October 3, 2009
Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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Guy Noir

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(THEME)

TR: 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 --

(MUSIC)

GK: It was October in St. Paul, and the weather had taken a sharp turn toward winter. One day people were sitting in their backyards enjoying supper and the next day they were sitting outdoors in their coats eating lunch and the next day they were nailing plastic over their doors and windows. And me, I was trying to get my radiators to give up some heat. (BANGING) Lou the landlord likes to keep the temperature down so as to maintain the tenants in a semi-dormant state. The last time they were hot was when the building was on fire. Meanwhile my cousin Sunny was trying to get me to invest in a new product.

SS: Chopsticks that squirt their own soy sauce. They're going to sell like hotcakes.

GK: I lost my shirt on the left-handed underwear, Sunny. I've got nothing to invest.

SS: I got decals you can put on your bike that look like bad rust stains so nobody will steal your bike.

GK: I don't have the dough, Sunny.

SS: Very realistic. Look. Huh? Looks like rust. Nobody wants to steal a rusted bike?

GK: You could put em on the side of your head and call it psoriasis and that doesn't mean people are gonna buy it, Sunny.

SS: How about a coffee snorkel? Perfect for driving. Cup of coffee attaches to a helmet and the snorkel lets you drive with one hand and text with the other. I'll give you a dozen on credit. You pay me five apiece, sell em for ten. Try it. Whaddaya got to lose? Huh?

GK: So I bought ten of them.

SS: You're not gonna regret it, believe me.

GK: I'm regretting it even now. (STING, BRIDGE)

GK: And just as I was about to head down to the Five Spot and take a swan dive into a martini, a man in a suit and shirt and tie with no food stains walked in with a nice aroma of freshly minted money about him.

TR: Mr. Noir? You're the private eye, right?

GK: That's me. Available for any type of detection, surveillance, expert sleuthing, you name it.

TR: I need you to do some scouting for a football team.

GK: I see.

TR: The name is Lukenjahn. Matthew M. Lukenjahn. I'm an alum of Gethsemane Seminary and Seminar Center in Central City.

GK: Baptist, right?

TR: Right. Bible-based Baptists. So football has always been very very important at Gethsemane. We're a Scripture-based football team — for example, we don't use shoulder pads because they're not mentioned in Scripture — and in the old days, if a man fumbled the ball, we cut off his hand. As it says to do in Scripture. We don't do that anymore. But we think about doing it.

GK: That must make recruiting very difficult—

TR: This next week we're playing our big game against U.U.U.U. The Unitarian Universalist United University. The Emersonians. Mr. Noir, something's up. The volume of betting on this game is off the charts. Six million dollars have been wagered on this game. But U.U.U.U. hasn't won a game in eighty-seven years.

GK: Unitarians aren't exactly a football powerhouse, are they.

TR: They don't care about football at all. They don't even bother to work up plays. They just stand around arguing in the huddle and then they go and run off in all directions. I want you to go over there and see if they have something up their sleeve.

GK: Don't worry, surveillance is my middle name.

TR: Glad to hear it. Good luck. (CRACK AND CRUNCH)

GK: You squeezed my hand a little hard there.

TR: Sorry. This is such an important game. If we fundamentalist lose to a bunch of cake-eater liberal Unitarians --- I donno — we're gonna have to start taking some faith medications.

(STING. CAR PULLING AWAY)

GK: The U.U.U.U. is in Underwood, Minnesota. Upper Underwood. I found the football team on the field, lying on the grass around a campfire and singing.

GK &PD (SING):
Baptists in a twist
They backslide and they leave the group
Jews, get the blues,
And have a bowl of chicken soup

Mormons the chosen ones
They have their secret underwear
Pentecostals are hostile
To anyone without a prayer.

Lutherans aren't much fun
They're northern folks and they are cold;
The Brethren only take men
Episcopalians all are old.

GK: They looked slender and gentle like soft tendrils. There wasn't much killer instinct there. The tackling dummies had flowers wrapped around them. The team was a democracy and everyone got equal playing time.

