Our Neighbors, the Birds
SATURDAY, May 18, 2002
Listen


(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott; TR: Tim Russell; TK: Tom Keith; AF: Al Franken)

GK: And now the Radio Theater of the Air presents "Our Neighbors, the Birds." (PIANO THEME)

(TRAFFIC PASSING. BIRDS PASSING. BIRDSONG)

SS: Are you sure that nest is secure? It doesn't feel secure.

TR: It's fine.

SS: Every time a car goes by, it feels like it's gonna fall off the tree and land on the sidewalk. I don't want to lay eggs and have them wind up frying on concrete.

TR: I've been building nests for years. I never had one fall down yet.

SS: I just wish you'd use more string and less mud. And what's this? Gum?

TR: OK. I'll go look for some string.

SS: You know, it's not too late to move to the suburbs. Less traffic. More twigs. Trees aren't so crowded.

TR: And leave the city? Hey. We grew up here.

SS: I don't know. There's just too much hubbub. And I can't stand these birdwatchers ----- HEY, YOU IN THE BROWN OXFORDS! BACK OFF! HOW'D YOU FEEL IF I BROUGHT MY BINOCULARS AND LOOKED IN YOUR APARTMENT WINDOWS? HUH? SHOW ME WHERE YOUR CAR'S PARKED, I'LL GIVE YOU SOME NATURE YOU CAN TAKE HOME TO THE FAMILY!

TR: Easy, honey. Don't let it get to you.

SS: "Don't let it get to me." I'm about to lay eggs, bring offspring into the world --- (TRAFFIC). It's so crowded here. (HELICOPTER APPROACHING, HIGH UP) What in the world is that? A hawk?

TR: Helicopter.

SS: Oh boy. One more thing to worry about.

TR: Honey, I want our kids to grow up where they can know all different kinds of birds, thrushes and swallows and screech owls and seagulls. A multi-avian society. I want them to be able to perch on the window ledges of great museums and poop on the statues of great men and develop a taste for food crumbs from all over the world, filo and bagels and sesame seeds and pretzels.

SS: Okay. But we could live in the suburbs and come down to the city on weekends for plays and things.

TR: Those flyways are packed. It'd take hours.

SS: Okay. Fine. I'll just spend my whole summer sitting on eggs while you go swooping around and hanging out with birds of a feather and ----

TR: I'm out gathering food. Okay? I'm not off on a lark.

SS: I hope not. It still hurts when I think of you and Robin.

TR: That was years ago.

SS: Speaking of food, remember --- no more pizza crusts. Last year I ate a pepper flake, I practically died.

TR: Yes, dear.

(WINGS FLAPPING)

AF: Hi.

TR: Who're you?

AF: The name's Martin. I'm a city building inspector. Mind if I look around?

TR: Go ahead.

AF: I see you used chewing gum ----

TR: A little chewing gum.

AF: Chewing gum isn't up to code. You're supposed to use twine. And no more than 30 percent grass. I think you're over that. You build this from scratch?

TR: No, I took over an old sparrow nest.

AF: You renovated, then?

TR: Yes, sir.

AF: I'm afraid this nest was a land marked nest. You can't make structural changes without permission.

SS: So what do we have to do? Tear the thing apart and start over? I'm about to lay eggs!

AF: Hey. I'm just the messenger. I didn't make the rules. But this is a very serious violation.

TR: All right, all right. What do you want from me?

AF: Well if I somebody were to offer me a great big juicy night crawler I just might not notice the changes you made.

TR: All right. Here you go. (CRUNCHING) Ya big crook.

AF: A pleasure doing business with you. Have a nice day. (WINGS OFF)

TR: Darn inspectors.

SS: Look out, honey! Frisbee coming! (WHOOSH OF FRISBEE) Boy, that was close.

TR: A couple inches to the left and we woulda been cat food.

SS: Put your wing around me. I'm shaking.

TR: You want to move, let's move. We can leave in the morning-----

SS: (STRAINING) I think it's too late, honey. I think---- (POP OF EGG)

TR: Wow, that is one big egg.

SS (STRAINING): Got another three or four coming. --- (POP OF EGG)

TR: Remember to take short panting breaths and then a long cleansing breath----

SS (STRAINING): Oh shut your beak.

TR: Just doing what they told me to do in those birthing classes.

SS: Well, just shut up. (STRAINING) Oh, this is going to be a big one.

TR: Don't bear down. Try to relax.

SS: Do you mind? (PIANO THEME)

GK: The Radio Theater of the Air has presented "Our Neighbors, the Birds" (PIANO THEME) (TRAFFIC PASSING)

© Garrison Keillor 2002

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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