Guy Noir, February 16, 2013

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN


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Guy Noir

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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)

GK: It was February, and snow was falling. I was planning to be in San Diego where a woman had invited me to come take part in a science project.

SS: Mr. Noir?

GK: Yes?

SS: My name is Charisse and I'm a junior at UCSD, majoring in psychology, wondering if you'd be willing to take part in an experiment on the cardio-vascular effects of kissing.

GK: I think I would.

SS: It would take about forty hours.

GK: I would make the time.

SS: And I wouldn't be able to pay you anything.

GK: That's okay.

SS: This would be in San Diego.

GK: I could handle that.

SS: And it would involve pairing you up with a California woman.

GK: I would have no objection at all. (BRIDGE) So I was doing whatever I had to do to earn some dough to go to San Diego. I became a bounty hunter for the St. Paul Public Library, going out and bringing in overdue books.

FN (OFF): Go away. Leave me alone!

GK: Throw out your copy of Moby Dick, Mr. Winfried. (GUNSHOTS) Don't make it hard for yourself, Mr. Winfried.

FN (OFF): I ain't done reading it yet!

GK: You've had it for fifteen years, Mr. Winfried.

FN (OFF): I try to read it and then I forget what it's about and I have to go back and start all over.

GK: We have an abridged version.

FN (OFF): Let me try one more time.

GK: I don't think you understand about borrowing. Things you borrow, you have to return. At the library, you borrow books. That means you get them for free. But you have to bring them back.

FN (OFF): Go away! (DOG GROWLS)

GK: I'm only a detective, not a psychiatrist, but I think you're in a shame spiral, Mr. Winfried. You're ashamed that you can't finish the book and that makes it even harder for you to read it.

FN (OFF): Yeah, you're right.

GK: If you toss the book out, Mr. Winfried, we will waive the fine, which comes to $14,000. Just open the door.

(LONG SERIES OF LOCKS, DOOR OPENS, DOG)

FN: Here you go. Moby Dick. (SFX).

GK: Your dog's been chewing on the book, I see.

FN: He liked it more than I did, I must say.

GK: You're going to have to replace the book, sir.

FN: How much is that gonna cost me?

GK: About thirty dollars.

FN: I'll pay you Wednesday.

GK: Well, actually we'd rather that you----- (RIFLE BOLT ACTION) ----- okay, Wednesday. (STING) I was sitting in the Brew Ha Ha coffee shop one day and still waiting for word from San Diego. I was reading up on kissing, when my old friend Sister Colman Fitzgerald walked in.

SS: Mr. Noir. Good to see you. Blessings on you. Haven't seen you in ages. Father was just asking why you never drop in at church anymore.

GK: Well, I've been busy, Sister. Just about to head to San Diego.

SS: Ahhh. Lucky man. Business or pleasure?

GK: Ahhhh. Both, of course.

SS: So you're on a case down there?

GK: Very secret, Sister. Can't say a word about it. Loose lips sink ships.

SS: Well, I wonder if you might have time to do a little favor for me before you go.

GK: Of course.

SS: You know that I am the granddaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

GK: Yes, I was aware of that.

SS: For years I've been tracking down some secret manuscripts of Fitzgerald's and disposing of them.

GK: Disposing?

SS: Mr. Noir, my grandfather had some very difficult years when he was hard up for money. And he wrote some sequels to The Great Gatsby. Dreadful things.

GK: Sequels to The Great Gatsby?? Those could be worth millions, Sister.

SS: I'm aware of that. And my order could use the money. But it's very bad writing.

GK: This one of the sequels here?

SS: Yes. A manuscript called Gatsby Goes West.

(RUSTLE OF OLD PAPER)

GK: " Gatsby walked out to the end of the dock and I followed him. He looked out across the water toward the green light. "Everyone thought I was shot and drowned in that swimming pool," he chuckled. "There were blanks in the pistol and I was able to breathe through this." And he pulled a black rubber hose from his jacket. "A little trick I learned from Harry Houdini, old sport. And it sure fooled Tom Buchanan." Gatsby could not conceal his pleasure when he saw a motorboat approach. A woman stood in the bow, waving. It was Daisy.

"Goodbye, old sport," said Gatsby, putting an arm around me. Take care of the mansion. And help yourself to my shirts."

I asked him where he was taking Daisy.

"Back home to North Dakota," he said. "I miss it, old sport. The winter especially. The little Swede towns. And what a relief to know I'll never throw a big party again."

SS: This is the fourth Gatsby sequel we've found. There was Gatsby Of The Yukon and Gatsby Rides Again and Gatsby Crossing The Equator. We believe Gatsby Goes West is the last.

GK: And where are they now?

SS: Floating around in the air somewhere. I burned them.

