(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott: TR: Tim Russell, FN: Fred Newman; RD: Rich Dworsky)


SS: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But high above the quiet streets 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 cold winter mornings when you
wish you had the flu, just for the fever. The radiator in my studio
apartment at the Hereford Arms was busted again, so I called up my landlady.

SS (DUFARGE): Yeah? What is it?

GK: It's been ice cold for two weeks. My radiator's busted, my pipes are frozen and there's a hole in my window. How long is this going to continue?

SS (DUFARGE): How should I know? What am I---a weatherman?

GK: By the time the hot water got to the shower, I was already dressed....(BRIDGE) I got to the office about noon, called over to Danny's Deli for a liverwurst sandwich on seven grain and listened to my messages----

TR (ON PHONE): Mr. Noir, it's Dennis down at the Video Store --- Mr. Noir, you have two cassettes that are way overdue ---- "Unspeakable Desires" and "Hot Babes Of NPR" Could I come by and---- (FAST FORWARD VOICE)

GK: Okay, okay, okay. (BEEP)

SS: (ON PHONE) Mr. Noir, it's Tammy calling in behalf of Merry Molars, the home of happy teeth. Mr. Noir, I know you haven't tried our service before but if you're skittish about going to see a dentist, you might want to come in for a free checkup. All of our dental work is done in strictest privacy, and you're encouraged to bring a blankie and stuffed animal with you and to call the hygienist Mommy. And afterward you get a treat and a hug. Give us a call. (BEEP)

TR: (NEBBISH): Hello, Mr. Noir, it's Bob, your tax accountant. I'm over at the driving range right now, but the IRS is sort of upset about vodka as a business expense. Listen, when they get there, be sure you don't-----(KONK OF GOLF BALL ) Ohhhhhhhhh. (HE FALLS UNCONSCIOUS. (DIAL TONE)

GK: The private eye business has really gone in the toilet. Since 9/11 the security business has boomed. If you want to stand by the door wearing a fake badge and give people a cold stare as they come in, there's no end of work. Investigation? Nobody wants it. I've been thinking about adding some other specialties. A tanning bed. Internet service. Marriage Workshops. Pilates. What's Pilates? It's learning how to sit up straight and then lie down. I've been doing that all my life. And just then---(KNOCKS ON DOOR) The delicacy of the knock made me assume it wasn't the IRS. Come in, it' s open. (DOOR OPEN, SLOW HIGH HEEL STEPS, DOOR CLOSE, STEPS, STOP)

SS: Mr. Noir?

GK: If it's about my taxes, take me away, I die happy.

SS: I'm Dr. Tonin. Sarah Tonin. I'm from the lab, Genetics Are You. Perhaps you've seen our ads on television? The ones with the dancing chromosomes?

GK: No, I haven't, but what if my chromosomes want to dance with your chromosomes?

SS: Do you mind if I take off my lab coat?

GK: Am I going to need my heart medication?

SS: If you do, I have some on me. (SEXY SAX)

GK: She pulled off her lab coat, and it was like Marie Curie suddenly turned into Maria Carey. Why she was wearing a low-cut black velvet cocktail dress to work in a lab I don't know but why question good luck? The black velvet sort of swooped and scooped in all sorts of interesting ways, and if I were a better person I would have been shocked. If her dress had been cut any lower, she would've been barefoot.

SS: I suppose you're wondering about my outfit? You're surprised to see someone in animal genetics wearing a black velvet dress.

GK: Some people can wear it better than others. You can. I can't. I used to wear a black velvet vest but everyone kept handing me their car keys.

SS: Genetics Are You was having a party last night, celebrating our latest achievement: A talking pig.

GK: Amazing. A talking pig. How'd you do it?

SS: You don't want to know---- Anyway, his name is Bob and he talks. It's our biggest success so far. We've produced some oddly shaped rabbits and a hamster that kind of sings when you pinch it, but this was our first talking animal.

GK: Why a talking pig, Dr. Tonin?

SS: He was going to be a spokespig for the Pork Producers of America. He'd go on TV and urge people to buy pork. Pork sales were way down after the Babe movies, Mr. Noir. People didn't want to eat the hindquarters of an animal who cared so much and talked in a little teeny voice.

GK: And I take it the pig has made a break for it?

SS: He was at the party, he was having a glass of Chardonnay and some celery with cream cheese and the next time I turned around, he was gone.

GK: I see.

SS: We're willing to pay anything to get him back. And there might be.... .other forms of compensation. (MUSIC AND KISSING SOUNDS)

GK: She leaned down and put her lips on mine as if she were trying to guess the specific gravity of my tongue. (POP OF KISS)

SS: Please call me the minute you find Bob I'll be... ever so grateful. (BRIDGE)

GK: She told me that most of Bob's DNA came from Iowa State University in Ames, so I headed for the airport, stopping by Danny's Deli to pick up my sandwich.

FN: (DANNY) There you go Mr. Noir. (PAPER UNWRAPPING) Now you're probably thinking, "How does liverwurst get that olive loaf appearance?"

GK: This doesn't look like seven grain bread to me, Danny.

FN: (DANNY) Turn it over. Look at the other side. I stuck some rye seeds in. Eight of em. And some bran flakes. (BRIDGE)

SS (NARRATOR): Meanwhile, as Guy Noir flew south, just outside of Ames, two tired old cowboys drove a herd of mangy cattle toward the town of Yellow Creek. (OUTDOOR AMBIENCE, CATTLE, HORSES, HOOVES, LOW)

TR (DUSTY): I plumb forgot how monotonous western Iowa is, Lefty. Not that eastern Iowa is any scenic wonder either. But if it weren't for the fact that this saddle is pinching my gonads, I'd be asleep right now.

GK (LEFTY): Speaking of that, they do a lot with animal genetics here at Iowa State----

TR (DUSTY): I don't think they'd be interested in this herd, pardner. You put this herd into the gene pool, and the whole species will start sinking like a rock.

GK (LEFTY): You're probably right. Only place for these cows is at the Mid-America Fast Food Production Facility up in Yellow Creek.

TR (DUSTY): From whence the name.

GK (LEFTY): Scares it right out of them.

TR (DUSTY): We just run em down the chute and into the big propellers and in ten seconds they're ground meat or whatever you care to call it. And they use the hooves to make the milkshakes.

GK (LEFTY): (HORSE WHINNIES, AND SHIES) Easy, easy ---- wasn't talking about you, Evelyn. (COW MOO) Or you, Eloise..


TR (DUSTY): Genetics, huh. Interesting field. Did I ever tell you that I'm related to Dr. Joyce Brothers on my mother's side?

GK (LEFTY): No. Hey---- Dusty. Whoa. Whoa. (HORSE WHINNY, HOOVES STOP)

TR (DUSTY) Whoa.....whoa. Easy. ---- What's the problem?

GK (LEFTY): Lookit up there.

TR (DUSTY): Up where?

GK (LEFTY): Up in the middle of the herd. Trying to crouch down and stay hid.

TR (DUSTY): What is it?

GK (LEFTY): Hey, you! Get outta there. No pigs in this herd ---- The Hormel Company is up the road. That way. Try them. (PIG TROTS BACK TO THEM, MUTTERING AND STOPS)

FN (PIG): Please. Let me go as far as Ames. Please.

TR (DUSTY): One of the cows is a ventriloquist --------??

GK (LEFTY): We ain't going to Ames. Just as far as Yellow Creek.

FN (PIG): Please. I'm begging you. On bended knee. It's a pig's prayer.

GK (LEFTY): Well---- I donno. How'd you learn to talk anyway?

FN (PIG): If you were raised by a beautiful lady scientist, you'd learn to talk too.

TR (DUSTY): How about he rides with as far as the Rusted Nut Saloon up ahead?

GK (LEFTY): Okay. But then we're going to have to talk about it.

FN (PIGS): My heartfelt thanks. (BRIDGE)

SS: Meanwhile, a few miles up the road, in the genetics department at Iowa State University (VARIOUS SMALL ANIMAL SOUNDS, UPROAR)

GK (NOIR): So the pig hasn't shown up here, I take it, Dr. Splice?

TR (PROF): No reason he would, Mr. Noir. There is no clear tie between this pig and Iowa State. We would never be part of such a thing. Unethical, if you ask me. What if he ran for public office?

GK: Well, if he shows up, I'll be at the Pistil & Stamen Motel. Out by the cloverleaf.

TR: (PROF) How would a pig, even a talking pig, get from Minneapolis to Ames, Iowa?

GK: Maybe he flew.

TR (PROF): But he'd be noticed.

GK: In first class, not necessarily (STING, BRIDGE)

SS: Meanwhile, just west of Ames, in the town of Yellow Creek----- (OUTDOOR AMBIENCE, COWS, HORSES, HOOVES)

GK (LEFTY): Whoa---- whoa---- (WHINNY) Easy. Easy. (HOOVES STOP, SOME ANIMAL MILLING) Here we are at the Rusted Nut---you care for a libation, Bob?

FN: (PIG) I'd love a big bucket of creme de cacao. (COW MOO IN PAIN)

GK (LEFTY): Easy, easy. Has nothing to do with you. (MOO) Don't get your tail in your crack over it.

TR (DUSTY): This here is a cowboy/farmer type saloon, Bob. Not sure if they got creme de cacao on the dance card. For pigs, maybe you'd want to order a glass of stout. Or Bourdeax. Get it? Boar-doe. Might have a nice wine too ---- a nice Alsace swine. (PAUSE) You get it?

GK (LEFTY): We got it.

FN (PIG): I don't even know why I'm attracted to Iowa. All I know is that I'm not going to become a spokespig and betray my own flesh and blood and sell them---- as somebody's dinner!

GK (LEFTY): If you were thinking you smelled barbecue sauce on us, Bob, that was from barbecued chicken. Just want you to know. Tofu chicken.

