Whatever Happened Last Night?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
They are walking in the dark. There's lots of snow. Where are they going?

Submitted: July 02, 2019

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Submitted: July 02, 2019

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Whatever Happened Last Night?

 

When he opened his eyes, the sun was shining over his face.  He took a glance around. Everything looked vague and strange. He seemed to be lying on a bed with a number of heavy blankets piled up on his body, wearing his full street clothes! He even had his boots on!

He gently sat up and began examining everything around carefully. He was apparently in a rather small room, with a narrow little window backed up with iron bars. There was a bookshelf filled with books on one side of the room and a chest and drawer, a tiny desk and a chair on the other. Alongside the desk, he could see a number of blankets spread over a thick quilt covering something with the shape of a human body. “It looks like a corpse hidden under a pile of bedspreads,” he mumbled to himself. The only strange thing about the corpse, however, was that it seemed to be moving!

“Ha ha!” he mumbled to himself “Whatever it is, it’s not quite dead - - which goes to show that, contrary to what I just saw, I’m not in a mortuary! I must’ve had a ghastly nightmare. I seem to be just as alive as I was….when…and where…I ever…was…!?”

He didn’t seem to remember anything about when it was or where he was! His mind had gone blank!

He gently turned his body around. The person buried under the quilt and the blankets seemed to be struggling harder to free itself. Soon his head began slipping out of its thick shelf.

“Hi,” he mumbled when enough of the guy’s body was out for him to sit up. “Who in the world…are you?” he asked.

The man was now staring at him with dazzled eyes. “Gush!” he mumbled, “Are you kidding me…or…don’t you actually remember…?”

 “What am I supposed to…recall, if I may ask?” he mumbled staring at the guy’s drowsy face.

“Well, lots of things!” the man said as he pulled the rest of his body out of the pile of things wrapped around his legs. “Hell!” he then grumbled, “I didn’t even bother to…take off my boots!”

“Can you tell me…”muttered the first man, “what’s going on around here? I don’t seem to remember…much of anything.”

“Yes I know,” mumbled the other man. “Dr. Simin said that this might happen.”

“Oh yeah?” said the first man, with distrust, “Would you please tell me who this ‘Dr. Simin’ might be, and…what exactly was the reason why she said a thing like that about …my state of mind?”

“Yes!” answered the other man as he slowly rose to his feet. “There isn’t much to tell you, though,” he added, “You and I were running away from… some cops or something last night. You slipped and bumped your head against a hard object … and fell unconscious for a time. You sounded totally confused when you came to …and, Dr. Simin told us that…something like this might develop.”

“Oh, yeah?” mumbled the first man with suspicion, “Can you tell me what exactly this ‘Doctor Simin’ was doing in this dark hole before we arrived?”

“Huh!” muttered the second man as he nodded repeatedly.

“I’m sorry to talk like this,” said the first man apologetically, “My mind seems to have become somewhat muddled.  Could you tell me a bit about …where we are, who we are, and what we are doing …in this place?”

“Well,” said the second man, “you and me came here about three weeks ago to get help from Dr. Simin’s husband to carry out some kind of a…clandestine operation. Last night, when we were returning, we were pursued by some secret service agents. We began running in order to lose them. We did get away eventually …but you fell into a gutter not very far from here and bumped your head against a rock or something. That’s all.”

“You sure made the long story very very short,” said the first man. “But I need to know…a few more things about my situation here. Nothing seems to make sense to me…at this moment.”

“Well,” said the second man, “We are in Dr. Simin’s guest room right now. Soon we are going to the kitchen to have breakfast. I’m sure Dr. Simin will…have a talk with you while we eat.” He paused for a few seconds before he added, “She is not a psychotherapist, but she is a medical doctor and knows a lot about psychiatry. She may be able to do something about your loss of memory.”

The man had now taken some clothes out of the small chest and drawer and was changing. “Why don’t you put some clean things on, too,” he mumbled a minute later. “We’ve got to go for breakfast now. You should get cleaned up a bit…before then.”

“Ok,” mumbled the first man as he slipped down the bed and moved towards the chest and drawer. “What,” he then muttered without looking at the second man, “is…my name, can you tell me?”

