A Prairie Home Companion Segment 4 for May 24, 2014
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0:00 | 00:08:31


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 spring and I was anxious to get out of town to avoid

a woman I met through a website called Beautiful Losers, who

I'd led her to believe I was 43 years old and a published novelist

and so we hadn't met yet because there was that big discrepancy


SS: (ON PHONE): What's the title of your book, Mr. Norris?

I'd like to read it.

GK: I'm all out of copies, Eileen. Let me look for one and I'll

let you know.

SS: (ON PHONE): How about we meet for coffee and you can

tell me about it?

GK: I've been drinking too much coffee - I'm trying to cut


SS: (ON PHONE): Tea, then.

GK: Same with tea. And besides, I'm about to leave town,

SS: (ON PHONE): I could come meet you now.

GK: Actually, I already left.

SS: (ON PHONE): Well, I can't wait to meet you, Mr. Norris,

and rip your clothes off and jump right into a passionate


GK: I'll call you the minute I get back. (BRIDGE) I was

leaving that day for Washington. I had been called by the

National Archives to help with a top-secret case. The Archives

keeps the original copy of the U.S. Constitution and someone

had managed to get into the secret chamber and make some

revisions in the First Amendment.

TR: (ON PHONE): They used a quill pen and India ink and it

looks pretty authentic except they put in an asterisk and wrote it

in the margin.

GK: And what did they write?

TR: (ON PHONE): Congress shall make no law respecting an

establishment of religion, except if people really really want it,

or abridging the freedom of speech, including corporations,

irregardless of expense.

GK: Yeah. I don't think they used the word "irregardless" back

in the early 19th Century. When did this happen?

TR: (ON PHONE): Midnight on Sunday.

GK: And where was Justice Scalia when it happened? (STING)

GK: So I got on a flight to Washington aboard Republican



SS: Hello, I am Bethany, I am your flight attendant. We will be

taking a vote about take-off in a little while ---- on Republican

Airlines we do not take off until we're unanimous in favor and

right now we have four people voting against unless they can be

upgraded to first, so we'll have to wait and see.


FN: Yeah, this is Brigadier General Earl Hollowell, and I'll be

your pilot today. I'm not too familiar with this particular aircraft

but I'm sure that (SHORTING CONNECTION,

ALARM)....sorry, wrong buttons there.....our flying time to

(OFF) Where we going? Oh, right. (ON) Our flying time to

Washington will be (FEEDBACK).....what's wrong with the

dang P.A. Bethany, get up here and fix this.


GK: I landed in Washington and got in a cab---- (FN: Where

you goin, Mon?) National Archives, driver.

FN: The big Greek temple on Constitution Avenue with the

Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution in the

glass cases, right?

GK: Right. (CAR REV, BRIDGE) So off he drove through the

crossword puzzle of Washington streets with numbered streets at

odd angles with letter streets like E and F and K and then a

Pennsylvania or Connecticut thrown in and whenever you think

you know where you are you run into a square or a circle with a

statue of a man on a horse. If they'd paint street names on the

rear ends of the horses, it'd be easier. But eventually we wound

up at the Archives (FOOTSTEPS) and I walked in past the

tourists (MURMURS) waiting to see the national documents and

also an exhibit of underwear worn by all Supreme Court Chief

Justices----- very interesting ----

TR: Mr. Noir, I'm Ramon Navarro, Chief Archivist of the

United States, welcome to the building.

GK: Lot of marble you've got here,

TR: In Washington we love the echo of footsteps - it helps us

know when a supervisor is coming. Oh, I'm afraid you'll have

to go through the metal detector---- you're not carrying a


GK: No, no.

TR: Right this way. (BEEPING, ALARM) There seems to be

something in your pants pocket.

GK: Aha. How silly - a pair of barbecue tongs and two tent

stakes. (CLUNK) There. Left over from Bible camp.

TR: This way, Mr. Noir. (FOOTSTEPS) (BRIDGE)

GK: He led me into his office and closed the door. (SFX)

TR: The thing with the Constitution, we figured that out, Mr.

Noir. Someone wrote on the glass, not on the document itself.

GK: Aha.

TR: But we've got a bigger problem with the Declaration of


GK: What's that?

TR: The Declaration has gotten very faded with time so that it's

pretty much unreadable but we just did a CAT scan and it turns

out there's a part of it that nobody noticed before. The

declaration is actually a lease. A two-hundred-fifty year lease. In

2026 the country reverts to the Crown.

GK: We become British again?

TR: Yes. She called and left a message today.

FN: (BRIT LADY): Hello. Toodle-oo. It is we, Elizabeth R.

We are coming over with our Corgis and our handbag. We plan

to move the capitol to Elizabeth, New Jersey, and paint the

White House beige or ecru. See you soon. (BARKS) (BRIDGE)

GK: Well, it's twelve years away. Surely we can think of

something. Pay them money or something. Make them watch

Fox News and maybe they'll change their mind.

TR: But we'll have to go around saying, "Cheerio" and eating

crisps instead of potato chips and riding on a lift and putting our

luggage into the boot and go toodling down a motorway. You

want that?


SS: Hi there.

TR: My assistant archivist, Melissa Sassacaia.

GK: She was blonde and so beautiful it took your breath away

and wouldn't give it back. Her skin was like warm butterscotch.

She wore a dress so translucent I could read the serial number on

the twenty-dollar bill tucked into her underwear. She sure put

the arc into archive.

TR: Miss Sassacaia works in the social media systems section of

the Archives.

GK: Sensational.

SS: Are you familiar with social media, Mr. Noir?

GK: Back in my time, the main social media were gin and the

foxtrot, but I'm always happy to learn.

SS: You sound British. Are you British?

GK: Spot on, ducky. How about we toddle off to the cinema for

a spot of snogging and shagging?

SS: Oh. How cheeky of you. I shan't. (GIGGLES)

GK: You telling me to naff off? Eh?

TR: Mr. Noir, please----

GK: Sod off, ya little wanker. Just sod off


TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but

one man is trying to find the answers to life's persistent

questions....Guy Noir, Private Eye.