Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hot House

HENRY, 45, lies on the floor of the orchid house. He stares towards the ceiling while twirling an orchid in front of his eyes. One of the orchid’s petals falls onto HENRY'S nose. He sneezes. All the tables in the Orchid House are bare with the exception of one, which is covered by a blue tarp.

HENRY: The eyes do the body no favors.

EMMA, 25, bursts into the orchid house. She sees HENRY lying on the floor and runs over to his side.

EMMA: Henry?
Henry. Are you OK?
HENRY: Splendid.
EMMA: Why are you on the floor? Is something wrong?
HENRY: Now that you mention it, something is different. Everything is different.

EMMA grabs HENRY by the hand and helps him to his feet. HENRY continues to twirl the orchid in his hand.

EMMA: So have you made any progress?
HENRY: Progress. That is such a relative term.
EMMA: Henry? What did you take?
HENRY: Nothing. I’m wonderful.
EMMA: The Ghost Orchid, Henry. Have you made any progress at cloning the Ghost Orchid.
HENRY: I have actually made more than progress. I succeeded.
EMMA: What?
HENRY leans forward, putting the orchid in EMMA'S hair.

HENRY: Shut your eyes.

Henry pulls the blue tarp off of the nearby table. On the table lay rows and rows of Ghost Orchids, an extremely rare breed.

EMMA: Oh my god, Henry. How did you do it?
HENRY: Are you sure you want to know?
EMMA: Yes, but hold that thought. Let me get Fred. (Shouting) Fred!

FRED, 19, enters the orchid house.

FRED: What?
EMMA: Begin to harvest these orchids.
FRED: Sure. Whatever.
HENRY: No. You can't.
EMMA: What do you mean “can't?”
HENRY: You don’t understand. I have a responsibility.
EMMA: A responsibility? To whom?
HENRY: The orchids.
EMMA: Fred, start to harvest these flowers.
FRED: Hold up Ms. E, Henry is the one that signs my pay checks.
EMMA: Come on, Fred!
FRED: Not unless Henry says it's ok.
EMMA: (Frustrated) Fuck you two. I’ll be back.

EMMA storms out of the orchid house and slams the door shut. FRED and HENRY stare at each other. A silence fills the air.

FRED: Chicks, man.
HENRY: I don’t know if I am worthy of this fantastic experience?
FRED: Dude, what do you mean?
HENRY: What if I said that the flowers and I had an experience, and now things have changed.
FRED: You’re being really vague here man, can you explain it?
HENRY: You know how most people ask “how can you live without knowing?”
FRED: Sure.
HENRY: Well the flowers showed me that we all live without knowing. What I have to do know is to show people how to know.
FRED: OK, I’m trying to follow you but I’m just worried that you’re going to turn around and try to save my soul, because I took the N 19 on my way here and this one creepy guy gave me a pamphlet and everything.
HENRY: You don’t realize, I want to share this knowledge. I need to. To harbor it is to suffer.
FRED: No offense, but I’m kinda wondering what the hell is up with this. I’m going to go get Lillian.

FRED walks out of the orchid house.

LILLIAN, 67, strides into the orchid house.

LILLIAN: I knew this project was too much for you to handle.
HENRY: Mother.
LILLIAN: I knew that that investor from New York was just going to bring unnecessary pressure, and, oh, I don’t know.
HENRY: Don’t worry, mother. I’m only half-dead.
HENRY: The information I now possess is only know by the dead. Yet I remain in the realm of the living. Therefore, I am half-dead. A living dead man. I wonder if dad now knows?
LILLIAN: Leave your father out of this. Even he would not approve of your gibberish.
HENRY: But it’s not gibberish. It’s inside of all us, we just need to die to realize it. It’s the world's greatest puzzle and the key was always inside our minds.
LILLIAN: Let me call Dr. Stevens and...

HENRY picks up a pot containing a Ghost Orchid.

HENRY: There will be no need for that.

Suddenly, HENRY blinks and drops the potted orchid, breaking the pot. A short silence.

HENRY: I’m sorry, mother. That was uncalled for. I just had to see if it was possible (Pause) to destroy the thing that I created, but that ultimately recreated me.

Water drips from the ceiling of the orchid house.

LILLIAN: Oh, Henry.

LILLIAN steps forward as she begins to hug HENRY. However, she slips, falling to the ground.

HENRY: Mother!

HENRY moves to his mother’s side. Picking her up in his arms.

HENRY: Let’s get you inside.

Carrying LILLIAN, HENRY walks out of the orchid house.

The orchid house is empty. A shrill hum fills the air. EMMA and FRED enter from opposite sides of the house.

EMMA: You get my text?
FRED: 200 for me to harvest those orchids. Done and done.

FRED grabs a pair of cutters from the wall and begins to snip the orchids.

FRED: These orchids smell weird.
EMMA: Thanks for the update. Cut.
FRED: Whatever.

Leaning towards one of the orchids, FRED inhales and falls to the ground.

EMMA: What?!

FRED is frozen on the ground. Seemingly paralyzed.

EMMA: Shit! Fred!

EMMA begins to run towards the exit of the orchid house. HENRY is walking back towards the orchid house and seeing EMMA, holds the door open for her.

HENRY: In a hurry?
EMMA: (Panting) What, what are those orchids?

Processing the comment, HENRY quickens his pace as he enters the orchid house. HENRY sees FRED on the ground and runs over to his side.

HENRY: Don’t panic. You’ll be able to move soon.

FRED'S body suddenly begins to twitch and he gets to his feet.

FRED: (Panting) I need to get some air.

FRED limps out of the orchid house. HENRY picks up an orchid and begins to twirl it between his fingers. Walking over to the wall of the orchid house, HENRY picks up a watering can and begins to water the plants. He raises the orchid to his eye level, as if he is making eye contact with it.

HENRY: It’s yours, it’s everybody’s. But will everybody want it?

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