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.
GK: It was the week before Christmas and I was in New York where I was working for Mayor Bloomberg. The man who made New Yorkers stand outside and smoke and wouldn't let them drink soda in large containers.
TR (MIKE): A year from now, I leave office, Mr. Noir, and I'm thinking about my legacy. Mi legado. I want to be remembered for something other than being a billionaire. Or hombre rico. And I don't have much time. Yo no tengo mucho tiempo.
GK: You could persuade Republicans in the House to raise taxes on multi-millionaires.
TR (MIKE): Nah. I only got a year. That'd take a decade.
GK: Well, let me think about it. I'm going out to do some Christmas shopping now.
TR (MIKE): Yes, well, happy holidays. Feliz navidad. (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: So I left City Hall but first I had to go through security.
SS (TOUGH): Step into the booth, put your feet on the footprints. Hands out to the side (PUFF PUFF) Uh huh. Now walk through here. (BUZZER) Step back. Walk through again. (BUZZER, DING DONG) Step back. Walk through again (SIN BUZZER) Okay, I'm gonna have to wand you.
GK: Okay. But I'm leaving, okay? This is for people coming in.
SS (TOUGH): I don't make the rules, sir. ---- Hands to the side. Feet apart. Wanding (BEEPING, THEN BUZZ). Okay once more. (BEEPING, BUZZ). One more time (BEEPING, BUZZ). Okay can we get the dog out here! (DOG BARKS, SNARL) What's in your pants pocket?
GK: A stick of gum.
SS (TOUGH): A stick of what?
GK: Gum. G-u-m.
SS (TOUGH): N as in Nancy?
GK: M as in meshuganah.
SS (TOUGH): Okay. You're clear. Have a nice day. (FOOTSTEPS, THEN STOP)
GK: Wait a minute. (FOOTSTEPS) I'm sorry. I've got to go back in.
SS (TOUGH): Sorry, you'll have to go around there and go through security.
GK: But I just came through security.
SS (TOUGH): Sorry, I don't make the rules.
GK: It's very urgent, ma'am. I've--------- I've got to go to the toilet and I need to go really really bad.
SS (TOUGH): You should've thought about that five minutes ago.
GK: Did you ever teach third grade? I'm just asking.
SS (TOUGH): Go around that way.
GK: If you don't let me through, I'm going to go right here. Please.
GK: Who're you?
IG: There's a toilet in a coffeeshop a block from here.
GK: I get in a coffeeshop and I hear liquids being poured and I'm liable to wet my pants.
IG: Then there's a garage two blocks away. All the cab drivers go there.
GK: I always thought when I got to this age I'd have profound philosophical thoughts, and instead what I think about is my urinary tract.
IG: Take my hand.
GK: Take your what?
IG: Take my hand.
IG: Come. (WINGS FLAPPING, ASCENSION MUSIC, CITY SOUNDS IN PASSING. TRAFFIC. DISTANT SIREN. HONKING.)
GK: And he took my hand and up in the air we flew and we whooshed down the canyons of steel and concrete and round corners (WHOOSH) inches away from office windows and people in the offices didn't point and yell ---- either they were being extremely cool or else we were invisible. (DESCENT MUSIC, HONKING IS CLOSER, AND THEY LAND. GK OOFFF.) Wow. Nice pair of wings. You're an angel.
IG: I am. Yes.
GK: A Christmas angel?
IG: I work year-round.
GK: A guardian angel?
IG: I look out for people, yes. In life I was in securities. We just passed my old office back there. I was worth about 200 million bucks and I was about to retire to an island in the Aegean and then------ well--------long story---- I wound up doing this. The toilet is right over there. (FOOTSTEPS, CABDRIVER VOICES IN PASSING)
GK: His wings had retracted or something and he wasn't shining anymore. He was wearing coveralls.
IG: Hey Fats (TR GRUNT)----- Toots (FN RESPOND) Muhammad (TR ARABIC) Muggsy---- (FN) How's it going—
GK: He picked up an air wrench and (AIR WRENCH) changed a tire and an old cab drove up (ENGINE WHEEZING, MISSING) and he got under the hood and he tuned it up (ENGINE REVVING) and he was all over, vacuuming out the back seats (SFX) and putting air in tires (SFX) and washing windows (SQUEEGEE SQUEAKS) and when I was done doing what I had to do, he took my hand again and (WINGS FLYING, ASCENT MUSIC, DISTANT CITY SOUNDS) we flew back to City Hall and he dropped me off on the balcony outside the Mayor's office (DESCENT, THEY LAND) ----- Hey. Thanks.
