The Keys

One day Fred went to his car. The key broke in the lock.

It was hot. Early morning. He remembered his father telling him that the same thing had once happened to him.

But he also remembered that his father broke off on tangents. “Yeah, did I tell you about when the key broke in the damned lock?” Then something about Aunt Betty living off the land and Roger Somebody falling from a water tower and breaking his arm in the sand.

Fred was already fifteen minutes late.

“Your grandfather ate a bull frog. He tore into the woods and was never seen again.”

Fred fed the keys into his pocket. On his way up the porch stairs, a herd of children exploded out the front door and streamed shouting into the fields.

Fred’s knees hurt. He felt his blood turning to syrup. He recalled that he hadn’t liked his father very much. How he’d passed many years ago. And he thought it strange. He couldn’t remember how his father’s story ended.

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