The One With Gunther’s Nervous Breakdown

By Bobby Coakley
Based on characters created by David Crane, Marta Kaufmann and Kevin Bright.

(Here is another fanfic from Yours Truly for all to enjoy. Ross does not appear in this one, and it operates under the assumption that Joey is still the only one who knows about Chandler and Monica’s secret romance, and Chandler hasn’t yet told Monica he loves her. Enjoy, as I may be following this up with two or three more parts.)

(Chandler’s office, he looks somewhat overworked. He sighs, and pushes some of the papers off his desk. He picks up the phone)

Chandler: Margaret, I don’t suppose a pretty dark-haired girl has arrived yet to see me? She should be carrying food from Allesandro’s and wearing a raincoat and high heels. (pause) No, she doesn’t have an appointment. (pause) That’s because I haven’t told her to come. Didn’t tell her to wear a raincoat and high heels either. (pause) Well, I didn’t invite her because she’s supposed to come on her own in a wildly romantic and spontaneous spur-of-the-moment thing. Don’t you read Cosmo? (pause) All right, all right.

(Chandler goes back to looking through his papers. He turns to look at a picture of Monica on his desk.)

Chandler (to the picture): Geez, Monica, don’t you know when I want to be surprised? I plan my whole day around it!

(Intercom buzzes)

Margaret (over intercom): A pretty dark-haired girl to see you, Mr. Bing. High heels, but no raincoat.

(Chandler smiles, jumps out of his chair, and runs around his desk to lean in front of it, positioning himself to look suave and cool. Well, as suave and cool as Chandler can look, in any case.)

Chandler: Monica, you old high-heels-but-no-raincoat romantic. (Calling) In here, honey!

(Someone, definitely not Monica, enters.)

Janice: Oh…. My…. Gawd!

(Chandler does one of his classic double takes, looses his balance against the desk, and falls over.)

(Opening Credits)

(Central Perk. Gunther is taking orders and serving drinks, by himself. That’s because Jackie, his new waitress, is spending all her time talking with Joey. Phoebe is tuning her guitar.)

Jackie: Dr. Drake Ramoray, huh? That’s impressive. Must have been hard learning all those medical terms. And doing all that fake surgery.

Joey: Well, falling down that elevator shaft was done in only one take.

Gunther (annoyed): Jackie, you know we have other customers here who didn’t spend time being a fake doctor.

Jackie (equally annoyed): Well, Gunther, you do know that as an employee I get a lunch hour as well as 2 15 minute breaks.

Gunther: Oh, and that’s when you’ll start serving everyone coffee?

(Rachel enters. Gunther’s sour mood brightens)

Gunther: Hello, Rachel. Listen, I know you have a high paying job at Bloomingdales now, and you’re making a lot of money doing something you enjoy, but could I talk to you into quitting for a few hours to work for me again? I kept your apron preserved in a glass case in the storage room.

Rachel (dubiously): Uh, I’d like to, but today’s… Taco Day, and they sent me out to get hot sauce.

Gunther: Oh. (Goes back to serving the customers)

(Rachel joins Phoebe at the table.)

Rachel: Sheesh. I’m busy all at work, Ross is trapped all day with Emily’s lawyers, and Gunther wants me to go back to work for him. Doesn’t he know how busy I am? (leans back in the couch and props her feet up)

Phoebe: Be nice to him today, Rachel. Gunther’s been busy all week breaking in Jackie.

(We see Jackie and Joey have stopped talking and have moved directly to making out in the chair)

Rachel: Well, at least all that time won’t go to waste.

Phoebe: I’m serious. Gunther’s aura looks like one of his ties today. If we smile at him, we can improve his mood and his work. Otherwise, he could have a nervous breakdown.

Rachel: Gunther isn’t the type to have a nervous breakdown. But, I guess it couldn’t hurt.

(Phoebe and Rachel turn to where Gunther is, and smile brightly at him, giving him thumbs up and waving.)

(Gunther smiles back, gets befuddled, and falls over behind the counter.)

Phoebe: Huh.

Rachel: He’ll be fine. After all, you know there’s only one person out of everyone we know who’s going to have the nervous breakdown first.

(Quick jump to Chandler’s office)

Chandler: I think I’m going to have a nervous breakdown.

Janice: I know. Me too! Isn’t it great that we found each other again at last! And you tried to get away from me by sneaking out of the country, you naughty boy.

Chandler: That’s me, a naughty boy.

(Chandler quickly hides the picture of Monica before Janice can see it.)

