(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)
GK: Tim Russell was hired for our show as a result of winning the Talent from Towns Under Two Thousand Contest - a little known fact -

TR: Teetotal, Wisconsin. Population 8.

GK: On the Temperance River. Tim won the contest that year, 1974, by playing "Tico Tico" on a beer bottle.

TR: I'm amazed at your memory.

GK: It's not often a six-year-old boy can master the beer bottle well enough to play a tune as tough as Tico Tico.

TR: There was a lot of time to practice in Teetotal, Wisconsin, believe me.

GK: I imagine they were pretty proud of you when you won.

TR: I have no idea. Whole town disappeared that summer. Went back for a visit, there was nothing there. Gone.

GK: Gone where.

TR: I have no idea. There were just big circular patterns in the cornfields. And scorch marks.

GK: Interesting. So Tim joined our show that spring. And Sue Scott came a few years later from a town in northern Minnesota called Wistful Prospect to win the Talent from Towns Under Two Thousand Contest.

SS: That was the year the gigantic mutant walleyes came out of the swamp.

GK: Sue did a tap dance on the show that year.

SS: Walleyes who hatched near nuclear plants -

GK: She wore Mary Janes and a pinafore and her hair in braids and she had braces on her teeth.

SS: It was really something. Walleyes the size of bass boats.

GK: She was a real crowd pleaser. She tap-danced to "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound" I'll never forget it.

SS: They ate sixteen people. Town was never the same after that.

GK: Funny. I never read about that.

SS: The Defense Department came and made people promise not to talk.

GK: You still tap dance?

SS: Of course.

GK: Let's hear it. (AMAZING GRACE, TAP) Sue Scott. Anyway, the year after Sue won, Tom Keith won the contest with a performance of Danny Boy on a chain saw.

TK: That's right.

GK: Tom comes from a little town in western Minnesota called Fetlock. No trees in Fetlock, just prairie.

TK: Out there we use chain saws mainly for musical purposes.

GK: Fetlock is just north of Marshall, I believe.

TK: Used to be but it's gone now.

GK: Gone?

TK: Disappeared. I came to St. Paul to be in the contest and when I went home, it was gone.

GK: How could it be gone?

TK: Well, that's what I wondered. There was just this strange guy with revolving bright green eyes wandering around. Spoke a strange language. I didn't understand a word he said.

GK: What did you do?

TK: Went someplace else.

GK: It was pretty amazing, Danny Boy on the chain saw. Play them a little bit of Danny Boy.


GK: What happened?

TK: Chainsaw got choked up.

GK: I see.

TK: Always happens with Danny Boy.

(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor