That's Odd: Secret Decoder Ring
Saturday, November 9, 1996
Listen

(MUSIC)

TR: Slowly, as the earth turns away from the sun, the days get colder, the nights get longer and flocks of geese beat their way southward. (GEESE OVERHEAD PASSING) They pass over and are gone and then, flying low over the trees (ONE GOOSE, FLYING OVERHEAD), here comes a goose heading north.

SS
: That's odd.

TR
: THAT'S ODD is brought to you by American Lock & Latch. (LOCK. KEY IN LOCK. RATTLE KEY. RATTLE DOOR HANDLE. KLAXON.)

TK: YOU HAVE TRIGGERED THE SECURITY SYSTEM. YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO PUNCH IN YOUR PASSWORD ON THE KEY PAD OR ELSE THE DOGS WILL BE RELEASED. (KLAXON.)

TK: TEN.....NINE.....EIGHT.....(HE FADES, AS MUSIC COMES UP) (MUSIC)

TR
: It happens unexpectedly --- your marriage has gone along smoothly, beautifully, for months....night after night, you sit at the dinner table smiling at each other.

SS
: We're so lucky to have each other.

GK
: I'll say.

SS
: I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't met you. (BEEP)

GK
: Same here.

SS
: I apologize for having been a little hard to live with sometimes. I know I am. But you're so sweet. You're so forgiving. (BEEP)

GK
: What's that sound I hear? do you have a pager?

SS
: I've been going through a lot of things lately, and I know I've been --- well, not as loving or generous or fun to be with as I want to be --- and I just want to thank you for being there for me. Thanks. (BEEP)

GK
: It's okay. I understand. What is that?

SS
: You do?

GK
: I try to understand.

SS
: What do you try to understand?

GK
: Well, you know. What you're going through.

SS
: What is that exactly? Do you know? Have you been through this? Have you? (MUSIC)

TR
: And suddenly something in your brain says....

TK
: (KLAXON) DIVE. DIVE. DIVE.

SS
: Men don't know what goes on with women. Because women can't talk to men. Women talk to other women. Just like men do. Men talk to women. Men don't talk to other men. That's why men go on being seventeen years old for the rest of their lives. Men aren't aware of things. They aren't aware of even having a wife. They're sort of vaguely aware of someone putting food in front of them and they go to bed and someone is there in a negligee and it seems to be the same person. That's the approximate level of men's awareness. And there are some short people living in the house. (PAUSE, BEEP) Are you listening to me? (PAUSE, BEEP) Hello? (PAUSE) What's that?

GK
: What's what?

SS
: That ring.

GK
: It's just a ring.


SS
: Where'd you get that?

GK
: I bought it.

SS
: What for?

GK
: I liked it.

SS
: Really?

GK
: I liked it. I thought it looked nice.

SS
: It makes you look like a lounge singer.

GK
: This?

SS: You might as well get a blue silk shirt open down to your belly button and comb your hair back on the sides and sing "Volare".

GK
: It's nice.

SS
: What? "Volare"?

GK
: The ring.

SS
: Maybe I'll start calling you Vic.

GK
: Well, if you're going to get all upset about it, I'll take it off.

SS
: Good.

GK
: There. Gone. (PUTS RING IN DISH, WITH OTHER SMALL THINGS)

SS
: How much did you pay for it?

GK
: Not that much. (FOOTSTEPS)

SS
: I hope not. How much? (SECOND PAIR OF FOOTSTEPS FOLLOWING. DOOR CLOSE)

GK
: I got it for ---- never mind. Where's the newspaper?

SS
: How much did you pay for it?

GK
: I got it for six Ovaltine labels.

SS
: Ovaltine?

GK
: It's a secret decoder ring with an earth-to-spaceship crystal transmitter. (FOOTSTEPS STOP)

SS
: Are you on some kind of drugs?

GK
: I sent in for it. From "Ken Crawford, Captain of the Space Cadets".

SS
: Who is this?

GK
: Travelling at twice the speed of light, he fights evil from galaxy to galaxy, bringing justice and the
American way to the Milky Way. It's a radio show.

SS
: Oh my gosh. Look at the time. We're supposed to be at the Kemps in half an hour.

GK
: At the who?

SS
: The Kemps. We're going to the Kemps for dinner. I told you this ten times.

GK
: Who are the Kemps?

SS
: They live next door.

GK
: Oh.

SS
: You may have seen them working on their lawn. The friendly people waving? with the mouths
moving? Talking to you? The people who cut our grass when we're gone? The people whose garbage can your dog got into? (BEEP)

GK
: Excuse me. (FOOTSTEPS)

SS
: Where are you going? (DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. (FOOTSTEPS) (JINGLE OF SMALL THINGS IN DISH, AS HE PICKS RING OUT) (CLICK OF SWITCH)

TR
(SMALL VOICE FROM TINY SPEAKER): Hello?

GK
: Ken?

TR
: What can I do for you, buddy?

GK
: So this works.

TR
: Course it works. How's it goin down there?

GK
: Not so good, Ken.

TR
: Oh?

GK
: I have reason to believe that I married a space alien, Ken. TR: Oh boy.

