Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian script
Saturday, March 31, 2007
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(THEME)

Tim Russell (ANNC): And now. From the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library. We bring you: Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.

(HEAVY STAMPING) Fred Newman (TEEN): You seem down today, Miss Harrison. Something wrong?

Sue Scott: Oh, it's nothing, Kent. Nothing at all. Don't mind me.

(HEAVY STAMPING)

FN (TEEN): Jeez. You're really taking it out on those overdue notices.

SS: (SHE STOPS STAMPING, HEAVES A SIGH) I just got the manuscript of my novel back today, and it's been rejected, but I'm fine. Just fine.

FN (TEEN): Is this your novel about the brooding horse trainer with a mysterious past and the 18-year-old chestnut-haired equestrian named Dakine and the wild stallion they both love?

SS: Yes. My novel, Untamed Heart. I've been working on it for six years.

FN (TEEN): Well what happened?

SS: I was too late, Kent. The publisher had just bought a manuscript last week for 14 million dollars, about a horse from California who has sparkly hair extensions and talks and its breath smells of oranges.

FN (TEEN): Oh. Gosh. Sorry about that, Miss Harrison.

SS: The book is called, Mi Amor Signor Ed. They're spending a ton of money to promote it and it's going to be made into a major motion picture starring Ian McKellan as the horse.

FN (TEEN): Yeah but I don't think horses eat oranges, Miss Harrison.

SS: Readers are not looking for realism, Kent. I'm learning that now.

FN (TEEN): Your horse was a realist?

SS: He's an introspective horse. He spends a lot of time in his stall thinking about people he wishes would try to ride him so he could buck them off. When he sees people staring at him, he likes to go over and kick the fence as hard as he can and see them scream and run away with their hands up in the air.

FN (TEEN): Well, maybe you could make him more affectionate or something.

SS: I don't think so. (FOOTSTEPS) Oh oh. —-Well, Mr. Parker. What an unpleasant surprise.

TR: Cut the small talk, Ruth. The library board is upset and on the verge of firing you. We've gotten hundreds of angry e-mails from citizens complaining about inappropriate books in the library and we want you to get them out of here and make a public apology.

SS: Well what is it, Mr. Parker?

TR: It's Moby Dick, Ruth.

SS: Moby Dick? What about it?

TR: Don't be coy with me, Ruth.

SS: Mr. Parker, have you ever read Moby Dick?

TR: I don't need to read it. And neither does anybody else. Get rid of it.

SS: It's about a whale, Mr. Parker. A great white whale.

TR: Huh. So that's what they call it.

SS: That's what it is, Mr. Parker.

TR: So you've read it yourself then, Ruth.

SS: Of course I have, Mr. Parker. What of it?

TR: I didn't figure you were the type, is all. I guess I figured wrong.

SS: What????

TR: Look at this boy, Ruth. We have to protect him—

FN (TEEN): Actually I'm like 30 years old. I've been an intern for twelve years.

TR: We have to protect our children, Ruth. You and me.

SS: It's you and I, Mr. Parker.

TR: What?

SS: It's you and I. Not you and me.

TR: Fine. It's you and I's responsibility to protect our children—

SS: The whale is a metaphor, Mr. Parker. A metaphor for an all-consuming desire-a burning passion —

TR: Say no more, Ruth. You're embarrassing yourself, and the Herndon County library besides. Just strike it from the shelves, and we'll say no more about it.

SS: Now Mr. Parker.

TR: That's an order, Ruth. Otherwise, you're out of here.

(FOOTSTEPS OFF, DOOR SLAM)

FN (TEEN): Boy, he was steamed.

SS: Who gives a rip? I don't. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

FN (TEEN): Where you going, Miss Harrison?

SS: Going down to the basement to bring up every copy of Moby Dick I can find and make a big window display—

(FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPENS, DESCENDING STAIRS)

SS: Dark down here. Need some more light bulbs.

TR: I like it dark. That's why I came down here—

SS: Stephen King?

