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.

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pt 87: THE MOUTH OF THE RIVER

Scampi: Teeter eeter.

Peter: What are you doing?

Scampi: Teader toader.

Peter: Gibberish.

Scampi: Basically.

THE RAIN OF THE AGES.

Scampi: This keeps happening.

Peter: What does?

Scampi: It keeps happening to me.

Peter: The weather?

Scampi: No, no.

Peter: Are you all right?

Scampi: Does it matter?

Peter: Don’t be a child.

Scampi: I wasn’t aware there was an option.

Peter: I have rolled up my trouser cuffs.

Scampi: Good for you.

Peter: This will prevent them from absorbing moisture.

Scampi: The inclement elements.

Peter: The very ones.

Scampi: I am here.

Peter: Okay.

Scampi: I am here I am here I am here.  You are, too.

Peter: If you say so.

Scampi: What did you say?

Peter: Just now?

Scampi: Did you just say that?

Peter: Say what?

Scampi: Jesus H.

Peter: What does the ‘h’ stand for?

Scampi: Helvetica.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: [sighs]

Peter: What?

Scampi: I was just sighing.  To myself.

Peter: Oh.

Scampi: Not that it matters.

PETER SAMPLES A FINGERTIP.

Scampi: Why are you grimacing?

Peter: I am not.

Scampi: Wow.  Look.

Peter: A lake.

Scampi: Looks like a lake.

Peter: Let’s take a look.

Scampi: Stop talking like that.

Peter: Pish posh.

Scampi: It is a lake.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: A body of water, anyway.

Peter: Could be a loch.

Scampi: Could be a tarn.

Peter: Tarnation!

Scampi: That wasn’t funny.

Peter: What are you laughing about then?

Scampi: Well yes.

PAUSE.

Scampi: A body of water, anyway.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: We could dip our toes.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: It would be refreshing.  We could use a little refreshment.

Peter: Rather.

Scampi: What do you think?

Peter: I am troubled.

Scampi: No, you aren’t.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: You know what he said?

Peter: Who?

Scampi: That’s what I’m saying.  Anyway, he said we must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: Can you imagine?  What a thing to say.

Peter: We must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Scampi: Yes.  Can you do that?

Peter: Imagine things?

Scampi: Sure.

Peter: Perhaps.

Scampi: Oh, well.  That’s conclusive.

Peter: Why must we do this?

Scampi: I don’t need to tell you.

Peter: Illuminating.

Scampi: I don’t.  Can you do it?

Peter: I have not yet tried.

Scampi: Oh, for crying out loud.

Peter: Calm yourself.

Scampi: You calm yourself.

Peter [philosophically]: I do.

Scampi: Lies.

Peter: Don’t start.

Scampi: We are always starting.  Always coming up new.

Peter: I don’t know what you mean by this.

Scampi: Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I am here.  I mean, look at my skin.

Peter: A beautiful sheath.

Scampi: What?

Peter: I thought we were talking about skin.

Scampi: We were, we weren’t.  No difference.

PAUSE.

Scampi: I am here, right?  So what?  So are you.  You are here!

Peter: If you say so.

Scampi: Oh no.

pt 141: SMOKE

Scampi: In the name of the Holy and Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity!

Peter: Are we embarking upon a chemistry experiment?

Scampi: Perhaps.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: In the name of the duodenum.

Peter: This scattering of vocabulary is difficult to parse.

Scampi: Oh really? Are you finding it hard to digest?

Peter: Really.

Scampi: Hee hee.  Haw haw.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: I’m sure many before you have found transubstantiation to be quite the mouthful. You are by no means the first.

Peter: Indeed.

Scampi: A mouthful of wafer and a gulp of vino. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Peter: Are you addressing the duodenum of a Christian person?

Scampi: It’s possible.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Let’s build a fire.

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: Don’t you want to build a fire?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Oh. Why?

Peter: It is not the time to be building fires.

Scampi: How do you know?

Peter: I believe that the midday sun is sufficiently scorching. Even for the likes of you.

Scampi: What’s that supposed to mean? Are you suggesting that I am a demon from hell?

PETER BARKS WITH LAUGHTER.

Scampi: Oh, I see. You’re a wolfhound all of a sudden.

PETER LICKS HIS PAW IN A CIRCUMSPECT FASHION.

Peter: Certainly not.

Scampi: Sure, sure.

Peter: This is no place for a fire.

Scampi: True. This is a place for a canteen. Lucky for you, you’re travelling with an intrepid desert explorer.

Peter: Oh?

Scampi: Here.

SCAMPI PASSES PETER A GOATSKIN FLASK CONTAINING WATER.

Peter: Euh.

Scampi: Take this, this is my something something.

Peter: Pardon?

Scampi: Water. It’s good for you.

