She was a tall drink of water, and I’d been married to her for fourteen years so I was allowed to say that. I took my feet off my desk in mid-blog. “What seems to be the problem?”
“It’s my keys,” she explained. “They’re gone.”
It turned out that the little metal frog hanging on the wall by the door, with hooks for feet where you normally are supposed to hang your keys, didn’t have her keys hanging from it. Which was weird because she always hangs them there. Always to the point where everybody else in the house has started to give each other funny looks whenever she comes in.
“Keys go here,” she sometimes reminds us happily, as she hangs them there. A little creepy, but it’s cool. A fine system.
Now she explains somewhat dryly that both the Tall Girl and myself have used her car in the past weekend. “And so now, I have no idea where someone has put my keys.”
Using the kind of cheerful tone with a crisp edge to it, each word like a tortilla chip, her smile right out of the fridge.
“I know,” I tell her. “Use my keys. They include a key to your car. See?”
I show them to her, and she accepts them, but then pauses, troubled. “Of course,” she points out. “I will still need my own keys, which someone else has put someplace besides the Key Frog.”
“I don’t know who it was or why they would do that.”
“Of course. What I’ll do is locate your lost keys while you are driving your car with my keys. I’m sure everything will be resolved by the time you return.”
Then I take a minute to explain that the laser pointer on my key ring is not a toy. One could get arrested, screwing around with a laser pointer. How do I know? Oh, I know. Matter of fact, let me just go ahead and remove the laser pointer from the key ring. There we go. I’ll see you guys later, and I’ll most likely have your lost keys with me.
So then she leaves and she takes one of the daughters with her and then the other two sit around and watch me look for keys. I could insist they get up and help, but they’d just kind of wander around looking in midair for the keys. What do the keys look like, Dad? It is substantially more frustrating than looking for keys.
Just never mind, I’ll find the keys. I check all of the coat pockets and they’re not there, and then the bin on the computer desk with hair ties and alligator clips and crap like that in it – no keys.
I have no idea which one of us used the car last, but I know I used it yesterday evening. I picked up one of the daughters from the school but drove to the wrong school first, frowning. What did I do with the keys after that?
The Key Frog? No – I’m not crazy about the Key Frog. The Key Frog gives me the creeps. I usually put the keys on the ledge beneath the Key Frog, and yes, I can clearly remember putting them there last night. I remember, because I was thinking, Screw You, Key Frog.
And someone else has definitely used the car since then.
That being the case, there is no point investigating who it was. I can tell you right now, it wasn’t anybody. Nobody in the entire house moved the keys from the ledge. They’re simply not there anymore, and it’s best to accept that.
I check all the weird places – couch cushions and by the toilet and in the fridge. The laundry room, in the washer, in the dryer. On top of the fridge? Why not? But no. Not there either.
Now I re-check all the pockets and normal places, since that’s usually where you find keys after you’ve been looking a while. No dice. I try to forget about it but the keys eat at me. I can’t concentrate on Justified without those keys. I start talking to myself like Gollum.
Then when I get back to blogging, all I can talk about are keys. Where could they be?
Do you have them? YOU have the keys, don’t you?
A slug of whiskey to keep the voices quiet, and then I burrow under the back porch with my sleeping bag, pass out among the worried, blinking puppy dogs. When I climb out I’ve grown a beard and my hair’s all crazy. Two little girls still sitting there in the living room, not looking for keys.
There’s the wife. She has some new items she’s procured from the market. She says, “Did you find my keys?”
“There ain’t no keys around here,” I tell her. “There ain’t no keys and there never was!”
You know that frown that’s also a bird-like head cock? There it is. “What?”
“Don’t nobody know nothing about no keys! Now go on, get out of here! GIT!”
And so the keys drop out of the official record at this point, and become a myth, a fairy tale, a legend only whispered of in shadowy pubs late at night. Etc. If anyone has seen my wife’s keys please return them with great haste. End transmission.