Emperor script
Saturday, November 29, 2008

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GK: High above Cincinnati rises a 23-story tower in the shape of a sausage, home of the Hnrnhmphlmn Corporation, which makes sausage, and where every morning several thousand employees came through the turnstiles (SERIES OF VARIOUS "GOOD MORNINGS" AND CLICKING OF TURNSTILE). These are office workers. Some of them are peons (HUMBLE), or lackeys (HIGHER-PITCHED GOOD MORNINGS), some are minions (HIGH WHISPERY), others are drones (FLAT) or henchmen (ROUGH), and some are stooges (CLOWNISH), and yes men (CHORUS OF YESES) but none of them has ever seen sausage made. They do that in Nebraska. The big sausage factory is there. (FACTORY SEQUENCE, RATCHETS, WHEELS, WHIRRING, AND THE SOUND OF SAUSAGE BEING GROUND AND EXTRUDED) Making sausage is nothing you'd ever want to see, especially if you're responsible for marketing sausage. So the office workers don't go there. They make copies on a copy machine (COPIER) and they fax those copies to various people (SFX FAX MACHINE) and they hold meetings (MURMUR OF MEETING) and they do their e-mail (SFX) and check out YouTube (SFX) and they try not to look at the pool on the north side of the building. (DARK CHORDS) Where the dark shapes of sharks swim to and fro. (SFX) Sharks who are fed every day two employees who have incurred the displeasure of — and here he comes now — Mr. Hnrnhmphlman, the president, who pulls up every morning at nine o'clock in an enormous limo (SFX) with four security dogs (LOW GROWLS)...

GK: ...and he walks into the building (JOWLY GIBBERISH) and he goes to the elevators (FOOTSTEPS SLOW ACROSS MARBLE) as his minions watch from inside their cubicles.

TR (WHISPER): Look. His fly is open.

SS (WHISPER): Oh oh.

TR (WHISPER): Someone should tell him.

SS (WHISPER): Go ahead.

TR (WHISPER): I mean, look. It's wide open. Should I call upstairs and tell them?

SS (WHISPER): No. Don't stare. Smile. Bow.— (LOUDER) Good morning, Mr. Hnrnhmphlmn—

FN: (JOWLY GIBBERISH, QUESTION)

TR (WHISPER): You mispronounced his name.

SS: Good morning, Mr. Hnrnhmphlmn.

FN: (JOWLY SATISFACTION)

TR (WHISPER): That's better.

(ELEVATOR DOOR OPEN)

GK: And the president boards his private elevator (DINGS) which takes him straight to the 23rd floor where he is met by sixteen vice-presidents (LOW CHANTING "O THOU EXCELLENT BLESSED AND BENEFICENT") who kneel, their foreheads pressed to the floor, as (FOOTSTEPS) the president walks past, his fly open, and into his private chambers (DOOR CLOSE) where his vice-president for in-room dining brings him his breakfast tray.

TR (HUMBLE): O benevolent, O radiant one. I come before you, unworthy though I am, with your serene highness's breakfast of sixteen poached eggs and two pounds of hash browns fried in yak butter and twelve sausages, which I now place before you, my President, Mr. Hnrnhmphlmn —

GK: And the vice-president is trembling as he puts the tray down. (SHAKING OF DISHES) Because this is not one of Mr. Hnrnhmphlmn's good days.

FN: (JOWLY GRUMBLING)

TR (HUMBLE): May this breakfast find favor with you, my president, and bring you fullness of heart and gaseous delight.

GK: And the president looked down and saw — in one of the sausages — a hair sticking out.

