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A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor

Guy Noir script
Saturday, September 10, 2005
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(THEME)

Tim Russell: 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 OUT)

Garrison Keillor: It was September in St. Paul, and the weather had turned cold and it was raining and I could see the golden days of summer were over and chances were slim that the Red Sox were going to call me up to get more power into the lineup— (PHONE RINGS)

GK: Yeah…Guy Noir here.

GOV. SEBELIUS (ON PHONE): Hello Mr. Noir. This is Kathleen Sebelius. I'm the governor of Kansas.

GK: Uh huh. —Kansas, huh? I suppose the next thing you're going to tell me is that you're a Democrat.

GOV. SEBELIUS: As a matter of fact, I am.

GK: Right. A lady Democrat the governor of a red state. Were you elected or was this a divine miracle?

GOV. SEBELIUS: Both.

GK: You know, for a politician, you don't talk very much. How do I know this isn't a joke?

GOV. SEBELIUS: How do I know this isn't a joke?

GK: I can't help you there.

GOV. SEBELIUS: Well, I can name all of the counties in the State of Kansas in alphabetical order.

GK: Really—

GOV. SEBELIUS: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Clark…

GK: Okay, okay…

GOV. SEBELIUS: Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Decatur, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas…

GK: Okay okay. Either you're the governor or you teach 6th grade geography. So, what can I do for you? Or, perhaps I should say, what's the matter with Kansas? Heh heh heh. Joke.

GOV. SEBELIUS: Very funny.

GK: I suppose you hear that a lot.

GOV. SEBELIUS: I do.

GK: Anyway, how can I help you?

GOV. SEBELIUS: Mr. Noir, we've got a shady deal going on here in Kansas involving fish farming and a friend of mine said you might be the guy to get to the bottom of it. Her name is Sugar. (STING, INTO BRIDGE)

GK: Sugar! The love of my life. Ex-love, I should say. We broke up six years ago and there hasn't been a day since then when I haven't —

Sue Scott (SUGAR)(REVERB): Thought about me and wished you hadn't been such a stupid jerk and drove me away and into the arms of another.

GK: You knew me pretty well, babes.

SS (SUGAR)(REVERB): You were an open book, Guy. Too bad so many pages were missing.

(STING) (BRIDGE)

GK: So I booked a budget flight to Topeka — 6 a.m. departure, with stops in Bismarck and Schenectady - arrived in Topeka around nightfall, feeling happy and well-rested thanks to a medication I take whenever I fly — it's a passivity drug called Roll Off — and there was a woman at Baggage Claim holding up a sign with my name on it. (VOICES AROUND, FOOTSTEPS)

GOV. SEBELIUS: Mr. Noir? I'm Kathleen Sebelius—

GK: Governor—

GOV. SEBELIUS: My car is in the ramp — you have baggage?

GK: You came out here alone?

GOV. SEBELIUS: Sure. Why not?

GK: Most governors have a big entourage, guys in suits with laptops and pagers.

GOV. SEBELIUS: This is Kansas, Mr. Noir. Kansas is America the way you like to remember it.

GK: Well, I am impressed.

GOV. SEBELIUS: This way— (FOOTSTEPS, BRIDGE)

GK: We got in her car, a Dodge, and we headed down the highway. — So tell me about your problem, Governor. You said something about a fish farm?

GOV. SEBELIUS: A company called Loaves & Fishes has been buying up ranches along the Arkansas River and doing major excavations.

GK: I see.

GOV. SEBELIUS: It's a subsidiary of Fishers of Men, Inc, which is owned by Walking On Water Real Estate Corp.

GK: Sounds like evangelicals.

GOV. SEBELIUS: That's what I thought. But then I met their president. A guy with big hair and a half-dozen gold chains and a $25,000 Rolex.

GK: Sounds like evangelicals.

GOV. SEBELIUS: Whoever they are. they're digging a pond a hundred miles long and ten miles wide and they're planning to raise tuna. Genetically engineered tuna who grow to full-size in sixty days.

GK: It's like a feedlot for fish. A hundred miles by ten miles — a thousand square miles —

GOV. SEBELIUS: And four feet deep.

GK: What are they doing with the dirt they're excavating?

GOV. SEBELIUS: They're planning a ski resort. They're building the highest mountain in the United States. Fourteen thousand feet rising from the prairie. Mount Topeka.

GK: Is that legal?

GOV. SEBELIUS: I didn't think so, but they got a permit form the Kansas Board of Fisheries.

