December 4, 2010
New York, NY


«archive page

Guy Noir

Listen (RealAudio)
Listen (MP3)

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 UP AND OUT)

GK: It was December and I was in New York, a refugee from all the people I owe money to. My landlady (POUNDING ON DOOR. SS: I KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE. PAY UP, YOU DEADBEAT) and Danny at the Deli (FN: Sorry but I can't put that pastrami on your tab, Guy. I gotta see cash.) and even Jimmy down at the Five Spot.

TR (JIMMY): I got a whole wad of your IOUs in the till, Guy. The boss is asking when can we cash these out?

GK: Soon as I can, Jimmy. I'm a little short right now.

TR (JIMMY): Well, maybe you oughta get yourself a job.

GK: I got a job.

TR (JIMMY): A job that pays. You could be a security guard.

GK: What??

TR (JIMMY): They're hire a lot of em before Christmas.

GK:  A stiff in make-believe cop clothes who stands in the front door and checks people's shopping bags?

TR (JIMMY): It pays money. American currency. You could use some of that. It's useful for buying toothpaste and things.

GK: It pays minimum wage.

TR (JIMMY): Hey, you gotta start somewhere.

GK: I got a personal rule, Jimmy. I don't work cheap, even if I'm broke.

TR (JIMMY): Good luck with that.

GK: I'm too old to be a security guy.

TR (JIMMY): Think of it as a hobby.

GK: A hobby cop.

TR (JIMMY): There are worse things. (BRIDGE)

GK: I went to New York to get away from all of that defeatism and lo and behold I found myself a job as a security guy at a very exclusive spa, the Maison de la Minime on East 86th.

SS (FRENCH): Zees spa ees for very very very rich women who want to be very very very skinny.

GK: Excuse me but aren't you from Fargo?

SS (FRENCH): Moi? From Fargaux. Non non non non.

GK: You are. You went to North Dakota State University.

SS (FRENCH): Why you say I from Fargaux?

GK: Because your slacks are so tight I can see the writing on your underwear and it says Go Bison.

SS (FRENCH): Oh.

GK: So talk American, okay?

SS (MIDWEST): All right, what do you want from me?

GK: I just want to be friends, that's all.

SS: What does that mean?

GK: It means what friendship always means. You look out for me, I look out for you.

SS: Okay, but no hanky panky. No canoodling.

GK: Evidently not. (STING) My job was basically that of a doorman. To stand under the canopy and walk the patrons' dogs as they went in to do aerobics (FN WOMAN: If you'd be so kind---- DOG YIPS ----- Fifi needs to wee-wee.) and then I'd take the dog in to the dog aerobics class (DOGS WOOFING AND YIPPING IN AEROBICS TEMPO W BASS) and I also hailed taxis for them (SHRILL WHISTLE, TAXI BRAKES) and if it rained (THUNDER, LIGHTNING) I held an umbrella over them (TR LADY: Oh thank you, you're so kind) and if necessary I lay my jacket down on a puddle (SPLASH, TR LADY: Oh thank you, what a gentleman) and I would run errands for them (SS OLD LADY: Take this to the dry cleaner, Guy.) Yes, ma'am. (SS OLD LADY: And take this to the church for the rummage sale.) Yes, ma'am. And it was at the church that I met the Wayward Rector. (STING) The church was St. John the Evangelist on Park Avenue ---- not to be confused with St. John the Socialist, which is on the Lower East Side, or St. John the Analyst, which is on the West Side, or St. John the Chiropodist which is in Montclair, New Jersey ----- St. John the Evangelist was an Episcopalian church with a fine music program which, this being New York, swung toward jazz ----

JS (SINGS):

I'm slow to anger, don't covet or lust.
No sins of pride except sometimes I really must.
Episcopalian, saving my love for you.
The theology's easy, the liturgy too.
Just stand up and kneel down and do what the others do.
Episcopalian, saving my love for you.
At St. Michael's, we recycle
At St. Clements, we suck lemons
Morning dawns on great white swans on the lawns of St. John's
There's white folks and black, and gay and morose,
Some male Anglo Saxons but we watch them pretty close.
Episcopalian, saving my love for you.

GK: The rector is the Right Reverend Desmond McManus, D.D., D.V.D., D.D.S., S.T.D., O.M.G and he gives the place a nice high church tone----

EC (HIGH BRIT): And suddenly there appeared unto the shepherds a host of angels who descended and touched the earth with their wingtips and said unto them, "Fear not" ---- let us look at that command ----- FEAR NOT ----- how often in our day to day lives do we experience fear (HE DRONES ON) and do we allow fear to take over and to drive love away----- it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who wrote-----

GK: He had a gentle sort of Masterpiece Theater accent that drew people to St. John the Evangelist including people who weren't Christians at all, who actually were Druids, pagans, and what not------ Father Desmond was loved by his parishioners-----

SS:  When he swings the incense, I feel a wave of blessing pass over me ---- the combination of the incense and his aftershave is so beautiful.

TR:  Christmas is so cheerful at St. John ---- there aren't those appeals to guilt that you get from the Presbyterians.

FN: He loves the traditional liturgy but he's open to new ideas. Like bringing bagpipes into the processional. I love that. (BAGPIPES PLAY "THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE") ------

GK: But something was not completely right at St. John the Evangelist and it was Father Desmond who came to me about it-----

EC: I understand you're a detective, Mr. Noir. One of my parishioners told me.

GK: Yes, Father. I am.

