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He seemed reluctant to leave, but finally, when there was no one left to talk to, he took a cab to Penn Station, just across the street from the new Shor's, where once he might have gone after a broadcast to eat a lavish meal and celebrate. He went into the station, checked on his departure time and track number, then sat at a cluttered table and ate a Nathan's hot dog.
"I think it was a good show," he said to an acquaintance. "It's a tough parade. Nothing but bands and a lot of people marching. No floats or balloons. But I think we did a good show.
"I talked to Chuck Howard, and he said there might be some more work down the line. But right now everything is very tight." He ate his hot dog, sipped his cola and checked his watch.
"Excuse me a second, will you?" he said. "I'm going to make a call."
When he came back to the table, his face was wet and twisted. "Jesus," he said, taking off his thick glasses with one hand and covering his eyes with the other. "Oh, Jesus, I can't believe it. I just talked to my daughter. They played the finals today. Her team won, and she was most valuable player. And you know what she told me?" He stopped and gathered himself, then hit the table with enough force to turn heads across the room.
" 'Daddy,' she said, 'the people here made a video of the game so you'll be able to watch it when you get home.' "
Forte took a deep breath, looked helplessly around the room and said, "How in the world am I ever going to make it up to these people? How?"