Guy Noir
Saturday, January 17, 2009

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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)

GK: It was January and I was at my desk trying out the special light box that my sister Georgina gave me for Christmas that is supposed to cure depression. I was also reading the obituaries page and noticing how many of the deceased were retired, one more reason why you should stay on the job. Which I would like to do if only I could find work. And then I got a call from Louisville. (PHONE RINGS, PICKUP) Yeah Noir here.

FN (SOUTHERN, ON PHONE): Mr. Noir this is Orville Phipps, down here in Louisville at the Phipps Family Distillery, we make a fine whiskey called River Jordan Single Barrel Bourbon.

GK: What can I do for you, Rev. Phipps?

FN (SOUTHERN, ON PHONE): Well, we've been going through a little family dispute, and my sister Junie and my sister-in-law Mary Louise have insisted we come out with a free range organic bourbon.

GK: I see.

FN (SOUTHERN, ON PHONE): The corn is organic - no growth hormones. And the water comes straight from a glacier and the men who work in the distillery don't smoke or sleep on mattresses that contain toxic chemicals. And it's a low-alcohol bourbon. About fifteen proof. We call it Sub-Bourban.

GK: Sub-Bourbon. And you're selling this organic?

FN (SOUTHERN, ON PHONE): Yes, but not so much of it. Mr. Noir, the people who are interested in bourbon and the people interested in organic are two different sets of people entirely. Organic bourbon is sort of like the blues played on oboes. Doesn't really work. Could you fly down here and help us? (BRIDGE, JET)

GK: So I flew down to Louisville on Baptist Air. (JET HUM)

SS (ON PA): Welcome to Baptist Air and I am Sylvia, your head usher. First of all, no sleeping. In the seat pocket in front of you, you will find the Scripture reading for today. If you feel the Lord is leading you to fasten your seat belt, you can do that, or if you just feel like jumping around in the aisle and singing hallelujah, you can do that too. And now instead of our safety announcements, let us just bow our heads in prayer for Brother Clint who is your pilot today and who is going through something up there, I don't know what all. And then we'll sing "I'll Fly Away" and we're out of here. (BRIDGE)

GK: I got to Louisville and headed over to the River Jordan Distillery and I found Orville Phipps's uncle Joe Loony in the mash room, putting a thermometer in the grain.

(DOOR OPENS, BUBBLING).

TR (SOUTHERN): I don't know about this organic stuff— I think I put too much sassafras in this, or maybe saffron and molasses, or maybe buffalo grass, it just smells sort of gassy to me— you think so?

GK: You drink this organic whiskey?

TR (SOUTHERN): I am not even going to dignify that question with a response. Talk to her. (FOOTSTEPS)

SS (SOUTHERN): I am Mary Louise, Mr. Noir, and I'm vice-president in charge of organic free range bourbon and if you have questions just direct them to me and not to these nay-sayers in my family. I tell you, you can't teach a pig to play hockey.

GK: So were you a bourbon drinker, Miz Mary Louise?

SS (SOUTHERN): No, but my former husband was and I would rather sleep inside of a dead swordfish than have to go through all that again. (GURGLING)

GK: What's going on with that big vat of corn mash?

SS (SOUTHERN): I do believe the pressure is building up. (HISSING)

GK: WHAT'S GOING ON? (ESPRESSO SFX)

TR (SOUTHERN): She's a getting ready to blow!

GK:Where's the exit?

TR (SOUTHERN): Here. Hold onto this.

SS (SOUTHERN): We got twenty tons of corn mash about to blow up here— (STEAM PIPE BREAKS, KLAXON ALARM)

FN (ELECT WARNING VOICE): STEP AWAY FROM THE TANKS. The tanks are about to burst! (SIRENS GO OFF) (BUBBLING, BURSTING, SPRAY, WAVES OF WATER, THEN RECEDES, THEN DRIPPING)

GK: That's some hot mash.

TR: You got yourself pretty well drenched, Mr. Noir.

GK: She ran out the door and it locked behind her.

TR: Should've run when I told you.

GK: My suit, my shoes...ruined.

TR: There's a Laundromat two blocks over on Church Street. (BRIDGE)

GK: And that's how I found myself at the Palace Laundromat, stripped to my shorts and socks and trying to feed a five-dollar-bill into the change machine. (DOLLAR BILL INSERTS AND REJECTS, INSERTS AND REJECTS). Shoot. (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): You have to put it in straight.

GK: I am putting it in straight.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): No, because it's not going in.

GK: I'm doing what the picture says.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): There can't be any creases in the bill.

GK: Okay, there aren't. (DOLLAR BILL INSERTS AND REJECTS)

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Then you should be using a crisper bill. When I come to the Laundromat I make sure I have only new crisp bills. I iron them. It takes time but it's worth it.

