- Guy Noir, Private Steele
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001
- Susan Deborah Smith <email@example.com>
okay to archive
Guy Noir, Private Steele
a radio play by Susan Deborah Smith
based on characters from Remington Steele and The Prairie Home
ANNOUNCER: The Adventures of Guy Noir, Private Eye is brought
to you by The Fearmonger's Shop - serving all of your phobia
needs since 1954, and by Dave's House of Plaid - you'll never
be hit by a car wearing slacks from Dave's House of Plaid.
[Guy Noir theme]
ANNOUNCER: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its
secrets, but high above the snowy streets, on the twelfth floor
of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers
to life's persistent questions: [pause] Guy Noir, Private Eye.
[music swells, fades]
GUY: It was getting on toward four o'clock on a January afternoon.
We'd managed to get through Christmas, and we'd rung in the New
Year of 1982, and now the rest of January was staring us in the
Business was slow; it always is around the holidays; not much
call for private detectives during the season of peace on earth
good will to all men. Sometimes that season extends right on
through St. Patrick's Day . . .[heavy sigh] All of a sudden,
I heard footsteps out in the hall.
[sound of foot steps]
GUY: I sat up and listened. [chair creaks] The footsteps drew
GUY: I could tell it was a woman.
[slightly louder, slightly different footsteps]
GUY: A woman, wearing high heels.
[louder footsteps; heels clicking]
GUY: Five inch heels. And a skirt shorter than her mother would
approve of. I straightened my jacket and brushed the doughnut
crumbs from my lapels. If this was a client, I wanted to make
a good impression.
[louder footsteps becoming softer footsteps receding into the
GUY (long pause): Possibly I was mistaken about the heels. The
more I thought about it, the more those footsteps sounded like
size ten and a half oxfords with orthopedic inserts.
And that skirt, it wasn't so short after all. It was longer,
maybe it was a wool knit, the color faded by two many spin cycles
through the Kenmore where it shrunk and is now stretched tight
over all the wrong places.
I decided to punch the clock and call it a day and head down
to the Five Spot for some meaningful conversation.
[door opens; footsteps; door closes; footsteps; door opens; bell
jingles; door closes; sounds of the Five Spot Bar]
GUY: Jimmy the Bartender was at his usual post behind the bar.
JIMMY: What can I get for you, Guy? The usual?
GUY (to Jimmy): Oh, I think a gin and tonic, Jimmy. It's a gin
and tonic kind of day.
JIMMY: Comin' right up.
[sound of pouring, mixing]
GUY (to us): As Jimmy mixed the drink, I looked around and noticed
I was not the only patron of this fine establishment. A woman
sat at one of the tables. [music] A young woman. [sexy sax music]
A young woman with long, shining chestnut hair was sitting at
one of the tables. [sexy sax segues into Mancini's Remington
Steele theme] She sat at the table alone, nursing a Scotch. [pause;
music continues] Nursing a Scotch. [pause; music continues] Alone.
JIMMY: Guy? Guy? Here's your drink.
GUY (to Jimmy): Thanks, Jimmy.
JIMMY: Whew. Thought I'd lost ya there for a second.
GUY (abruptly): Who's the dame?
JIMMY: I dunno, Guy, but she's pretty. [pause; sound of glass
being rubbed with towel] And she looks kinda down. [clink of
glasses being put away] Say, why don't you take your drink and
go over and say hello?
GUY (to us): I told Jimmy I thought I'd do just that and I did.
The lady looked up. She had big brown eyes, beautiful eyes, the
kind of eyes a man could drown in unless he had a reliable flotation
Her ruffled blouse made her look like a schoolgirl and I wondered
if Jimmy had checked her I.D. Or if I should.
GUY (to woman): Mind if I sit down?
GUY (to us): She made a noncommittal gesture, which I took to
be assent. Here in Minnesota you don't have to say much to communicate
[sound of chair scraping back and drink being set on table]
GUY (to woman): Name's Noir. Guy Noir. New in town?
LAURA: Laura Holt. I'm here on business. I mean, I was here on
GUY (to us): Her emphasis suggested that business hadn't quite
worked out. I signaled to Jimmy to refill her glass.
[sound of Scotch glugging over ice]
GUY (to Laura): It sounds like your business here didn't quite
GUY (to us): She leaned back in her chair and looked me up and
down. An up and down sensation ran through me, mostly up. Then
she leaned forward, as if to tell a secret. I leaned forward,
too. I couldn't help it.
LAURA: I always loved excitement. So I studied and apprenticed
and put my name on an office. But absolutely no one knocked down
my door. [sigh] This is the first case I've had in weeks. I took
it long distance, but now that they've seen me, they're just
not interested. I guess a female private detective seems so .
. . feminine.
GUY (to us): And how!
LAURA: I'm beginning to think what I need is a flashy front man.