IG: You're entirely welcome.
GK: You saved my life.
IG: It's my job.
GK: Will I see you again?
IG: Whenever you need me. (WINGS FLAPPING OFF, BRIDGE)
GK: Hey. Mayor. It's me---- I'm back.
TR (BLOOMBERG): Ah. Buenos dias, Guy.
GK: Listen. I figured out the legacy problem. You're going to be the guy who brings back the public toilet in New York.
TR (BLOOMBERG): Oh? Really-----
GK: Lack of public restrooms. It's why old people retire to Florida instead of here. It's why pregnant women can't come shopping in Midtown. You need toilets. And guess what? You've got 11,000 pay phone booths sitting empty and useless that a lot of people are using for toilets now. Just make em coin-operated and put in some plumbing and you've got it.
TR (BLOOMBERG): You don't understand the nature of government, Mr. Noir. Anything you try to do requires five years of study and three years of hearings and two more years of study and the commission studying it comes out with a three-pound report that nobody reads and meanwhile the people who wanted to get it done are worn out and the thing disappears and two years later somebody says, Why don't we do something about this? And there's a new study. They built a prototype public toilet in Manhattan and it took them six years and it was self-cleaning and coin-operated and it was safe against terrorists and the coin-mechanism was such that low-income people paid less and it was wheelchair-accessible and it was a beautiful thing but it wouldn't flush.
GK: I've got a guy who can get this done for us, Mr. Mayor.
TR (BLOOMBERG): Well all I can say is.....Buena suerte.
GK: What does that mean?
TR (BLOOMBERG): I forget.
GK: Buena? Doesn't sound like "I forget"-----
TR (BLOOMBERG): I forget what it means.
GK: Oh. Okay. (BRIDGE) So I looked into the phone booth situation. Eleven thousand of them sitting useless in the city since the advent of cellphones. Some have been turned into meditation centers. You put your coin in (SFX), and the door opens (SFX) (TABLA, SITAR) and a recorded voice says:
SS (CHANTING): We are all one----- you and I are one being, and so that gives me the freedom to say: Do something about your hair. Because your hair is my hair too. (BRIDGE)
GK: Some phone booths have been made into puppet theaters. (FN HIGH GIBBERISH, TR LOW GIBBERISH: TWO PUPPETS WALLOPING EACH OTHER) Some were used as pet kennels for when you go into a restaurant (MUFFLED BARKING). Or they're used as Time Out spaces for obstreperous children. (SS CHILD: I will NOT be still. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I (DOOR THUNK, MUFFLED) I love you, I love you, I love you.) (BRIDGE) Some phone booths were made into small take-out stir-fry joints. (SIZZLING, TR CHINESE) Some were selling Christmas gifts. (SS FLAT: Here's a hand-knit scarf made by Amish people, just five dollars. Or get five for twenty. And how about this Amish cigarette lighter. Amish corkscrew.) (BRIDGE) And when I was looking at phone booths, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
FN: Hey. You. Noir. Duke wants to see you.
GK: Who's Duke?
FN: You're just about to find out.
GK: And who are you?
FN: I'm with Duke.
GK: I feel something hard poking me in the ribs.
FN: And don't make me poke you harder. Let's go. (BRIDGE)
GK: Duke was sitting in the back room of Jimmy's Corner, a dive bar on 44th Street.
TR (GODFATHER): Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Noir. Heard a lot about you. Some of it good.
GK: People really call you Duke?
FN: If they know what's good for em, they do----
SS (GUN MOLL): Duke is very well connected in New York City----
TR (GODFATHER): Very well connected----
SS (GUN MOLL): He knows everybody that a person needs to know to get things done.
FN: Duke knows where the bodies are buried, if you get my drift.
GK: And just then---- to impress me----- he lit a smoke (SFX) and he exhaled (TR SFX) and nobody let out a peep.
FN: Duke wants you to keep hands off the phone booths, okay?
SS (GUN MOLL): Duke is running the phone booths.
FN: He don't need your help, if you get my drift.
