I won’t lie, the food was really good. And it’s helped me calm down too. The situation is still dire, but at least I have a better handle on my thinking.
I sit down and think.
There has to be something from yesterday I should remember. I search my mind for an answer, willing it to offer something… anything in return. I see something, but it’s very fuzzy. I gasp, and then it’s gone. I try to find it again, because it felt very familiar. I spend some time on this and stop.
Checking the walls, I find a clock. It says 8:54. Room checkout is 12. No one will come knock again until then. I decide to look through everything and remove any evidence of myself possible. I find my clothes, my shoes, and my wallet. I see her clothes, but no bag. I check all over again but come up empty.
That’s weird… How can she not have a bag?
I can’t do anything about that now. I shrug and pick up my wallet to check it’s contents. A couple of notes inside give me some relief. Seems whatever happened yesterday, I didn’t spend all my money. That helps. I don’t have to look for money for a quick getaway.
The memory comes back, but this time it’s sharper. And I have a face. And a name. I get frantic, looking for my phone. I see it, grab it, unlock and swipe through till I find the name. Then I dial.
It rings for a bit, and then is answered.
“Guuuuuuy how faaaaar? You don wake ba? Wehdone sir!”
“Dare, abeg… I need your help right. As in right now. Where can we meet?”
Less than 10 minutes later I’m creeping out of the room, scared I’ll be caught. Doing what? Leaving a hotel? Checkout time is 12pm, I still have time. I feel bad leaving the dead girl inside the room, but if I’m going to get to the bottom of things I’m going to need to move around.
I pass the reception and smile at the girl behind the counter. She smiles back, but then it doesn’t feel like a smile. I don’t know what to describe it as… it creeps me the bleep out. I can’t imagine why she’d give me a smile like that, but I pay it no mind as I rush out of the hotel to go find Dare.
I agreed to meet Dare at a fast food restaurant we frequent very well. Stepping out of the hotel’s compound, I walk down a bit to get my bearings. It doesn’t take long for me to figure out where I am, and I estimate that it’ll be 15 minutes before I get to the restaurant. My phone tells me today is Saturday, so everything that happened was a TGIF ordeal.
I’ve given up on trying to remember anything. Dare will help me fill in the blanks.
I get to the restaurant and see Dare at the table we like to use. He raises a hand in greeting and I rush over to him.
“Guy, how far? You want anything?”
I open my mouth to say yes, but remember I ate in the room. I shake my head and ask Dare to relay everything that happened yesterday. The request gives him a confused look, like I asked him to describe what piss looks like.
“You were there na. Na you carry ground pass sef. Abi you don forget everything wey you do?” He laughs, but then sees my face and realizes something is wrong. “Wait… you’ve actually forgotten?”
I nod. Dare looks at me with suspicion, then skepticism, then worry. You can see the changes on his face. I keep looking, and he takes a breath and tells me about Friday.
Apparently, I had suddenly become the life of the party, suggesting places we needed to hit. Skepticism shrouded the air, until I took action and led the way. Then rallying support followed. I became the alpha and led the pack. We picked up ladies and did some shots at a bar. A backroom led to stronger things. Apparently, I did a straight line of white.
Which sounded all wrong. I’m the hold-back guy, not the speed stud. Dare must have understood the confusion on my face because he says the same thing.
“You’re the designated driver. It struck me as pretty odd when you started.”
I say nothing.
“You took the girl with you away and said you were going to have a good time. We all got the gist. What happened?”
I look at Dare, and do a slow 360 degrees to look around me. Dare is nervous, I can feel it. I turn back to him, take a deep breath, and tell him what happened.
I’ve never been able to make Dare as tongue tied as he is now. I’ve always known him to have a comeback, or a reply, or anything to counter. But not today. He’s opening and closing his mouth. I’d call it funny except now I’m scared. Like all the logic and strength I had up to this point have dried up.
I still can’t remember last night.
I still don’t know how I reached the hotel.
I don’t know who the girl is.
I woke up this morning in the same bed with her, and it was soaked deep with her blood.
Am I shaking? My fingers are shaking. I close them into a fist and look at Dare. He finds his bearings, and comes back with words.
“Guy, if this is a joke stop it…”
No joke. My hands are still shaking.
Dare rubs his eyes with finger and thumb and sighs. He looks straight at me.
“We need to call the police.”
And then my hands stop shaking. It’s like a switch flips inside of me. From fear to survival. The change is instant. Dare sees it and inches backwards.
“You know they’ll throw me inside a cell and that’s the end, right?”
“If you are guilty. And—”
“If, Dare? If? There are no ifs with them. It’s cash and carry straight. Everyone will believe that I killed her! Everyone will—” I stop, a thought striking my mind. My mind says it’s as sure as ever. “Ah Dare… you don’t believe me.”
Silence from Dare.
I sigh. What was I expecting, exactly? And like that wasn’t enough, I’d exposed myself as well. I can’t stay here. But I can’t keep Dare here either. Sooner or later something will go wrong and the police will show. Best I have a bit of a head start before chaos starts looking for me.
I look at Dare, and he looks back. He’s waiting for an answer from me, most likely. My mind runs through several things, and arrives at a conclusion.
Which I do.
I just get up from the chair and get out of there sharpish.
Did you hear the one about the couch potato? Me neither. I was too lazy to listen.