A Prairie Home Companion Segment 11
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(THEME) 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 the end of April and as usual spring was toying with us, a sunshine one day to lure us out of our burrows, then a freezing rain to send us back. Meanwhile, the potholes were getting deeper and deeper. (TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE) I drove over to the University listening to Russian music on public radio and hit a pothole (BWANGGG) that gave me Rush instead--- (TR RUSH: My friends, affordable health care is Stalinism pure and simple, it's the end of our country as we know it") I was at the University, representing a client, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, who wanted the U to change its school mascot---- I wasn't getting very far.

FN: Sorry. The answer is no.

GK: But gophers are rodents. A nuisance.

FN: We're the Golden Gophers.

GK: You could be the free-range turkeys. A tom. How about the Minnesota Toms? FN: No.

GK: Would you do me a favor and just watch the video?

FN: Get out of here.

GK: It only takes a moment.

FN: Go.

GK: Here, you're going to like this----- (ORGAN UP, SLIDING INTO KEY, BIG CHORD)


SS: Native to the woods of north America, the turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, was nominated by Benjamin Franklin to be our national symbol.


SS: With its proud fan of colorful tail feathers, the turkey (VOICE AND MUSIC SLOW AND FADE)....

GK: Now you've gone and broken my video player.

FN: Good.

GK: Would you.....

FN: No.

GK: Just for....


GK: It was a lousy day for me. Voice mail was pretty bleak. (BEEP) TR: Mr. Noir, this is Mr. Curtis at the bank? Listen, you wrote a check for $5.78 to Caucasian Cleaners that I'm afraid we cannot honor. (BEEP) SS: Hi. It's Carolyn at Caucasian Cleaners. That coffee stain on your pants --- I'm sorry but ---- there's no way. (BEEP) FN: Mr. Noir, it's Frank at the Turkey Growers Association ---- how are we coming at the University? (BRIDGE)

GK: I thought about drowning my sorrows in gin but my sorrows have life preservers, so I tried sitting in the sun instead. I plopped down on the plaza in front of Northrop Auditorium and (CELLPHONE RING) (PICK UP) ---- Yeah, Noir here.

TR (ON PHONE): Mr. Noir, it's Carl Peterson. Listen, I'm over at the University and I've got a problem----

GK: And then I noticed it was a man sitting right next to me, talking on his cellphone.

TR (ON PHONE): It's about my son Aaron who's a student over here ---- the wife and I, we came down from Fergus Falls to try to find him----

GK: Excuse me, sir?

TR: I'm on the phone, sir.

GK: I know that. You're talking to me.

TR (ON PHONE): Excuse me, Mr. Noir. Some dingbat here is interrupting me.

GK: The dingbat is me, Carl.

TR: I can see it's you, just leave me alone, I'm trying to make a call. (ON PHONE) Anyhoo---- like I was saying----

SS: Carl, you're on the phone with the man sitting next to you.

TR: Who?

SS: This older man in the suit with the gravy stains.

TR: Oh. (ON PHONE) Is that you sitting next to me then?

GK: Yeah.

TR: (ON PHONE) Okay. Gotcha.

SS: I'm his wife, Karen Petersen. But spelled s-E-n. I kept my maiden name. It's about our son Aaron, Mr. Noir. He's here at the U and we haven't heard from him in months so we came down from Fergus Falls to try and find him cause it's so unlike him to be out of touch. Not send home his laundry or ask for money or write us letters saying how we ruined his life. You know.

GK: What is he studying here?

SS: Interactive studies.

GK: Interactive studies. What's that?

SS: It's an interdisciplinary program where you create new learning platforms and actually --- I don't know.

TR: We have no idea. I don't think he does either. (BRIDGE)

GK: So I found the Interactive Studies program office and the director was a woman a man would like to interact with. She wore a T-shirt with a map of Colorado on the front and you could see what a mountainous state it is.

SS: My face is here, sir---- raise your eyes about a foot or so-----

GK: Yes, ma'am. Oh, there you are.

SS: Another few inches and you'll be looking into my eyes. There you go. Good.

