Saturday, October 9, 2004
(GUY NOIR THEME)
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 autumn in St. Paul, and the trees were turning colors that reminded me of painful inflammations of the skin. A flock of geese headed south (SFX, OFF) in V formation and then another V joined them to form a W. Political advertising in the sky. — (PHONE RING. PICK UP) Yeah. Guy Noir here.
SS (OLD LADY, ON PHONE): Mr. Noir, it's Mrs. Shaver. From down the street.
GK: Right. My hair stylist.
SS (OLD LADY, ON PHONE): I need a flu shot, Mr. Noir.
GK: There's a big shortage of flu vaccine, isn't there?
SS (OLD LADY, ON PHONE): I knew that, and that's why I went to a drug dealer.
SS (OLD LADY, ON PHONE): His name is Tony. He delivers Meals on Wheels and if you need some Zoloft or a Valium, he'll sell you some. Anyway I told him to get me a bag of bug juice. A bag of Beijing Jimmy. And he came by with my lunch and he said, "It's taped to the bottom of the macaroni and cheese." I gave him a hundred bucks—
SS (OLD LADY): I got burned. He sold me a bag of Coffee-Mate. I want you to find him. Find him and hurt him bad.
GK: I'm not really in the hurt business, Mrs. Shaver.
SS (OLD LADY): Try. Do bad things to him. Think of your mother. (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: I found Tony. He was a man with nervous eyes and beads of perspiration on his forehead.
TR: What'll it be? Shot or nasal spray?
GK: Just give me Mrs. Shaver's C-note, buddy boy, and there'll be no trouble.
TR: Better look out behind you, Mister—
GK: Don't pull that old look-behind-you trick with me, punk. I didn't just come out of a cabbage patch, you know.
TR: Hit em, Marty.
GK: You're trying to get me to turn around, aren't you.
TR: No, you're fine just where you are. (BWANGGGGG) (BRIDGE)
GK: I recovered consciousness slowly. I was aware of vibrations. I could smell dirt. I could feel leaves fluttering around me. And then the noise got louder (SFX) and the earth started to shake and I managed to stand up and there was an International Harvester combine coming straight at me— Stop!!! (ENGINE DIES. OUTDOOR AMBIENCE)
TR (NORSK): What you doing lying down there?
GK: It's a long story.
TR (NORSK): Shorten it.
GK: Somebody hit me on the head and dumped me here.
TR (NORSK): Okay. Let's get you up to the house, have my wife Esther look at you. (BRIDGE)
GK: He wore a seed corn cap and Oshkosh overalls and a T-shirt that said "I Want to Teach the World to Farm." (DOOR CREAKS OPEN)
TR: Come right on in here. She may be upstairs— Esther? (HE STAMPS HIS FEET ON THE MAT). You care for a glass of water? An Evian or Pellegrino?
GK: Sure. Where am I, by the way?
TR: You're in Clay County, mister, about ten miles north of Moorhead. I'm Pete Peterson. This is my farm. And this is my wife, Esther. We just got married a couple months ago. (FOOTSTEPS AND STOP)
GK: Well, congratulations.
TR: He just showed up in the soybeans, honey. Somebody konked him on the head and left him there. Another ten seconds and I would've combined him. What say you fix him some lunch — I'll be right back. (DOOR CLOSE)
SS: What would you like for lunch, mister?
GK: Don't go to any trouble on my account.
SS: It's no trouble. I've got some gefilte fish right here.
GK: There's no point in trying to hide your face, ma'am.
SS: What do you mean?
GK: I know who you are. You're Madonna. The pop singer.
SS: I don't see what difference it makes.
GK: Makes no difference to me. Does he know?
SS: Pete? No. He doesn't. He's into bluegrass.
GK: From Material Girl to blonde bombshell to Evita to Jewish mystic and now this—
SS: The whole Kaballah thing sort of played itself out. I realized that if I wanted a spiritual life, I ought to head for the midwest. So here I am.
Bought me some stretch pants, sensible shoes, and wool sweaters with little Christmas trees all over 'em. I was tired of glitz. Got me a pickup. A dog, I buy toilet paper in bulk. Pete's good to me. He don't preach. I'm happy. Okay?
GK: Fine by me. (BRIDGE) Lunch was meat loaf, mashed potatos, and a raspberry Jell-o. (SOUNDS OF SILVERWARE ON PLATES, CUPS, SAUCERS)
GK: Nice place you got here.
TR: We like it.
GK: Never had Jell-O with beluga caviar and red wine before.
TR: Yeah, she's quite the cook.
GK: If I'm not mistaken, this is a 1985 Bordeaux—
TR: Yeah. 1985. Good year. Soft, plump fruit, good bouquet, long finish, real good personality...
