I wrote and produced this sketch regarding the high costs of apartment rentals 27 years ago! Twenty-seven years later the circumstances are as bad or worse. Cities have become unaffordable, particularly for young people, unless they are lucky enough to find that rare, relatively inexpensive, rent-controlled apartment. Do miracles still happen?

        FINAL ARRANGEMENTS is about two such people who find themselves with a dilemma. They have their fabulous, rent controlled apartment but—they have decided they can no longer live together. Who gets the apartment?

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written by:

Bob Flicker








The apartment living room of THAXTON PIN and PENNY ADAMS. They have been living together for eight years. Tonight, they have come to the painful conclusion that their relationship is over.

THAXTON     You know how much I love you, don’t you Penny?


PENNY          Of course I do Thaxton. And you know how much I worship 

                      the very ground you walk on, my beloved.


THAXTON     Eight years. Can you believe that we have been together for 

                      eight years?


PENNY          And two months—


THAXTON     Three weeks—




PENNY          I forgot how many hours and minutes.


THAXTON     That’s O.K. What is important is that we both remember all

                      those precious moments we shared together.


PENNY          (SIGHS) I can’t believe that it’s all over between us.


THAXTON     I know. (WIPES AWAY A TEAR) It’s for the best.


PENNY          (FIGHTING BACK TEARS) For the very best.


THAXTON     You were right.


PENNY          We were each free to stay or leave.


THAXTON     No legal shackles.


PENNY          Eight wonderful years together. Now—(STIFLES A SOB)    

                       now it’s over.

THAXTON     We will always have our memories.

PENNY         (PICKS UP STUFFED BEAR) Remember, you won this at 

                     Coney Island. Our very first date. Here, I want you to have  it.


THAXTON     I know how much it meant to you. You keep it.


PENNY          Thank you Thaxton. (SHE BREAKS DOWN).


THAXTON     (HE PICKS UP A BOOK, OPENS IT)  Our pressed wild 

                      flowers. That first summer together.


PENNY          The Vermont woods. It was our Garden of Eden.



PENNY          You picked them. Buttercups and daisies.


THAXTON     But you pressed them.



                       Thaxton—you are so sweet! So generous!



                      Whatever I am I owe to you.


Penny gently pushes away from Thaxton and goes to a chest-of-drawers. She opens the top drawer and removes a picture frame containing a medical report.


PENNY          This is for you darling. I had it framed.



                      touched. Really touched.


PENNY          I was hoping you would like it.


THAXTON     Like it! I love it! You know how relieved I was when we got it.     

                      (READING FROM FRAMED REPORT) "The results of your 

                     test for pregnancy are negative."


PENNY          You weren’t any more relieved than I was.


Thaxton goes to the chest-of-drawers and opens a second drawer. He returns with their joint savings account passbook.


THAXTON     Our savings account passbook. $15,222.09. Half for you 

                      and half for me.


PENNY          Oh Thaxton, I can’t let you do that. You put in much more

                      than I did.



                      the way I want it  to be.



                      This is for you. I know how you always admired it.


THAXTON     Penny, my darling Penny—I  don’t know what  to say.


PENNY          Since when did we need words to express our feelings to 

                      each other.                                            


THAXTON     There is nothing much left for us to decide about, is there?


PENNY          No sweetheart. You have been so generous.


THAXTON     Not nearly as generous as you.


PENNY          How can you say that? You, my dearest have given me

                      everything that was important to you.


THAXTON     I could say the same thing about you.


PENNY         (BITTER LAUGH)  Our friends will never be able to

                      figure out why we are splitting.


THAXTON     They call us the perfect couple.


PENNY          Romeo and Juliet.


THAXTON     Antony and Cleopatra


PENNY          You know darling, even I have trouble figuring it out.


THAXTON     Do you know how many times I have said to myself, ever 

                      since we decided to break up, “Thaxton Pin,” I said, “are 

                      you crazy?”


PENNY          Yet—it has to be. But—why? What is it that has crept into 

                      our relationship after eight, glorious years?


THAXTON     I don’t know. Whatever it is, is probably my fault.


PENNY          If it is anybody’s fault, it’s mine.


Tearfully, they fall into each other’s arms.


THAXTON     Why Penny—why?


PENNY          It’s bigger than both of us. I—I wish I knew.


They draw apart.



                     apartment. For eight years everything in it was ours. Now—

                     it’s all divided up. Some your, some mine.


PENNY         You were too generous Thaxton.


THAXTON     I was generous? I received more than I gave.


They stand, staring at each other.


PENNY          (SIGHING) All that’s left are the final arrangements.


THAXTON     (LAUGHS) There. You did it again.


PENNY          What did I do?


THAXTON     Know what I was thinking. You always seem to know what I 

                      am thinking. I guess that is what real love is all about.


PENNY          Real love. That’s what we had.




PENNY          Have. (PAUSES IN THOUGHT) Thaxton? What were you 



THAXTON     (LAUGHING) That’s another reason why I love you so much. 

                     Always kidding.


PENNY          (GETTING SERIOUS) I’m not kidding.  What were you 



THAXTON     (GETTING SERIOUS) I was thinking that all that is left are 

                      the final arrangements. Except, I took care of them.


PENNY          (MORE SERIOUS) You took care of—what?


