Garrison Keillor Thank you for coming in this morning - are you comfortable in there?

Tom Keith: I'm fine.

GK: Move the microphone any way you want it - you need some water?

TK: I'm okay.

GK: This is an audition for our Halloween play entitled "Her Blood-Crusted Fingers Tore At His Throat" - you understand that?

TK: Right.

GK: Okay. There are three parts to the audition and if you're comfortable, we'll just start right in, okay?

TK: Right.

GK: You're comfortable?

TK: Yes.

GK: First, we'd like you to do an evil laugh.


GK: Good. Second, we'd like you to read the title in an ominous voice.


GK: Okay. Finally, we'd like you to gasp in mute blood-curdling horror.

TK: : Mute blood-curdling horror. Okay. (GASP OF HORROR)

GK: I don't know- it just doesn't have the curdling effect we want it to have - I could use more tremolo in the upper register- try it again.


GK: It's just not there, I'm sorry.

TK: Let me try it again.

GK: No.

TK: Please-

GK: Sorry. - Throw him into the cauldron of boiling oil. (TK PROTEST, BUBBLING POT, SPLASH, SCREAM, BUBBLING) Next. (FOOTSTEPS) Thank you for coming in and auditioning.

Tim Russell (KISSINGER): : You're welcome.

GK: This is for our Halloween play, "Her Blood-Crusted Fingers Tore At His Throat," okay?


GK: There are three parts to the audition, so just relax. Make yourself comfortable.

TR (KISSINGER): I am comfortable.

GK: You sure?

TR (KISSINGER): I am very comfortable.

GK: You have a very nice voice for this part, I must say.

TR (KISSINGER): Thank you.

GK: And we definitely would keep the black horn-rimmed glasses. Perfect.

TR (KISSINGER): Thank you.

GK: Okay, first of all, we'd like to hear you do an evil laugh.


GK: Perfect. Beautiful. :

TR (KISSINGER): Thank you.

GK: Now, we'd like you to read the title of the play in an ominous voice.

TR (KISSINGER): "Her Blood-Crusted Fingers Tore At His Throat"-

GK: Beautiful. You do ominous really really well........

TR (KISSINGER): Yes, I know.

GK: And finally, we'd like to hear you do a gasp of mute blood-curdling horror-

TR (KISSINGER): You want me to do horror?

GK: Yes. We'd like you to feel horror. To gasp in mute blood-curdling horror- okay?

TR (KISSINGER): Okay. Here goes. (A LITTLE GASP)

GK: We'd like to hear more horror, please-


GK: No, the horror should be yours, not ours. You feel the horror, mute blood-tingling horror- okay?

TR (KISSINGER): You said blood-curdling horror. Now you want blood-tingling horror.

GK: Right.

TR (KISSINGER): Which is it? Which do you want? The curdle or the tingle?


Sue Scott: I'm just a little nervous.

GK: Don't be. It's easy. It's only an audition for our Halloween play.

SS: "Her Blood-Crusted Fingers Tore At His Throat"

GK: Right. So we'd like you to make yourself nice and comfortable there at the microphone.

SS: Okay. - Why are there fingernail marks on the carpet?

GK: Are there fingernail marks on the carpet?

SS: There are long fingernail marks as if people have been dragged away with terrifying force.

GK: Don't worry about it. Just take a nice deep breath and try to relax.


GK: Whenever you're ready.


GK: First, we'd like you to do an evil laugh.

SS: Okay. Here goes. (EVIL LAUGH) How was that?

GK: Beautiful. Second, we'd like you to read the title of the play in an ominous voice.


GK: Very good. Well done. Finally, we'd like you to gasp in mute blood-curdling horror.


GK: Too tight, too up here, not enough down there. Try it again.

SS: (SHE GASPS) . That wasn't good was it.

GK: It just didn't have the right feel to it. It didn't have that sense of dread that we're looking for. That grandeur of expectation.

SS: Grandeur of expectation-

GK: Right--- and it needs to have the raw urgency of mortality, too

SS: The raw urgency of mortality-

GK: Right.

SS: How about you show me. Let me see you do the raw urgency of mortality.

GK: Me? I'm the writer-

SS: Go ahead. Show me -

GK: I'm not the one taking the audition.

SS: You are now.

GK: The blow gun- what's that for?

SS: Inside this tube is a dart - a very sharp dart - and on the tip is a deadly poison that once it gets into your bloodstream kills you in thirtythree seconds.

GK: Why are you doing this?

