for Lisa, who can use it
The girl lands in Harold’s bed with a mighty crash. He is thrown onto the floor. “Oof!” he says, and “Aaaaah!” she screams. Harold pulls himself up with the eiderdown comforter — the artic air leaking in through the windows is making him gasp — and squints myopically at the girl. She is nude as a bluejay which even without his glasses his can tell. Her screaming is getting on his nerves. Plus he is hungover so every dip and vibrato in her wailing goes through his head sharp as a glass knife. He throws the eiderdown over her which doesn’t shut her up but does muffle her a little bit and probably doesn’t hurt it being so cold in the room and all.
He is terrified because he is the only person around for two hundred miles and there is nothing over his bed but the roof and there are no holes in it that he can see but the hangover and her screaming are jangling him so badly that he can’t focus enough to be scared. He breaks the ice in the water bowl and guzzles about half a gallon before his teeth start chattering too badly to hold the bowl to his lips. By then he is shaking shaking shaking and the girl’s screams have been swallowed into hiccoughing sobs and he doesn’t want to turn around but it is too cold to stay outside of the bed and so he nerves himself.
When he turns around the girl is gone the eiderdown is humped up in the middle of the bed and there is water all over the floor.