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The Nightgown - Page 2

At the end of the brief play, the priest, beaming with fresh perspective, wrote out a check and blessed his counselor. Solomon would've done the same. Both performers received a standing ovation.

Where do you find such a man? Solomon wondered, as he left the theater. With all respect to the three psychiatrists he'd buried and a few he'd met at parties, not one had the quality of the man he'd seen on the stage. He was convinced that such an individual could finally set him on the path to mental health.

There were few restaurants in the darkened neighborhood. Solomon decided to have a bite in a tavern that virtually leaned against the theater—Flanagan's. How bad could it be? No sooner had he wolfed down a surprisingly tasty cheeseburger than the psychiatrist-actor he so admired entered the restaurant, took a seat near the kitchen, and whipped out a copy of Variety. Solomon took a swallow of
his beer and approached the gifted thespian.

"Forgive me for intruding," he said, "but I thought your performance was brilliant."

The actor looked up with a smile.

"That's very kind," he said, and then returned to his showbiz newspaper.

"I hope you don't find this indelicate," continued Solomon, who was slightly offended that he'd been so quickly dismissed, "but may I ask you how much you earn—performing in a play like this. The question is in a good cause. I don't mean to offend."

The actor looked up again.

"We don't get rich, that's for sure. Actually, we get a percentage of the gate. I made about 70 bucks tonight."

"What if I gave you a thousand?" asked Solomon, getting in the question before the actor returned to his Variety.

"For what?"

"For doing essentially what you do on stage. I'm not a rich man. I'm a professor of anthropology, but it would be well worth it to me. What's more important than our mental health?"

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