R&Ds & Startups: Tax Deductions

Two women, Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Straw, enter a restaurant known for fairly good food and decent entertainment. Mrs. Wilkins, playing hostess, is very particular about the kind of table they receive, but Mrs. Straw does not have any problems with the table given by the headwaiter. The table is towards the back of the restaurant, far from the stage.

They order food, and as the lights dim for the first pair of dancers, Mrs. Straw notices an extravagantly dressed young woman entering the restaurant with a man. The older women disapprove of her dress and also criticize the appearance of her companion.

Their food arrives, and as they eat, the women realize that the companion is a ventriloquist and the next act at the restaurant. His dummy is a hideous wooden replica of himself. As he performs, the women criticize his act, and though the audience laughs perfunctorily, the ventriloquist and the dummy are not particularly compelling.

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