Guy Noir
Saturday, January 23, 1999
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(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)

(GUY NOIR THEME & SONG)

 

TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but high above the empty streets, on the 12th floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions - Guy Noir, Private Eye.

(THEME UP AND OUT)

GK: It was one of those slow days at the office when you sit and look at the paper and read everything in it twice, even the wedding announcements and the pollen count in Arizona and the impeachment, and you lean forward in your chair and put your head down on the desk so you can think more clearly and then suddenly you wake up, it's dark outside, there's saliva on the paper, and your phone is ringing.

(PHONE RINGS, PICK UP)

GK: Yeah, Guy Noir, Private Eye.

SS (ON PHONE): Could I talk to Tiffany?

GK: Sorry. There's no Tiffany here.

SS (ON PHONE): Well, when she gets back, tell her Stacy called and to meet me at the mall, but not at the Pita Palace like we planned but at the Hat Hut, okay? And tell her Scott and Josh are coming so she shouldn't wear her retainer, okay?

GK: Look, I don't know any Tiffany.

SS (ON PHONE): Cool. So tell her I called, okay?

(HANGS UP, WITH A SIGH)

(A BEAT, THEN THE PHONE RINGS AGAIN, PICK UP)

GK: Guy Noir, Private Eye.

TR (ON PHONE): Yeah, dude, you know where I'm supposed to meet Tiffany at the mall? like, I donno.

GK: The Pita Palace.

TR (ON PHONE): Not the Hat Hut?

GK: I said the Pita Palace.

TR (ON PHONE): Hey, don't have a cow, man.

(HANG UP)

GK: Okay, I'll try not to.

(PHONE RINGS, PICK UP)

GK: Hello.

TK (TEEN, ON PHONE): Tiffany?

GK: Speaking.

TK (TEEN, ON PHONE): Hi. It's me, Josh. You want to meet at the Bagel Barn?

GK: No, the Hat Hut.

TK (TEEN, ON PHONE): Oh, cool. See ya. (HANG UP)

GK: It seemed to be turning into one of those days. I unplugged the phone (SFX) and put my head back down on the paper and this time I didn't drift off. I could see the bedroom window of an apartment in the building across the street where a stunning redhead in thong underwear was standing in front of her closet, choosing her outfit. It was the scantiest underwear I'd ever seen in my life. There's more cotton in the top of an aspirin bottle than there was in that - my gosh - good heavens - before I realized it, I had a pair of binoculars up to my face and focused, and right then she reached for the light switch and everything went to black.

I thought, this is no way for an intelligent man to spend his time, how about I go to the Public Library and take a few hours and brush up on my higher algebra. And on the way to the library, I stopped in at the Five Spot.

(MUSIC. DOOR OPEN, JINGLE. FOOTSTEPS.)

TR: Hey, Guy. Good to see ya. How's everything?

GK: Hey, not so bad, Jimmy. Could be worse. How's it going with you?

TR: Great, Guy. I finally finished War and Peace.

GK: Oh, congratulations.

TR: Yeah. I took a course on it at the U twenty years ago, y'know.

GK: Uh huh.

TR: Got an A on the course.

GK: Uh huh.

TR: Always felt guilty about it.

GK: Right.

TR: Thought I oughta read the book. Never got around to it.

GK: Uh huh.

TR: And yesterday I finished it.

GK: Good. What'd you think?

TR: It's a good book.

GK: Uh huh.

TR: But I forget how it starts.

GK: Oh really-

TR: I mean I started reading it twenty years ago.

GK: Sure.

TR: I mean, who is Pierre? who is Natasha? and what's the war all about?

GK: Maybe you ought to start over.

TR: I don't care to devote another twenty years to this book, Guy.

GK: Well, maybe you could rent the video.

TR: But what if it's not as good as the book?

GK: Good point. Say, Jimmy, you know anybody lives in that apartment building across from me?

TR: The Jamaica Palms?

GK: That's the name of it?

TR: The new one that went up last summer.

GK: Right.

TR: Yeah, it's the Jamaican Palms. Lot of young people moved in there.

GK: I should say.

TR: They have a lot of different - you know, social programs and stuff, dances, clubs, all of that.

GK: Nice. Open to outsiders?

TR: I don't think so. It's kind of a singles place.

GK: Well, I'm single.

TR: Young singles.

GK: Oh.

TR: Sorry, Guy.

TR: So what can I get for you, Guy?

GK: How about a hot toddy, Jimmy?

TR: Anything else, Guy?

GK: No, no. Not a thong - I mean, thing.

TR: Coming right up.

GK: You know anybody who lives in that building?

TR: Yeah. Heather does. The woman standing right behind you.

SS: Hi. I'm Heather. (SOFT BREATHY SAX)

GK: I turned and there she was, the girl with the thong underwear. - Good God, it's you!

SS: I'm sorry. Do I know you?

GK: Uh...no. No, you don't. It's just an expression. I say it all the time.