The other man was now staring at him with astonishment, shaking his head. “Do you mean to tell me,” he grumbled after a few seconds, “that you can’t even remember your own name?”

The first man shook his head as he pulled off his mud-covered boots.

“It’s not so bad, actually,” mumbled the second man a minute later wearing a smile. “If the secret service guys manage to catch us, they won’t be able to get anything out of you, no matter how hard they try!” He began chuckling.

 He then nodded his head a few times, smiled and continued, “Actually, your name is…Fred or Freddie, whichever you prefer. That’s what you called yourself the day we arrived here. Dr. Simin never asked for your real name, and neither did Poolad, her husband.”

 “What about …my family name?” asked the man now called Fred, “Don’t I have one?”

The second man laughed. “Of-course you do!” he said, “but under the present circumstances, it won’t hurt at all if you don’t remember it!”

Fred shrugged his shoulders. “Ok,” he mumbled, “I suppose I am not to know…your name either, huh?”

“You can call me Moby,” said the second man. “Many people know me by that name anyway.”

“All right, Moby,” said Fred, “I think I’m ready to go and meet Dr. Simin and her husband, whoever they are!”

**

When they entered the kitchen, breakfast was ready. The small dinning table was covered with a few loaves of bread, some dishes of butter and cheese and four empty cups.

“I’m sorry, gentlemen,” said the lady of the house staring at Fred with a smile after they had finished their greetings. “I know this is a pitiful breakfast table but, in this country, food stuffs are hard to get. As you know, sometimes we have to stand in long lines to buy the very simple things we ordinarily eat. Foreign products are not available to us either. They are only sold in special stores at higher prices to…tourists. We just don’t have the time and the means to get them.”

“It’s ok,” said Moby, looking at Freddie, “We know those things…quite well.” He paused for a few seconds before he added, “I lived in this country…for quite some time …once, you know!”

“Yes, I know,” said Dr. Simin, looking into Fred’s eyes. “I said that for the benefit of our dear friend, Freddie, here, who…may have forgotten some of it…!”

“Yes, I have…,” mumbled Fred. “Thank you! The more you tell me about this country, the better. I feel like I’ve just arrived. I don’t seem to know anything about it!”

Heavy silence seized the kitchen as everybody began sipping at their tea and taking pieces of bread to eat.

“Exactly what…do you remember, Freddie?” asked Dr. Simin softly after a while “Please let us know.”

“Nothing!” exclaimed Moby. “I’m afraid what you said might happen…has happened!. He seems to have a…blank brand new mind!”

The kitchen suddenly grew still again. Only the sound of their chewing bread or slurping tea could be heard.

“What is the last thing you remember about your past, Mr. Freddie,” asked Dr. Simin after a couple of minutes, as she chewed.

For some minutes everyone kept chewing and drinking without making a sound.

“The last thing I remember,” Fred then said, “is darkness and cold. I seem to be walking in a melancholy street with lots of snow everywhere. But I have no idea where I am or…where I’m going.”

“That’s great!” exclaimed Moby. “That was the night we arrived. We were walking from the train station to Hans’s house to spend the night. Don’t you remember?”

Dr. Simin and her husband, Poolad, smiled.

“That’s not bad,” said Dr. Simin after some seconds. “So your memory covers events up to three weeks ago. Now we should try to see if you can remember anything after that.”  She remained quiet for a minute before she asked, “Can you tell us …what happened …that night?”

Fred thought for a while before he answered. “Yes, I do remember a few things. It seems to me that…some policewoman came to interrogate us…right in front of…Hans’s house. She…”

He stopped because Moby was laughing out loud now. “It wasn’t a police woman! Don’t you remember?” he exclaimed. “It was Hans’s girlfriend! The poor woman had been forced to leave the apartment at three o’clock in the morning, in the middle of snow and a freezing temperature, so that Hans could give us a place to sleep!”

He was giggling uncontrollably. Everybody else was smiling.

“Is that true?” asked Poolad looking directly into Fred’s eyes.

Fred nodded. “Yes!” he answered firmly. “We had made a mistake and taken the girl to be a cop.”

