(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 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 one of those warm seductive June days, when the sunshine and the soft breezes try to convince you that life is beautiful, that people are good at heart and the winning lottery number could be the next ticket on the roll at the grocery store, if you get up and run down there right now you might win a million dollars. (PHONE RINGS, PICK UP) Yeah? Guy Noir, Private Eye.


GK: I'm not reading you, Sir.


GK: I don't understand a word you're saying.


GK: We seem to have a bad connection. Try again. (HANG UP) (A FEW FOOTSTEPS, STOP) Look at that. Blue sky. Green grass in the park. Big round trees. World looks like a children's story. I'm waiting around for a crime to solve and out there it's just Squirrel Nutkin and his friends. (PHONE RING, PICK UP) Yeah, Guy Noir here.


GK: Sir - I'm not understanding you. Let me ask you this - do you see a set of teeth sitting nearby? Look around.


GK: Are you on some kind of medication perhaps?


GK: How about tobacco? Sir, try turning your head and spitting in the wastebasket. Okay? Go ahead and spit.

TK (ON PHONE): (HE SPITS) Is that better?

GK: Much better. What can I do for you?

TK: (ON PHONE): I'm calling from Butte.

GK: Yes, sir?

TK (ON PHONE): Butte, Montana.

GK: Oh, that Butte. Right What can I do for you?

TK: (ON PHONE): I'm fifty-eight years old and ready to settle down and looking around for a wife.

GK: Okay.

TK (ON PHONE): I'm sorta thinkin' about a gal in a little black dress with a string of pearls and high heels and nylon stockings, you know, with a garter belt and everything, and bright red lipstick, real classy-like, y'know.

GK: Okay, I'm writing this all down.

TK (ON PHONE): I'd want her to be real smart and real nice. Y'know? I'm a kind of a heavyset fella in overalls and I like to drink beer and line up the empties across the kitchen table and play tunes on 'em. Like Shortnin' Bread. I like that one.

GK: Sounds good. I can think of two or three women right away. Let me give them a call, and call you back, okay?

TK (ON PHONE): Okay. You'll call me back?

GK: In Butte, yes.

TK (ON PHONE): Butte, Montana.

GK: I've got it written down. (MUSIC BRIDGE) That's about the only work I get nowadays. Lonely people trying to make their fantasies come true. (MUSIC BRIDGE) I headed over to the Five Spot to get away from the phone. (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE, FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS)

TR: (JIMMY) Hi there, Guy. How's it going?

GK: Aw, not so bad, Jimmy. Slow. How's everything with you?

TR: (JIMMY) Can't complain. Business is lousy when the weather's nice, but - hey - What can you do? What can I get for you?

GK: I donno. Martini or something.

TR (JIMMY): Coming right up.

GK: Straight up with a string bean. For fiber.

TR (JIMMY): You got it. (POURING) Hey Guy, did you hear the one about the fellow who opened a bar on the moon?

GK: No.

TR (JIMMY): Great drinks but no atmosphere.

GK: Very funny. Oh my gosh. (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE, CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS. SEXY SAX) This woman walked in I'd never seen before. She wore a white cashmere dress that clung to her like fuzz on a peach. It revealed just enough flesh to keep the eyes focused. It was so tight you could see it was going to wear out from the inside. She walked slowly over to the bar and turned around. If she'd willed her body to science, they'd have to invent a new branch of science to deal with it. And I would've contested the will.

SS: Hi, Mr. Noir. Mind if I sit down?

GK: Pardon me?

SS: Mind if I join you?

GK: Were you saying hi to me?

SS: Yes. Hi.

GK: She took off her glasses and set them down on the bar. (CLINK OF GLASSES ON WOOD)

SS: Mind if I sit here?

GK: You mind if I tell you you're beautiful? Even with the glasses, and without em, you're spectacular.

SS: Without these glasses you're not so bad looking either.

GK: Can I buy you a drink?

SS: I don't drink, Mr. Noir. I'm from Greeley, Colorado.

GK: I see.

SS: My name is Amber. Rev. Amber Sand. I'm a Methodist minister in town, Mr. Noir.

GK: Well, I've always been interested in their methods.

SS: I came to offer you a job, Mr. Noir.

GK: You're in luck. I'm available.

SS: Mr. Noir, Greeley is - well, it's different from your typical western town. Most towns were founded by filthy violent men motivated by pure greed who left mountains of mine tailings. Greeley was founded by idealists who wanted to create an island of civilization in the wilderness. And they succeeded. The town was dry for a hundred years, and then we passed the Social Drinking Law. It permits the serving of drinks to people so long as they continue to say intelligent and worthwhile things.

GK: I see. So you're looking for someone to enforce the law, huh? (CLATTER) Here -

SS: Sorry. Dropped my glasses.

GK: (HEART POUNDING) I wish you wouldn't bend over like that. You make my heart race.

SS: We're looking for a municipal chaplain, Mr. Noir. Someone to provide moral leadership. As chaplain, you'd lead the community meditations and you'd preach on Sundays, same as you do now.

GK: Do now?

SS: Yes. The way you preach now -

GK: Miss Sand. I haven't preached since I was teenager and talked to my parents.

SS: But you're the author of those inspirational books -

GK: You're thinking of Guy Soir.

SS: Guy Soir?

GK: I'm Guy Noir. Completely different.

SS: I see. So "Reading The Bible To Build Self Confidence"?

GK: Not my book.

SS: Putting the Fun Back in Fundamentalism.

GK: That's the other guy's. I don't write books.

SS: Well, maybe you'd like to come out and visit us in Greeley, anyway.

GK: Someday I may do that.

SS: Here's my business card. Call me if you're interested. Bye.

GK: Were you talking to me?

SS: Yes. Bye.

GK: Bye.


GK: The moment she walked out the door I looked at the business card she gave me. It was made of spun sugar. It melted in my hand. Gone. Name, address, everything.

TR (JIMMY): Here's your Martini, Guy.

GK: Her business card ... it melted in my hand, Jimmy.

TR (JIMMY): Quite a looker, wasn't she -

GK: She offered me a job in Greeley, Colorado.

TR (JIMMY): I had an aunt who lived in Greeley.

GK: Was she spectacularly beautiful dressed in a white cashmere dress that she was wearing out from the inside?

TR (JIMMY): She looked like Larry of the Three Stooges but her hair wasn't as pretty. She wrote angry letters to the newspaper. About two a day.

GK: Is Greeley far from here?

TR (JIMMY): It's way the other side of Nebraska.

GK: Did you think she was attracted to me?

TR (JIMMY): My aunt? How could she be?

GK: No! The woman in the white dress. Was she giving me the eye or what?

TR (JIMMY): No. And that's two bucks for the Martini.

GK: Put it on my tab. You're wrong. She was giving me the eye.

TR (JIMMY): Your tab is pretty long, Guy. Not sure there's any more room on the page.

GK: Well, write small. She was flirting with me.

TR (JIMMY): You have a target date for when you might pay up?

GK: Next week. Late next week. That woman was coming on to me. Don't tell me she wasn't. She was. I got to go see a guy about renting a car. (FOOTSTEPS)


SS: A dark night in the city that keeps its secrets, where one guy is still trying to find out the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir, Private Eye.


(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor