February 14, 2004
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but high above the empty streets, on the twelfth 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 Valentine's Day in Minnesota, cold and dark, and that was just the people. The weather was poor too. I got one Valentine signed, A Secret Admirer, that said, "Many cordial returns." And another from my old girlfriend Sugar, down in Tampa. It said, "The weather is here, wish you were beautiful." (PHONE RING) (PICK UP)
GK: Guy Noir here.
TR (SOUTHERN): Mr. Noir, it's James P. Belle Rive down in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir. If I've called at an inconvenient time, I assure you I can call back when you might have a minute to talk. Hello? Are you there?
GK: I'm just enjoying listening to your voice, Mr. Belle Rive.
TR (SOUTHERN): Oh, why thank you, sir.
GK: Makes me think of juleps on a porch with a honeysuckle vine and a girl with big hair in a white poofy dress sitting and doing Robert E. Lee in needlepoint.
TR (SOUTHERN): Well, you have a good imagination, Mr. Noir. But what I've called about is a serious problem. It's grits.
GK: Grits, you say?
TR (SOUTHERN): We've gotten a bad batch of grits and we think it comes from Minnesota.
GK: Corn grits?
TR (SOUTHERN): Yes, of course. That's the only kind.
GK: What makes you think they're from here?
TR (SOUTHERN): They've made everyone feel gloomy and guilty. People eat their breakfast and get up from the table and they don't talk and when they do talk, they talk in a (MINNESOTA ACCENT) really odd voice like this here, don't you know. (SOUTHERN) Can you come down here and help us, Mr. Noir? (BRIDGE)
GK: So I got a cheap flight down to Spartanburg (JET TAKE OFF) and when I boarded the plane, I discovered why it was so cheap. It was a Southern Baptist charter flight ----- (PLANE INTERIOR AMBIENCE AND CHATTER) the flight attendant came on with the safety announcement----
SS (SOUTHERN): In the event of water landing, just hold your nose and make sure you get all the way under.
GK: And there was an organist up front----- (GOSPEL ORGAN) and people were standing up and crying hallelujah, during take-off, and I felt a little out of place and then the flight attendant spoke to me----
SS (SOUTHERN): I don't want you to worry about a thing, sir. The co-pilot is not saved.
GK: He's not saved----
SS (SOUTHERN): No. So if the Rapture should take place and we Baptists all rise up to the air, the plane will still come in safely.
GK: I'm glad you thought of that. (BRIDGE) I rented a car at the airport from Rebel Rentals. (AIRPORT TERMINAL AMBIENCE)
FN: You want a dog with that pickup?
FN: The dog comes with the pickup. There is no extra charge.
GK: Could I sign a dog waiver? Please. (BRIDGE) Truth is, I don't like dogs. That look of theirs that says, "I saw what you did and I may tell the other dogs." ---- I drove over to Mr. Belle Rive's house which was just outside Spartanburg----
TR (SOUTHERN): Thank you for coming, Mr. Noir. This is quite a crisis for us. If people are getting mood-altering grits, I don't know what will become of us. Now, near as I can figure, the grits are being stored in a granary up in Ballin Sprangs.
GK: How do you spell that?
TR (SOUTHERN): B-O-I-L-I-N-G S-P-R-I-N-G-S.
GK: Oh. Of course. Ballin Sprangs.
TR (SOUTHERN): You head out of Spartanburg on the Low Stokes Road and you look for a tavern called Junior's and a barn with a Beech Nut chewing tobacco ad on the side and a sign, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God", and in that barn I saw a truckload of grits that I'm rather dubious about. (BRIDGE)
GK: So I headed up the Lowe Stokes road looking for Junior's and I was looking around on the radio dial for a jazz station and (RADIO DIAL AND THEN SAM BUSH RADIO EQ: BUCK OWENS. RADIO DIALING) it was all country and gospel and people weeping about their sad lives and (SAM BUSH: There stands the glass……RADIO DIALING) their drinking and I kept turning the dial and each one was worse than the next (SAM BUSH: Good morning, captain, Good morning shine) ……RADIO DIALING) and meanwhile I wasn't seeing Junior's so when I saw this hitchhiker by the road with a sign that said "Boiling Springs" (BRAKES) I pulled over and she got in. Her and her dog. (DOG PANTING) You going to Boiling Springs?
