(PHONE RINGS, PICKUP)
Garrison Keillor: Hello?
Sue Scott (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Hello? It's your mother. Remember?
GK: Hi mom.
SS: I didn't catch you in the middle of something, did I?
GK: It's fine, mom.
SS: You're not eating lunch, are you? -- I can always call you back. --
GK: It's okay, Mom.
SS: What are you eating, Duane? Something healthy, I hope.
GK: It's just chicken soup, mom. I'm waiting for it to warm up.
SS: Well I don't want to interrupt--
GK: I'm fine, Mom.
SS: You'd tell me if you were too busy, wouldn't you?
GK: No, of course I would not.
SS: You would tell me, Duane--
SS: Why wouldn't you tell me if you were busy?
GK: It doesn't matter. How are you?
SS: Answer me, Duane.
GK: Mother, why do we have to argue about this?
SS: I don't want to be a bother to you, that's all. I want to help. That's all I've ever wanted to do, Duane. Help.
SS: People ask me about you all the time, Duane-- they ask, "When is he going to find regular work, Sylvia? He's sixty-four years old. How can you go on supporting him?" And do you know what I tell them, Duane?
GK: I have no idea.....
SS: I tell them, "A woman doesn't stop being a mother just because her boy is sixty-four years old. When you're a mother, you're a mother for the rest of your life."
SS: And I know that you're probably waiting for a phone call from that agent who was so interested in your memoir.
GK: No, I'm not actually.
SS: I shouldn't have called. Now I feel terrible. Why don't you just hang up-- go ahead-- just hang up on me right now. --Duane?
GK: Mother, please--
SS: Probably she sold the book to a big publisher and you're going to get a big advance and my friends'll call up and congratulate me and I'll say, "You know, I never gave up on him. There he was in New York , sixty-four years old, at an age when most men are thinking about retiring, and my Duane was still trying to find himself -- I did not give up on him." (WEEPY) That's what I'll tell them, Duane. That I never stopped being a mother and loving you. (SOBS)
GK: Well, I appreciate it, Mom. (PAUSE) Mom? (PAUSE)
SS: Is that all you can say? "I appreciate it."
SS: Is that all the thanks I get. "I appreciate it."
SS: That's what you'd say to someone who shovels your walk. "I appreciate it." Not what you'd say to your mother. Your mother who-- (WEEPY) Oh never mind. I won't say it.
SS: You've got enough to think about, I'm sure, without worrying about me. So don't.
GK: Okay, I won't.
SS: You're very sarcastic. But that's okay. I'm used to it. Here-- here's your father. He wants to talk to you.
Tim Russell (MIDWESTERN): Hello, son.
GK: Hi dad.
TR (MIDWESTERN): How's it going then?
GK: Just fine, Dad.
TR (MIDWESTERN): That's good. Glad to hear it. Good talking to you. See you real soon.
GK: Bye dad. (PAUSE)
SS: Thank you for doing that. It means so much to him. You'll never know how much. He talks about you all the time. You're the center of his life, Duane.
GK: Mom-- if you're calling to find out if I'm still coming for Christmas, the answer is yes. I mean, you bought the plane ticket, and thank you, and I'll be there a week from Thursday.
SS: Well, don't feel that you have to come.
GK: You don't want me to come?
SS: I didn't say that.
GK: You bought me a plane ticket, I assumed it was because you wanted me to come.
SS: I want it to be your choice, Duane.
GK: Mother. I was going to stay in New York so I could see the agent about my book. Then you bought me the ticket. So I'm coming home.
SS: No, No-- I'll cancel the tickets, I'll pay the penalty, we'll tell Aunt Gladys that you're not coming -- we'll have to get her an extra oxygen tank, but we'll get through it. Don't worry about us.
GK: Mother, the agent turned down my book, so -- I'm going to put it aside for now and I'm going to look for some sort of regular job, office work or something --
SS: In New York?
GK: No, in Minneapolis. I'm moving back. You were right. Forty years of temp work and trying to get published -- it was crazy. I should've listened to you years ago. You were utterly right. You've always had an uncanny ability to see right this thin tissue of lies that I call a life and my pitiful pretensions to being a writer -- and now, finally, I'm coming back home and I'm going to try to make something of myself. Okay?
SS: I always liked your writing. I don't think you should give up on it.
GK: Mother? Is this you or is this someone else?
SS: I think you have a huge talent. I've always said that.
GK: Mother, I think there's something wrong with the phone line-- let me call you back--
SS: Why did they turn down your memoir, Duane?
GK: I don't know, mom. They didn't say.
SS: Well why don't you send it to me? I could probably tell you what's wrong with it.
GK: I don't want to do that, mom.
SS: Just send it right now, and we'll get this all fixed up.
GK: They said that the character of the mother wasn't believable.
SS: What??? Who said that??? What's their phone number??? Unbelievable??? Where do they get off saying that? Unbelievable????
GK: Mom, I've gotta go. I'm late for my temp job.
SS: Honey, I'm on your side.
GK: Gotta go, Mom. Gotta run.
SS: Just want you to know I love you.
GK: Love you too, Mom. Gotta run.
SS: Big kiss to you. Mmmmmmmwwwahhhhh.
GK: Okay, goodbye.
SS: Don't I get a kiss?
GK: When I get home, Mom. I gotta run.
SS: Just a little ittybitty kiss? Huh, Snuggums?
GK: Okay. Mmmwaahhhh.
GK: Bye, Mom.