Tim Russell: 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)
Garrison Keillor: I was in New York where I had gone to check up on a student at NYU whose parents were worried because a guy was answering her cellphone in Spanish-- turned out it was a wrong number, it was her roommate's phone, not hers -- but it's what got me to town, and I found a very reasonably priced room at the Limestone Lodge which is an underground hotel where you occupy the room for twelve hours of the day and somebody else has it for the other twelve. So I spent time in the Acropolis Coffee Shop on Eighth Avenue, writing lyrics on a napkin for a musical which the Broadway producer Joan Stein was very encouraging about --
Sue Scott: A singing detective. That's good. But who could we get? How about Tom Selleck?
GK: Too old.
SS: I've got Matthew Broderick on speed dial--
GK: Too young. Just doesn't have the look. You need somebody heavier.
SS: Kevin Kline would be perfect as a detective.
GK: Kevin Kline?
SS: He could sing, he could dance, he does all sorts of facial expressions.
GK: Kevin Kline is a little soft for the role--.
SS: He has those suave manners, those dark good looks that mature women go gaga for.
GK: He doesn't sidle well. You've got to have someone who can sidle.
SS: Who were you thinking of, Mr. Noir?
GK: (SINGS) He's smooth and he's cool, he's quick with a gun, A master in the boudoir.
SS: Let me think about it. I'll get back to you. (BRIDGE)
GK: Like a lot of creative people, I was getting along on little jobs while I was planning my breakthrough. (SUBWAY TRAIN PASSING, FAST EXPRESS) I was working in the 86th Street station on the Broadway line, an assignment for the MTA.
TR: We want you to listen to the announcements on the P.A. and try to figure out what they're saying.
GK: But that's your P.A. system. Those are your announcements.
TR: We're not sure. (CLICK AND FEEDBACK) Here's one now. Listen. (FN HARSH METALLIC ANNOUNCEMENT, UNINTELLIGIBLE) We think it might be a terrorist organization. Some sort of code. (TRAIN ARRIVING)
GK: I thought maybe it was something about a suitcase. (TRAIN STOPPING, BRAKES) Or a nutcase.
TR: If you could wait here and listen (DOORS OPENING) and take notes and report back what you hear.
GK: Where are the announcements coming from?
TR: We have no idea.
GK: But the MTA is in charge of the subway.
TR: Mr. Noir, in New York City, nobody can be said to be "in charge" of things. Things operate according to the tides. The moon. We're not sure what. We just try to keep up.
GK: Okay. I'll do my best. (FN ANNC: Stand clear of the closing doors. DOORS CLOSING. TRAIN PULLS AWAY) So I stood there under the ceiling speakers, which seemed to have been installed back during the Boss Tweed administration, with a pad of paper and a pen in hand, waiting for the next P.A. announcement.
SS: Excuse me, I don't mean to bother you while you're writing, but you look like somebody who could help-- I live on the Upper East Side in the 70s and -- I don't want to take up too much of your time but -- I've heard rumors that somebody may be shooting a movie on my block--which -- I don't know if you know what that's like? So let me tell you. It's a major annoyance. Anyway, I wonder if you would be willing to come over to our block and wait until the movie people come around and then walk up and down the street screeching gibberish at the top of your voice like a crazy person.
GK: And that's going to get their attention?
SS: We need your help. Please. We'll pay.
GK: A movie shooting on your block? You couldn't just enjoy it?
SS: Mr. Noir, it's bad enough to have the President of the United States visiting New York, shutting down traffic for half a day -- it's a catastrophe. Aside from what he's done in Washington.
GK: I just don't see how I can help you-- sorry.
SS: (FADING) Okay, have a nice day.
TR (RICO): Hey, you got a minute? Sure you got a minute. My name is Joey Motrin. People call me Extra Strength. Anyway I got a job. I run this hip-hop club downtown called The ShishKaHop -- got fifteen hundred people a night packing the joint -- I need somebody to help with crowd control.
GK: You want me to be a bouncer?
TR (RICO): You're not a bouncer so much as you are a deflector. You stand out in front of the club outside the velvet rope, like you are in line.
GK: I don't get it.
TR: People come and see you standing there, they figure, hey, we came to the wrong place. They go away.
GK: So I'm kind of a scarecrow.
TR: It helps with crowd control. How about it? (SQUAWK OF P.A. FEEDBACK)
GK: I'm sorry, I'm working, Mr. Motrin. Gotta run.
TR: Think about it. (FADING) Let me know. I gotta run. (FN UNINTELLIGIBLE P.A. MESSAGE)
GK: I'm almost certain that was a poem -- what's that poem? -- the plums in the refrigerator, so cold -- (TRAIN COMING IN, STOPPING) -- The downtown No. 1 train pulled up to the platform and it stopped and when I looked up, I saw three figures get off the train in shining white and they stood on the platform fifteen feet away -- they had long golden hair and their faces shone and their robes -- (
FN: Stand back from the closing doors. DOORS CLOSE, TRAIN PULLS AWAY) At first I thought they were models handing out perfume samples from Bloomingdale's and then they turned their faces up to the ceiling and they sang--
WAILIN JENNIES: ACAPELLA CHRISTMAS SONG WITH REVERB
GK: I was going to walk over and put some money in their hat, but there was no hat. Just three women in white. Everything was quiet in the subway. People stood on the platform thinking their own thoughts. I wasn't sure if I was the only one who had seen them or what. Was it a dream? And then (P.A. SQUAWK, AND
FN: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL TO MEN). What was that? (FN ON P.A.: YOU HEARD ME.) Are you talking to me? (FN ON P.A.: TALKING TO EVERYBODY) Okay. Merry Christmas. (FN ON P.A.: MERRY CHRISTMAS)
SS: 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. (OUT)