SS (SOUTHERN): Nope. Never heard of it.
GK: You got it written on your sign.
SS (SOUTHERN): That's Ballin Sprangs. (DOG PANTING, WOOF)
GK: Nice dog.
SS (SOUTHERN): Thanks. Bird dog. (DOG PANTING)
GK: Seems sorta excitable.
SS (SOUTHERN): You been around birds lately?
GK: No. What's his name?
SS (SOUTHERN): Bob Jack.
GK: What's yours?
SS (SOUTHERN): Dixie Lee.
GK: So which way is Boiling Springs, Dixie?
SS (SOUTHERN): Where?
GK: Ballin Sprangs----
SS (SOUTHERN): Oh. Turn around and go back that way.
GK: It's back that way?
SS (SOUTHERN): Yep.
GK: Then how come you were standing on this side of the road?
SS (SOUTHERN): I was on the other side but nobody was coming so I thought I'd try this side.
GK: (BRIDGE) Dixie Lee was the sort of woman a man would make a U-Turn and go out of his way for. Her skin was like butter and her hair like buckwheat pancakes and her voice like syrup. Her pants were so tight I could read the raised lettering on her driver's license. She was thirty. ---- So I turned around and headed back the way I'd come. (CAR AMBIENCE) And meanwhile I was looking for a radio station that played jazz and not having much luck. (RADIO DIALING. SAM BUSH: ) ---I feel like I keep getting the same radio station here. (RADIO DIALING. SB PREACHER: And it says----- in God's holy scripture----- thou shalt not commit adultery! What does this mean? Adultery!!----) Doggone, nothing on the radio that a person'd want to hear-----
SS (SOUTHERN): What line of work you in, mister? You in radio?
GK: No, I'm a detective.
SS (SOUTHERN): You mean like with a fake moustache and all that?
GK: I am considered something of a master of disguise. Why do you ask?
SS (SOUTHERN): Well, I could use someone who is in the business of acting like he's somebody else.
GK: How so?
SS (SOUTHERN): Well, it's like this. My folks have been buggin me about not having a boyfriend, you know? Around here, people think there's something wrong with you if you ain't locked down and started churning out babies by the time you're thirty. So I been thinking maybe I oughta just show up with a man in tow one of these days and maybe they'd get off my back.
GK: So you're looking for a pretend boyfriend.
SS (SOUTHERN): We could just sit there on the couch with them and be lovey dovey and then after they go up to bed, we'd sit and neck until Daddy comes down and tells us to stop.
GK: Well, heck. Why not? (SAM BUSH ON RADIO: Please help me I'm falling in love with you…….) Did you turn the radio on? (SAM BUSH ON RADIO: Close the door to temptation….don't let me walk through) (BWANNGGGG) There. Must be a loose connection in the radio.
SS (SOUTHERN): I sorta liked his singing.
GK: That man on the radio? Naw----- you ever meet radio people?
Most people in radio, you take one look at them, you see why they're in radio.
SS (SOUTHERN): No, I could never take Jack on a plane.
GK: Well, you could leave him with friends maybe---- (DOG SNARLING) -----And then suddenly this car came out of a driveway---- (HORN HONK, SS: "look out!" BANG, CRUNCH, GLASS BREAKAGE, DOG WOOFING)
SS (SOUTHERN): Oh my goodness sakes---- I hope that poor man is okay. (BRIDGE)
GK: He was okay, as it turned out. He was better than okay. He climbed out of the wreckage with a couple burlap bags in his hands.
FN (SOUTHERN): Hoooo-eeeee. Pretty well totaled that old thing, wouldn't you say? Wouldn't you say that's totaled? I been hoping to unload that pile of junk for the past year. Looks like you took care of the problem, mister. You heading that way, toward Ballin Sprangs? My name is Pernell.
GK: We're a little crowded, sir. And you've got those burlap bags.
SS (SOUTHERN): Hop in, Pernell. We got lots of room. You can sit in the back. Glad to have you. (BRIDGE, CAR PULLS AWAY)
GK: He was a skinny little guy in coveralls and a NASCAR cap and he tossed his burlap bags in back and crawled in next to her dog.
SS (SOUTHERN): I hope you weren't injured or anything, Pernell----I feel so bad about what happened-----
GK: He wasn't injured whatsoever----look at him----
FN: I love your dog.
