The Story of Bob, A Young Artist

Listen

(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)

 

(THREE BIG CHORDS)

 

GK: An artist's life is meant to shock and thereby illuminate his time. But what if you've been shocking for years and years and nobody seems to notice? You start to wonder: am I standing in a pit? am I maybe facing the wrong way?

(BIG ARPEGGIATA THEME, APPASSIONATO, AND UNDER ...)

TR (ANNC): The Story of Bob, A Young Artist ... brought to you by Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow Family of Automotive Products. (VIOLIN THEME, AND UNDER ...)

(DISHES BEING CLEARED FROM TABLE)

SS: You care for some of this hot dish, Bob? I made it just for you -

GK: No thanks, Berniece.

SS: I thought tater tot hot dish was one of your favorites.

GK: It's not, Berniece, but thanks anyway.

SS: Tater tots with chow mein noodles and chunky mushroom soup?

GK: No, thank you.

TR (POPS): Nothing like tater tots to get some action down in the old bowel department, eh, Rex? (DOG WOOFS)

SS: Aren't you feeling so good, Bob?

GK: Berniece, Mrs. Giardano of Emu Press is coming over any minute to pick up my novel, The Flaming Heart. And I'm trying to figure out how to work this darned computer -

TR (POPS): What's he got his undies in a bunch about?

SS: Some publisher wants to look at his new book!!!

TR (POPS): He's got a nude book?

GK: A new book!!

TR (POPS): That's what I said. A nude book. I hope it's not pictures of you.

SS: It's nothing to do with pictures, Pops!!

TR (POPS): Nude pictures of you is something people'd pay to not have to look at.

SS: It's fiction, Pops!! It's a novel!!!

TR (POPS): I'll say it's awful. But who listens to me? Huh? Just you, Rex. (DOG PANTING, COLLAR JINGLE, LEG THUMPING) Why don't you keep the nude pictures and just give her your novel, The Flaming Heart?

GK: That's what we're talking about. The Flaming Heart.

TR (POPS): I did not fart!

GK: You are disgusting.

TR (POPS): And neither did Rex. Didja? (DOG THUMPING) Yeah, give her your novel. It's a book with a happy ending. Anybody who reads it is going to be happy when it's over.

GK: Just don't say anything, all right? I'm trying to read this computer manual.

(PAUSE. SCRAPING OF DISH, GLOP FALLING INTO ANOTHER DISH. RATTLE OF TABLEWARE BEING COLLECTED)

SS: You look pale, Bob.

GK: I've been pale all my life, Berniece. It's the sign of an inner-directed person, okay? I am so frustrated by this computer manual. I can't understand a bit of it.

TR (POPS): What about cooties?

GK: Computer manual!! It may as well be written in Albanian, I can't understand a word of it. And it's almost noon. - Is that her? Did you hear a car door? (SCRAPE OF CHAIR, FOOTSTEPS)

SS: I didn't hear anything.

GK: I thought I heard a door slam!

SS: I didn't hear it.

GK: Shhhhhh.

SS: Just settle down, you're making me nervous.

TR (POPS): You're jumping up and down like you got the cooties or something.

SS: Just relax, Bob. I'll go answer the door if she comes.

GK: Berniece, look at you? You're going to meet someone from the publishing world? You've got cold cream all over your face and your hair in curlers and you're in your pink chenille bathrobe.

SS: Well, land sakes, I am still in my bathrobe and it's noon already! Gosh, I don't know where the time goes sometimes.

GK: Berniece, you're always in your pink chenille bathrobe.

SS: Well, my mind just gets to racing and I forget - So what's Emu Press?

GK: They're one of the biggest avant-garde publishers in the country, and they're thinking of putting out my book.

SS: Well, that's just wonderful.

GK: This could be my breakthrough, Berniece. This could be my defining moment.

TR (POPS): Go sniff him, Rex. (JINGLE OF COLLAR, PANTING). Sniff him for cooties.

(DOORBELL)

GK: Oh, my gosh - (RATTLE OF JUNK) Don't you answer it, Berniece! (FOOTSTEPS, SCURRYING) I'm coming, I'm coming! I'll just get my jacket on. Where's my tie? Berniece - get away from that door!

(DOOR OPEN, CLATTER OF BLINDS)

SS: Oh, hi there. Come on in, Arvid. (TO BOB) IT'S ONLY ARVID!!!

GK: Okay, okay ...

TK: Hi, Berniece. Howdy, Bob. Hiya, Pops. - Rex. (WOOFS)

GK: What can we do for you, Arvid, we're in a little bit of a time bind here - ?

SS: I called Arvid to come over and see if he could find the furnace so we can turn up the heat. (TO ARVID) Ten years in this house and we never figured out where the heat is coming from.

TR (POPS): I can tell you where the hot air's coming from. Mr. Flaming Heart, here.

SS: Oh, Pops.

TK: Interesting. (OFF) Don't see no radiators. No baseboard heaters. No forced air vents.

SS: I'm wondering if maybe it comes down from the ceiling.

TK: Never heard of ceiling heat. You got a fireplace?

SS: Not that I know of. Not unless there's one back in Bob's studio - (FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Don't you go into my studio, Berniece -

SS: Okay, just checking.

TR (POPS): Sit down and take a load off, Arvid.

SS: You care for some hotdish, Arvid?

TK: Smells like tater tots.

SS: That's it.

TK: Well, maybe just a little. Long as you're up.

TR (POPS): It's good, Arvid. Especially if you're constipated. Speaking of which, I gotta go to the little boys' room - (SCRAPE OF CHAIR) - outta my way, wide-ride -

GK: Could you at least say Excuse me?

TR (POPS): Confuse me!!! I don't know what you're talking about.

GK: Excuse me!