TR: Here you go, Guy. A nice hot rum toddy.

GK: Good God, Jimmy, it's you! (MORE SAX, UNDER) I couldn't believe it. Her, in the flesh. Her lips seemed to glisten, her eyes sparkled. She was wearing a black silk blouse which she had neglected to button all the way to the top. And jeans, preshrunk by somebody who must have measured her legs with a caliper. -

SS: I'm Heather. Heather McGill. I'm from Bemidji. And you're - ?

GK: Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.

SS: Is that, like, a law firm?

GK: My name is Guy. Guy Noir.

SS: Sounds familiar.

TR: Guy is a world-famous private eye, Heather.

GK: Jimmy, please.

TR: Guy was the mastermind who solved the big Hotchkiss kidnapping in 1965.

SS: Nineteen-sixty-five!! Wow! Incredible! That was, like, what? World War II or something?

GK: No, that was well after World War II, Heather.

SS: Still. That was way back there. Wow. You must be older than my father.

GK: I was a child when I worked on that Hotchkiss case. It was a school project. I was in the third grade, as I recall.

TR: Huh? 1965? Third grade?

GK: Jimmy has a little problem with dates, Heather. It's a job related problem. The fumes - and he's allergic to peanuts.

SS: So you're really a private eye?

GK: Yeah.

SS: That's funny. I've been looking for a private eye myself.

GK: Well, here I am. World-famous, low rates.

SS: It's my boyfriend. Leon. He's been acting mysterious lately. I wonder if maybe he's been seeing someone else on the side.

GK: Heather, if he's seeing someone else, it oughta be a shrink.

SS: I don't think shrinks see people at midnight on Saturday though.

GK: You called him up then?

SS: I went to his apartment then.

GK: I see.

SS: I'm in 12B, he's in 12C.

GK: Convenient.

SS: I was returning his laundry.

GK: Ironed, or just fluff and fold?

SS: Ironed.

GK: A serious romance.

SS: We've talked about getting an apartment together.

GK: So you went next door Saturday at midnight?

SS: I heard a woman's voice.

GK: Uh huh.

SS: He was talking to her.

GK: I see.

SS: (WEEPY) He was talking to her like he knew her really well. Like maybe they were having an affair.

GK: Uh huh. At midnight.

SS: What can I do, Mr. Noir?

GK: Well, a number of things. (MUSIC UNDER) I wanted to say, "Heather, an older man who's seen a little more of life is going to be much more considerate of a woman than a kid who's all wrapped up in himself." I was trying to think of the right way to phrase it when the door opened (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE. FOOTSTEPS) and in came -

SS: Leon!

TR: Heather, what are you doing in here? I've been looking everywhere. We had a date to go see a movie - who's this?

GK: I'm Guy Noir, Leon. I'm a private investigator. I'm working for Heather.

TR: A detective!

GK: That's right, bub.

SS: Leon, who were you with Saturday night? Late. After you left me.

TR: After I left you? I went back to my apartment.

SS: With whom?

TR: Nobody. I went back and worked with my French language tapes.

SS: Oh?

TR: You and I talked about going to Paris in the spring.

SS: Right.

TR: I've got six hours of conversation tapes. I'm on No. 3.

SS: So the voice I heard was -

TR: Madame Poisson.

SS: - and you were -

TR: (FRENCH GIBBERISH)

SS: Let's go, Leon. - Thank you for your trouble, Mr. Noir. Goodbye. (MUSIC)

GK: They walked out the door, the multilingual guy and the woman with the thong underwear, and I sat there looking into my rum toddy which wasn't so hot anymore.

TR (JIMMY): Nice young couple, huh?

GK: Yeah.

TR (JIMMY): Want me to warm that up for you, Guy?

GK: No, I'm okay.

TR (JIMMY): I thought you liked hot toddies.

GK: Sometimes you solve a case sooner than you'd like to, Jimmy.

TR (JIMMY): Yeah?

GK: I was looking forward to working with Heather.

TR (JIMMY): Somehow I detect an interest that is not purely professional, Guy.

GK: I don't happen to be in a very pure profession. -

TR (JIMMY): She's much too young for you, Guy.

GK: So, give her time.

TR (JIMMY): I was talking to her before you came in. She asked me what that music was, playing on the jukebox. I said, &quotCount Basie." And she said, "Is he English?"

GK: Oh, that hurts.

TR (JIMMY): You could never be happy with someone who doesn't know who Count Basie is, Guy.

GK: It might be fun trying to struggle along, though. (PHONE RINGS, PICKUP)

TR (JIMMY): Yeah. Five Spot. (FEMALE VOICE AT OTHER END) Who? (FEMALE VOICE) Just a moment. - It's for you, Guy. Someone named Tiffany. She wants to know if she has any messages.

(THEME)

SS: A dark night in the city that keeps its secrets, where one guy is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions - Guy Noir, Private Eye. (MUSIC OUT)

(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

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