How do you know when you wake up in the morning you're the same person you were when you went to sleep.
It's an interesting question and one he'd not had need to ask himself before it started.
Whether the absence of the sound of morning traffic or the unfamiliar appearance of the wardrobe facing him, something was certainly wrong. He quickly cast his mind back to remember what he’d done the previous night. As he turned over and scanned what was not his bedroom, he groped for a memory but none came.
He sat up and looked around. The room was a large Victorian Masters bedroom, fitted with exquisite mahogany furniture. No television, two paintings, a Mattise and a Picasso, and several lovingly framed photographs of children and happy strangers. Certainly not the room of the small, Wimbledon bachelor pad he'd awoken in for the past two years.
Right. I got utterly smashed last night, met a friend who I didn’t know lived in such a classy house and was taken home and put to bed, here. Which means I was too drunk to tell him where I live. Bloody hell! I thought I was going to cut back and be a good boy. But I can’t remember a thing. And why wouldn’t a friend know where I live?
He felt for his watch but couldn’t find it.
And I always wear my watch. It must have been taken off by my mysterious helper. But why would anyone do that? And if I was drinking my liver to death, why haven’t I got a hang over? I feel fine.
This thought really began to freak him out. Not as much, though, as the realization, had whilst looking round the room again, that he couldn’t find his clothes. Nakedly he searched the large double bed and looked under it, before checking the wardrobe, thinking his host must have put them inside. They were nowhere to be seen. No jeans, no polo shirts, no leather jacket, only rows of suits and jackets and smart trousers and expensive shirts and ties.
‘Daddy, Daddy’ we’re going to school now ok? Mummy told me to tell you to remember the Bailey’s are coming over for dinner tonight.’
The excited high pitched voice wafting from behind the bedroom door was that of a 12 or thirteen year old girl. Not knowing who she was or what to say he said nothing.
“ohmigod, he must be still asleep, . Come on, lets go.”
So now I'm masquerading as a father? A father of two daughters, and maybe more. But where is the real father, this suit and tie fella with the shiny shoes. Ok, he’s definitely in the house because his daughters know that…he’s just not where they think he should be, because I am. He must be in another room, that’s all.
The house was fabulous, truly marvellous, as was the dressing gown he wore to make his investigations. Oak panelled walls, high ceilings, tasteful furniture, large imposing windows and a possibly rather too vast 18th century chandelier dominating the landing. Silence filled the house entirely as he crept from room to room looking for Daddy. But apart from a ginger cat that he startled into a mad, panicked frenzy the house was empty, and as continuingly strange as it was delightful.
Pity its not mine, eh? Have stranger things happened at sea? I doubt it.
Mr Richardson of 43 Hastings road was not an ordinary man. Or at least he didn’t think so. And nor did anyone else who knew him. Having been told since the ago of 12 by every fellow pupil at his school that he was variously mad, weird, cazy, a loon and a raving space cadet, he had done his best over the subsequent years to prove them all absolutely right.