Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
-A.E. Housman. A Shropshire Lad. 1896
ED (Speaking to an unseen audience) I should tell you something about where I am now. It's a room. A Complex sta... MERYL (cutting him off) No. No no no. No Ed. It's not time yet. Timing is everything and this is not that time. Let it settle a bit, shall we? Thirty-eight swells and this thing will bloom. ED That doesn't mean anything. MERYL You know it does. Why don't you tell them about the tree. That's a good start. The tree. ED Which tree? MERYL THE tree, idiot. Mundy's tree. ED Oh. Yeah. That tree. Okay. MERYL Mmmmmm. (She holds her arm and hand out in a summoning motion and from nowhere a plush red cushion flies into her grip. She takes it and reclines herself on her side, putting the cushion under her ribs.) I like this story. Ready? Go! ED Mundy has a tree. MERYL Yes, yes, Mundy has a tree. But who, pray, is Mundy? ED Hold on, let me get this thing going. I'll get to that. MERYL Oh, well, fine. Just want to help you along. ED Eh... I mean, Mundy has a tree and it appears behind the couch in his room. He sits over there, as you can see, quiet and still all the day long. His room is the dayroom at the Utah State Hospital. The Forensics Unit. That's where they house people who are criminals. MERYL Or they have criminal charges. They're not ALL criminals necessarily. ED Yes, well, they all have the word 'ciminal' stamped somewhere on their identy and they're housed on this unit either to serve out their sentence or they are under review to determine if they are competent to stand trial. MERYL And what's Mundy's crime? ED I don't know. MERYL Oh, you do too. Tell us, won't you? Enthrall us with your acumen. ED Yeah. That's a nice one. No, I really don't know. MERYL Have you been swiping Mundy's meds? Yes, of course you know. You were standing right there when it happened. You were standing... ED I really REALLY don't know. Besides it doesn't matter. Mundy is here and he's a frozen popcycle man there on the damn couch. MERYL Rude. ED Well, it's true. Have you ever seen him move? Anything but a few bubbles of spit blowing up out of the corner of his mouth? MERYL So what? He's very ill. Very very ill. ED Yes, well that's what I'm trying to say. He's very ill. MERYL No need to rub it in his face. ED I'm not. He can't hear a word I'm saying. (walks over to the side of his balcony closest to Mundy) Hey, popcycle tard! Canya hear me!? Hey dick head! Yoo hoo! (He drops his waving arms and looks up to where Meryl reclines herself) See, nada. He doesn't give a schnitt what I say. MERYL Clever. ED ML said 'schnitt' in class the other day. I thought I'd swipe it. MERYL Yes, well that would seem to fit. Liar and Thief, Edmund Strasse. But doesn't it distress you at all that Mundy isn't his real name at all? ED So? Lots of people with that name. MERYL Not lots of people in such close proximity. ED Jason's teachers, Tom and Louise have a son with the same name. MERYL Yes, well you made that up, now didn't you. Probably to assuage your guilty guilty guilty GUILTY conscience. Isn't that right? ED Not at all. As you say, I made HIM up. So I'm at liberty to make up any name I like. MERYL Yes, well you chose THAT name, now didn't you. ED So. MERYL So. So just get it out. Get the name out there, Ed. Mundy is.... ED Mundy is a popcycle retard frozen dick head catatonic schizo freak slobbering himself into rapture there on that couch. MERYL And his name is.... ED His name is Mundy. Everyone calls him Mundy. MERYL And his NAME IS..... ED His name is fucking Edmund, okay. His fucking name is fucking Edmund. Is that what you want? ML will hate this. I hate swearing and here I've gone and done it. MERYL You can just delete those. ED Can I? MERYL Yep. Easy as pie. Yummy Cherry Cherry pie. Just backspace backspace backspace... Easy. ED It won't change anything, now will it. MERYL Yes. Those 'fuck' words will be deleted. ED See, now you've said it too. MERYL Oh, I can delete that stuff so so very easily. See. (She looks up at one of the sail-cloth screens above her and the dialoge 'Yes. Those 'fuck' words will be deleted' appears in white letters across the dark screen. She lifts her index finger, licks it, and turns to Edmund with a grin) I call this my 'D-Cursor' (then she turns to face the screen again and pretends to punch a keyboard button) Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. (As she does this a curser appears and backspaces over the 'k' the 'c' the 'u' and the 'f'.) Ta duh! ED Such a clever little witch. MERYL Yes. Yes I am. Speaking of which, my meeting with Chris went swimmingly. ED Swimming