The Apple Tree Effect

A young girl must spend 24 hours at her dying Aunt's house as per her final request.

THE APPLE TREE
"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."~Martin Luther


EXT. MIDDAY.
The sun is high in the sky and MOLLY and her MOTHER pull up in their way-too-expensive BMW to a house on the top of a hill.  There is a long driveway and at the base of the hill are a few trees. There is, however, no other car in the driveway.  There is one tree in the front yard of the old house.   There are no other houses or establishments around for miles.  Probably no cell phone service either.  It’s hot and from the outside, it doesn’t look like the house has an air conditioner.

 

MOTHER

Okay, Molly, remember what we talked about?

MOLLY

24 hours.

MOTHER

And your aunt is in very poor condition so if anything happens, you have my number.

 

MOLLY, who is dressed in expensive clothing that is trying too hard to resemble that of the middle class, looks out the window to see that they are in the middle of nowhere.  Then at her cell phone. Definitely no cell phone service.

 

MOLLY

24 hours. Tell me again, if you and dad refuse to acknowledge her existence, why am I being forced to go through this?

MOTHER

We talked about this. And don’t bring your father into it. You know how he gets with people like her.

MOLLY

Crazy people?

MOTHER

She’s not crazy.  She’s eclectic.
MOLLY
Do you mean eccentric?

MOTHER

And old. And she asked to see you. On her deathbed, she asked for you… I don’t know why.  Try to make her happy.  If not for her, do it for me.

MOLLY

Next time, you should probably think of a better incentive.

MOTHER

There isn’t going to be a next time, so that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Smile, darling.

 

MOLLY gets out of the car and stares at the house in which she will be spending the next 24 hours of her life.  She looks as though she has been defeated, takes out her headphones and slings her backpack over her shoulder before grabbing a small suitcase from the trunk.  She walks, alone, to the front door.  Before she can knock, AUNT opens the door.  MOLLY looks back at her MOTHER with a look that screams ‘Who is this lady?’  Her MOTHER smiles at her and drives away.  MOLLY enters the house. 

 

TITLE

 

INT. HOUSE.

The HOUSE is dark, even in this time of day lit only by natural light filtering in from the windows.   MOLLY stands at the door, caught off guard by the haste of her AUNT, who must have been waiting at the door for hours.

 

MOLLY

Oh, wow.  You beat me to it.  Almost as if you’ve been waiting at the door for hours.

MAGGIE

Oh, don’t be silly.  Intuition and coincidence can go a long way.  Molly, it’s so good to see you.

MOLLY

You too, Aunt—

MAGGIE

Call me Maggie.

MOLLY

You too, Aunt Maggie.

MAGGIE

Just Maggie.

MOLLY

You too, Maggie.

MAGGIE

Come inside, you’ll catch your death.  Wouldn’t want that happening.

 

INT. KITCHEN.

The KITCHEN is well furnished, although it looks like it hasn’t been used to cook anything in for months.  Despite this, it certainly has been used to store anything that didn’t quite fit in the other rooms of the house so everything clashes.  It has a very home-y, warm feel to it, though.

 

MOLLY

I like what you got going on here. I can dig it. 

MAGGIE

There’s just so much stuff in here that I love, but it just doesn’t go in any other room.  After a while, this became my favorite place to just sit and relax.  Sometimes read.

MOLLY

But how do you cook?

MAGGIE

I don’t. Far too dangerous.

MOLLY

Follow up question.  How do you eat?

MAGGIE

There’s a pantry full of nonperishables in the basement.  You may have your hand at that. I don’t foresee myself needing too much more.

MOLLY

(awkwardly silent because of how self aware MAGGIE is.)

MAGGIE

Don’t worry, it won’t happen while you’re here I can assure you.  You won’t have to bear the responsibility of picking up the pieces when I’m gone.

MOLLY

Pieces?

MAGGIE

Not what I meant.  Can I get you a drink? Anything?

MOLLY

No, I’m fine, thanks.

MAGGIE

You can have a seat if you’d like.

 

They sit.

 

MOLLY

So, Aunt—Maggie, may I, would it be rude of me to ask you a question?

MAGGIE

By all means.

MOLLY

Why did you specifically ask for me to come over and hang out with you for a night? I mean I don’t want to—

MAGGIE

Do you mind if I answer your question with another question?

MOLLY

By all means.

MAGGIE

I would like to ask you something.  But it must wait until tomorrow morning.  I would also like to tell you something.  But it too must wait.

MOLLY

I guess when you’re dying you’re allowed to be cryptic, huh?

MAGGIE

I would ask where you got your manners but we’ve both met your mother.  And when you’re my age, to the faint ear, everything can sound cryptic.

MOLLY

Ah, you got me again.

(Another awkward silence as MAGGIE is staring at MOLLY)

MAGGIE

You remind me of someone I once knew.

MOLLY

Oh?

MAGGIE

Myself, actually.

MOLLY

Oh.

MAGGIE

You don’t seem like you’ve changed much since the last time I saw you.

MOLLY

Wasn’t that like 15 years ago?

MAGGIE

14 I believe.  August.  Just around this time.  I knew you had so much potential inside you just ready to burst, and now look at you. Points for Maggie.

MOLLY

Thanks.

MAGGIE

Oh, how time flies.

MOLLY

So, did you have anything planned? Like anything you’d like to do while I’m here?

MAGGIE

Yes, I was thinking we could play some cards for a bit.

MOLLY

Of course.

MAGGIE

I have a checklist of all the tropes of elderly women and I was hoping to get through at least half while you’re here.

MOLLY

I can’t tell if you’re joking or—

MAGGIE

I’ll get the cards.

 

MAGGIE gets up and goes to the cabinet where, instead of food, are hundreds of packs of playing cards.

 

MOLLY

Wow, that’s an impressive collection you have there.

MAGGIE

I really love playing cards. 

MOLLY

I can see that.

MAGGIE

Always have.  It amazes me that every time you shuffle the cards, it will always end up in an arrangement that has never been seen before. 

MOLLY

Like frog whiskers pillow fighting with a giraffe on a boat.

MAGGIE

Pardon?
MOLLY

Sometimes I like to say a sentence that no one has ever said before. Kinda like that?

MAGGIE

Exactly, just like that. Frog whiskers pillow fighting—you get the idea fine.  It let’s me, if at least for a moment, and even if at least just in my own mind, make some sort of contribution to the world.

The End

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