Tim Russell: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but on the twelfth 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: It was November, the week after the election. The early exit polls on Tuesday had gotten all the Democrats high as a kite thinking Kerry was going to sail in but a few hours later the wind died and the air turned sour and so the outcome was like a kick in the stomach. Two days later, Jimmy at the Five Spot was still in shock.

TR (JIMMY): This election -- It's like a bad movie. It's like the voters ran out of gas on a lonely road late at night and they decided to head straight for the abandoned barn.

GK: It was an odd one, for sure.

TR (JIMMY): It's like it was 1932 and people looked at Roosevelt and thought that he walked funny so they decided to stick with Herbert Hoover. And leave the government in the hands of private ownership.

Sue Scott (SUGAR): I am just sick about it. I don't know what happened.

GK: What happened, Sugar, was that the fix was in. The boys in the back room saw that they were losing and they made the phone call to Ohio and they said, do it. Computerized voting. A bright 14-year-old could hack it in a minute.

SS (SUGAR): You don't really think that, do you, Guy?

GK: People are people, Sugar. Lot of human nature in everybody. You see something you want that bad, and nobody's looking, so you take it.

SS (SUGAR): But how could they -- steal an election?

GK: Maybe God told them to do it.

TR (JIMMY): Jeez -- you really think they stole Ohio?

GK: Skepticism -- just one more service I offer, Jimmy. (BRIDGE) A person has to be skeptical. I went to Benny's Gym on Sibley Street, upstairs from the Marigold Ballroom, and a couple of welterweights are sparring (BOXING AMBIENCE) and somebody grabs my elbow and it's Rico.

TR (RICO): That's my guy in the blue trunks. He's going up against Billy Cossetta Monday night. His name is Kid Bjornson.

GK: A Norwegian welterweight?

TR (RICO): Icelandic. He's good.

GK: Icelanders aren't fighters. They're poets, they're sailors, they're singers. They ain't boxers.

TR (RICO): This guy is.

GK: Icelanders come from an island nation of a quarter-million people. You don't go knocking somebody's teeth out because chances are you're going to run into them again, maybe at your wedding, they'll be your wife's cousins.

TR (RICO): I'm offering you two-to-one odds on him. You give me a thousand clams, he wins, you get two thousand back. Easy money.

GK: No soap, Rico.

TR (RICO): I don't understand this attitude.

GK: I didn't just fall off the turnip wagon, Rico. An Icelandic boxer? It's like a French rock 'n' roll star or a Sicilian policeman or an English chef. (BRIDGE) I'm a skeptic. I thought a person is supposed to be. -- Hey.

TR (CHENEY): What's wrong?

GK: I'm supposed to cut the cards.

TR (CHENEY): Who says? Let's take a vote on it. All opposed? Nay. The nays have it. Motion denied. Sine die. Ipso facto.

GK: That's not right.


GK: I was out. Out in a dark, narrow alley cluttered with garbage. (ALLEY CAT) Steam rose from the potholes. I headed for Union Depot and walked through the great concourse (FOOTSTEPS, ECHOEY, BIG TRAIN DEPOT AMBIENCE) and they were calling the next train --

TR (CALLER, ON P.A., REVERB): Leaving on track 11, the North Coast Limited -- making station stops at... Breckenridge, Moorhead, Jamestown, Valley City, Billings, Missoula, Spokane, and Seattle. All Booooooooooooooard! (FOOTSTEPS ON CONCRETE, VOICES IN PASSING, STEAM EXPULSIONS)

GK: The North Coast Limited... my favorite train, all majestic and green. I walked up past the Pullmans and the club cars. (SOME PASSING MALE JOLLITY) All the fat cats in there, drinking whiskey and smoking big cigars.

Tom Keith (LOW GUTTURAL): Hey --

GK: What?

TK (LOW GUTTURAL): I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

GK: Not my problem, mister. (FOOTSTEPS)

TR (CONDUCTOR): All aboooooooaaaaaaard --

GK: Wish I could. I sure wish I could. Maybe someday. (BIG STEAM EXPULSION) (BRIDGE)

GK: I went next door to the luncheonette and Mavis the waitress had dyed her hair blue.

SS (WAITRESS): What can I get you, dear?

GK: Chili and a grilled cheese.

SS (WAITRESS): They're not on the menu anymore.

GK: How about a cheeseburger?

SS (WAITRESS): That's off, too, dear.

GK: You got any sandwiches?

SS (WAITRESS): Egg salad.

