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Cohn wasn’t smiling. “And then some. Get your tux on and get to dinner. I’m leaving for the day, but you can call me on the cell phone if there are any problems.” He turned to leave and started away.

Henry stuck his head and his bare torso into the empty courtyard to ask, “What’s she like?”

Cohn stopped to turn back and reply in a voice lower than Henry’s. “You’ll find out soon enough. Get dressed.” Then he turned and departed for his Mercedes parked out front.


“You can turn off the lights instead of closing your eyes so much.”

Henry opened his eyes long enough to judge the seriousness of Judy Yates’s proposal, then shut them once more against the sight of a two hundred pound middle-aged woman he had been given the honor of impregnating. He stumbled to the light switch beside the door, drowned the bedchamber in darkness, and proceeded to take off his clothes.

“You don’t say much, do you, Dick?” the wife of a Montana oil tycoon asked as she took off her slip.

“Not when I’m working,” Henry replied as he approached the bed.

Judy lay on her back in her substantial glory, staring at the outlines of herself in the mirror above. “You know, Dick, part of your job is to make the lady feel comfortable. And ladies feel comfortable when they’ve talked.”

Henry set his bare butt on the comforter. “Fine. What do you want to talk about?”

Judy rolled over onto her side and let her flaccid breasts droop enough to force Henry to look away. “Tell me what it’s like to be you! Tell me what it’s like to have a fourteen-ninety SAT. I’ve always wanted a child who’ll go to Harvard!”

Henry stared at a dark, blank wall. “Fourteen-ninety. You don’t really notice it at first, when you’re a kid. But eventually you do: you see that you’re different from everyone else, at least everyone else you can see. You look the same, but you don’t see the same. You see things in this world that make you mad, angry and crazy, things that other people don’t talk about. And then, when you try to tell someone, anyone, you only know for certain that you’re all alone with the things you see.”

s.t.u.d. by W.R. Hammons:

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