EC: I need your help, Mr. Noir.

GK: If I may be blunt, Father ---- I do notice that your accent is not the same as when you're preaching in the sanctuary----

EC: You're bloody right about that. I'm not from Oxford, mate. I'm from the East End of London. But they don't want that here. They want high church so I give them high church. And everybody's happy. Anyway----- I've got this problem.

GK: Tell me about it.

EC: I wake up sometimes and I have food in my bed. Greasy food in brown bags and empty rum bottles and confetti and streamers. And I'm wearing tap shoes.

GK: I see.

EC: I have strange dreams in which I'm dancing on tables and people are pitching coins at me. And there are dancing dogs. And women throwing themselves at me.

GK: Not the worst dream.

EC: But I wake up exhausted. It's like I never slept at all. I want you to help me. Please.

GK: What can I do?

EC: I want you to come to the rectory and wait outside and if I come outside, I want you to follow me and see where I go.

GK: You mean------

EC: Yes. I believe that I am leading a second life. And it doesn't go well with my first life. (STING)

GK: So that night at midnight I stood on the corner watching as the lights in the rectory went out (DISTANT CHIMES) ----- and I waited as the cabs went by (SFX) and a bus (SFX) and a deliveryman with a load of Chinese takeout (BIKE, BELL, PASSING) and a carriage from Central Park (HORSE HOOVES, PASSING) and then I saw Father Desmond come out of the rectory and head up the street (FOOTSTEPS) and I followed and suddenly he broke into a dance (DANCING FEET, BIG LEAP, DANCING) ----

EC (SINGS): Wassail, wassail, wassail,
To heck with the apostles
They're a bunch of fossils.
Come my dearie
No more Miserere
Let's drink until we're sizzled,
Don't be menopausal.
Let's go where the wassail is colossal
(EC CONTINUES, VOCALIZING. FOOTSTEPS)

GK: I followed him to a pub and as he went in, I tried to grab him (STRUGGLE, EC) and he pushed me----

EC: Bugger off, ya old poof you.

GK: And I got a whiff of his breath and I thought I smelled peanut butter. But he got past me and soon (RAUCOUS CROWD) he was in the middle of the pub and singing dirty songs at the top of his voice.

EC (AND ALL): I used to work in Chicago
At a department store
I used to work in Chicago
I did but I don't anymore
A lady came in for a girdle
I asked her what kind she wore
Rubber, she said, and rubber I did
And I don't work there anymore.

SS: Isn't he the priest at St. John?

TR: Really?

FN: Him? A priest?

EC (SINGS):   

I was a priest in the rectory
A minister of the Lord
I was a priest in the rectory
I was but I'm not anymore
A lady came in to do penance
And I asked her what for
Liquor she said and liquor I did
And I don't preach there anymore.

JS: Father Desmond, come with me. Now. I'm taking you home. (CROWD RESISTANCE)

GK: Come on, folks. Father Desmond has to leave now.

JS: Thanks. I'm Geraldine, the music director.

GK: Guy Noir, Private Eye.

JS: Let's go, Father Desmond----- this way. (EC GRUMBLING, DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. TRAFFIC. FOOTSTEPS ON STREET)

GK: He's been eating peanut butter.

JS: I know. I found the empty jar in the church kitchen.

GK: Very dangerous for an Englishman.

JS: I told him he should stick to Marmite and leave peanut butter alone.

GK: For a non-American, peanut butter can cause personality disorders. It's been shown.

EC: Leggo of me. Leggo.

JS: Come, Father---- just another block-----

EC (SINGS):

Here's the ivy, here's the holly.
Banish all your melancholy. 
Don't want data or retrieval,
God, it's fun to be medieval. 
Beer and women---- everyone wants.
We don't need no renaissance.
You can have your Reformation.
We prefer inebriation.
Drinking, eating, fornication.
You can go to Divinity School.
To heck with Yale--- I love Yule.
Greatest day I ever saw.
Fa la la la la la la.

GK: We got him in the rectory and Geraldine wrestled him upstairs and thus ended the Case of the Wayward Rector. And back to work I went.

SS (FRENCH): Ah, you have returned, Monsieur Noir. Happy to see you. The Maison de la Minime is very very busy today.

GK: North Dakota is beautiful this time of year.

SS (FRENCH): Shhhhhhh.

GK:  You come from a farm, right? I'm just guessing. Turkeys?

SS (FRENCH): Non non non non. Sugar beets.

GK: And you were Lutheran, I'm guessing.

SS (FRENCH): Oui oui, monsieur. Martan LuthAIR.

GK: Well, this is what makes for a good friendship, mon ami. A little secret. Un mystere.

TR (ROMANTIC FRENCH)

GK: What'd he say?

SS: I have no idea.

TR (ROMANTIC FRENCH)

GK: I think he likes you.

SS: What should I do?

TR (ROMANTIC FRENCH)

GK: Smile and say yes.

SS: But what if he's -----

GK: So what if he is?

SS: Yes. (TR FRENCH PASSION, FOOTSTEPS) He's gone to call a cab. But I don't want to------

GK: Love is a masquerade, mon ami. And New York is a place where people come to become somebody else. And besides, he's from Minnesota.

SS: He is?

GK: That earring in his left ear. It has a little Gopher on it.

SS: Well, I'll be darned. I never dated anybody from Minnesota before.

GK: New York is a place that makes this possible. Have fun. Be careful.

SS: Both?

GK: Do your best. (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.

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»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy