Dear Joni,

I’m writing to you amid sounds made by carpenters, drywall installers, painters, and a bunch of other people all gearing up for the opening night of the long-anticipated Tree Museum. The nice thing is that, with all these trees, the sounds are muffled. I’ll get right to the point: We need your help. I would like to invite you to perform at our opening-night gala.

As you may know, our path to opening the Tree Museum has not been an easy one. First, we had to dig up all the trees, necessitating the hiring of shovelers the world over. Then we had to transport those trees and actually put them in the Tree Museum, which brought to light what was clearly a massive design flaw. The trees were so large (redwoods, some of them) that they could barely fit through the front door, and they were so long that the ends of them were sometimes poking out both sides of the building. Making matters worse, the ceiling of the Tree Museum was only maybe 60 feet high. So we essentially had to redesign and reconstruct the entire museum building, which now soars hundreds of feet into the air to accommodate the trees. Why couldn’t we have just cut the trees up? Then it would have been a log museum. And we wanted a tree museum.

I guess the whole thing could have worked if we hadn’t already pledged to keep the price of admission low. We wanted to get a lot of visitors to our museum and so had vowed to charge the people a dollar and a half to see them. With all the new construction, we’re now hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. I’m not sure we’ll ever get enough visitors at $1.50 to pay the whole thing off. But a big star like you could certainly help.

We’re also hoping that our other developments can offset some of the cost. A few years ago, when we first acquired the land that would become our Paradise Development Project, it was a complete mess. Rabbits and deer running all over the place. A meadow. A babbling brook. Goddamn rainbows everywhere. The neighbors referred to it as Paradise, but if it was so great, why couldn’t you drive on it anywhere? Can it really be paradise when you have to walk across a damn meadow while kindly forest creatures constantly nuzzle you?

We took care of that and paved the crap out of the thing. On that land now stands the very popular Pink Hotel. We still see rabbits once in a while, but that’s what the leg traps and acid vats are for. Next to the hotel stands one of the more unique recreational facilities in the Western world. It’s a large building (not as big as the Tree Museum, but still big) heated to at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Inside, there is a series of swings. The idea behind the Swinging Hot Spot is to relive favorite childhood memories while also sweating away the pounds. Sadly, there have been numerous injuries and a few deaths due to sweaty swing seats, and our liability insurance is getting expensive. There, also, I wish we hadn’t committed to that dollar-and-a-half admission price.

Adjacent to the Pink Hotel and the Swinging Hot Spot, we’ve also built a small boutique where people can purchase souvenirs of their visit, as well as spotless apples slathered in DDT, in order to prevent infestations by any birds or bees left over from the paving.

Ms. Mitchell, I’ve been told that you are something of an ecology freak and may have some objections to what we’ve done with the Tree Museum and the Paradise Development Project. For this reason, I can imagine you might have some misgivings about performing at our event. I want you to know I understand. I also want you to know that the big yellow taxi that took away your old man the other night was no ordinary taxi. It was us. We entered your home, grabbed him, slammed the screen door behind us (you know, for emphasis!), and are holding him in a locked cell. You sing at our opening-night gala, we might let him go. We can send the big yellow taxi to pick you up. Think about it, hippie.

Yours truly,

Freeman Paris
Executive Director
Tree Museum and Paradise Development Project