“Yes…!” exclaimed Moby.

“What happened then?” asked Dr. Simin softly as she sipped at her tea.

“We went…in,” muttered Fred. “Hans was …a very hospitable person. He gave us something to eat…and then some mattresses…and sleeping…stuff.” He paused for a few seconds before he added, “He was a very …kind….”

“Very nice!” said Dr. Simin. “Now tell me! What happened the next morning? Did you stay in that house…or did you …go …somewhere else?” 

“The next morning…,” Fred mumbled, “when we got up….Hans was…not there. I think he had gone to work or something…”

Moby laughed again. “No! ...Wrong!” he yelled with exitement. “We got up very late! It was past noon. He had gone shopping or something. By the time he came back, it was almost dark.”

“Do you remember that?” asked Dr. Simin looking at Fred.

“I don’t know,” mumbled Fred. “What I can tell you is that…he left…and… I never saw him again.”

“He’s right!” said Moby. “When he came back, we were leaving! He just had a chance to wave good-bye…to me. I told Freddie about it later…but I guess he can’t remember. He didn’t see Hans that afternoon. He’s right!”

“Thank you, Moby” said Poolad. “But it’ll be more helpful if you let him speak. That way…he may remember a few more things.”

“Yes, Sir! Captain, Sir!” said Moby raising his right hand to throw up a military salute.

“Ok,” said Dr. Simin, “Please tell us, what happened after that. Say anything that comes to your head.”

“There…isn’t…much,” muttered Freddie staring at Moby whose hand was still up. “Everything is dim and fuzzy.” He paused for a few seconds before he added, “It was dark when we got to the other house. I think we took the bus or something…to go there.”

“Yes!” exclaimed Moby but pressed his lips together a second later and shrugged his shoulders.”

“Yes! Go on please,” said Dr. Simin.

“When we knocked on a door…or…maybe rang the bell…someone answered. It was a woman. She waved to us and …then…somebody else…came to…open the door. I think it was a middle-aged man.” He stopped, looking like he was pressing his mind as hard as he could to remember more things

“Do you know …who that man was?” asked Poolad softly.

“No…, I don’t,” muttered Freddie. “He looked somewhat like you…”

The room sank into silence again. Everyone, however, was smiling now.

“Do you think that,” asked Dr. Simin, “the person who came to receive you may have been …my husband?”

Freddie stared at Poolad’s face for a second and smiled. “It’s possible,” he mumbled with a smile. “I think …maybe…” He took another glance at him and added, “He looked  much  much older though!”

“Fine!” Dr. Simin said then. “Please tell us what else you remember. What happened after that?”

“I remember that…I was going to see someone,” Fred said softly.

“Were you alone, or was there someone else with you?” asked Poolad.

“I don’t know!” answered Fred. “I think …there was somebody else too, but I can’t recall who it was.”

“It’s all right!” mumbled Dr. Simin. “Please go ahead and…tell us…what you do remember?”

“I think …it was a sort of an office,  a government place of some kind…like…an embassy or something.”

“Yes!” exclaimed Mobi. “It was the…” he stopped when he saw Dr. Simin’s hand signaling him not to continue.

“Do you think that…it may have been the embassy of one of the …Western countries …here in Prague?” asked Dr. Simin softly.

“No!” said Fred, “It was…the …Cuban embassy. I think!”

The room was now dead silent once more.

“Are you …sure,” asked Dr. Simin gently after a minute “that it was the embassy of Cuba…and not that of any other country?”

“God!” Fred suddenly exclaimed, “Why am I saying all this to you guys? Who are you people? Police interrogators?” He looked around a few times before he got off his seat. “Can I …leave now?” he exclaimed looking at the exit door.

“Yes, of-course,” said Dr. Simin in a calm friendly voice. “You can go anywhere you wish any time you like. The only problem is that …without getting your memory back, you won’t be able to go very far. You don’t even remember where you are, or where you wish to go…, do you?” 

Fred looked around once more and then at the faces of his spectators…one by one before he gently sat down. “I’m sorry,” he then said, “I hope you do realize that I…”

“Yes, of-course,” said Dr. Simin softly with a friendly  smile on her lips, “We are aware of your position and…you can rest assured that nobody in this room is trying to get information out of you. We are just…”

“We know everything about you,” said Moby firmly. “She’s just trying to help you remember…what we already know!”

“Yes, sorry! “mumbled Fred. He remained still for a couple of minutes and then added, “We are now going into…an office room. It has a desk and…some chairs. There’s also a conference room next to it with a large table.”

“Is there anybody in it?” asked Dr. Simin softly.

“Yes,” mumbled Fred. “Two people are there. One of them is me…and the other one… I can’t…tell.” He rested for a second and then added,“Soon…a….” He suddenly stopped, took a distrusting glance up and around the kitchen lasting some seconds. “Are we,” he then asked softly, “in some sort of a penitentiary?”

“Why?” inquired Poolad sounding rather confused. “Why do you ask?”

“Why,” mumbled Fred looking at the floor, “do you have those iron bars…behind all your windows?”

Everyone was looking at the kitchen window now.

“Those are for more security,” said Dr. Simin softly. “There were some burglars around for a while and many of the neighbors did that. Sorry that I didn’t tell you about this earlier. I thought you people already knew  it!”

“Yes, we did,” said Mobi, “You told us about that one time. He must’ve forgotten.”

“Ok,” said Poolad softly, “Who did you say…came into that hall soon?”

“I didn’t!” answered Fred. He stared at Poolad’s face for a minute and then asked, “Are you…a captain?”

“Why…yes,” answered Poolad hesitantly after a few seconds. “Why?” he gently asked.

“Are you a police captain,” asked Fred instead of answering.

“Army police,” mumbled Poolad after a few seconds. “Why?” he asked again.

“What am I doing here…with you?” asked Fred sounding rather confused.

“He is my husband,” said Dr. Simin, “That’s why he is here!” She paused for a few seconds before she added, “Actually, you people came here to see him, not me!”

“Yes, we did,” said Moby emphatically.

“Whatever for?” mumbled Fred hopelessly.

“That’s what we are trying to help you remember!” retorted Dr. Simin staring at Fred’s face.

 

Everyone was hushed for a while and then Dr. Simin softly said, “Please tell us who you remember…walking into that room. I mean the embassy office.”

Fred shrugged his shoulders and closed his eyes. “It is a young man…wearing mustaches. But he doesn’t look anything like Fidel Castro or…Che Guevara.”

 He paused to shake his head in disappointment. “He is wearing a…very neat suit, a well ironed white shirt and…a tie! Yes a tie! He is even wearing …perfume. He smells like roses.”

Everyone in the room was smiling now.

“Did you like the scent of his perfume?” asked Moby laughing.

“Yes!” said the speaker with a sad smile. “He smelled like a young girl. It was…terribly disappointing!”

“Why!?” asked Poolad frowning, “Did you expect him to…stink or something, just because he was the ambassador of a revolutionary state?”

“Yes!” Moby exclaimed. “He should have smelt like shit!”

Everyone was laughing out loud now, including Fred.

“It’s very nice,” said Dr. Simin. “What you just remembered is related to what took place two or three days after you arrived.”

“What happened then?” asked Poolad. “Please tell us everything you did after you talked to the Cuban ambassador?”

“We said,” mumbled Fred, “this guy is a…complete bourgeois. So …we can’t go to Cuba to get military training…if they are all like this.”

“So, you were planning to get military training, or something like that, right?” asked Dr. Simin compassionately.

“Yes…!” answered Fred nodding his head. “I think…that’s why…we came…to this country from…”

“From where?” asked Dr. Simin softly.

“From…” answered Fred, “from…The United States…I think.”

“Very nice!” said Poolad sounding a bit impatient. “Now that you remember everything, please tell us what you did next.”

“We…we…,” mumbled Fred, “I…went to a dentist!”

“But why!?” asked Poolad automatically  

“Because…I had a lot of cavities in my teeth,” retorted Fred.

They burst out laughing.

“Remember how happy he was that day?” asked Mobi looking at Dr. Simin and The Captain as he cackled. “He had kept the cavities…for some years… to teach himself how to bear pain! Some nights he had so much pain in his mouth…that he stayed up all night! It was The Captain…who convinced Freddie to get his teeth fixed, and you, Dr. Simin, who found him the dentist…. The poor doctor fixed all of Freddie’s teeth in…one after noon…without charging him a penny!”

“This is a …socialist country,” said The Captain softly, “You don’t have to pay anything for your medical care. The only problem was that Freddie was a foreigner and the law here does not offer free medical treatment to…aliens.”

“Do you remember the things that these people just mentioned, Freddie?” asked Dr. Simin tenderly looking into Fred’s eyes.

“Uhu,” mumbled Fred. “I sure remember the dentist part. The poor guy was so nervous when he was fixing my teeth. I guess he was worried someone might discover that he was working on a foreigner’s teeth and report it to the authorities. He worked as fast as he could, and as soon as it was all over he asked me to get out of his office through the back door. The poor fellow did not even give me a chance to…thank him properly.”

“Wonderful!” exclaimed Dr. Simin. “So you’re beginning to remember everything! That’s exactly what I expected.”

“But,” mumbled Fred, “That’s the last thing I remember. After that night’s events…my mind is …blank!”

“No, no!” objected Dr. Simin shaking her head. “That’s not really true. I’m sure you can tell us everything now because your memory has begun to function. For example, do you remember what you ate last night?”

“Nope!” answered Fred shaking his head, “I don’t! As a matter of fact, I don’t think…I ate anything!”

“Yes!” exclaimed Dr. Simin. “So, you do remember! Last night you two were so exhausted that you did not even come to the dining table. I don’t think you even bothered to change your clothes before you went to bed!”

“That’s true!” said Mobi nodding his head. “We did not even take off our filthy boots.”

“I thought he was a corpse,” said Fred with a big smile on his lips “when I saw him first! With all his dirty clothes, his muddy boots and everything, he looked like he had been dead since ancient times!”

The all laughed for some minutes before Dr. Simin turned to Fred and said, in a very benevolent tone of voice, “Now that you remember everything, it is time for you to talk about…last night.” She then stared into Fred’s eyes and said, “Please tell me, do youremember what happened last night?”

“No!” said Fred shaking his head. “I don’t remember a thing!” He stared at the wall in front of him for some seconds and shook his head. “All I can remember is a nightmare I had. I was running as fast as I could and…some rifle men …or something …were trailing me. Then I was…shot in the head. I fell and…when I opened my eyes…I was in a mortuary.” He paused for a while and then added, “I guess I had the nightmare because…I was…sleeping with those heavy clothes and boots, and all. I’m glad I woke up in time…right before they got hold of my half-dead body, that is.” 

The room sank into intense silence once more. Everyone was looking in a different direction. A few minutes later, Moby began to talk.

“You were not having a nightmare, Freddie,” he said rather softly, “That’s almost what happened, last night!”

Everyone was looking at Fred’s face inquisitively now.

“Do you remember,” mumbled Dr. Simin staring at Fred’s face, after a while,“anything else about what happened last night…or yesterday, for that matter.”

“I just remember that…” Fred murmured, “Moby…and I …were leaving your house.” He paused for a few seconds and then added, “It seems to me that…we had been in your place before…some weeks before that…or something. We were going to ….visit someone.”

 He stopped and began looking around. “Everything here looks very familiar to me now,” he then said, “I guess we have lived here…for a while.”

“Yes you have!” said the Captain firmly.

“Ok!” said Dr. Simin softly. “Tell us what happened after you…left our house.”

“I think…we were going to visit somebody…in some embassy or something.”

“Was it…the Cuban consulate?” asked Dr. Simin tenderly.

“No!” answered Fred shaking his head. “It most certainly…was not!”

He coughed and shook his head. “No! It was not the Cuban consulate! It was….the Chinese! The Chinese Embassy.”

Everyone was smiling now.

“Ok,” said Dr. Simin in a benevolent voice, “Can you tell us what happened then?”

Fred suddenly began looking around with suspicion.

