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


TR (ANNC): Once again, Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow Family of Automotive Products presents....The Story of Bob, A Young Artist....starring Carson Wyler as Bob, and written by Sara Bellum.


SS: You care for more of the tuna loaf, Bob? I made it special for you.

GK: I'm not hungry, Berniece.

SS: I put those miniature onion rings on top. And the cream of mushroom sauce.

GK: No thanks.

SS: You only had a little tiny spoonful.

GK: I'm fine.

SS: I swear you don't eat enough to keep a bird alive----

TR: All the more for Rex and me, right, boy? (DOG PANTING, JINGLE OF COLLAR, FOOT TAPPING ON FLOOR) How many onion rings you want, Rex? Count em off! (DOG BARKS FOUR TIMES) Okay. There you go. Four big ones. (DOG SNARFLING FOOD, JINGLE OF COLLAR)

SS: It just worries me sick that you don't eat, Bob.
GK: I think that a collage artist like myself should be on the slender side. ---- Oh my gosh. It's almost noon. I'm supposed to meet Mrs. Chumley at the Women's Club in two minutes. (OFF) Where are my car keys? Berniece----- the car keys--- Oh why can't I find things. (MUSIC BRIDGE)

SS: Why--- Hello, Bob. (TWO AIR KISSES)

GK: Mrs. Chumley. What a delight. I love that navy blue suit and the corsage goes so well with the precious gems on your eyeglass frames.

SS: Thank you, Bob. You have such an eye for visual detail.

GK: Well, I'm a collage artist. Beauty is my vocabulary.

SS: Speaking of collage, that sound collage that David did for the Arts Fete was an absolute triumph. We're still walking on air. Did you like it?

GK: You mean all those taped whispers and squeaks and honks and tonalities?

SS: Yes. David's collage. Wasn't it marvelous?

GK: In a way, yes. And it reminded me of the piece I did two years ago for the millennium. Remember? You commissioned it.

SS: Really?

GK: The one entitled "Beginnings Are Endings Are Beginnings"?

SS: Oh. Well, I'm sure it was very nice. People have been flocking to experience David's collage all the way from Hooper and Wandatonda. I've heard that it may be reviewed in the New York Times itself.

GK: I'm very excited about a new collage I'm working on ---- both sound and light collage ----- with found objects ----

SS: Oh. Well---

GK: It's very much "of the moment" ----or au courant bon temps, as the French would say ---- and I'd love to make a working model for you-

SS: Maybe when all the excitement over David's collage quiets down a little, we could discuss it. It's so exciting. If the Times reviews it, Hubbard Falls will be known as a CULTURAL MECCA. We won't be just the "Pumpkin Capital" anymore.

GK: Mrs. Chumley, there's something we need to talk about----

SS: I have a big favor to ask of you, Bob. I know you take photographs.

GK: Only as an element of a collage ----

SS: I need someone to do a portrait of David.

GK: Oh?

SS: We're giving him our Artist of the Year Award, you know.

GK: I didn't know that.

SS: He is so talented.

GK: Very ambitious, yes.

SS: His work just speaks to me.----

GK: Yes, it says certain things to me, too.

SS: Would you do me a personal favor, Bob? Take a camera and photograph David in a way that captures his essence --- his Davidness.(MUSIC BRIDGE, PASSAGE OF TIME)

GK: Almost ready, Dave----

TR: What's taking you so long? Take the stupid picture. It's cold sitting here with my shirt off. --- Why do I have my shirt off, by the way?

GK: Vulnerability.

TR: You've got me sitting hunched under this ledge, it gives me floppy little breasts. And why the candles and the stuffed bird? This is so weird.

GK: It's beautiful. You look fantastic. Just hold the flowers a little lower. You're going to be so amazed. ----

TR: I feel stupid sitting like this. With these goggles on.

GK: That's the beauty of it. It says that because you're an artist, you're operating on a whole other aesthetic.

TR: Just a minute. Hold on. (HE SNIFFS) ---- hey, not with my (CAMERA CLICK) finger in my nose! (MUSIC, PASSAGE OF TIME)

SS: The photograph you made of David---- it was ----

GK: It was a whole new side of him, wasn't it. He got very excited when I gave him a print.

SS: But--- shirtless? With those aviator goggles and a stuffed crow and holding a bouquet of dead flowers, and his finger in his nose?

GK: A picture like that, you really need to live with it for awhile. Really. It brings out so many new things. Just look at it for a month and then decide how you feel about it----(MUSIC BRIDGE)
SS (BERNIECE): What are you working so hard on in your studio, Bob? You've been locked in there for hours!
GK: Just another collage, Berniece.

TR (POPS): What? You're going to college? What college around here gives an M.F.A. in junk?

GK: Collage. I'm not going to college.

TR (POPS): That's what I just said. Oh by the way, they had a review of your show in the paper, Bob----

GK: Really? Where?

TR (POPS): In the obituary section. Ha ha ha ha ha. (HE WHEEZES)(WOOFS) You have to go outside and go potty, Rex? (WOOFS) Number One or Number Two? (TWO WOOFS) Smart dog. I taught him that myself.

GK: Excuse me, I'm going in my studio and get back to work. (FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS. SOME TRASH IS MOVED. PAUSE) People say that collage is dead, but I don't believe that and neither does Robert Rauschenberg. (TRASH, MOVING) I believe that the best is yet to come. I just have to make sure that when the New York Times discovers the nouveau-collage movement and declares it the newest new thing, they don't mention David Sweezo. Maybe I should call Rauschenberg. I waited on his table that time. We spoke. It was eleven years ago, but he's an artist, he'd remember.


TR (ANNC): THE STORY OF BOB, A YOUNG ARTIST....was brought to you by Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow Family of automotive products.(MUSIC UP AND OUT)

© Garrison Keillor 2002