GK: Interesting. (BRIDGE) I went to Topeka and dropped by the Fisheries Board and found a secretary named Bonita DuPree...

SS: I'm busy.

GK: I want to find out about a license you issued. To an outfit called Loaves and Fishes.

SS: Those records are private.

GK: You're a public agency.

SS: We're closed for lunch.

GK: When do you reopen?

SS: February.

GK: C'mon, sister. Cough it up and it'll go easier for you later with the D.A.

TR (RICO): This guy botherin you, Bonita?

GK: Rico—

TR (RICO): You got a good memory.

GK: Last I saw you you were swiping pens out of the post office, Rico.

TR (RICO): Hey— I love to write— what can I say?

GK: So you got yourself on the Kansas Fisheries Commission, huh?

TR (RICO): I love fish.

GK: The idea of you running a regulatory agency is like Dracula running blood bank.

TR (RICO): It's a faith-based regulatory agency.

GK: What does that mean?

TR (RICO): You ask a lot of questions, Noir. So now I'm going to ask you one. How do you want to leave my office? Conscious? Or unconscious? (STING) (BRIDGE)

GK: Just then I smelled a very familiar perfume and I turned and—

SS (SUGAR): Hi, Guy.

GK: Sugar. Hey. You look great.

SS: You look awful. Ain't you been taking your vitamins?

GK: I tried to take them but they ran away. What you doing here, Sugar? You in the fishing business?

SS: No, but this crumb bum is.

TR (RICO): Hey, watch it.

SS: I'm engaged, Guy.

GK: Congratulations. Who's the lucky guy.

Fred Newman: Me. I'm Bob Bullock, Mr. Noir. Sugar's told me so much about you.

GK: I'm sorry to hear that.

SS: Anyway this big palooka gave Bob a contract to buy his farm and we take a look at the contract and in small print, it says that they will make their final balloon payment the day after the Second Coming.

GK: Well, isn't that cute. They're using the Rapture as an escape clause.

FN: You crook! I'll get you if it's the last thing I —(HE FUMES, RESTRAINED BY GUY)

GK: Easy, there. Easy.

TR: (RICO): It's a legal contract and you signed it, bozo.

SS: Why you—I oughta—-- (SHE STRUGGLES, RESTRAINED BY GUY)

GK: Easy. Easy.

TR (RICO): Beat it, suckers.

GK: You just wait til the Rapture comes, Rico. You're gonna get a big surprise. (RICO LAUGHS AN EVIL LAUGH) (BRIDGE) I drove out to where their farm used to be, to look at the excavation (BULLDOZER) and I found roadblocks everywhere (SHOUTS OF WORKMEN)— enormous earthmovers were taking up the earth (BIG DOZER) and gigantic trucks were taking it away (MONSTER TRUCK) — you could see the pavement busting up as they drove down the highway (SFX) —

SS: We were gonna take the money and move to San Francisco and take up street performance.

FN: Sugar wants to be a mime, you know.

GK: No, I didn't know.

FN: She's got some much talent when it comes to facial expressions.

GK: Well, it's a free country, isn't it.

SS: If we don't get that money back, we got nothing, Guy. Do something. Please. Help us.

(BRIDGE)

GK: I headed over to the State Fair in Hutchinson to meet the Governor and I caught sight of an enormous rotating fish and a sign that said, "Kansas Tuna - You Gotta Believe." There was a lady there, handing out tuna ballpoint pens.

SS (POWER VOICE): Care for a brochure about tuna farming, mister?

GK: I thought Tuna was an ocean fish.

SS: It was. Here— check out the video.

TR (VOICE-OVER GUY): (BIG DELAWARE INTRO, PIANO) Between the Pacific and the Atlantic — Kansas — the tuna capital of tomorrow. Here at Loaves and Fishes, we say, "If you can tune a piano, you can tuna farm".(FADES, MUSIC)

