A Prairie Home Companion, visits the Minnesota State Fair.
Delights of the Subjunctive Booth
Here's the script--although, don't forget what we told you in class: the actors don't adhere exactly to the script!
Guy Noir script, Saturday, September 5, 2009
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 September, and a chill was in the air, the chill of mortality, which makes a guy think maybe he ought to bleach his hair and buy a Jaguar and head west and just let the repo man come and find you. Gather the rosebuds, in other words. Carpe diem. Carpe nocturno too. It was State Fair time in Minnesota, when summer ends and it's time to make something of yourself, which a guy feels even when you're on a long losing streak—I was working the Fair, working undercover out of the Security division —
TK: Okay, Noir. Got a job for you.
GK: Good. It's about time. What you got?
TK: Home Activities building. Call came in at eleven-hundred hours.
GK: You mean at 11 a.m.
TK: Right. Eleven-hundred hours.
GK: Why not just say eleven o'clock this morning?
TK: I'd rather say eleven-hundred hours. I'm in law enforcement.
GK: Okay, okay—
TK: It's the Bundt Cake competition.
TK: We suspect that the second-place winner might be fraudulent. We did a search on her ID. Two different street addresses. Look into it.
GK: What's the second-place prize?
TK: A red ribbon and $75.
GK: Who's gonna cheat for that kind of chickenfeed?
TK: We got the call and we've gotta look into it.
GK: What am I looking for?
TK: Female, blonde. Medium height, weight. In her late thirties or forties. Shorts, t-shirt, flip-flops. Carrying a shopping bag full of free brochures and giveaways.
GK: You want me to find her.
TK: Take a look around. See what you can see.
GK: Okay. (STING) So I headed out through the crowds (CAROUSEL ORGAN, VOICES PASSING, RATCHET OF RIDE), looking for a woman who looked like half the women who were at the fair that day. But it was good to walk around and smell the animal fats. And then suddenly a woman was right there, in my face—
SS (SEDUCTIVE): Hey mister, how about some....deep-fried Reese's Pieces? Huh? What do you say? They're good. Want to try some?
GK: Sorry, I'm working.
SS (SEDUCTIVE): So am I. So let's work together. C'mon, you only live once.
GK: Temptation on every hand. Except not quite every hand.
TR (BARKER): Hey step right up, and play Monopoly—America's favorite board game—here it is—only Monopoly game at the Fair—put hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place......only takes an hour—win the game and you win a teddy bear—come on, step right up—who wants to play Monopoly—
GK: He wasn't getting any takers but he still didn't give up. Had a big smile on his face. Optimism. A beautiful thing to see in other people even if you don't care to go there yourself. There was a lot of it around the Fair.
SS: Step up here and have a glass of wine. Got a nice Minnesota wine. It's a Sauvignon Honk. A dry wine with a complex bouquet of soybeans and plywood and a long finish of shellac. Here you go— (FADES)
TK (BARKER): Hey, here it is, here it is, folks—your lucky day—a dollar a chance, the more you buy the better your chances—come on, how about you, sir?
GK: What's the drawing for?
TK: Twins Playoff Tickets.
GK: Playoff tickets.
TK: They're just five games out of first.
GK: Exactly my point.
TK: A guy can hope.
GK: Five games out of first on Labor Day? You call that hope?
TK (FADING): HEY, here it is, folks—your lucky day—a dollar a chance, the more you buy the better your chances—come on—
GK: I walked around past the high striker (WHACK, DING BELL) and the lady selling juicers —
SS: Here it is, the secret of good health, the Juice-o-rama—(SERIES OF SPLATS) I put in oranges, potatoes, onions, blueberries, herring, Swiss chard (MOTOR WHIRR)—see how easy it is?
GK: And the Tilt-A-Whirl (MOTOR REV, CRIES OF PASSENGERS) and the sheep barn (SHEEP) and the poultry barn (SFX) and the Live Birth barn where a woman was in labor—
SS: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? BEAT IT.
GK: Went up to Machinery Hill and there wasn't much machinery around, just a guy with some hardware--
TR: Here it is. Got your pump handles, poles, pillars, pilasters, parapets, pipes, pegs, pins, pans, plates, panels, pommels, planks, pivots—got a pendulum here— see? (SFX)—
GK: You wouldn't happen to have any plinths, would you?
TR: Iron plinths?
GK: Okay. (FOOTSTEPS) I walked into the Technology barn where a man was selling P-Pods.
TK: How about it?
GK: Don't need a peapod, thanks.
TK: It's the latest thing.
GK: Don't want one.
TK: A hundred bucks, but for you, eighty-nine ninety- five. Going, going, gone.
GK: What does it do?
TK: It's the successor to the iPod. The pPod. The p stands for programming.
GK: It's tiny.
TK: The size of a postage stamp. But it's got 100,000 songs on it and 25,000 feature-length films.
GK: What am I going to do with all that? I've got a life to lead.
TK: Look at this.
GK: I can barely see it.
TK: Come in close. See— you can get any movie you want— just punch it in—
TR (BOGART): Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
SS (MAE WEST): Well, it's not the men in your life that counts, it's the life in your men.
TK: See? All the classics. You just text in the title and there it is.
SS (GARBO): Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side. And don't be stingy, baby.
TR (OLLIE): Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into.
SS (WITCH): Oh! You cursed brat. Look what you've done. I'm melting! Melting!
TR (JIMMY STEWART): You want the moon? Just say the word, and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey, that's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon.
SS (SCARLETT): I can't think about that now, I'll think about that tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.
GK: Thanks, but no.
TR: Now Sawyer, you listen to me and you listen hard. You've got to go on, and you have to give and give and give. They've got to like you, they've got to. Do you understand? You can't fall down. You can't. But you keep your feet on the ground and your head on those shoulders of yours and go out - and Sawyer, you're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star.
GK: Look— I got a job to do, Mister. Let go of my arm.
TK: Twenty-five thousand movies for eighty-nine bucks.
GK: Life isn't long enough. Okay?
TR (CLINT): So tell me, punk? You feel lucky today?
TK: Hey— come back— 75 bucks— (FADE)
GK: I headed into the Education Building for the peace and quiet and there was a booth for Arabic school and there was a Twitter exhibit—a guy doing updates—
TK: (TYPING); I am online and I am updating my updates. And now I am done with that update and ready to write a new one. Except I can't think of a new one. So I'll leave that one up for now. Until I think of something new. Which I might. Stay tuned.
GK: And then I saw a handsome woman under a big sign that said English Department, and I walked over—
SS: Step right up, it's the Subjunctive Booth—anybody can be a winner—just use the English language properly—Sir, step up, and win the big prize.
GK: She was tall with broad shoulders and dark hair and she wore a Professional Organization of English Majors T-shirt.
SS: Come on up and use the subjunctive mood and be a winner. You, sir—
GK: Yes, ma'am.
SS: Did you hear what I said?
GK: Yes, you asked that I speak in the subjunctive.
SS: So you know the subjunctive.
GK: If I didn't, I would not be talking like this.
SS: Two out of two, very good. Do you have time to go for three?
GK: If I should, who would care?
SS: Three. (DING)
GK: It is time I should go home, but I can stay.
SS: Excellent. Four.
GK: Had I known you liked the subjunctive, I would have spoken nothing but.
SS: Five. (DING)
GK: If I were an English major, I'd know more of them.
SS: Six. (DING) Would you like to know what the prize for ten in a row is?
GK: I would not be here if I didn't.
SS: Seven. (DING)
GK: If I'd known you were here, I would've studied up.
SS: Eight. (DING)
GK: If I were to get to ten, I hope the prize would involve you.
SS: Nine. (DING)
GK: Would that I could.
SS: Ten. (DING)
GK: Well, God bless America.
SS: Bonus. (DING) That was quite respectable, sir.
GK: If need be, I could do more.
SS: Heaven forbid. What do you say we get out of the subjunctive and into the future perfect?
GK: I am going to think the future is very perfect if you're in it with me.
SS: Oh my. You know how to make an English major perspire.
GK: So what do I win?
SS: The prize is $75. Cash. Here.
SS: I could help you spend it.
SS: No time like the present.
GK: We're going out on a date?
SS: You only live once.
SS: So tell me about yourself. Mr. Noir.
GK: I'm a private eye. A proud profession that died a long time ago, kid. Back in the Age of Privacy, you had to work to find out stuff about people, follow them around, sneak up behind trees, plant microphones in cocktails. Now you can find it all out on Facebook. So I'm what you might call semi-employed.
SS: So what do you do for fun?
GK: Oh. Long walks, conversation, sharing, all kinds of music, emotional intimacy, it sorta runs the gamut.
SS: What do you say we have a wild time instead? We've got 75 bucks. (BRIDGE)
GK: So we did. We rode the double ferris wheel (SFX) and we did the Swiss Sky Ride (SFX) and then we did the Magic Carpet (WILD RIDE) and then we went through the Tunnel of Love until the money ran out.
SS: Thanks, babes. It was beautiful.
GK: Wish it could've been longer.
SS: Yeah, me too.
GK: Good meeting you, kid.
SS: Same here. Keep using that subjunctive.
GK: I don't know. I feel like I'm slipping into the past tense.
SS: Naw. If you only knew— if you only knew— (BRIDGE)
GK: I watched her walk away. My English major. You never know what you'll find at the fair. You go looking for a fake Bundt cake baker and you wind up finding somebody you'll never forget. —
My baby dont watch TV
She loves the library
She goes there every day
My baby dont text or wear a pager
My baby is an English major
She is a bibliophile
She has an ear for style
Prose or poetry
She is a high-toned critic
But my baby cares for me
She loves the subjunctive mood
That is her attitude
Come what may, so let it be
I love her, how, she fills my senses
And Lord she conjugates my tenses
The dictionary she has read it
She is smart and she can edit
I hope she rewrites me
My baby knows her business
And yet she cares for me
My baby has style and glamour
And she uses perfect grammar
She's perfect as can be
She's a master of seduction
She is good at deconstruction
She has a fine search engine
Other assets I could mention
She moves me poetically
I wonder what's wrong with baby
I was unprepared for
Don't know the whys and wherefore
But I'd swim the ocean and fly through air for
My baby cares for me
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.
(THEME UP AND OUT)