with Chris? MERYL No. Swimmingly, idiot. Wonderful. Witchingly Wonderful! ED How nice. Who's Chris? MERYL You know right well who Chris is. My agent. My skype chat with my publicist and then my agent. ED Oh, yes. That. Uh huh. And how did that go? MERYL Guess who's going to play the witch. Your favorite witch in your favorite woods! ED No! MERYL Yeppp. ED I always wanted to play her. MERYL Yes, well you're a boy and I'm not so I get to play her. ED When? MERYL Soon. Very soon. ED Okay. MERYL It's true. ED Wonderful. MERYL I know! (Begins humming and waving her arms) Stay with me.... duh duh dee duh duh duh ....hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm the world..... ED Lovely. You'll win. MERYL Of course. Anyway, Mundy. Mundy's tree. Continue. ED But I'm waiting for you to sing. MERYL That was it. No more. Story. I want the cherry story. ED Yes, okay. MERYL ED-Mundy's cherry story. ED Can we... (nearly whispering) please... MERYL Oh alright. Mundy. Just Mundy's story. Tell me more about Just Mundy's tree. ED It appears behind the couch in his dayroom sometimes. Just out of the blue. I never know when it will appear. Then I turn around and it's gone again. MERYL Magical. ED Yes. Magical tree. MERYL And it's a cherry tree? ED Yes. A cherry tree. I first saw it when I was visiting the street. MERYL (waving toward the audience) Consideration, why don't you show? They have no idea what that is. ED You're the one who won't let me tell them. MERYL Well, so tell them something else. Where was the tree when you first saw it? Tell them that. ED It was his yard. I was visiting Mundy's yard. Where he used to go. He would sit in that tree for hours as a child and it was in his back yard on Luna Way. MERYL Ooh. The SAME street that your Jason grew up on. Jason the serial slasher killer fiend from Luna Way. ED He's not a slasher killer fiend. He just fears he is. MERYL Well what's the differnce? First you fear it. Then you ARE iT. ED The difference is blood and knives and, you know, actual dead people. MERYL Ooh. (looking towards Mundy sitting on the couch, she grins) Well, there's plenty of real blood. Give some of it to Jason why don't you. Spread it around like manure why don't you. Share the bloody wealth why don't you. ED That's kind of you to offer. I want to write him if you don't mind. MERYL It's a better story. With real blood. Pseudo psycho blood is so damn much of a snoozer. ED Can we get back to the cherry tree now? MERYL No. I'm bored with that. I really really am. (Stands up suddenly, her voice rising to a deep bellow) I don't give a SCHNITT about Mundy's damn cherry tree! ED Whoah. Calm. It's okay. MERYL Give Jason some of the blood, Edmund! (pointing both hands straight out at him) You're a liar and a thief, Edmund Strasse and I command you to give Jason some of Mundy's blood. Pull out your fucking laptop and do it. Now. ED You gonna delete that? MERYL Don't fuck with me, fella. Do it! ED This isn't funny anymore. MERYL If you won't I'll go cut it down. ED What? MERYL I will go now. Right now. And I will cut that tree down. ED What? MERYL I WILL cut it down, Edmund Strasse. ED How? MERYL Watch me. ED You can't. MERYL Watch me. I can and I will. ED I don't believe you. You love that tree. MERYL It is necessary for the good of all. You will do as I tell you or I WILL go cut down that fucking tree. ED Can we do this later? MERYL We can do this NOW. Pull out your little lap top and start typing. Do it. Or I WILL. CUT. IT. OFF. ED (Whispering) Down. MERYL (Dropping her intense composure; after a beat) What did you say? ED (Still lowered voice) You mean cut it down. MERYL Who cares, you know damn well what I mean and I will do it, so get to it. Type. Type. Type. Effity. Type. ED Okay, okay, okay. (Reaches under his pillow and pulls out his laptop) MERYL Good. E. That's a good boy, now. ED Mmmmm hmmm. Okay. I'm gonna type. MERYL Yes. Good. Good. I'm sorry I yelled at you. ED Okay. MERYL I got all riled up there. ED Okay, yeah. MERYL Out of the blue. ED I'm gonna type. MERYL Good. You type. I'll go make some tea. But be sure to do it now. I mean it. You can't let Mundy carry all of that by himself. I mean it. ED Okay. Okay. I will go. I will type. I will do. MERYL That's good. I'm sorry I yelled at you. (starts laughing) I was gonna cut down your tree. ED It's not my tree. MERYL Mundy's tree. I was going to cut down Mundy's tree. ED That's what you said. MERYL Start typing. I'll come back soon. I'll come back with some tea and see how you're coming along. ED Okay. Okay. Typing. MERYL That's good. That's very good. I'm sorry I yelled. ED Typing now. MERYL That's good. Very good.