I often would think that if I could nail one of the regular bits, it might impress PHC enough to be used. That thinking is very wrong; it's tricky to submit a version of their baby and not have them focus on the mistakes and shortcomings. Always better to hit them with something new (usually). Guy Noir is one of GK's signature bits, and having played around with the form with my own creation, Nick Flebber, and my Christmas-tery, Lost Claus, it was a genre I felt comfortable doing. A new week and month were upon us as the season was winding down and I remembered the detective bit and pulled it out, shaping it into a radio sketch. It didn't make the cut.
Back to Nick Flebber: as I played around with the character in different mediums, I turned Lost Claus into a novella. I would adapt it to radio. I pitched it as a series and wrote two pilot episodes, which I adapted into novellas. And I started writing more adventures. I needed to increase the page count for my one novella, Space Case, so I turned the radio sketch into a short story. From there, I adapted it back into radio episode. It's been produced by a local radio group and I'm awaiting the audio link. You can read more about Nick Flebber here. I still work my favorite line "I always get my man plus expenses" into a few other episodes. And not to spoil the ending, but I always liked my little "Some Like it Hot" reference at the end.
Guy Noir: the Spoiler
(THEME UP AND OUT)
GK: I had just finished up a case. Breaking up a computer dating service that was suing underage computers. I was nursing a tumbler of rye when...
GK: Guy Noir Investigations, "I always get my man, plus expenses." How can I help you?
GK: No thanks. I just ate.
JH: Mr. Noir, my name is Howard, Jerome Howard, head of Paraversal Studios.
GK: Is that a fact. The ones in Hollywood?
JH: The very same.
GK: You made "Crazed Axe Murder, Part VII."
JH: That was us.
GK: What were you thinking? I mean, was their some aspect of being a crazed axe murderer that you missed in the first six parts? I wondered about that.
JH: Mr. Noir, we are in need of your services.
GK: Fortunately, I'm in need to service.
JH: The very foundation of Hollywood is teetering on the edge.
GK: Mixed metaphors will cost you extra.
JH: Can you fly out?
GK: Like I sprouted wings.
GK: (narrate) Turns out Howard had heard of a case I worked on for a rival studio. Seems they had a problem. One of their stars went missing just before his movie came out. Then the movie came out and it bombed, big time. They wanted me to make sure he remained missing. I grabbed a flight to LA, and before you could say "Mit-Out Sound" I was in the executive offices of Paraversal Studios.
JH: Mr. Noir, so glad you could make it.
GK: I'm glad you're glad. But I should remind you, you're paying me to be here.
JH: It is appreciated.
GK: I did enjoy your studio theme rides, though. Especially the water slide.
JH: We don't have any studio rides.
GK: Oh. Well, you're going to need some mops out in the parking lot, then.
JH: Mr. Noir, we're at a lost! We've reached the final reel. We're about to wrap. We're just about in the can---
GK: Could we skip all the movie jargon and cut to the chase?
JH: It's the "Ain't it Neat" website.
GK: I'm unfamiliar.
JH: It's this movie fan website. They post gossip and rumors about Hollywood movies. But worst, they post reviews of movies we haven't released yet. The create negative buzz.
GK: I hate negative buzz. Not that I'm a big fan of buzz in general.
JH: And he gives away our endings. His whole site is dedicated to giving away movie twist endings. You give that away and no one wants to see the picture anymore.
GK: So, who runs this website?
JH: That's it. We don't know. He calls himself "The Spoiler."
GK: The Spoiler? That's pretty rank.
JH: What do you mean?
GK: Well, you see, it's a play on words: He's rank, as in amateurish as well as "rank" being spoiled. A twist on his nom de web.
JH: Again, I don't see.
GK: You an English major?
JH: No. Business.
GK: Never mind, then.
GK: (narrate) My first stop was to meet with the head of studio security. He had tried to track down this spoiler character, so I wanted to see how far he'd gotten. Turns out he was an ex-private eye, too, back in the day. I was anxious to meet with him. I wanted to see if he was like the PI's I grew up watching in the movies; Sam Spade, Bulldog Drummond, Mike Hammer. Hollywood always presented the notion of the tough, wise-cracking private detective, with a nose for danger and an eye for dames. But is this the way they really were? I wanted to find out from Sherlock Niblick, studio security. At first he seemed reluctant to talk about it but he soon opened up, probably thanks to the bottle of Sambuca I had brought with me. Turns out he didn't agree at all with the Hollywood image.