GK
: We've been married for ten years and she's starting to reveal her dark side.

TR
: Boy, they'll do that, won't they.

GK
: Now she's discovered my secret ring.

TR
: Whoa. That's serious.

GK
: She's trying to get me to go next door, Ken. Meet the neighbors.

TR
: Whoa. Sounds like trouble. Tell me, buddy: what are these neighbors like?

GK
: Real friendly.

TR
: Real friendly, huh?

GK
: Real friendly.

TR
: Sounds like hostile space alien behavior to me.

GK
: That's what I'm afraid of.

TR
: Get you in there, all three or four of em.

GK
: Three of em.

TR
: Three of em. Get you in there and start sucking the brains right out of your head with their laser
vacuums.

GK
: Wouldn't stand a chance.

TR
: They can do it in a nanosecond, buddy. And fill up your skull with plastic. Lot o' people goin'
around like that.

GK
: I know. Shhhhhh. (DOOR OPEN)

SS
: What are you doing?

GK
: I'm looking at my ring.

SS
: What do you have it up next to your mouth for?

GK
: I'm polishing it. (HE EXHALES) See?

SS
: I heard you talking in here.

GK
: I was talking to myself.

SS
: You never used to talk to yourself.

GK
: I do now.

SS
: What's going on with you?

GK
: Don't touch me. (FOOTSTEPS, BACKING UP)

SS
: What's the matter? (HER FOOTSTEPS, APPROACHING)

GK
: Get away from me. Get away.

SS
: I don't understand.

GK
: No, you don't. Get away. (SPACE CHORDS. CRACKLE OF LIGHTNING. LASER)

TR
(REVERB): Don't worry, buddy. I'm right here. Come up the spectrum. Walk right up the rays
. (GLISSANDO, ORGAN. GLISS UP AND THEN CHORD SEQUENCE: BACK TO REALITY)

SS
: Jack?

GK
: Yeah?

SS
: Are you okay?

GK: Now? Yes. Basically, I am. Yes.

SS
: You're sure?

GK
: Sure.

SS
: Good. Then why don't you get ready and we'll go over to the Kemps for dinner.

GK
: Good. I think I'll bring them a bottle of wine.

SS
: That'd be nice.

GK
: I'll go down the basement and grab a bottle, okay? I'll be right back. (FOOTSTEPS) (DOOR
OPEN, CLOSE) (STEPS ON STAIRS, CREAKING, THEN CONCRETE, SLOWLY. ECHO.)....it's so musty down here....meant to clean it out...(CLICKS LIGHT SWITCH) darn....meant to replace that light bulb too. Well---- I think I can find my way back here.

TK
: Hi, what are you looking for?

GK
: Larry?

TK
: Maybe I can help.

GK
: Larry, I thought you were gone. I thought you enrolled in the program.

TK
: I'm all done with the program. It was a six-week program. That was two years ago.

GK
: But I thought they were supposed to place you in a group living situation, Larry.

TK
: I decided I liked it better here.

GK
: Larry, you can't live in our basement like this. In a sleeping bag in an old washer-dryer carton.

TK
: You and I used to be best friends. You remember? We were identical twin brothers and we were best friends. People couldn't tell us apart. We were going to go to college together. And then you asked me to help you get the storm windows down from over the garage.

GK
: I remember that, Larry.

TK
: You were handing the storm windows down to me. You asked me if I had it, and I said no, and you let go.

GK
: I'm sorry, Larry.

TK
: I didn't get to go to college then.

GK
: Larry, I know that. Listen. I came to ask you a question. Do you know my neighbors?

TK
: The Kemps?

GK
: Right. The Kemps. Listen, Larry. I'd like you to do me a favor.

TK
: Okay.

GK
: I'd like you to be me for a little while and I'd like to be you, okay?

TK
: Okay.

GK
: You go up there and go over to the Kemps with Kathy and have a nice time and I'll stay here and
read your comics, okay?

TK
: Okay. Do the Kemps have any kitty cats?

GK
: They do, but you be very gentle with the kitty cats.

TK
: I'm going to be very gentle with the kitty cats.

GK
: You be gentle, Larry.

TK
: I'm going to be very gentle with the kitty cats.

GK
: Larry, you go upstairs and ---- here---- if you need me, just talk into this ring, okay?

TK
: Okay.

GK
: And here. Take this bottle of wine with you. Have a good time, Larry. (LARRY'S FOOTSTEPS, GOING UP STAIRS)

TK
: I'm going to have a good time. I'm going to have a good time. (DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS. REVERB ENDS) I'm going to have a good time.

SS
: Oh, a Chardonnay. That's nice. Are you all ready to go?

TK
: I'm all ready to go.

SS
: Good. You have some cobwebs in your hair, honey.

TK
: I have some cobwebs in my hair.

SS
: There. (SHE BRUSHES IT AWAY) Now you look fine. Okay. (SHE KISSES HIM) I love you. I hope you know that.

TK
: I love you. (FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN.(THEME MUSIC)

TR
: That's Odd. Brought to you by American Lock & Latch. (DOOR CLOSE. KEY LATCH. MUSIC BUTTON OUT.)

©1996 BY GARRISON KEILLOR

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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