TR (POPS): You're excused. Now just move your big butt. (HE SLIPS PAST, MUTTERING) (CLUNK)

GK: Hey? You just knocked my computer manual on the floor! (FOOTSTEPS AND DOOR SLAM) Boy, the manners around here! (GK EFFORT, PANTS RIP) Oh no. My pants.

SS: What's wrong?

TK: He ripped his pants.

SS: He did?

TK: Big rip right down the middle.

SS: It's okay. Nobody'll notice. -- Oh. I take that back. I see London. I see France. And it's got little valentines on it.

GK: These were my best pants. (DOORBELL DING) Oh my gosh. What if that's her? Berniece -

SS: I'll answer it.

GK: You get away from that door.

SS: I don't mind - (DOORBELL DING)

GK: Arvid -

TK: (MOUTH FULL) Yeah?

GK: Arvid, I need you to do me a very big favor.

TK: (MOUTH FULL) Okay. What?

GK: Arvid, we're going to hide in my studio and - Berniece, you get away from that door and go in my studio - (DOORBELL)

SS: I thought you didn't want me in there.

GK: You go in there -

SS: Okay, okay -

GK: Arvid, we're going to hide in here and you open the front door and if it's Mrs. Giardano from Emu Press, you tell her I'll go meet her at her office. (DOORBELL DING) Okay?

TK (MOUTH FULL): You're not here, you're going to her office.

GK: Right. And wipe your mouth.

TK: Okay. (HE SWALLOWS) (FOOTSTEPS) (DOORBELL) Okay, okay, okay! (DOOR OPEN) Yeah?

TR (ARTS LADY): Is this the Boblett residence? I'm looking for a Mr. Bob Boblett.

TK: Okay. Uh - you must be from the publisher or something, right?

TR (ARTS LADY): Yes. I'm Mrs. Giardano. Emu Press.

TK: Okay. The name's familiar. Uh - I know that Bob was, uh - he - excuse me, okay? Be right back. (A FEW FOOTSTEPS) (HE WHISPERS) Hey. It's her. What was I supposed to tell her?

GK: (WHISPER) Tell her I went to her office.

TK: Oh. Right. (FOOTSTEPS) He said to tell you he went to your office.

TR (ARTS LADY): Oh. When?

TK: When what?

TR (ARTS LADY): When did he go?

TK: Bob?

TR (ARTS LADY): Yes. Bob.

TK: Bob Boblett?

TR (ARTS LADY): Yes. Bob Boblett.

TK: Okay. Lemme check on that for you. (FOOTSTEPS) (WHISPER) When do you want me to say you went to her office?

GK: (WHISPER) A couple minutes ago.

TK: (WHISPER) Okay.

GK (WHISPER): Just tell her I took the bus so I'll be there later ...

TK (WHISPER): You took the bus. Okay. Which bus?

TR (ARTS LADY, OFF): Is there someone else here I could speak to?

GK (WHISPER): The bus. Tell her. Go.

(FOOTSTEPS)

TK: He says that he took the bus so he'll be there in a while.

(DOOR OPEN, POPS OFF, MUTTERING. FOOTSTEPS)

TR (POPS): Boy, there's nothing like tater tots to get those bowels moving, eh, Rex? (DOG WOOFS) Huh? Who's that? What in the hell you doing here in our kitchen?

TK: She's looking for Bob.

TR: Hope she don't mind catching cooties.

TR (ARTS LADY): Do I have the pleasure of addressing Mr. Boblett in person?

TK: No, this is Pops.

TR (POPS): You want to see the novel, here it is, on the table. Help yourself. (DOG SNIFFING) Hey, Rex - you quit sniffing at that lady's crotch. (DOG WHIMPER) Bad dog.

TR (ARTS LADY): My. This is extraordinary. I've never seen anything like this. The - the - opaqueness. The - the -

SS (WHISPER): It sounds like she likes it, Bob.

GK: Shhhhhh.

TR (ARTS LADY): The way it shapes mechanistic references into images that challenge our preconceptions.

SS (WHISPER): I think she likes your book, Bob.

GK: Hush.

TR (ARTS LADY): Thank you so much for this. I'll be in touch. Ta ta. (DOOR CLOSE)

SS: Whoopee! (SHE WHOOPS)

GK: Shhhhh. Berniece. What if she hears you?

SS: I am so happy for you! You're going to have your book published!

(FOOTSTEPS)

TR (POPS): What's all the whooping about??

SS: Bob's novel is going to be published, Pops!!!

TR (POPS): Say, do you know you got a hole in your pants?

GK: Yes, I'm aware of that.

TR (POPS): You got a hole in your underwear too.

GK: Fine. Just never mind.

TR (POPS): I pity the poor moth who had that for his lunch ...

GK: Wait a minute! She didn't take my novel! It's sitting right here!!

TR (POPS): Oh. Well, what was that sitting on the kitchen table?

GK: That was the computer manual.

TR (POPS): Well, it was in a ring binder, it looked like a novel. Anyway, she liked it.

GK: She took the computer manual and she thinks it's my novel??? I don't know what to say.

TR (POPS): If she publishes it, just remember I got ten percent coming to me, wide ride.

(THEME)

TR (ANNC): THE STORY OF BOB, A YOUNG ARTIST....was brought to you by Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow Family of automotive products. Join us next time when we'll hear Bob say ...

GK: I can't believe it.

SS: What does it say, Bob?

GK: My first book. It's going to be published by Emu Press.

SS: Well, congratulations.

GK: A collection of prose poems entitled "The Perfect Word Six-Point- Oh" -

SS: That's a lovely title. "The Perfect Word".

TR (ANNC): That's next time on....THE STORY OF BOB, A YOUNG ARTIST.

(MUSIC UP AND OUT)

(c) 1999 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).

Available now»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy