On Monday night, at 10.30pm, expats and Samoans gathered at the Traveller’s Point Inn and paid five Tala each to watch the first episode of the new ‘Game of Thrones’ (GOT) season.
I have absolutely no idea what happened. We were not among them. We stayed in our appartment, Facebooking the wildlings at home..
Somebody knocked on our door. Kate put away her phone and looked at me. I looked at her. It couldn’t be the cleaning lady. She didn’t work this late. Nor Lofa, the night watchman. We’d have heard him coming up the stairs.
The knock came again. Two raps, close together. Calm and determined. Whoever it was wasn’t going away. The police maybe, our car in the wrong place? A stalker, a white-walker, the Many-Faced God? That man in the street who’d tried to con me he was the same officer who’d checked my passport at immigration. (When he couldn’t have been, the real official had been a woman.)
“Male, in his twenties, around five foot ten, who has recently lost something,” said Kate. She stared at the door as if she could see through it. “I don’t think he’s here to murder us.”
“I hope you’re right.” I opened the door a fraction and peered out.
Laurent, our Tokelau neighbour, peered back. He was around twenty-five, five foot ten.
“Sorry to bother you.” He laughed and grimaced. “I’ve lost my phone.”
“Have you tried calling it?” said Kate.
“Yes, yes.” Laurent glided into our room. “But it just rings. And I can’t hear it, not in my room, not anywhere.”
“Have you asked the other rooms?”
“Yes, yes. They haven’t seen it. None of them.”
I pictured him knocking on the other brown doors along our corridor. The quiet Japanese man who was here for a ‘project’, something to do with telecommunications. The other Japanese man who was due to takeover from him. The Asian lady who worked in the XXL, XXXL and XXXXXL clothes shop downstairs. The chef who worked at the Sheraton preparing for a visit by Wellington’s leading food photographer.
“This is my fifth phone this year.” Laurent waved his hands at the ceiling. “People just take them. I’m not careless but when you’re a party animal, you know?”
“You didn’t leave it at the Traveller’s Point, then?” I wondered if he was a Thrones fan.
“No!” He looked horrified. “Not my bag at all.”
“How about a message on Facebook?” Kate pulled out her own phone. “See if anyone’s found it?”
“What’ll I say?”
“Just when you lost it, where you’ve been.”
“Oh it’s such a rigmarole.” He moon-walked back into the corridor.
“How did you know?” I stared at Kate again. “How did you know it would be Laurent?”
“Intuition.” She pressed at a button on her phone. “And a simple process of elimination. Most of the people who live here are men in their twenties. And this late, it had to be someone who’d lost something.”
“Bullshit!” I pointed at her phone. “You knew. He’d already posted something on the Appartments’ Facebook page.”
She smiled and didn’t deny it. And I suppose I’m no better. Since reconnecting our phones here, we’ve posted a truckload of photos on Facebook. Enough to wallpaper a travel agent’s window. Twice over, inside and out. The free folk back home must be sick of us – all this talk of beaches, sunshine, warmth – when they’re freezing their butts off in the Far North. Sorry the North and South Islands.
“Time for some Kai.” Kate rose and walked to the kitchen bench.
“This isn’t going to be an all-nighter, is it?” I said, knowing the signs. A perk in her eyebrows, a twitch to her lips, that mischievous smile. Another marathon session of Scorched Almonds and Whittaker’s Doris Plum. Except we didn’t bring any Doris Plum. And the box of Scorched Almonds was empty. The second box too.
She opened the fridge door, and I suddenly realised it was worse. Far worse, the hard solution this time. With the clatter of a knife, the clink of a bowl, she began to prepare Samoan Onion Dip, then Lannister marmite and cheese soldiers.
MKR – Marmite, Kate’s Recipe. Way better than GOT.