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. (THEME UP AND OUT)
Garrison Keillor: It was January and a bitter wind was blowing across the frozen tundra. You walked around the corner to the coffee shop and (BLIZZARD) you felt as if you were in some National Geographic special about northern Mongolia, you were a native herdsman trying to drive your goats back to the yurt (DOOR CLOSE, BLIZZARD END) -- so when I got a call to go to San Francisco, I didn't quibble about the per diem. I got on a plane and I went. (BRIDGE) It was an author named Merlin Getty, the grand-nephew of J. Paul Getty the oil tycoon, and he lived in a penthouse on Nob Hill and he was steamed......
Fred Newman: It's this Google business, Mr. Noir. I am so mad I could spit. (HE HAWKS AND SPITS) There. I did it.
GK: What's Google up to, Mr. Getty?
FN: They're out to digitize every book there is. Put the whole library in their computers. So anybody can download whatever they want. It's going to kill literature.
GK: Uh huh. Beautiful view you have here......
FN: Books will become free for the taking. Writers will be out on the streets, selling pencils out of a cup. It's obscene.
GK: I can see the Golden Gate.....Mount Tamalpais.
FN: Books are a beautiful thing, Mr. Noir. You hold a book in your hand, you take it with you, open it on the bus, turn the page -- A computer is nothing but a machine.
GK: What is that down there, that old brown stone building?
FN: I've just been elected to the board of the American Writers Association and I am going to fight Google with every means at my disposal. Silicon Valley, look out.
GK: How can I help, Mr. Getty?
FN: Let me show you something, Mr. Noir. (BRIDGE)
GK: He took me into the library. The long table was covered with drawings, electrical diagrams of some sort. And at the end of the table sat an old man with dark glasses and a ponytail.
FN: Mr. Noir, I'd like you to meet Dr. Gottfried Von Schmootz.
FN: And this is a diagram for Dr. Von Schmootz's Laser Signal Destabilizer. The LSD.
GK: I see.
FN: We're going to aim the Destabilizer at Google's central computer complex in an underground bunker under Telegraph Hill. And program it to destroy any parts of Google's data base that we wish to destroy.
TR: (EXCITED GERMAN)
FN: Speak English, Doctor. English. (SLAPS, TR MUTTERS)
TR (GERMAN): Sorry. I forget. The LSD is designed to peel away the Google data like you would peel an orange.
FN: If they do not meet our demands and pay authors for the use of their books, then bam--it's Orange Crush.
TR (GERMAN): We shall go forth to meet the Google and we shall slay it and bring its head back on a spike.
GK: So this is a blackmail scheme here--
FN: I call it negotiating with a pistol in your pocket.
GK: But without Google, the schoolchildren of America will be unable to write their term papers......
TR (GERMAN): We will destroy its memory selectively. We will begin by wiping out all of the files on Shakespeare.
GK: Shakespeare! But then kids can't write about MacBeth without reading the play -- that can take hours -- they won't have time to go to MySpace.
TR (GERMAN): Let them read MacBeth then.......heh heh heh heh heh.
GK: Don't you see? Without Google, children are forced to live in cities with big libraries, but thanks to Google, kids who live in San Francisco are free to move to Wyoming or North Dakota or Nevada.
FN: Not my problem, Mr. Noir.
GK: There's got to be a better way, Mr. Getty. America's children need Google.
FN: Let me confide in you, Mr. Noir. What I tell you now must not go beyond this room. I'm going to bring in a friend of mine who's in the next room. -- Shooter?? Come in. (DOOR OPEN, FOOTSTEPS)
TR (CHENEY): Good to meet you, Mr. Noir, and thank you for coming.
GK: Vice-President Cheney.
TR (CHENEY): This apartment has been designated an undisclosed location, Mr. Noir, and we expect you to keep that a secret.....
GK: Of course.
TR (CHENEY): Otherwise we're going on a little hunting trip together. Just you and me. I don't think you'd enjoy that.
GK: No sir.
TR (CHENEY): Google is a part of the axis of evil, Mr. Noir. It is an extension of the axis. Why? Because if you want to find out how to make a hnnn-hnnn-hnnnn all you have to do is Google it. You understand me?
GK: You don't think there are other places a person could find out how to make a hnnnn-hnnnn-hnnnnn? A book, perhaps?
TR (CHENEY): We are keeping our eyes on all of the hnnnn-hnnnn-hnnnn sites and thousands of people are Googling them every day. So-- we have helped to develop the LSD. As a way of dealing with the problem.
