Mr. Perkins adjusts his red bow tie in front of the mirror. The woman he spent the night with lies still in bed, her reflection barely visible from the hotel bathroom. A small patch of mold grows unnoticed in the corner.
“My oh my you were rapturous last night,” he says. “Why don’t I go have breakfast and then we can just carry on where we left off,” and with that he gives his reflection a cheeky little wink.
He takes his keys and brown check jacket. Standing at the foot of the bed, he gives her one last look and leaves.
Her eyes and mouth are wide open.
Mr. Perkins leaves the dead woman behind him. Wearing his brown leather gloves, he closes the door to room 351 and hangs the “Do not disturb” sign on the handle.
The hotel’s cheap background music accompanies his slow walk down the carpeted corridor. He enters the elevator and presses for the ground floor. On the way down, the bell dings and an old couple steps in. The woman glances at his bow tie; he smiles politely. Later she will tell the police, “Oh my, did he look strange!”
The bell rings again and the lift announces “Ground floor”. “You have a good day,” he says, holding the door as they step out. He walks past the reception area and looks straight at the CCTV camera.
Stepping out into the parking lot, he walks toward his old sedan. The car drives away until it is just a blue speck moving along the fading pine trees.
After making sure no-one is following him, he takes a right onto a narrow dirt road. Surrounded by the forest, the blue sedan heads to a secluded clearing and parks. A few yards away, another car is hidden under a camouflage-coloured cover.
Lifting his hands from the steering wheel, the man puts his fingers inside his mouth, wiggles them around and pulls out his fake upper teeth. Then he removes the prosthetic nose. The coloured contact lenses. Finally, he takes off his red bow tie.
A very different looking man steps out of the car. He sprinkles gasoline on one of the tires and lights it on fire. Watching it burn, he snaps his fingers inside his pockets.
Charlie Perkins removes the car cover from his expensive red SUV. He gets in, starts the engine and drives back to the main road.