1992 | Chicago

Always Be Closing

David Mamet’s death of a real estate salesman.

Blake: Let me have your attention for a moment!...’Cause you’re talking about what? You’re talking about…[puts out his cigarette]…bitching about that sale you shot, some son of a bitch don’t wanna buy land, somebody don’t want what you’re selling, some broad you’re trying to screw, so forth. Let’s talk about something important. Are they all here?

Williamson: All but one. 

Blake: Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important. [to Levene] Put that coffee down! Coffee’s for closers only. You think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Levene?

Levene: Yeah.

Blake: You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?

Moss: I don’t gotta listen to this shit.

Blake: You certainly don’t pal. ’Cause the good news is—you’re fired. The bad news is, you’ve got, all of you’ve got, just one week to regain your jobs, starting with tonight. Starting with tonight’s sit. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. ’Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. You get the picture? You laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them! You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you are shit—hit the bricks pal and beat it, ’cause you are going out!

Levene: The leads are weak.

Blake: “The leads are weak.” Fucking leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business fifteen years.

Moss: What’s your name?

Blake: Fuck You, that’s my name! You know why, mister? ’Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight; I drove an eighty-thousand-dollar BMW. That’s my name. [to Levene] And your name is “you’re wanting.” And you can’t play in a man’s game. You can’t close them. Then go home and tell your wife your troubles. [to everyone] Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! You hear me, you fucking faggots?

[Blake flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABC, and AIDA.]

Blake: A-B-C. A: always, B: be, C: closing. Always be closing. Always be closing! A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention—do I have your attention? Interest—are you interested? I know you are ’cause it’s fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks! Decision—have you made your decision for Christ?! And action. A-I-D-A, get out there. You got the prospects coming in; you think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don’t walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. They’re sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? [to Moss] What’s the problem pal? You. Moss.

The Floor Scrapers, by Gustave Caillebotte, 1876. Private Collection.

The Floor Scrapers, by Gustave Caillebotte, 1876. Private Collection. 

Moss: You’re such a hero, you’re so rich. How come you coming down here wastin’ your time with such a bunch of bums?

[Blake sits and takes off his gold watch.]

Blake: You see this watch? You see this watch?

Moss: Yeah.

Blake: That watch cost more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you, go home and play with your kids. [to everyone] You wanna work here? Close! [to Aaronow] You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can’t take this—how can you take the abuse you get on a sit?! You don’t like it—leave. I can go out there tonight with the materials you got, make myself fifteen thousand dollars! Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can you? Go and do likewise! A-I-D-A. Get mad, you sons of bitches! Get mad! You know what it takes to sell real estate? [He pulls two brass balls out of his briefcase.] It takes brass balls to sell real estate…Go and do likewise, gents. The money’s out there, you pick it up, it’s yours. You don’t—I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close? Close, it’s yours. If not, you’re gonna be shining my shoes. And you know what you’ll be saying. Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar. “Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman, it’s a tough racket.” [He takes out a large stack of red index cards tied together with string from his briefcase.] These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. [He hands the stack to Williamson.] They’re for closers. I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. [to Moss as he puts on his watch again] And to answer your question, pal: why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to, they asked me for a favor. I said, the real favor: follow my advice and fire your fucking ass, because a loser is a loser.

©1992 by David Mamet. Used with permission of David Mamet.

Contributor

David Mamet

From Glengarry Glen Ross. Alec Baldwin played Blake, Kevin Spacey played Williamson, Jack Lemmon played Levene, Ed Harris played Moss, and Alan Arkin played Aaronow. The character of Blake is absent from Mamet’s play of the same name, which received a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and a Tony Award in 2005 for Best Revival of a Play. For his screenwriting, Mamet has been nominated for two Oscars, for The Verdict and Wag the Dog