(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)

TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but high above the empty streets, on the twelfth 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 January, and it was so cold in St. Paul that you couldn't even think about it. When the body is freezing, it doesn't send blood to the extremities, like the head, and you'd be amazed at the trouble that saves you. Crime is way down in January. It just doesn't cross people's minds. I'd been talking to a guy who wanted me to shadow his daughter from St. Olaf on her winter interim project in Costa Rica and make sure she didn't meet with the wrong sort of people, and then she met one over Christmas and ran off and married him, a hockey player, and Costa Rica evaporated like El Dorado. I was looking for another angle and then one afternoon, there was a knock at the door...(THUMPS ON DOOR) Yeah, just a minute. (MORE THUMPS) Okay, okay, okay. I'm on my way. (ANOTHER BIGGER THUMP AND CRUNCH OF WOOD, AND DOOR OPEN). Oh hi, Governor.

TR (JESSE): How did ya know it was me anyways?

GK: I got a glimpse of the pink feather boa after you put your fist through the door.

TR (JESSE): Sorry. I guess I don't know my own strength.

GK: That's all right, but let's not shake hands, okay?

TR (JESSE): All right. So how'm I doin' as Governor? You gotta love it, dontcha?

GK: That's right. You're looking good. Gosh, you're doing great. You got a book deal. TV movies. You're in all the papers every day. It's fantastic.

TR (JESSE): Did you hear about our Pro Wrestling Festival in June on the state capitol approach?

GK: You and the governor of Wisconsin, right?

TR (JESSE): As a tag team. Jesse The Body and Tommy (The Tempest) Thompson vs. The Bush Brothers. In a monster truck demolition derby.

GK: You're certainly putting Minnesota on the map, Governor. We used to be known just for orchestras and art museums and colleges, and you're really freshening up the whole image.

TR (JESSE): I know. I've brought excitement to this state! I am the most beautiful governor in America. I am the most exciting governor. The most exciting! Name one that's more exciting.

GK: Can't think of one.

TR (JESSE): Go ahead. Name one.

GK: You're it.

TR (JESSE): Name one. I dare you.

GK: You're the man.

TR (JESSE): Name one.

GK: George Pataki is kind of a pistol.

TR (JESSE): You gotta be kidding.

GK: I was.

TR (JESSE): I figured you hadda be kidding.

GK: It was a joke. -What's on your mind, Governor?

TR (JESSE): I bring all this excitement and glamour to Minnesota. Me. Jesse the Body. I make Minnesota kinda sexy. You know?

GK: Right-

TR (JESSE): So what's in it for me?

GK: For you?

TR (JESSE): Why don't I get a percentage of it? You know? And my wife. She works hard too. How come we can't make a licensing agreement with Minnesota that they use my image as governor and they pay me, say 1% royalty of all profits from tourism? What's the problem with that?

GK: Good point. A very good point. Very good. Why shouldn't the governor share in the profits when he is the front man?

TR (JESSE): Exactly. And these newspapers and TV stations that use my image. That's my property. Why shouldn't they pay for that?

GK: I think it's worth looking into.

TR (JESSE): I wish you would look into it.

GK: I'd be happy to look into it.

TR (JESSE): Good. Who do I talk to about that?

GK: Probably a judge.

TR (JESSE): Who?

GK: Did you know that in many South American countries the head of state is considered a partner in the nation's economy - and he collects a bonus- and he also controls the use of his image in the press.

TR (JESSE): See? I knew it.

GK: Nobody says boo about it in Costa Rica. Perfectly legit.

TR (JESSE): How does it work?

GK: I don't know. I'd have to go down there and find out.

TR (JESSE): Could you?

GK: I don't know. I'm incredibly busy right now. Up to my ears.

TR (JESSE): Could you just go for a few days?

GK: I think it'd take more than a few days, Governor.

TR (JESSE): A few weeks. A couple months. Whatever it takes.

GK: Let me see if I can't clear the calendar.

TR (JESSE): We got money for it in the tourism budget.

GK: It's not a cheap place to work in, Costa Rica.

TR (JESSE): That's okay. No problem.

GK: You need a little money for, you know- kkk kkk.

