WHEN ANNIE FELL OFF THE MOUNTAIN
"My girlfriend," I said stupidly. "She's the only one who needs it."
"She needs it?"
"Yes," I said.
I had forgotten to say the password. Was that the problem?
"In all honesty," I said, "I need a plumbing adjustment, and it's on something you sold me a while ago.
That's what I'm here for."
"Hold on, Hon. Let's slow down a minute."
Just then the door burst open. Cheryl leaned in and said, "The hell've you been? We found it, it's further down, and poor Annie's waiting all alone in this creepy place."
"She the girlfriend? You kids scared me half to death."
"Waiting there! It's not here! And I'm not the girlfriend, by the way!"
"At the address, for God's sakes," Cheryl said.
"Further down, Hon," Sylvie said. "Read the numbers, kids."
She was the only one in control, and the only one being nice.
"I thought I read the numbers," I said.
Cheryl and Sylvie exchanged a "typical man" kind of look.
"Need a tissue?" Sylvie asked. "Got 'em, if you want 'em."
Even more inanely, Cheryl answered, "No thank you, but I do appreciate your asking."
As I walked out with Cheryl I said, "Let's hurry. I really feel for Annie. I mean, I can't stand even to have blood drawn."
"Listen, goddamn you," Cheryl said. "You think she's just rolling up her sleeve and sticking out her goddamn arm?"
Her sobs began anew. She had been crying the whole time and I hadn't noticed.
"Blood drawn? Listen to me," Cheryl said, beginning to shout. "It's her body that everything's happening to! Not yours! Not mine! Don't you understand that!"