Guy Noir
Saturday, November 19, 2005
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(MUSIC)

Sue Scott: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but 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 —

Garrison Keillor: It was November and I was passing the time playing a video game on my computer and then after about fifteen minutes I realized it was my screensaver. Fish swimming across the screen. I wasn't catching any because the hook I thought I was moving with my mouse was the reflection of the cord of the windowshade. It's at moments like that a guy is grateful for the fact that he's all alone. (PHONE RING, PICKUP) Yeah, Noir here.

Tim Russell (ON PHONE): Mr. Noir? My name is Jack Armstrong and I'm calling about my son. Kyle. He's joined a cult.

GK: I see.

TR (ON PHONE): We're pretty broken up about it.

GK: I'm sure. What sort of cult, sir?

TR (ON PHONE): It's worse than a cult. It's a pack. (STING) He's become a Packer fan.

GK: The Green Bay Packers, eh? Extending their cheesy tentacles into Minnesota again?

TR (ON PHONE): You see Kyle moved over to Hudson. The car insurance is lower there. And then he met a girl from Menomonie...

GK: The old story. They lure kids over there with cheap auto insurance and then Wisconsin women get their hooks in them and they become hostages of romance.

TR (ON PHONE): It just seemed like as soon as he got that Wisconsin driver's license his values changed. He's not like us anymore. He's gotten very quiet.

GK: Cheese will do that to a person.

TR (ON PHONE): He's got this holier-than-thou attitude.

GK: That's from Swiss cheese.

TR (ON PHONE): Anyway, the Vikings/Packers game is Sunday and our whole family is gonna be here and — I can't have him in my house wearing a Packers jersey. What would the neighbors think? We would perish of shame.

GK: I'll see what I can do.

(BRIDGE)

I had done some deprogramming before, with Unitarian kids brought up in nice homes with classical music who happened to borrow another kid's Walkman and heard gospel music for the first time and cut their hair really short and started walking around the house with their hands up in the air, and I had to take them aside and re-educate them. Tell them that prophecy is something you can take up later in life, not when you're sixteen. So I headed for Hudson.

(BRIDGE)

I walked along the Main Street. (OUTDOOR CITY AMBIENCE, TRAFFIC PASSING, FOOTSTEPS) I could hardly tell I wasn't in Minnesota. If it weren't for all the bars and the smell of melted cheese and the people in Extra Extra Large clothing, it could've been St. Paul—And then she walked by. (STING) She was tall, had blonde hair and was wearing a top so small the washing instructions had to be abbreviated. She was like a beer poster come to life. She was holding a pair of scissors. Excuse me, ma'am— you shouldn't be running with scissors. It's not safe—

SS: Oh— You're right. Sorry. But I'm mad as heck. Boy, am I mad!

GK: What's the problem?

SS: Listen—I've been in this town for 10 years. I've done bobs, flat-tops, shags, mullets, layers, razored edges, up-do's, down-do's, afros, half-rows, you name it, I've done it. I've made men look like Stevie Nicks and women look like Bon Jovi. And now—some of my clients have been running around and going to stylists! (STING)

GK: What's the difference?

SS: A haircutter cuts hair. That's me. Stylists have a lot of stones in a bowl and the candle burning and the yoga music playing and they give you a shoulder massage and a cup of ginseng tea. I don't do that. I just cut hair. (BRIDGE)

GK: She gave me the name of one of her clients and— his name is Kyle? He's a big Packer fan, right?

SS: I thought so. But then he went to a stylist! I can't believe it. (STING, BRIDGE)

GK: I drove to his house (CAR SLOWING, STOPS. DOOR OPEN. FOOTSTEPS) I walked up on the porch and opened the front door with a credit card (LATCH OPEN, EASE DOOR OPEN). I saw a light from the basement stairs. (CREAKING STAIRS) I found him sitting and watching a Packer highlights video. (TV AUDIO) Kyle was in his mid-twenties, he wore a backwards baseball cap, a Brett Favre jersey, a barbed wire tattoo on his left bicep, and he was drinking a Leinenkugel. And his hair looked like it had been styled by sparrows who meant for it to be a nest. — Hands up, it's the hair police, Kyle.

TR: Huh? What?

GK: You look terrible, kid. The hair looks like you trimmed it yourself. With a weed-whacker.

TR: I got a really bad haircut, that's what happened—

GK: So you tried to repair the damage yourself, huh?

TR: Right.

GK: So what stylist did you go to?

TR: I went to my old barber. Bob. In downtown St. Paul.

GK: A barber, huh?

TR: Right. And he talked me into getting highlights. Golden highlights with cinnamon undertones. He said highlights bring out the beauty of the face. And he gave me a perm.

GK: Tell me something — when you went to this Minnesota barber and he did a perm and cinnamon highlights on you, were you wearing your Packers sweatshirt?

TR: Of course. Why do you ask?

GK: Never mind. So let me guess. He gave you a perm and cinnamon highlights and you looked at yourself in the mirror and you felt sick—

TR: I looked like somebody with real gender identity issues. I had to drive home with a bag over my head.

GK: And you cut your hair off.

TR: Yes. I think I'm going to shave it.

GK: Well, you do whatever you think best. Why did you leave Minnesota and move here, Kyle?

TR: Because I'm tired of losing! I've been down the road with the Vikings time and time and time again. Every year, they have this big meltdown. I decided to go with a winner. The Green and Gold. Three Super Bowls.

GK: Look Kyle, when you're young you feel a lot of pressure to fit in and wear the right clothes and be successful and root for a winner. But look at what you are turning your back on. The Vikings are the Boston Red Sox of football. Except now that the Sox won it all, the torch has been passed to the Purple. Once you win all the marbles, you're just another team. Suffering is what gives a team a story. That's where the nobility is. Like a Greek tragedy. Think of Oedipus Rex.

TR: Who'd he play for?

GK: Life is not about winning. It's about the struggle. Man's destiny and his struggle to alter that destiny only to find out in the end that the gods are in charge. Come back to Minnesota.

TR: I don't know. I sort of like it here. (THUNDER, LIGHTNING) What's that?

GK: It's just somebody upstairs trying to get your attention.

TR: What if I don't go back?

GK: What would they do? Maybe nothing. Maybe put your eyes out. Maybe chain you to a rock and let birds peck out your liver. You never know.

TR: I've got to fix this hair first. (BIRD SHRIEKS) What's that?

GK: A big bird with a sharp beak. With chunks of raw liver hanging from it. (BIRD SHRIEKS)

TR: Can we go in your car?

GK: Of course. (THEME)

SS: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep it's secrets, where one guy is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions —Guy Noir, Private Eye.

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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