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 September, the month when people who planned to leave Minnesota for California stop and reconsider. The Midwest offers you miserable long winters and d sweltering summers but then there is September, like a beautiful woman walking by, and it makes you forget your troubles for a minute. I was walking down by the river, a rare thing for me, under orders from my personal trainer, a fitness nazi named Luellen LaRoque, and I was counting the blocks until I could go back to the Acme Building and take a nap, when I saw the Empire Builder approaching from the south (TRAIN, OFF) and I stopped to watch it. I have never gotten over my envy of people riding on trains and there they went (TRAIN PASSING), people in the diner eating their lunch, gazing out on us peasants like nobility, and then a door opened in the vestibule of a coach (TR SHOUTS: OUT YOU GO) and a man came hurtling toward me and landed on the ground (SFX) at my feet and the train disappeared, heading for Minneapolis. (TRAIN FADING) You okay, Mister?
GK: What happened? You forgot to tip the porter?
IG (GROANING): Nhhhhhh. (EFFORT) Help me up, wouldja-----
GK: Here you go---- (EFFORT) welcome to St. Paul. The name's Noir. What's yours?
IG: Krpsntzch. Irwin Krpsntzch. (KRIP-snitch)
GK: Interesting name. How do you spell it?
GK: Okay. Polish?
IG: My people were fugitives. So they avoided names with vowels. They liked names that you could whisper. Like Krpsntzch. But people call me Glass Eye.
GK: I noticed that. Where'd you get the glass eye? Somebody poke you with a sharp stick?
IG: No, I got it from staring at the sun.
GK: Why'd you do that?
IG: I was testing a theory that the more light a person absorbs, the more intelligent he becomes.
GK: Appears not to be true in your case.
IG: I guess not, but there's no way to know that without experimentation.
GK: How come you destroyed one eye and the other one is okay?
IG: Because I kept that one shut. That's the control eye.
GK: With just one eye you're never going to have a good sense of perspective.
IG: There's no need for perspective if you stay on the move.
GK: Well, I guess not--- so----- how about I buy you a beer, Mr. Krpsntzch.
IG: It's Krpsntzch.
GK: That's what I said.
IG: The z is silent.
GK: Well, good. Makes sense. (BRIDGE) He was a good-looking younger fellow. Honest face. Fairly honest. He brushed himself off and I took him up the hill to the Five Spot, not far from my office. (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE. FOOTSTEPS)
TR (JIMMY): Hey, Guy. Long time, no see. Who's your friend?
GK: This is Mr. Krpsntzch, Jimmy. The z is silent----
TR (JIMMY): Krpsntzch. You wouldn't be related to Louella Krpsntzch, would you?
IG: How does she spell her name?
TR (JIMMY): L-o-u-e-l-l-a.
IG: Never heard of her.
GK: Mr. Krpsntzch was on the Empire Builder. Westbound. Landed in St. Paul and how about a couple of cold beers, Jimmy?
TR (JIMMY): Coming right up. (OPENS A BOTTLE, OFF) Yeah, this Louella Krpsntzch was a flamenco dancer. Gypsy woman with a gold tooth. Met her at a truck stop in Menomonie, Wisconsin in October, 1983, when I was on my way to Chicago and I was smitten. Bought her dinner, offered her a ride, and she took me for a ride. Lasted for three years. That was the last time I went crazy over a woman. And she was worth going crazy for.
IG: So her name was Krpsntzch?
TR (JIMMY): Right. Krpsntzch.
IG: Well, that's different. I'm Krpsntzch.
TR (JIMMY): I thought that's what I said.
IG: No, the z is silent.
TR (JIMMY): Whatever. So what brings you up this way? Business or pleasure?
IG: Between you and me, I'm on the run.
GK: From the law?
IG: Yeah. Got convicted for something I didn't do and the judge sentenced me to three hundred hours of community service and I did twenty, twenty-five hours and it about drove me crazy, so I hit the road. Hopped on the train in Evanston and hid in a Pullman compartment but the lady whose compartment it was got tired of me by LaCrosse and kicked me out and I hid in the club car playing poker with a couple of dry goods salesmen and then the conductor joined us and I bet everything I had on a pair of eights and he kept raising me and finally there was a big stack of bills on the table and finally he had to fold and when he saw my pair he went ballistic and he gave me the old heave-ho. And here I am.
GK: So what was the community service they sentenced you to do, Mr. Krpsntzch?
IG: Collecting oral histories.
TR (JIMMY): Interviewing old people, huh?
IG: Yeah. Boy, those old coots can bore the eyes right out of your skull. On and on and on. What it was like to grow up back in the day and how you made your own fun, you didn't expect to be entertained, and how you ran away from home and joined the Navy, and the Burmese girl you fell in love with by the old Moulmein pagoda in Mandalay, and on and on----- Boring. Excruciating. Almost throttled one of those old coots so I left town.
TR (JIMMY): I had an uncle who went to Mandalay.
GK: What happened to him?
TR (JIMMY): He came back.
GK: Did he see the old Moulmein pagoda?
TR (JIMMY): Have no idea.
IG: Anyway. Thanks for the beer.
GK: You heading out?
IG: Might as well.
