DUCK: Ahem! Rabbit? Can you hear me?
RABBIT: Who’s asking?
DUCK: It’s me, obviously.
RABBIT: Who’s that then?
DUCK: [Exasperated] The duck, it’s the duck. Who else would it be?
RABBIT: What duck?
DUCK: [Snorts]: Oh, come on! For fuck’s sake. You know what duck.
RABBIT: [Stiffly] I’m quite certain I don’t know. [Slowly, and with extra emphasis on the final consonants in each word]: What? Duck?
DUCK: [Wearily]: Fine. I’ll play along. It’s your other half. Your better half.
RABBIT: [Muttering]: better half, now that’s rich.
DUCK: Sorry, I didn’t catch that?
RABBIT: Oh, I was just recalling how He always said … how was it He put it? Oh yes, “Das Bild mochte mir gezeigt worden sein, und ich darin nie etwas anderes als einen Hasen gesehen haben.”
DUCK: It’s generally considered rude to speak in a language that you know full well the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand.
RABBIT: [Loftily]: Well, his point is simply that, if no-one had pointed it out, He would never even have noticed the duck.
DUCK: Aha! So you do acknowledge my existence!
RABBIT: Well, I know of you; that’s hardly the same thing. You’re a mere hypothetical possibility.
DUCK: Well, not any more I’m not, I mean, I’m here now; you acknowledge that.
RABBIT: I acknowledge nothing of the sort! I mean, I can’t see you.
DUCK: I can’t see you either, for that matter.
DUCK: What’s that supposed to mean, “Precisely”!? Who cares if we can’t see each other. I know that you’re there and you know I’m here.
RABBIT: Oh, really? And how do we know that?
DUCK: [Increasingly exasperated] Well, we’re having this conversation, aren’t we!
RABBIT: A conversation, is that what this is? I’m just trying to be alone with my own thoughts but it’s awfully difficult to concentrate with this incessant quacking ringing in my ears.
RABBIT: Hello? Hello? Hello?
DUCK: [Crestfallen]: I’m still here. I … just .. [Sounds of muffled sobbing]
RABBIT: Oh, COME ON! Now you’re crying? Bloody ducks. What did I say?
DUCK: [In a halting voice muffled by sniffs and half-stifled sobs] It’s just that …. just that I thought … it was stupid I suppose … I thought that … I thought you felt …. felt the same … [Starts sobbing in earnest]
RABBIT: [At once gruffly and tenderly] There, there. It’s not so bad. What do you mean, “felt the same”? Felt the same about what?
DUCK: It’s just that … you’re … you’re …
RABBIT: [Impatiently]: spit it out!
DUCK: You’re everything to me, ohhhhhhh [Starts sobbing again]
RABBIT: [Genuinely puzzled] But we’ve only just met. We barely know each other. What on earth can you possibly mean?
DUCK: [Still stifling sobs] I know it seems … silly, I s’pose. But … I just feel like, like … we’re one and the same, you know? But it’s more than that. I know it’s a cliché, really I do, but … you … you … you complete me. There, I’ve said it.
RABBIT: [If she had eyebrows, one would be raised in an expression of deep skepticism]: “You complete me”? Oh dearie, dearie me. [Not unkindly] We have worked ourselves up into a lather now, haven’t we? But, don’t get me wrong, I see how this happened, really I do. And it’s all just a silly misunderstanding.
[Duck begins sobbing again.]
No, no, no! Let me finish. [Rabbit talks slowly, patiently, as if to a small child] Things between us are …. ambiguous. Always have been, always will be. No question there. [Pauses] Tell me, Duck, have you heard of gestalt?
[Duck shakes his head mournfully.]
No, I didn’t think so [Rabbit mutters this under her breath] OK, let’s approach this from another angle, so to speak. You’ve heard of Darwin, yes? The concept of species?
[Duck nods, somewhat doubtfully; Rabbit’s face brightens.]
Well, then, you’ll understand that you and I, we just can’t be. You’re a duck; I’m a rabbit. End of story.
[A mixture of emotions pass over Duck’s face; anguish; anger; followed by a slow dawning expression of triumph.]
DUCK: But you’re not a rabbit! And I’m not a duck!
RABBIT: [Quietly and rather flustered] I’m sorry, I really don’t follow … me not a rabbit and you not a duck? Dear duck, you’re confused.
DUCK [Warming to his subject]: No, I’m perfectly in my right mind, thank you very much. You’re not a rabbit, and I’m not a duck. The fact is, my friend, we’re both just black marks on white. You’ve heard of Magritte, I suppose?
RABBIT [Growing pale]: Well, I’m familiar with him, but I don’t see what that has ….
DUCK: [In a surprisingly good French accent] “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” I rest my case.
RABBIT [His voice now audibly panic-stricken]: Well pipes are one thing, aren’t they, and what is a duck but a short-necked upside-down pipe … but a rabbit? A rabbit, at least in Jastrow’s rendering, has dimensionality … has depth… I mean, have you seen my fur?? [Voice trails off]
DUCK: Actually, I haven’t. [Sighs] It’s difficult for us both to accept, Rabbit, but the truth is, we’re not a duck and a rabbit; we’re a duck-rabbit. I mean, come on [Gently], do you really think that without me anyone would be interested in you?
RABBIT [Stricken, gasps]
DUCK: I’m not saying this to hurt you; it goes just the same for me. No one’s interested in me without you. They’re not interested in the duck or the rabbit; they’re only interested in the duck-rabbit.
RABBIT: [Now whimpering softly]: But … but I heard people say…
DUCK: Go on …
RABBIT: I don’t want to hurt your feelings ….
DUCK: [Dryly] It’s too late for that. Spit it out.
RABBIT: They’d say that they couldn’t really see you … that when they tried looking for your bill all they could see was my ears … and that your head was …. was too strangely shaped. I’m sorry. I know I’m being cruel. [Deep breath] I became convinced that you didn’t really exist, that you were just a figment of my imagination … well, of somebody’s imagination, anyway … that it was just me and that that was … that was enough.
DUCK: [Softly]: I heard just the same about you. They couldn’t really see you .. there was something odd about your ears that prevented them from truly seeing you as a rabbit ….
But, Rabbit, there’s no need for sorrow. We have each other. We’ve found each other.
RABBIT: [Ruefully] Except that we can’t actually see each other.
DUCK: Seeing is overrated. I know you’re there. I know it in my bill.
RABBIT [Sighing]: I know it in my ears.
DUCK: Well, good night Rabbit.
RABBIT: Good night Duck.
DUCK: I don’t suppose you fancy a quick game of duck, duck, rabbit before bed?
RABBIT: NO, I DO NOT. GOOD NIGHT.