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


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 January days when under the apparent calm of a winter landscape the trained eye of the detective sees the steaming underbelly of the city we call St. Paul and the unending struggle for power and wealth and social position that goes on daily even in the Midwest. (TRAFFIC PASSING)

TK (TEEN): Here's your newspaper, Mr. Noir----

GK: Thanks, Wilbur. "Tuna Tycoon Nabbed In Hotdish Heist" ----

TK (TEEN): You hear about that, Mr. Noir?

GK: It's the mob, Wilbur. The Lutheran Mafia. What they call The Brotherhood. Trying to get their hooks into the lucrative cafeteria business. An ugly business.

TK (TEEN): That's 35 cents, Mr. Noir.

GK: Oh. Right. There you go. You mind if I ask you a personal question, Wilbur?

TK (TEEN): What is it,Mr. Noir?

GK: How old are you?

TK (TEEN): Forty-six, Mr.Noir.

GK: I thought you'd been selling papers on this corner a long time. Didn't you ever think you'd like to be more than just a newsboy, Wilber?

TK (TEEN): Yes.

GK: What's happened? Low self-esteem hold you back?

TK (TEEN): No, but my baseball cap got stuck on my head. And it's backwards.

GK: I wasn't going to mention that but----

TK (TEEN): I need an operation to get the cap off. And I don't have health insurance. Because nobody'll hire you for a real job if you got a backwards baseball cap on your head. It's a real Catch-22.

GK: Well, good luck to you, Wilber. (BRIDGE) I took the paper back to my office and made a cup of coffee and waited for the mail to come and it did and there was a letter there with a window and what looked like a check inside and I opened it and it said, "Pay to the order of Guy Noir, One hundred thousand dollarsf.may already be yours if you're the winner of the Why I love Raskolnikov Vodka Contest---- I was just sitting down to try to answer that question when (PHONE RINGS) Oh boy. (PHONE RINGS, PICK UP) Yeah, Noir here.

SS (ON PHONE): Mr. Noir?

GK: Yes, ma'am.

SS (ON PHONE): Hi. I need someone checked into.

GK: Okay.

SS (ON PHONE): I had a date with this guy last night.

GK: Right.

SS (ON PHONE): Howard's the name. Nice guy. About 30, 35f.

GK Thirty, thirty-five?

SS (ON PHONE): The light was dim.

GK: Sure.

SS: (ON PHONE): Nice guy. Thirty-five, forty. Never married. Nice manners. Interesting to talk to. And then I thought, "Never married. Why not?"

GK: Exactly.

SS (ON PHONE): Can you check him out for me?

GK: That's what we're here for, ma'am. (BRIDGE) I got the particulars from her and was about to TRy to answer the question, Why I Love Raskolnikov Vodka, when (KNOCKS ON DOOR) Yeah ----- come on in, the door's open. (DOOR OPEN, FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSE)

SS: Mr. Noir?

GK: Right. Come in, folks.

TR: Thank you.

SS: You're the detective, right?

GK: That's right. What can I do for you?

SS: It's about our son, Mr. Noir----Trent----

GK: Yes?

TR: He's a big computer tycoon.

SS: Sixteen years old and he's a multi-millionaire.

GK: What's the problem?

SS: Don and I are both schoolteachers.

TR: Proud of it, too.

SS: We're Democrats, of course.

TR: Lifelong Democrats.

SS: And we tried to raise Trent right and then he went out and became a multi-millionaire and, anyway, he's ---- (WEEPS) he's in Washington today.

GK: At the inauguration.

SS: (WEEPY) Yes.

TR: He donated a hundred grand to the Bush campaign.

SS (WEEPY): We found the canceled checks in his room.

GK: Well, I can feel your pain, but----

SS (WEEPY): We sent him to wonderful summer camps, to children's concerts ---- Pete Seeger ----Raffi ---- children's theater ---he watched Mister Rogers ---- I read to him ---

GK: This sounds like some kind of Greek tragedy. Anyway ---- let's go back a little ---- how did your son ----He's sixteen, right?

TR: Sixteen in November. Started up his first company when he was thirteen. It was a consulting firm to help with punctuation. Comma-dot-com. A site for Frankie Yankovic fans called polka-dot-com. And then a website for U.S. Marine corp commanders called Commandant-dot-com. And a website for youth in Asia.

GK: Euthanasia? Killing off old folks?

SS: No, for teenagers in Asia. Called Komodo-dot-com.

GK: I see.

TR: He was the first person to try to sell cheese curds online. At curds-dot-com.

SS: Then he started complexion-dot-com. It's an on-line tanning company.

GK: Really.

SS: You go to the website and it turns your screen into a tanning lamp, meanwhile you can shop for sports clothes and gifts.

GK: Sounds like a moneymaker.

TR: People sit there in the warm glow from the screen and they buy stuff hand over fist. So today TRent is worth about $45 million dollars.

GK: Well, no wonder he's a Republican. In that income bracket, it makes sense.

SS: He went to Washington to meet a woman, Mr. Noir. A Republican woman. A Republican woman named Linda Tripp.

GK: Well, just tell him to watch out for tape recorders.

SS: He's spoiled rotten and we oughta throw him out in the street except he owns our house and he's financed a tremendous retirement plan for us.

TR: And now he's apparently invented something that'll change the world.

SS: You read about it in the paper, it's called T.H.A.T.

TR: Everyone who's seen it was sworn to secrecy but they say it's bigger than the Internet.

GK: What does T.H.A.T. stand for?

TR: It stands for Time Habitat Accelerated Travel----- It's a cape, sort of metallic, and you fold it around you and you set the time and push Go and it takes you to another time and place.

GK: Well, there's your answer.

SS: What do you mean?

GK: Put on the cape, go back to January 1993. Be eight years younger and a lot poorer and you can sit around and look forward to the Clinton administration, and talk about single-payer health coverage. (BRIDGE) It was a long cold winter day and when the sun went over the yardarm I headed down to the Five Spot. (DOOR OPEN,JINGLE, CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS)

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

GK: Not so bad, Jimmy. Not so bad.

TR (JIMMY): What's in the envelope? (RIPPING OF ENVELOPE)

GK: A check for a hundred-grand from Raskolnikov Vodka if only I can think of why I love it.

TR (JIMMY): Sounds like a good deal. What can I get you?

GK: How about the usual but with Raskolnikov vodka?

TR (JIMMY): Okay, one Crime and Punishment martini, coming up.

GK: How's this? "With Raskolnikov Vodka, every day is an Alcohol-iday!"

TR (JIMMY): Don't give up your day job.

GK: How about this? "Raskolnikov Vodka! I like it a Lot-ka!"

TR (JIMMY): I'd better fix you a double. By the way, you had a call from a woman about a guy you were checking on for her? Thirty, thirty-five, forty-year-old guy, never married?

GK: Oh, right.

TR (JIMMY): She left her number here.

GK: Thanks. She dated a guy in dim light, turns out he's forty-eight, lives alone next door to his mother, he's never been outside Minnesota, and his idea of a birthday gift is $5 in an envelope.

TR (JIMMY): Well, anybody can be retrained.

GK: You think so?

TR (JIMMY): You gotta believe, Guy.

GK: Do you?

TR (JIMMY): Sure. Here's your Martini.

GK: Thanks.

TR (JIMMY): No problem.

GK: Don't say "No problem," okay???

TR (JIMMY): Okay. Whatever.


SS: A dark night in the city that knows how to keep its secrets, but a light shines on the 12th floor of the Acme Building -- Guy Noir, Private Eye? (THEME UP AND OUT)

(c) 2001 by Garrison Keillor