Someone to glad-hand the clients. Go to chamber of commerce luncheons.
Someone tall and masculine and good-looking who could fulfill
the public's image of what a private detective's supposed to
GUY (to us): I was all set to take the job - not only could I
glad hand clients and go to chamber of commerce luncheons but
I'm a real private eye. Maybe nobody was knocking down her door,
but Opportunity was knocking at mine [three knocks] and I realized
that if I played my cards right I could be partners with this
girl, this female private eye, this sexy shamus! [Mancini's Steele
But then [music fades abruptly; pause] I caught a glimpse of
myself in the mirror behind the bar.
Sure I was tall enough, and the hair on my chest proved a certain
degree of masculinity, but I was a Minnesota kind of guy and
I wasn't sure how I'd fare on the good-looking scale in other
parts of the country. Especially when I saw her business card
and the part of the country she was from.
Miss Laura Holt, licensed private investigator, was based in
[dramatic pause] Los Angeles, California. [dramatic organ music
swells, fades abruptly] Yes, she was from El Lay. City of Angels.
About as far from Minnesota as you could get without actually
leaving the planet. How could a guy from the mid-west be a flashy
front man in a place like that? In Minneapolis, maybe. [pause;
considering] Dubuque. Or Fargo. But El Lay?
My spirits, and not just my spirits, either, drooped as she finished
her drink and looked at her watch. She told me her plane was
leaving in an hour.
Outside [door opens; bell jingles], a blustery January wind [sound
of howling wind] sent little whirls of snow around our feet.
[sound of door closing] Huddling into her coat, she remarked,
LAURA (muffled): There's never a cab when you need one.
GUY (shouts over howling wind): What?
LAURA (shouts over howling wind): I said, there's never a cab
around when you need one!
GUY (to Laura): Allow me.
[shrill whistle; sound of engine roaring; sound of brakes squealing]
CABBIE (shouts): Need a cab, lady?
[wind dies down; fades]
LAURA: Real service. [pause] Thanks for the drink, Mr. Noir.
GUY (to us): I wished her luck and watched as the cab pulled
out into the street. [engine revs up] Was it my imagination [Mancini's
Steele theme swells softly] or did she turn to look back at me
through the falling snow as the cab drove away?
[sound of the cab driving away; music fades]
GUY (to us): Winter turned into spring and spring into summer.
Not long after that, the leaves began to fall. The kids were
back in school and the streets of St Paul were quiet. To while
away the long afternoon, I found myself down at the newsstand,
picking up a stack of our nation's newspapers.
WALTER THE NEWS BOY: . . . and a Miami Herald and a Denver Post
and a New York Daily News and a National Enquirer. That'll be
four ninety-five, Mr. Noir.
GUY: I told him I must've left my wallet in the Five Spot, and
he told me I'd better hand over a five spot if I didn't want
to see my papers scattered from here to Sioux City. After pretty
much a whole lot of searching [sound of rummaging, pockets being
turned out, gum wrappers crackling, etc.] I found a five-dollar
bill buried deep in one of my pockets.
GUY (to Walter): Keep the change.
WALTER: Gee, thanks, Mr. Noir. Now I can up my pledge over at
the Church of the Little Good Shepherd!
GUY (to us): I grabbed the papers and trudged back to my office
to find out what was happening in the rest of world. It was warm
in Miami. It was raining in New York. The altitude was high in
Suddenly, I came across a headline from the Los Angeles Daily
Chronicle, the kind of headline they put in big, blaring type,
the kind of headline you couldn't miss if you were as blind as
Aunt Mary before the cataract surgeon got to her.
If you're walking down the street and you catch one of these
babies out of the corner of your eye, your feet obey some secret
command from your brain, a command that forms itself, unbidden,
independent of conscious thought, and you find yourself walking
right over and bending and squinting to read it through the blurry
glass. They're subliminal, these headlines. They reach down to
you on an animal level. They call to you. You can't resist.
This one shouted: STEELE PURE GOLD, in letters higher than the
heels on those girls your mother warned you about. There was
a picture underneath, and she was in it, that girl, that private
eye. [Mancini's Steele theme swells and fades]
Even in that black and white news photo I could see her shining
chestnut hair, her big brown eyes. There were two men in the
picture with her, one of them a regular guy, a mid-western guy
who, according to the caption, had crossed the line.
The other was tall. Smooth. Suave. The kind of guy who looked,
on a bad day, like Cary Grant on a good one. And then I knew
she'd found her flashy front man. His name was Remington Steele,
and hers was now [pause] Unidentified Woman.
I gazed out the window, remembering that January afternoon in
the Five Spot. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.
ANNOUNCER: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its
secrets. A light is burning on the twelfth floor of the Acme
Building where a man ponders the answers to life's persistent
questions . . . Guy Noir, Private Eye.
[theme music fades]