I woke up draped over my hotel bed like a towel on a lawn chair, with sirens whirring off in the distance. The light of the sun prickled like needles in my retinas from a nasty hangover, the strength of which I hadn’t experienced in ages. My head seemed as though it was about to collapse on itself, and the sensation worsened when I sat up and my blood rushed painfully into my cranium. Through anguished groans, I staggered to the restroom, applied a wet towel to my forehead, and popped a few pills.
As I waited for the painkillers to kick in, I began to wonder how I’d returned to the hotel, and, more importantly, what had I done after leaving the bar. Did I even want to know? I looked at myself in the mirror, and was surprised to see that I was in relatively good condition. No scratches, no blood, not even a single misplaced hair on my head. Perhaps it had all been a hallucination. At least, that’s what I thought until I saw the headline on the morning paper. That pudgy man’s face was plastered above the fold, as though threatening to unveil my crime to the world.
I needed to run. I needed air. I darted to the balcony, holding a hand to my mouth. I felt ill. Terrified. Horrified. What had I done?
The party hadn’t missed a beat, despite the events that had unfolded. Jazz music was still playing, people were still dancing in the streets, and floats were still driving by.