GK: Well good for you. (INSERT AND REJECTS) Dang it. (INSERTS AND REJECTS) Shoot.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Here, give me the bill. Let me do it. (TAKES BILL, INSERTS AND COINS COME TUMBLING OUT) There.

GK: How did you do that?

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Practice. Perseverance. And Patience. The three P's. And as long as I'm here, let me offer a word of helpful advice. Whatever cologne you're using, throw it away. It's just not working in your best interest.

GK: That isn't cologne, it's bourbon, I was involved in an industrial accident.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): If that's the bourbon you're drinking, then that explains why you can't put a five-dollar bill into a slot.

GK: A vat of corn mash blew up on me. Okay?

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Smells like horse byproduct.

GK: Never mind. (BRIDGE)

GK: So I got my change and I bought a liquid detergent, (VENDING MACHINE THUMP) and I put my clothes in and poured the detergent on top (BLORP BLORP BLORP) and when I flipped the cap back onto the bottle (SNAP) a little of the detergent got on the floor (SPLAT), and I slipped in it (FALL) so my change went everywhere (CHANGE ALL OVER THE PLACE)-

FN (SINGING VOLARE): Doing laundry, oh oh,
On Sunday, oh oh oh oh
I'll put my clothes in the wash
And watch them tumble and slosh
And it's almost like I'm dropping acid again
And somehow it just blows my mind—

(SPEAKS) Oh. Hi. Didn't see you there on the floor. Hey. Nice shorts. You come here often.

GK: No, I just slipped. Spilled some detergent.

FN: Do you use a fabric softener?

GK: I don't.

FN: It might be a good idea. I do. See this shirt? How it drapes so nicely? That's fabric softener. You just get a nicer drape.

GK: Fine.

FN: But it's up to you entirely.

GK: Good. Okay.

FN: You need some help with that? You just put the coins into the little slots-- (PUTTING COINS INTO SLOTS)

GK: Yes, I know how to do laundry. (ONE COIN FALLS DOWN BETWEEN MACHINES)

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): One fell. In the crack there. Between the machines.

GK: Yes, I see that. (INSERTING COINS)

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Aren't you going to get it?

GK: I have other coins.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Do you always drop coins on the floor?

GK: Do you mind?

FN: Has anyone ever spoken to you about your drinking?

GK: I'm fine, okay? I wasn't drinking. It was spillage.

FN: Boy, when you drink and spill that much — I donno.

GK: Would you mind just butting out?

FN: You have a very low tolerance for frustration and that is a sign of alcoholism. —There you go.

GK: Thank you. (INSERTS LAST COIN, PUSHES COIN SLOT IN, A BEAT) Why isn't anything happening?

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Just wait.

GK: With the washer. It's not working. Come on, work, work! (SHAKING WASHER) Come on.

FN (SINGS): When washing, oh oh,
Use caution, oh oh oh oh
If you mix colors and whites
It's gonna be tie-dye tonight
And you may meet that wonderful someone
Standing next to the dryer
And suddenly there's a symphony
And your heart is on fire.
And instead of the dryer you feel the flames of desire.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): My goodness. Look at you, attacking a washing machine.

GK: It's not going. (KICKING MACHINE)

FN: You know if you keep kicking that, it's likely to come loose and you're going to have water all over the floor. (COIN TRAY RATTLES, FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

GK: Does anybody work here?

SS (DORIS): No. A guy comes in the morning and opens it up and he comes back at night and closes it down and takes the coins.

GK: Oh.

SS (DORIS): Anyway it's not the coin tray that's jammed. It's the handle.

GK: The handle?

SS (DORIS): In the front. You gotta press it in a little more.

GK: Like this? (WASHER STARTS, AND THEN STARTS TO GO WILD).

SS (DORIS): There you go.

GK: Is it supposed to do that? (WASHER IS GYRATING WILDLY)

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): It's starting to walk. Better shut it down.

GK: How do you do that?

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Just unplug it. (WASHER STARTS TO DECELERATE) There. (WASHER STOPS. HE TRIES TO OPEN DOOR)

GK: Now I can't get the door open.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Don't force it. You just have to — (HE TRIES TO OPEN DOOR).

SS (DORIS): You know something? You look good in shorts.

GK: Would you mind?

SS (DORIS): You do. You play tennis?

GK: I don't think so.

SS (DORIS): I took up tennis and dancing and journaling and now I feel like I'm really sucking the marrow out of life now, you know?

GK: Good. Glad to hear it.

SS (DORIS): I'm on a quest. Live large. So I'm going to Florida on Tuesday.

GK: Sounds lovely, but I'm trying to get my clothes out of the washer, okay?

SS (DORIS): I got a timeshare on the beach. Well not on the beach, but near it. Across a highway. Behind the mall. Gonna head down when I'm done with this load.

