I work on a lovely college campus converted from an Air Force base. It has large open areas with well-maintained landscaping. Breaking up the pastoral scenery are uniform brick bunker boxes. Most people just call them buildings.
There is no significant car traffic through the campus. This makes it a refuge for all manner of wildlife. On any given day, you can see hawks, coyotes, geese, rabbits, magpies, students, and, lately, deer.
That’s right. Deer.
Did I mention that we’re in the middle of a city? As in, multiple, busy, two-lane roads between us, and wherever it is they go.
The deer don’t live on campus. They just visit at semi-regular intervals. I suspect they got a good deal on Priceline.com, with all-you-can eat landscaping and extra shady spots. They didn’t manage an open bar, which is probably why they usually eat, sit in the shade, and then take off just before sunset.
Normally, it’s a herd of 7-20 does, and I have never seen a single buck anywhere near them, which makes me wonder if we’re not so much the day trip vacation destination as the deer equivalent of the ladies room.
On Friday, I received, from one of my minions, that conclusive proof of the existence of bucks had been spotted, in the form of a baby.
I got a basic description of the place where baby was hanging out, and resolved to go deer-stalking after work. No, I don’t have the appropriate hat.
Sure enough, I managed to locate the darling creature. And then remembered I didn’t have a camera. (No, not even on my non-existent cell phone. I’ve already told you about that. You thought I was lying, didn’t you? Well, I wasn’t.)
It being Friday night, and having nowhere to go, I figured I’d just stop at the convenience store a few blocks away, get a disposable camera, and get a picture of the little critter.
I grumbled when I learned that the camera cost $16, because, I am a frugal sort, and even though it’s been a decade since I bought one, I remembered them being much cheaper. Everything should always stay the same price as I remember, forever. This gets increasingly disappointing the older I get. Yes, I realize I sound like a curmudgeonly old person. Yes, I was starting to regret the whole plan.
I managed to punch my inner oldster in the face by successfully arguing, “What’s a few dollars next to the opportunity to get close to a baby deer, and get a photo?”
Having made my purchase and grumbled, I went back to the car. And it was locked. And my keys were not in my hand.
I went back into the store. No keys anywhere.
I fell to my knees with my fists balled and my face uplifted to the heavens as I screamed “NOOOOOOOO!!!!” Tears rolled down my face, and I ripped out chunks of hair, and everyone was really uncomfortable.
And, that’s the perfect place to conclude the story for now. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion next week! Will Kate find her way home? What had happened to the missing keys? Would there be a picture of a baby deer at any point in this sordid tale of inconvenient store intrigue? Find out in the next exciting installment!