Peter: I suppose it is.

Scampi: Ah, excellent. The oasis approaches.

Peter: [shading his eyes from the sun] I believe that we are approaching the oasis.

Scampi: That’s what I said.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: You can have a rest beneath that lovely palm. Meanwhile, I shall peruse the saddlebags in search of victuals.

Peter: Vit-lz.

Scampi: Yes, yes.

Peter: Wait, why do we have saddlebags?

Scampi: To carry our provisions, of course.

Peter: I thought we didn’t have horses.

Scampi: Says who? Anyway, maybe they’re camels.

Peter: Camels?

Scampi: There’s no need to sound so alarmed.

Peter: Well.

Scampi: The Arabian horse is known for his petite, fiery temperament.

Peter: What?

Scampi: What?

Peter: Please stop with all this nonsense.

Scampi: Nonsense?

Peter: At least until we reach the shade.

Scampi: Well, look. We’ve reached it.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: That’s right. Calm yourself. Here, catch.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Peter? What are you doing?

Peter: It is difficult to speak with goatskin on one’s face.

Scampi: Oh. Sorry.

Peter: That’s quite all right. I shall have a miniscule snooze now.

Scampi: Go right ahead. I’m just going to nibble on some pemmican.

Peter: [drowsily] Can you please stop displacing us with your scrambled lexicon.

Scampi: I will do no such thing.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: I’ll build us a nice, smoky fire so the rescue planes can find us.

Peter: Are we in need of rescuing?

Scampi: Well. No.

Peter: Ah.

Scampi: I’m just practising. For the eventualities, you know.

Peter: Quite.

Scampi: Don’t mind me.

Peter: [snorts]

Scampi: There’s no need to snuffle like a mule.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What blood type are you?

Peter: Why?

Scampi: Just wondering. Just in case.

Peter: I see. Can you refrain from building fires and/or performing transfusions while I sleep?

Scampi: Okay.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: You’re welcome. I shall watch over you. Like a ptarmigan, as they say.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: When the stars appear, I shall identify our position.

Peter: Oh, lovely.

Scampi: Do you want some pemmican?

Peter: No. I want to sleep.

Scampi: Okay. I’ll keep watch.

Peter: Right.

Scampi: From the crow’s nest.

Peter: Am I going to wake up at sea?

Scampi: We are all at sea, Peter.

pt 115: RUNNING WITH THE HORSES

Scampi: This discussion is about arms.  Arms are required.

Peter: Arms are very helpful.

Scampi: Yes, they are.  They are sometimes necessary.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: The long arm of the law.  Ug.

Peter: The law is necessary?

Scampi: Not that kind of arms.  I was thinking of something else.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: You don’t see many occurrences of kilometres in song.  Have you noticed this?

Peter: Implicitly or explicitly?

Scampi: In the words.

Peter: The lyrics.

Scampi: That’s what I said.  You don’t hear anyone singing about his lover/home/bloodhound o so many kilometres away.

Peter: I do not.

Scampi: Well, that’s what I’m saying.

Peter: You believe that the music industry is prejudiced against the metric system?

Scampi: You make me sound like a conspiracy theorist.  I’m just pointing things out.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You look utterly exhausted.

Peter: I do?

Scampi: You do.

Peter: I am slightly tired.

Scampi: Well, that’s no way to be.

Peter: It is unnecessary to inform me of such gratuitous facts.

Scampi: Oh, you would say that.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Well, I think it’s very necessary.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: I bee.

Peter: Excuse me?

Scampi: Done!  You cee, I bee.  I-bis.  Sea biscuit.  Be-bop-a-lula.

Peter: Rawr.

Scampi: Are you growling?

Peter: Sh.

Scampi: Don’t sh me.  Sh yourself.  Sh-bang-whiz.  Popsicle face.

Peter: Could you please cease this infernal racket.

Scampi: Ha.  Racquet.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Would you like some toast?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Are you sure?

Peter: I do not want any toast.

Scampi: “I do not want any toast.”  Jeez.  Want a coffee?

PAUSE.

Scampi: I think you want a coffee.  I’m going to make you one.

Peter: You may do what you will.

Scampi: It certainly follows.

THE HOURS AND DAYS NIMBLY PERCOLATE.

Scampi: My arms are full of wildflowers.  I found them by the side of the road.

Peter: Achoo.

Scampi: Oh.

PAUSE.

Scampi: What’s your opinion on the ocean?

Peter: Ahem, the ocean.

Scampi: That’s what I said.

Peter: Yes.  The great bathtub covering this planet we call home.

Scampi: You don’t have to put on that voice, you know.

Peter: Oh?  And how would you prefer me to respond to your inane queries?

Scampi: Inane!

Peter: I know, it is a stretch.