SS (SOUTHERN): His name's Bob Jack.
FN: C'mere and sweet up to me, Bob Jack honey. (DOG PANTING)
GK: How far is it to Boiling Springs?
FN: To where?
GK: To where you're going.
FN: To Ballin Sprangs, it's a mile or two.
GK: I'm looking for a barn near Junior's. A barn where they keep illicit grits.
SS (SOUTHERN): What you doing in Ballin Sprangs?
FN: Goin to the talent show.
SS (SOUTHERN): Oh, that sounds like such fun. What is your particular talent?
FN: I gargle.
SS (SOUTHERN): Oh wow. Awesome.
FN: I've won about a dozen gargling trophies. I'm in a quartet called The Listerines.
GK: Would you mind not talking in my direction----
SS (SOUTHERN): Let us hear you render a selection.
FN: How about "I Walk In The Garden Alone"? I did that last week for the Epworth League.
SS (SOUTHERN): "In The Garden"! ---- that's always been one of my favorites.
GK: You know, I wouldn't mind a little peace and quiet----
FN: (GARGLES "IN THE GARDEN")
SS (SOUTHERN): That was absolutely amazing. Amazing. I love it.
GK: Was that supposed to be a song or what?
FN: I'm entered in the gargling division and my ducks are entered in the waterfowl division.
SS (SOUTHERN): You have singing ducks?
GK: I hope they're not messing up the back seat.
FN: Here, let me get em out. Come on, Elsie----- Skippy. (DUCKS) I raised these ducks from when they were babies and I trained em to perform "Rocky Top".
GK: If you don't mind, I'm going to listen to the radio. (TUNING. SAM BUSH: "Oh it's crying time again, you're going to leave me." CLICK.) Never mind.
SS (SOUTHERN): I've loved "Rocky Top" since I was a young 'un.
FN: Well, nobody does it like these two. C'mon, babies. Sing. (DUCKS DUET OF ROCKY TOP)
SS (SOUTHERN): Oh that was so beautiful. (WEEPY) I think I'm going to cry.
GK: You know, mister, you come in my car and you act like this was your car…..getting your ducks out, pestering this lady with your gargling……look, you got saliva all over the back of my seat.
FN: Let me show you one more thing.
SS (SOUTHERN): What's that?
FN: You ever hear the Blue Danube Waltz on a pneumatic wrench and a fire extinguisher?
GK: Would you mind?
SS (SOUTHERN): I adore waltzes. Do you dance?
FN: Here goes. (WRENCH AND EXTINGUISHER DANUBE)--
SS (SOUTHERN): Oh, I can't wait to introduce you to my parents.
GK: Dixie, what are you saying?
SS (SOUTHERN): Thanks for the ride, Mr. Noir. You can let us off here. (BRAKES, DOOR OPEN) Daddy's house is just up there. Come, Bob Jack. (WOOFS)
FN: Thanks for the ride, Mister. And welcome to Ballin Sprangs.
SS (SOUTHERN): Oh, this is the happiest day of my life.
GK: I sat and watched this beautiful girl walk away with the yahoo with the singing ducks and it just about broke my heart. (DIALING. SAM BUSH: I never got over those blue eyes, I see them everywhere. I miss those arms that held me, when all the love was there.) I took a screwdriver (SAM BUSH CONTINUES) and I unscrewed the radio and I yanked it out of the dashboard (TWANGS OF BUSTED WIRES) and I threw it out the window and into the river (SAM BUSH'S VOICE TRAILING AWAY, AND SPLASH) (BRIDGE)
GK: As I pulled away I saw a fire in a barn up ahead, and sure enough it had the Beech Nut chewing tobacco on the side. (SIRENS) I pulled over to watch. The firemen were pouring water on the blaze (FIREMEN, HOSE) and what with the heat from the fire and the water ----- there were cooked grits flowing out of the barn door like hot lava. I turned around and headed back to the Spartanburg airport ---- (SAM BUSH; And Scripture says…..the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor riches to men of understanding.) Where's that coming from? (SAM BUSH: It's coming from the speakers in the rear window.) Well, just hush up, I don't want to hear about it. (SAM BUSH: There's a dog back here too. WOOFS. And he knows what you did and he's telling the other dogs.)
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye (THEME UP AND OUT)