SN: No, it was never really like that but Hollywood always kicks the truth around, they get paid for it. Take that movie 'The Maltese Falcon,' the way Sam Spade dealt with Peter Lorre. That was absurd. When I needed a straight answer I wouldn't slap a guy around, I'd kick him in the groin. Nothing makes a stoolie sing faster than rearrangement of key vital organs. He'll sing...in tenor, yet.
GK: So, how did you came upon your cases?
SN: People would come to me. I wasn't choosy about a case, I worked for the money. Occasionally I'd work for love or lust, which ever I was in the mood for. I was good. No case I had ever lasted more than a week. If I didn't solve it in seven days, I forgot about it and went home. No use in beating a dead horse.
GK: I suppose.
SN: There was this one case; some guy on death row hires me. He wants me to dig up the evidence to show the governor he didn't kill the guy. So I start working on the case and after seven days I still had a few hot leads that would have brought me clear across the country, so I dropped it there. Sure, they killed an innocent man, but I gave him a refund.
GK: That seems, I dunno, sad.
SN: Like I been saying, life ain't no movie.
GK: Ever have to deal with the police? The movies always showed the private dicks in tight with the local officers.
SN: Oh, let me tell you about that business of a police contact. I never had one, no one from the police ever gave me information. No, sir, if I ever needed anything I had to break into the police station and get it myself. I kept those flatfoots on their toes for years.
GK: The reality is lacking.
SN: I almost had a case like Sam Spade's once. This lady came into my office and told me she was looking for her luggage. I got suspicious when I saw the baggage claim checks in her purse. While she was in the bathroom, powdering something, I made it a point to rummage through her bag; make sure she had enough to pay me. Anyway, start on the case and turn up this old statue. I find out it's the Maltese Duck--real valuable. People were all over the place looking for it, so I figured I could sell it. I had all the people who wanted it in my office to bid on it. One guy scratches it to check and turns out it's foiled-covered chocolate. No one wanted it after that. I still have it around somewhere, in a drawer or something.
GK: Ever shoot anyone?
SN: Sure, lots of times. I had to...he kept coming at me. I carried a gun but most P.I.s didn't, except those macho guys, the late Bulldog Schwartz and the now-departed Arnold Marlow. I had a gun and I used it, sometimes I even shot people with it. I always had it with me, too. Once in a while it would go off during a date. But that was all right, because nothing turns me on more than a babe who can take a flesh wound. I've been shot at plenty of times. Yes, sir, lots of bullets had my name on them. That's why I kept changing my name.
GK: Why did you get out of the business and go to work for the studio?
SN: The years were catching up with me. I couldn't outrun those bullets like I used to and I found myself ducking them instead. I finally felt I had to give it up. That and the fact the police revoked my license because of all those break-ins. I got them back though. I de-alphabetized their files. I was good. And tough. I had a nose for danger and an eye for women. My ears were for the street noises. My mouth. Do you know what my mouth was for? I bet you think it was for talking. Well, you're wrong, it was for stapling papers together. My liver was for sharpening pencils. I had a lung for the dry storage of my girlfriend's furs. My stomach was for commuting to work. Do you know what my spleen was for? Watch this...!"
GK: Actually, all I wanted was any information regarding the Spoiler.
SN: Oh, I tried tracking him but all I came up with was this address.
GK: It didn't pan out?
SN: No. Just some middle-aged woman living there. Didn't know anything about computers.
GK: Did you look in the basement?
SN: What for?
GK: Anyone know that these big shot internet guys live in their mothers' basements.
SN: What can I tell you? It was day seven. A rule's a rule.
GK: I'm gonna check it out.
GK: (narrate) It took me a few minutes to wrestle the address out of the old coots' hand. Yes, he was old but he had a grip like a hungry crab on steroids. I drove to the outskirts of LA. Not an easy thing to do, I don't mind telling you. I got to the house and rang the bell.