GK: Good. Have a good time.

SS (DORIS): You could come with me.

GK: I don't think so. —Is there a number to call in case of emergency?

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): I'll get this for you in a minute—I'm just running it through its cycle. (TURNING KNOB THROUGH WASH AND DRY CYCLE)

SS (DORIS): Me and you, we could walk on the beach and rub each other with body oils.

GK: How long do these wash cycles usually take?

SS (DORIS): I wouldn't be so forward except you got no time to waste when you're 66.

GK: A valid point.

SS (DORIS): What did you say your name was?

GK: I didn't.

FN: It's Guy Noir.

GK: How did you know that? (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

FN: It was in your wallet. Here. You can have it back.

SS (DORIS): So what do you say, Guy? The chariot leaves in 20 minutes.

GK: I'm not going to Florida.

SS (DORIS): I got a four door sedan and a heart on fire.

GK: Good. I'm glad.

SS (DORIS): And listen — I'm not gonna say anything about your drinking. You want to drink? Drink.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): It appears to me that your laundry load has turned blue.

GK: Oh no, my pen!

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Okay, I think we've got it now. Just push this button. (BUTTON, MACHINE POWERS UP, SPIN CYCLE BEGINS)

GK: Okay, it's spinning but the water isn't draining out.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Just wait. (MACHINE POWERS DOWN)

GK: But the water's not draining out.

SS (DORIS): You like pretzels? I got pretzels in the glove compartment. And beef jerky. It's good.

GK: If I open this all the water is going to come out. I have to start the cycle again.

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): You'll need to insert more money.

GK: I left the money in my pants pocket-

FN: Which is in that blue water...

GK: Perfect. Just perfect.

SS (DORIS): I know a great nude beach in Florida. Where you don't even have to worry about pants.

GK: Does anybody know how to drain this water off? Never mind, I'm just gonna open it-(OPENS DOOR, SPLORSH) Oh, Boy. Oh great.

SS (DORIS): The coin guy is gonna be mad when he gets back tonight. Better get outta town now. (DIGGING THROUGH WET CLOTHES)

GK: Here's a five, and here's a ten-how long does it take money to dry?

TR (SMALL TIGHT MAN): Two hours.

GK: Thanks.

FN (SINGS): Volare. Oh oh

GK: Would you mind?

FN (SINGS): I'm sorry. Oh oh oh oh.

GK: Who's this? (DOOR OPENS)

TR (SOUTHERN): Louisville police, sir. Up against the vending machine. Spread your legs, put your hands up on the top dryer.

GK: I can explain, officer.

TR (SOUTHERN): Going around drunk in your underwear and vandalizing washing machines. Quite something for a man your age. And you didn't even get drunk on decent bourbon. That smells like horse piss.

GK: It's organic free range.

TR (SOUTHERN): You're making it worse for yourself.

GK: You know, I was just trying to be of help. Believe it or not, that's how this started.

SS (DORIS): Offer's still open, Noir. I can postpone one more day...or two... (WET FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPENS, CLOSES, SIRENS)

GK: So. They took me downtown and questioned me and let me go. I was out on the street in wet blue pants and a wet blue shirt when my cell phone rang. (CELL PHONE, PICKUP) Yeah, Noir here.

FN (SOUTHERN, ON PHONE): Mr. Noir-this is Mr. Phipps calling-just wanted you to know that the family has made up and everything is just fine and thank you for your help.

GK: Everything's okay?

FN (SOUTHERN, ON PHONE): Yes, we discovered that the organic bourbon is actually very useful as a hair stimulant. You put it on and you get hair growth where there never was any before so it all just solves itself.

GK: Guess I'll be headed home then.

FN (SOUTHERN, ON PHONE): If we could, we'd like to pay you in bourbon.

GK: I don't drink anymore.

FN (HEAVY SOUTHERN): You have friends who drink?

GK: I got rid of them because they do drink.

FN (HEAVY SOUTHERN): Well, you come down to see us again. Sorry again for the confusion.

GK: Not a problem. I understand. Confusion is what life is about. (BRIDGE) I flew back north on Baptist Air and it was okay except for a period of severe turbulence (SHAKING OF TABLEWARE, JET INTERIOR) when people were getting jolted around pretty hard —

SS (ON P.A.): We are experiencing severe turbulence that we feel is the result of someone aboard this plane who is not following the Lord's Will for his or her life— we would like that person to please come forward at this time— now I am looking at the gentleman in the bluish pants and shirt sitting there on the aisle— sir— are you living the life the Lord wants for you? Are you? (STING)

GK: A hard question, especially when you're heading north into ferocious cold weather. But somebody's got to live there and why not me? And I seem to be growing more hair too. (THEME)

TR (ANNC): A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the 12th floor of the Acme Building, one man is 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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