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The Flat

by Frank Macaluso 9 months ago in Script
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An absurd one-act play.

The Flat
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

The following is a comedic one-act play I wrote for a college class. I'm posting it here for the sake of anyone who wants it. I, the author of this work, hereby give you full permission to perform this in whatever capacity you desire, provided you give me due credit as its author.

CHARACTERS

The Husband: 43; online-communications associate

The Wife: 41; merchandise coordinator

The Dude: 21; a college student

SCENE

The apartment above the Husband and Wife’s garage

Wheaton, IL

TIME

Present day

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SETTING: A small, moderately decorated apartment above a suburban garage. It’s a nice, warm summer day outside. There is a record player placed by a window.

AT RISE: A “tick-a-lock” sound. The door opens. The HUSBAND, the WIFE, and the DUDE all enter, the HUSBAND leading the way.

HUSBAND : Here it is!

DUDE: (looks around) Well...this certainly is a garage addition.

HUSBAND : That is what we were going for, yes.

WIFE : (beaming) I did all the wiring myself!

DUDE : Cool.

WIFE : I found this magnificent book at the library about how to do your own electrical wiring and it only took me two weeks to get it all done!

HUSBAND : She’s always been a very resourceful one, my wife.

DUDE : Really?

(As the HUSBAND talks, the DUDE notices and approaches the record player.)

HUSBAND : Oh, yes! She once fixed a car that had broken down in the middle of State Street with only a shoelace, a paper clip, a shirt button, and some chewing gum. It was a very temporary fix, obviously, but it was enough to get them to a proper mechanic.

DUDE : (turns back to the couple) Um, that sounds like it shouldn’t have worked at all.

HUSBAND : Hence why it was a very temporary fix.

DUDE : Okay... (beat) So, you guys have a record player?

HUSBAND : Yep!

DUDE : You got records?

HUSBAND : Yep! If you decide to move in, you’re free to borrow whatever 45s you want. The LPs are strictly verboten. Only I can touch those.

WIFE : I’m allowed to play one Marvelettes album every alternate Thursday, but that’s it.

HUSBAND : She always picks The Pink Album. Can’t really blame her; it’s one of their best. That and In Full Bloom are my favorites.

DUDE : O...kay.

HUSBAND : We have all their singles.

WIFE : We even got Katherine Anderson Schaffner’s autograph.

DUDE : Who?

HUSBAND : She’s one of The Marvelettes.

DUDE : Ah.

WIFE : They’re my favorite group.

HUSBAND : On our anniversary, only Marvelettes music is allowed in the house.

WIFE : Lucky thing we have all their singles.

HUSBAND : All their albums, too.

DUDE : Huh. How ‘bout on birthdays?

HUSBAND : On my birthday, we’re only allowed to play Marvin Gaye or The Buckinghams. Unless it’s a leap year. Then it’s only Barbara Lewis.

WIFE : On my birthday, only Four Tops songs are allowed.

DUDE : Wouldn’t it make more sense if it was only The Marvelettes on your birthday and only the Four Tops on your anniversary?

HUSBAND : These are the rules we agreed to when we were first engaged. It’s what we decided was best. We did so democratically. Whenever there was a tie, I was called in to break it.

DUDE : But...didn’t you vote in the first place if you did this whole thing democratically.

HUSBAND : My first vote was merely as one of the spouses. My second, tie-breaking vote was as the owner of the records.

DUDE : Oh. (beat) Any other rules I should know about?

HUSBAND : Yes. Always be in bed by midnight.

WIFE : That one’s just common sense.

HUSBAND : And no chinchillas allowed.

WIFE : We’re both deathly allergic. I break out in hives just thinking about them. (beat) Except right now. It’s odd. (lightly scratches chest) Nope. There it goes. The hives.

HUSBAND : And one more rule: on any day with an “e” in its name, we are not allowed to wear hats.

WIFE : Unless it’s my birthday.

HUSBAND : And only if there’s no music playing at the time.

WIFE : As soon as it starts, all hats must be removed.

HUSBAND : And absolutely no trilbies. Won’t have them in the house at all.

DUDE : Trilbies? What are those?

HUSBAND : They’re a type of hat very similar to the fedora, except the brims are narrower and they’re turned up at the back. Everyone nowadays thinks they’re fedoras, but they’re actually trilbies. I absolutely loathe them. If I could, I would gather them all up, along with anyone who insists on calling them fedoras, and burn them all!

WIFE : I don’t like them, either. I’m more partial to boaters, myself.

DUDE : Okay. (beat) What did you say the price was again?

HUSBAND : Five dollars a month.

DUDE : Really? That cheap?

WIFE : We don’t really need the money. Heck, you can stay here for free if you can’t afford—

DUDE : I can afford five bucks a month, don’t worry.

WIFE : Marvelous! Not everybody can, you know. My Great Aunt Gertrude, for example.

HUSBAND : Oh, yes. Tragic story. Had to sell nearly all of her internal organs just to pay her electric bill.

WIFE : She’s a hollow shell of her former self. Totally lethargic. Doesn’t even listen to her records anymore.

HUSBAND : It’s such a shame, too. She has so many good ones. Bing Crosby, The Mills Brothers, Frank Sinatra...

WIFE : (singing) “Dooby dooby doo...”

HUSBAND : That used to be her favorite.

