“Hey, Seymour,” Joseph said, moving past his desk, which was as clean and empty as the day it had been wheeled in there.

Seymour took a second to catch his breath. “Some of the boys are heading over to the club for a quick one.” He licked his pink swollen lips and took another long breath. “There’s a special on the Mex ribs.”

Of course there was.

“I’m going to give it a miss tonight. I’d be a killjoy anyhow.”

“You doing it again?”

Joseph tried a smile. “Guess so. It just bounces around in there.”

Seymour laughed. “Nothing to get in its way. But seriously, Joe, you’ve got to get over this nonsense.” He glanced at the couch and thought about sitting, but then he’d have to get up. “You thought about talking to somebody?”

“A shrink?” He shrugged. “I’m not nuts.”

“That’s a matter of opinion.”

“You know what I did today?”

Seymour sat down, slowly at first, then with a flop after the point of no return. “Pretty much what I did, I’d say.”

“I saw six patients. Not one of them sick, but willing to pay…what is it now? Ten thousand?” He shook his head. “Whatever. I told them they were fine, but they wanted to be ill. You believe that?”

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