Chapter XX

Mewsy is awake well before she can manage to pry open her eyes. It would seem that a mortar of blown desert dust and her own natural juices has cemented them closed.

It is just before dawn, or at any rate twilight of some sort. Above her the complex looms huge, dark, and void. Mewsy shivers violently.

She says nothing, nor thinks. Keeping the crusty red slits peeled just wide enough, she steers to the left toward the studio barn. The door is ajar. She slips inside, and the bare open room is palpably breathing with life, like a new rabbit’s nest. He lies on his back, coarse blanket half-slid to the floor in spite of the cold. He always was a hot hunk of meat. A sound like a jet engine pours from him. She chokes it off by mounting his face — it’s like stuffing a bullhorn in a bush. He snuffles the briefest display of confusion and then starts in to munch her, his gourmand’s noises loud and wet. She brings herself off on his brutal thick stubble. They sleep.


When Mewsy comes to, she’s alone, and in shocking, unbearable heat. The high sun is baking the black shale roof. She is utterly wretched. As she wrests herself free of the stifling wool, the top sheet clings to her flesh. She brings it along, enough sense in her still to fashion in into a modest Greek wrap. She then wends her way — or is the word ‘staggers’? — toward the safety and relative cool of her flat, meeting no one. Once inside, she detaches the dry-spooge-glued sheet from her side, and has slid into bed by the time the front door eases closed.