("Close Encounters" theme chimes)
GK: She opened the door. To my heart. Or one of my other organs. A tall drink of water in a sippee cup. The kind of woman who could reek havoc with the metabolism of a lesser man.
GK: Mrs. Betty Smith?
MS: That's my aunt. I'm house-sitting while she attends a sidewalk star ceremony.
GK: I'm here to see with her son.
MS: Her son?
GK: The one in the basement.
MS: Oh, Billy. Right. I forgot about him.
GK: Yes, I have something neat to tell him.
MS: Oh, you're one of those web geeks.
GK: Not hardly. But I can play the part.
MS: What ever. The basement's over here. (calling) Yo, Billy, I'm sending down one of your cyber-buddies.
GK: I went into the cellar. Step by step. Into the lair. There is was before me, the Spoiler's Nest. It looked like a multiplex exploded next to a drive-in. The place was filled with film posters, movie memorabilia and milk cartons filled with videos and more videos. There, hunched over a state-of-the-art computer was a chunky, pasty-faced lad. He looked like never met a cheeseburger he didn't like.
GK: So, Spoiler, we meet at last.
SP: Who are you?
GK: Guy Noir. I'm working for Paraversal Studios.
SP: Oh, then you really have some good dirt to dish.
GK: I'm not here to dish dirt. I'm here to shut you down.
SP: Many have tried, Mr. Noir.
GK: Nonetheless. The studio is tired of your giving away the endings to all their movies.
SP: I'm providing a public service here, you know. People want to know all about the movie before they see it or rent it. There's too many choices to waste one on a sorry movie with a bad ending.
GK: Then they'll just have to get it from a movie critic who is just showing off, like always.
SP: I get thousands and thousands of hits a day. People need this. People want to know that Rosebud is the sled.
GK: What sled?
SP: The one in "Citizen Kane."
GK: Oh, man, I can't believe you just spoiled the ending for me.
SP: Hey, it's what I do. I do them all. You want family values? Darth Vader is Luke's father. Faye Dunaway's daughter is also her sister. Or Norman Bates is his own mother.
GK: Stop it, Spoiler. I was going to rent those.
SP: I have a whole section set up for just Charlton Heston movies...He finds the Statue of Liberty at the end, he never left earth! Solyent Green is people! Moses gets the ten commandments from God.
GK: Okay, I think that last one is generally know.
SP: Would you like some Solyent Green. There's a box over there. See the label.
GK: "One hundred percent people. Accept no substitutes." What do you know, it's true.
SP: Soon, everyone will fear me, Mr. Noir. As I tell them who does what, who is really whom and who dies at the end. Care to hear the end of "The Crying Game"? She's a he!
GK: All right, I'll admit it, I missed that.
SP: It's all on my website and a push of my button sends off emails for the world to see. Let the studios deal with that.
GK: Is that it? Extortion?
SP: No. I just like the amazing sense of power. It's pretty heady for a nerd like me.
GK: Then you can't be bought.
SP: Nope. You can't stop me.
GK: I guess not.
SP: Wow. That was really easy.
GK: I do have a question, though.
GK: "2001: A Space Odyssey"; what was that ending all about?
GK: The ending of "2001." I wouldn't mind having that spoiled.
SP: What, the thing with the space ship?
GK: Yeah. And the guy getting older. And the giant floating baby. C'mon, what's the ending?
SP: Well, you see, it's all really...to think of it in the broader context...(cracks) I don't know! I don't understand it. It's like you should be on drugs, but it still doesn't make any sense. I don't know the ending!
GK: (narrate) That whole little scene went out on his whole web camera. After that, I knew the Spoiler was no more. His internet site was cooler than Nanook's film career. The studio chiefs were pretty happy. I thought it would help ease my financial concerns but they insisted on paying me in popcorn. Apparently Hollywood accounting can get very creative.
SP: I hope you're happy, Noir. Without me to keep Hollywood on its toes, they won't even bother trying to come up with clever endings or intelligent scripts. You've condemned us to pap, Mr. Noir. Pap, plain and simple! What do you think of that?
GK: Nobody's perfect.
(the ending notes of FERNADO'S HIDEAWAY)
SS: High above the busy streets, in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, one man seeks the answers to life's persistent questions...Guy Noir, Private Eye.