Janice: But, we’re together again at last. Forever. The way we were meant to be.

Chandler: Janice… no.

Janice (confused): No?

Chandler (firmly): No.

Janice: No, no? What is this no? What do you mean by no? What are you trying to tell me by no?

Chandler: There’s no easy way for me to say this, so here it goes.

Janice: I talked to your doctor. You don’t have any diseases that will kill you in six weeks.

(Chandler winces his "Damn it" expression. He steels himself again.)

Chandler: Janice… I don’t want you.

(Janice gasps. Chandler freaks and starts to take it back, but resolves himself to continue. All done with facial expressions. <That Matthew Perry, what an actor!>)

Chandler: Janice, what we had was very special. I am not denying that. But that’s the past. That part of our lives is over.

Janice: Your lips say no-no but your eyes say yes-yes.

Chandler: My lips and my eyes say that us getting back together would be a bigger mistake than Vanilla Ice’s comeback album.

Janice: My Bing-a-ling, why must you deny and deny your feelings for me? You must love me so much to put yourself through this torture. It’s an incredible turn on! (pushes herself against him, but he dodges her)

Chandler: Janice, there are a dozen smart remarks I could say right now, but it all boils down to this: I don’t love you.

Janice: What?

Chandler: I don’t love you anymore. I’m in love with someone else. Someone who I don’t want to hurt with you being here.

(Janice obviously doesn’t believe him.)

Janice: Who is she?

Chandler: Uh, I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.

Janice: Ri-i-i-ght. I don’t suppose you met this mystery woman in Yemen did you?

Chandler: Okay, I shouldn’t have lied to you about that. But this time I’m serious. I’m seeing someone else and I can’t help but wonder if the laws of the universe will conspire against me yet again and make her walk in here while you are talking to me.

Janice: Ooh, I love it when you talk dirty.

(Janice grabs Chandler’s head and kisses him passionately on the mouth. There are appropriate "woo-hoo" sounds from the studio audience. After a few seconds, she pulls away. Her eager expression is gone, replaced by thoughtfulness. Chandler is a little stunned. Neither speaks for a moment.)

Janice: You weren’t kissing back.

Chandler (quietly): No. No, I wasn’t.

(Janice steps back, a sly smile on her face)

Janice: She must be pretty special, whoever she is.

Chandler (also smiling): Yes. Yes, she is.

Janice: Hmm, well, I’ve embarrassed you and myself enough for a lifetime, so I guess I’d better go.

Chandler: I’m sorry. I really am.

Janice: It’s okay. Really.

(Janice gives Chandler a playful pat on the head, and turns to leave.)

Chandler: Uh, thanks.

Janice: For what?

Chandler: Oh, just for something I never thought would happen.

Janice: Hey, you’re welcome. I probably won’t see you around, but I wish you… both of you, all the best.

Chandler: You too. And I really mean that.

Janice: Good-bye, Chandler Bing.

Chandler: Good-bye, Just Janice.

(She leaves. Chandler looks a little wistful for a moment, then quickly runs back to his desk. He picks up the phone and dials)

Chandler: Hello, Monica? I was wondering… it’s lunchtime and I don’t have to be here for an hour and… Oh, that was fast! I’ll meet you there!

(The street. Chandler steps out of the building. He seems so happy, bright music starts to play. Suddenly he starts singing and all the bystanders and drivers start doing a big Bugsby Berkely number. The bystanders swing with each other, while the taxicab drivers start dancing on the roofs of their cabs. After a few minutes of this grand number, the camera starts rising up, with Chandler going with it. He seems to be standing right in front of the camera as it floats higher and higher in the air, with the number coming to it’s grand finale. When it ends, we see Chandler rode the camera crane up to the fire escape at Monica and Rachel’s place.)

(Monica and Rachel’s apartment. Monica is making herself look pretty… okay, prettier than usual, when there is a knock. Only it’s not at the door. It’s at the window. Chandler is on the balcony.)

Monica: Chandler?

(Monica lets him in. She is surprised, while he is still buzzed from the Big Dance Number.)

Monica: How did you get on the balcony?

Chandler: Oh, I just flew.

(Chandler kisses Monica, then starts "dancing" with her, leading her over to the couch while humming the song from the Big Dance Number. He tosses his coat onto a chair next to the door.)

Monica (giddy): Ooh, this is new. I’m sneaking around with George Gershwin.

Chandler: Monica, I’ve been doing some thinking, and we’d better sit down for this.

(They reach the couch and sit down. They start smooching, while Monica leans back slightly. As they both lay on the couch, Chandler stops kissing her just to hold himself close to her. Monica starts brushing his hair with her fingers.)