WIFE : Second favorite.

HUSBAND : Oh, right. Her favorite was “Bad Girl” by The Miracles.

WIFE : Now she just spends all day sitting in that chair of hers...not moving. Not a muscle. She never answers when we call.

HUSBAND : I think she misses her pancreas. I know I’d never be the same without my pancreas.

WIFE : And she really did love her pancreas. Her bone marrow, too.

DUDE : Do you...do you think she might be...you know, dead?

WIFE : Dead? Oh, perish the thought! My Great Aunt Gertrude is many things...well, was many things, but dead is certainly not one of them!

HUSBAND : Well, there was that one brief period during the war...

WIFE : Oh, yes, there was. Fortunately, it didn’t take. Though, for a few weeks afterwards, she thought she was a parsnip.

HUSBAND : What a trooper, that woman.

WIFE : Oh, yes.

DUDE : I mean, I just figured...you did say she had all her organs removed.

HUSBAND : Not all. She still has her brain, arteries, left lung, and gallbladder.

WIFE : Oh, no, dear. She sold her gallbladder for a Klondike bar.

HUSBAND : She did? When?

WIFE : Last year.

HUSBAND : Hmmm. That was a foolish decision. That Klondike bar’s only going to depreciate in value over time.

WIFE : Don’t worry too much, dear; the cat ate it a while back.

HUSBAND : Oh. I suppose it’s alright, then. (half a beat) Wait. Can cats eat Klondike bars?

WIFE : I think they’re fully capable of doing so, yes.

HUSBAND: I mean, is it wise for them to do so?

WIFE : I wouldn’t think so. Then again, I don’t much care for Klondike bars.

DUDE : (beat) Um, I’m just curious—and I don’t mean to offend you here—but...are you two crazy?

HUSBAND : Oh, heavens, no! We’re perfectly sane and sound!

WIFE : We actually won an award last year for Most Sane Couple in the Neighborhood!

DUDE : (beat) Come on, be serious.

HUSBAND : We are. (pulls folded-up certificate out of his pants pocket and hands it to DUDE) Here it is.

DUDE : (takes certificate; unfolds and reads it) This is a perfect attendance certificate. Specifically for the third quarter of the fourth grade.

HUSBAND : Really? (takes back certificate; reads) Well, I’ll be hanged, it is. Never mind that, then. (crumples up certificate; tosses it behind him)

WIFE: Rest assured, however, that we are indeed sane.

DUDE : Are you sure? ‘Cause...I don’t know. You guys are kinda eccentric.

HUSBAND : Eccentricity does not equate to insanity, dear boy!

DUDE : But, the whole thing about the records...your aunt Gertrude...something in all of this seems off.

HUSBAND : Let’s not discuss this anymore. The subject grows tiresome.

WIFE : Agreed. Let’s move forward. How are you enjoying the weather?

HUSBAND : Honey, I think that’s actually moving backwards.

WIFE : Oh, how silly of me! (to DUDE) So, do you think you’d be interested in living here?

DUDE : Eh, I’m not sure. I mean, this is a nice place. It’s probably the nicest place within five miles of campus. And it’s cheap. But you two are really weird.

WIFE : If you want, we can trash up the place to your liking.

HUSBAND : Honey, I think us being weird was the bad thing in that paragraph.

WIFE : Oh. Well, we can fix that! Pardon us a moment.

DUDE : Okay.

(The HUSBAND and the WIFE exit. The DUDE stands around, awkwardly looking at things for a couple of seconds, Suddenly, various raucous noises can be heard outside—a welding torch, a jackhammer, a handsaw, a few springs, etc. This goes on for ten seconds. When the noises stop, the HUSBAND and WIFE reenter.)

HUSBAND : (quiet, nasal, and boring) Hello, there. I hope you’re enjoying this very normal day. I know I am.

WIFE : (a la Marcia Cross) I am, too. You know, I’m thinking of doing a little gardening today.

HUSBAND : That sounds like a wonderful idea. I think I’ll play a couple rounds of golf. Maybe I’ll run into Bob, Mike, and Jerry and we can play together.

WIFE : Well, I hope you have fun.

HUSBAND : And I hope you enjoy your gardening.

WIFE : I always do. Especially on nice, peaceful days like this.

(Suddenly, the sound of springs twanging and nuts and bolts falling is heard as the HUSBAND and the WIFE collapse to the ground.)

DUDE : Oh, my God! Are you okay?!

(The HUSBAND and the WIFE help each other back up.)

HUSBAND : (real voice) Just fine. Though, I do have a sudden taste for a peanut butter, bacon, and quail sandwich.

WIFE : (real voice) That was rather an odd statement.

HUSBAND : Good heavens! Our normality has worn off!

WIFE : Ah, well. It was worth a try. I’m afraid we just can’t be normal.

HUSBAND : (to DUDE) I suppose this means you won’t be moving in.

DUDE : Actually...I think I will.

HUSBAND : Really?

DUDE : Yeah. I mean, for five bucks a month, I’d only be getting exactly what I’d be paying for.

HUSBAND : I like your spirit, kid! Welcome to the neighborhood!

(The HUSBAND and the DUDE shake hands.)

(BLACKOUT)

(END OF PLAY)

Script

About the author

Frank Macaluso

A comedian. I may have made a huge mistake.

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