Tim Russell: And now Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow Family of fine automotive products brings you another episode in THE STORY OF BOB, A YOUNG ARTIST......And now once more we take you to the modest green frame house on Maple Street in Hubbard Falls, the City on the Move...... (FADE)
(SILVERWARE ON DISHES, THREE PEOPLE EATING)
Sue Scott: You care for another helping of cheesy doodles, Bob?
Garrison Keillor: No thanks, Berniece. I'm trying to cut down.
SS: You care for more, Pops?
TR (POPS): I'll take a rain check. My colon seems to be backing up on me today.
SS: I'm heading downtown -- you want me to pick you up a laxative?
TR (POPS): No, I need the opposite, Berniece. Got a case of the trots. Need something to plug me up.
GK: Would you mind? I'm eating.
TR (POPS): Well, stop eating. Thought you were trying to cut down.
GK: Sit here talking about your bowels at the table.
SS: Sorry, Bob. I was only trying to be helpful.
GK: This family is so focused on the lower digestive tract.
TR (POPS): Guess who's constipated-- bet I know.
GK: Just keep it to yourself, please.
TR (POPS): Old Saggy Butt here--
SS: Oh Pops--
TR (POPS): And don't forget some JuJuBes for my buddy here. Right, Rex? (DOG PANTS, THUMPS, JINGLES) Rex loves Jujubes. And they turn his poop all different colors.
SS: Go ahead, finish this up, Bob -- I hate to throw it away.
GK: I'm not hungry, Berniece.
SS: Well, you will be later, so eat it now. --
GK: Eat now so you won't be hungry later?? Does that make sense, Berniece.
SS: I'm only thinking of you--
GK: I'm trying to think about my new collage and I'm being bombarded with animal fats.
TR (POPS): A little late for college, isn't it? You're 45 years old. Right, Rex? (DOG PANTING, THUMPING, COLLAR JINGLES)
GK: I said Collage. Not college. Collage.
TR (POPS): What's that?
SS: Collage, Pops! It's the sort of thing Bob's been doing for the past few years. All that stuff that he sticks together and glues it to a piece of plywood--
GK: I do not glue it to plywood, Berniece.
SS: Anyway, it's a collection of stuff--
TR (POPS): Is that what we call Junk Art?
GK: I don't glue it to plywood. And it's not junk. It's an assemblage of found objects--
SS: How about you finish up this assemblage of cheese and noodles-- (DOORBELL)
GK: Oh my gosh. It's probably Mrs. DeWillers from the arts council!!! I've got to go put on a suit. (DOORBELL) Answer the door, Berniece, but don't invite her into the kitchen.
SS: Oh, Bob-- it's only Arvid come over to fix the furnace. (DOOR OPEN) Hi, Arvid. Come in.
Tom Keith: Thanks. (DOOR CLOSE, FOOTSTEPS) Hi, Berniece. Pops. Hi, Bob.
TK: Just came over to install a new coupler on your furnace.
SS: It's been getting cold at night, and I just haven't heard the furnace come on at all, have you, Pops?
TR (POPS): Heard what?
SS: The furnace!
TK: Where is the furnace, Berniece? In the basement?
SS: No, we don't have a basement. Never had a need for one.
TR (POPS): It's over there by the stacks of magazine, ain't it.
SS: No, that's the water heater.
TK: How about here? (MOVES SOME JUNK) Nope, that's your shower stall. How about in here? (FOOTSTEPS. DOOR OPEN) Oh, that's your studio.
TK: You got a furnace in there?
GK: I have no idea.
TK: You feel hot air?
TR (POPS): All the hot air around here comes out of Mr. Big Pants.
TK: How about there in the corner?
GK: That's a sculpture I'm working on, it's called Phoenix.
TK: Oh. You don't know where the furnace is?
GK: I have no idea. I'm going in my studio, Berniece. But if Mrs. DeWillers calls, let me know, okay?
SS: Of course.
