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Henry glanced at a second, larger window at the front of Cohn’s office that afforded a view of the semicircular driveway connecting the clinic with a remote country road. Then he turned around and took a seat opposite Cohn’s desk.

Cohn opened his mouth to say something to his seated guest, but a double knock on his distant door changed his utterance. “Come in.”

The tailor walked in and smoothly approached the desk with a small nod to Henry. “The measurements that you requested, Mister Cohn.” A single sheet of paper was placed in Cohn’s outstretched hand.

“Yes, thank you, Pierre. How’s the tux coming along?”

Pierre smiled down at Henry, then back at Cohn. “It will be finished within the hour.”

“Terrific! Just in time for our guest. That’ll be all, Pierre.”

“Certainly, Mister Cohn.” Then, to Henry, “Come by your room at six.”

“Sure.” Henry waited until the door shut behind Pierre to ask, “Only one guest?”

Cohn leaned back in his chair. “Yes, one.” He slowly opened a pair of gold-rimmed reading glasses, placed them on his face, and read the two columns of seven rows of figures on the college-ruled paper. Then he looked above the glasses and smiled below them.

“You have perfect symmetry, as I suspected.”

Henry sighed. “So what’s my prize?”

Cohn laughed slightly and placed both the glasses and the paper on his desk. “Many things, Henry. Many things.” He stood up from his chair and took a few short steps to an edge of the window to stare out at the sparkling fountain with his arms crossed on his chest. “I got the idea for this project when I first read about a Nineteen-ninety-five University of New Mexico study of eighty-six couples.”

Henry’s eyes didn’t move from the marble fountain. “What does a study have to do with me?”

Cohn looked from the fountainhead to Henry. “Do you believe in helping others, Henry?”

“Sure, if I can still pay my rent.”

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

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