TR: 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 --
GK: It was October and it was cold and snowy. Winter had arrived a month or two early, like a root canal appointment you'd forgotten about, or a sudden visit from your cousin Schmendrick who arrives with a large suitcase and his drum kit. The arrival of cold weather coincided with a dip in my cash flow and my landlady Doris was getting restless about the rent (THUMPING ON DOOR. SS: Open up, ya big welsher. I know you're in there, I can smell your socks.) and so I was inclined to accept cases that in plummier days I would've turned down, such as literary plagiarism for example. The best-selling author of chicklit thrillers Desiree Wooten came to my office--
SS: It's about Sandman. He's been plagiarizing me for years, stealing from my stuff, and I ignored it because I felt sorry for him but I've got to whack the guy and you're the one to do it, Noir. So that's why I'm here.
GK: She was tall and lean like a jungle cat and beautiful with her eyes flashing and her nostrils flared and her fists clenched.
SS: I want you to go out to Mr. Sandman's palatial estate and tell the man to quit stealing from my work or else face the consequences. (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: Mike Sandman was the famous author of thrillers in which men go after each other with power tools and blood flows freely. Men die at the hand of Skilsaws and shop vacuums. Work that appeals to overweight men in their late fifties and sixties. Desiree, on the other hand, writes thrillers in which people are killed with kitchen utensils. Her latest best-seller is STICK YOUR NECK OUT -- the villain, a bad plumber, is eviscerated using a kitchen blender. It shot to the top of the New York Times list, replacing Mr. Sandman's I NEVER SAW IT COMING in which the villain is done in with a battery charger.
SS: Look at this right here, Mr. Noir--
GK: This is from your book--
SS: Right. "She set the kitchen blender back on the counter and looked down at the plumber's internal organs that lay pureed on her tile floor and she threw her head back and laughed lightly. 'Guess you won't be over charging me ever again, you big dork. A hundred dollars to fix the float in the toilet tank -- the very toilet you're about to go down, mister. "
GK: Very vivid writing, Miss Wooten.
SS: And now look at this from that idiot Sandman's book-- ... page 178... "Mark stood in the garage, the hose of the wet/dry vac in his hand with which he had just sucked the internal organs out of his neighbor, the evil Mr. Engh. He threw his head back and chuckled lightly. "Well, that'll teach you not to let your leaves blow onto my lawn," he remarked.
GK: Uh huh. I must say I prefer yours.
SS: That's not the point. It's thievery! The man's a pickpocket! "Tossed her head back and laughed lightly" is a signature line of mine. It's in every novel I write. My readers expect it. They look for it. I want you to get this guy. (STING)
GK: There was something about Desiree that made my heart beat like an egg blender. Some men go for delicate women who write memoirs about victimhood with long sensitive descriptive passages about trees changing color and mortality, but I've always been drawn to anger in women and the possibility of violence. I was ready to go to the wall for her. I drove over to Mr. Sandman's estate near the St. Croix River -- there was an Intercom at the front gate. (BUZZER)
TK (ON INTERCOM): Yeah, who is it?
GK: Guy Noir.
TK (INTERCOM): Who?
GK: Guy Noir.
TK (INTERCOM): Who're you?
GK: Private eye. Here to see Mr. Sandman.
TK (INTERCOM): What're you doing?
GK: Want to ask him some questions about a plagiarism case.
TK (INTERCOM): You have any guns or sharp objects on you?
GK: No, sir.
TK (INTERCOM): Are you carrying rotten fruit such as apples or rotten tomatoes?
TK (INTERCOM): You carrying animal manure of any sort?
TK (INTERCOM): Before I can open the gate, I need you to step out of the car and stand on the pavement where the X is painted and drop your trousers and bend over.
GK: I'm sorry. What?
TK (INTERCOM): Look, I don't make the rules around here.
GK: Why don't you come out here and pat me down if you want?
TK (INTERCOM): I'm not on the premises, I'm in Colorado Springs.
GK: Colorado Springs!!!!
TK (INTERCOM): I work for BASS. Blessed Assurance Security Systems.
GK: Well, if you're in Colorado Springs, then you're not going to be able to do much about me driving through your gate, are you? (REV UP CAR, CAR JUMPS FORWARD, CRASH AGAINST GATE, CAR RACES FORWARD) I drove through the gate and over the hill past a meadow where thoroughbreds were running around (SFX) and there was Mr. Sandman's palatial home -- with a greenhouse and a golf course and a boathouse on the river. I parked the car and (FOOTSTEPS) walked up to the front door and rang the bell (BIG DEEP BELL, FOUR DONGS AND A GONG).