Monica: What’d you want to say?

(Close up on the two of them. Chandler seems to be preparing himself for something. Then…)

Chandler (simply but sincerely): I love you.

(The audience goes "Awwww." Monica is surprised, then actually starts softly crying)

Monica (choked up): Say that again.

(Chandler moves up to look Monica in the eye.)

Chandler (meaningfully): I love you.

(They kiss. The phone rings twice.)

Chandler (between kisses): Hear that?

Monica (between kisses): No.

Chandler: Neither do I.

(They keep smooching as the answering machine does what it does best and answers the phone.)

Answering Machine (Monica’s voice): Hey, you’ve reached Monica and Rachel’s place, please leave a message at the beep. Beep

Richard’s voice over phone: Hello, Monica? It’s Richard.

(The audience goes "Oooooh!" Monica and Chandler freeze in mid-smooch. Their eyes snap open.)

Richard’s voice (continued): Listen, I know this is short notice, but I’ve got to meet with you. It’s kind of important, so if you could just call my office, and see if you could arrange something for tonight or tomorrow, I’d appreciate it. Maybe we could have dinner or something. Thanks. Bye. (hangs up)

(Chandler and Monica have each remained frozen stiff throughout this message. After Richard hangs up, Monica starts moving out from under Chandler and starts to sit up. With a frozen expression on his face, he also starts to sit up. They sit next to each other, with a painfully awkward look on their faces.)

Chandler: Hmmm….

Monica: Yeah…

Chandler: I guess… it’d be kind of… rude… if you didn’t call back.

Monica: Yeah… But I’ll wait. I’ll call back… in a few hours. Because, you know, if I call back right away, that would look pathetic.

Chandler: Oh, yes, completely pathetic. Like you, um, weren’t completely over him or something. (Chandler turns away and does his "Why’d I say that?" wince.)

(They both stand up. The "mood" has been completely killed.)

Chandler: Um… Oh, look at the time. I should get back to work. (pause) Did I just say that?

Monica: Uh-huh. Maybe that would be best. Go and earn the rest of your daily dollar.

Chandler (laughs nervously): Well, see you later.

(Chandler holds Monica’s hand and kisses her. He tries to put some ‘oomph’ in it, but something is missing. They break.)

Chandler (sadly): You weren’t kissing back.

Monica (denial): Oh, of course I was. See? (Gives Chandler a painfully chaste kiss on the cheek.)

Chandler: Right. Well, bye.

(He leaves, but doesn’t take his coat. Monica looks after him, then looks at the portable phone. Her right hand seems to reach for it all on it’s own. She tries slapping her hand away, but the phone ends up in her other hand, and the number on the speed dial is pressed.)

Monica: Hello? Uh, hi, Maddie, this is Monica Geller. I’d like to leave a message for Richard, um, I mean Dr. Burke. Tell him I would be happy to meet with him tonight and…

(Chandler re-enters, catching Monica red-handed on the phone. He is not surprised to see her calling Richard, but Monica is temporarily frozen with guilt and shock.)

Chandler (evenly): Forgot my coat.

Monica (desperately): Uh, am I the 92nd caller? No, oh, well, I’ll try for those Ozzy Osborne tickets another time then! (hangs up and tries looking innocent)

(Chandler goes to the door, but as he’s closing it behind him…)

Chandler (jovially): Tell Richard I said hi! (shuts the door.)

(Monica sits down, looking ashamed)

(Outside the building, Chandler leaves the building and finds himself out in the street. He looks miserable. Suddenly the music for the Big Dance Number starts up again, and more bystanders and cabdrivers start dancing around. Chandler looks at them for a moment, then…)

Chandler: SHUT UP!!!

(The music stops, and the dancers freeze in mid-step, a few being held up in the air. Chandler walks away, while the dancers resume their lives as normal New York bystanders.)

(Later, in Monica and Rachel’s apartment. Chandler is sitting at a table and drinking coffee. He is miserable, but doing a good job at hiding it from everyone. Rachel, Phoebe and Joey are talking to Monica.)

Monica: This isn’t a date. Not a date at all. A simple meeting is all it is. It is a non-date.

Rachel: A non-date. Well, that sounds very non-romantic.

Monica: Look, I have to get changed.

(She goes to her room.)

Joey: You buy this non-date nonsense?

Rachel: Hey, twice bitten, three times shy. Or something like that. Monica is going to see Richard on this non-date, eat dinner with him, exchange pleasantries, and then walk away.

