Saturday, November 9, 1996
(THEME. GK SINGS)
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye --- brought to you by the Ketchup Advisory Board.
GK: It came as a shock, I must say. One day I was broke and feeling lower than a snake's ankles, and the next day I was in Las Vegas, Nevada, on expense account, the director of Empyrean Studios' radio production of "Madame Bovary," wearing a tropical shirt and black slacks and a pair of pale blue shades I'd found under my seat on the plane. It was a first class seat and next to me was a woman who asked to hold my hand during take-off. (JET)
SS: Thank you very much.
GK: My pleasure.
SS: I'm a little nervous, is all.
GK: No problem.
SS: Not about flying. About taking this trip.
GK: I see.
SS: My husband is gone for the weekend.
GK: Uh huh.
SS: I took out a second mortgage on the house, sent the kids to my mother's, and I'm going to the
blackjack tables with $85,000 and I have to be home by Monday noon.
GK: Oh, I don't think it'll take you that long. Just remember to double down when you get the chance.
SS: I have to return home with a million dollars.
GK: Well, good luck.
SS: I'll give ten percent to my church.
GK: Have you played blackjack before?
SS: It's like gin rummy, isn't it?
GK: Well, the cards are similar, but---- here, let me show you. (FADE, MUSIC BRIDGE) I took a cab to my hotel, the Rancho Titanic. They sank the great ship every half hour out front, on The Strip. (SHIP SINKING, CRIES OF ALARM) And then they raised it again, the passengers standing on the deck waving. (MARCH, CHEERING, SHIP RISING) I walked along Glitter Gulch where the low rollers tried their luck at the nickel slots (FOOTSTEPS, TRAFFIC PASSING), most of them women in polyester pantssuits in colors not found in nature, their eyes darting back and forth, looking for the fun they should be having, but weren't. I walked back to the hotel. The Titanic had gone down. (HOTEL LOBBY AMBIANCE) I hadn't been in Las Vegas since cars had fins and phones had dials. Back then, Frank and the Rat Pack were playing the lounges, and now it was Barney and Mr. Rogers. A family scene.
TR: Excuse me. Mr. Noir?
TR: Nice shades. I'm Brett Kilgore of the hospitality staff, welcome to the Rancho Titanic. I'd like to
give you this card which entitles you to complimentary meals in any of our restaurants, complimentary drinks, and complimentary tickets to any of our shows, including the midnight show, "Nudes on Ice".
GK: Nudes on Ice.
TR: That's correct.
GK: What is that, assuming I want to know?
TR: It's forty, count 'em, forty Swedish beauties and at the end of the show, all the ice is melted, I promise you.
GK: I don't know. I'm here on business, Mr. Kilgore. Directing a big radio production. Don't want to get distracted by entertainment.
TR: Well, let me show you to your suite. This way, Mr. Noir. (FOOTSTEPS OFF, MUSIC UP)
GK: The suite wasn't as big as Yankee Stadium but it was better furnished. It was about a quarter mile long and was done up in a nautical motif with portholes for windows. I looked out and saw an iceberg on the horizon.
TR: Just a holograph. Don't worry. (OFF) This is the shower here, Mr. Noir. Nine adjustable nozzles. (SFX) And here is the Jacuzzi. (ENGINE, WATER) Telephone is right there beside it, and the remote control for the television. And a three-speed Water-Pic. (FOOTSTEPS) This button rings the valet. (DING. DOOR OPEN. TK BRIT: At your service, sir.) The suite also comes with a dog. (DOG PANTING) His name is Jules. What do you drink, Mr. Noir?
GK: Scotch and soda.
TR: Go make a Scotch and soda, Jules. (DOG WOOFS, AWAY) The shades and the room lights are synchronized so you can make it be any time of day you want, morning, noon, or night. The thermostat can produce any weather you wish, including thunderstorms (THUNDER, LIGHTNING) or blizzards (WIND). Ah, here's Jules. (DOG WOOFS, BACK) He's got your drink, Mr. Noir.
GK: Good. Thanks. (DOG WOOFS) Thanks. Looks nice.
TR: Is something wrong?
GK: No, no, no. It was just that the dog was carrying the drink with the rim of the glass in his mouth, that's all.
TR: Bad dog. (DOG SHAME) Bad dog. Use a tray, Jules. Tray! (DOG WOOFS, AWAY) He doesn't care for the taste of the tray in his mouth because it's an old dog tray and he didn't like the dog who used it before.
GK: I see. Well, it's quite a suite, sir.
TR: I hope you'll be very happy here. Call if you need anything. Good luck. (DOOR CLOSE) GK: I headed for the living room but the pile of the carpet was so deep, I got tired wading through it and sat down to rest. (DOG APPROACH, TRAY IN MOUTH, WHINING, JIGGLING GLASS & ICE SLIGHTLY) Thank you, Jules. (GK TAKES DRINK. DOG GROWLS) Oh, sorry. Sorry. Here. (PUTS SOME COINS ON TRAY. DOG GROWLS.) Sorry. (PUTS MORE COINS ON TRAY).
