(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)
.....brought to you by Murphy's Plumbing.

GK: It's gets harder and harder to get a plumber this winter. You notice how when you call up a plumber, you get put on hold?

SS (ON PHONE): All of our plumbing representatives are busy right now, talking to other distraught customers. We'll be with you in just a moment.....

GK: You used to call and some guy answered and now.

SS (ON PHONE): Your phone call is not particularly important to us because we get thousands of them daily, but if you'd like to continue holding, good luck.

GK: Hours later....

TR (ON PHONE): Yeah, this is Dave. What seems to be the problem?

SS (HYSTERICAL): There's water rising in the basement! The furnace is out! We're burning furniture for heat! Please! Come!

TR (ON PHONE): Lemme see if I can make it this afternoon. Maybe 4 or 5.

GK: The national plumber shortage. Everyone's talking about it.

TK: You need a plumber? I got a plumber.

SS: Does he make house calls?

TK: Yeah.

SS: What does he charge?

TK: $400/hour. Five-fifty on weekends and before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m.

SS: No problem.

TK: One more thing. The basement has to be really clean.

SS: Oh?

TK: Otherwise he won't set foot in it. And you have to pay in advance.

SS: Really?

TK: Cash. And don't forget to tip.

SS: Tip? a plumber?

TK: Twenty percent. You didn't know that? (MUSIC)

GK: It's not the way it used to be with plumbers. You used to call up and they came. (KNOCKS. DOOR OPEN)

TR: Plumber!

GK: It isn't like that anymore. You call the plumber and a guy in a blue pinstripe suit comes.

SS: You the plumber?

TR: No, I'm his lawyer. This is the contract for the work he's about to do.

SS: A contract???

TR: A thousand dollars an hour plus 1.5% of the assessed valuation of the home. And there's an exclusivity clause.

SS: 1.5%?

TR: You want me to come back in a month or two?

SS: No, no, this is fine! Fine. (MUSIC)

GK: So you sign, and a couple hours later....

SS: Are you the plumber?

TK: No, I'm the assistant. Here to do the prep work. I need four clean white sheets and four down pillows. Okay?

SS: What's that for?

TK: You don't expect him to kneel on the bare concrete, do you? (MUSIC)

GK: And a few hours later the plumber arrives.

TR: Pipe wrench. Twelveinch.

TK: Pipe wrench. Twelveinch. (REPEAT IN OTHER VOICES, THREE TIMES)

TR: Apply the wrench to the collar.

TK: Apply wrench to collar. (REPEAT, THREE TIMES)

TR: Turn counterclockwise.

TK: Turn counterclockwise. (REPEAT, THREE TIMES)

TR: Snake.


GK: Plumbers. It's not the way it used to be. Now they have their own show on public radio. Pipe Talk.

TK (MAGLIOZZI): Okay, here's a call from Deborah in Poughkeepsie.

TR (MAGLIOZZI): Hey! How's it going??? (THEY LAUGH)

SS (ON PHONE): Not so bad. Got a leak in my pipes.

TK (MAGLIOZZI): Not so bad. Listen to her.

TR (MAGLIOZZI): Check with your urologist! (THEY LAUGH)

SS: And my toilet's running.

TK (MAGLIOZZI): Listen to that!

TR (MAGLIOZZI): If your toilet's running, you better catch it! (THEY LAUGH AND LAUGH)

GK: Plumbing is changing but here at Murphy's Plumbing, we try to hold onto the old ways.

TR: Hi. This is John. What can I do for you?

GK: Other plumbers are going for the glitz, the glamor, the buzz, the action, the social life, the p.r., but here at Murphy's, we try to help.

TR: Remember. Never drop cigarettes in the toilet, it makes them soggy and very difficult to light.

GK: More than glitz, more than glamour, maybe your plumber ought to be Murphy's.

SS & GK: Don't despair, just call up Murphy Plumbing No job too big or small. We'll be there in just couple minutes, Murphy's of St. Paul.

(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor