"This is gonna be the worst year of my life," Harold B growls to himself.
Today, Harold B has to go back to school. After a long, torturous Christmas break, what does Harold B get? More stupid school.
"Harold...." says Harold B's mom, gently and carefully. "What's up?" Harold B can tell that his mom is right outside his door.
He wishes she'd go away. He wishes the whole entire world would go away. He wishes he could flush everyone and everything down the toilet like poop or pee.
"Harold," says his mom. "I'm starting to get worried."
There is no way Harold B can show up to school today. Not after what he's been through.
All the sour fantasies he had over Christmas break, all the creepy websites he tried to access... Give a weary boy a rest!
"I'm coming in," Harold B's mom says. "OK? I'm coming into your room."
Quick as a bee and deceptive as a double agent, Harold B starts to cough, to clear his throat, to moan with not too much force but enough verve so that his mom clearly sees what's up.
"You don't sound well at all," says Harold B's mom. Not dumb, she suspects her son is putting on a show. But she won't interrogate him.
Besides, can anything so super crucial take place on the first freezing school day back from Christmas break? Also, Harold B's mom wouldn't mind some company on the errands she has to run later on today.