FN (PIG): And it's not just pigs. It's all animal exploitation. Cows, lambs --- did you know it takes five sheep to make one sweater?

TR (DUSTY): No kiddin'. I didn't even know they could knit.

FN (PIG): But that's not entirely why I'm running away. It's also because ---- I'm in love.

GK (LEFTY): With a pig?

FN (PIG): No. With the most beautiful woman who was ever poured into a black velvet dress and forgot to say When.


TR (DUSTY): Here. Let's sit around the corner where the light isn't so bright.



SS: Yeah. What can I get you?

TR (DUSTY): Glass of rotgut whiskey here.

GK: Glass of Chardonnay for me, ma'am.

SS: What is that?

GK: Wine.

SS: Screwtop or cork?

GK: Cork.

SS: We only got screwtop.

GK: Okay. Gimme your Thunderbird. A 61.

SS: Only got new Thunderbird. No used.

GK: Okay, fine.

SS: And you, Shorty?

FN (PIG): I'd like a Manhattan.

SS: You got a picture ID on you?

FN (PIG): I don't.

SS: Can't serve you then.

GK: How about you bring me a Manhattan and a gently used Thunderbird.

SS: Okay. Whatever. (FOOTSTEPS OFF)

GK: So how do you know about a Manhattan, Bob?

FN (PIG): That's what she drank. The woman of my dreams.

TR (DUSTY): Well, a woman is like a bad cold. You wait awhile and another one will come along.

FN (PIG): She was everything to me, and then---- she broke my heart.

GK: How'd that happen?

FN (PIG): Until she told me, I never knew that I was a pig. I just figured I was a bald guy with a thyroid problem. (BRIDGE)


TR (IOWA): You looking for me then?

GK: No, I'm looking for a pig.

TR (IOWA): Well, we got a thousand head here. Take your pick. (BRIDGE)

SS (NARRATOR): A few hours later in the Rusted Nut Saloon in Yellow Creek----

TR: (DRUNKEN DUSTY) You're a pal, you know that, Bob? You're my pal. You can ride with us anytime you like. You mind if I put my arm around you? That's how I feel about you, Bob. You're a pal. (FOOT STOMPS APPROACH AND STOP)

FN (GUNMAN): Get your arm from around that pig, mister. This is Iowa. It ain't Arkansas. You can't bring that sort of thing in here. Even a bunch of drunken idiots have their standards.

GK (LEFTY): This pig can talk, mister.

FN (GUNMAN): Sure. And I'm Maria Callas.

GK (LEFTY): Talk, Bob. Tell him. Bob. Bob? Speak. Don't make a liar of me---- Bob?

TR (DUSTY): Come on, ya little porker ----- open your yap or there's gonna be bacon for breakfast.

GK (LEFTY): Just say your name. Say Bob.

FN (GUNMAN): You see this here Colt revolver? (CLICK OF HAMMER) You get your arm off that pig or I'm gonna cut you a new throat. (PAUSE) That's better. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

GK (LEFTY): How come you didn't talk, Bob?

FN (PIG): I'm tired of English as a second language. I'm a pig. And from now on, I'm going to act like one.

GK (LEFTY): Act like a pig, huh?

TR (DUSTY): Sounds good to me.. (BRIDGE)

TR (JIMMY): Wow, that's some story, Guy. So you found the pig?

GK (NOIR): He was standing beside the road holding up a cardboard sign that said, "Iowa City".

TR (JIMMY): And people didn't notice?

GK: I think where Iowa City is concerned, people expect a certain deviation from the norm.

TR (JIMMY): So you gave him a ride?

GK: Took him to an organic truck farm run by vegetarians. So he's safe there. Speaking of vegetables, how about you make me a very dry Martini with a soybean.

TR (JIMMY): Coming right up. (MARTINI SFX SEQUENCE: POURING. SHAKING, POURING.) I'll bet those vegetarians were amazed.

GK: By what?

TR (JIMMY): A talking pig.

GK: He decided not to talk anymore.

TR (JIMMY): Why?

GK: Said he'd never had an interesting conversation so what was the point?

TR (JIMMY): But it must've taken him a long time to learn.

GK: Well. What's time to a pig?

TR: (JIMMY) Good point. What about Sarah Tonin?

GK: The woman of my dreams. She kissed like a vacuum cleaner.
And she had all the right attachments.

TR (JIMMY): I saw her on TV this morning with a singing dog.

GK: And?

TR (JIMMY): Not that good a singer. Certainly no competition to the Pointer Sisters. ---- Or Snoop Doggy Dog. Anyway, here's your martini.

GK: Thanks.

TR (JIMMY): How is it?

GK: Not as dry as I'd like, but-----.

TR (JIMMY): Not dry enough????

GK: You poured the vermouth into the gin, Jimmy. You're supposed to swallow the vermouth and then breath on the gin.

TR (JIMMY): Sorry. I forgot. (THEME)

SS: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But high above the quiet streets 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.

© Garrison Keillor 2002