Phoebe: After a few hours of wild monkey sex with him, of course.

(There is a loud crack. Everyone turns to see that Chandler has crushed his coffee mug in his hand.)

Chandler: Uh, sorry. (Towels the coffee off his hand)

Rachel: C’mon, Chandler that’s three times today! Crush your own coffee mugs.

Joey: He has. We’ll have to buy a whole new set tomorrow.

(Chandler cleans up the remains of the crushed coffee mug. Joey eases over to him.)

Joey (whispering): You’re cool with this?

Chandler (through gritted teeth): I am fine. Nothing is wrong. This is perfectly innocent.

Joey: You sure? I know they haven’t seen each other in a long time, but when they come within 50 feet of each other… (Joey makes a suggestive smile and shrugs. Chandler frowns at him and Joey stops.)

Chandler: Look, I checked her closet. All her really fancy dresses are still in their plastic seals. And she doesn’t like wearing Rachel’s clothes so…

(Monica exits from her room. She is wearing a very sexy white dress. Joey’s eyes pop, and Chandler drops the shards of the coffee mug on the floor.)

Chandler: That’s… new. So… for this perfectly innocent non-date, you got a new dress.

Monica: It’s a dress I borrowed from Phoebe. Lucky it fit, huh?

Chandler: Well, considering you’re 5 foot 4 and she’s built like Kareem Abdul Jabar I’d say it’s a miracle.

Phoebe: Uh, just so you know, and I’m sure you aren’t going into this with any expectations, but that dresses as a special design feature.

Monica: What?

Phoebe: You know, just in case on this non-date you and Richard… Well, it’s rigged to come off very easily

(There is another crack off-screen. Chandler has crushed another coffee cup.)

Rachel: Chandler!

Chandler: Sorry, sorry.

(Monica whispers to Joey)

Monica: Distract them. (indicates Rachel and Phoebe)

Joey: Uh… Oh, look! Mice!

Rachel & Phoebe: What? (go to look for the mice)

(Monica rushes over to where Chandler is sitting.)

Monica (whispering): This dress’ special feature will not be used. If you don’t want me to do this…

Chandler: Go. It’s okay. Really.

Monica: You just say the word. You don’t even have to say it. Hint the word. Pantomime the word. Send the word through a telepathic signal.

Chandler: Look, this freaked me out at first, but I’m cool with it. What you two had was a long time ago.

Monica: Thank you, Chandler. It means a lot.

(Monica turns away. Chandler mouths the words "Don’t go! Don’t go!" but Monica can’t see him or receive any telepathic signal.)

Joey: Whoops, I was wrong. Not mice, just dust bunnies.

(Rachel and Phoebe shrug, then turn to Monica)

Phoebe: You look great. Knock him up.

Rachel: Out, Phoebe. Knock him out.

Phoebe: Oh, that too.

Rachel: Have fun on this non-date of yours. Don’t stay out non-late! (snickers at her lame joke)

Chandler: Well… have a nice time. Don’t do anything you think I’d want done to me… or something.

Monica: Bye. (She takes one last second to look at Chandler, who smiles and gives her thumbs up)

(Monica leaves. Chandler turns the thumbs up into a "finger gun" and "shoots" himself in the head.)

Phoebe: Are you upset about this, Chandler?

Chandler: I… don’t want to see Monica get hurt again.

Rachel: Monica won’t get hurt again. She’ll dump him! Maybe get a few hours of hot loving out of him first…

(Chandler slams his head against the table in despair. Phoebe, Rachel and Joey jump back.)

Chandler (lifting his head sheepishly): Uh… a spider.

(Chandler and Joey’s apartment, later. Chandler is sitting in his chair, brooding. Joey comes out of the bathroom. He is dressed like a 1950s nerd from "Dobie Gillis" or "My Three Sons." He waits for Chandler to make a funny remark about his outfit and slicked hair, but nothing. Joey looks a little disappointed.)

Joey: You could make an effort, you know.

Chandler: She went. It’s over and done. Nothing will happen. In any case, what’s up with you, Skippy?

Joey: Well, you know the doctor who delivered Phoebe’s brother’s babies out of Phoebe?

Chandler: Sure, the Happy Days Happy doctor.

Joey: Right, well I ran into him today, and he’s throwing a Happy Days party with some other obstetricians and their friends, and he was nice enough to invite me along. I’m certain I told you about it.

Chandler: You probably did, but this day has sort of been a haze ever since the Big Dance Number.

Joey (not getting it): Um, I know the feeling.

