He awoke with a restless sense of unease.
What was wrong?
He felt for his hands, pushed his legs against the mattress, brushed his tongue over his teeth. All present and correct.
Something was missing.
His sheets were there, in some disarray, but there. His blanket and pillow were there. But the feeling remained.
What had gone?
He looked around the hotel room, sunlight sliding through. Maybe something had happened. Maybe his friend had gone. He looked over – but there she was, sleeping in the other bed, the sheets rising and falling, slow and steady.
Then it struck him: his boxer shorts.
He felt for them under the bedsheets. Gone. He bent to look around on the floor, keeping the sheets tight around his body – but they had disappeared.
How can a pair of boxer shorts simply disappear?
He had worn them to bed, he was sure. He knew he had worn them to bed last night. His friend would have screamed if she’d seen him naked. She wasn’t that kind of friend.
So where were they now? Was this some kind of practical joke? Was he the victim of alien interference? Had he, in the Freudian depths of his unconsciousness, somehow removed them? And if he’d been able to remove them – what else had he done?
The mystery of the boxer shorts would linger through the day, teasing his mind as his friend showed him around the ruins of Ġgantija.