Volume 6, Issue 1

PLANTS
By George Francis Blankenhorn


INT. SMALL APARTMENT - MORNING
A young man in his early twenties rummages through his room, half organizing and half destroying. As he rummages through a pile of clothes he starts to mutter to himself until his voice peaks into an angry sentence speaking to himself.
FRANCIS
It’s just a fucking mess I don’t even know where to start every time I do one thing something else needs done it’s a vicious cycle. Jesus, Francis, when are you going to get your shit together?
Francis then plops onto the floor as if giving up on everything. As Francis sits on the floor he looks out the window and into the small grassy area in front of his apartment. His eyes focus with the intensity of an epiphany, and aloud to himself Francis begins to speak again.
FRANCIS
Why is it that plants and flowers have no organizational problems? I mean the DNA in a tree isn’t that far off from the DNA of humans.

Keeping his eyes fixed on the plants outside, Francis rises to his feet and begins to head towards the door.

EXT. CITY PARK - MID MORNING

Behind the rustle of a tree’s leaves we can see the silhouette of Francis as he moves slowly with his eyes fixated on the ground. In the left hand of Francis is a collection of different plants and flowers obviously from different places because some of the flowers are wild and some from gardens. As Francis searches the park for more plants he walks past two couples having a picnic. As he walks past he made eye contact with one of the girls and the two young men with the girls are not very pleased. After having his life threatened Francis decides to leave.

EXT. CITY PARK EDGE - MID MORNING
As Francis comes up to a road while leaving the park the intersection crosswalk signal turns from a green man walking to a red hand.

Stopped at the crossing signal a young man in a blue pinstripe business suit approaches Francis. The young man stops, standing shoulder to shoulder with Francis looking not only at the crossing light but also around as if waiting for the appropriate moment to start a conversation.

BLUE SUIT MAN
Hey, nice plants you got there buddy you a plant salesman?
FRANCIS
No. Shaking his head but never taking his eyes off the ground.
BLUE SUIT MAN
I’m Cam. So what do you sell? Bibles? Cars? Vacuums?
FRANCIS
I don’t sell anything.
CAM
What do mean man that’s the spirit of America, the Native Americans sell gambling and who would know better than that of the noble savages? You tell me!
Cam stops for a moment and shifts himself to make it easier to look at Francis
CAM
OK listen, what’s your name?
FRANCIS
Francis.
CAM
Well that’s not going to work but we will deal with that later, but you should consider Frank. Let me tell you why you should be in sales like me. Cam looks at the ground and bites his nail, obviously trying to think of an example of sales as Francis looks at the still red crosswalk signal with hopes of it magically changing.
CAM
So take those flowers you got there how much did you pay for those?
FRANCIS
Nothing I found them growing.
CAM
Well that isn’t going to work you see we need a license to sell these plants and you sure can’t go around stealing them from other people.
FRANCIS
I didn’t steal them I found them.
CAM
On their property slick, it’s theft what you need to do is find a nice country where they grow plants for cheap and import them into Mexican maquilladoras and have them put into bouquets for next to nothing then sell them in front of strip clubs, do you get it now?
FRANCIS
Why would I sell flowers to people in front of strip clubs?
CAM
Because the men at strip clubs are either in need of flowers for their wife at home whom they feel guilty about or they need flowers for some dancer who is so out of their league they can’t even begin to manage, I mean I can manage the clubs but I could sell a nun a box of condoms.
FRANCIS
What?
CAM
Listen I have a business proposal what you do is you give me a hundred dollars right now and I set you up with an information booklet then to make your money back you sell two booklets for a hundred a piece and keep 75 from each and give me the extra 25 from each it’s a win win situation!
FRANCIS
But who pays in the end?
CAM
You see you’re thinking about how it used to be here.
Cam holds his right hand out as if giving a high five.
CAM
But after September 11th it’s all about here.
Putting his hand on his heart
CAM
Here and here, do you understand? Here and here.
As Cam continues his Nazi like motion the crosswalk light turns green and Francis very quickly walks across the street. Trapped in the importance of his motion, Cam doesn’t realize Francis is gone until he is too far away.

EXT. DOWNTOWN - MIDDAY
In the business district of downtown, Francis is still looking for plants but now they are in large pots on the sidewalk but none of them seem to catch the eye of Francis. As Francis is leaving the downtown region a funeral procession blocks his path and a dirty looking guy stumbles towards him. With no escape, Francis realizes what’s coming.