Chandler: Joey, I need to ask you a question.

Joey: Well, make it quick, I don’t want to miss the episodes where Fonzie still wears a blue sweatshirt.

(Joey goes towards the door. Chandler springs out of his chair to talk to him before he goes.)

Chandler: Joey, if you asked an old girlfriend out, not really on a date since she has a new boyfriend, and she accepted, knowing it wasn’t a date, would you try to… make it a date?

Joey: Of course I would. But, that’s just me. If the girl’s new boyfriend actually let her go on the… not-date with me, and not some hypothetical ex-boyfriend eye doctor, he’d pretty much be asking for whatever happens. But hey, that’s a different, fictional ex-boyfriend. And not you. You’re a lot smarter than putting Monica in a situation like that if you didn’t trust her. ‘Bye. (Starts to close the door as he leaves)

Chandler: Yeah, I guess the new boyfriend who wasn’t certain about his girlfriend would be awfully…

(Joey closes the door. Chandler starts clawing at his face)

Chandler (tears stinging his eyes): Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid! (He tries to make it to a chair, fails, and just sits on the floor, softly weeping)

(Central Perk. Gunther is still running around trying to get everyone’s orders. Phoebe and Rachel are at the couch, trying to show their support for Gunther. He smiles at them and they smile back. Jackie is sitting behind the counter chatting on the phone. Finally she hangs up.)

Jackie: Gunther, I’m going on my break.

Gunther: But you…

Jackie: In the book, Gunther. I get two 15 minute breaks as well as my lunch hour.

(Jackie heads into the back room. Chandler walks, or rather stumbles into Central Perk. He looks like hell and is slightly drunk. Gunther starts arguing (silently) with an irritated customer as Chandler makes his way over to the couch)

Phoebe: Chandler, are you all right? You look very kaja-googy.

Rachel: Yeah, where have you been?

Chandler (tipsy): The world… is a very dark and unforgiving place that will taunt you with happiness and then snatch it from your grasp, making sure to give you a wedgie for good measure.

Phoebe: What’s up with you anyway? You’ve been like this all day. Are you that upset Monica is seeing Richard again? Why? Is it that big a deal they’ll be having madcap whoopie for a few hours and then never see each other again?

(Chandler thinks for a second. He sighs and decides to tell them everything.)

Chandler: I guess it doesn’t matter now. I wonder if it ever did. Look, while we were in London…

(Before he can spill the beans, the irritated customer knocks the tray out of Gunther’s hand. The coffee mugs crash to the floor.)

Irritated customer: This may very well me the shoddiest, flimsiest, poorest run coffee shop I’ve ever had the misfortune to come across! I’m going to leave, and I don’t expect to receive a bill.

(The Irritated Customer starts to leave. Gunther considers letting him go, but a quick "Go get him" look from Rachel spurs him to block the customer’s way.)

Gunther (trying to show authority): Well, if you wish to leave, that is your priority. In fact, you don’t even have to pay for your coffee if you wish. But, we have had thousands of satisfied customers her at Central Perk. Hundreds of people come in and out every day. In fact, if you’re that certain that this indeed is the worst coffee shop in the entire Village, then why don’t you just ask the customers.

Irritated Customer: All right, I will.

Gunther (hastily): Phoebe, you like it here, right?

Phoebe: Oh, yes of course, the ambiance is very… hetero-pathic.

Gunther: Rachel, you enjoy it here at Central Perk as a former employee, right?

Rachel: Of course, Gunther.

Gunther (to two women): Ladies, you’ve enjoyed your coffee and biscottee here, right?

Woman #1: Yes, Gunther, it’s a very fine place to stay. Thank you for asking.

Woman #2: It’s gotten much better now that the one with the weak chin doesn’t work here anymore.

(Rachel realizes the woman is talking about her, and "tests" her chin with her fingers)

(Gunther smugly turns back to the Irritated customer.)

Gunther: Well, I’m sure you can see that here at Central Perk, we do what we can to…

Chandler (quietly): I’m not satisfied.

Gunther: What?

Chandler (more forcefully): I’m not satisfied.

Gunther: But… you come here every day!

Chandler: The place is only 100 steps from where I live! I would go into a coffee place called Brown Crayon Water every day if it were only 100 steps from where I lived. I’m not satisfied with the quality here!

Gunther (trying to get Chandler to shut up): Well, people like you never are. I’d have to lace the coffee with LSD to make you happy.

Irritated customer: Hold on there, if this guy comes here everyday, and he’s not happy with the service, let’s hear from him.

