Locked Out


I walked down the stairs and out of the shop garage.  I opened the heavy metal door to a glorious 4:30 p.m. sunset.  Pale blue sky held gray clouds tinged with coral.  I breathed in the fresh air and crossed the lot.  I reached the back door knob of the main office and turned it.  Locked.  Huh.  I walked around to the front door.  I jiggled the knob, which was also locked.

I finally looked up and suddenly realized the silence I stood in.  No trucks moved.  Nobody walked around, hosing down a garbage can.  Not a single voice or soul.  I existed in a ghost town, very temporarily.  Everyone else had gone home for the day.

Now what?

My boss, the public works superintendent, had a meeting downtown. I considered waiting around.  But the last words he said to me rang in my ears: “When I get back around 4:00, we’ll go over those numbers again.”  When I left the enclave, the clock stood at 4:23. I didn’t know for sure if he’d return, since the meeting ran long.

I considered leaving a note, yet I had no pen and only the bills I planned to drop off clutched in my hand. Nothing for it but to walk.  My car keys, coat and phone sat safe and sound inside shop office. I could have gone home – I’m that close – but the best solution would be to get into the office again to reach my car keys, etc.

Fortunately, Shelton doesn’t take up much real estate.  The golden light infused the walk with a certain magic.  I picked up the pace, gazing at the sky as I went. I held onto the bills. The temperature had dropped into the 40s with the sun’s departure. I reached the coffee shop and interrupted the casual meeting.

“I’m locked out.  Sorry!” I said as I stepped into the warm room

“We just talked about getting you a key today.  I’m sorry about that,” the super said. He got up.  He directed me to where I could get a key myself.

“Wait, did you walk over here?”

He looked incredulous.

“Sure.  It’s beautiful out,” I said. C’mon, man! I wanted to say.  I’m from Portland.  I used to walk 10 blocks to deposit my paycheck.

Now I knew I had the keys to get in.  It gave me a sense of security. I strode back, glad for the new knowledge and fortuitous stretching of my legs.

It reminds me of how I’m doing with NaNoWriMo.  I’ve got 3100 words so far on what’s supposed to be a 50,000-word novel.  At that rate, the website informs me, I’ll finish in March 2016.  Thanks much. The plot of my novel, it seems, is temporarily locked up.  I can’t seem to quite reach it and tell the next part of the story.

No reason to get discouraged. All I need are the keys.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11


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