TR (GODFATHER): Thanks for your cooperation, Mr. Noir.
FN: How about I give you a ride over to Queens?
TR (GODFATHER): Yeah. How about that?
GK: But I wasn't going to Queens.
SS (GUN MOLL): Maybe you should.
TR (GODFATHER): Yeah.
FN: Whatcha got against Queens?
TR (GODFATHER): Say hello from me. (STING)
GK: And suddenly they were stuffing me into the backseat of a car (DOOR SLAM) and I realized I was going to go to Queens and (CAR ACCEL) I didn't exactly know how to pray and I just thought the words HELP and QUICKLY and NOW and we were heading over the Queensboro Bridge and suddenly (BRAKES) there was a truckload of goosefeathers ahead of us and (FN: LOOK OUT) we slammed into it (BIG SOFT WHOOSH) and there was the angel ----
IG: OUT OF THE CAR, HANDS UP AND NOBODY GETS HURT.
FN: Who are you?
IG: I am the angel of the Lord.
FN: Oh boy. Another crackpot.
IG: I have power over the dark forces of the world.
FN: What medication are YOU on?
SS: Yeah. We're taking this crumb bum out to nowheresville."-----
GK: And he looked at them with his angel eyes and----
IG: Dominus vobiscum, hibiscus on your brisket. Gloria deo, add a little mayo. (ANGELIC GLISS)
GK: And the two hoodlums were changed into choir boys.
FN & SS (SING, HIGH, INNOCENT): Gloria. Gloria. Gloria.
ER: Somebody call me? (STING)
GK: I looked around. We were in Macy's. What're we doing here?
IG: Santa up on the 8th floor. I gotta help him. He's about to blow his top.
ER: Excuse me? Do you work here?
ER: I'd like to try on this bra.
IG: Sorry, that's a 34C. You're a 34B.
ER: Oh. Okay. Thanks.
IG: Be right back. (WHOOSH)
GK: So what's a beautiful girl like you doing shopping in New York all by your lonesome?
ER: Look at my face. (PAUSE )Thanks. Just wanted to see if you could follow direction. Now ----leave me alone. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
GK: Okay. Have a nice holiday. (BRIDGE) I looked around the store, trying to find a gift for Mr. Bloomberg, and finally settled on underwear. Boxer shorts with cactuses on them. I met up with my angel later, in a coffee shop. (ESPRESSO)
IG: Hi. How you doing, Mr. Noir?
GK: You're an angel, you tell me.
IG: Well, I know you were hoping I'd help out with that young woman but I don't offer that sort of help.
GK: It's okay. I'm over it. So you really are an angel, huh? You look more like a doorman.
IG: Similar line of work.
GK: I thought angels were supposed to be beautiful with Botticellian faces and long wavy golden hair....
IG: You're thinking of heavenly angels. I'm a made angel. I used to be mortal, you know.
GK: Oh right. You told me.
IG: I was on my way to do an interview on TV and I looked at myself in the rear-view mirror to check out my hair and next thing I knew ----- I was an angel.
GK: Well, I appreciate you getting me out of trouble.
IG: All in a day's work.
GK: You're not the Spirit of Christmas Future, are you? You're not going to warn me about things to come and show me my tombstone?
GK: Cause I got an odd fortune in my cookie the other day. "Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me. The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality."
IG: Nope. Just wishing you a very happy new year.
GK: You don't know if it will be or not?
IG: I do know, yes.
GK: So will it be?
IG: Do you really want to know?
GK: You mean it's going to be bad?
IG: I didn't say that.
GK: I know, but did you mean that?
IG: Do you want to know the future?
GK: Do you think I'd enjoy knowing it?
IG: You might.
GK: Tell me. Is there going to be a time in the next year when I'm going to think to myself, "Darn, I wish I'd worked harder in high school math."?
IG: No. That's not going to happen.
GK: Thanks. Happy new year to you.
IG: Of course. See you soon.
GK: Oh? What do you mean?
IG: But not too soon. But get a flu shot, okay? And shingles. And buckle your seat belt in taxis.
GK: Okay. (WINGS FLAPPING) And he flew away up Broadway, over the river of yellow taxicabs and toward Times Square, the signs flashing and the neon lights, a pale figure gliding through town on outstretched wings. (MUSIC)
TR (ANNC): A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but 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).