(Chandler is obviously talking about something else)

Chandler: Well, it’s really a matter of what’s closer, isn’t it. No matter how sloppy, or over-wrought, or nervous or out-and-out stupid, if it’s close by, you’re going to go for it eventually, right? Unless of course you find something better, it doesn’t matter if it’s further away, because you were only going to the first place because it was closer. Well, in this case, you can see if the quality isn’t what you expected, no matter how hard it tried to measure up to your standards, you might as well go to the place that’s farther away. And the place that’s closer, even if it’s across the hall, is just out of luck, isn’t it?

(Chandler, upset, leaves. Gunther is stunned. He attempts to get another smile or word of encouragement from Rachel, but she is looking at her chin in her compact mirror. Phoebe looks out the window after Chandler.)

Another Customer: He’s right. You’re one of the rudest managers in Manhattan. And I’ve worked with Leona Helmsley!

(Various other customers shout complaints. Gunther looks like a rat in a trap.)

Irritated customer: Satisfied customers! Ha! These people come in everyday and they’re not happy with the service. Show’s all you know. This may very well be the worst coffee shop in all of Manhattan, if not all of New York City. And you’d better know, mister, that I have some people I can talk to about this! Some people who write some very well known books about dining in Manhattan.

(The irritated customer also leaves. Everyone in Central Perk is staring at Gunther. Except Rachel, who is still looking at her chin)

(Gunther turns away from everyone and grabs the counter. He is breathing heavily.)

Phoebe: Uh, Gunther?

Rachel: Phoebe, do you think…

Phoebe: Don’t say anything, Rachel, your jaw might fall off.

Gunther (quietly): Typical. Absolutely typical.

Phoebe (getting up, and approaching Gunther): Gunther? Are you okay? For you, at least?

Gunther: The kind of….

(Gunther turns around, his face beet red, and screams right into Phoebe’s face. Phoebe jumps back and falls onto the couch on her back, unhurt but surprised. Gunther is going off at every customer in Central Perk)

Gunther (screaming): CRAP I have to put up with from you people! You waltz in here day and and day out expecting to be waited on hand and foot while I’m trying to run a coffee shop! Do you have ANY idea how much there is to do? NO! You’re too busy sticking your noses into every bloody corner trying to find things to complain about! If it weren’t for me, you’d be shooting the caffeine directly into your jugular vein! (mimics jamming a needle into his neck) Well, let me tell you, this is exactly the way Red China started! Chairman Mao and his bicycle-riding friends standing around with nothing better to do than cause trouble! Well, that’s it! After five years, I’ve had enough. Drink your lattes, swallow your espressos, chug your cappuccinos, and GET OUT!

Random Customer: What?

Gunther: OUT! Everybody out! (starts waving his hands, trying to get everyone to leave) Vamos! Away! Off with you all! (some customers start to leave) Everybody out!

Rachel (still obsessed about her chin): Phoebe, do something!

Phoebe (strumming her guitar): Oh, please staaay….

Gunther: No! Out out out! Vacate, depart, escape, leave!

Rachel: It’s not really… weak, is it?

(Jackie enters from the back)

Jackie: Gunther, what’s going on?

Customer #3 (nervously): Help us!

Gunther: Well, Jackie, my little workhorse, the customers and I have had a little tete-a-tete, and the gist of it is, they’re off.

Jackie: Off?

Gunther: Well, let me explain this in plain simple to follow English. Either they go or I go.

(Jackie fixes Gunther with a hard stare.)

Gunther: Wait, sorry everyone, sorry! The new manager of Central Perk has had a better idea, and it seems that I’m the one that’s going.

Phoebe: Going?

Gunther: That’s right, Phoebe. Well, good luck running the place, Jackie. Try not to let people loiter or they’ll start claiming the best furniture for themselves. (Starts towards the door)

Jackie: I’ll need your keys and apron, Gunther.

Gunther (handing them in): Oh, yes of course. Well, good luck to you everyone! Phoebe and Rachel, it’s been an interesting five years. Give my best to Monica and Joey, and tell Ross and Chandler I’ll save a spot in hell for each of them. Jackie, remember that the mocha is in the red cans and the cream in the blue. Well, I hope you like your coffee, because I haven’t liked serving it to you! And don’t forget to look to your new manager, Jackie, for service with a smile! Any time in the day or night, just shout! Bye!

(Gunther leaves, slamming the door to Central Perk behind him. All the other customers look outside for a moment, then go back to their coffee. Phoebe and Rachel look at each other, then run out of Central Perk)

(Outside Central Perk. Gunther is standing, looking very lost. Phoebe and Rachel come up to him.)

