This is not a nodeshell rescue.

I'm not sure when this happened, other than a rough guess at about four or five years ago. I went to a party organised by a bunch of guys from my school, in a shitty dive called the 'Emerald Centre', in Hammersmith (London).

Lots of parties went on there, 'cos it was cheap, and we could run it ourselves - allowing for a more 'liberal' policy on drugs. Anyway, I went with a group of mates, and had a good time. At the start of the evening I was introduced to a friend of a friend (actually just a guy I knew, but the point is my familiarity with this guy was non-existant) called Matt.

I'd never met Matt before, and haven't since. He was a cool guy though, we got on. At some point (my memory of the later stages of the party are hazy) I left to go to the off license for beer with Matt. When we got back to the party my mates were nowhere to be seen.

They'd fucked off somewhere basically, leaving me without somewhere to crash for the night. I lived way too far away to contemplate going home (this is gone midnight now). I hunted round the party for people I knew well enough to ask if I could crash at their yard, but came up empty.

Then I spotted Matt, and asked him. Despite not knowing me (except for a drunken chat on the way to the off license) he said yes, so I went back to the party.

My memory of specifics from that point on is blank. Nothing. Buggered if I know what the fuck I did. The rest of this story is pieced together from bits I've learned since.

Later on, when the party ended, Matt and I called a cab to go back to his house. We split the fare, and his house turned out to be a huge and very nice house somewhere in the nice residential bit of Richmond. We got into his house, had another drink (I think, but I'm not sure) and watched some TV.

I then went and crashed.

I woke up the next morning, with my previously stated lack of knowledge of the night before still intact. I had no clue. I turned my head to one side, and there was a light switch next to my pillow. I thought maybe I got lucky and ended up in a hotel.

I pressed the switch, and the lights came on. I looked around, desperate for some clue as to where the fuck I was. I didn't recognise anything. I looked out the window, trying to get my bearings. All I could see was a row of very expensive looking houses and cars opposite.

The room was L-shaped, and when I turned he corner I half expected to find the Cheshire Cat, grinning at me. I opened the door and went out onto the landing. Nobody about, so I tried some doors, getting lucky and hitting the bathroom first. I took the oppourtunity to wake myself up.

Having washed, I sat there and realised I was going to have to face the occupants of the house at some stage. Given my progressively chronic hangover, this was not looking like fun. The situation was compounded by me not having the slightest idea where I was, or whose house I was in.

I ventured back out onto the landing, only to almost run into a woman, about 45, who needless to say, I didn't recognise.

Her: "Oh hello, would you like to come downstairs for some breakfast? Matt probably won't be up for a bit."

Me: "Yes, thanks. That sounds.. er.. great."

I followed her downstairs, trying to figure out which of the handful of Matts that I knew she was refering to. No luck. We got into the kitchen, which - in keeping with the rest of the house - was large and nicely kitted out. I was aware that there was someone else sat at a table at the periphery of my vision, but this woman (who I could only assume at this stage was the mother of this Matt, who I also didn't know) was talking to me, so I engaged in idle chat about the previous night, painting a more sanitary version than the one I'd forgotten.

I then looked around to see who this other person was, and there was an inflatable man sat at the table.

Life-size, but quite noticeably inflatable. At this point many, many things went through my mind. I was stood in the kitchen of someone I didn't know, talking to someone I didn't know, about things I couldn't remember. The last thing I needed at that exact moment, was to turn around and see an inflatable man sat at the table.

That was it, I lost it. I just flipped straight into 'accept everything' mode. A troop of monkeys could have danced the conga through the kitchen. This woman could have peeled her face of to reveal the old man from the haunted fairground. I wouldn't have flinched.

I later found out it was a security thing - she used it when driving home at night to make people think she wasn't alone. At the time, I had never heard of this.

Looking back on it now, the thing that sticks in my mind is that the thing was sat at the table, like a regular person. If I hadn't been there, she probably would have made it breakfast.

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