During the day, his phone had buzzed, people had come to his desk or caught his arm in passing and murmured "So sorry," or similar as they cancelled coming to the arranged get-together for that evening; the least believable a text saying "Had a prior appointment".
"Yeah, that you somehow managed to arrange since last week when you said you were free," he sneered to himself.
So that evening, he went out in the frosting dark by himself, no-one to meet, simply to see what might happen on an evening alone in familiar surroundings made unfamiliar by the visitors to the town; both the revellers there for the night only, and those of the travelling fair, there for the duration of the festivities.
The braziers burnt, as did the cookfires for the roasting meats and the bakers ovens; rich wholesome smells wafted, released into the night air; and alongside that the smell of spirits and wine seemed less potent and so he drank more; the liquids both warming and disorientating.
Not that that could excuse what followed, when standing by the spitting coals he'd caught the eye of a woman with twisting red hair, her form shrouded by what looked like a grey hooded cloak; he'd smiled at her and somehow she'd smiled back; somehow they'd separated from the crowd and he'd taken her to a quieter spot under the trees; pressed her against him...
Cold now, when he awoke, or at least when his brain foggily started thinking again, there was no-one to be seen; and his clothes were in disarray; but checking his pockets he realised that each of them had conned the other, his wallet containing a few notes and coins was missing, but in his fist he grasped her purse.