End of story

Share
Waking up and looking about me on Tuesday morning, I found my- self in an expensive-looking hotel room. Pleasant though the room was, I hadn't the slightest recollection of how I got there, which was slightly worrying. The night before I had gone to a pub, a champagne reception, a restaurant, a blues club, and an unlicensed social club run by Rastafarians. After that who knows?

I was lying on top of the bed in my suit and tie. Although it was daylight, I had no idea of the time. I looked at my watch, but it was no longer on my wrist. I lay there for a while, existing in time and space, but without proper knowledge of my co-ordinates. But when I got up and switched on the telly, I was immediately back on familiar ground. The newscaster was speaking soberly about the forthcoming Budget, and the clock in the corner of the screen told me it was 8.11am.

Looking at my face in the mirror, however, I saw that I was much older and more dissolute-looking than I would have thought possible. To cheer myself up, I decided to go downstairs, buy the Independent, then go back to bed again.

Leaving my room, I discovered that the hotel was substantial. Only the curvature of the earth prevented one from seeing further down the corridor. By the time I reached the lifts, I felt far from well.

The gift-shop downstairs had run out of the Independent, so I tottered outside and up the street to look for a newsagent. When I found one, I hadn't enough cash on me to pay for the newspaper. The newsagent was happy to put my Independent aside while I went to the nearby cash-point. While he was directing me there, I was overcome with nausea and had to run out of his shop and vomit into the gutter. Shaky, but feeling marginally better, I returned to his shop, and the newsagent continued his grave and long-winded instructions as if I'd never been away.

Even with a fully functioning brain, London W2 has never been one of my strong points. Unable to remember even whether he'd said to turn left or right outside his shop, I thanked the newsagent, walked out of his shop and hailed a cab. The cabbie drove me to the cash machine, which was about a hundred yards away, and then back to my hotel, which turned out to be only a matter of a few hundred yards away.

In the lobby I joined a small Japanese queue for the lift. We crammed in, and on the way up I stared at myself in the mirror. My eyeballs were glassy and bloodshot, and there was some sick on my lapel. At the first floor the lift stopped and the doors opened. A smartly dressed, middle- aged American lady was standing there. Because I was nearest, and the only European in the lift, she said to me: "Are you going up or down?" I was so hung-over I couldn't remember, and had to turn to the others for help, by which time the doors had closed and we were off again. At the top floor I stepped out of the lift. In all directions corridors radiated outwards towards infinity. In terms of sheer scale, it was like being on the top floor of the Pentagon. Which way to go? What was my room number? While I stood there deliberating, an ominous deliquescence occurred in my lower bowel.

I took out the smart card that served as a room key, hoping it might hold a clue. There was a ten-digit number on it. After some reflection I concluded, sensibly, that this was a security telephone number and not my room number.

There was nothing for it but to return to the lobby and inquire about my room number at reception. There was a queue and nothing to lean against en route, but I made it, and a busy receptionist tapped out my name on her keyboard and peered at the screen.

She lowered her eyebrows. She tapped again on her keyboard and shook her head. The Regency, she said, had no record of my existence.

Until we managed to work out between us that I was actually staying up the road in the International, this was very puzzling to the both of us.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Sub-Editor: Canada is seen as a peaceful nation, but violent crime isn’t as rare as you might think

Jeffrey Simpson
The bustling Accident & Emergency ward at Milton Keynes Hospital  

The NHS needs the courage to adapt and survive

Nigel Edwards
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?