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The Nightgown - Page 4

"An hour." He corrected himself. "Fifty minutes. The usual."

"The whole thing's ridiculous," said the actor, in a sudden change of mood.

Once again, he returned to his newspaper.

Solomon forgave him. After all, the man was an artist, subject to sudden flashes of temperament. He reached into his pocket, counted out $500, and slapped it on the table.

"What about this?" he said.

It was all of his travel money—but there was an ATM machine in the hotel and at least another $500 in his account.

The actor stared at the money. Then he picked it up, not quite counting it, but giving it a quick riffle. He put it in his pocket.

"We don't have a performance on Sundays. Does that work for you?"

"Perfectly."

"Shall I prepare some lunch?"

"No, no, that would spoil it."

The actor lived in a fifth-story walk-up—a single room with a small kitchen and a surprisingly formidable collection of books. One, Solomon couldn't help noting, was a biography of Sammy Davis, Jr., but The Best of Spinoza was on an adjoining shelf. Interesting man, thought Solomon. Not just an actor. Of course, he'd surmised as much.

The actor had, unnecessarily, Solomon felt, prepared a snack—peanut butter on crackers. Perhaps getting into character, he showed Solomon to the coffee table with a thin and serious smile, and then sat opposite him, crossing his legs demurely. Solomon thought: This is exactly the way to begin.

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