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.
Garrison Keillor: It was spring in Minnesota and the lilacs were in bloom. Either that or the janitor was using a scented toilet bowl cleanser. I was breathing it all in when I got a call to come out to Vermillion, South Dakota. The Vermillion Vineyard, makers of Chateau Tom DeLay, the red wine for a red state, had run into problems.
TR (FRENCH): It's a Republican wine, Monsieur Noir. A wine with a ripe financial bouquet and overtones of plywood and motor oil -- a wine that makes people more sensible. A wine that helps people face the facts and take personal responsibility.
GK: Sounds good. What happened?
TR (FRENCH): We got a bad batch. People have been drinking it and throwing caution to the winds. Running big deficits, going off on crusades, taking money out of the till--I think some other broadleaf plant got mixed in with the grapes. Please. Come help us. (BRIDGE)
GK: He sent me his private jet (JET LANDING). We came in on a private airstrip in the middle of a vineyard as far as the eye could see, with peacocks (SHRIEK) and a couple of jaguars (SNARLS) and there at the end of the landing strip, stood the tallest woman I've ever met.
Sue Scott: Thanks for coming, Mr. Noir. Welcome to Vermillion Vineyard.
GK: I spoke to a man on the phone. Henri.
SS: My manager. Don't worry about it. I'm Sandy Soderberg. I own the Vineyard. Ten thousand acres of grapes. We sell a lot of juice to California. We send it west in tanker trucks.
GK: She was tall with broad shoulders and blonde pigtails and her eyes were green, and when I looked her in the eye, something inside me knew I was about to get into trouble.. She shook my hand and I could feel a tingling up and down my spine.
SS: You got soft hands, Mr. Noir. You a hair stylist in your spare time?
GK: I'm a private eye, ma'am. That's why I'm here.
SS: Ever shoot anybody?
GK: I never had to. I used my wits instead.
SS: I had to shoot at a boyfriend once. He didn't want to dance. So I emptied a revolver into the floor. He left town the next day. But there's something about you-- I think I could develop a pretty strong attachment to you in a big hurry.
GK: Well, I like you too, but--.
SS: My truck's full of gas. You wanna go to the City?
GK: I just came from the city. .
SS: I'm talking about Sioux City.
GK: Ma'am, I'm here to help figure out what's gone wrong with your wine that it's bringing out wild tendencies in people.
SS: To heck with it. Let's go to the casino and throw some money at a deck of cards. (GUNSHOTS)
GK: Have you been drinking?
SS: Of course I've been drinking. Wouldn't you if you owned a vineyard? Here, let me open another bottle. (GUNSHOT, GLASS)
GK: You know, I'm not sure this is a good idea. Where's Henri? The guy who called me?
SS: Come here, you big love bunny--
GK: And she picked me up -- WHOAAAA -- and tied ropes around my wrists and my ankles (SS EFFORT, ROPE WINDING) --
SS: Three point five seconds. Hogtied!
GK: And she threw me in the back of the pickup and off we went over back roads, which was like driving over a plowed field -- bumpy (WASHBOARD). She had Willie Nelson on the CD player (TR WILLIE, "I am a virgin") singing Madonna songs -- She ran a red light -- (
SS: You've seen one, you've seen em all.) and she took a left through a cornfield (DRIVING THRU CORN) then a narrow gravel road and she got the pickup up to about 85 (DRIVING FAST ON GRAVEL) and we went across a creek (WATER PLOWING) and she got it up to a hundred (SS WHOOPEE) and then she turned out the headlights and we went through a herd of chickens (CHICKEN FLURRY) and past a pig barn (PIG PANIC) and we raced through the night (HORN HONKING, TRUCK RACING) toward the track where the midnight train was racing west (DISTANT TRAIN WHISTLE) and she stepped on the gas and (TRAIN WHISTLE, RACING) and the train headlight was waving and the whistle blew (TRAIN WHISTLE CLOSE) just as we went over the tracks and the train went by (TRAIN CLOSE, RACING PAST) and that was when I lost consciousness. (BRIDGE) When I awoke, I was lying on the floor under a table and cards were being dealt. (CARDS BEING SHUFFLED). There were some cards lying on the floor, too.
TR: I see you've played Texas Hold Em before, little lady--
SS: In South Dakota we played it instead of hopscotch. But how about we make it real? My vineyard against your steamboat casino?
TR: You want to put your vineyard against my casino?
SS: You scared?
TR: Hand me that wine. (POP CORK, POUR) Who's the fat guy under the table?
SS: He's my boyfriend.
GK: The thought of maybe being her boyfriend thrilled me of course and I decided not to stand up for fear she might look at me and change her mind.
TR: Kinda old for you, ain't he?
SS: You think he's old? He could rassle you with one hand behind his back and throw you out the window.
TR: Oh yeah?
TR: Him and whose army?
SS: You wait and see.
TR: Soon as I win your vineyard, little lady, I will.
SS: Texas Hold Em, dealing two down and then the flop. (FOUR CARDS SLAPPED)
TR: Well, looky there. How about I raise you ten-thousand?
SS: I'll raise you another ten and call.
TR: Let's see what's in the flop. (THREE CARDS SLAPPED OVER)
GK: He was holding his cards on his lap and I couldn't help but notice the two aces and I managed to withdraw one ace and substitute a 3 of clubs from the floor. I put the ace in my mouth and ate it (CHEWING) -- it tasted salty.
SS: Read em and weep, mister. Pair of Queens.
TR: Oh yeah? Well, take a look at this--
SS: Look at what?
TR: That. -- (SHRIEKS) What? Who that-- Hey you--
GK: He grabbed me out from under the table and and pried my mouth open (GAGGING) and patted me down (SLAPPING) and was about to pick me up by the ankles and shake me --
SS: Okay, captain, that's enough for you. (TR PROTEST)
GK: And she hoisted him up and heaved him overboard (TR FALLING CRY, SPLASH). And she got behind the wheel (STEAM ENGINE) and she fired up the engines and the steamboat casino pulled away from Sioux City (STEAM WHISTLE) and headed up the Missouri -- (STEAM ENGINE BUILDING) she was up there in the wheelhouse with the throttle all the way forward and racing upstream past Waterbury and Martinsburg and New Castle as the river slowly got narrower and she was singing -- (
SS: NEARER MY GOD TO THEE, NEARER TO THEE, AS WE ARE HEADING UP THE MISS-OU-RI) and we flew past Obert and much as it was an honor to be her boyfriend, when I saw the bough of a cottonwood hanging down over the river, I reached up and grabbed it in passing (CREAK OF BOUGH, AS STEAMBOAT FADES INTO DISTANCE) and hung on and climbed down and hiked up to Vermillion and stopped in a cafe for coffee -- and caught the news on the radio--
TR (ON RADIO): --estimated the speed at around 85 miles an hour when the boat hit the dam at Gavin's Point opened a hole that sent all of Lake Lewis and Clark rushing downstream. The boat was last seen passing Kansas City...
GK: And I quietly slipped out, and went back to St. Paul, and tried to put together an alibi, and meanwhile made myself a promise I would never mess with a South Dakota woman again. No way. (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)