GK: Expensive wine, Mr. Peterson.
TR: I suppose. I hope you're not going to tell anybody.
GK: Of course not.
TR: My neighbors all think I'm cheap and I drink Orange Tang.
GK: You and Esther seem very happy.
TR: I'm twenty years older, but— she makes me feel young. Kind of zippy.
GK: Just then he reached over and turned up the radio.
SS (ON RADIO): And in commodities trading, soybean futures have reached an all time high of $11 a bushel after rumors that China will be importing billions of bushels to develop a new soy sauce cure for psoriasis. And an unnamed source says that the hydrogen fuel cell we're all waiting for is actually going to be partially-hydrogen-ated soybean oil.
TR: Excuse me. (CHAIR SCRAPE)
GK: He grabbed his cellphone and punched in a number and went to the next room. (TR TALK, OFF) — Something's going on here, Esther? What is it? The caviar, the wine? But you look at this place from the outside, it's like any other farmhouse.
SS: It's a long story, Mr. Noir. (BRIDGE)
GK: She told me the story and when she was done, I headed straight for Concordia College. (BRIDGE) To Jezebel Johnson, Director of Development (KNOCKS AT DOOR)
SS: What do you want with me, Noir?
GK: Never thought I'd run into you again, Jezebel.
SS: Likewise, I'm sure.
GK: She was tall and willowy with a figure that makes grown men weep and adolescents lock themselves in a bathroom for hours but she wasn't wearing the zebra-striped dress and Lucite stilettos she'd worn in Las Vegas that time I caught her with a pair of loaded dice in a high-stakes Parcheesi game.
SS: Whaddya want? I did my time — I went straight. I'm in fundraising. Doing great.
GK: I'm sure you are. And you've been raising most of it from a fellow named Pete Peterson. Soybean farmer. Concordia alumnus.
SS: I know who he is. A very generous man.
GK: Uh huh. I'll bet. Blackmail works pretty well for you, doesn't it—
SS: Why you— (A STRUGGLE)
GK: She grabbed a snowglobe and tried to brain me with it. I had to wrestle her to the floor. (SHE STRUGGLES)
SS: (STRUGGLING) You ain't gonna send me up the river again, mister.
GK: You've been blackmailing Peterson, haven't you—
SS: You don't know nothing!
GK: The man is a multimillionaire and he's married to an international sex symbol and because he's Lutheran he has to keep it hush hush. And that's where you come in.
SS: Oh yeah? Prove it!
GK: That's exactly what I'm going to do. (BRIDGE, INTERIOR CROWDED ROOM AMBIENCE) I walked across campus and through the student cafeteria where (SFX SPLOSHES) women in orange jumpsuits were dumping buckets of chipped beef into long troughs.
TR (STUDENT): Please, not chipped beef again. (SPLOOSH)
SS (STUDENT): We need fruit. Vegetables. Please.
TR (STUDENT): We're lacking basic nutrients. (BRIDGE,
GK: And I saw a sign on a building, it said Faculty Club. I walked in and stepped into a phone booth (DOOR CREAK) and took off my pants and stuffed them into my briefcase and walked down a hall toward a security desk that said: Faculty Only Beyond This Point.
TR: Let me see your ID, please—
GK: I'm sorry, I seem to have left my billfold in my pants and I left my pants in the library. I must've gotten distracted when I was doing my research on subliminal dichotomies of the inchoate rictus.
TR: Oh. (CHUCKLES) Getting kind of absent-minded, huh? Okay, come in— (BRIDGE)
GK: I stepped in, put my pants on, and looked around. (MOZART, FOUNTAIN)
It was another world. Pale brown marble floors, crystal chandeliers, fresh flowers in silver vases, a fountain, fresh fruit and shrimp and oysters on a buffet with an ice sculpture in the shape of Martin Luther. And lissome young women circulating and taking drink orders.
TR: May I show you the wine list, Professor?
GK: You wouldn't happen to have a 1985 Bordeaux, would you?
TR: I would, as a matter of fact. Shall I bring you a glass?
GK: No, just curious.
TK (FRENCH): Excusez-moi, Monsieur? Tonight we are serving zee filet de (FRENCH GIBBERISH) and that comes with the (FRENCH) and your choice of (FRENCH) or (FRENCH) or (FRENCH).
GK: No thanks, Pierre. Just looking around. (BRIDGE) Obviously the place was floating in dough. I looked around the Faculty Club — the squash court (SFX) and the exercise room (EXERCISE MACHINE, GRUNTS) and a steam room (BLAST OF STEAM) and the massage room (BLISSFUL SIGHS, SLAPPING, OIL SQUOOSHING) and then I went in a lounge where the TV was on.