Phoebe: Gunther, are you all right?

Gunther (dazed): You know, Phoebe, I just had a strange dream. And you were in it. I quit my job after yelling at everyone in the shop. That would be a very foolish thing for me to do, as working there is pretty much the only life I know.

Rachel: Uh, maybe you should come with us, Gunther.

Gunther: Sure. Very, very bad dream.

(Phoebe and Rachel each take Gunther by the arm and lead him away.)

Rachel: Gunther, do you think I have a weak chin?

Gunther (sincerely): You have the most beautiful chin God Almighty put at the end of someone’s jaw.

Rachel (dubiously): Uh-huh.

(Later. Chandler and Joey’s apartment is dark. The TV is out of the cabinet and on the floor, but that’s hard to see in the dark. There is a knock at the door. Another knock, and Monica enters. She is still wearing the "special" dress.)

Monica: Chandler?

(Monica turns on the lights. No one is around.)

Monica (whispering): Oh, God, don’t tell me he’s not here. (calling) Chandler, are you not here?

(There is a very weird but familiar sounding laugh coming from Chandler’s room.)

Monica (running across the room): Oh, God. Please don’t tell me he slept with Janice. Please don’t tell me he slept with Janice. I’ll never obsessively compulse again if he didn’t…

(Monica enters Chandler’s room.)

Monica (off screen, annoyed): What? Why you… Get out of here. Out!

(The duck comes out of Chandler’s room, quacking the weird sounding laugh usually associated with Janice. The rooster follows, bucking)

Monica (shooing away the duck and the rooster): You should know better than that. But I don’t suppose you two could tell me where Chandler is.

(The duck quacks and the rooster buck-buck-caws.)

Monica: So, Chandler is trapped in a burning barn?

(There is a muffled thumping noise from the cabinet. Monica notices the TV on the floor and the shut cabinet. She thinks for a moment "Nah" but then there is another thump and muffled curses.)

(Monica opens the cabinet. Chandler nearly falls out, and puts out his leg to keep his balance. His face is smeared with ice cream, and he has two or three pint-sized cartons in the cabinet with him. He looks very disoriented.)

Monica: Chandler?

(Chandler is trying to keep his cool, considering he’s jammed in a cabinet and has ice cream all over his face.)

Chandler (voice funny): Well, look who it is. Breakaway dress girl! The one who shot me in the face when my back was turned!

Monica (amused, but trying to sound concerned): Are you drunk?

Chandler (somewhat tipsy): I am… not drunk. I simply found something more fulfilling than love. Ice cream. It give me fillmun.

Monica: Fillmun?

Chandler: Fillmun. Fillmun? No, full-fill-ment. (pause) So it made my mouth a little numb. (notices the rooster and the duck) Oh, send them away. I don’t want them to see me like this. (hides his face in shame)

(Monica shoos the duck and the rooster into Joey’s room)

Chandler: I had hoped to shield them from the ugliness that is this cold, dark world we live in. (starts eating the ice cream)

Monica: Have you spent the whole night in there eating ice cream?

Chandler: Well, why not? Ice cream is better than women anyway. It’s actually better when it’s frigid and cold, and it doesn’t complain when I finish in only five minutes.

Monica (amused): Wow, that long, huh?

(Monica holds out her hand to help Chandler out of the cabinet. Chandler waves her off and tries to get out of the cabinet himself. After a few false starts, he falls out of the cabinet. He again waves off Monica’s attempts to help him up. He shakily stands up on his own, and starts digging into another tub of ice cream)

Chandler: Ice cream. That’s the way I’ll go from now on. It gives you headaches when you’re done instead of getting one right before you’re ready to start.

Monica: Hey, that must be a new flavor: Rum raisin without the raisin.

Chandler: Shoot, I need another spoon. Well, there should be one in the kitchen. Right next the knife you stabbed me in the heart with.

Monica: You said it was okay that I see him.

Chandler: And you listened to me? Monica, you’re much too much intelligent to pay attention to someone like me!

Monica: Chandler, I am intelligent enough to listen to you. I thought you were intelligent to say what you felt, not what you thought I wanted to hear. I mean, you could have even come along if you didn’t trust me with Richard. And it seems pretty clear you didn’t. Now, at least.

Chandler: Monica, I wanted more than anything to trust you, and to know that you could hold my heart… my very soul in your hands and not let it go.

Monica: Did you think I would sleep with Richard?

