TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions -- Guy Noir, private eye.


GK: It was one of those cold overcast winter days in St. Paul when a man puts aside his New Year's resolution about diet and he watches his calories as they go into his mouth. CAFE AMBIENCE)

SS: There you go. Four eggs over easy, hash browns, and the 12 ounce sirloin, rare, and a side of French toast and the blueberry bismarck. Okay?

GK: Thank you.

SS: No problem. (BRIDGE)

GK: I wish people wouldn't say "No problem" when I say "Thank you". What happened to "You're welcome?" Anyway, I was celebrating a windfall I'd gotten from selling a dresser that my aunt Betty had left me, which I sold to an antiques dealer named Red Burford.

FN: Not really a dresser. Or a chest of drawers. More like an armoire. Some would call it a chiffonier.

GK: Anyway, this dresser, or armoire, it has a companion piece, a credenza.

FN: You mean a sideboard.

GK: We used to call it a commode.

FN: Well, where I come from a commode is a toilet.

GK: We used to put napkins and tablecloths in it.

FN: I never heard of napkins being put in a toilet, but to each his own.

GK: Anyway, this Shaker dresser went with a commode.

FN: It's not Shaker, it's French ---- If it were Shaker, I'd offer you a couple hundred bucks. As an armoire, it's worth fifty thousand.

GK: You're right, it's an armoire. How silly of me.

FN: And with the sideboard, it'd be seventy-five.

GK: A sideboard. Good to get that straight at last.

FN: You mind if I pay you in hundreds?

GK: Ah, Benjamin Franklin. (FN COUNTING OUT BILLS) Always good to see his cheerful face. A beautiful man indeed. (BRIDGE) So instead of cornflakes, I was enjoying a rich man's breakfast, steak and eggs and French toast and a Bismarck-----

TR: Mr. Noir? Sorry to interrupt your breakfast, but it's Bob Hubbard from the Hubbard Rubber Cupboard Company in Upper Abercrombie County.

GK: I see. I never heard of rubber cupboards.

TR: Used to be lumber cupboards but rubber is preferred by plumbers because it's got shutters which double as scuppers.

GK: Oh.

TR: Anyhow---- my daughter Bubbles Hubbard and her deadbeat hubby Brad Bumpers who peddles bilingual Biblical Scrabble boards were imbibing a bourbon and a Grainbelt beer and Brad, whose hobby is bodybuilding, dropped a barbell on the big toe of a pigtailed playboy Blake Breck, who'd been a pallbearer at the funeral of Bubbles Hubbard's blond bimbo buddy Barby's boyfriend Biff's dad and gotten bombed.

GK: Okay. So where do I come in?

TR: She danced the rhumba in baubles, bangles and beads with Brad's best friend Biff who told his daddy on his deathbed to bet ten bucks on the daily double and it came up clubs and won a bucket of shishkebob and a broadband birdbath.

GK: What's a broadband birdbath?

TR: It's for broadbilled bluebirds who feed on bedbugs and cobwebs.

GK: Never heard of it.

TR: The broadband birdbath? It was a blockbuster. A barnburner. Anyway----- (CELLPHONE RING) Whoops. It's Bubbles. Be right back. (VOICE WANDERS AWAY)

GK: Hmmmm. Quite a story. Well, time for me to dig in and-----

SS: Mr. Noir?

GK: Yeah?

SS: I'm sorry to interrupt your breakfast.

GK: That's okay.

SS: Wow. Is that all for you?

GK: Yes, ma'am.

SS: I thought maybe you were having a couple friends----

GK: No. What's up?

SS: My name is Nina Norman, I'm with the Five County Arts Consortium which is in the process of establishing systematic methods of creating platforms for participatory cultural programs to expand capabilities for creativity and to create community and start a coherent conversation.

GK: Platforms.

SS: Yes.

GK: You're a carpenter?

SS: No, a platform ---- it's a medium --- a framework that facilitates creativity and is accepting of participants as assets who can connect with each other.

GK: Of course. How can I help?

SS: Well, have you heard the term user-generated participation?

GK: I have now.

SS: It means cultural delivery systems wherein people can curate their own experiences unmediated by a provider.

GK: Good.

SS: So they can interact and share and foster reciprocal relationships.

GK: And you wanted me to do what?

SS: Oh. You mean, why did I come in here?

GK: Yes.

SS: I was hoping you could help me find my car keys.

GK: I see.

SS: I've looked all around the cafe, the street, outside by the car, in the gutter.....

GK: How about in your right hand?

SS: Oh. Sure. Great. Thanks.

GK: Now you can have a reciprocal relationship with your car. Your car is a self-delivery platform unmediated by outsiders except in populated areas. Hope you get there without interacting with other cars.

SS: Without interacting?

GK: Stay in your own lane.