GK: It's extremely important. My life hangs on this, Berniece. I can't emphasize that enough. The arts council is commissioning an artist to create a spatial environment for the Hubbard Falls Chamber Ensemble's holiday program, "Soliloquy for the Solstice" and that slimy weasel R. David Sweezo is out to slit my throat and I have to speak to Mrs. DeWillers when she calls--
SS: Oh, Mr. Sweezo is a perfectly nice young--
GK: He is a loathsome backstabber, Berniece. I am a man who is surrounded by treachery.
TR (POPS): I am a man who is about to have an accident in his pants. (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: (PACING FOOTSTEPS, SLOW, AS HE LOOKS AT WORK OF ART. THEN APPROACHES, DIPS BRUSH IN PAINT, AND MAKES A COUPLE BIG SWASHES ON IT) Too much yellow. Way too much. Why did I do that? (WIPES WITH RAG) Darn. Maybe a little red. (DIPS BRUSH, TWO MORE CAREFUL SWASHES) I wish she'd call. I'm so fraught with anxiety I can't even see what I'm doing. (TO HIMSELF) Is that the phone? It is. Why isn't Berniece answering it? (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN. PHONE RINGING IN NEXT ROOM. RUNNING, AROUND FURNITURE.) Berniece!!! Berniece!!! (DOG BARKS) Get out of my way, Rex!!! Git. -- Ohhhhhhh.(CRUNCH OF WOOD, GLASS BREAKAGE) I walked right into the umbrella stand. (GK MOANS) Ohhhh, what is that doing sitting there. (FOUR LONG PAINFUL STEPS. MOANS. PICKUP) Yes??
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): Bob? It's Mrs. DeWillers. Did I call at a bad time?
GK: No. It's fine. I was just coming to answer the phone anyway....
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): I know how busy you are.....
GK: It's okay.
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): ......doing those little.....those little things you do, Bob.
GK: They're called Collages.
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): Oh. Of course. Anyway, I called to ask if you'd do the centerpieces for the tables at the arts awards dinner next week. We're giving out the Pomfret Prize for Artist of the Year, you know.
GK: Yes, I was aware of that. The fifty-thousand dollar prize.
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): Yes. So generous of the Pomfret Foundation to donate that, and also a new Toyota.
GK: I didn't know about that.
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): A silver Highlander Hybrid, Bob. With custom styling. So we'd like the centerpieces to have a car motif.
GK: I see. Of course I'd be thrilled to do that--
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): We'd need fourteen centerpieces. One for each table.
GK: I'd be thrilled to do those -- I was curious if you'd reached a decision on the commission for the "Soliloquy for the Solstice" piece--
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): Oh-- the piece that the Hubbard Falls Chamber Ensemble (ON-SOMM) is performing.
GK: Yes. You were to commission an artist to create a spatial environment for it-- had you made that choice?
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): Yes.
GK: I see.
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): We made that choice weeks ago.
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): David Sweezo is doing it.
GK: Uh huh.
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): In fact, he's done with it. I saw it today, it's ravishing, beyond words.....
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): And that's why we're giving him the Artist of the Year Award.
GK: You are?
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): Anyway, we were hoping you'd do the centerpieces for the tables. And we'd be happy to reimburse you for your materials.......--
GK: I'll get right to it.
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): Thank you, Bob. Ciao.
GK: Ciao. (HANGS UP) (GK SCREAMS)
GK: (SLOW PACING FOOTSTEPS) Why do I even bother? Nobody cares. Nobody. I am 45 years old, unemployed, living with family, overweight thanks to cheesy noodles......
SS (BERNIECE): Bob? You have guests! Look who's here!!!
TR (IRISH): Bob, me boy.
TK (IRISH): A fine day to you, Bob. We know you're busy.
GK: Come in-- Father Flynn, Father Flye--
TR (IRISH): Such an honor to visit a gifted artist in his studio.
TK (IRISH): Yes. To think that great art is created right here.
TR (IRISH): It's almost like being in church.
TK (IRISH): It is like being in church.
TR (IRISH): The community treasures you so much, Bob. I hope you know that.