Chandler: I don’t know… and that’s what tore me up inside, Monica. I wanted to trust you so badly, but all the doubt and fear I felt made me wonder if I was really up to all this. I… I wanted to love you enough so I knew I could take a chance on you and be certain of the outcome, but I wasn’t. I just wasn’t.

Monica: Wait… so it wasn’t the fact you didn’t trust me that bothered you. It was the fact it bothered you that bothered you?

Chandler: Exactly! You get it.

Monica: I do? Actually, I sort of do. You were actually… afraid of your own immaturity.

Chandler: Oh, I want to be mature. I do, I really do. Oh, I want to be as mature as possible. I just couldn’t.

Monica, you are the most beautiful, bright, beguiling woman I have ever met in my life, and the idea that I would ever lose you turns me into a gibbering idiot.

Monica: Chandler, this sounds very strange coming from me, but you may very well be the most mature man I know.

Chandler: Oh, like I’m in such respected company. God, I was such an idiot. How could he not want you back?

Monica: Chandler, Richard didn’t want to get back together with me. He wanted to tell me that he’s getting back together with Barbara.

Chandler (not hearing her): Oh, and I guess you had to think for old times sake… what?

Monica: Richard’s remarrying his ex-wife.

Chandler (overjoyed): Really?! (suddenly trying to play it cool) I mean… that’s pretty cool. For him. And her. Really cool. Will they… will they keep their old registration at Macy’s? (thinks about that joke) Good grief, that sounds like something Joey would say.

(Monica looks at Chandler with a mix of sympathy and love.)

Monica: Gosh, you really have no idea how you should respond to things, do you?

Chandler (embarrassed): No. Monica, you’re the most special person in my life right now, and I have no idea what to do.

Monica: Yes, you do. You just need a little illumination.

(Monica takes Chandler’s hand and puts it to her chest. He’s a little surprised at first, then gets a "Hey, I’m touching her chest" look on his face.)

Monica: Chandler, feel my heart beat. Can you feel it?

Chandler (giddy): Uh-huh!

Monica: What does it say?

Chandler: If I tell you, do I have to let go?

Monica: It says that Richard is my past. You, Chandler, are my future. You, Chandler Bing, are my destiny.

Chandler: You mean that?

Monica: More than anything.

(Chandler holds Monica close to him, as he did before.)

Chandler (softly): I can still feel your heart beat.

Monica (softly): I can feel yours. (raises eyebrows) And that’s not all.

Chandler: Bet you know what that says.

Monica: Oh, before we were so rudely interrupted, there was something I wanted to say.

Chandler: Pete Becker is in town again?

Monica: No. (Looks him in the eye) I love you, too.

Chandler (smiling): Say that again.

Monica (meaningfully): I love you, too.

Chandler: Sorry, must have some ice cream in my ear. Still can’t hear you.

(Monica reaches up and gives Chandler a big kiss on his ear.)

Monica (licking her lips): Mm, rocky road.

Chandler: Yeah, that’s got it.

(They kiss. Monica starts leading Chandler to his room.)

Monica: C’mon, Dolly Madison, I wanna see how quick I can get out this thing.

(Monica goes into Chandler’s room. Chandler stops at the doorway.)

Chandler: Oh, you don’t really think Phoebe rigged that dress so…

(Suddenly the dress flies at Chandler. He grabs it, looks at it in surprise, and looks inside his room at the off-camera Monica.)

Chandler: Wow! That was pretty fast!

(Rushes into his room.)

(Closing credits. Monica and Rachel’s apartment. Monica enters, looking a little tired but very happy. She leans back against the door and sighs, contented.)

Gunther (jumping up from behind the kitchen counter): Can I help you, ma’am?

Monica: AAHHH!

(Freaking out, she turns on the lights. Gunther is wearing an apron, and looks like he’s ready to serve coffee. He has a very glazed expression on his face.)

Gunther: Would you like a latte? A mocha? A half-caf cappuccino?

(Rachel enters from her room. She is carrying two mirrors on either side of her head and one hanging from her neck to get a better look at her chin)

Monica: Rachel, what is…

Rachel: Well, he sort of has no where else to go. If he just stays back there, everything should be okay for a while.

Monica: But, he can’t just…

Rachel (annoyed): Monica, we have more important things to worry about. (hands her one of the mirrors) Now, hold this up, I need to get a better look at my profile from the reverse direction.

(Rachel leads Monica into her room. Monica still stares at Gunther, who is just waving politely)

Gunther (calling after her): We have some wonderful biscotti if you’re interested!