Guy Noir
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Listen

(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 a crisp, fall afternoon in St. Paul and a lot of people were getting squirrelly about the election. Even Jimmy at the Five Spot was feeling the pressure.

TR (JIMMY): Boy, be glad you weren't here the other night for the debate, Guy.

GK: What happened, Jimmy?

TR (JIMMY): Presidential debate on TV at the same time as the American League play-off game. Boy—

GK: What'd you do?

TR (JIMMY): We listened to the ballgame on the radio and we watched the debate on TV with the sound off.

GK: Probably just as well.

TR (JIMMY): You could see what they were saying. Same stuff they've been saying for months. But people got to yelling at the TV and then they were yelling at each other and pretty soon I had to break up a fight and Mr. O'Malley—you remember him?

GK: Of course. (BIRD SHRIEK) Whose bird is that?

TR (JIMMY): That's O'Malley's.

GK: That parrot?

TR (JIMMY): Right. He calls him "the Bambino."

GK: Where's O'Malley?

TR (JIMMY): In the toilet. He's a Red Sox fan, you know. When the Yankees came up in the ninth inning, Mr. O'Malley couldn't bear to listen to it any longer and he locked himself in the men's toilet.

GK: Too much for him, huh?

TR (JIMMY): He's still in there.

GK: In there?

TR (JIMMY): All he's had since Thursday night is popcorn and beer.

GK: Red Sox fan, huh?

TR (JIMMY): Big time. (FOOTSTEPS. STOP. KNOCK ON DOOR)

TK (IRISH, INSIDE): Go away. Leave me alone. (BIRD SHRIEK)

GK: Your bird misses you, Mr. O'Malley.

TK (IRISH, INSIDE): I don't care to live in a world in which New York is the World Champion.

GK: It's only a game, Mr. O'Malley. A pastime.

TK (IRISH, INSIDE): Not to me it isn't. I may have to move to Canada.

GK: And go to Blue Jays games? TK (IRISH, INSIDE): I'm a man in pain. I have an ulcer the size of Manhattan. Don't mock me, sir.

GK: Nice parrot, Mr. O'Malley. (BIRD SCREECH) The Bambino just left you a tip, Jimmy.

TR (JIMMY): What set off Mr. O'Malley was the fact that, with Boston behind in the game, he discovers that he lost his lucky toothpick.

GK: Aha.

TR (JIMMY): It was his lucky toothpick, the one he chewed the night the Red Sox beat the Yankees in September. At the crucial moment, he looks down and it's gone.

GK: So he needs it for tonight, huh?

TR (JIMMY): I think if you could find his toothpick, he'd come out of the toilet—he might decide to live again.

GK: Maybe he threw it away.

TR (JIMMY): Not a chance. I think Rico took it. (STING)

GK: Rico!!! But why?

TR: He came in and sat down during the eighth inning.

GK: He's a Yankee fan, isn't he. Rico, huh?

(DOOR BANGS OPEN, STAGGERING STEPS)

TK (IRISH): I can't take it anymore. I'm sixty-five years old and I been waiting all my life for the Sox to win a Series and I can't bear to live any longer. I'm going to kill myself. Don't try to stop me.

GK: You're going to kill yourself with a cocktail fork?

TK (IRISH): We Red Sox fans are used to slow death. (BIRD SHRIEK)

GK: And just as he was about to stick the cocktail fork in his neck, the bird grabbed the fork out of his hand. (TK FAINT AND FALL) And Mr. O' Malley fainted into my arms.

TR (JIMMY): Hold him, Guy. (SPLASH)

GK: Jimmy splashed some brandy in his face. One of his cheaper brands. Brand E, actually. Not the good stuff.

TK (IRISH): I don't care to live!

GK: It's nothing to obsess over, Mr. O'Malley! (BIRD SHRIEKS REPLY: Ha!) You win some, you lose some. (BIRD: Go Sox!!!) Get over it! (BIRD: Nevermore!!!) Become a happy relaxed Red Sox fan! (BIRD: Nevermore!!!)

TR (JIMMY): Spoken like a true Minnesota Twins fan.

GK: What do you mean?

TR (JIMMY): The Twins lost the playoffs to the Yanks and the winning run came home and everybody just stood up and said, "Oh well. Nice try" and went home and put away their lawn furniture. In Boston, you got a greater sense of tragedy. Man's quest for the unattainable and that sort of thing. The gods putting their fingers on the scale. Golden heroes whose gloves suddenly turn to stone. The curse. Lots of cosmic stuff going on. It's a religion in Boston. In Minnesota it's got all the emotional intensity of stamp-collecting.