SS: Let me hear you do a gasp of mute blood-curdling horror. Here - I'll help you - I'll put the blow gun to my lips- (SHE LAUGHS)


SS: Not good enough. I didn't hear the raw urgency of mortality I'm looking for.

GK: It was there, believe me.

SS: Try it again.


SS: That's not what I call blood-curdling. That's the sort of gasp I'd expect from a man who misplaced his car keys or something. Not a man facing death. Why don't I help you by unfurling my wings- (BIG WINGS UNFURLING, FLAP SLOWLY)

GK: You--- your- you have wings. Enormous dark wings.

SS: Feels good to get them out from under that raincoat.

GK: Sue-

SS: I've become frustrated with the measly parts you write for me on the show and I've gone over to the Dark Side. (EVIL LAUGH)

GK: So you're with Satan - Beelzebub-

SS: Bubby. I am a Princess of Darkness. I love it. And now I'm taking over.

GK: An actor is taking over?

SS: Terrifying for you, isn't it. (BIG SWISHES OF SWORD)

GK: I wrote you some good parts, Sue.

SS: You wrote me little tiny lousy parts - bimbos, waitresses, dopy teenagers, brain-dead fashion models, librarians - you never brought out the real me! You never wrote a part that pushed me to the limits of my acting ability!!! I never got to stand tall and hold my arms out and lift my chin!!! Never!!!!

GK: It's radio!

SS: I never got to play Medea- Lady MacBeth - Blanche DuBois!!!! My skills have atrophied!!! And you're to blame for it. You- you- you (SHE GOES INTO SNEEZE SEQUENCE, BIG SNEEZE, FLIGHT OF DART, STRIKES GK, HE FALLS)

TR: Oh my gosh. You hit him right in the chest.

SS: What are you doing here? You're the stage manager.

TR: Pull it out. (POP) He's bleeding.

SS: I had the blow gun in my mouth and I sneezed-

TR: How soon did you say the poison works?

SS: Let me look it up in my notes. Just a moment. It's right here. (LONG PAUSE)

TR: I think you said thirty-three seconds. (PAUSE)

SS: It's something like that. Or is it twenty seconds? No- you're right. Thirty three seconds.

TR: By my clock, he has about ten seconds left, then. GK (WEAK): How long?

TR: About - well, I'm just guessing here - I could be off by a second or two - but I'd say you have, approximately, one second.

GK: Bye. (HE DIES)

TR: Boy, what are we going to do now?

SS: Don't worry about a thing.

TK: Don't look at me, I'm only the sound effects guy.

SS: Do some footsteps - I'm going to walk out on the parapet. (FOOTSTEPS) The host is gone and yet the show goes on. Bravely, with courage and resolution, we march forward into the dark. (SS SCREAM, FALLS)

TK: Guess she didn't see the end of the parapet.

TR: Now it's just you and me. What do we do now?

TK: We could do a call-in show.

TR: I don't mean that- what do we do about him? Someone could come, see him lying there, and figure we're responsible-You grab his ankles, I'll grab his arms, and we'll heave him over the side and into those shark-infested waters, okay?

TK: Okay.

TR: Here, let me get this....... (GASP OF HORROR)

TK: What's wrong?

TR: I grabbed the poisoned dart.

TK: Your hand is bleeding-

TR: I know!

TK: Anything you want me to tell people? Some last words, maybe? You know? People are going to ask me about it - "What did he say as he lay there, close to death?" - maybe you could say something about the importance of supporting public radio, huh? "If you value this show, become a member." Something like that. What do you say?

TR (DYING): Help keep Minnesota green.

TK: What? Those are your dying words??? Come on. You can do better than that.

TR (DYING): Go, Gophers.

TK: That's it??? You want to be remembered for saying "Go, Gophers"? Come on. Think. (SLAPPING) Wake up. Wake up. (SLAPPING) - Jeeze. He's dead. (PAUSE) I'm all alone here. (FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS) Ironic. I alone am left to tell the story. Me. The sound effects guy. The guy who made the whole show come alive. Without me, it was just a bunch of words. Oh well. Who cares? (UNLOCKS LOCK) I'm gonna just go into the archives here and (OPEN CREAKING DOOR) find a tape of an old show and we can run that instead. Who's gonna know? (HE SEARCHES ON SHELF) There. October 29, 1952. Good enough. (FOOTSTEPS) Put the tape on the reel here- (FIDDLING) and rewind it (REWIND SFX FAST THEN SLOWING THEN STOP)- good- we'll start it right there in the middle. (BIG CLUNK OF TAPE START BUTTON, AND SHOE BAND STARTS IN MIDDLE OF TUNE)