The snowmobile pulled up, lurched, screeched its displeasure at the amateur gear shifting, and then died. Two fur-wrapped bundles rolled awkwardly off it, hauling their bags after them.
"It'll start again in the morning, right?"
"Beats the shit out of me."
"Oh, very reassuring. Thank you."
They blundered through snowdrifts to the door, and shared nervous glances. The shorter figure gestured impatiently. "Go in, already!"
The other shook her head. "After you."
Snorting, the short one pushed hard at the door, and it creaked open. "Ha, unlocked! I told you."
"You did not, I told you." Merry pulled the fur hood down and clapped her gloved hands together, surveying the room.
Cesca yanked off her frozen gloves and, with a wave of naked hands, had a lit cigarette peeking out through the fur trim on her hood. "And I told you it was one room, not one bedroom."
Merry turned around slowly, arms sticking out to the side of her thick parka. "It's dark, isn't it?"
"Hmm. And I don't see a lamp, do you?"
"No, none. Fascinating."
"Floor's pretty rough," Cesca noted, kicking a boot against it.
Merry sighed. "And no rug. That's inconvenient."
"That's verisimilitude, baby."
They circled the room slowly. Fireplace, check. Small, dim window, check. Dust, check. Running water, no check. Bathroom, no check. Cesca sighed. "Great. What, are they animals?"
"Hey, you wanted this," Merry said. "Research makes the difference, you said. It's hard being flawless, but somebody's gotta do it, you said."
"Excuse me if I didn't want to squat in five foot snow drifts."
Merry dug through her pockets and produced a notebook. "Annoyance factor sets in at--" she checked her watch, "--T plus three minutes."
Ces lit another cigarette. "Actually, that should be T minus five hours in a windy snowmobile and eight hours on a non-smoking bus and a six hour fucking plane trip. If you want to be strictly accurate."
Merry studied the leather tacking hung behind the door. "That's when you started getting on my nerves, yes. What do you make of this?"
"What, do I look like a freakin' horse expert?"
"Research is important," Merry mimicked. "This is why we make the big money. Jeez, forgive me for thinking you'd be interested that the Mountie has a stack of leather and metal behind his door."
"I'm interested! I'm fucking interested, okay? This is me being interested!" Ces stalked up the the tacking and studied it. A slow smile dawned on her frostbitten face. "Wow. Kinky."
Merry grinned back. "Worth the trip?"
"Ask me when I'm back on asphalt, breathing car fumes and eating burritos." Ces crossed the room and threw herself on the dusty bed. "Oooh, it's bouncy!"
"No way!" Merry dived onto it, squealing, and they bounced in unified glee.
"This is it, baby!" Cesca crowed. "This is what we came for!"
"The Mountie is a hedonist!"
"The Mountie is a kinky hedonist!"
"The Mountie is a kinky hedonist who needs nothing but leather and a springy mattress to be happy."
"Ohhh, fuck, yeah." Cesca lay back beside Merry and lit another cigarette.
Merry looked over. Ces looked back and blew smoke into the air, then waggled her eyebrows. Merry looked at her watch. "T plus seven minutes," she noted. "Friendship turns to lust."