Saturday, June 24, 2006
The Perils of Summer
Garrison Keillor: It's very pleasant on the surface. You in a chaise, listening to the sprinkler (SPRINKLER) and opening a chilled libation. (POP TOP, POUR INTO GLASS) Winter is behind you, the school year is over, and now paradise. But is it? Wood ticks. (SHALLOW BREATHING, LICKING) Giant gray ones, hidden in your ear. That's why you can't hear as well. But you can hear him. (BREATHING, SUCKING) You're trimming the wisteria, standing on your aluminum extension ladder (ELECTRIC TRIMMER) and your IV drip is hooked over your shoulder and then somebody pulls the plug (TRIMMER STOPS) and you look and you're surrounded by wisteria (LOW OMINOUS GRUMBLING AND SCRITCHING) which has grown up around the ladder and around your bare legs and is climbing upward (CRY OF ALARM) it's after the antibiotic. You pull away from the wisteria and (CRY OF ALARM) lose your balance and fall on to the wheel barrow (CRASHING) full of paving stones which turns over on you, pinning you to the ground.
You lie there, trying to gather your strength and you hear hooves (PITTER PATTER) and turn and there's three pairs of big brown eyes looking at you (SNORTS), white-tail deer. One of them has your dad's billfold in its mouth. He disappeared last year, hunting. Your dad is with them. (OLD MAN: Ricky?) He's gone berserk. Your name is Vern. (OLD MAN: I've come for you, Ricky.)
Thank goodness, a thunderstorm comes up (SFX). An enormous one, the sky turns green and then eggplant purple and you turn on the radio for the thunderstorm watch and the guy on the radio says (LOOK OUT! IT'S COMING!) and hailstones the size of baseballs pound on your house (BARRAGE) and your car is beaten to a pulp (SMASHING, CRASHING)
And you decide to grill yourself a steak. You turn on the gas for the grill (HISS OF GAS) and you go indoors for the steak and the Worcestershire sauce and the bun and the onion, and you come back and it's a glorious summer night (WHISTLING) and you make yourself another martini (Fred Newman: WHAT THE HEY) (SHAKE, POUR) and you look up in the sky and there is a small plane circling (PLANE) overhead and you light the grill (CLICK OF LIGHTER, BIG BOOM, WHOOSH) and suddenly you're up there in the sky (WIND) alongside the plane (PLANE FLYING PAST, CLOSE) and your town is far below you on this lovely summer day (FN: I can see my house from here) thank goodness you're wearing the public radio windbreaker you got from KUER (WIND SLIPPING PAST, STEERING, AS WITH SAILPLANE) and stretching the windbreaker out and grasping the tails you manage through trial and error to glide safely to earth and land gentle in a landfill (CANS AND BOTTLES) where the garbage breaks your fall. But your problems are not over. (PTERODACTYL) An enormous prehistoric pterodactyl has hatched from eggs buried deep in the earth's crust as happens so frequently in hot weather and he is on the rampage and heading straight toward you, his enormous tail switching back and forth, causing devastation on every hand.
(PTERODACTYL STOPS. CONFUSED)
Always maintain eye contact with the pterodactyl. Running away screaming and waving your arms only excites him. Stand your ground and look him straight in the eye.
(PTERODACTYL MURMUR, QUESTIONING)
And then ask him the question that pterodactyls dread.
How do you spell your name?
(PTERODACTYL THOUGHT, EMBARRASSED. HE SAYS, "T...")
I can't understand you. Enunciate. Spell your name.
Wrong. (WRONG BUZZER. PTERODACTYL SHAME) And he slinks away. You're safe for awhile. But think about this, Salt Lake City. No eggs hatch up where I come from on the frozen tundra. Spiders are under control. Less deadly bacteria in the soil. Why? Because of winter. Winter. A safe time for you and your family. Think Minnesota. (LOON) Up there at the top. Head up the big river. You can't miss it. Minnesota.