TK (IRISH): We all look up to you, me boy.
TR (IRISH): Everytime I walk down the street, I wonder, What sort of art is Bob making today.
TK (IRISH): Ah, isn't it the truth.
TR (IRISH): The rest of us living our humdrum lives.
TK (IRISH): And you in here creating......creating art.
GK: Well, thanks. I guess you've come to pick up the work you commissioned for Holy Innocence School.
TR (IRISH): Well, yes we did, Bob.
GK: Good. As it so happens, I finished it just yesterday. Here it is.
TR (IRISH): This is it?
TK (IRISH): This-- what is it called?
GK: A collage.
TK (IRISH): A collage. I see.
GK: It's sort of an assemblage of different found objects and -- TR (IRISH): With Roy Rogers and part of an eye chart and --
TK (IRISH): A picture of Mount St. Helens. And Josef Stalin. TR (IRISH): Looks like a map of South Dakota too.
TK (IRISH): And what are these?
GK: Those are bicycle reflectors.
TR (IRISH): Aha. And a mudflap.
TK (IRISH): A mudflap with a face painted on it.
TR (IRISH): I see.
TK (IRISH): Interesting.
GK: It'll look better when it's framed.
TR (IRISH): I see.
GK: I'll frame it up and bring it over to the school later.
TK (IRISH): For some reason I thought you were going to paint something.
GK: Well, I did. I painted the face. Here.
TR (IRISH): The face on the mudflap.
GK: Yes. TR (IRISH): Well, all right.
TK (IRISH): I suppose we should be going, Father--
TR (IRISH): Yes.
GK: I'll have this over to you in a couple of hours.
TR (IRISH): Oh, no hurry, Bob. No hurry. Take your time.
GK: It was clear that Father Flynn and Father Flye didn't care for the collage. If I'd known what was going to happen, I'd've burned it right then, but I put an inspirational tape in the tape player and went to work on the frame. (ORGAN UNDER)
SS (ON TAPE): Today is only a stopping point from which we see the road to tomorrow. The trail leads on. We sleep, we dream, and then, on the morrow, we push forward. Life. It's all we have. Cherish it. Hold it close. Every day we must choose--whether to surrender-- or to push forward-- toward a tomorrow we cannot see.....a tomorrow bright with promise. (ORGAN UP) (PHONE RING, PICK UP) Yes?
TR (SWEEZO): Hey, Big Bob-- how you doing there, you old Bob Bob Bobber? Huh? How's tricks?
GK: Mr. Sweezo.
TR (SWEEZO): Right-o. Hope you can be there for the dinner because when I accept the Artist of the Year award, I want to mention you as one of the people who made a big difference in my life.
GK: I think I have a conflict that day.
TR (SWEEZO): You were one of the people who taught me that even if other people scoff at my work and call me a fake, I can be a huge success if I just believe in myself.
GK: I did that?
TR (SWEEZO): You were one of those whose shoulders I stood on to get where I am today.
GK: Oh. I didn't know. (BRIDGE) And then that evening, it happened. I'd just gotten back from Holy Innocence and we were about to eat supper.
SS (BERNIECE): Bob? I got you a big bag of pork rinds for an appetizer, Bob. We're gonna have supper soon as Pops moves his bowels. Drink up that fruit soup, Pops.
TR (POPS): Sure is tasty. (SLURPING) Here you go, Rex. (DOG SLURPING)
GK: I wish you and Rex wouldn't eat out of the same bowl-- for crying out loud. (PHONE RING) I'll take it in my studio. (FOOTSTEPS, PHONE RING) Don't pick it up, I'll answer it. (DOOR OPEN, CLOSE, FOOTSTEPS. PICK UP PHONE) Yes?
TK (IRISH, ON PHONE): It's Father Flye, Bob.
GK: Father Flye....
TK (IRISH, ON PHONE): And I have Father Flynn with me on the line.
TR (IRISH, ON PHONE): Good evening, Bob.
GK: Father -- you got the collage all right?