FN: (JOWLY OUTRAGE)

GK: And all through the Hnrnhmphlmn Corporation, people could feel the anger vibrations from above (TREMULOUS ALARM) — and people shut off YouTube (SFX) and people who had been photocopying their bare butts pulled up their trousers and went to their desks (SHAMED DIGNITY) and in the pool below the sharks looked up with anticipation (SFX) as the president hit the vice-president for in-room dining with a sausage (SWOPPP) and stuck a fork in him (TR WHOOP) and he hurled poached eggs at him (PLOPS). And when his rage was exhausted (FN JOWLY WEARINESS) he sat down in his great throne and he picked up the phone to call the vice-president for employee removal when the man covered with breakfast had an inspiration—

TR (HUMBLE): Oh, your excellency, source of wisdom, and dispenser of goodness, thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and allow me to point out that the hair in your sausage is a hair from the very rare Hmblbrblbn bird, and it is a magical hair that, once you eat it, gives you the power of flight.

(FN JOWLY WONDER)

TR (HUMBLE): Yes. You, my president. Eat it and you can fly.

FN: JOWLY INDECISION

TR (HUMBLE): Already, serene highness, your loyal employees have noticed that oftentimes after breakfast your feet do not touch the ground. Eat the hair of the Hmblbrblbn and you can fly.

FN: (JOWLY QUESTION)

GK: And the president called in his vice-president for gravitation and he agreed.

SS (MALE): Yes, that is a hair from the Hmblbrblbn, I've studied it for years, and it is an anti-gravitational hair.

GK: And so did the vice-president for aviation.

FN (SOUTHERN): I have often flown using the hair of a Hmblbrblbn myself. It works. Trust me.

GK: And the vice-president for statistics.

TR (GERMAN): I have worked out the (GERMAN GIBBERISH) and when I divide the (GERMAN GIBBERISH) by the (GIBBERISH) it tells me that you can fly, Mein Fuhrer. You can fly!!!! (EXCITED GERMAN)

FN: (JOWLY PONDERING)

TR (HUMBLE): O my president, we would tremble with delight to see you spread your arms and fly through the air — You would bring joy to us all.

FN: (JOWLY ENTHUSIASM)

GK: And so he ate the sausage with the hair in it. (SWALLOW) And men from the Department of Human Resources (MANLY MURMURS) came and attached a golden parachute to him that weighed 5000 pounds and all of the vice-presidents put their foreheads to the floor —(CHANTING) and the men took president Hnrnhmphlmn to the window (TRUMPETS). And they lifted up onto the window sill.

FN: (JOWLY GIBBERISH)

TR: Fly, my president! Fly! (FN JOWLY FALLING MAN, A DISTANT SPLASH AND FURY OF SHARKS)

GK: And he flew straight down and landed in the pool and the sharks had him for a snack.

(FUNEREAL MUSIC)

GK: It was a wonderful funeral. There were bagpipes. (BAGPIPES) There was beautiful weeping (SS EVOCATIVE WEEPING) and then there was a wake (BOOZY CROWD, POPPING OF CORKS, WOMEN SQUEALS) and the next day, everyone came to work at the Hnrnhmphlmn Company as usual and it was very relaxed and happy — people took long coffee breaks (CHATTER, LAUGHTER) and they made copies of photocopies of their faces (COPIER), people talked on the phone (SS PHONE CHATTER), people listened to the radio (FN HIPHOP BASS), and meanwhile out in Nebraska somebody kept making that sausage. (SAUSAGE MACHINERY) Nobody knew how or where or who but the sausage kept on coming in and so the Hnrnhmphlmn Company kept going. (TRUMPETS) And a bronze bust of the late Mr. Hnrnhmphlmn was put in the lobby and every morning when the employees came in, they touched it for good luck — the peons (HUMBLE), and lackeys (HIGHER-PITCHED GOOD MORNINGS), the minions (HIGH WHISPERY), the drones (FLAT) the henchmen (ROUGH), the stooges (CLOWNISH), and yes men (CHORUS OF YESES). And the new president, Mr. Hnrnhmphlmn Jr. (FN JOWLY), who was a vegan and never touched sausage. Never.

(TRUMPETS)

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»

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