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Variations on Ten Rounds
by
Matthew S. Hinton

Variations on Ten Rounds, by Matthew S. Hinton

Matthew Hinton takes us ten rounds with two titans who could have, possibly should have, but actually never did fight: Norman Mailer and Chet Baker. A play that is a must read for anyone who loves to imagine “What if?” An excerpt:

(Lights up on an intimate jazz scene: small table/bar near center. BARKEEP hands a seated NM a drink. A fight bell is struck twice, and BARKEEP, a well dressed referee, struts across stage with a card that reads "Round 1". Bell sounds once. A trumpet solo can be heard ending offstage, followed by applause. Enter CB with his horn. BARKEEP presents CB with a drink.)

                    NM

CB.

(CB doesn’t react.)

                    NM

I say, CB!

(CB remains silent.)

                    NM

Tough crowd tonight? Hey! It's me ... NM?

                    CB

Are you talking to me? That ain't my name.

                    NM

Yeah, I've been calling you. I've said "CB, CB!" at least two, maybe three times.

                    CB

That's not my name.

                    NM

Ten times, at least. Is my voice off tonight or something?

                    CB

But that ain't me, babe.

                    NM

(The word "babe" startles him - he eyes CB. Beat.)

Me neither.

                    CB

What about the crowd?

                    NM

Tough. A tough bunch of gangsters. Regular hoods.

                    CB

Oh, I didn't realize -

                    NM

Good company. Comrades. Familia Cosanostra. Fellow hoods.

                    CB

You're a hood?

                    NM

You'd better believe it, baby.

                    CB

Cute.

                    NM

The hell it is! This is serious! Here, CB ... imagine I'm a shylock and gaze upon my baubles, baby.

(NM produces several empty gun shells.)

                    CB

Where'd you get those, NM.

                    NM

Guess.

                    CB

Sounds like footsie with the devil.

(NM slugs CB. Teeth pour out of CB's mouth - landing in drink glasses, on both men, the floor, etc. Fight bell rings. CB exits as BARKEEP walks with sign that reads "ROUND 2". Bell. Same offstage trumpet, audience applause. Enter CB.)

—Matthew S. Hinton

24 pages. $10, includes standard shipping within the Continental USA.

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