TR: You recognized me, Ruth. Why don't you stock more of my books in your library? — Oh I don't care. Never mind. You've got wonderful spiders down here. I'm thinking about writing a novel about one. A spider named Charlotte. She eats pork and she walks on people's faces as they sleep and if there's mouthwash on their breath she kills them.

SS: Don't you have your own basement at home to write in?

TR: My book is going to be set in a library, Ruth.

SS: Well, good luck.

TR: I don't need luck as much as you do, Ruth.

SS: What's that supposed to mean, Mr. King?

TR: Having some trouble with your novel, aren' t you Ruth?

SS: Oh I don't care about that—

TR: Oh yes you do. Let me give you a tip, Ruth. I've written fourteen million words in my life and every single word has been published and I'll tell you my secret. You want to know, don't you.

SS: Maybe.

TR: The secret is simple: there always is a killer around somewhere. A cold-blooded mentally defective killer.

SS: A murderer?

TR: It can be a car. A dog. A clown. A trash compacter that goes crazy. But there has to be a killer.

SS: I never tried to write about a killer before. My goodness.

TR: A killer like this fellow right here.

GK: Hi.

SS: Oh my gosh. He's so real.

GK: Who are you? I feel like I've seen you before. You got a real nice face. You look like a real nice lady.

TR: His eyes don't quite focus and he talks in a quiet voice. Killers are always real polite.

SS: He makes my skin crawl.

TR: Take a good look at him.

SS: Slightly pigeon-toed — stoop-shouldered — kind of deferential—

GK: Just wondering if you might have any odd jobs I could do, Miss Harrison.

SS: Green plaid flannel shirt and dungarees and a little blood on his cheek.

GK: Cut myself shaving, I think. Is there some on my neck? Can you see?

SS: Don't come closer—

GK: I can sleep in the furnace room. Don't need much. Just a bedroll and a hot meal.

SS: He smells of licorice. And hair oil. I didn't know men still used hair oil.

TR: Killers do.

SS: Oh my gosh— he's got a knife—

TR: Of course he's got a knife. He's a killer.

GK: It's a letter opener. I could open letters for you. You must have a lot of letters around here. It's very sharp. You want to feel it. I keep it extremely sharp. It'll cut through paper, even cardboard, like a hot knife in butter.

SS: A killer-ok-I get the point.

TR: And why not get you an evangelist while you're at it? They can spice things up in a hurry—

FN (EVANGELIST): And we read— in the 14th chapter of Nehemiah — "And the Lord said unto them, this is an abomination unto me — thou shalt not eat of the roasted pork with the sauce of the tomato unless it shall have the vinegar and the seed of the mustard in it. For if the sauce of the tomato not have the vinegar and the seed of the mustard in it, it is an abomination, and I will cast it away —"

GK: I like meat. Meat of all kinds. I never regretted a moment I've spent with a nice slice of meat.

TR: You see what that does? It just puts more life in it. You can't make a novel out of people talking in low voices, Ruth — you gotta have some high voices too —

FN (EVANGELIST): If the sauce of the tomato be too sweet that thou puttest onto the ribs of the pork, then the Lord God will spit thee out of his mouth as an abomination!

SS: Thank you, Mr. King

TR: Go and write your book, Ruth. Go on now. Go do it.

(THEME)

TR (ANNC): From the hushed reading room of the Herndon County library, you've heard another episode of Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian. Will Ruth put a cold-blooded killer into her novel? Will her novel be a big success and enable her to leave Herndon County and move to the coast of Maine? Will somebody dare to tell her that she has a leaf of spinach between her front teeth? Join us next time.

(THEME)

TR (ANNC): From the hushed reading room of the Herndon County library, you've heard another episode of Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian. Will Ruth give up sensible shoes and find love? Will her novel be published to great acclaim and enable her to leave Herndon County and move to Jamaica? Will somebody dare to tell her that she has a leaf of spinach between her front teeth? Join us next time.

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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