Perils of wisdom

This was not supposed to be perilous. Danger and genealogy are clearly not related. They’re not even distant cousins. Yet the fact remained, on the eve of what could be my most significant discovery yet, my fate was in limbo.

I saw the guy at the pub the minute I sat down. It was a Monday night. It wasn’t that crowded; more crowded than the rest of Bristol, but sparse nonetheless. I sat at the bar, nursing a pint and scribbling the day’s events in my notebook. I noticed the shady man in the foyer, babbling on his mobile phone. He looked like a bouncer, bored beyond belief, chatting to his chums. I sat there for an hour, not giving him much more notice than the rest of the joy-seekers in the room.

Last call. The bartend’ress talks me into an extra round. I write some more. The joy-seekers revel some more. At last, I must depart. A big day tomorrow. I set onto the streets. Bristol is dormant – not a soul on the street. I walk the two blocks back to my hotel amidst nothing but silence, and the occasional car. I’m a New Yorker. I’ve long since learned that the presence of lights and other humans makes for a safe environment. Here is dark and still – my guard is up. Yet silence.

I make the turn towards my hotel. There are footsteps behind me. I glance backwards – it’s the guy from the bar, the guy on his mobile. He’s STILL on his mobile. Following me! Following me step-for-step!

Closing in on my hotel, I pick up my already brisk pace. No doubt this guy is following me. Is he a guest? Is this coincidence? The benefit of the doubt inches me closer towards peril. Quickly, I dart around the front hedges and up the hotel’s front steps. He’s right behind. There are two keys on my ring – one for the front door, the other to my room. It’s after-hours and there’s no one at reception. I’m on my own. By the stroke of luck, I pick the right one to the front door. It opens. I slide in, slamming it behind me as my friend ascends. Damn the coincidence! If he’s a guest then he’s on his own. I rush down to my room, unfortunately located in the half-basement. I rush inside, heart pounding, and do not turn on the lights. Not one single light. The room is ground floor. A giant, plate-glass window stands level with the street. No doubt my pursuer would be looking for my destination. I sat still on the bed, heart pounding, waiting, waiting... waiting...



Finally my senses get the best of me and uneasily I fall asleep, presuming safety.