Gregory ascended the stone stairs automatically, sifting through the stack of junk mail that had accumulated in two days’ absence. He rounded the corner, feeling the sudden draft which signalled his apartment- right opposite a pair of French windows which never closed. Even after his concussion, he could remember things like this. Maybe it hadn’t been that bad.
Still not looking up, he unlocked the door and went in.
He was so engrossed in his mail, he tripped over the bag at his door and landed on an errant rug- what was it doing there? Gregory threw his mail aside, closed the door and pulled the bag closer.
That was not his bag. Even though he sometimes got the date or his name wrong, this was definitely not his bag. Too expensive. He touched a finger to the handle and sniffed it.
Leather- real leather- and wood. Branded stuff. Whoever last handled it had eaten bacon and oranges for- no, not breakfast, scent too old- for supper, maybe. And faint scent of perfume and- what was this?- some other smell. Without opening the bag he knew this was a woman’s bag.
But he unzipped it anyway and riffled through its contents: clothes, toiletries, a book. Obviously a woman’s. Amount of clothes: by what he knew of women, enough for maybe a day or two. All the clothes smelled fresh, so she was entering. Entering his house? Why?
Book was cheap- some romantic novel, featuring a busty blonde and a shiny bronzed man embracing. Gregory made a face. Peeking inside, he saw a written name: Susan. Just Susan. Gregory searched his memory. He know anyone named Susan? Uh, no.
Gregory reached the bottom of the bag. He found nothing else of interest, so he put everything back in and zipped up the bag. Satisfied, Gregory made a mental note to tell Pollux tomorrow- except his mental notes rarely lasted. He scribbled on a Post-it, pasted it on his dining table. Help him remember.
Out of habit Gregory ambled over to the bedroom-
“ARGH! Who are you what are you doing here!”
There was a woman- red lips, shoulder-length hair, same perfume as ‘Susan’ but with added smell of fried chicken- on his bed. Gregory clutched a scarf for support.
“You’re… You must be Susan. With the bag.”
“Greg? You okay?”
“Uh, how did you get in? Into my house?”
“You gave me the keys, Greg, are you sure you’re alright? The doctor said there’d be-“
“You smell funny.”
The woman paused, because there never is, really, a good reply to remarks like this.
“I’m your wife! I’m Susan!”
Oh dear. Oh dear, now he had a wife he didn’t know anything about.
“Your bag, then-“
Gregory frowned, then an idea formed with surprising clarity.
“Take out my notebook on the bedside table, pass it to me, please. Thank you.”
Picking up the phone, Gregory dialled the number labelled, “Emergency”.