SS: Nigel, you've played seven minutes at quarterback, now give me a turn. GK: Excuse me — a girl playing quarterback?

SS: Excuse me. I'm TG.

GK: TG?

SS: Transgender.

GK: You know, I'm an outsider here, but do you mind if I give you a little advice? Look— you've got a big game next week against Gethsemane Seminary. Ever hear the word is Win? These fundamentalist fanatics have been eating your lunch for years and it's time you hit 'em hard and get out there and fight for moderation and freedom of inquiry and rip their arms off and beat em over the head with em. Huh? Okay?

TR: Is this going to involve violence?

GK: Look, didn't anybody teach you about dominating the line of scrimmage and showing people who's boss? You've got to show these guys that humanists aren't sissies.

TR: Some of us are. (STING. CAR DRIVES OFF)

GK: I drove away sure of one thing -- there was no powerful will to win among the unitarians. Their team was just out to have an interesting football experience and then a post-game discussion. I called up my bookie Bernie (MUFFLED PHONE CONVERSATION) and put down every last dollar I had on Gethsemane. The day of the game arrived and I heard Lukenjahn exhorting the team on the sidelines.

TR: All right, you guys, no one comes over here and pushes us around in our own house. We're going to win. Ever hear the word win. It means to pummel, punish, destroy, flail, smash, mash, bomb, pound, spear, lance, flog, trammel, steamroll, nuke, whip, trounce, tromp, humiliate, beat, bash, crush, kill, and spank.

GK: While on the sidelines…

SS: Give me a U -- if you want to! Give me another U -- if you're comfortable with that! Give me another U -- unless you have to get going! Give me another U -- as long as it's approved by committee!

ALL: We shall perhaps overcome
But if we don't it's okay
We will still feel we've overcome
Even if we lose.

(SFX: OPENING WHISTLE, KICKOFF)

GK: The game was surprisingly close, because the Gethsemane was blinded by rage (SFX) and in the closing minute the Unitarians were just down by a field goal. They called a time out.

SS: Well, I had fun, you guys. Hope you did too. Good game.

TR: The game's not over.

SS: Oh, really? Whose turn to be quarterback?

TK: (praying) Dear Lord, I've never played quarterback, but I pray now that You might give me this opportunity to prove Your glory. And that I might throw the ball like Brett Favre. Amen.

TR: Was that a prayer?

TK: Sorry.

TR: What's with the religiousity? Get up off your knees.

SS: Are you out of your mind? We're Unitarians. Did you just cross yourself?

TK: I did.

SS: You genuflected?

TK: I did.

SS: How could you do that?

TK: I was nervous. I forgot. I thought I might help.

GK: And at that moment, a mighty wind whipped across the field. The sky blackened, and storm clouds scuttled overhead. (SFX)

TK: Huddle up, huddle up! I'm going to throw the Hail Mary!

SS: A what?

GK: And in that instant the wind blew the Gethsemane defensive team to their knees, and the Unitarian quarterback threw the ball and it was carried on the wind and Melanie caught it and ran into the end zone and, lo and behold, the Unitarians had won the game. (CHEERS OF CROWD, STING) After the game, Lukenjahn stood lost and bewildered on the sideline.

TR: I'm a broken man, Noir.

GK: It could be worse, Mr. Lukenjahn.

TR: How? What happened?

GK: My bookie Bernie says the Unitarians bet six million dollars on the game. Their whole endowment. – And they bet against themselves. U.U.U.U. may be filing Chapter 11. As for me, I'd only bet a hundred bucks. So it could've been worse. And I had my coffee snorkels. As for the Unitarians, they were feeling no pain.

GK & PD (SING):
Unitarians, you're doing okay
At least you're not dark and depressing
The Baptists think they know the way
The Catholics are busy confessing

Baptists, they stand far apart
They look down on dancing and boozing
Unitarians love music and art
And our sermons are much more amusing

Unitarians, our churches are small
And sometimes attendance is tiny
But still we look up at the sky
And always the sun is still shining.

(THEME)

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.

(MUSIC OUT)

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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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