My… New Roommate

So funny story; you remember that old man who… let’s say, confronted me in my last post? He’s living in my house right now.

Look, it’s the least I could do; it’s a long story, but I will have to tell it. I just got back from an interview when I saw him sitting outside of my houseI was immediately hostile, but he came up to me said, “James Pattison!” Taken aback that he knew my name, I asked him what he wanted, and he said, “I wanted to give you this back.” And he takes out, of all things… my wallet!

I immediately cried out, “I knew it! I knew it, you stole my wallet!” But he calmly shook his head. “I didn’t steal your wallet, I couldn’t have.” I scoffed; “Impossible! You can’t convince me otherwise!” And he instantly seemed to turn manic! “First of all,” he replied, “If I stole your wallet, giving it back to you in this way would be very strange if not outright foolish! Even if I felt guilt and wished redemption, would I not give it to you in secrecy, not hand it to you personally?”

I admitted it was strange, but he wasn’t finished. “And second of all, as a simple fact of physics I couldn’t have stolen your wallet! I witnessed the whole thing! I was staggering when I heard your asking of me where some party of fancy dress was, and I grabbed you by your shoulder, right in front of you, and I asked you where I was. After you spoke I backed away. How then could I have reached around you and grabbed your wallet? It’s impossible!” How could he remember all that? “I seldom forget a detail, lad!”

Strangely enough, everything he said to me was served by memory, but how then, I asked, did he have my wallet? And he said, “Simple – I saw the man come up behind you and steal your wallet while you had your back turned! I’ve had to deal with a lot of pickpockets where I come from, and I have seen all their tricks, which is why I had to shuffle off so quickly to chase him down, tackle him and get your wallet back! He was quite a runner, it took a few blocks.”

“Oh,” I replied “He could have been an accomplice! You were robbing me together!” He backed away. “You know, that’s not a bad hypothesis. Indeed, we were accomplices, I helped him rob you, but then I felt guilty, and I decided to give it back, and invent some elaborate backstory to cover up my involvement. Only if I were half as clever as I had to be to find out where you live, I would have handed it to the lady at the desk to give to you, and I would not have had to undergo this rather intriguing diagnosis of my innocence, would I?”

So I asked him. “Good point – except how did you know where I live?” And he replied in a most mind boggling fashion that I would only be able to write this if I had him around to repeat it. “Well, I looked at this driver’s license card which listed your residence in Slough, Royal Berkshire. A less clever man would have assumed that was your address. But I also detected a recently expired student identification card which listed your residency at King’s College, which made me suspect you might not live at this address anymore. But you couldn’t live at King’s College currently. So what did I do? I checked these things…” – and he pulls out the receipts that I had in my wallet. “These are fabulous things, I barely know what they are, but they are marvelous. They seem to be some sort of record of the purchases you made at a vendors – it’s a wonderful idea, is it not? Although the prices seem to be rather absurd. But I figured out that they all fall within the City of London borough, so I figured you would live there. More specifically, in an area bordered by these three shops. There were only three apartments in the area, so I asked around, and on the second apartment I checked I discovered you lived there! So I waited for you, and here you are, and here is your wallet.”

Even if he managed to convince me of his innocence, I had to ask. “Who are you then?” And only then did he pause. “I am no one. I am a refugee in a world that I do not understand, without a home or a destination.” I told him that wasn’t an answer, but he said that was as much as he could say. As he was leaving I asked him why he didn’t post it; he turned to me and said, “You would need a post, and a fee for the postage. I have neither.” I was aghast. “You don’t have a home?” I replied. And he shook his head. “None of the sort. Funny enough, I have been so keen to give this wallet to you I haven’t even given any thought to where I would live, haven’t slept… I will detect soft lodgings, I figure. Detection is my gift, after all.”

And… I had to let him stay. I had too! The man was so intriguingly intelligent yet somehow disconnected he was too fascinating to let go! So I asked him to stay for a few days – at least until he got back on his feet. Our landlord won’t be happy, but I will figure out the details later.

Oh, and I almost forgot… what did he ask me to call him? “Call me… Hugh Hefner.” What a cheeky bastard he is!


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