TR A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but 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. (MUSIC DOWN)
GK: It was April in Minnesota and time for the annual spring crime wave. Minnesotans are nice people when you put a 20-pound parka on their backs and put em on ice and throw snow in their face, but the moment they warm up and get traction and there's bushes to hide behind, they revert to their natural lawlessness. I got a call from my old pal Captain McQueeg, Duluth P.D.
TR (ON PHONE, KIRKLIKE): I could use your help, Guy. It's those Canadians again.
GK: They smuggling their bacon over the border again?
TR (ON PHONE): No, it's drugs. Drugs for seniors. (BRIDGE)
GK: Those wily and rapacious Canadians. When will they ever learn-----I headed for Duluth to Captain McQueeg's office. Where a beautiful woman was waiting outside his door.
SS: Oh. Hi. ---- How are you?
GK: Not bad, after seeing her. She was tall, blonde, in jeans that looked sprayed on and a T-shirt so tight I could study her bone structure. I could see she wasn't from Duluth. There were no chinstrap marks on her neck, her hair hadn't been deformed by stocking caps, she didn't have that roll of fat around her middle ----- her midriff was as tight as the cap on a pickle jar.
SS: I'm from Dallas, Texas, Mr. Noir. Big d, little a, double l, a, s. Dallas. My name is Aurora Edlund and I've come north in search of my grandpa. The rest of us moved to Texas years ago but Gramps stayed because he's Swedish and he made his fortune here. Grandpa owns the biggest pickled herring company in America. And he's organizing the President's re-election campaign on the Iron Range. He opened an office in Chisholm.
GK: A brave man.
SS: I'm worried about him.
GK: Yes. The Iron Range is kind of a Democratic stronghold. Like the Vatican is sort of Catholic. The Iron Range once elected a springer spaniel to Congress. He was a Democrat. Couldn't talk but with a Democrat you're sort of grateful for that. The dog did well in Congress. Had a perfect attendance record. Too bad he had a gambling problem.
GK: He was a compulsive poker player. And when he got a good hand he always wagged his tail. Lost everything he had. -----And just then Captain McQueeg appeared----
TR (KIRK): This young lady is looking for her grandfather, Guy. He's a herring tycoon named Edlund. Maybe you can help.
GK: She said he opened a Republican campaign office in Chisholm.
TR (KIRK): He did but it was closed by a mob. They covered it with graffiti. Like "Billions of Whoppers told".
SS: Is Gramps okay?
TR (KIRK): We don't know. We've got our hands full trying to control this flood of Canadians coming in with their drugs. You see, all because of knee-jerk liberals, the border with Canada is defended by a couple dozen agents with BB guns and a few caribou with radio transmitters-----
GK: You're guarding our border with caribou-----
TR (KIRK): These are specially trained drug-sniffing caribou----- We call them the Caribou that care 'bout you--
TR (KIRK): And they're finding Claritin, Pravachol, Zoloft, Viagra-you name it. Plus Canadians infiltrating our way of life with their socialized medicine and their wimpy foreign policy
GK: Well, I can't worry about that ---- I just want to help this woman find her grandfather ----- and just then I saw a shadow at the window. (FOOTSTEPS, RUSTLE OF BLINDS) ---- Hey you------ (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) I gave chase. (FOOTSTEPS RUNNING, HARD BREATHING) He disappeared in the alley, but then I saw him behind the garbage cans and I got out my peashooter and I popped him one on the schnozzle and cooled him off for a moment.(KONK, TR OHHHHH, FALLS TO FLOOR) You're lucky I didn't fill you with daylight, ya big palooka. Get up. (TR GROAN) ----- Who are you and what were you doing at that window? Answer me.
GK: Canadian, huh? I can't stand bilingual people. There's just something sneaky about it. Speak English.
TR (FRENCH): Pardon, monsieur. Whenever I am hit hard on the head, the French comes out of me.
