Faced with dealing with his parents’ remaining possessions now that they have passed away, Victor Franz and his wife Esther visit an old soon-to-be-demolished Brownstone attic full of furniture they must sell. While waiting for an antiques dealer to arrive, Victor and Esther discuss Victor’s indecision about retiring from the police force and his estranged relationship with his brother Walter, a doctor. Esther expresses her unresolved feelings about Walter’s choice to leave home when he was young and finish medical school while Victor had to drop out of college to help his father survive the Great Depression and the death of his mother. The brothers haven’t spoken to each other since their father’s death sixteen years earlier. Victor has recently reached out to Walter in order to split the money for the furniture, but Esther feels Victor should be entitled to all of it because of his sacrifice—that, and she wants money.
Gregory Solomon, the antiques appraiser, finally arrives and Esther leaves to run an errand. Solomon and Victor engage in small talk about the furniture, but eventually Victor is annoyed by Solomon’s run-around over naming a price. At last he offers an amount and Victor accepts it—just as Walter walks in.
Walter doesn’t want to butt in on the deal, but feels they should get more once he hears how much Victor and Solomon have agreed upon. He is not interested in claiming his half, though, and he even proposes a way for Victor to get more. Esther agrees that Walter’s suggestion is better, and Victor starts to feel undermined and humiliated and doesn’t trust his brother’s honest intentions; and it soon becomes obvious that the brothers are dealing with more than the price of the furniture.