GK: The video went on for a while. And then I got a bright idea. (DIALING PHONE, RING AT OTHER END. PICKUP) Ishiguro? (TR JAPANESE ON PHONE) They're fine,thank you. And how are your ancestors? (TR JAPANESE) I'm glad to hear it. Listen, Ishiguro—you're still in the fish business, right? (TR JAPANESE) Great. You still got that old guy, Svend, working for you? (TR JAPANESE AFFIRMATIVE) Is he there? (TR JAPANESE AFFIRMATIVE) Could I speak to him? (TR JAPANESE AFFIRMATIVE) (PAUSE) (TR SWEDISH) Hey, Svend— Noir here. (TR SWEDISH) They're just fine and how are your kidneys? (TR SWEDISH) Good. Glad to hear it. Listen, Svend — How fast do herring multiply? (TR SWEDISH) No, multiply—not the mathematical kind, the other kind—you know? (TR SWEDISH CONFUSION) Have babies. (TR SWEDISH CONFUSION) You know—do the old **** (TR SWEDISH QUESTION) You know— (HE SINGS AMOROUSLY) (TR SINGS AMOROUSLY IN SWEDISH) Right, right. You got it. (TR CONTINUES, GETTING CARRIED AWAY) Okay, okay. (TR CONTINUES, IN FALSETTO) All right— I don't need the fish to sing. (TR STOPS, APOLOGIZES) Listen, Svend— Can you get me a million adolescent herring by Tuesday——to Kansas? (TR SWEDISH DUBIOUS) Well, do your best. (BRIDGE)

The herring were air-dropped on Monday (PLANE AT LOW ALTITUDE, SLOWING) — ten transport planes flew over and opened their doors and a cloud of silver dropped from the sky (PLANE GOING BY) and within two days the pond was overrun with herring. A much less fashionable fish. It attracted Lutherans and that drove away the big Hollywood stars who were going to buy chalets. (TR JACK NICHOLSON: I was really looking forward to it. Kansas was going to be my second home. And then all these heavy set gals showed up in the Bethany College sweatshirts. I'm heading back to Aspen.) (BRIDGE)

GOV. SEBELIUS: I can't thank you enough, Mr. Noir. The herring idea was brilliant.

GK: And it brought in a lot of Swedes/

GOV. SEBELIUS: You almost can't go wrong with Swedes. They put in a 12-hour day and then go home and worry about it.

GK: A few thousand Swedes for stability, and now you bring in some Irish for language skills and some Czechs and Finns for general interest and you've got a red state with white stripes and blue stars.

(PAUSE)

GOV. SEBELIUS: Mind if I ask a personal question?

GK: Go ahead.—

GOV. SEBELIUS: You and Sugar. — She didn't break up with you because of your taste in sportcoats, did she?

GK: No, she drifted away because I didn't do the little things you gotta do when you love someone even if you don't realize it which, if you don't, you will when they leave and then it's too late, isn't it. Bob is a lucky guy.

GOV. SEBELIUS: That's the advantage of a flat state, Mr. Noir. When we see true love coming, we know what it is right away. And when you've been raising wheat, you're definitely ready for romance. (BRIDGE)

GK: I hung around Hutchinson for a day, thinking about Sugar, walking around the State Fair — (CALLIOPE)

TR (BARKER): Come right in, the show is just about to start, the girls are on stage and waiting to entertain you— each one beautiful, each one direct from Paris — each one wearing no more clothing than is used to make the average handkerchief — it's the Chez Paree right here, under the tent, the show is just about to start (FADING) The Chez Paree. Right heare.

SS (BARKER): Heya heya heya. Yowsa yowsa yowsa. Step right up and throw the ball through the hoop and win the stuffed bear, easy as that, bing bing bing. Who's next? Hurra hurra hurra. (FADING) Every time a winner.

FN (MAURICE): Hey mister. How about a Rocky Mountain oyster on a stick? Mighty tasty. Ever tried one? Step right over. Got clams too. Shrimp. Salmon. It's all deep-fried, it's all good. Whaddaya say? And lookit here — I can give you a tattoo just like this one — you bend your arm, make her dance. (FADING) Got a lady on your arm, make her dance. Looky here...

GK: It's a nice fair and it'd be even nicer if I weren't walking around alone. But here I am. Old enough to be smart but where's the evidence of it?

SS (SUGAR): Hi, Guy.

GK: Sugar.

SS (SUGAR): I saw you standing here. So— I thought I'd come over.

GK: Glad you did. Where's Bob?

SS (SUGAR): Home.

GK: What's wrong?

SS (SUGAR): We broke up.

GK: What happened? He seemed like such a nice guy.

SS (SUGAR): He is but — he can't leave the farm. And I ain't cut out for that life.

GK: So what are you going to do?

SS (SUGAR): I dunno. Want to go on a ride?

GK: Me?

SS (SUGAR): How about the Tilt-A-Whirl? It's fun.

GK: I dunno, it's kinda rough.

SS (SUGAR): You're a big boy. You can stand the excitement.

GK: I'm not sure.

SS (SUGAR): Come on. You only live once.

GK: I don't know.

SS (SUGAR): When do you think you might know?

(PAUSE)

(THEME)

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 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).

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