GK: Yeah, well, take your bacon back home where it belongs. We eat our bacon in strips in this country. Bologna is round, and salami, not bacon ---- you got it? (TR FRENCH) Hey, wait a minute----- what's this?
TR (FRENCH): What's what?
GK: (HE SNATCHES A PIECE OF PAPER) This map in your hand. A map of Waco, Texas----- what's that about?
TR (FRENCH): Listen, I got all the medications you want. In the truck. I got everything. I got Cummidin. You want some?
GK: Cummidin! I don't have heart problems! (STING) But I did. And her name was Aurora. The beauty from Dallas. I ran into her in the Duluth Public Library where I'd gone to do some research (LIBRARY AMBIENCE)
SS: Mr. Noir-----
GK: Oh. It's you. Aurora. You surprised me.
SS: I came to the library to do a Google search on your name, Mr. Noir. And I find that you're a famous private eye. And I've been reading this story about you, called "The Big Lake". -- "I jammed the roscoe right where the rib was that God made woman from and I said, 'Shut your yap, ya big bohunk, or I'll start squirting hot lead.'" ----- Wow.
GK: You like that, huh?
SS: You're so strong.
SS: You're so----- so----- what's the word I'm trying to think of?
SS: Virile! Right. You're terribly virile. And the way you take that woman in your arms. The one with the jeans so tight you could read the embroidery on her underwear.
GK: Do you have embroidery on your underwear, Aurora?
SS: I believe I do. (BRIDGE)
GK: I convinced her to take a drive with me out to Park Point and just as we were headed for Lovers Lane (PROPELLER PLANE COMING IN LOW) a plane came in low overhead.
SS: He's heading for the airstrip! And.look---- a maple leaf on the fuselage.
GK: What are we waiting for? (CAR ACCELERATES) -----We got to the airport just as the pilot was tossing a duffel bag in the backseat of a Volvo station wagon. (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) Hey---- (CAR STARTS, PULLS AWAY) (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, BREATHING HARD) So I had to shoot out a perfectly good pair of snowtires. (TWO SHOTS, TIRES POP, CAR SKIDS AND STOPS) (FOOTSTEPS) Out of the car, mister. And put your hands on the roof. Spread em.
TR (CANADIAN): Let me tell you what this is aboot, Mr. Noir.
GK: Yeah, I'll give you a boot you'll remember. Go back to Saskatchewan. And take your bacon with you. And your pharmaceuticals. Or I'll be fitting you for a Chicago overcoat,
SS: A Chicago overcoat?
GK: A coffin. ---- Where're you heading, frostback? As if I didn't know.
TR (CANADIAN): I don't know what you're talking aboot.
GK: And what's this? (HE SNATCHES PAPER) It was a map. A map of Duluth. With a big red X on Spirit Mountain. Let's go, Aurora.
SS: What about him?
GK: What about him? Imagine living in a country that gets colder than Duluth. Punishment enough, if you ask me. (FAST FOOTSTEPS, CAR START, PULL AWAY) (BRIDGE) We headed for Spirit Mountain and on the way, sure enough, we met cars swerving all over the road driven by senior citizens (CAR APPROACHING, HORN, SWERVES, BRAKES) ----- we've got to get there before somebody gets hurt, Aurora-----
SS: I'm worried about Gramps.
GK: Hand me the blower, kitten.
SS: The what?
GK: The blower. The cellphone.
SS: Oh. Here.
GK: Thanks. (DIAL CELLPHONE) (RING AT OTHER END) (PICKUP AT OTHER END, FEMALE VOICE) Hello? Duluth News Tribune? (FEMALE VOICE) Give me the city desk. (FEMALE VOICE) This is the city desk---- okay. Sorry. Listen----- I need to know something------ is there a public event scheduled today for Spirit Mountain? (FEMALE VOICE) An A.A.R.P. rally, huh. Just as I thought. Okay, thanks. (HANG UP) (BRIDGE) We got to the top of Spirit Mountain and sure enough, the place was jammed with geezers. (MURMURS OF OLDSTERS) Geezers in tie-dye with Grateful Dead stickers on their walkers.
