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 still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions: Guy Noir, Private Eye.
GK: It was April, and I was in New York investigating a suspicious sub-prime collateralizedinvestment vehicle derivative swap ---- What is that?
TR: It belongs to my ex-girlfriend Sibyl who I am suing for custody of our puggle.
GK: What's that?
TR: Our dog. It's a pug/beagle mix. A puggle. It's name is Wiggles and I'm suing Sybil because she plays "Under The Double Eagle" on a bugle and Wiggles struggles to get loose and I'm afraid the seagull is going to strangle her.
GK: What seagull?
TR: Sibyl keeps an illegal seagull in her condo and feeds it bagels which give the beagle a fungal intestinal infection. (STING)
GK: So I was sitting in a café in the West Village where Sibyl always came in for her coffee (CAFÉ AMBIENCE, MURMURS, CUPS AND SAUCERS). I was sitting at the counter and trying to ignore the guy next to me who, like so many New Yorkers, was carrying on a phone conversation but trying to attract a larger audience.
TR (NEARBY): Anyways they're angry at me because they're paying $4000 a month for the very same apartment that I am paying $500 a month. And mine is one floor above them. They're paying eight times what I am paying. Hey, I got one word for you: Deal With It.
GK: Excuse me---- mister-----
TR: Excuse me, Glenny------ one minute ----- (to GK) Yeah?
GK: Are you almost done with your conversation?
TR: You talking to me??
GK: I mean, you've gone over the main facts about three times. Are you done?
TR: Who died and made you the Superintendent of Public Conversations, mister?
GK: At least, could you keep your voice down?
TR: This IS down. This is down. You want to hear UP? Huh? Do you?
GK: You're two feet away from me talking on the phone, it's like you're yelling to somebody on top of a tall building.
TR: You don't like it, move, huh? Find your own café. The café of silence.
RF: JUST BUTTON IT UP, WOULDJA, JOEY? CAN IT. ---- (TO GK) You want some a coffee, mister?
TR: What's everybody picking on me for?
RF: JUST TAKE IT OUTSIDE. OR ELSE SHUDDUP. (POURS COFFEE)
TR: Hey, come on , Reeny.
RF: I mean it. Put a lid on it or out you go. I threw you out once, I can do it again. No cell phones in here. You know that.
TR: Come on.........it's a dumb rule.
RF: Don't push me. Understand?? Do not push me. I am a soprano. You can mess with a mezzo but you jerk me around and you are going to wind up with a poisoned cup of coffee and I am not kidding. So scram!
TR: Okay, okay, okay..... (HE WALKS AWAY, MUMBLING)
FN (PARROT, SINGS): HIT THE ROAD, JACK, AND DON'T COME AROUND NO MORE NO MORE NO MORE NO MORE.....
GK: Is that your parrot?
RF: A gift from a boyfriend. Who then became an ex-boyfriend.
GK: Hey, you're Renata Flambee, aren't you. We met a couple years ago, I went up to your mansion up on Fifth Avenue and took care of those evil dwarves.
RF: Oh yeah.
GK: Noir's the name. Guy Noir.
RF: Oh yeah. Right.
GK: You don't remember me, do you----
GK: I was there protecting you from a horde of fans who were trying to get over your moat and up the drawbridge and steal souvenirs from your music room and solarium.
RF: Oh yeah. Right.
GK: So what are you doing waitressing in a coffee shop? You doing research for a role in Streetcar Named Desire?
RF: No, I'm earning money to pay my rent.
RF: I lost the mansion and I'm living in Queens.
GK: You? In Queens? What happened?
RF: I produced an opera.
RF: A new opera called "Titanic"----
GK: Oh boy.
RF: We performed it in New York Harbor. On a real ship.
GK: What happened?
RF: The set sank.
GK: Wasn't that in the script?
RF: In Act 4, yes. But it sank in Act 1.
GK: Oh boy.
RF: I played a cook and I'm in love with the radio operator and I'm singing----- (SHE SINGS, TO MIO BABBINO)
O you are my maraschino
On top of my lemon Jell-O
With a sweet strawberry sauce
And some small marshmallows.
And suddenly everything was sliding around and the chandeliers were swinging and we were in the lifeboats.
GK: What happened?
RF: An airliner landed in the Hudson.
GK: Another one!
RF: And we turned to avoid it and the ship rolled over. So we had to refund all the ticket money.
GK: Where was the audience?
RF: It was a Cinecast. Closed-circuit. A million people sitting in 2500 theaters all around the country and in Europe. Anyway, I lost everything.
GK: How so?
RF: I paid for the whole production.
RF: I thought it was going to be huge. Mortgaged my house on Fifth Avenue, mortgaged my house in the Bahamas, the house in Aspen, the apartment in Paris, the ranch in Wyoming, the yacht, the jet, it's all gone. Sold my furs, my paintings and I'm still three million in debt.
