Br'er Rabbit
Saturday, November 11, 2000
Listen

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

 

GK: And now…..a message from the PROFESSION OF ENGLISH MAJORS (TK ECHO) (MUSIC)

 

SS: Once upon a time there lived a writer named Br'er Rabbit……

 

GK: It's a good life, being a writer. You get to use words like celebrat and heebie-jeebies and flummoxed and obsequious and ensconced and insouciant.

 

SS: And he had a good time hanging out with his friends who were writers, too, like Br'er Chicken. (CHICKEN) And Br'er Cat. (MEOW)

 

GK: Insouciant, all of them. (ROOSTER CROW). And why not? Because you know, nothing bad ever happens to a writer; everything is material. You have to run away from home on a raft on the Mississippi and (THUNDER, LIGHTNING) a storm comes up and yer Pap comes looking for you (TR DRUNKEN IRATE GABBY HAYES), hey, you write Huckleberry Finn. A great white whale comes after you (MONSTER ROAR), no problem, just write it down.

 

SS: Every night, Br'er Rabbit went to his burrow and got all comfy there in his bed of dry leaves and went to sleep. (DREAM MUSIC) And in his dream a beautiful young lady rabbit spoke to him----

 

SS (DREAM VOICE): Hi. I'm Melanie. I work for Br'er Weasel, your editor, and I just want to tell you you are the most fabulous writer I ever met. I really mean that. I love your stuff. It's luminous and terribly real and tender and lyrical and at the same time overpowering.

 

GK: (SIGH OF PLEASURE) Gosh, thanks.

 

SS: Life was wonderful for Br'er Rabbit whereas Br'er Fox had to slave away every day in his little rocky den of an office. (COMPUTER KEYBOARD)

 

TR: Work, work, work. That's all I ever do. While other animals migrate around and graze and propagate and have a good time. I can't stand it. (PHONE, PICKUP) Yeah. Fox Channel. ---- This is him, speaking. ----- Tomorrow? A conference? At the chicken coop? Sure, I'll be there. (HANG UP) (KNOCKS) Yeah? Come in? (DOOR OPEN) (HAWK CRY) Good morning, Br'er Hawk. Did you--- were you able to--- catch that rabbit for me? (HAWK CRY) You weren't? I thought you were a headhunter! (HAWK CRY) I want his head!!!

 

SS: Br'er Fox had been trying for years to trap Br'er Rabbit. It was an obsession. But no matter how hard Br'er Fox tried, Br'er Rabbit always escaped him.

 

TR (TO HIMSELF, STRAINING): Now if I can just hoist this boulder up into the tree ---- (STRAINING, WINCH) ---- directly above Br'er Rabbit's fishing hole ---- (STRAINING, WINCH) ---- O no. I can't hold on! (WINCH PLAYS OUT, CRASH OF TREE. THUD OF BOULDER). Thank goodness. It missed my head. It only landed on my foot. My foot! MY FOOT!!!! Aiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!!!

 

SS: And then one day Br'er Fox got a great idea. (SFX: DING!) He made a company called Tarbaby-dot-com. It looked just like a real company, with a logo and a prospectus and really totally cool graphics. And when he had it just right, he made sure Br'er Rabbit saw it.

 

GK: Wow. You really think it's going to make money, Br'er Fox?

 

TR: Come on, Br'er Rabbit! Get with the program. It's the New Economy! Stock market's been going up 25% a year!

 

SS: So Br'er Rabbit took the little bit of money he'd made (COINS ON TABLE) and he bought some stock in tarbaby.com. And the stock went up. (SFX: SLIDE WHISTLE, CROWD OOOOOOOHHHH)

 

GK: Yes!

 

SS: And he bought some more stock. And it went up even more. (SLIDE WHISTLE, CROWD OOOOOOHHHHHH)

 

GK: Come on, baby!

 

SS: He bought still more stock. And the stock split. (SLOT MACHINE JACKPOT, TORRENT OF COINS)

 

GK: All right!

 

SS: And the next morning tarbaby-dot-com went in the toilet (SPLASH).

 

GK: Oh oh. (TOILET FLUSH) Gone. I'm wiped out.

 

TR: All gone, Br'er Rabbit. Everything. You're mine now. I own you. (FIENDISH LAUGH)

 

GK: Tarbaby.com! It was all you!

 

TR: Yes. (FIENDISH LAUGH)

 

GK: What are you going to do with me?

 

TR: I'm going to make you work at a dead-end job.

 

GK: Fine. I always wanted a job.

 

TR: You'll wear a suit and tie and sit in a tiny work cubicle and do meaningless things for eight hours under the supervision of a manic depressive control-freak.

 

GK: Sounds good.

 

TR: You'll mortgage yourself for the next ten years to buy a 1-bedroom condo in a condo concentration camp, the walls made of particle board with some chemical in it that gives you pounding headaches.

 

GK: Lovely. I can't wait.

 

TR: You'll come home and take a fistful of Advil and go to bed and get up in the morning and do it again.

 

GK: Just what I've always wanted. But please. One small request, Br'er Fox.

 

TR: What's that?

 

GK: Whatever you do, please don't send me to Minnesota!

 

TR: Why not?

 

GK: I couldn't bear to live in Minnesota! Think of the social stigma. There's nothing to do. No movies, no restaurants. The winters are brutal. Please. I'd die.

 

TR: Can't bear the winters, huh?

 

GK: Please, please! Have a heart . Even in early October it starts to get cold. The wind whips through the streets. Snow. Ice. The sun rises at 8, goes down around 4. It's dark, depressing. Anything but Minnesota.

 

TR: You'd really hate that, huh?

 

GK: It would kill me. Kill my soul!

 

TR: All right, then------Minnesota it is! (TRAIN CHUGGING)

 

SS: So Br'er Rabbit went to Minnesota.

 

GK: And it's very nice.

 

SS: How do you like your job?

 

GK: Never went to my job.

 

SS: And the condo?

 

GK: Never bought one.

 

SS: And how do you like winter?

 

GK: It's the best part of all. (BLIZZARD) Love that sound. Whenever it gets cold, you go into your burrow and put your head on the pile of dry leaves and ----- (DREAM MUSIC)----

 

SS (DREAM VOICE): Hi. I'm Melanie. I work for Br'er Bear, your editor, and I just want to tell you that your new book is fabulous. It's better than anything I've ever read. You're so funny, so gifted, I laughed, I cried, I read it over and over, I loved it, please marry me.

 

GK: It's a good place for a rabbit. Of course you got the occasional hawk (HAWK CRY, WINGS, SWOOPING DOWN) but if you're a writer you can deal with anything----- you just get out a pen and paper and you write, "The rabbit raised his shotgun to his shoulder and looking through the scope, he fired twice." (TWO SHOTS. HAWK CRY) Nothing bad ever happens to a writer; everything is material. You know?

 

SS: (MOUTH TRUMPETS) A message from The Profession Of English Majors..

 

(CHORDS)

(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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