From "Welcome to Howliday Inn"
Just then the front door of the office opened and Toby came running out. "Here they are," he called to the strange-looking chap who loped along slowly behind him. This fellow, whoever he was, was older than Toby and Pete but not as old as Mr. and Mrs. Monroe. Having seen some of Mr. Monroe's college students when they'd come to the house to beg for mercy, I estimated that this chap was roughly their age. He had a shag of brown hair that kept falling into his eyes and a T-shirt that spilled out over the top of his pants. His sneakers were untied, and as he was coming toward us, he stepped on one of the laces and almost fell on his face.
Toby opened Chester's carrier and pulled the reluctant cat out. Chester hung from Toby's arms like Spanish moss and wore an expression that would have soured milk chocolate.
"This is Chester," Toby said, by way of introduction. "Chester, this is Harrison."
Chester turned to me with a smirk. "What am I supposed to do now?" he asked. "Curtsy?"
Harrison, i thought. What a weird name for a person.
"Hey there, kitty," Harrison said, instantly not endearing himself to Chester.
"And this," Toby went on, "is Harold."
"Wow," Harrison said. "What a weird name for a dog."
I looked at Harrison, he looked at me. I thought to myself, this Harrison fellow really has a knack for putting the wrong foot forward.
"Well," Harrison said, "you guys are the last of the arrivals for this week. Now we've got a full house."
The door to the office popped open, and a girl with red hair and a lot of freckles stuck her head out. She seemed to be about the same age as Harrison, but she looked more tucked in.
"Harrison," she called, "do you know where Chester's file is? Dr. Greenbar wants to look at it while the Monroes are here, and I can't find it anywhere."
"But you were looking at it this morning, Jill," Harrison answered.
"I know, I know," the girl named Jill said, shaking her head. "I just can't remember where I put it. I was hoping you'd seen it."
Harrison shrugged his shoulders and smiled at Jill. "Wish i could help out," he said, "but I don't pay much attention to the files. That's your territory."
Jill sighed. "I don't know what's the matter with me lately. I'm so tired from all this work I can't remember where I put anything anymore."
"I guess old age is setting in," Harrison said with a laugh.
"Ha ha," Jill answered without one. And she went back inside, letting the door slam behind her.
Chester gave me a look that said he was clearly unimpressed with the staff.
Copyright © 1982 by James Howe
Excerpted from Howliday Inn by James Howe Copyright © 1983 by James Howe. Excerpted by permission.
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