Trees, December 8, 2012

The Town Hall

New York, NY


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Trees

Listen (MP3)

(WIND, LIGHT STREET NOISE, BELL RINGS, OFF)

GK: Hi.

SS: Hi.

GK: You just arrive?

SS: Yeah.

GK: There was a Scotch pine here this morning named Theresa but maybe she got sold.

(A BEAT, LIGHT TRAFFIC)

SS: What does "sold" mean?

GK: It means you go somewhere else.

SS: Oh. ----- How long you been here?

GK: I guess two or three days.

SS: My trunk hurts.

GK: Yeah, mine too.

SS: They cut me with a saw. I bled. It was horrible.

GK: I know. Me too. You have nice needles. You a spruce?

SS: Yes. Are you?

GK: Norway pine.

SS: Ahhh. I thought Norway pines didn't talk.

GK: It depends.

SS: I really like your needles.

GK: Well I've got a little bald spot on the other side. That's why they have me turned this way. Against the wall.

SS: Well. You look just fine to me.

GK: Thank you.

(A BEAT, BELL RINGS, OFF)

SS: What do they sell in this store?

GK: I saw somebody come out with a big pack of toilet paper.

SS: Oh. My fiancé was made into toilet paper.

GK: Oh.

SS: We said goodbye- (SNIFFLES) I thought he was going to come on the truck but ----- they threw him into the pile for toilet paper. He was a short-needle. But I loved him. (SNIFFLES) His cone dropped right beside one of my cones. ----- I thought we'd have a baby. (SNIFFLES) I'm sorry. You don't need to hear this.

GK: It's okay.

(SS CHOKES BACK A SOB)

SS (SHAKY): I'll be okay. Thanks for listening.

GK: They say, everything happens for a reason.

SS: What's that supposed to mean?

GK: Maybe you and he weren't meant to be.

SS: How can you say that? I loved him. I want to die.

GK: Well, you're going to. And soon.

SS: I know. Good.

GK: But you have to live in the now. Here we are—you and me— Why not just be here?

SS: Are you hitting on me?

GK: I'm just leaning on you. See? (RUSTLING)

SS: That feels nice.

(FOOTSTEPS)

TR (TRUMP): I'm looking for a long-needled tree, something kinda flashy. You know, where people see it and they stop and they go, 'wow, that's a quality tree.'

FN: This one over here is quite nice (RUSTLES)

SS: Uh oh.

TR (TRUMP): Oh yeah. I like that.

GK: Get your hands off me. So invasive.

TR (TRUMP): It's a good tree. Would be good for the foyer of my apartment. How much is it?

FN: Ninety five dollars.

TR (TRUMP): Ninety five dollars? I'll give you eighty.

FN: I'll take eighty. Deal.

TR (TRUMP): Deal. Okay let's go (RUSTLING)

SS: Oh no. No no no. Don't go—

GK: This is it. I'm gone.

SS: Wait, stop—

GK: Goodbye, everybody. Goodbye, corner store. Goodbye, the spruce of my dreams. (SS CHOKES BACK SOB, RUSTLING) Remember to live in the present. Don't hang onto memories. Someone else will come along.

TR (TRUMP): Wait a second wait a second. Hang on. There's a big bald spot in the back.

FN: Oh. I didn't see that.

TR (TRUMP): Yeah I'm not taking this one. In fact, maybe I don't want a tree at all. Maybe what I want is a really big wreath. (FOOTSTEPS OFF, A BEAT)

FN (OFF): We have some nice wreaths over here, prices range from (FADES)

SS: Wow. That was close.

GK: Yeah, imagine having to listen to that voice all day. I wouldn't mind being his toilet paper, I'd bite him in the-----

SS: Shhhhh. Don't think about it. Look. What a beautiful night. The street lights. Those yellow cars with the lights on top. The bells (BELL, OFF, LIGHT STREET NOISE, A BEAT) Okay you're leaning on me again.
GK: Was I? Sorry, I didn't realize.

SS: It's okay. I kind of liked it.

(A BEAT)

GK: You did?

SS: I think so.

GK: I wasn't going to say this but — I'm quite a bit older than you. I've got 47 rings on my trunk. I'd say you've got about 16. I was in the woods for years before they took me away. You may rather talk to a tree your own age.

SS: What is age?

GK: Huh?

SS: I never heard that word before. "Age". What does it mean?

GK: I could really get to like you, you know?

SS: I like you a lot. The wind doesn't feel so cold with you leaning against me.

(A BEAT)

GK: I don't know what to say.

SS: Don't say anything. Let's just stand here. Okay?

GK: Okay.

SS: Okay.

(LIGHT STREET NOISE, WIND)

(FOOTSTEPS)

FN (YOUNG): What kind of tree you want to get?

ER: What kind do you want?

FN (YOUNG): I like this one.

ER: What's wrong with this one?

FN (YOUNG): That one?

ER: Yeah. It's bigger.

FN (YOUNG): It's got a bald spot on the other side.

ER: So?

FN (YOUNG): It's ninety-five bucks.

ER: Let's get it.

FN (YOUNG): Okay. Be right back.

(FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Can you tell?

SS: Yes, I can.

GK: So can I. I'm going to be the last Christmas tree they ever get.

SS: I know.

GK: Odd, when a tree dies, it gets the power to see death in the faces of people. I've been standing here three days and I've seen a dozen people who won't live another year.

SS: Which one of them do you think will die?

GK: I don't know.

SS: Probably him.

GK: Yeah. I wish we could tell them to hurry up and live their lives and not wish for things that can't be----

SS: To live in the here and now.

GK: Yeah.

SS: But would they listen if we told them?

GK: Probably not.

(FOOTSTEPS)

FN (YOUNG): Okay. Let's go.

ER: Did you pay him?

FN (YOUNG): Naw. Ninety-five is too much. I saw one down in the Village for fifty.

ER: I don't want to go down to the Village. Let's buy this one.

FN (YOUNG): It's too much.

ER: Well, then you go. I'm going home.

FN (YOUNG): What is your problem?

ER: My problem???

FN (YOUNG): You been on my case all day.

ER: Have not.

FN (YOUNG): I can't do anything right. Bitch bitch bitch.

ER: Okay, that's it. I'm going.

FN (YOUNG): Go. I don't care.

ER: I know you don't. I'm out of here.

FN (YOUNG): You going home?

ER: I don't know.

FN (YOUNG): What do you mean, "I don't know"?

ER: I don't know.

(FOOTSTEPS)

SS: They just don't get it. They don't live much longer than we do.

GK: Oh well. Beautiful night. Look up.

SS: Oh wow.

GK: Stars.

SS: Wow.

GK: That's where Christmas trees go when people are done with us. Up in the sky. With stars on our tops.

SS: Wow.

GK: I hope I'll wind up there next to you.

SS: I hope so too.

GK: You want to sleep, go ahead, you can lean on me.

SS: Thanks.

GK: My pleasure. My pleasure.

(WIND, TRAFFIC, DISTANT BELLS)

(MUSIC)

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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