THAXTON     (FORCED GOOD HUMOR) The final arrangements.


PENNY         Thaxton, I have a feeling that the final arrangements that

                      you are thinking about are not the final arrangements that I

                      am thinking about.


THAXTON     (SERIOUS) What final arrangements are you thinking about?

PENNY          I am thinking about the final arrangements dealing with this 



THAXTON     (FORCED LAUGH) That’s true love. So am I.


This is the moment of truth. Game playing is about to come to an end.


PENNY          If you recall Thaxton, I was the one who found this 

                      apartment. I mean, it was a real miracle that I pulled off.


THAXTON     It was a miracle. I remember saying to you, “Penny, who 

                      else could  have found a rent controlled, six room, duplex 

                      apartment on Central Park West on the 30th floor, 

                      overlooking the park for $899 a month?”


PENNY          (RELAXING A BIT) It’s a talent I have. You can’t beat the 



THAXTON     77th Street on the park. Steps away from Lincoln Center. 

                      It's the best.                                   


 PENNY         With utilities and central air conditioning included.


THAXTON     Two wood burning fireplaces.


PENNY          A 30-foot terrace.


TOGETHER   A real miracle.


A long silence as the stare at each other.


THAXTON     That wasn’t the only miracle.


PENNY          (SUSPICIOUS) It wasn’t?


THAXTON     No. There was another one. maybe, bigger than your 

                      miracle. (A BEAT) My miracle.


PENNY          (FIRST SIGN OF ANGER) Your miracle? I don’t remember 

                      your miracle!


THAXTON     How come your memory is going bad all of asudden?


PENNY          There is nothing wrong with my memory.  I just don't 

                       remember any goddamned miracle that you pulled off.


THAXTON     You know Penny, that is really funny. Well, let me refresh 

                      your failing memory.


PENNY          My memory isn’t failing. It certainly doesn’t need any 

                      refreshing from you!


THAXTON     Oh yeah!


PENNY          Yeah!


THAXTON     You remember the super of this building? The one who 


PENNY          Stanislaus Thanopopandropoulous                       

THAXTON     Good. Very Good. Do you remember what Stanislaus

                      Thanopopandropoulous wanted for the key to this  



PENNY          Money.


THAXTON     You are getting warm. How much money?


PENNY          $5000


THAXTON     Good. Your memory is working again. Did you have $5000?


PENNY          You know damn well that I didn’t have $5000.


THAXTON     You didn’t but I did. That was my miracle. Without my 

                      miracle we wouldn’t have gotten this apartment. Right?


PENNY          What are you trying to say?


THAXTON     You have two weeks to move!


PENNY          Not so fast—buster! It so happens both our names are on 

                      the lease!


THAXTON     Not exactly.


PENNY          What do you mean—not exactly?


THAXTON     If you think hard, you will recall that the only way we could  

                      get the apartment was to appear as if we were married.


PENNY          So?


THAXTON    Your name appears on the lease as Penny Pin not Penny 



PENNY          You son-of-a-bitch!


THAXTON     Since there is no Penny Pin—Out you go!


PENNY          You sneaky bastard! Don’t think that I haven’t been 

                       prepared for something like this from you!    


THAXTON     What do you mean?


PENNY          There is that little matter of your undeclared income over 

                       the past five years. $96,532.84 to be exact. The IRS would 

                       love to know about that.


THAXTON     You no-good bitch! You can’t prove a thing!


PENNY          Oh yes I can. I have Xerox copies of all those undisclosed 

                       transactions receipts. They tell me that the IRS will pay a 

                       bounty for turning tax cheats, like you, in.


THAXTON     You no-good, conniving C-word!


PENNY          Come, come now Thaxton. Don’t be a sore loser. You will 

                       be the one to move. Let’s say—ah—one week.


THAXTON     I always knew you couldn’t be trusted!


PENNY          A lot of good it did you.


THAXTON     More than you think.


PENNY          What do you mean?


THAXTON     I have the pictures.


PENNY          Pictures? What pictures?


THAXTON     You and Thelma.


PENNY          I—I thought Thelma destroyed them!


THAXTON     After you walked out on her, she sold them to me.


PENNY          How could she?


THAXTON     Revenge and money. It looks like we have a standoff.


PENNY          Well, I’m not giving up this apartment!


THAXTON     You know, damn well, I’m not!


They stare, in silent anger at each other.


PENNY          I guess that means we go on living together.


THAXTON     There’s not much choice, is there?


PENNY          Grin and bear it I always say!


THAXTON     When did you ever say that?


PENNY          Now! I said it now! And give me back my gold chain!


THAXTON     (WAVING PASS BOOK) There’s $15,222.09 in the bank, 

                      nine cents is yours and not a penny more!


PENNY          I want my framed medical report back!


THAXTON     Too bad you weren’t pregnant! Probably would have been a

                      a baboon!


PENNY          No question about it! Look who the father would have been!


THAXTON     It’s late. I don’t have any more energy to fight. I’m going to  

                      bed. (HE TAKES SEVERAL STEPS AWAY, THEN,  SLOWLY 

                      TURNS TO FACE PENNY) In the mood?


PENNY          (SHRUGS HER SHOULDERS.) What the hell.


She follows him off stage.




 © robert 2014