John From Cincinnati
His Visit: Day Seven

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Mr. Sobell: C- | Grade It Now!
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Shaun Gone? Yawn.

And then Barry speaks, not in his normal voice but in a huskier tone -- if I were a betting man, I'd say that he's imitating Mr. Rollins before their spot of unpleasant history in Room 24. "Oh, and Frank," Cunningham says. "A Roy Rogers for my young friend." His lip trembles and he sobs. Here's where we move into full-fledged hallucination territory -- Cunningham turns to the bar and Shaun Yost is sitting there. "How's it going?" Shaun says flatly, without blinking. Cunningham sits down at the bar: "Roy Rogers, short and tall," he says, but he needn't have bothered -- the drinks are already on the bar waiting for them. Both Shaun and Cunningham pick up their drinks, make a toasting motion, and set the drinks back on the bar again. "It's okay," says Shaun, without looking toward Barry. "I'll be gone pretty soon." So that freak from Cincinnati keeps telling us.

Outside on that seemingly important shuffleboard court, Ramon is spray-painting the court, and muttering to himself. "Go Barry. Go Barry," he says. Ah, he might still be bitter about that no-visions-of-lotto-numbers-for-Ramon thing. "Chief of all angels," he continues. "Got one mission. Orbit alert for Latino trying to catch a break. Alert! Alert!" Now Ramon's is crouching on the shuffleboard court. "Alert! Alert! Diving in! Latino verging on luck!" Yeah, he's bitter. At this point, Cunningham walks by, still upset by the disembodied voice of David Milch that may or may not be in his head; Cunningham looks at Ramon sadly and makes his teddy bear wave goodbye. Ramon goes back to his self-pitying, as the slimy hospital lawyer pulls up. "He's waiting for you," says Ramon, apparently meaning Dickstein. The hospital lawyer heads to the meeting. "Lawyers together," Ramon mutters. "Can't be good." Interestingly, I believe that was the theme for this year's ABA convention.

Here's why lawyers together can't be good: because the hospital lawyer is doing what is quite possibly the world's worst Carnac the Magnificent impersonation. "What is in the envelope, oh great seer of the East?" the hospital lawyer says, holding up said envelope to Dickstein's forehead. For our younger viewers out there, Carnac the Magnificent was a bit Johnny Carson used to do on the tonight show, where he'd hold up an envelope to his head, state the contents ("Dinner for eight"), open the envelope, and then read the question ("What does Orson Welles sometimes have for a bedtime snack?" "Hey-yo!"). Yes, children: once upon a time late-night talk show hosts were expected to play characters in sketches -- a practice that ended in 1998 when one of Jay Leno's Iron Jay sketches caused hysterical blindness in seventeen major U.S. cities. But I digress. What's in the envelope is Dr. Smith's resignation letter, the one where he admits to incompetence and the destruction of records and all that stuff he pretended to do just to save everyone the trouble of saying that Shaun was healed by a bird. "I would say this is a slam-dunk out-of-court settlement," the hospital lawyer tells Dickstein. Awfully sporting of the lawyer to hand this over to Dickstein, then, on account of him representing the hospital. "The physician is being insured by another carrier," the hospital lawyer says sadly. And hey -- if this bit of intelligence convinces Dickstein to hand over some sort of financial reward to the hospital lawyer, well, all the better. Before we can gauge Dickstein's reaction to this clearly unethical proposal, we get an aerial view of both lawyers' bald pates. It's like staring down at a rack of pink basketballs. By the way, this little confab took place in Room 24 -- that's a little detail I thought I'd note for your edification and delight.

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John From Cincinnati

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