TR (JESSE): We'll give you some for kkk kkk.

GK: I'll let you know tomorrow if I can go.

TR (JESSE): Here's my direct line. (OFF) Sure I can't send somebody over to fix the door?

GK: It's all right. (MUSIC) He left and I felt sort of proud of myself. I'm an old guy, and usually we don't adapt easily to change. So I went around the corner to the Five Spot to celebrate. (DOOR OPEN, JINGLES. FOOTSTEPS)

TR (JIMMY): Hey Guy, how's it going?

GK: Not so bad, Jimmy. How's everything with you?

TR (JIMMY): Could be worse- Hey, I saw the big black limo pulled up in front of the Acme Building. What was going on?

GK: I don't know, I was taking a nap. What limo?

TR: Had two big flags flying from the front fenders and sixteen state troopers on motorcycles.

GK: Sounds like the Shriners.

TR: Nope. The big cheese who got out didn't have a fez on. But he did have a pink feather boa.

GK: Must've been the governor.

TR (JIMMY): I think it was. Did he come to see you, Guy?

GK: I can't lie to you, Jimmy. Yes. He did.

TR (JIMMY): What's he like, Guy?

GK: The Governor?

TR: Yeah.

GK: He's kind of intense.

TR: Intense?

GK: He's pretty well focused.

TR: On what?

GK: Guess.

TR: Oh.

GK: Which I think is fine. I mean, the guy has a big career, he's a wrestler, a radio talk show host, and he interrupts this to serve as our governor -

TR (JIMMY): Hey. Here comes Sugar.


GK: Hi, Sugar!

SS: (COOLY) Hi Guy.

GK: Something wrong?

SS: Not so far as I'm concerned. All is right.

GK: I'll just have a glass of arsenic, Jimmy. With a plate of ground glass on the side.

TR (JIMMY): Arsenic coming right up.

SS: I guess you didn't hear about my big appointment, Guy.

GK: What's that? You going to the hairdresser?

SS: I'm working for the Governor now.

GK: You're not.

SS: I am. I am his Commisioner of Opportunity.

TR (JIMMY): You working for the governor, Sugar?

SS: Started last week.

GK: Well, congratulations.

TR (JIMMY): Fantastic.

SS: I'm travelling with him to Los Angeles next week. To promote Minnesota to the film industry.

TR (JIMMY): Wow.

GK: Well, have a wonderful time. (SIGNIFICANT PAUSE)

SS: If you wanted to come, Guy, I could take you with.

GK: Me? Come with you?

SS: Is that so awful?

GK: I thought you were going out with- what's his name- the doctor-

SS: Sheldon. He was a periodontist. No, I broke up with him. He was nice, but- when I smiled at him, I felt self-concious. When we kissed and he put his tongue in my mouth, there was something clinical about the way he ran it up and down my gums.

GK: Spare me the details, Sugar.

SS: You want to come?

GK: I thought you were mad at me.

SS: I never got over you, Guy. You're still- you're still my guy.

TR (JIMMY): Hey, that's sweet. A coupla lovebirds.

GK: I donno, Sugar. If we got back together, I'd probably just break your heart all over again. Why sit through the same movie twice? You want to get married, have a kid, and all of us sit down to dinner in a three- bedroom ranch house in Eden Prairie. I'm more of a hotel room kind of guy. A room service guy. I like that mint on my pillow, the paper band across the toilet.

SS: In Los Angeles, we'd be staying at the Beverly Wilshire, Guy. And if that worked out, maybe I could take you to Costa Rice for two weeks.

GK: You are such a temptress, you know that?

SS: Here's my card. I wrote my private office number on the back. Bye.

GK: You're a tough negotiator, Commissioner. (SLOW FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN, CLOSE)

TR (JIMMY): The lady's in love with you, Guy. You going to take her up on it?

GK: She deserves better, Jimmy.

TR (JIMMY): They all do, but they can't help themselves.

GK: But I've been such a jerk to her.

TR (JIMMY): So? It's better that being a creep.


SS: A dark night and there on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building a light shines where one guy is still trying to find the answers....Guy Noir, Private Eye.


(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor