One time at university, my friend Selena came to visit. We ended up going clubbing with a bunch of my uni friends.
Selena and I both got very drunk. Selena got chatting to a bloke I’d never seen before. When she and I eventually left the club, Selena’s new friend came with us. His name was Steve, or Dave, or Dan, or something like that.
I was a bit confused because I thought Selena had a boyfriend. But I didn’t think it was really my business to ask her what was going on. And anyway, I couldn’t say anything right in front of this guy. I was being British: I didn’t want to make things awkward… So the three of us walked unsteadily together back towards my accommodation.
I was living in uni halls. Now as it happened, my room that year was very, extremely small. It was so small that I got a special discount for living in it. There was no way that Selena and I could share the room. So the plan was that I’d sleep on my friend Sian’s floor. (Sian was the one with whom I’d once got locked into a Russian’s penthouse). This meant that Selena had my minuscule bedroom to herself.
Dan, or Steve, or Dave was very interested in my accommodation. “I’ve always lived round here but I’ve never been inside any part of the university before,” he said to me. He came into my bedroom with us like it was the most natural thing in the world. I thought it was pretty weird and brazen of Selena to find a man in the club and bring him back to my bedroom. It was also out of character. But we were both smashed, and Selena seemed perfectly happy, so I said goodnight and headed off to Sian’s room.
At this point, there were two things I did not know.
The first was, Selena thought Dave, or Dan, or Steve was one of my friends, and that this was why he had come back with us. She thought it was a little bit odd that he was still hanging around, but she didn’t want to question it. Like me, she’d been too polite to actually ask who this guy was and why he was with us. She was being British: she didn’t want to make things awkward…
The second thing was, just as I was leaving, he had managed to cut his hand on something. Maybe there was something sharp on my desk. We don’t know.
Selena sat down on the bed next to this guy, happy to have a friendly chat but also waiting for him to leave. Then she noticed that there was blood all over my bedsheets.
It took a couple of horrified and disorientated seconds for Selena to realise that this bloke was bleeding heavily from his hand. “You’re bleeding!” she cried.
“Oh,” said Steve, or Dan, or Dave. “Oh yeah.” He sat there, still bleeding onto my sheets.
Selena grabbed him and manhandled him into the miniature bathroom. It was a grim little wet-room, where I had to remember to remove the loo roll every time I had a shower; and my bedroom was so cramped that the bathroom door didn’t have space to open properly. So they squeezed into the boxy little bathroom, and Selena wrapped loo paper around the profusely bleeding hand. Dan, or Dave, or Steve showed no sign of being in pain.
But there was too much blood for Selena to handle. She was suddenly overwhelmed by nausea. Collapsing to the toilet bowl, she started throwing up. The bleeding guy held her hair as she vomited.
They staggered out of the bathroom. Selena was feeling pretty shaken up. “So,” she said into the awkward silence, “how do you know Ollie?”
“Who’s Ollie?” he said.
Selena tells me that that was when the penny finally dropped. “The person whose room this is,” she said.
“Oh,” said Dan, or Steve, or Dave. “I don’t know him.”
By this point, Selena was past being polite. “Get out,” she said. She opened the door, bundled him into the corridor, and shut the door on him.
And that was the last we ever heard of him. Selena stripped off my bloody sheets and slept on the mattress. And the next day, the two of us endured appalling hangovers together as we wondered who the hell Steve, or Dan, or Dave really was.