(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott; TR: Tim Russell; TK: Tom Keith)
(THREE BIG CHORDS)
(RING AT OTHER END. PICK UP)
SS: (QUIET WOMAN) Yes?
GK: Miss Hooper?
SS (ON PHONE): Yes.
GK: I'm sorry to bother you at home. We met a few years ago, at the National Endowment for the Arts conference on "Farmyard As Visual Vocabulary"? I'm the collage artist? From Hubbard Falls?
SS (ON PHONE): You're a what artist?
GK: Collage artist.
SS (ON PHONE): Were you the one with the brilliant peroxided hair and the crimson cape and the red glasses?
GK: No, I was the one in the green plaid sportcoat and white shirt with little anchors on it---- Brown hair. Sort of medium build. Hornrim glasses.
SS (ON PHONE): Oh. I'm afraid I don't remember you. Sorry.
GK: Oh. Okay. (THEME)
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.
(DISHES BEING CLEARED FROM THE TABLE)
SS: You care for more of the Spam casserole, Bob? I made it special for you.
GK: I already had a big helping, Berniece.
SS: Still plenty left. Go ahead. Shovel some more on your plate. Pops?
TR: Don't mind if I do. (BIG SCOOP OF VISCOUS FOOD AND PLOP ON PLATE) Me and Rex, we love food that don't take so much chewing, ain't that right, boy? (DOG PANTING, JINGLE OF COLLAR, FOOT TAPPING ON FLOOR)
SS: How about you, Arlen? Seconds.
TK: Oh---- okay. Bend my arm, wouldya. (BIG SCOOP) Talked me into it, Berniece. (PLOP OF FOOD ON PLATE)
SS: Least we can do is feed ya right, after all you've done for us.
TR: Boy, that's for darned sure.
TK: Aw, it's nuthin. Glad to do it.
SS: Getting the furnace goin again and fixin the combinations and everything.
TK: Heck, it's nuthin.
SS: Well, we appreciate it. It lets Bob focus on his art and be just totally consecrated to it----
TR: Well, if he's constipated, he oughta eat more Spam.
GK: She said "consecrated"---
TR: Have it your way.
GK: I'm going for a walk. I need to get out of here.
SS: Want me to make you a sandwich to take with?
SS: You could carry it in your pocket---
GK: I said, no.
SS: Little Spam sandwich.
GK: Berniece, please. Stop trying to stuff food into me. I am not a hog.
TR: No comment! (MUSIC BRIDGE)
GK: What's wrong with me?
(KNOCKS, DOOR OPEN))
TR (INDIAN): Come in---- (FOOTSTEPS) ---- My goodness. Welcome. Please have a seat. Yes, indeed.
GK: Thank you, Dr. Ramanarayamapindi. I saw your sign. "Psychologist. Counselling. Walk-Ins Accepted."
TR (INDIAN): Yes, very good, walking in, yes I accept that. Oh yes. And I remember you. Oh my yes. I remember you very much. You are the mechanic at the Chevrolet garage, are you not? Oh yes. I see you many many times. Fixing cars and putting the gasoline in them.
GK: Actually, I'm an artist, Dr. Ramanarayamapindi. Not that it's important, but that's what I do.
TR (INDIAN): Oh yes. Goodness, yes. Artist. I raise my hand in salute to you and to your art. Oh yes.
GK: I've come to see you about a problem, Dr. Ramanarayamapindi. If you have a moment.
TR (INDIAN): Oh yes. My goodness yes. I have many many moments. Oh yes, yes. Life is made up of moments. Many moments.
GK: I do collage. That's my form. Different things brought into a relationship with each other, a cross-fertilization sort of thing.
TR (INDIAN): Oh my yes. Fertilizer very very important. Goodness yes. What would we do without the fertilizer? Oh my yes.
GK: And in a way it demands a sort of selflessness, art does ---- one is a conduit, in a way----
TR (INDIAN): Conduit. Oh yes. The sacred pipeline. The bringing of one thing from one place to another. Oh my yes.
GK: Would you do me a favor, Dr. Ramanarayamapindi? Could you please just shut up until I tell you what I came in for? Okay?
TR (INDIAN): You would like me to shut up now?
TR (INDIAN): Yes. Very very good. Here I am zipping my mouth with the zipper of silence and I am locking it shut with the little key and now I am putting the key in my pocket until it is my turn to talk.