DRUNK
Hey buddy, let me tell you something. You get these people who tell you what to think and what to do and you do it for some measly change so what if I’m gonna get bombed off this wine it don’t affect you, I can piss myself on the corner and it don’t hurt nobody.
FRANCIS
It certainly does not.
DRUNK
No! You’re not listening. When I’m talking you gotta listen or you’re gonna miss the point, the thing is I figured it out.
FRANCIS
Really? And what is it that you figured out?
DRUNK
I said listen, are you fucking retarded?
Grabbing at Francis and shaking him violently
DRUNK
Jesus shit Christ I’m talking to a fucking asshole retard, now listen I’m gonna teach you some truth that you need to know in this world. Number one- don’t let women get to you. I loved some girl for eight months and all I got was heartache. Women will suck your soul out of your body and eat it, that’s where they get their menstruation blood from, it’s from the souls of men they have convinced they love then they sleep with your friend Curt and don’t return your calls even though you bought them tickets to the national tractor pull and you paid for dinner every time you went to Shoney’s. Back to the point number three booze is there for you, people think it’s bad because it ruins your life. It didn’t ruin mine look at me I’ve got money and a job and even though I’m not allowed to see my kids they know I love them when I send their mommy that monthly check. Because that is what new love is all about.

FRANCIS
New love?

DRUNK
Yeah you know new love, the kind that’s new to the people, traditional love is made up of promises and other devout actions but new love is much simpler. New love is the concept of love through distanced actions like buying Christmas presents. People who love you buy you presents don’t they?
FRANCIS
Yeah but they don’t have to if they love you.
DRUNK
Wrong, asshole. If someone says they love you they buy you presents and it is just that simple. I prove myself through alcohol if I didn’t miss my family I wouldn’t drink so in essence I drink for them- new love. But speaking of love I was wondering if you would be interested in a business proposal you see I got these booklets. As these last words come out the drunk falls face first into a ditch and starts snoring.

EXT. RAILROAD TRACKS-AFTERNOON
Standing in front of the tracks the railroad warning lights go on and Francis is stuck again. Francis looks at the flowers in his hand as if trying to grasp their power but nothing changes. Francis suddenly becomes aware that he is not alone standing at the train. An odd, glassy-eyed man is standing next to him smiling wildly with a WWJD t-shirt on.

NOAH
Hello, brother. What a wonderful day the Lord has given us, don’t you think?
FRANCIS
Yeah, well there is a continental tropic air mass moving in so we get warm air and no rain.
NOAH
Well they can tell you what is happening but they can’t tell you why, no man can tell you why. Hi, I’m Noah from the First Jesus Lovers of North America Midwest branch.
FRANCIS
Uh, hi there; actually they understand why it happens. If you are questioning the actual beginning of things no one could possibly know because there would be too much information for one mind.
NOAH
That’s not true, God knows all and you can meet him.
FRANCIS
I’m not too big on the religion thing. I mean sure there might be a higher force but who is to say it is “God”?
NOAH
(Muttered and hardly audible)
When the fires of hell scorch your tortured soul you’ll know.
FRANCIS
What?
NOAH
Nothing. Well if you’re so certain about your beliefs then why not let me just tell you about god, I’m not trying to push my lord on you but let me tell you about him. He saved me. I was down and out and he saved me. I was addicted to huffing paint and one day when I was huffing the way Satan wanted me to I fell over and hit my head. Before I woke up in the pool of blood a voice came to me and it said “you are needed in my holy army.” When I woke up the first thing I saw was the television with a phone number for me to call and I did and ohh brother let me tell you I am saved and I want to save you.
FRANCIS
What makes you think I need to be saved? You can’t even prove that God exists.
NOAH
I believe that God is real and I know it because how He has showed Himself real in my own life and how I have seen God show himself real in the lives of friends and family.
FRANCIS
But you could have just manifested these things in your mind.
NOAH
You will know when you find God; all pain of life seems meaningless because we who truly love god will get our eternal reward in heaven, because in heaven everything is fine.
FRANCIS
So the trade here is if I follow you and your church I am going to heaven? What about helping other people? If I lived a good life would I be let into heaven?
NOAH
Not until you have accepted God, if you don’t accept God your soul will be damned for eternity.
FRANCIS
What about helping the poor? Shouldn’t helping people be more important than praying?
NOAH
The thing is that people are born poor but it is okay because they will go to heaven. That is, unless they become heathens.
At that moment the train passes and Francis darts across the tracks and takes a sharp left to avoid any further conversation but before he can get out of hearing range he heard Noah yell.
NOAH
Do you want to buy a booklet to help my church they are only a hundred dollars and you can make fifty dollars if you sell two.

Francis is long gone.

EXT. FRONT OF FRANCIS’ APARTMENT - EVENING
Francis stands in front of his apartment, changing his gaze from his apartment window to the plants in his hand. After a hard gaze at each, Francis drops to his knees and starts to dig with his hands.
After digging a small trench Francis begins to plant the flowers one by one until all are planted.
Francis stands up covered in dirt and walks inside. We can see the light in his apartment turn on followed by Francis in the window. Francis takes a long look at the things he has just planted, smiles, and walks away from the window.