The Key

I hadn’t realised I didn’t have my keys until I went into my pocket to open the door and they weren’t there. In my rush out to the doctor’s for a blood test after a twelve hour fast, I must’ve omitted to take them. The police had taken the back-up key to get back into the crime scene while I was in hospital and hadn’t left or returned it, presuming it was evidence, one presumes, though Terry had never used it. That he hadn’t hadn’t been made clear to them.

I went to Richmond police station. The key was in Twickenham police station. I went to Twickenham police station. I hadn’t my crime no on me. I hadn’t expected to need it. Surname, address, though I’d no proof of address on me either, were enough for the desk sergeant to find out the key was there but the only person who could release it wasn’t. Couldn’t somebody else, a superior? Apparently not. They’d email her and she me. I didn’t want to kick the door in. That I could get a locksmith was suggested. I wouldn’t know how. I asked the new address of my landlord, RHP, and went on, starving I may say, to it.

The receptionist phoned the police with the crime no as I remembered it and called down a liaison officer. Did I say I’d no proof of address on me? I’d no proof of address on me. He phoned the police to extract the key while I ate unwashed raspberries and gnawed brown bread I’d bought before I couldn’t get in because I didn’t have my key to. The police would take some time getting back to him – I’ll bet – why didn’t I go to the canteen? where I found gluten-free food, the old reliable baked potato and cheese. There I asked Balvinder, who I knew, to vouch for me and Joe Williams too. He said something would be done.

While eating, I had my loving feeling, a starburst, at the thought Terry must take responsibility for his anger but it wasn’t a new thought and last time hadn’t been accompanied by love.  ‘Terry?  I know it’s you, Terry.’ 

Daniel said the police said they’d get back again at three, better make that three-twenty, he said, to see if a superior might unlock my key. I went off in the meantime to Richmond library.  At the stop before the one I got off at, I saw Matt walking into Richmond. 

On my return to the neo-brutalist mansion of my landlord, I was approached by my custom liaison officer, Olivia, who’d got no further with the police though she couldn’t understand either why some police superior or somebody else didn’t release the key for me to pick up. Anyway, I was to rush home to meet the carpenter before five when his shift ended. I buzzed Bob upstairs to let me in, unsecured the secure door and was talking to Rodger when the carpenter arrived. He tried breaking in but wasn’t as good as Jon, my erstwhile downstairs neighbour had been. Jon could break in faster than get a back-up key from its hiding place. Leslie, the bad neighbour who hadn’t phoned the police after my beating-up, came out but we ignored him. I got a new lock and two keys. The police can keep the old one (I’ve told Olivia to bill the Bill). I offered the carpenter a bottle of grand cru brandy. On his demurral, I insisted, “I want to give you something.” He didn’t take the hint but did take the brandy. He was a Pole from around Cracow who I had pronounce Lodz to remind me. We had a glass each and he left me another before taking the bottle. It was delicious. 

The police, on the 10th, let me collect the back-up key that no longer backs up. I told them to keep it.

11th: I picked up my dirty washing from the station and left his. I also left the rendered useless back-up for DC Gareth James with instruction he’d know where to stick it, at his leisure. 

16th: Eventually I got round to cowping the washing out the police bag to soak the bloodied bits in cold water in the bathroom sink.  A key rattled on the floor of the bath. 


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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