TR (TV ANNOUNCER): And finally, in local news — Concordia College today announced the successful conclusion of its ten-billion dollar fund drive to expand its Language Villages. The Villages, a series of summer language camps, will become cities this year — entire towns in North Dakota will be converted to foreign cities — to teach language and also to attract tourists. Bismarck will become German (TR GERMAN) and Minot will be French (TR FRENCH) and Fargo will be Italian. (TR ITALIAN)
GK: I headed out to the farm and found Esther and Pete putting suitcases into the back of the pickup. (OUTDOOR AMBIENCE, FOOTSTEPS. DOG BARKING, OFF) You two look like you're leaving town—
TR: Pete's afraid have the neighbors are going to find out that he donated ten billion dollars to Concordia.
GK: Ten billion!!!????
TR: Soybean futures went through the roof yesterday.
GK: I heard they were up to $11 a bushel but—
TR: I just sold a hundred million bushels of soybeans at $11 that I bought for $3 two months ago and — I donno.
GK: Look, there's no need to feel bad about success—
TR: For years, whenever people asked me how I was doing, I said, "Oh. Not bad. Getting along." When they figure out the truth, they'll run me out of town.
GK: Mr. Peterson, it's only money—
TR: Here I am, in a world where people go hungry, and I sit at a computer screen wheeling and dealing and earning billions of dollars.
GK: It's okay.
TR: And then along comes this beautiful woman, the love of my life, who adores me and instead of helping out other people, what do we do? We have sex three and four and five times a day. I just feel terrible about it.
GK: Well, you should. That's shameful. Three and four and five times a day. That's shameful beyond words. Stop that. How do you do it?
SS: We eat soybeans.
GK: That's the secret?
SS: Tofu and soyburgers with soy sauce and raw soybeans.
GK: I think the price of soybeans is just about to go higher.
TR: I keep telling myself we ought to live more spiritual lives and then I take a look at her—
GK: Don't feel bad about it.
TR: But here we are, experiencing nothing but joy and all around us people are sunk down in gloom and depression. (HELICOPTER APPROACHING)
SS: Who's this? The Feds?
TR: Yikes. It's the ELCA.
GK: Enforcement of Laws Concerning Avarice.
TK (OFF): Hands in the air— ELCA. Lay down your money. Or you'll find out why those sins are called "deadly."
GK: They gave it to Concordia. Ten billion dollars. For language villages. Fargo's converting to Italian in the spring.
TK: What about Pequot Lakes?
TR: That's gonna be French, I think.
TK: Oh. I better get cracking then. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY, CHOPPER STARTING)
GK: A gift of ten billion is kind of a crisis for a college like Concordia. The jealousies, the power struggles, the lawsuits—you're going to see the dark side of some very good people, it won't be pretty.
TR: You may be right, but that's going to be their problem. Soybeans are all harvested for the year. Cut 'em all nice and low. That field is my landing strip. See the plane coming in? (JET APPROACHING)
GK: It was the supersonic French plane, the Concordia, landing there on the Petersen farm. (JET LANDING) And in no time, we were aboard, Esther and Pete and I and the steward, Henrí.
TR: (PETE PETERSON SPEAKING FRENCH)
GK: I'm impressed, Mr. Peterson. So you're going to live in France?
TR: Esther and I are going to open a Bible camp in Provence.
SS: I'm changing my name from Esther to Inga. A whole new me. We want to create a new French synod, the LSM. Lutherane Sans Misere.
GK: Sans Misere. Sounds good. But drop me off in St. Paul, okay?
TR: You don't want to go?
GK: I do want to, but I have to get a flu shot to my friend, Mrs. Shaver.
SS: You know what's in the flu vaccine, don't you?
TR: Flu is an abbreviation. It means "for Lutherans".
TR: The vaccine makes people feel that if they get sick, it's their own fault. When I wrote that check for ten billion, I'd just gotten a shot.
GK: From a woman named Jezebel.
TR: How'd you know? (BRIDGE)
GK: They dropped me off in St. Paul and I went to my office and there was a note from Mrs. Shaver.
SS (OLD LADY): No need to find me a vaccine, Mr. Noir. I just ate a soyburger at a health food café and the waiter and I are on our way to Barbados. He's 27 but he's very mature for his age.
GK: Fall in St. Paul. The leaves turn, so does the world, and it's amazing what you can learn if you pay attention.
TR (JIMMY): What can I get you, Guy? A martini? Dry?
GK: Soy milk, Jimmy. Straight up.
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but on the 12th floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions¼¼Guy Noir, Private Eye. (OUT)