Tim Russell: 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.

Garrison Keillor: It was December and I got a Christmas card from Sugar, Deck the halls and clear the decks, a Merry Christmas to my ex." And I got a card from my insurance man, Jerry Eisenbrink, wishing me a merry Christmas which it was going to be thanks to that garbage truck that skidded on the ice and into my old Dodge Dart which I had strategically placed right next to that patch of ice, hoping for something good. So I had five grand to mess with and I thought for a moment about my rotten nephews and whether to send them a big chunk of dough, the nephews who walk around with the headphones on their heads, and I thought, Naw, head for New York, New York. (BRIDGE, TRAFFIC) I made a reservation at the Hotel Seymour L'Orange, a former fleabag off Times Square, since renovated into a boutique hotel frequented by worldly sophisticates from

TR (FRENCH): Bon soir, monsieur-- (FRENCH) Seymour L'Orange--

GK: Aw cut it out. You're from Pierre, South Dakota.


GK: You're from Pierre. You went to Augustana College in Sioux Falls.

TR: How'd you know that?

GK: I'm a detective. I'm paid to know. But you got a nice act going. Gimme a room on the tenth floor, airshaft-- No smoking and no vinaigrette, okay? I'm deathly allergic.

TR: Okay. You want a wakeup call?

GK: New York City is my wakeup call, kid. But send me up a copy of the Times and a pot of coffee around 10:30. And a banana.

TR: A banana?

GK: So people think I'm carrying a gun. (FOOTSTEPS) (PIANO) There was one of those dreadful hotel pianists doing cool Christmas music -- somebody who'd listened to too many Bill Evans records -- and there were people in their twenties with much too much money drinking exotic drinks and gassing about whatnot--

Fred Newman: (IN PASSING) ...it was good in its own way but it wasn't compelling, you know what I mean? It had a lot going for it, but in the end, it wasn't, like, Wow. You know?

GK: And then, walking across the lobby, came this young woman so fresh and beautiful and endearing, she took your breath away. Almost permanently. Ma'am-- (FOOTSTEPS) excuse me--

Sue Scott: Yes, sir--

GK: You know, something about you says musical theater-- there's just some of that old never-say-die let-a-smile-be-your-umbrella spirit about you. Am I right? Huh? Am I right?

SS: As a matter of fact--

GK: I knew it. You're in theater. An actor.

SS: I'm hoping to be-- how did you know?

GK: I can spot talent. That lift of your jaw. That light in your eyes. And the tap shoes in the plastic bag.

SS: My name is Sharon Quigley. I'm on my way to an audition.

GK: Noir's my name, and I'm an agent. Sort of an agent. Maybe I could make things happen for you.

SS: Oh my gosh. What luck. My running into you right now.


GK: She was tall and dark and limber and her skin was like melted caramel. Only thing wrong was the name, Sharon Quigley. But we could work with that. Cheri Quintana, maybe. Or just Cher. Well, no. Maybe just Ron. A woman named Ron. That could work.

SS: I have zero self-confidence, Mr. Noir. Zero. I feel ugly and heavy and like I'm just a big hopeless dope. (HEART POUNDING) Is something wrong?

GK: Just an old heart condition. Triggered by beauty. What do you say we step over to Jimmy's -- it's a little bistro for the broken-hearted down the block. Let's talk about your career. I know you don't know me, but that's how it goes in New York. You don't know somebody and then you do. (BRIDGE)
We went around to Jimmy's and the place was empty (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE, CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS) except for an old lady parked at the bar. She wore a beige wig and pink tights and a black sweatshirt that said, "Go Ahead, Ask Me. The Answer Is Yes."

TR (DEEP, GROWLY): Hey folks. How's everything going?

GK: Just fine, Jimmy. What would you like, sweetheart?

FN (WOMAN): Are you asking me?

GK: No, I'm not.

FN (WOMAN): Oh. Well, it seemed like you were.

GK: Miss Quigley--

SS: I'd just have a glass of water. I have to sing--.

GK: A water for the lady and one for me too.

TR: Okay. You want ice with that? No extra charge.

SS: No, thanks.
TR: You want sparkling or still?

SS: Just tap water.

GK: Same here. --

TR: Two Bloombergs, coming up.

GK: So tell me all about yourself.

FN (WOMAN): Well, where would you like me to begin?

GK: I wasn't talking to you.

FN (WOMAN): Oh. Does that mean you don't want to hear about me?

GK: Yes. --You've been in New York a long time, Miss Quigley?

SS: I got off the bus from Scranton yesterday morning. Went to buy shoes and went to my cousin's apartment in Queens and now I'm on my way to the audition.

GK: A big deal for you.