Scampi: Oh, you.  What are you, afraid of the ocean or something?

Peter: I?

Scampi: Is that it?

Peter: No.

Scampi: It’s understandable.  Home of the GIANT SQUID and all that.

Peter: The ocean is home to numerous creatures, including cephalopods of elephantine proportions.

Scampi: I know.  Gargantuan, even.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Peter: We are blessed with the fecundity of the depths.

Scampi: Yeah.

LONELY SILENCE.

Scampi: I’m going to do a handstand.

Peter: (fearfully) Oh?

Scampi: Don’t look at me like that.  It’s not like I’m going to kick you in the face.

Peter: I should think not.

Scampi: Phew!

Peter: That was a handstand.

Scampi: Yes.  It was edifying.

Peter: How so?

Scampi: Wouldn’t you love to know?  Eh?

PAUSE.

Scampi: Love is a song that never ends.  Did you know that?

Peter: A delicate metaphor, to be sure.

Scampi: A cervine cartoon lullaby.

Peter: Supine?

Scampi: That, too.  Tell me, does it bother you when they call you Homunculus Rex?

Peter: No one calls me that.

Scampi: I just did.

Peter: Yes, you did.  Please stop.

Scampi: Oh, I see.  So you don’t like to be called Homunculus Rex, is that it?

Peter: It is.

Scampi: Okay.  I was just checking, you know.

Peter: I see.  Well, thank you for taking the time to check.

Scampi: You are most welcome O mighty sovereign of manlings!

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: GUFFAWS.

Peter: What a damned clatter.

Scampi: (philosophically) If you do, if you don’t.

PAUSE.

Scampi: Are you trying to circumscribe the world, or are you trying to give it a hug?

Peter: Pardon me?

Scampi: Which?

Peter: I am distinctly unaware of engaging in either of the above activities.

Scampi: Above?  Above what?  You’re above them?

Peter: No.

Scampi: How circumspect.

PAUSE.

Scampi: You know what this is called?

Peter: Nonsense?

Scampi: It’s called embracing the something or other.  Are you doing that?

Peter: (Whatever it might be.)

Scampi: Or are you, like, trying to poke the world in the stomach?

Peter: I have never poked anything in the stomach.

Scampi: Oh, right.  Except for our earth.

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: You can hum and haw all you like.

Peter: Thank you.

Scampi: I’m just looking for some answers here.  Just snooping around the water cooler.

Peter: This is what you love best.

Scampi: What do you know about it?

Peter: Oh, nothing at all, I’m sure.

Scampi: Yeah, well.  Is that a new jacket?

Peter: No.

Scampi: You didn’t even look.

Peter: I did not have to look.  I know which jacket I am wearing at present.

Scampi: Snob.

Peter: And how does this make me a snob?

Scampi: It doesn’t.

Peter: I see.

Scampi: If you please, m’lord.

Peter: Now I’m an aristocrat?  Because I am not wearing a new jacket?

Scampi: Oho, convivialising with the peasantry!  That can’t be good for morale.

Peter: It is possibly an inopportune moment for this brand of horsing around.

Scampi: What?  You object to equine amusements?  I say!  Call in Lord Mulberry Face!  We must organise a symposium.

Peter: SIGHS.

Scampi: Hee hee.

PETER PERUSES LAST MONTH’S NEWS WITH STUDIED PRECISION.

Scampi: You certainly know how to turn a page with gusto.

Peter: Mm.

Scampi: If you get my drift.

Peter: What’s that?

Scampi: Don’t mind me.

Peter: I am attempting not to.

Scampi: Excellent, excellent.

PAUSE.

Peter: Perhaps it is time for me to go.

Scampi: Go?  Go where?  Why would you go somewhere?  Where are you going?

Peter: Ahem.

Scampi: It’s dark out.  You should wait for a break in traffic.

Peter: What traffic?

Scampi: I dunno.  It’s an expression.

Peter: I really should be going.

Scampi: Can I come?

Peter: No.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: Because.

Scampi: Why?

Peter: I am going to sleep.  I regret to inform you that you cannot join me in this venture.

Scampi: Says who?

Peter: That is the fact of the matter.

Scampi: That’s what you think.

Peter: Yes.

Scampi: Well, don’t go yet.  Wait five minutes.

Peter: All right.

pt 68: THE TRUMPETS FROM AFAR

Scampi: I like to be near the water.

 

Peter: Mm.

 

Scampi: Did you know that? Peter?

 

Peter: Hm?

 

Scampi: The water. I like it.

 

Peter: Have some water. Help yourself.

 

Scampi: No, no. Like, the shoreline, like, a body of water.

 

Peter: Oh, heave ho.

 

Scampi: Sail away!

 

FOGHORN-LENGTH PAUSE.

 

Scampi: Right.