(GK: Garrison Keillor, JOE: Joe Taylor, DEIRDRE: Deirdre Monaghan)
DEIRDRE: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man keeps trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye. (MUSIC UP)
GK: It was one of those cold rainy March mornings when mortality is in the air and you look in astonishment at the old codger in the mirror. It wasn't so long ago that people your age were dropping acid and looking around town for the hip new joint and now they're into antacids and thinking about getting a new hip joint. You sit in the gloom and you feel as if bad news is imminent. Someone is just about to dash through the door waving a warrant for your arrest or the results of your latest biopsy, or a review of your book in which the words "self-indulgent mishmash" leap out at you. And on the same page, the news that the nerd you once tormented in high school has just sold his software company for $1.4 billion. I was thinking about maybe taking a winter break to revive my spirits, go to Antigua or Bermuda or Aruba or Iowa, as soon as I got paid for the Kismet case. Kismet is a cat who belongs to a Mrs. Sorenson. I located the cat for her. Tuesday. She was under a car. (PHONE RING, PICKUP) Yeah. Guy Noir ---- what can I do for you?
JOE (ON PHONE): Mr. Noir? This is Finbar O'Connell calling from Ireland. How are you this fine day?
GK: You don't want to know, sir. What can I do for you?
JOE: Just calling to see, might you be free to come over to Dublin for a few days, Mr. Noir? We have a bit of a crisis, sir. I run a motor coach company here. O'Connell's Emerald Isle Coach Tours? Perhaps you've heard of it----
GK: I haven't, sir. The urge to take a motor coach tour of Ireland has never struck me.
JOE: Well, we take folks around --- Americans mostly ---- and they buy their Waterford and their sweaters and their Guinness T-shirts and go around to castles and such and attend a performance of line-dancing by eight-hundred lasses in tartan skirts and high socks and then they go home.
JOE: This is the start of our high season, Mr. Noir. St. Paddy's Day. We have fifty busloads of Americans touring Ireland, all of them heading for Dublin on March 17. And there's one big problem. St. Patrick's Day has been canceled. (STING)
GK: How can they do it? (MUSIC UNDER) Turned out it was due to the foot-and-mouth disease that's infecting livestock in the U.K. They're trying to keep it out of Ireland. And they've discovered that one big cause of foot-and-mouth disease is throwing up on your shoes. Thus, the cancellation of St. Patrick's Day. --- But what do you want me to do about it, Mr. O'Connell?
JOE (ON PHONE): We need you to come and stage a St. Patrick's Day for our clients, Mr. Noir.
GK: But I'm not Irish.
JOE: Neither are they. But they're expecting a parade with convertibles and marching bands and cheerleaders in green hats with shamrocks and shillelaghs and blowing on horns and drinking green beer ----- things that we Irish know nothing of.
GK: So you need an American to come to Ireland to put on an Irish festival for American tourists----
JOE: Will you come, sir?
GK: If the money were right.
JOE: How about a hundred pounds a day and expenses?
GK: That sounds right. (MUSIC) I got a ticket on Aer Lingus and headed for Ireland. Never been there before. Never cared to go. My idea of an Irishman was someone who can watch football on TV, drink about fifteen pints, start crying over his mother, try to grope the waitress, and go home and smack the wife. I mean, they say St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, but maybe he was the only one who saw snakes. (AIRPLANE AMBIANCE) The plane was packed with Catholics ---- I could hear the clicking of beads as the plane took off. There was a priest sitting next to me on one side and a nun on the other. ---- Excuse me. Father? Do you mind if I ask you a question?
FRANK: Faith, no, me boy. Call me Father Paddy. Paddy O'Furniture.
GK: I can't help but notice all the Catholics here, are you on some sort of pilgrimage, Father O'Furniture?
FRANK: Faith, yes, me boy. We're going over to witness the miracle there.
GK: The economic boom?
DEIRDRE: No, me boy. It's in County Mayo, in the little village of Castlefall, at the home of the great Danny O'Danny.
GK: The great Irish tenor.
FRANK: Faith, yes. Danny O'Danny is the great avatar of the Irish tenors.
DEIRDRE: A lovely wee fellow with a choirboy face and famous the world over for his angelic voice--- ah, to hear him sing "Danny Boy"!
FRANK: It's his most requested number --- he does it while accompanying himself on the mouth organ, you know----
GK: But how can he--- isn't he singing through his mouth?
