When last we met our heroine, she was phoneless, keyless and stuck inside a convenience store weeping and pulling out her hair in distress and agony. She had nothing but a disposable camera that cost a ridiculous $16 and a wallet filled with plastic money.
Before the convenience store clerks could call the police, she straightened her clothing, wiped her eyes, and stuck the handfuls of hair back on her head, where they drifted away in a gesture of nonchalant futility.
The clerk reviewed the security cameras and insisted I didn’t have the keys when I came into the store. I told him I remember hearing them as I set them on the counter to pay for the camera. He said, no, they aren’t there. We both looked around the store, around the car, under the car, and he was certain they must be in my car. His certainty was accompanied by the patronizingly knowing look of someone who is humoring the woman who has lost her mind. Which might be a reasonable conclusion had I been acting in any way as badly as I described here for comedic effect.
At any rate, I was getting nowhere with the searching, and the car was not going to move by sheer force of moral indignation at the rightness of my cause, knowing that the keys had been lost somewhere near the checkout counter.
This is when my brain inconveniently reminded me that the store I happened to have given my $16 in exchange for a camera is known for having the highest crime rate of any in the city. Actually, I heard of the entire nationwide chain, but, I was trying to stamp down a rising sense of panic that someone had stolen my keys to steal my car.
No one in their right mind would steal my car. The people not in their right minds that would steal it include people with hallucinatory issues who somehow saw a Lamborghini Veneno instead of a 1998 Saturn SL2.
I decided my best course of action was to walk back to campus to find a phone. The part of me that was still feeling paranoid kept looking back to check to see that my car was still there.
After exiting the building, I verified the car hadn’t moved and realized I was but a few feet away from the little critter that had started this whole adventure. And this time, I had a camera. Not only that, I had more than an hour to kill before my sister brought me the spare key. I might as well get a picture of the deer.
I returned to the store, and realized I had nothing to do but loiter. I hate wasted time. I figured, I could get a beverage to help combat the hot, get a writing implement, and paper, and write this all down. Another ridiculous $6 later, I turned to resume my vigil over the car, when a man walked into the store.
He was brightly lit from behind, with a golden halo around his head, and a cloak of light surrounding his silhouette. I heard a choir of angels as he reached out his hand and revealed a golden ball of light which, as my eyes adjusted to the radiance, I now realized, contained my beloved keys.
This beautiful figure holding joy in his hands, apologized profusely, and was a bit embarrassed. He’d gotten home, and realized he had an extra set of keys in his pocket, and couldn’t figure out why. And then he remembered there was a lady who lost her keys, and came back to the store. He’d been standing next to me in line, and inadvertently snagged the keys off the counter.
I glanced over at the clerk, who was honestly dumbfounded by the conclusion, and my ultimate vindication. I refrained from sticking my tongue out at him.
As I turned to go, I realized that I had gotten more for my $16 than a simple picture of a baby deer. I had a copyright free image to use for my column.
That was when I realized I would have to pay for film development.