They weren’t lost. We knew exactly where the keys were, all three sets.
As usual, mine were in my bag, in the car. I don’t like to carry baggage—of any sort. The Gnome was driving. He has pockets. He always takes his keys with him.
As we stepped into the parking lot with a full grocery cart that night, a funny look came over the Gnome’s face. “Do you have your keys?” he asked. “I must have left mine in the ignition.” Sure enough, that’s where they were.
We called the local constabulary. This was in the day when cars were equipped with a button just next to the window on the inside edge of each car door. To lock the door, all you had to do was press the button as you exited the car. All too easy to leave a key inside. It was also possible for skilled hand to pull the little button up into the open position with a coat hanger or similar device. The police carried such a device.
The black car arrived after an awkwardly long wait. The next few minutes could have been a scene from a TV sitcom.
The officer quizzed us. “Don’t you have a second set?”
“Yes sir, they’re in the car, too.” (Like we just explained,” I muttered—under my breath.)
“What about at home? Do you have an extra set there?”
“Well, yes. But our home is half an hour’s drive away. And with our keys locked inside the car, we can’t exactly drive there to get the keys to unlock the car door.” (If we could do that, I thought, we wouldn’t have needed to call you, now, would we?)
“Can’t you get someone to take you home to get your key?”
“Not exactly. Besides, that key is inside the house, and the house is locked, too. And guess where the house keys are. On the same key ring with the car keys.”
He seemed incapable of grasping our catch-22 predicament. Round and round we went. Somewhere, sometime, somebody was going to have to force some lock for us or we’d forever be out in the cold, literally.
Thankfully, the officer finally relented and with a quick flick of his wrist, we were finally on our way, groceries and all.
What about you? Do you have a lost keys story?
Creative Commons photo credit: Basile Morin [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D
I guess the police officer was trying to make sure he wasn’t stealing someone else’s car for you 😀
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Why sure – bet we all have lost key stories, but don’t know how to bring them alive like you do. Your story is an example of seeing the best in life, not making the lost key situation a tragedy. I bet you were even thinking, “oh this will make a good story” as it was unfolding.
Aw, thank you, Jan. No, I have to admit my thoughts at the moment weren’t about storytelling. Then, again, it happened a long time ago when writing for fun wasn’t in my head.