FRANK: Faith, no. Danny O'Danny sings entirely through his left nostril. And he lives right there in Castlefall with his sainted mother, he does.
GK: And Danny O'Danny is a miracle?
DEIRDRE: For the past two and one-half years, whenever he sings "The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls" the family statue of the Blessed Virgin has wept. Shed real tears.
GK: Perhaps she's sensitive to someone singing flat.
FRANK: Faith, no. It's a genuine miracle.
DEIRDRE: Every day at noon Danny O'Danny comes out in the garden of his home where busloads of fans have gathered
FRANK: And he sings "Danny Boy" and they sell the CDs and the tea cozies and the bags of scones and take up a collection for the orphans.
DEIRDRE: And then he sings "Tara's Halls" and the Blessed Virgin weeps and they sell handkerchiefs dampened with the tears.
FRANK: These hankies have been shown to reverse hair loss. It's true. Maybe you should come to Castlefall with us---- (MUSIC)
GK: I pretended to be asleep until the good father wound down and then the plane descended through 5000 feet of dense clouds and landed in Dublin and Mr. O'Connell was there in the airport to meet me. (AIRPORT AMBIANCE) He looked concerned. Actually, he looked horrified.
JOE: I'm afraid we have a problem worse than no St. Patrick's Day, Mr. Noir. A whole busload of Americans is missing. (STING) Forty of them. Gone! (STING)
GK: Where did they disappear, Mr. O'Connell?
JOE: In Cark.
GK: You mean Cork?
JOE: That's what I said. Cark.
GK: What were they doing in Cark?
JOE: Sitting in a park.
GK: Doing what in the park?
JOE: Eating lunch.
GK: What was for lunch?
GK: Right. They were in the park but what were they eating for lunch?
GK: They were eating the park?
JOE: Of course.
GK: Which part of the park?
JOE: All of it. It's all good.
GK: What sort of park was it?
GK: Fried. Oh, you mean, fried pork.
JOE: That's what I said.
GK: So these Americans are in a park in Cark eating park and then what?
JOE: A man walks up and he barks, Are you from New Yark? And they think it's a lark and they say, yes, and he takes them away.
GK: Maybe he was a narc. Did anyone see where they went?
JOE: It was too dark.
GK: Any footprints?
JOE: Not a mark. (MUSIC)
GK: I headed for my hotel to call the authorities in Cork and get the particulars on the vanished American tour group. I'd no sooner opened my suitcase and hung up my spare shirt than (KNOCKS ON DOOR).. ---- Come in! (DOOR OPEN, FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSE) Well, lordy mama. (SEXY PIANO) She was tall and red-haired and so beautiful it made your back teeth hurt. She wore a green T-shirt with IRELAND written on the front. Ireland never looked so good. ----Come in, ma'am, what can I do for you?
GODDESS: Me? What can I do for you, Mr. Noir? (MUSIC)
GK: ---- Her T-shirt was so tight I could read the label on her underwear. It said 2. Her skin was the color of peach yoghurt. Her hair was wild as beach grass. Her eyes were a sea-change green, her nose was strong enough to crack nuts on, her mouth I hardly dared look at, her chin, her neck, her collarbones, her sternum, I could go on and on. ---What can I do for you, ma'am?
GODDESS: Do you mind if I sit down?
GK: There is no chair, there's only the bed.
GODDESS: Then I'll sit on the bed.
GK: Do you mind if I sit down beside you?
GODDESS: It's your bed. (MUSIC)----
GK: I looked at her warm full lips and I knew if I went there, I'd never return, never come back to my career, whatever my career is, I forgot. ---- Pardon me. Would you mind telling me something, ma'am?
GODDESS: What is it?
GK: What is it that I do?
GK: Why am I in Dublin?
GODDESS: You've come to find forty Americans who are lost but secretly you're hoping to lose yourself.
GK: How do you know so much about me?
GODDESS: I'm a witch.
GK: Fine. Each to his own.
GODDESS: I belong to the old pagan faith of Ireland. I worship God in the trees and the grass and the animals and all of nature.
GODDESS: The old Celtic religions believed in doing what is natural. What is free. What makes you happy. If it doesn't hurt anybody, then go ahead. That's our religion.
GK: I've been looking for a woman like you.
GODDESS: We don't believe in marriage.
GK: I'm so glad to hear you say that.
GODDESS: You're not married, are you, Mr.Noir?