TR (INDIAN): And now I put up the bunny ears of listening, which means that I listen to you and to all that you have to say to me.
GK: Thank you.
TR (INDIAN): All that you have to say is very very important to me, oh my yes. That is what the bunny ears mean.
GK: Yes, I know that.
TR (INDIAN): Please talk now. The doctor is listening to all that you have to say. Oh yes. Yes, indeed.
GK: Thank you.
TR (INDIAN): I will be quiet until you tell me to talk. Then I will talk. But now I am quiet.
GK: I appreciate that.
TR (INDIAN): I will observe your wishes in the matter.
GK: Thank you. Dr. Ramanarayamapindi, I'm an artist, and sort of middle-aged, which I never expected to happen to me, and I'm just feeling, you know, like what have I done with my life? I need to make a change or something. I just feel like I'm in a rut. I dreamed of going to New York once and I didn't because I wasn't sure that people in New York would think that I was an artist and people in Hubbard Falls did, so I stayed here to be an artist and do my art and now I've become, I don't know what, sort of a piece of furniture, taken for granted, I mean, people don't even seem to realize that I'm around and --- (SNORING) Dr. Ramanarayamapindi? (SNORING) Oh no! Not even therapists find me of interest---- (MUSIC)
GK: Mrs. Chumley?
SS: Oh. Bob! How are you?
GK: I'm not well.
SS: I'm sorry to hear that.
GK: I'll come right to the point, Mrs. Chumley. I hear that you bought a collage by David Sweezo for your house.
SS: Oh. Yes. I have it up in the living room. Lovely thing.
GK: I've seen it.
SS: I had to move your collage because it didn't go with my sofa. I put yours in the family room.
GK: That's what I heard.
SS: I got a new dark green sofa and your collage was mostly oranges and yellows.
GK: There were some oranges but there were also a lot of greens.
SS: Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Bob. You know that.
GK: I do not. Beauty is in the stuff you're looking at, Mrs. Chumley.
And it's not in David Sweezo's stuff. (MUSIC)
SS: I made a nice cheese broccoli soup for you, Bob.
GK: Later, Berniece. Not now.
SS: Are you still upset over that thing by David Sweezo?
GK: I am.
TR (POPS): What are you talking about?
GK: David Sweezo.
TR (POPS): Well, Gesundheit----
SS: What do you have against his work, Bob?
GK: Berniece, there is an inner tension in collage, a balance of content and form, an interplay----
TR (POPS): Who's performing in a tent?
GK: I said, content and form!
TR (POPS): If you're putting on a show in a tent, don't forget about Rex. (WOOFS, PANTING, COLLAR JINGLE, BACK FOOT) He's the smartest dog I know. Smarter than most people.
(PHONE RING) (PICK UP)
SS: Hello----- Who? --------- Oh. --------- Okay. I'll see if he's here. (WHISPER) It's somebody from the New York Times. For you, Bob.
GK: For me? Oh. I can't believe it. Tell him I'll be right there. Berniece, hold the phone. Don't hang up. Don't hang up. I'm going in the studio and I'll pick up there and when I do, you hang up. Okay? Berniece? What are you going to do when I pick up the phone?
SS: I'm going to hang up.
GK: Good. Okay. One second----
TR (POPS): If it's the New York Times, ask em why they don't run the comics. Big mistake.
GK: Be quiet. Oh Lord. (WOOFS) Shut up. (SNARLS) Down, Rex. Down. Don't let him grab the phone cord!
GK: Hello? Hello? He unplugged the phone.
SS: Take it easy, Bob. Don't get all riled.
GK: Don't get all riled!
TR (POPS): Don't get your undies in a bunch.
GK: The most important phone call in my life and I'm supposed to stay calm. In all America, there is one newspaper whose reviews mean something and that's the New York Times. They're the Pravda of the art world. They called me and your dog sent them away. (PHONE RING) Oh my gosh. (WOOFS) Get that dog away from the phone.
TR (POPS): How do you know it ain't for him? Could be the obedience school.
GK: I'm going to answer it and when I do I want everyone to shut up. (RING) (WOOFS) Shut up. Just shut up. (PICK UP) (DEEP BREATH) Mesabi Collage Productions. Bob, speaking. ---- Oh. Hello Arlen. Yes. She's here. For you, Berniece.
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