SS (DORIS): What's your big hurry? Stick around. You ain't met me yet.
GK: Doris----- where did you come from?
SS (DORIS): That's an interesting story in itself.
GK: My landlady, Mr. Krpsntzch.
SS (DORIS): And if you don't pay your rent I'm gonna be your roommate, Guy. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
GK: It's on the way, Doris. Have a heart. Things are picking up. Soon as I can, I'll pay you.
SS (DORIS): Yeah, right. The tooth fairy's gonna put it under my pillow, right? Right.
TR (JIMMY): So---- Mr. Krpsntzch. If you don't mind my asking, what was the crime you got convicted of that you didn't do but the judge sentenced you to three-hundred hours of community service for-----
IG: Stealing a shrub.
GK: A shrub?
IG: An arborvitae. It was my neighbor's and she wasn't watering it so I brought it over to my yard because my hose wouldn't reach to hers and the cops came and got me and the shrub died and it brought back painful childhood memories of when I washed ashore on a tiny island in the Rawalpindi archipelago after I fell off the cruise ship where my mother and father were doing flamenco in the lounge every night, so they didn't notice and I lived there for three years and four months-----
GK: Excuse me-----this isn't a story about the giant Komodo dragon, the world's largest living carnivore, is it?
IG: No, it's not.
IG: But there were kindly dolphins, who raised me and taught me to fish, and who sang me to sleep at night and taught me long division.
SS (DORIS): How old were you?
IG: I was eight.
SS (DORIS): Okay.
IG: And when I was ten, that was when the flaming meteoroid hit and it cracked open and out came these dark moist pods pulsating and writhing and hissing and they turned out to be aliens, and I just wanted to run away, but it was a small island, and so I had to stay and figure out how to deal with them. That was a challenging time, Mr. Noir.
GK: I can imagine.
IG: I tried singing to them, I offered them food ---- and sometimes they were okay and then suddenly they'd come at me, hissing and howling and one day I ran down into a cave I'd discovered in the jungle and it went deep into the earth into a long dormant volcano where an ancient race of humanoids lived who fell down on their knees when they saw me and I guess they thought I was their long-awaited messiah and they brought me gifts, rubies, sapphires, slave girls, fresh fruit, more slave girls, and I met Kalula, and we married ---- I think we married ---- I wasn't sure----- but it seemed to be our wedding ---- and then----- (DISTANT TRAIN WHISTLE) --- then this huge green tentacle came into the cave and grabbed me and pulled me out and it was a sea serpent-----my dolphin brother Kiiiiwakiiikiiiii tried to rescue me and then I heard a man cry out in German and looked and saw the conning tower of a Nazi U-boat out in the lagoon ---- (DISTANT TRAIN WHISTLE) ----- is that the eastbound Empire Builder?
SS (DORIS): Yeah. Right on time. Anyway---- the U-boat----
TR (JIMMY): This was a real U-boat? Or a dream?
IG: It was real. I could see the men inside it. Because, you see, my contact with the aliens had given me X-ray vision and I was able to see through things----- steel, wood, cloth, whatever. And there were 87 men in the U-boat and six torpedoes and they were loading one into the forward tube-----
TR (JIMMY): Hold on. This X-ray vision----- you still have this?
IG: I do. And you have an anchor tattooed on your chest and the name Jennifer----
TR (JIMMY): So in your world, everybody is naked.
IG: I'm afraid so. I live in a world of Too Much Information.
SS (DORIS): Oh my. Be still my beating heart.
GK: You ought to write a book, Mister.
IG: I did. After I was captured and taken to Dusseldorf and went to college, I wrote it all down but in German and now I don't understand German anymore. Listen, I got a train to catch.
SS (DORIS): So what other kind of superpowers you got, Mister?
IG: Some other time---- bye. Thanks for the beer. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
SS (DORIS): Come back!!!! (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR JINGLE OPEN, SHUT. DISTANT TRAIN WHISTLE)
TR (JIMMY): What was his name again?
GK: Irwin. Irwin Krpsntzch.
SS (DORIS): I'm just wondering if he mighta been related to Wally Krpsntzch.
GK: Who was he?
SS (DORIS): Wally Krpsntzch was the owner of the Tip Top Lounge in Lilydale. Nightclub. Very fancy. He heard me sing at a party and he hired me to work his main room on Saturday nights. This was back in 1958. It was THE place to go. Everybody who was anybody was there. Cedric Adams, Bob DeHaven, Arle Haeberle, Joyce LaMont----
TR (JIMMY): Joyce LaMont?
SS (DORIS): And the boxer Del Flanagan. I used to date him. He'd come in and I'd sing----- (SINGS, UNACCOMP) Oh, my love, my darling, I hunger for your touch. This long lonely time.....Time goes by so slowly......
GK: You sang in a nightclub?
SS (DORIS): Until it was destroyed in the terrible floods of 1965.
GK: So what happened to Wally Krpsntzch?
SS (DORIS): That's what I was gonna ask him. Now I guess I'll never know.
GK: Interesting man, Mr. Krpsntzch.
TR (JIMMY): You mean Krpsntzch.
GK: That's what I said.
SS (DORIS): The z is silent.
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.
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).