TK (IRISH): I've got to find my lucky toothpick—Saints help me. (BRIDGE)

GK: I went back to the office to think and then of course the phone rang. (PHONE, PICKUP) Yeah, Noir—

SS (PHONE): Mr. Noir, this is Louise Halvorson up on Crocus Hill and I have a question about leaf raking.

GK: You maybe want to call City Hall about that, ma'am.

SS (PHONE): Somebody told me that you have to sort your leaves by color and put them into separate piles — yellows, oranges, reds, purples, and so forth.

GK: This doesn't sound right. Maybe Martha Stewart does but she's got a lot of extra time right now—

SS (PHONE): Well, there's a gentleman who came around and told me that you have to—an Italian gentleman.

GK: What's he look like?

SS (PHONE): He was very nice. Double-breasted blue pinstripe suit. Pink shirt. Shoes with tassels. And he was chewing on a toothpick. A red toothpick. (STING, BRIDGE) (OUTDOOR AMBIENCE, FOOTSTEPS AND STOP)

GK: Okay, Rico. What's the deal?

TR (RICO): Oh, Noir. Ain't seen much of you lately. What's the matter? Your face still hurt from the last time I poked you in the snoot?

GK: You know, you are such a throwback, Rico. They oughta put you in a museum. Everybody else deals with their anger by going through anger management or buying an SUV or going to the opera—and you—you're one of the last poke-in-the-snoot guys left in the world.

TR (RICO): For once, you're right, Noir. I'm the last of a dying breed. I got a responsibility. Who's gonna pass these skills on to our children? So when I see a snoot that needs poking, I go ahead and poke it. Is that you? Huh?

GK: What're you doing bothering this lady? And let me have that toothpick.

TR (RICO): Beat it, Gumshoe. Butt out.

GK: Cut the DeNiro imitation, Rico, and hand over that toothpick in your mouth.

TR (RICO): DeNiro! I was doing Pacino! You thought that was DeNiro? That wasn't DeNiro! This is DeNiro. See the difference, wise guy. You saying I don't know DeNiro from Pacino? Huh? You telling me I can't do an impression? Huh? I can method act. I can inhabit character. Where do you get off? Who died and made you a critic? This is DeNiro. —"You talking to me? Huh, you talking to me?" And this is Pacino— see? Hands in the pockets. Pacing. Nostrils flaring. Hair going every which way.

GK: He was so into his art that he didn't notice when I grabbed the red toothpick and walked away. I legged it around the corner and was about to cross the street when I felt the muzzle of a .38 between my eighth and ninth vertebrae—

TK: Hold it right there, Noir. Homeland Security. (STING)

GK: I was taken downtown to the old Federal Courts Building where Homeland Security has its office. (DOOR CLOSE)

SS: I'm Harriet Hammer, Mr. Noir. Have a seat. Rico was working for me. So it's good you didn't poke him in the snot.

GK: Poke him in the snoot, you mean?

SS: Oh, right.

GK: Or poke him in the chops. Lay one on him. Hit him upside the head. Dust his jacket. These terms aren't familiar to you?

SS: No, not really. Here in Homeland Security, we use the word "intercept" or "interdict."

GK: You wouldn't say larrup or bonk or biff or belt?

SS: No.

GK: Girls really grow up different, don't they? You never duked it out or popped somebody, gave him a knuckle sandwich, walloped him—

SS: No.

GK: What was Rico doing for you, Miss Hammer?

SS: We have a program called Eccentric Lawn Care Advisory, or ELCA. We keep track of people who aren't raking their leaves or cleaning their gutters or covering their flowers. Those things fit a terrorist profile.

GK: Terrorists?

SS: If they're not doing their yardwork, then what are they doing? They could be online, conspiring with other members of their sleeper cell, planning a shoe attack.

GK: What's that?

SS: Shoe bombs. Exploding sneakers. We've got an orange alert right now on older women with binoculars who are wearing oxfords.

GK: Those are birdwatchers.

SS: Could be, or they could be planning something involving the use of chickadees with explosives strapped to them. Anyway, poor lawn care is an important indicator. Anytime we find people with Scandinavian last names who aren't blowing the leaves off their driveways, we put them under surveillance.

GK: That's ethnic profiling.

SS: All I know is that when we see a lawn that's full of leaves and the last name ends in -son or -sen or -quist or -rud or -strom, we have reason to believe they are sowing the seeds of hatred and trying to destroy democratic institutions.

GK: And?

SS: We pick em up. We bring em in.

GK: Where?

SS: I shouldn't be telling you this, but we have a detention center called Guantanamera Bay.

GK: Mexico? Puerto Rico?

SS: Northern Wisconsin.

GK: Aha.

SS: We called it Guantanamera to throw people off.