TR (OLD): (SINGING) I get by with a little help from Depends----
GK: Old people walking around stoned out of their minds.
SS (OLD): Today is the first day of something, I forget what---
TR (OLD): The rest of your life!
SS (OLD): What?
TR (OLD): It's the first day of the rest of your life!
SS (OLD): Arrested for what?
TR (OLD): Here, have some more acid, maybe it'll improve your hearing----
SS (OLD): The Who is here?
TR (OLD): How should I know?
SS: What's going on, Mr. Noir?
GK: It's an ugly thing, Aurora. Senior citizens getting cheap drugs from Canada. Psychedelic arthritis tablets. Blood pressure pills laced with hashish. Geezers on speed, remembering their glory days. Hey, look ----- it's Bob Dylan.
SS: Wow. He looks just like he does in the Victoria's Secret commercials.
GK: How's that?
RD (DYLAN) If you're going to the North Country fair
Where spring doesn't come til the first of May.
Remember me to one who lived there
Tell her why I moved away.
SS: Oh! It's Gramps! Gramps! Over here!
GK: There was her grandfather, sitting on a stump, looking out over the Lake. (TR SWEDISH)
SS: It's me, Gramps. Aurora. I've come to take you back to Texas. (TR SWEDISH)
GK: He's forgotten English because he's on drugs, Aurora. (SWEDISH) Luckily I remember some Swedish from when I spent a week in the Virgin Islands with Anita Ekdahl. (SWEDISH, SLOW) He says he's going to stay here, Aurora. Because the smelt are running.
SS: What are smelt?
GK: Little fish. Quite tasty. They come in from the lake to lay their eggs in the streams and you bring them up with dipnets. You can get a couple hundred pounds of smelt just wading out in hipboots. (SWEDISH SLOWING, THEN SNORING) He's dreaming of smelt.
SS: I better head back to Texas with him.
GK: Texas? Why would somebody spend summer in Texas who could spend it in Duluth, kiddo? This is paradise. Listen---- (LOONS) that's the loon, the Minnesota state bird. They're breeding out on the lakes. (LOONS) Either that or they're just high on life. Listen to the wind in the spruce trees. (WIND) Smell that lake smell. Look at this magnificent city. Big D, little u, l-u-t-h. Nowhere like it in the world, Aurora.
SS: But I like it in Dallas.
GK: Aurora, to spend July and August in Texas is to understand why Texans believe in an angry God.
SS: Goodbye, Mr. Noir. And thanks for finding Grandpa for me. Come on, Gramps. (SWEDISH) (BRIDGE)
GK: I headed down to the depot to catch the midnight train back to St. Paul-----(FOOTSTEPS) Duluth in April. The air was full of spring. The woods, the lake----- You took a deep breath and for a moment you felt the way you felt when you were twenty-one.
TR (TRAIN CALLER, ON P.A.): Now arriving on track one--.the Fargo Flyer ----
GK: April, and the lights flickering out on the harbor and a few old black bears staggering into town, looking for a landfill. I had those post-hibernation blues myself. But when I took a deep breath, I could feel myself coming out of it. I could feel that old lust for life return.
TR (TRAIN CALLER, ON P.A.): The Iron Ranger, now loading on Track 4--..making all station stops----Grand Rapids, Nashwauk, Hibbing, Chisholm, Mountain Iron, Virginia, Eveleth, Biwabik, Gilbert, Aurora, and Hoyt Lakes, with connections to Ely, International Falls, and Grand Marais. All aboard!
GK: Hey, I thought, there ought to be a town in there somewhere a guy could get off and be among friends. Why not? (TRAIN WHISTLE) I started to walk toward the head of the train and my pace quickened. (TRAIN WHISTLE) I'll move to the Iron Range. Why not? (THEME)
TR A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but 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. (THEME OUT)