“No!” said the Captain firmly looking into Fred’s eyes. “You are not in jail, and this is not an interrogation session! You are in our house, where you have been since you left Hans’s place that evening. You have been living in our tiny guest room for three weeks. And we are well informed about what you have been doing. We just wanted to make sure that your memory had returned to you.”

“I think you should know something else too,” said Dr. Simin. She cleared her throat, nodded a few times and then added, “This man whom you see before you…is…or was…a military intelligence officer - a Captain - at the time there was a military coup de etat in our country. What he did to help out the resistance forces was that….he took advantage of his position in the army to free a bus full of political prisoners. He endangered his own life by personally going to the prison and telling the prison authorities that he had been assigned to move a number of the revolutionary leaders to another jail. He then took a whole bus full of them out of prison and shortly after…out of the country. That’s why he has been in exile for the past fifteen years!” She stopped, shook his head and then continued, “Now, do you think it is possible that a person like him might turn his own house into an interrogation place to get information out of revolutionary people like you?”

“Ok,” said Fred with a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry that I let such ideas creep into my head. You can’t blame me for it though - -under the circumstances….”

“No!” said Dr. Simin with a big smile on her lips. “You have nothing to worry about! No one in the world can hold you responsible for the thoughts that have crept into your mind - - under the circumstances…. All we expect you to do now is to try and remember the memories that have, somehow, slipped out of your mind. Ok?”

“Yes, madam,” mumbled Fred. He then thought for a few minutes and began to speak in a louder voice, “We went to the Chinese embassy yesterday afternoon. When the ambassador entered the huge hall where we had talked…during our …previous meetings…”

He stopped suddenly, nodded a few times and then added, “Yes! I remember everything fully now! This was our fourth session with the man! When he entered the hall at our first meeting, I thought I was facing Mao tse dung himself! He was wearing the same sort of plain garments, and treated us with profound respect. He always listened to what we had to say very carefully and told us that he would submit a full report about our plans to the higher authorities, and then asked us to return and see him a few days later. Last night, however, he suggested that we contact some other revolutionary groups who were fighting for the same cause …to form a stronger political organization. We felt rather disappointed…but he promised to help us get together with the other groups, and to do whatever he could to help us all afterwards.”

“Yes!” exclaimed Moby, “I think he remembers everything now!”

“Very nice!” said Dr. Simin,“Now, please tell us…what happened …after you left…the embassy.” 

There was a long pause before Fred spoke up. “Shortly after we left, I noticed that we were being followed.. I suddenly remembered what Mobi had told me about the murder of his brother here, and felt alerted. We tried to lose our pursuers by constantly changing our direction, going through side streets and narrow alleys …, and eventually began to run. I think they lost our track eventually but we couldn’t be absolutely sure. So we continued running in the snow…even when we were near your house. And then….”

“Then what?” Said The Captain firmly, “Do you remember what exactly happened!?”

“No!” said Fred emphatically. “I really have no idea! Someone may have hit me from behind, or tripped me or pushed me because …for some mysterious reason…I suddenly rose into the air and fell over head-first….”

“Yes,” said Dr. Simin, “We know the rest of the story rather well! What we are not sure about at all, however, is whether the hard object hit your head… before or after you fell! For all we know, someone may have hit you before you lost your balance.”

“What this goes to show,” said Moby, “is that we still don’t know what actually happened last night. We should, therefore, not stay here much longer!”

“It’s hard to say,” muttered The Captain, “who is after you, if there is anyone at all! But I agree that it may not be safe for you to stay here. I can arrange a meeting between you and the leadership of another revolutionary group that I know, if you wish.”

“I think you should definitely do that, honey,” said Dr. Simin. “The local government may have discovered what they are doing and decided to do away with them for some reason.”

“Yes, Mam,” said The Captain with a smile as he turned to Fred. “I can contact one of the leaders of that organization tomorrow, if you wish.”

“Thank you,” mumbled Fred, “for all your valuable assistance during the past few weeks…and…for your precious self-sacrifice in the past. I just hope that we can make a bit of it up to you after the victory of the revolution…if any of us is still alive!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2019 Herman Azadi. All rights reserved.

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