GK: Good idea. Is this what Wisconsin people know as Chequamagon Bay?

SS: Correct.

GK: Near Ashland and Washburn and Bayfield?

SS: That's correct. We have more than a thousand Olsons and Petersons in tiger cages waiting for interrogation. But now that you know this, Mr. Noir, I'm going to have to interdict you.

GK: You mean you're going to pop me in the— (BWANGGGG)

(BRIDGE)

I awoke in a dim office. I was handcuffed to a leather couch. Abstract expressionist paintings all around me. A man in a black suit sat staring at me, a notebook on his lap.

TR (GERMAN SHRINK): Let's start at the beginning. Tell me about your dreams, Mr. Noir.

GK: Who are you?

TR (GERMAN): Who am I?

GK: You're a psychiatrist?

TR (GERMAN): Is that what you think I am? A psychiatrist?

GK: Are you going to go on repeating my questions, sir? Is that the game we're playing?

TR (GERMAN): You think we're playing a game? (PRESSES INTERCOM BUTTON) Mitzi, come in here for a moment.

SS (ON INTERCOM): Right away, Doktor.

(DOOR OPEN) (FOOTSTEPS)

TR (GERMAN): This is Mitzi, Mr. Noir. (BRIDGE)

GK: She wore a leather jumpsuit so tight it was more of a tourniquet, and she carried a small whip and a large snake wound around her neck. Her hair was bleached blonde and she wore black hornrim glasses and lipstick the color of a police siren. Her mouth was twisted in an evil sneer. And a red toothpick stuck out of it.

TR (GERMAN): Mitzi is an English major who went over to the dark side, Mr. Noir.

GK: I can see that.

SS: I am a deconstructionist. And I wouldn't mind deconstructing you, Mr. Noir. I don't think it would take me long either.

GK: If you're trying to put me at ease, ma'am, it's not working.

SS: I have other ways of putting you at ease, Mr. Noir.

GK: You're talking about snoot poking now, aren't you?

SS: I am. Talking about whomping and popping and pasting and chop busting.

GK: Aha.

TR (GERMAN): I love this part. The part where she talks to you. Before she throws the snake in your face and lashes you ten or fifteen times and then kicks you with her special boots.

GK: Her special boots? (CLICK AND SPROING, TWICE) Aha. Those boots. The boots with the little knives sticking out of the toes with what I assume to be curare on the tips, the poison that paralyzes a man in less time than it takes him to pronounce the word.

SS: You're very smart, Mr. Noir. Too bad you're not handsome. (STING)

GK: She sidled toward me where I lay on the couch. In the dim light, she hadn't noticed the bobby pin in my left hand that I had used to unlock the handcuffs. She poked her poisoned toe my way (SS KARATE CRY) and I grabbed her boot (SS ALARM) and yanked it off and scratched her with the tip (SS PAIN) there. Just like in the duelling scene in Hamlet, huh? Remember that? Where Claudius poisons the wine and Gertrude drinks it? Ironical, huh? Or were you too busy reading Foucault?

SS: I — don't—understand—what—you're saying.

TR (GERMAN): (GERMAN ANGER)

GK: Instead of poison, you must've put dope on the knife, Heinrich. Look at her.

SS: What—are — you—talking—about?

TR (GERMAN): Dope????? How could I have done something so stupid? Dummkopf! (GERMAN)

GK: Here— try some of your own medicine, Heinrich. (SWING, TR PAIN, TR IDIOT SOUNDS) (BRIDGE, TR & SS FADE) I snatched the toothpick from Mitzi's lips and went out the door and ankled it down to the Five Spot — (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE, CLOSE. FAST FOOTSTEPS) Hey, Jimmy— where's Mr. O'Malley?

TK (IRISH): I'm right here, my boy. (BIRD SHRIEK)

TR (JIMMY): You've gotten his hopes up again. I hope you found it—

GK: Got it right here. Your lucky toothpick, Mr. O'Malley.

TK (IRISH): Saints be praised. It's kind of chewed up—

GK: It's been in the snoots of some interesting characters.

TK (IRISH): Bless your heart. I hope it still works.

GK: Hope is what we've got to hang onto, Mr. O'Malley.

TK (IRISH): Why does the good Lord let us Sox fans suffer like this?

GK: The good Lord isn't managing the Sox, Mr. O'Malley. He's got other things going on.

TR (JIMMY): What can I bring you, Guy?

GK: Gimme a coffee. Black.

TR (JIMMY): How about some whiskey in it?

GK: Naw. Hope is one thing. Oblivion is another. (THEME)

SS: 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 questions...Guy Noir, Private Eye. (THEME OUT)

(MUSIC OUT)

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