GK: That's horrible.
RF: Oh well. When you've been Mimi and Carmen and Tosca and Violetta, you're grateful just to be alive. So here I am. Care for some more coffee?
GK: I guess. I am really sorry, Miss Flambee.
RF: Ehhhh. No big deal. Life goes on. (OFF) Triple latte, Gino.
FN (OFF): Huh??
RF: Triple latte! (TO GK) You want a sandwich or anything?
(FN PARROT SINGS: DON'T WEEP FOR ME, ARGENTINA.)
RF: Awww, shudup.
(OFF, ESPRESSO MACHINE)
GK: You seem awfully calm about having lost everything.
RF: Hey. Everything comes to an end. Enjoy it while you got it and when it's gone, say goodbye.
SS: HEY HEY HEY, RENATA. SWEETHEART. HAVE I GOT GOOD NEWS FOR YOU. Who's he?
RF: Friend of mine.
SS: Hi. ------ Listen to this. Have I got a plan? Yes, I have got a plan. We are going to get you back on top in six months. Six months, you are going to be bigger than ever. Big. Okay. Listen to me. We're going to start small with you doing some spots on the Shopping Channel. Selling foot necklaces. They're very big now. It's a way to get visibility. Then we're going to move to the Home Improvement Channel. You'll do some carpentry work and ----- get this ----- you can sing while you hammer in nails. And then----- I've got you a possible singing gig doing the national anthem in Philadelphia for a Phillies game in August. And that's not all. ------
RF: Louise. Listen. It's nice of you, but no thanks.
SS: No thanks???? What do you mean, No thanks. I'm your agent. I'm your best friend. I'm gonna get you back on top.
RF: Don't want to be back on top.
SS: Look. I caught you on a bad day. I'll be back. I'll send you an email. Listen. Sweetheart. Gotta run. Okay? Take care. Bye. (TWO QUICK AIR KISSES) FAST FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
GK: No comeback for you??
RF: I'm happy. I don't miss the house. Oh, maybe a little. But life is good. (SHE SINGS TO, SI MI CHIAMANO MIMI)
Oh my life used to be so dreamy
When I was there on Fifth Avenue
Astoria is where I live now
In a fourth-floor walkup not far from LaGuardia airport
A dry cleaner in the building
And from next door the smell of pizza
A pizza made with onions
And extra mozzarella
That aroma I love, of cheese and sausage
That aroma that reminds me of my mama
It takes me back to Rochester, New York,
Back to mama and the family pizzeria.
GK: Well, you still can sing, Miss Flambee. You ought to get back into opera.
RF: Tired of it. Done with it. Standing on a huge stage with some little man with bad breath wrapping his arms around me and screeching in my ear.
GK: So what will you do?
RF: I got an offer to sing at a Unitarian church in New York. All Souls Unitarian Church. I like Unitarians. It's a little odd, hearing people pray To Whom It May Concern, but they're good people. Not good singers because they're busy reading ahead to see if they agree with the words. And there are no soloists, everybody takes turns. But the coffee hour lasts three times as long as the service and there are 124 recovery programs and support groups that meet every week, so you really get to know people.
RF (SHE SINGS, TO ROCK OF AGES):
Asking questions is no sin
If you're Unitarian,
Who am I? What do I know?
When I die? Where do I go?
We're square pegs in oval holes,
Glad to have you at All Souls.
Lots of questions do we seek
Several hundred every week
What to do to make world peace?
Who are you? Is this your niece?
Peace and justice are our goals
Glad to have you at All Souls.
TR (LOUD): Look on Craigslist. You gotta go on and keep looking every ten minutes. Saw a two-bedroom in Murray Hill for $900 a month. It needs remodeling but it's worth checking out. But remember: asking price is only a starting point. You gotta negotiate.
RF: HEY. YOU.
TR: WHAT'D I DO???
TR: OKAY, I'M OFF THE PHONE.
RF: OUT. ------ OKAY, YOU. (SHE MARCHES OVER THE GRABS HIM BY THE COLLAR)
TR: HEY. NO....NO....NO......(HE FLIES THROUGH AIR, CRASH OF GLASS) (HER FOOTSTEPS RETURN)
FN: Here's that latte. What happened to the door?
RF: It broke.
GK: What do I owe you for the latte?
RF: It's on the house. Thanks for listening.
GK: Good luck to you. I didn't know Unitarians threw people through glass doors, though.
RF: He was wearing a T-shirt that said W.W.J.D. and that's what Jesus would've done, throw him through the door.
GK: Maybe he was Unitarian. Maybe the T-shirt meant "What Would Jefferson Do"-----
RF: Jefferson would've thrown him through the door too. How's the coffee?
RF: You want a cookie with that? I just made some gingerbread persons.
GK: Sure. Why not.
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)
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).