GK: That's book burning. How could you do that, Sister?

SS: By lighting a match. It was easy.

GK: Four manuscripts by F. Scott Fitzgerald??? Up in flames?

SS: Mr. Noir, my grandfather has finally gotten his reward. His books are read in high schools all over the country and he's finally achieved success in the motion picture business. The new Gatsby movie is coming out in the fall, something he hoped for for half his life. We're not going to crush his dream by releasing some crappy potboiler he wrote in a cheap hotel room in Baltimore.

GK: Well, it's up to you, Sister.

SS: What would you do, Mr. Noir?

GK: If it were me, I'd auction off the manuscript for a couple million bucks and buy me a condo in San Diego and start hanging out with a different class of people. Skinnier darker-skinned people.

SS: Well, I'm not you. And I'm going to burn this.

GK: Daisy lay in his arms. "Oh Jay. Oh Jay. Oh Jay," she said. "The sun'll be up in a few hours, Daisy," he whispered. "We got soybeans to combine. Sheep to shear. Wheat to thresh." "I'd like to do some threshing right now. With you," she said. And so they beat on, their backs against the corn shed, borne ceaselessly into a bright and beautiful future." ----- Sounds good to me.

SS: I don't think so. (SCRATCH OF MATCH) (FIRE)

GK: So why did you want me to see you do this, Sister Colman? You could've done this in a dark alley somewhere.

SS: Because if you weren't watching me, I might give in to the temptation of selling it for a couple million dollars. I have a fantasy about San Diego too.

GK: Aha.

SS: And now it's gone and I'll go back to church and pray for forgiveness.

GK: Mention me to Him too, Sister.

SS: I always do. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

GK: I was still waiting to hear from San Diego and I checked my cellphone to make sure the ringer was on ----- (SS SINGS: Love your magic spell is everywhere. Love I met you and I found you fair…..CLICK) Yep. Working fine. And then I was approached by a bearded man carrying what appeared to be a bag of apples.

TR: Mr. Noir?

GK: Yes. Come in, sir.

TR: My name is Litmus. Litmus Massimo. I'm a botanist.

GK: I see.

TR: I have a problem, Mr. Noir. I've made an incredible scientific breakthrough and I don't know whether I want to go ahead with it or not.

GK: I see.

TR: I have bred a strain of apple through genetic modification that if you eat it you'll live to be 250 years old.

GK: Interesting. And you've tested this?

TR: On honeybees. Bees fed on the blossoms of this apple, instead of a life of six weeks, live approximately six months.

GK: So what's next?

TR: Ordinarily we would test it on dogs, but that would take sixty years. And by that time I would be in my 90s.

GK: I see the problem.

TR: The only way I'll be able to show what the apple can do and also get credit for my discovery is to eat it myself.

GK: Uh huh.

TR: And I'm not sure I want to live to be 250.

GK: Right.

TR: My mother lived to be 103 and it was not a great blessing. In the end she was so unhappy she tried to kill herself.

GK: Uh huh.

TR: She tried to choke herself by not chewing her food and swallowing big bites.

GK: Didn't work, huh?

TR: In that nursing home, everything was overcooked, so it didn't work. Then she tried again. She had a motorized wheelchair and she ran it down a hill and onto a busy freeway.

GK: I see.

TR: But it was during rush hour and nothing was moving.

GK: So she failed.

TR: She tried again. She tried to cut her throat with a potato peeler but at 105 it's hard to do that. She was rather weak and she could only make a small dent. So she gave up.

GK: What killed her?

TR: Boredom. Daytime TV.

GK: So you want my advice?

TR: Yes.

GK: Eat the apple, Mr. Massimo. And give apples to your friends.

TR: Would you like one, Mr. Noir?

GK: No, thank you. I want to die of excitement, Mr. Massimo. That gets harder the older you get. Over-stimulation would be my preferred way to go.

TR: Like what?

GK: Oh. I can imagine ways.

SS (SINGS): Love your magic spell is everywhere, Love I---- (CLICK)

GK: Hello?

SS: Mr. Noir, it's Charisse in San Diego. At UCSD.

GK: Yes. How wonderful to hear from you.

SS: I'm afraid we were unable to find the funding for our kissing research, but we have another project which involves spending days in darkness in a deep cave. Would you be interested in that?

GK: Would I be alone in the cave or would there be others?

SS: You'd be alone.

GK: I'm honored that you thought of me, Charisse, but I spent the past six weeks in Minnesota and I've sort of done that already. Okay?

SS: Okay. Well, if you change your mind-----

GK: I don't think so. But keep in touch, Charisse. Keep in touch.

SS: Pardon me?

GK: Keep in touch.

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)

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).

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