TK (IRISH, ON PHONE): I'm afraid we did.
GK: Is there a problem, Father?
TR (IRISH, ON PHONE): If you consider blasphemy to be a problem, yes, I think we have a problem.
TK (IRISH, ON PHONE): The face you painted on the mudflap, Bob, is the face of the Mother of God.
GK: It is not.
TR (IRISH, ON PHONE): Our Holy Mother on a mudflap. How could you do it--
GK: I didn't.
TR (IRISH, ON PHONE): A boy who had the benefit of a good Catholic education--
GK: It's not the B.V.M.
TK (IRISH, ON PHONE): Lying about it makes it even worse, Bob.
TR (IRISH, ON PHONE): Why did you do it? Why? How could you stab us in the back like that?
TK (IRISH, ON PHONE): We're praying for you, Bob.
TR (IRISH, ON PHONE): But we had to burn the collage. (STING AND BRIDGE)
GK: I tried to explain that it wasn't a madonna, it was Berniece, and it wasn't a halo, it was her summer straw hat which she always wears back on her head that way, but they'd made up their minds and they'd destroyed the collage so I couldn't show them what I'd done was innocent.
(ANSWERING MACHINE SEQUENCE)
SS (MRS. DEWILLERS, ON PHONE): Bob, it's Mrs. DeWillers. Bob, we can't have you do the centerpieces for the arts banquet under the circumstances. I'm so sorry. You understand. Bye. (CLICK, BEEP)
TR (SWEEZO): Listen, Bob. It's Dave. Hey, I want you to know I defend your right to desecrate religious symbols, okay? But I didn't think the painting of the madonna on the mudflap was that well done. So I didn't say anything. Take care. See you soon, pal. (BEEP)
SS (LOUD, MINNESOTA): Lissen to me, ya creep. God is going to scorch your fanny but good. That's what we're praying for and He's gonna do it. You put the B.V.M. on a mudflap, you're gonna pay big-time, Wide Ride. (BEEP)
TR (FATHER FLYNN): Bob, it's Father Flynn. I want you to know that we still love you, despite you doing the heinous thing you did, and -- honestly, Bob, I think that an apology and a little contrition on your part would have been a good thing. Course it's too late now, but.....anyway.....God be with you. (BEEP) (BRIDGE)
GK: An artist has to suffer for his art, that's how I look at it, and pain can be a source of energy, so I just kept working on other things. (BRIDGE)
SS (BERNIECE): You've been quiet as a mouse in your studio, Bob. Didn't hear a peep out of you.
GK: I'm working on a play, Berniece.
SS: I see. What's it about?
TR (POPS): Is it about sex?
GK: No, it's about rebirth, Pops.
TR (POPS): Oughta get some sex into it.
GK: I don't think so.
SS: Have some of these noodles, Bob. I put extra cheese on them.
TR (POPS): You put a naked woman in that play of yours, we can all clear out of this dump and move to Tempe, Arizona. Nudity!!! It's what people want to see!!
GK: Don't yell at me with food in your mouth, okay?
TR (POPS): It's the truth.
GK: I don't think so.
TR (POPS): Ever since time began, people have gone to the theater in hopes that somebody would drop their drawers.
SS: You need to eat more, Bob. How about some more broccoli au gratin?
TR (ANNC): THE STORY OF BOB, A YOUNG ARTIST....was brought to you by Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow Family of automotive products. Join us next time when we'll hear Berniece say.....
SS: Pops and I have bought a handgun, Bob. We're going to knock over a convenience store. We need the money. The furnace is missing. Arvid couldn't find it anywheres. We need to buy one.
TR (POPS): And Rex needs his kidney stones removed, don't you, boy? (DOG THUMPING, JINGLE, PANTING) Hurts him everytime he has to tinkle, don't it? huh? huh?
GK: I may be kidding myself, but I feel that my new play is the best thing I've ever done. Ever.
TR (ANNC): That's next time on....THE STORY OF BOB, A YOUNG ARTIST. (MUSIC UP AND OUT)