GK: It didn't add up. Why would Benjamin Nibs put me in a hotel like this? In my experience with radio, the talent usually is sequestered in modest accommodations ---- an old refrigerator box maybe ---- (PHONE RINGS) (PICK UP) Yeah? ....(VOICE AT OTHER END) Yeah, this is Noir. (VOICE) Oh, Nibs. Sure. Good to hear from you. Listen--- (VOICE) Huh? You what? (VOICE) You've been rewriting a little. (VOICE) I see. So you're changing Madame Bovary to a story about a family. Uh huh. (VOICE) Calling it, Leave it to Bovary. Good, good. (VOICE) Mother, dad, two sons.....sure. Sounds interesting. Listen. Let me call you back. Okay? (VOICE) (MUSIC) It wasn't artistic integrity I was worried about at that point. You can't worry about what you don't have. I was worried about Sugar. She had had her eye on the part of Emma Bovary, and I was hoping to keep that for my other girlfriend, Louise. It's a complicated life, the life of a director. (KNOCK ON DOOR) Yeah? Come on in. (FOOTSTEPS) Oh, hi, Sugar.
SS: Hi, Guy. Great room you got. And nice shades.
GK: Thanks. This here is my bartender. (DOG PANTS) Jules, this is Sugar. Sugar, Jules.
SS: Pleased t' meet y'. Listen, Guy. You and me, we got to talk.
GK: The three words that strike fear into the heart of a man. We gotta talk. About what?
SS: About us.
GK: You and me?
GK: Sugar, listen. I love you and I'll always love you, no matter what.
SS: So it's all over then, huh?
GK: Yeah, it's over.
SS: I thought so.
GK: There'll never be anybody else like you, Sugar.
SS: So it's really over.
SS: Guy, I want the part of Emma Bovary.
SS: Guy, this is my big chance.
GK: Oh come on.
SS: This is a classy part. Flaubert. All that. You know.
GK: Oh Sugar....
SS: Guy, I'm tired of playing bimbos. I'm tired of playing the cheap floozy with the bleached hair. I
want this part. I'll even dye my hair black if you want.
GK: Sugar, this is for radio.
SS: I don't care. I want this, Guy. Please.
GK: Sugar, Emma Bovary is the bimbo of all time. Yes. She is. That's what Bovary means. It's
French for "not that bright". I'm sorry. It's the truth.
SS: Oh Guy. A girl just can't win. (KNOCKS ON DOOR)
GK: Yeah, come in. (DOOR OPEN, FOOTSTEPS) Oh, hi, Nibs. (DOOR CLOSE)
TR: Hi, Noir. Thought I'd show you this.
GK: What do I want with a bottle of wine?
TR: Take a look at the label.
GK: Flaubert Winery....Cabernet Bovary.
TR: Pretty nifty, huh?
GK: Maybe, maybe not. (CORKSCREW IN, PULL, POP. POUR.) Kind of pale for a Cabernet. (HE
TASTES, SPITS) That's the worst wine in the western world, Nibs. This stuff'll peel the linoleum right off your teeth.
SS: It looks okay to me, Guy.
TR: It just came in by supertanker from Afghanistan.
GK: Afghanistan. This is an Afghani Cabernet?
TR: Fundamentalist Muslims give you a good price on alcohol. That's why I backed em.
SS: Pour me some of that, Guy. (POURING)
GK: So this radio play is all part of a bigger scheme, I see.
TR: I've got four supertankers full of this stuff, Noir. A million cases of Cabernet Bovary. It's going to sell itself. Number one: it's French. Number two: it's a French name that anybody can pronounce so you go to the liquor store, you don't look like a dumbbell in front of your wife. Number three: I'm pricing the bottles at thirty-seven zops.
GK: Thirty-seven dollars. For this....swill?
TR: Americans don't approve of drinking, so they'd prefer it tastes bad.
GK: You'll never get away with it, Nibs.
TR: But at thirty-seven bucks a bottle, people are going to think this is the finest wine they ever tasted.
SS: He's right, Guy. This is pretty good.
GK: You're an evil man, Nibs. I'll stop you if it's the last thing I do.
TR: Listen, you two-bit peanut grifter, you're shacked up in the finest hotel suite of your miserable life. You've got complimentary meals, complimentary tickets, your whole life is complimentary. What do you think is paying for the compliments, Mr. Noir?
GK: (MUSIC) I looked around. The dog was just turning down the bed and putting a couple mints on the pillow. (DISTANT WOOF) The Jacuzzi was quietly rumbling. Outside was Las Vegas, the fastest growing city in the USA, sitting in the bottom of a bowl of barren mountains, like a neon salad with no discernible nutritional value. And Sugar was taking my hand in hers.
SS: I think I could be a very good Emma Bovary, Guy. Don't you?
GK: Maybe so, Sugar. We'll see. (THEME)
TR: A dark night in a city that keeps its secrets, and somewhere in the mean and crowded streets is
a guy still trying to find the answers to life's questions.....Guy Noir, Private Eye.
©1996 BY GARRISON KEILLOR, RICH PROCTER, AND JOHN KNOERLE