Veronica was scheduled to fly home the next morning but slept through her alarm. She wasn’t ready to leave Wilmington anyway, scared to fly over the water that surrounded the city. At noon she ordered a room service petite sirloin, ate it quickly, and put the tray down outside her room. The steak knife fell off onto the carpet, and she grabbed it, looked down the hall, and put the privacy sign in place. She opened the bathroom door so that it was parallel to the room door, then opened the closet door across parallel to that, creating a little maze.

Her pillow from home had fallen to the floor. She removed the pillowcase, and carefully cut it into soft, uneven strips. She pulled all her clothes from her tweed suitcase and did the same, then took off the t-shirt she’d slept in and cut it up, too. The washcloths wouldn’t cut through the sides, so she just knifed jags in them and then the towels.

Exhausted, she lay across the bed, but couldn’t sleep, so cut up all the sheets. She sawed through the hotel binder and made confetti of the stationary. The curtains she carefully fringed, just the bottom half. She cried, without the noise, when she cut squares into the sofa, and pulled out the foam in lumps.

She called the front desk and arranged for another night, said she would not need her room serviced. Finally she slept for a few hours.

Her cell phone buttons still were not working, so she called Van from the room phone when she woke up. He didn’t answer, but she left a voicemail, asked him to come get her.

Vallie Lynn Watson received her PhD from the Center for Writers and teaches creative writing at Southeast Missouri State University. Her manuscript, A River So Long, was first runner up in the 2009 Miami University Press Novella Contest. Excerpts from the work appear or are forthcoming in PANK, Pindeldyboz, Staccato Microfiction, Ghoti, Metazen, and Moon Milk Review.