(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott; TR: Tim Russell; TK: Tom Keith)

GK:.....brought to you by Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie...

You wake up in the morning and the weather forecast (TK VOICE ON RADIO) is for a high in the 60s under sunny skies (TR: Yes! Yes! Yes!!) and you feel alive again (TR TARZAN) ) until you remember (TR: Oh no.) -- you have to give a speech this morning (TR: GROAN), a speech to the annual conference of the American Society of Critics (TR ANXIETY), a speech called "Maintaining The Invisible Wall" and the thought of it terrifies you --- a speech to a bunch of professional grumps --- and you jump in your big red Lamborghini (POWERFUL CAR REV AND ACCEL) and you race toward the Tostada Inn where the conference is and suddenly the warning light goes on (BUZZER) and the indicator on the control panel says.......(TR: Steep cliff straight ahead?????) (LONG SCREECH OF TIRES) and you hit the brakes and the car skids and the left wheels go over the cliff (TR TERROR) and the car hangs there on the precipice (CREAKING) and you look out your window (TR GASP) straight down three thousand feet (WIND OF WIDE OPEN SPACE), a three thousand foot sheer drop, a very dramatic sight in a prairie state like Minnesota ---- (SLOW GRINDING, GRAVELLY SOUND), and now you feel your car sliding over the edge and you jump out the passenger side (DOOR OPEN, TR PANIC, FAST FOOTSTEPS) just as the car rolls (CAR ROLLING SEQUENCE) end over end over end over end and crashes on the rocks below (EXPLOSION), terrifying a family of mergansers (DUCKS PANIC, WINGS) and also toppling a 200-foot sequoia (SLOW CRACKING AND FALL), also rare for Minnesota. (TR: The only sequoia in the Midwest and I just destroyed it! Oh my gosh! I'll have to quit the Sierra Club!) And then you hear (SIREN APPROACHING. TR: Oh oh.) (CAR STOPS. SIREN STOPS.) the DNR Swat Team---- it's Ranger Dave ---- his bow drawn, an arrow in his hand----

TK (SGT): Okay, clown. Hands in the air. One false move and you're going to be chicken on a stick.

GK: And you're taken to the DNR internment center where the forest rangers hold people like you who are careless with the environment. (TK: In there, clown. (SLAM STEEL DOOR) You're in a dark room. (LOW SNARL) With two coyotes. (TR: Oh no.) And a giant condor. (CONDOR, TR SHUDDER OF ALARM) And bats flying around your head. (BATS) Looking for a way to get into your hair (BATS), which in your case is quite a challenge for them. You spend a terrifying hour in there (SNARL) with those bright red condor eyes looking at you (CONDOR) and bats buzzing your head (BATS) but then they let you go (TK: Beat it, clown.) and put you out on the street and ---- darn it, the internment center is right next door to the Tostada Inn ---- (SS: I'm Jessica, with the Critics Society. I've been looking for you. Your suit, by the way, is hideous.) and she takes you into the green room and you can hear the master of ceremonies introducing you (TK JOWLY P.A.) (TR: Excuse me. Ma'am?) (SS: Yeah? What is it, fishface?) (TR: Do I have time to go to the men's room and wipe this coyote saliva off my shoes?) (SS: Doesn't matter. In fifteen seconds you're going to be dog meat anyway) You toss down a tranquilizer (TR GULP) and you walk onstage (SLOW FOOTSTEPS) which you can't help but notice is a high wooden platform with a big trap door behind the podium ---- (TR: And what's the rope for, I wonder?) You make your way to the podium (SLOW FOOTSTEPS) in utter silence. Three thousand American critics and reviewers sit there glowering at you (SS & TK DISDAINFUL WHISPERING AND SNORTING) and getting out their pencils and sharpening them with their teeth (WOOD GRINDING) and staring at you (BREATHING), their arms crossed, all of them wearing gray and black, no other colors, and you ----- (TR: Why did I wear this red checked suit? This green polka-dot shirt???) ---- you're dripping with flop sweat and you reach into your pocket for your speech about the invisible wall and (TR INTAKE OF BREATH) suddenly you remember ---- (TR: The back of the toilet!) you left it on the back of the toilet ---- and you force a smile (TR: Hi. How're you all doin? Having a good time? Heh heh heh heh.) And somebody heaves a tomato (SPLAT) and (SPLATS) some rotten eggs and more tomatoes (SPLATS) and (CAT YOWL) somebody throws a cat up there and (CHICKENS) a couple chickens and you reach for a hanky and (PIGEON)...
...there is a pigeon in your pocket, and you take it in your hand and it winks at you (PIGEON) and it flies (WING FLAPS) out over the critics and reviewers and circles twice (WINGS) and leaves a few critical comments of its own and out the door it goes (WINGS) and you follow it out the door (FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL) and there is a flock of sheep (SHEEP) and a bagpiper (BAGPIPE) and several lords a-leaping (LORDS) and a flamingo (BIRD) and a boy in a blue velvet suit playing a penny whistle (PENNY WHISTLE), it's spring, yes, it's spring (ROOSTER) and spring means rhubarb, Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie. Yes, Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie.

But one little thing can revive a guy,
And that is home-made rhubarb pie.
Serve it up, nice and hot.
Maybe things aren't as bad as you thought.

Mama's little baby loves rhubarb, rhubarb,
Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie.
Mama's little baby loves rhubarb, rhubarb,
Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie.

© Garrison Keillor 2002