(GK: Garrison Keillor, TR: Tim Russell, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith; LK: Leo Kottke)
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.
(THEME UP AND OUT UNDER....)
GK: It was one of those cold January days when you want to hunker down with your old National Geographics and look at pictures of Antigua and Morocco and the Great Barrier Reef and the exotic fish and the beautiful babes in two-piece suits snorkeling around and looking at them and I had just come to the part of the fantasy when one of the babes says to me-----
SS: Can you help me on with this, Mr. Noir? I have no idea where the thong goes.
GK: And I was about to show her when (KNOCKS ON DOOR) Yeah ----- come on in, the door's open. (DOOR OPEN, FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSE)
LK: Mr Noir?----
GK: Yes, sir. What can I do for you? Have a seat. Hey wait a minute. I know you. Leo, right?
GK: Leo DiCaprio, the actor.
LK: No. Kottke. Leo Kottke.
GK: The guitarist. Right. Kottke. Doggone. This is an honor. I got that album of yours. Six & Twelve String Guitar. The one with the black and white cover. Love that thing.
GK: Listen to it all the time. Bought that at a garage sale for 35 cents and I got four Mamas & the Papas and a couple Carpenters albums along with it.
LK: Sounds like a bargain.
GK: Yeah, I come from a family of musicians. My dad was an organist. Then he had to quit.
GK: The monkey died. So what can I do for you, Mr. Kottke?
LK: I'm looking for somebody, Noir. A woman. Tall woman with long red hair and emerald earrings. Wearing a Save the Giant Sea Tortoise T-shirt.
GK: An old girlfriend?
LK: No. For about the past four years, she's been showing up at every single one of my concerts. Sits in about the fourth row. Red hair, the giant sea tortoise, and those green emeralds flashing. She sits there looking more and more bored as I play all my hits and then after the intermission, she's gone. I tell you, it's driving me nuts.
GK: I can understand that. What does she look like?
LK: She's gorgeous.
GK: Of course. Elusive women always are, aren't they.
LK: She's at every concert. And there's one more thing.
GK: What's that?
LK: It's driving me even more nuts than she is. You ever see a show on public television called the Antiques Roadshow?
GK: The one where you bring in your junk from the attic and the expert with the little bowtie tells you it's a Queen Anne something and it's worth $85,000?
LK: That's the one. Well, one of the experts with the little bowties is a guy named Leo Tchotchke.
LK: I've got all these people coming to my shows with cigarette cases, samovars, ship's hardware, boxes of Ball jars, a porringer, boxes of antique corbels and gussets---
GK: What's that?
LK: I have no idea. I'm onstage singing "Jolene" and some bozo comes out clutching an armoire wanting me to give him a price.
GK: You sing "Jolene"?
LK: It's one of my biggest numbers. People go nuts when I do "Jolene". Everybody but the woman in the giant sea tortoise t-shirt.
GK: So I headed over to Leo's next concert to look for the red-haired woman with the emerald earrings and I found a mob of people (CROWD NOISE) lined up, many of them carrying clocks or feather dusters or end tables or garden statuary. I slipped around back and went in and found Leo (TUNING) in the home ec classroom, getting ready for the show (DOOR CLOSE, FOOTSTEPS)---- hey. Nice crowd out front.
LK: I know.
GK: You don't seem happy about it.
LK: They all came with antiques, didn't they.
GK: I wouldn't say all. Two-thirds, maybe.
LK: I don't know what to do. I just feel desperate. Somehow ---- I mean, if you're a guitarist and people think you're an expert on Victorian bric-a-brac ---- it seems like the record label is missing the ball on publicity, doesn't it?
GK: This Leo Tchotchke, he looks like you?
LK: To me he seems older and seedier and quite a bit heavier. But my wife says he's a dead ringer.
GK: Well, probably it's one of those aggravations that goes away with time. ----
GK: Mr. Kottke is otherwise occupied, sir. Sorry.
TR: I've got this cuspidor, it was my mother's, I wonder if he could----
GK: Later, sir. Maybe later. He's busy---
TR: It'd just take a minute----
TR: I'm just wanting to know how old it is----
GK: Please. I'm going to close the door now.
TR: ----and approximately what it's worth.
GK: I'm closing the door, sir.
TR: Just a ballpark figure.
GK: Watch your nose, sir.
TR: Just a guess. (DOOR SLAM)
LK: I knew that last album should not have had an escritoire on the cover. I knew it!
GK: You're going to be all right.
LK: I'm never going to be all right again. I was almost all right about five years ago and then this happened.
GK: You'll be fine. You're going to go out on that stage and let those people love you.
LK: I go out on that stage and a thousand people are going to be standing up and screaming, "What's the value of this Red Wing pickle crock? This antique ice auger?"
GK: Well, at least you got them on their feet and screaming. Then you sing "Jolene" and they'll go crazy for that.
SS: He's right, Leo.
GK: Who's there? Who're you? Oh---- you. The woman in the red hair.
SS: Yes. It's me. Remember me, Leo?
LK: I've been looking at you at every concert for four years.
SS: I'm Jolene Olson.
LK: What's going on Jolene? What's the game?
SS: Love your work.
LK: But every concert???
SS: I'm a fan. What can I say? I have every album you ever made. The black-and-white album, Standing In My Shoes, Mudlark, Circle Round the Sun, Greenhouse, Leo Kottke's Polkas and Latkes--
LK: If you're such a big fan of mine, how come you always look so bored?
SS: It's not boredom. I'm meditating.
LK: But you always leave at intermission.
SS: Because, Leo, your music takes me to a wonderful place in my memory and when I get to that place, I need to be alone. That's why.
LK: Gosh. That's great, Jolene, it's an honor
SS: I feel the same way about you, Leo. It's an honor to occupy the planet with you.
LK: People like you are what makes me want to keep on performing.
SS: An artist like you is what makes me believe in growth and possibility.
LK: Thank you.
SS: As long as I'm here, could you tell me if these are real emerald earrings? (BRIDGE)
GK: I got Leo out of Montevideo and drove him back to St. Paul and around midnight we walked into the Five Spot. (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE, CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS)
TR (JIMMY): Hey Guy, how's it goin?
GK: Not so bad, Jimmy. Not so bad. Want you to meet Leo Kottke, Jimmy?
TR (JIMMY): Oh yeah. I see your show on TV all the time.
GK: Don't go there, Jimmy.
TR (JIMMY): I've always been curious about this old beer glass.
LK: You got the wrong guy. I'm the guitarist. And singer.
TR (JIMMY): Oh right. Leo Kottke. Got your album Leo Kottke Does The Carole King Songbook. Nice album. The one with the escritoire on the cover. Gave it to my aunt for Christmas. What can I get you?
GK: The usual for me. Leo?
LK: Glass of tap water for me.
TR (JIMMY): Coming right up.
GK: Those people love you, Leo. They just love you for a different reason than you want them to love you for. But that's true of any performer. You just go out there and give of yourself and you win them over.
LK: I suppose you're right.
GK: Of course I'm right.
LK: People go to see Shania Twain's bellybutton and ---
GK: And she gives them herself.
LK: They go to see Ozzy Osbourne bite the heads off bats and he gives them himself.
GK: People come to you for appraisals of antiques and you sing them "Jolene".
TR (JIMMY): Okay, here you go. Martini with a soybean, and a glass of St. Paul tap.
GK: Thanks, Jimmy.
TR (JIMMY): No problem.
GK: Don't say "No problem," okay? It bugs me. The phrase.
TR (JIMMY): Okay. Whatever.
GK: Thank you.
TR (JIMMY): No problem.
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