Sexual perversity in chicago and the duck variations

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Sexual Perversity in Chicago


The Duck Variations


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Sexual Perversity in Chicago


The Duck Variations


David Mamet

Grove Press

New York

Sexual Perversity in Chicagocopyright © 1974 by David Mamet

The Duck Variationscopyright © 1974 by David Mamet

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of such without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated. Any member of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use, or anthology, should send inquiries to Grove Atlantic, 154 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10011 or[email protected].

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned thatSexual Perversity in ChicagoandDuck Variationsare subject to a royalty. Each are fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and all British Commonwealth countries, and all countries covered by the International Copyright Union, the Pan-American Copyright Convention, and the Universal Copyright Convention. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Mamet, David.

Sexual perversity in Chicago and The duck variations.

I. Mamet, David. The duck variations 1978. II. Title: Sexual perversity in Chicago.

PS3563.A4345S4 1978 812’.5’4 77-91885

eISBN: 978-0-8021-5011-0

Cover design by John Gall

Cover photograph by Brigitte Lacombe

Grove Press an imprint of Grove Atlantic, 154 West 14th Street, 12thfloor, New York, NY 10011

Distributed by Publishers Group West



This play is dedicated to Jonathan Katz, with thanks for his comradeship, understanding, and most of the good lines.


Sexual Perversity in Chicagowas first produced by The Organic Theater Company, Chicago, Illinois, in the summer of 1974, with the following cast:

BERNARDWarren CaseyDANEric LoebDEBORAHCarolyn GordonJOANRoberta Custer

This production was directed by Stuart Gordon; set by John Paoletti and Mary Griswold; lighting by Jeffrey Buschor.

It was produced off-off Broadway at St. Clements Theatre, New York City, in December of 1975, with the following cast:

BERNARDRobert TownsendDANRobert PicardoDEBORAHJane AndersonJOANGina Rogers

This production was directed by Albert Takazauckas; set by Michael Massee; lighting by Gary Porto.

It opened off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City, in June of 1976, produced by Larry Goossen and Jeffrey Wachtel, with the following cast;

BERNARDF. Murray AbrahamDANPeter RiegertDEBORAHJane AndersonJOANGina Rogers

This production was directed by Albert Takazauckas; set by Michael Massee; lighting by Gary Porto.


The Characters:

DANSHAPIROAn urban male in his late twenties.BERNARDLITKOA friend and associate of Dan Shapiro.DEBORAHSOLOMANA woman in her late twenties.JOANWEBBERFriend and roommate of Deborah Soloman.

The Scene:

Various spots around the North Side of Chicago, a Big City on a Lake.

The Time:

Approximately nine weeks one summer.


A singles bar.DAN SHAPIROandBERNARD LITKOare seated at the bar.

DANNY: So how'd you do last night?

BERNIE: Are you kidding me?

DANNY: Yeah?

BERNIE: Are you fucking kidding me?

DANNY: Yeah?

BERNIE: Are you pulling my leg?


BERNIE: So tits out to here so.

DANNY: Yeah?

BERNIE: Twenty, a couple years old.

DANNY: You gotta be fooling.


DANNY: You devil.

BERNIE: You think she hadn't been around?

DANNY: Yeah?

BERNIE: She hadn't gone the route?

DANNY: She knew the route, huh?

BERNIE: Are you fucking kidding me?

DANNY: Yeah?

BERNIE: Sowrotethe route.

DANNY: No shit, around twenty, huh?

BERNIE: Nineteen, twenty.

DANNY: You're talking about a girl.

BERNIE: Damn right.

DANNY: You're telling me about some underage stuff.

BERNIE: She don't gotta be but eighteen.

DANNY: Was she?

BERNIE: Shit yes.

DANNY: Then okay.

BERNIE: She made eighteen easy.

DANNY: Well, then.

BERNIE: Had to punch in at twenty, twenty-five easy.

DANNY: Then you got no problem.

BERNIE: I know I got no problem.

DANNY: So tell me.

BERNIE: So okay, so where am I?

DANNY: When?

BERNIE: Last night, two-thirty.

DANNY: So two-thirty, you're probably over at Yak-Zies.

BERNIE: Left Yak-Zies at one.

DANNY: So you're probably over at Grunts.

BERNIE: They only got a two o'clock license.

DANNY: So you're probably over at the Commonwealth.

BERNIE: So okay, so I'm over at the Commonwealth, in the pancake house off the lobby, and I'm working on a stack of those raisin and nut jobs . . .

DANNY: They're good.

BERNIE: . . . and I'm reading the paper, and I'm reading, and I'm casing the pancake house, and the usual shot, am I right?

DANNY: Right.

BERNIE: So who walks in over to the cash register but this chick.

DANNY: Right.

BERNIE: Nineteen-, twenty-year-old chick . . .

DANNY: Who we're talking about.

BERNIE: . . . and she wants a pack of Viceroys.

DANNY: I can believe that.

BERNIE: Gets the smokes, and she does this number about how she forgot her purse up in her room.

DANNY: Up in her room?


DANNY: Was she a pro?

BERNIE: At that age?

DANNY: Yeah.

BERNIE: Well, at this point we don't know. So anyway, I go over and ask her can I front her for the smokes, and she says she couldn't, and then she says Well, all right, and would I like to join her in a cup of coffee.

DANNY: She asked you . . .

BERNIE: . . . yeah.

DANNY: For a cup of coffee?

BERNIE: Right?

DANNY: And all this time she was nineteen?

BERNIE: Nineteen, twenty. So down we sit and get to talking. This, that, blah, blah, blah, and “Come up to my room and I'll pay you back for the cigarettes.”