GK: Okay. Give me an egg salad. On a kaiser roll.

SS (WAITRESS): Don't have kaiser rolls.

GK: Sourdough?


GK: Rye?

SS (WAITRESS): No rye.

GK: What you got?


GK: No whole wheat?


GK: Okay. I'll have it on white bread then. Any soup?

SS (WAITRESS): Pea soup.

GK: Pea soup.


GK: Any other soup?

SS (WAITRESS): No, dear.

GK: How is the pea soup today?

SS (WAITRESS): Same as always.

GK: Is it good?

SS (WAITRESS): What am I? A critic? Huh? Is my name Julia Child?

GK: Okay. An egg salad and a cup of pea soup.

SS (WAITRESS): We don't have it by the cup.

GK: A bowl, then.
SS (WAITRESS): Don't have it by the bowl either. We sell it in gallon containers.

GK: Okay. Just an egg salad then.

SS (WAITRESS): Egg salad sandwich! (DOG BARKS, OFF)

GK: Who's that?

SS (WAITRESS):The cook. He's new. (BRIDGE)

GK: I walked down to the river. (FOOTSTEPS, TRAFFIC PASSING) I felt okay. I can operate in this world. What the Democrats were trying to sell was a romantic comedy and what the Republicans offered was a detective thriller. People wanted the thriller. Politics isn't about hope or romance, it's about money and power. And fear. You scare people and they'll give you power and that enables you to get the money and the money buys you more power. It works beautifully -- create fear, take power, get the dough. And by Friday, you could see a lot of Democrats learning that lesson. They'd been blinded by idealism but now they'd figured things out. (TIME CHORDS)

SS (MINN): I'm a nurse, Mr. Noir. I've devoted twenty years of my life to caring for sick people and now I'm done with it. I quit.

GK: Well, it's hard work, I can certainly understand.

SS (MINN): I can make more money by going to the homes of elderly people and selling them palmetto extract.

GK: What does that do?

SS (MINN): Prevents logorrhea.

GK: What's that?

SS (MINN): It's whatever I decide it is. I just take a good look at them and that tells them what the symptoms are and I describe how it leads to disability, dementia, and death, and I show them color photographs, and they get out their checkbooks.

GK: Very entrepreneurial of you. Congratulations.

TR (MINN): I taught grade school for fourteen years and haven't gotten a pay raise in the past four, so finally I woke up and smelled the coffee, and I put out a brochure about how there are terrorists in every neighborhood in America who are just waiting for the signal and they'll go around and run hoses under people's doors and pump chloroform in and kill everybody in their beds.

GK: What can we do?

TR (MINN): I'm selling doors that seal shut. They cost $2500 apiece and they're guaranteed against chloroform.

GK: A person can't be too careful.

SS: I'm an Episcopal priest, Mr. Noir.

GK: Oh oh.

SS: Twenty years of hanging around the sick and the poor and the meek and I'm sick of it.

GK: I can't blame you.

SS: Not the most charming folks you'd want to meet, the meek. And they aren't exactly rolling in dough, either.

GK: I don't suppose.

SS: We clergy have a real cash flow problem. My third-quarter earnings were very disappointing to me. So I've formed Gay Lesbian Transgender for Jesus.

GK: Interesting.

SS: Every Sunday morning, I get five hundred GLTs on buses and we drive around town looking for a church home.

GK: Interesting.

SS: I've got forty-five Baptist churches that pay me $500 dollars a week not to pull up in front of their church at 10 a.m. and unload my sheep.

GK: But that's extortion.

SS: Not at all. I think of it as preventive Christianity. If you're the pastor of Elim Foursquare Holiness River of Life Baptist Church with three hundred folks coming on Sunday in their casual clothing and their nicely groomed hair and do they want five hundred ladies with crewcuts and men in taffeta dresses come waltzing in? -- No, they don't.

GK: But that's expensive -- renting all those buses?

SS: Actually, I only had to do it once and make a video.

GK: Well, I'm glad to see a clergyperson do well. You people deserve all the money you can get.

SS: Thanks. My feelings exactly. (BRIDGE)

GK: I stood in my office, the light slicing through the Venetian blinds, and I looked down at the street. A street of disillusionment, where con artists and gangsters operate freely under one disguise or another, the insane preying on the ignorant, but as Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1798, after one of his defeats, "A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt... If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake." Thank you, Mr. Jefferson.


TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions... Guy Noir, Private Eye.