampi: Want to go sign the vivid air with our honour?

Peter: Well, perhaps.

Scampi: Great!

Peter: What will this entail?

Scampi: Oh, you know. It’ll be fun.

Peter: Perhaps I should change my coat.

Scampi: Formal wear is not required.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: We can go down to the water.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: We can even remove our shoes.

Peter: Anything is possible.

Scampi: That’s correct.

pt 23: HUMIDITY

Peter: Today I feel old.

 

Scampi: How adolescent of you.

 

Peter: (Glowers.)

 

Scampi: Can I touch your stubble?

 

Peter: No!

 

Scampi: But I want to see what it’s made of.

 

Peter: It’s made of hair.

 

Scampi: Imagine having hair coming out of your face!

pt 59: SEMPER SEMPER (nostalgie)

Scampi: At arm’s length.

Peter: What are you doing?

Scampi: Thinking.

Peter: Out loud.

Scampi: In part.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I was thinking about fish tanks, you know, aquariums.  And about skating.

Peter: I wonder if I should cut my hair.

Scampi: (Funny you should mention that.)  And about the passage of time.

Peter: [STARES AT HIS OWN REFLECTION, PENSIVELY.]

Scampi: Your hair grows.  The seasons come and go.

Peter: Quite right.

Scampi: You cut your hair.  The summer comes.

Peter: I hope you’re not implying a causal relationship between those two events.

Scampi: I’m not.

Peter: Good.

Scampi: But I’m not not either.

Peter: I have no idea what that means.

Scampi: Oh Peter.  Humph.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are you in a competition for Vainest Man of the Year?  Or something?

Peter: I am not vain.

Scampi: Then why do you keep staring at yourself?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: What are you doing then?  Polishing the mirror?

Peter: I decline to comment.

Scampi: A damning indictment if I ever heard one.

Peter: One has doubts.

Scampi: You betcha, Thomas.

Peter: My name is not Thomas.

Scampi: Oh, right.  Sorry, Narcissus.

STONY SILENCE.

Scampi: When you massage your temple in that ferocious manner, it makes you look like someone with a headache.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: What a rare and tender coincidence.

Peter: [CLEARS HIS THROAT.]

Scampi: You know, one thing I was thinking was more about a more kind of general thing.  Being in the world, the skating rinks.  Fires in the oil drums.

Peter: One wonders where you acquire such imagery.

Scampi: It’s true.  You don’t think it’s true but it is.

Peter: What is truth?

Scampi: O Peterocrates!  Whither go the tiny flapping sparrows of our immortal souls?

Peter: aUrm.

Scampi: I have no idea about that sort of noise.

Peter: Excuse me.

Scampi: I was thinking about tin cans clanging.  Terrariums and turtle tanks.

Peter: You sure were a busy little thinker today.

Scampi: Ain’t little.

Peter: Forgive me.  Compact.

Scampi: Yes, it’s been pretty hopping at the thinktank today.

Peter: This much is clear.

Scampi: What’s the first thing you remember?

Peter: About what?

Scampi: I’m not sure.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: Sometimes, I can’t remember the first thing.  About anything.  Har har.  How about today?

Peter: How about it?

Scampi: Do you remember it?

Peter: As though it were yesterday.

Scampi:  Oh yeah.  High-larious.

PETER IS UNACCOUNTABLY PLEASED WITH HIMSELF.

Scampi: The streetlamps are coming on.

Peter: They are.

Scampi: Can I touch your face?

HARD PAUSE.

Scampi: Or your arm?

Peter: No.  Why?

Scampi: I just want to check.

Peter: Check what?

Scampi: To make sure.

Peter: That you’re not experiencing sensory dissonance?

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

Peter: I don’t want to see it.

Scampi: There are seven buttons on your shirt.

Peter: I believe it.

Scampi: You don’t have to believe it.  Count ‘em.

Peter: Perhaps at a later juncture.

Scampi: Have it your way.  The streetlamps are coming on.

Peter: As you so keenly previously observed.

Scampi: I did.  And in the lamplight we are two fluttering bits of gauze.  With seven buttons.  And the earth’s gravitational pull.

Peter: It does tend to be present.

Scampi: Very dependable.  Old gravitas.

Peter: I’m not old.

Scampi: Yet.