GK: To me, marriage is a holy sacrament. Like sacrificing sheep. I've avoided both of them. (MUSIC) She was leaning toward me, breathing on me, and it was making me dizzy with pleasure.----So--- what are you up to later?
GODDESS: It's time to prepare for our spring festival. We must awaken the Earth Goddess with loud cries of passion.
GK: I think we should do that.
GODDESS: OH! YES! YES! YES! YES! DON'T STOP! YES! OH! OH! YES! THERE! YES! MORE! MORE! MORE! OH, DON'T STOP! KEEP GOING! YES! YES! YES! YES! OH YES! OH YES! ---What are you doing?
GK: I put my hand on your arm.
GODDESS: Why did you put your hand on my arm? You distracted me.
GK: I was hoping to contribute to your excitement.
GODDESS: By touching my arm?
GK: Well, it's a start.
GODDESS: You must be kidding.
GK: I guess I was.
GODDESS: You thought you could increase my passion by touching me????
GK: I was wrong, I'm sorry.
GODDESS: (LAUGHS SARDONICALLY.... DERISIVE LAUGHTER.....) (MUSIC)
GK: She left and I retired to the bar to attempt to repair my self-esteem with the use of alcohol. (TAVERN AMBIANCE) I'd like a Campari, bartender.
FRANK: A Campari???
FRANK: Father O'Furniture from the flight.
GK: Right. The sky pilot.
FRANK: How can you come to Ireland and order a Campari?
GK: It's to make sure I don't drink too much, Father. I hate Camparis. One is my limit. I thought you were going up to County Mayo on your pilgrimage.
FRANK: Been there already. Done that, me boy.
GK: And how is Danny O'Danny?
FRANK: About as charming as a stuffed bird. And he's a complete fraud. I saw the plastic tube that makes the B.V.M. cry. Shameful! Shocking!
GK: And how did your parishioners like it?
FRANK: They loved it.
GK: Of course.
FRANK: The depths of human gullibility can be discouraging sometimes. --- Another Guinness, sir! ---- Why don't you throw that Italian vinegar down the toilet and have a pint, me boy?
JOE: (APPROACHING) Well, well, well, well.
GK: Mr. O'Connell, good to see you. Like you to meet Father O'Furniture. Join us in a pint.
JOE: Don't mind if I do. -----Making any progress trying to find my busload of tourists, Mr. Noir?
GK: I've been working on that. It's an intuitive process, you know. Inductive reasoning. It takes time.
JOE: Well, you can put your mind at ease. They've been found.
FRANK: A busload of Americans were lost??
GK: In Cork.
GK: In Cark.
FRANK: Oh, in Cark!
JOE: They were put into quarantine by a government agricultural inspector. For foot-and-mouth disease.
GK: I thought the disease only affected cattle.
JOE: Well, these Americans are fairly broad of beam ---- good substantial people they are--- and they were moving rather slowly in a group and sort of moaning to themselves. So--- the authorities put them on a truck and they're in a holding area in County Wicklow.
GK: Are they all right?
JOE: They're tourists. They're all right as long as they're with the group.
GK: How long are they going to be in quarantine?
JOE: Fifteen days, but they don't know that.
JOE: Every hour or so, someone goes on the P.A. and tells them there'll be another update in half an hour, and so far they're content with that.
GK: Those airlines have trained us well.
FRANK: So your job is done, then, eh Mr. Noir? You'll be heading back home soon, I imagine...
GK: I suppose so. And you too?
FRANK: No, I'm going to stay. I've been a priest long enough. I'm going to stay and take a ride on the Celtic Tiger. Got myself a mobile telephone and a website and I'm learning Microsoft Word and I'm starting a new career in E-commerce.
GK: You aren't.
FRANK: Faith, yes. It's a new age, me boy. You can have the whole world with a click of the mouse. A man has to be bold and look to the future, me boy. And I've become a partner in a whole new enterprise. Danny O'Danny dot com.
GK: You're pulling my leg.
FRANK: Faith no. We're going to sell his CDs and book and hankies and tea cozies on-line. And if we can find a way to make tears come out of a modem, we'll be on Easy Street.
GK: Well, good luck to you, Father O'Furniture.
FRANK: Good luck to you, me boy. Or as we say in Ireland, "May the wind always be at your back but not coming out of you personally."
DEIRDRE: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir, Private Eye. (MUSIC OUT)