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He wanted a set of burnished keys that unlocked everything. He wanted a key to open bank vaults and executive suites, a key for molten doors on the surface of the sun. He wanted a sad key like his sadness and a key with a profile like the mighty mountains in the east—with Himalayan contours. He wanted a key to the janitor’s closet where his wife had broken their vows.
He’d accept a key to his own house.
He tried the handle to his front door again as he waited for a locksmith. A better life had keys to open locked doors.
A bumblebee with a key to its nest buzzed around his head, unaware of the news. Entire colonies vanished overnight, abandoned their combs, their honey. Noise pollution.
Bees navigate by the sound of the hive’s vibrations. Having gone to collect pollen, industrial cacophony made it impossible to listen home. Left?—aimless stingers.
His wife lost her way home, lost among loud laughter and luminous lies.
“Listen,” she had said.
The locksmith was long in coming. He had run over a dog that broke through a backyard gate and darted into the street.
His hands trembled.
He picked the lock in under a minute. “It’s strange,” he said as he wrote the bill for the man, “how much harder it is to keep things locked up. Now, that’d be a tough business.”
Jody J. Sperling
Jody J. Sperling lives in Spokane, Washington with his wife, son and baby-to-be. He attends the University of Eastern Washington in pursuit of an MFA in Fiction writing. His work has been featured in Garbanzo, Graze, SPECS and elsewhere.