SS: Yes. I did theater in high school and I thought I'd give it a try in New York, probably a huge mistake, but anyway I'm going to audition for the part of Julie in this revival of "Yowsa Yowsa Yowsa" --

GK: You're kidding. "Yowsa Yowsa Yowsa" --?

SS: Right.
GK: My favorite--

SS: You're kidding. You know "Yowsa Yowsa Yowsa"? But that's from way back in--

Hey kids, let's do a show,
You bring the lights, I'll bring the radio.
We can be subtle or we can be loud
And shake our hinders to attract a crowd.

SS: You're going to be happy take my word,

It's always a thrill to be on West FortyThird.
So put on a smile now, what do you say
Hello to old Broadway.

SS: Hey, you're not bad.

GK: I loved that show.

FN (WOMAN): I remember that show. It closed after four performances. It was by Dwindle & Ebb -- only show they ever wrote. And it was the end of Sandy Ann Fraser's career. After that turkey, she went back to Muncie and got into a drug treatment program and wound up as a waitress at the truck stop.

GK: Thanks for the cheery word. Thanks a lot.

SS: I probably won't get the part-- I never was in a musical before--

GK: Hey, c'mon. You're going to be great. If you don't get it, that's gonna be the biggest mistake they ever made.

FN (WOMAN): They say that unemployment in the theater is hovering right around 96%. Used to be 98. But around Christmas it goes down a little.

GK: You know, we don't need that kind of information from you.

Hey folks, step this way
And see the biggest lady in theater today.
Get your tickets, grab your popcorn,
Take your seats, and a star is born.
We got the sassafras, we got the pep,
To go out and kick, step, kick, kick, step.
So open the curtains and beat the drums
Cause baby here it comes.

GK: New York is gonna be a magical place for you, sweetheart. I just got a feeling.

SS: I do too. There was this shoe salesman at the store yesterday. He waited on me. I was looking for something comfortable and he showed me these slippers-- they're made of glass.

GK: Glass? That could be dangerous.

SS: They're the most comfortable slippers I ever wore.

GK: They could splinter and cut your feet--

SS: He took my foot in his hand and the way he slipped it into that shoe -- I was so thrilled I fainted.

GK: This doesn't sound good.

SS: When I came to, he was gone. I went back the next day and they said he'd been fired.

GK: A lot of known criminals work in shoe stores. That's a fact.

SS: I'd give anything to meet him again.

GK: A guy who gets his kicks from touching women's feet. You're better off without that sort--

FN (WOMAN): What would you know about it?

GK: I'm a private detective. I know about the criminal mind.

FN (WOMAN): I thought you said you were an agent.

GK: Where does it say a person can do only one thing? Huh?

FN (WOMAN): Well, don't bite my head off. What a grumpus.

GK: Well, just butt out, okay? Nobody asked for your opinion.

TR (YOUNG): Hi--

SS: It's you--

TR (YOUNG): They said at the store you were looking for me--

SS: I was. And I am. I'm Sharon--

TR (YOUNG): I'm Rob.

SS: I'm wearing your slippers.

TR (YOUNG): I know that.

GK: Excuse me-- who are you?

SS: It's him.

GK: Could I see some identification?

SS: He's an actor. I just know it.

GK: As if that were a recommendation--

Hey babes, you make me feel high,
I want to be your favorite guy.
What do you say, I'll cut my hair,
We'll buy a couch and some silverware.
A couple of dishes and a king-sized bed
And go to St. Patrick's and we will be wed.
And find an apartment up in the Bronx
And sing our favorite sonx.

GK: Hey-- where are you going? You going with him? (FOOTSTEPS AWAY) Let me tell you something. (DOOR CLOSE)

FN (WOMAN): Come and sit down over here.

GK: I don't want to sit down over there.

FN (WOMAN): Soon as I finish this drink I'm off to Palm Beach. Sold my home and I bought myself a brand new Porsche. Put your foot on the gas and it throws you in the backseat.

GK: So?

FN (WOMAN): Passenger seat is wide open.

GK: Well, good luck.

FN (WOMAN): I did my time in the League of Women Voters and now -- I'm ready to boogie.

GK: Good for you.

FN (WOMAN): Got my Porsche out front and she's pointed south.

GK: I'm too old.

FN (WOMAN): As long as you can still fog up a mirror, you're never too old--

GK: My heart has been broken so many times, the pieces don't even fit. (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE CLOSE, FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Evening

Karan Casey: Evening to you.

FN (WOMAN): Well aren't you pretty? Another wannabe actress?

KC: Would you mind if I sing you a song?

FN (WOMAN): What for?

GK: Go ahead. I'd love to hear it. (JINGLE OF COINS IN CUP). Oh right. Here. Here is a dollar.

KC: Thanks. I do have a small child.

GK: Here's a ten.

KC: Thanks.