A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor

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Rhubarb script

Garrison Keillor: ...brought to you by Bebopareebop Rhubarb Pie and frozen rhubarb pie filling.

You go to the airport to fly to Boston to get on a cruise ship to Canada and get your e-ticket and go through security (SCANNER) (TK: PUT YOUR SHOES ON THE BELT AND PUT YOUR HANDS ON TOP OF YOUR HEADS, LET'S GO PEOPLE) and you finally get through and you hike to the gate (HEAVY BREATHING) and you can tell it's going to be a full flight by the look on the gate agent's face (

SS: GET BACK! BACK! (WHIP) IF YOU HAVE YOUR BOARDING PASS, DON'T LINE UP HERE!!! HAVE YOU NEVER FLOWN BEFORE? (WHIP) She is wearing a helmet and face-guard and there's a large dog (SNARLS) who herds everyone into the jetway (BARKS) where pitiful geezers totter down the incline (TR & SS GEEZER ANXIETY). You board the aircraft and you stand in the first-class section for a moment (TR MOGUL: Another double Scotch and soda. And more of that tandoori shrimp. It's scrumptious!) and you make your way back into steerage where people are stuffing the overheads (FN EFFORT, SQUEEZING, COMPRESSING) with duffel bags the size of Volkswagens (BIG EFFORT). There is an air of desperation (FN STRAINING) because bags that don't fit will be checked and sent to L.A. by way of Athens (FN BIG EFFORT). Luckily you find a place to stow your bag right above your seat, 45E. You're sitting between a lady with a dog on her lap (

FN: Excuse me, pardon me, sorry) (DOG YIPS) and a man in an Arab kafir (TR ARABIC) who has a big black briefcase on his lap. (

FN: Hi. How are we doing today? TR ARABIC) Your knees are wedged behind a great big guy who chooses this moment to put his seat back (FN INTENSE PAIN, CRACK)which drives your femur right up into your chest cavity (SHARP PAIN)....so now you will require wheelchair assistance when you deplane. (SS ON P.A.: Welcome aboard K-Mart Airlines —will everyone take your seat immediately so we can have an on-time departure—) Flight attendants with electric prods move down the aisle (ELECTRIC SHOCK, CRY, SS: Thank you for your cooperation. ELECTRIC SHOCK, CRY. SS: Thank you, sir.) And now the aircraft is pulling away from the gate (JET ENGINE, LOW) and it taxis for fifteen minutes to a distant corner of the field and sits there for forty-five minutes during which time the man next to you is fiddling with the combination on his briefcase (TR ARABIC) and the dog pees on your foot (

SS: Sorry. He's not a good flier.) and finally there's an announcement from the cockpit (FN ON P.A. BLOWS AND: This is your first officer. We are experiencing a minor instrument read-out problem, which will require us to return to the gate to replace the part — it's a minor repair — I would expect this to take, oh, five or ten minutes, and then we'll be underway). The passengers look at each other in ashen horror. They've been here before. They know what "minor repair" means.

It means that nobody will be allowed to deplane. (JET ENGINE, LOW) The aircraft taxis back to the gate and when the door is opened (THUNK, CREAK) passengers surge forward (SHOUTS, YELLS, STRUGGLING) but gate agents have brought fire hoses (BLAST OF WATER) and they drive the passengers back to their seats (CRIES OF PAIN) and the seatbelts are fastened and locked (CLUNK, CLICK) (WHIMPER OF PAIN.

SS: Thank you for your cooperation.) and you settle down for the long wait. An hour passes. Two hours. And then your cellphone rings. (RING) (

FN: Yes? TR (INDIAN): Hello. Are you on the plane to Boston?

FN: Yes? TR (INDIAN): I am Rashid, the airplane mechanic. I'm calling from Bangalore. Could you answer a question for me, please?

FN: Yes—TR (INDIAN): Do you see little puddles of motor oil under the wing?

FN: I can't see anything) —You can hear people around you starting to go berserk (


SS: I want to speak to Amnesty International, please— and hurry.) People are pounding on the walls. (THUMPS) The gate agents have to come back with the fire hoses (BLAST OF WATER) and the captain walks back from the cockpit (TR NAZI: We will ausgeluft mit der take-off in zwei minutter, so shut up! Gespielt! Achtung. (CLICK OF HEELS) and the plane doors are closed (DOOR CLANK, LOCKS) and the plane taxis back toward the runway and you're 15th for takeoff and as you come closer and closer to take-off (CREAK), you hear this strange sound from under your seat (CREAK OF RIGGING) and is that steam coming from the air vents (HISS) and now there's another sound (ENGINE STARTER) — And now you're first for take-off. The cruise ship leaves in one hour. (JET ROAR, CREAK)


GK: Wouldn't this be a good time for a piece of rhubarb pie? Yes, nothing gets the taste of terror out of your mouth like Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie.


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