GK: I'm looking for an Interactive Studies major named Aaron Peterson.

SS: Well, here's the student directory. Have a look. Take all the time you need.

GK: Let me see. "Aaron, A. Peterson, Aaron B., Aaron C., Aaron F., Aaron L., Aaron M., Aaron Matthew, Aaron Michael, Aaron P., Aaron Peter, Aaron R., Aaron Randall, Aaron Richard, Aaron Ronald, Aaron Russell, Aaron Samuel, Aaron ----- ah never mind. (BRIDGE) I went over to the men's dorm, which had a definite aroma to it, like someone had made beer pizza with a crust of old gym socks. I had him paged, hoping I'd get the right one.

FN (P.A.): Aaron Peterson report to the main desk.

GK: And a few minutes later, a sad young man came shuffling up ----Aaron?

TR: Yeah.

GK: Is that Peterson with an son or an sen.

GK: Of course. From Fergus Falls?

TR: How'd you know?

GK: Your mom and dad are worried about you, Aaron. What's going on? You having problems? You depressed?

TR: Hard to tell when you come from Norwegians. Yeah, I got problems. I'm a sophomore and I was doing okay and now suddenly I'm flunking out. My roommate accidentally took my backpack instead of his and I didn't have what I needed to study for finals and besides that I was out of coffee so I overslept so I missed my communications final and I went to history but I took the wrong bus and got there an hour late but the professor let me take it anyway and then my cell phone went off during the final and the professor gave me an automatic fail so that was two fails and then for English I studied the wrong material, instead of Herman Melville I read Marvel comics and that got me an F, and I was so flustered I walked in to take the oral exam in Spanish and all I could remember was uno dos tres, and so I'm flunking out of Interactive studies. I don't know what to do.

GK: What is Interactive Studies, Aaron?

TR: Well, it's about interfacing perception and memory. Proactively.

GK: Of course. Listen, Aaron. This is the best thing that could've happened to you. You're free. You were about to spend two years and sixty thousand dollars on a degree that would've gotten you a job at WalMart and instead you can start at Walmart now and get some seniority so that when your classmates come to work there, you will be their supervisor.

TR: Wow. Cool. I'm going back to my room and get my stuff.

GK: Your parents are parked out front, Aaron, they'll be thrilled to see you. And right then I saw her, Miss Interactive, walking along, heading for Dinkytown, and I followed her. She had a catlike quality that made me feel I was back at the Bijou, in a loge seat with a box of Milk Duds, watching Ava Gardner on the silver screen. "Suddenly The Dark-Eyed Stranger." She was wearing darkglasses with lenses the size of postage stamps. And jeans so tight, I could read the credit card in her back pocket. The expiration date was 06/15. ---- Excuse me?

SS: Mr. Noir. I was just thinking about you. Wondering what sign you are. Let me tell you why. It's because I'm in love with you. I've been waiting all my life for someone like you, and ---- I never thought I'd say this,but---- I'm ready to go ---- my car is in the ramp---- the world is our playground---- Caribbean, Mexico, New York, Grand Forks, anywhere ---- I have credit cards ----

GK: I noticed. Well, I am a Saggitarius with the moon in Jupiter, born in the Year of the Raccoon. And I see by your ring, you're a Virgo. We're perfect for each other.

SS: The ring is not mine, Mr. Noir. It belonged to my mother. You'd be perfect for my mother. I am a Libra with Venus in the flytrap and born in the Year of the Cormorant. If we hooked up, we'd have a week or two of sheer euphoria and then heartbreak, despair, and you'd come back to Minnesota a broken man----

GK: I'd be willing to take that chance.

SS: I can't do it to you, Mr. Noir. You're perfect for me but I'm all wrong for you. I would destroy you.

GK: I think I could learn to enjoy that. ---- but she was already walking away. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY) I followed her and she got farther and farther away even though I broke into a trot and then ran as hard as I could (RUNNING, HEAVY BREATHING)....this happens to me more and more these days. Women passing me and not even looking back.


TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but there, on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building, one man is trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions..Guy Noir, Private Eye. (MUSIC OUT)