TR: (OVER INTERCOM) Yeah? Who's there?
GK: Name's Guy Noir. I'm here to talk about plagiarism.
TR: (OVER INTERCOM) Come on in. (DOOR OPEN) (DOG GROWLING)
GK: Your dog is sort of blocking the way, Mr. Sandman. (GROWLING)
TR (INTERCOM): He's harmless. Just walk past him. He's never bitten anybody. (TR CHUCKLES)
GK: Okay. (BARKING, SNAPPING, GROWLING). He may be harmless but he's doing a great impersonation of dangerous, sir.
TR (INTERCOM): Just take a step toward him and shake your fist and say, Bad Dog, Bad Dog.
GK: Couldn't you come down and do that?
TR (INTERCOM): I'm up in my writing studio. Just say, Bad Dog. (CHUCKLES)
GK: Bad dog! Bad dog! (BARKS) Whoaaaa. (FOOTSTEPS RUNNING AWAY, DOG IN PURSUIT. DOOR OPENS, SLAMS. FAST FOOTSTEPS. DOG BARKS. DOOR OPENS, SLAMS. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS. DOOR OPEN, SLAMS. FOOTSTEPS WALKING. GK BREATHING HARD) Whew. That was close. Lost him. Finally. (SNARL, BARK. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS. DOOR OPEN, SLAM. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN, SLAM. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN, SLAM. GLASS BREAKAGE.) Oh no. (DOG SNARL. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) Hey, a fireman's pole. (LONG SLIDE. BUMP. DOG SLIDES DOWN, WOOFING) Oh my gosh. (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS. DOOR OPEN, SLAM.) Oh oh. Closet door. (WINGS) A closet full of bats. (DOG SNARL) And a dog.
(DOOR OPEN, RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN, SLAM. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN, SLAM. KLAXON ALARM. DOG WOOFS. DOOR OPEN, SLAM. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, LONG RUN DOWN HALLWAY -- DOOR OPEN. SLAM)
GK: Mister Sandman?
GK: I'm here on behalf of Desiree Whooten.
TR: Desiree Whooten??? That pitiful hack? (HE LAUGHS)
GK: You keep tossing your head back and laughing lightly, Mr. Sandman. Just like her heroine does after she brains the UPS man with an egg whisk. It's called plagiarism. And I'm here to stop it.
TR: Listen, Noir, every jerk with a laptop wants a piece of what I've got. They all want to knock off the king. Well, I don't give an inch to anybody! If I wasted a breath on every clown who claims that I stole their idea, I'd have no time to write. Tell that dizzy broad she can eat my eraser, Noir. Get out of here! Sic, 'em, Caesar! (VICIOUS DOG BARKS)
GK: Oh boy, here we go again, (DOG SNARLS, FOOTSTEPS RUNNING, DOG IN PURSUIT, DOOR OPENS, SLAMS, FAST FOOTSTEPS, BARKING, SNARLING, BITING, DOOR OPEN, SLAMS. CHASE MUSIC INTO BRIDGE)
GK: I hightailed it all the way back to Desiree's house, and when I saw her in the doorway with a spatula, my heart pounded. I walked in and I was about to tell her what I was going to do to Mike Sandman and his rabid dog and she wasn't interested.
SS: Mark Sandman??? (SHE LAUGHS LIGHTLY) I could care less.
GK: He's stolen your tossing-the-head-back-and-laughing-lightly line, Miss Wooten.
SS: Oh that. (SHE LAUGHS LIGHTLY) It matters not, Mr. Noir. I want you to meet Brendan.
GK: I looked down and there was a man crouched under the sink, fixing the drain.
SS: He's a plumber but actually he's a poet.
TR (IRISH): It soared, the great silver bird, into the light, with a swift pure cry of joy....
SS: He came over to clean out the trap and it's taken him two hours and those are the two most wonderful hours I've had in a long time.
TR (IRISH): Along the shore they gathered to see the bird soar like a silver orb, leaping and laughing serene, soaring high against the dappled bosom of the sky, high, O luminescence of love, of love all around about the all, the endlessness, the infinity of the sea, the sea, the great blue sea. (TAPS OF HAMMER)
GK: Very nice. About Mike Sandman--
SS: Oh, him. It's so trivial. (SHE LAUGHS LIGHTLY) (BRIDGE)
GK: I let myself out the back door. She didn't even notice. I forgot all about sending her a bill. When you've lost your heart, what does it matter if you're paid or not. I headed back to the Acme Building and sat down at my desk I tried to toss my head back lightly and something snapped in my neck and I didn't laugh.
TR: 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.