DANNY: You're shitting me.

BERNIE: I'm telling you.

DANNY: And was she a pro?

BERNIE: So at this point, we don't know. Pro, semi-pro, Betty Coed from College, regular young broad, it's anybody's ballgame. So, anyway, up we go. Fifth floor on the alley and it's “Sit down, you wanna drink?” “What you got?”, “Bourbon,” “Fine.” And goddam if she doesn't lay half a rock on me for the cigarettes.



DANNY: So this changes the complexity of things.

BERNIE: For a bit, yes. Butthenwhat shot does she up and pull?

DANNY: You remind her of her ex.


DANNY: She's never done anything like this before in her life?


DANNY: She just got into town, and do you know where a girl like her could make a little money?


DANNY: So I'm not going to lie to you, what shot does she pull?

BERNIE: The shot she is pulling is the following two things: (a) she says “I think I want to take a shower.”


BERNIE: Yes. And (b) she says “And then let's fuck.”

DANNY: Yeah?

BERNIE: What did I just tell you?

DANNY: She said that?

BERNIE: I hope to tell you.

DANNY: Nineteen years old?

BERNIE: Nineteen, twenty.

DANNY: And was she a pro?

BERNIE: So at this point I don't know. But I do say I'll join her in the shower, if she has no objections.

DANNY: Of course.

BERNIE: So into the old shower. And does this broad have abody?

DANNY: Yeah?

BERNIE: Are you kidding me?

DANNY: So tell me.

BERNIE: Thetits. . .

DANNY: Yeah?

BERNIE: Thelegs. . .

DANNY: The ass?

BERNIE: Are you fucking fooling me? Theasson this broad . . .

DANNY: Young ass, huh?

BERNIE: Well yeah, young broad, young ass.

DANNY: Right.

BERNIE: And lathering her . . .

DANNY: Mmmm.

BERNIE: And drop thesoap. . . This, that, and we get out. Toweling off, each of us in his or her full glory. So while we're toweling off, I flick the towel at her, very playfully, and by accident it catches her a good one on the ass, andthwack,a big red mark.


BERNIE: So I'm all sorry and so forth. But what does this broad do but let out a squeal of pleasure and relief that would fucking kill a horse.


BERNIE: So what the hell, I'm liberal.

DANNY: If that's her act, that's her act.

BERNIE: Goes without saying. So I look around, figuring to follow in my footsteps, and what is handy but this little G.E. clock radio. So I pick the mother up and heave it at her. Catches her across the shoulder blades, and we've got this long welt.

DANNY: Draw blood?

BERNIE: At this point, no. So what does she do? She says “wait a minute,” and she crawls under the bed. From under the bed she pulls this suitcase, and from out of the suitcase comes this World War II Flak Suit.

DANNY: They're hard to find.

BERNIE: Zip, zip, zip, and she gets into the Flak Suit and we get down on the bed.

DANNY: What are you doing?

BERNIE: Fucking.

DANNY: She's in the Flak Suit?

BERNIE: Right.

DANNY: How do you get in?

BERNIE: How do you think I get in? She leaves the zipper open.

DANNY: That's what I thought.

BERNIE: But the shot is, while we're fucking, she wants me, every thirty seconds or so, to go BOOM at the top of my lungs.

DANNY: At her?

BERNIE: No, just in general. So we're humping and bumping and greasing the old Flak Suit and every once in a while I go BOOM, and she starts in on me. “Turn me over,” she says, so I do. She's on her stomach. I'm on top. . . .

DANNY: They got a flap in the back of the Flak Suit?

BERNIE: Yes. So she's on her stomach, et cetera. In the middle of everything she slithers over to the side of the bed, picks up the house phone and says “Give me Room 511.”

DANNY: Right.

BERNIE: “Who are you calling?” I say. “A friend,” she says. So okay. They answer the phone. “Patrice,” she says, “It's me, I'm up here with a friend, and I could use a little help. Could you help me out?”

DANNY: Ah ha!

BERNIE: So wait. So I don't know what the shot is. So all of a sudden I hear coming out of the phone: “Rat Tat Tat Tat Tat. Ka POW! AK AK AK AK AK AK AKKa Pow!"So fine. I'm pumping away, the chick on the other end is making airplane noises, every once in a while I go BOOM, and the broad on the bed starts going crazy. She's moaning and groaning and about to go the whole long route. Humping and bumping, and she's screaming “Red dog One to Reddog Squadron” . . . all of a sudden she screams “Wait.” She wriggles out, leans under the bed, and she pulls out this five-gallon jerrycan.

DANNY: Right.

BERNIE: Opens it up . . . it's full of gasoline. So she splashes the mother all over the walls, whips a fuckin’ Zippo out of the Flak suit, and WHOOSH, the whole room is in flames. So the whole fuckin’ joint is going up in smoke, the telephone is going “Rat Tat Tat,” the broad jumps back on the bed and yells “Now, give it to menowfor the love of Christ.”(Pause.)So I look at the broad . . . and I figure . . . fuck this nonsense. I grab my clothes, I peel a sawbuck off my wad, as I make the door I fling it at her. “For cab fare,” I yell. She doesn't hear nothing. One, two, six, I'm in the hall. Struggling into my shorts and hustling for the elevator. Whole fucking hall is full of smoke, above the flames I just make out my broad, she's singing “Off we go into the Wild Blue Yonder,” and the elevator arrives, and the whole fucking hall is full offiremen. (Pause.)Those fucking firemen make out like bandits.(Pause.)

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