SS: Okay. Thanks. (BRIDGE)

GK: My sirloin and the four eggs sunnyside up were looking awfully good and I was just about to cut off a big bite.....

TR: So----Anyway----I'm back.

GK: Mr. Hubbard from the rubber cupboard company.

TR: Yes. Just talking to Bubbles about Barby's boyfriend Breck Blake's buddy Biff with the busted big toe.....

GK: Actually, it's Blake Breck. He busted his toe.

TR: Oh. Right.

GK: Biff is Barby the blond bimbo's boyfriend whose Daddy's funeral Blake Breck was a pallbearer at after Biff told his dad Bud to put ten bucks on the daily double and it came up clubs and won the bucket of shishkebob and the broadband birdbath.

TR: Well, that's like a whole different story.

GK: And Brad, the bodybuilder, dropped the barbell on Blake Breck the pigtailed playboy's big toe.

TR: Blake who disributed bilateral Biblical Scrabble.

GK: That was Bubbles Hubbard's hubby Brad Bumpers.

TR: Anyway, this isn't about that, this is about rhubarb.

GK: What about rhubarb?

TR: Arabian rhubarb supplements build radical backbone balance by stabilizing ribcage and stimulating lumbar.

GK: So what?

TR: Anyway, Blake Breck brought a Republican rabbi Bubba Abramowitz who bamboozled Barbi into coming to the bloodmobile and buying the Arabian rhubarb supplement from his debutante daughter Dodie.

GK: Wait a minute. A rabbi?

TR: A Republican rabbi with a propensity for pulpit pomposity who bedazzled Barby at Brad Bumpers's barbecue but anyway that's not the point.

GK: What is the point?

TR: This Republican Arabian rhubarb supplement that builds backbone balance by stabilizing and stimulating the ribcage and lumbar. Where can I buy it?

GK: I suppose from Bubba Abramowitz's debutant daughter Dodie.

TR: But I looked for the bloodmobile all over St. Paul, I drove up Cedar, Summit, Summer, Stanford, Hamline, McGuffin, McKubin, Hubbard, Arundel, Edmund, Edgecumbe, Dudley, Doswell, Cleveland, Commonwealth, Carter, Como, Burton, and Pierce Butler Road.

GK: You know something?

TR: What?

GK: My breakfast is getting cold.

TR: Oh.

GK: It was warm and now it's cold.

TR: Sorry. But about the Arabian rhubarb----

GK: Bye.

TR: You wouldn't happen to----

GK: No.

TR: Would you like a coupon for a rubber cupboard?

GK: No.

TR: You're not going to eat all that food yourself, are you?

GK: I am. Beat it. (BRIDGE) Breakfast was cold. And then it got a little colder when a shadow fell over it.

SS: Hi.

GK: She was tall and blonde and she had a look about her that is illegal in certain states. Her neckline swooped down to the point where I didn't dare let my eyes wander south of her chin for fear they might never come back. She was a woman who could make you hand over nuclear secrets and if you didn't have any, you'd try to think of some.

SS (DEEP HUSKY VOICE): Are you Guy Noir? The private eye?

GK: Yeah. What can I do for you, ma'am? ---Hey, don't I know you? Aren't you the famous heiress to the tissue paper fortune?

SS: I was. Yes.

GK: What happened?

SS: It all went in the toilet.

GK: Too bad. So what can I do for you?

SS: I'm so cold in this dress. And I saw you sitting here and you look so warm. Would you mind if I sit next to you for a minute and warm up?

GK: Have a seat.

SS: Oh thanks. (SHE SITS) Oh, that's so much better. You're like a furnace.

GK: I am now. My heart is pounding. Lean against my chest and you can feel it.

SS: Oh wow.

GK: You're trembling like a leaf.

SS: I know. Would you mind if I warm up my hands?

GK: Oh. Wow.

SS: Is that okay?

GK: Oh, that's more than okay. Your hands are so delicate, they're like little spiders.

SS: Is that ticklish?

GK: It's more reckless than ticklish, but heck---- who's complaining?

SS: I never did this before. Oh my. People are looking.

GK: It's envy, Miss-----

SS: Happ. Amanda Happ.

GK: You're a beautiful woman, Miss Happ, and ---- oh, are you leaving? So soon----

SS: I'll be back.

GK: When?

SS: Soon.

GK: Okay.

SS: Thank you.

GK: No problem. (BRIDGE) I finished my breakfast in the afterglow of her presence and when I discovered that her beautiful hands had removed about half of the fifty grand from my pants pocket and also lifted three credit cards out of my wallet, I didn't feel that a crime had been committed, I felt I had been the object of rare expertise, like being operated on by a great surgeon. I felt honored. And she had left me half of the money and one credit card so ---- it could've been worse.


TR: A dark night in the city that knows how to keep its secrets, but a light shines on the 12th floor of the Acme Building -- Guy Noir, Private Eye.