GK: So where do I come in?
FN: We want you to go to Telegraph Hill and when you feel vibrations in the ground under your feet, we want you to wave a hanky up high over your head.
GK: There isn't a better way to do this? A hanky?
TR (CHENEY): I'll go get my hunting gear.
GK: Okay, okay, okay. (BRIDGE) I walked around Nob Hill, looking for a store that sells hankies, and then a woman tapped me on the shoulder.
Sue Scott: Excuse me, mister. --
GK: She was a cleaning lady. She was wearing cleaning lady shoes and white cotton hose and a little blue uniform that said Pacific Union Club on it.
SS: Could you do me a favor, mister? Just take a minute--
GK: What's that?
SS: I work here at the Pacific Union Club and I wonder if you'd go around to the front and push the button on the front gate so I can see if the buzzer works?
GK: You're not sure it works?
SS: Nobody ever comes in that way.
GK: Well, where do they come in?
SS: They don't.
GK: Nobody comes in?
SS: All the members died.
GK: They died? Are you sure they're not just napping? Did you poke them?
SS: They're all dead.
GK: Somebody put something in the highballs?
SS: They got old and died. Simple as that.
GK: How come?
SS: They were the most exclusive men's club in the city and so nobody applied for membership for fear they'd be turned down so now there are no more members.
GK: So who uses it?
SS: The employees. We took it over a year ago. The waiters, the busboys, the cleaning ladies, the dishwashers -- we go every morning and sit around in big leather chairs smoking the cigars and drinking the port and at night we lock up and go home.
GK: So why do you need the buzzer on the gate?
SS: I don't. I want to make sure it's not working.
GK: Oh. Okay. (BRIDGE) I went and pressed the buzzer for awhile and I had one of those wonderful ideas that you get when you breathe the cold salt air, so when the cleaning lady came out, I had a proposal.
SS: Thanks. It doesn't work. Appreciate your help--
GK: Ma'am, may I have a word? Look-- I know it seems like a stroke of good luck, being able to smoke cigars and put your feet up, but -- you're not happy with that, are you? You're a worker. Like me. You're happier when you're working.
SS: Yeah. I think all of us in there feel that way.
GK: A life of leisure isn't what it's cracked up to be--
SS: I miss cleaning, to be perfectly honest.
GK: Listen. I think it's time to restore the Pacific Union Club to its original purpose. A place to put powerful people with criminal tendencies and medicate them so they'll do less harm.
SS: I think you're right.
GK: I've got a few of them nearby -- I'll bring them right over. (BRIDGE) And that's how San Francisco became the final undisclosed location of the Administration. We put the Vice-President upstairs and poured him a 1929 port and put a shotgun across his lap and (TR CHENEY SNORING) he was out like a light. And soon a helicopter landed on the roof (CHOPPER) and in came Nancy Pelosi leading the President of the United States by the hand. He was wearing a pair of blinders.
TR (BUSH): Nobody saw me come in, did they? I crouched down like you told me to.
SS (PELOSI): You did a fine job, Mr. President. And now here you are, in Baghdad. This is the embassy. Your bunker is down this way. And here is Colonel Noir.
TR (BUSH): Baghdad! Really! That was a swift flight, I must say.
GK: There was no time to waste, Mr. President. We needed you here to take charge of the war.
TR (BUSH): Just exactly what I've been telling Cheney and them for years. Say-- how come it's so quiet?
GK: It's because your policies are working already, Mr. President. There are still some demonstrations now and then -- and you'll hear some clanging and shouting late at night-- but it's under control.
TR (BUSH): Should I call in artillery fire?
GK: No, sir. Just hang tight. Study your map. We'll send you reports. And don't forget to exercise. There's a gym in the basement. Treadmill, StairMaster, everything you need.
TR (BUSH): Can I go for a run?
GK: No, sir. You have to stay hidden, here in the bunker. If word should get out that you, the Commander in Chief, are here in Baghdad, it's just going to arouse the insurgents.
TR (BUSH): Good advice. Well, Nancy-- with me and Cheney here on the front, it looks like you'll be in charge for awhile.
SS (PELOSI): Don't worry about a thing, Mr. President. Don't lose a minute of sleep over it.
TR (BUSH): Hey. Don't worry. I never did before, so why start now? Heh heh heh heh. (THEME)
GK: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still searching for the answers to life's persistent questions....me.....Guy Noir, Private Eye. (THEME UP AND OUT)