The sun was just starting to turn the eastern horizon gray when Jim and I went through rousting everybody out. My guys were pretty well ready for it, though none of us were getting up with the alacrity we might have even a few years ago. Joints protested, backs stiffened. Men get old fast in this business.

Harold and his people, on the other hand, weren’t so sanguine about rising before the sun was up.

I shook Harold’s shoulder. He was pretty well buried under the blankets. He mumbled and tried to roll over. I tossed his covers and flicked on the bedside lamp. He flinched and squinted, trying to shield his eyes with his hand. He was wearing a wife-beater and his skivvies. “What the hell?” he mumbled. “What time is it?”

“It’s time to go,” I replied. “Get dressed.”

He looked around the spare, if clean, hotel room. “Is it still dark?”

I sighed. “Yes, it’s still dark. The sun will be up in about a half hour. You were the one bitching about being behind schedule when we pulled in here last night.”

He groaned and flopped over on his back. There weren’t any covers to pull over his head; I’d tossed them on the floor, but he gave the distinct impression of wanting to do just that. This was getting ridiculous. I wasn’t his mother, and he wasn’t a kid who didn’t want to get up to go to school.

“We’re rolling in an hour,” I told him. “If you don’t want to be left here, I suggest you get your ass up and get ready to move.” My guys were already ready to move. But if I gave him any less than an hour, I’d likely wring his neck to stop the whining. And I didn’t even have to share a vehicle with him.