Time and Time Again Part Six

Time and Time Again Part Six

The clock was ticking and Schultz still hadn’t found his car keys. Like a lion tamer bearing his chair and whip, Shultz waved the metal detector in front of himself. Frantically waving it about in pursuit of the errant keys. He began in the master bedroom. 

His bloated wife was snoring away in the bed. The kids breakfasts and packed lunches had been pre-made the night before, so it was likely she would sack in until at least noon, getting up just in time for a mimosa and some daytime trash TV – either four drunken women sitting around a table squawking about topics well beyond their intelligence level; or some ancient game show, a continuation of some hit from the 80s where the new host doesn’t even have half of the charisma of the original guy. 

The metal detector gave him no end of red herrings, beeping at every stray paper clip, hair pin, penny, little strand of wire. The normal debris that accumulates in strange corners and unkempt nooks. But unfortunately, those hidden places of the house, where only pests and pets crept, yielded no keys. 

Schultz whirled to enter the bathroom connected to the master bedroom when he swung wide, knocking over a lamp and a glass of water on the nightstand next to his wife’s snoring body. It was akin to disturbing an angry deity, or disturbing the Balrog in Moria. She arose in a blinding fury. 

“What the Hell are you doing?” 

Naturally this disrupted every other sleeping person in the household. Schultz buckled up for the bumpy ride ahead.

The bell could not be unrung, nor the toothpaste squeezed back into the tube, while searching for his keys, Schultz had accidentally awakened his wife, and she was not going to go back down easily. 

            “What are you doing here?” she bellowed. “You’re going to be late for work!”

            “I can’t find my keys.”


            “My keys they’re missing. Did you take them?” 

            “Why would I take your stupid keys to your stupid junk pile car. I have my own vehicle. Though that’s terrible too. But it’s what I have to put up with since you’re such a loser who can’t make more money.” 

            “Well, I suppose it’s out of the question for you to go out and earn a buck,” Schultz snarled. 

            She waved a bloated arm about. “I’ve got stuff to do here. I take care of everything, now you want me to work too?” 

            Schultz looked about his dilapidated house, which was reflective of his dilapidated life. He took in how well his beloved spouse took care of things. Wrinkled clothes, spots on the windows, dirt in the corners, cobwebs in the eaves, rings in the bathtub, dust on the glasses. One hell of a job she was doing. 

            Still all of that was irrelevant right then. The moment at hand demanded he have some sort of transportation. Schultz took a dare. 

            “Give me your keys,” he demanded. 

            “Get bent.” 

            “You said it yourself, I’m gonna be late for work. Now give them to me.” 

            He threw down his metal detector and snatched up her purse. Like a pouncing puma, she bounced out of the bed and tackled him. They struggled over the accessory, until a mighty ripping sound cut across the room. The bag split, spreading its contents all over the room.

The purse split in twain. Its contents shot about the room. All the various mysteries women keep buried in their bags were exposed to the light of the sun. 

Keeping the gynecological and sanitary items to one side, all other sorts of sundry garbage flew past Shultz’s face: loose mints covered in lint; rusty hair pins; a handful of tarnished loose change; an outlet adaptor for her cell phone with one prong broken off; sixteen lipsticks – all colors that she never wore; various little bottles of goo that women liked to smear on their face; a rape whistle that had been buried in the bottom bag rendering it useless if Schultz’s wife had ever been attacked; a little date book which had been last used in 2002; half a tree’s worth of crumpled receipts; business cards for extinct stores, on the backs of which were written the phone numbers of people she couldn’t remember; thirteen salted almonds; thin paper napkins from every fast food joint in town; three squashed ketchup packets; a forgotten brass locket with a smiley face on it. The chain had snapped five years ago and Schultz’s wife kept meaning to get it fixed; one hoop earring. Its sister had long been stolen by the cat; a Starbucks gift card with thirty five cents still on it; two Olive Garden gift cards with no cash on it, but she hadn’t gotten rid of it for some reason; a rewards card for a coffee shop that had closed down two years prior; a trial gym membership card Schultz’s wife had used once and then forgotten about; expired coupons giving ten cents off of soup; tiny keys, previously thought lost, to lockboxes she had thrown out years ago; a pair of sunglasses missing one lens; a melted Hershey’s Kiss; and old pictures of their children, the edges of which had been frayed by time. 

            And of course, also tossed in the mix was the object of Schultz’s quest – his wife’s car keys.

The great hunt then began for his wife’s car keys. She was fully awake now, screaming with a banshee’s tongue, threatening violence, threatening to cut off his sex supply, threatening to divorce him. And all Schultz could think was, 


            As he rooted around the carpet in his search, he unearthed every jangling bit of crap from her purse but the object of his desire. When was the last time this carpet had been cleaned? Dust, and pollen, and unidentified powdered crud rose up from the fibers and stung Schultz’s eyes. It was disgusting, horrible, rotten. And while he probably bore some of the blame, he decided to pin it all on his bovine wife. 

            “You’re not picking it up,” Shultz’s wife complained. 

            “I’m not going to do that. I’m just looking for the keys.” 

            A series of unprintable profanities followed that proclamation, and Schultz’s wife heaved herself onto the floor and began an episode of scrounging herself. The searching

hastened in earnest, with husband and wife going over every inch of floor, bouncing off each other like bumper cars. 

            “If I find the keys,” Schultz’s wife threatened. “I’m keeping them.” 

            At least then they’d be found, Schultz mused. I can wrestle them from her hands after she drops off from the exercise. Indeed, this was the most he had seen his wife move in decades. Usually it took her half an hour to slump between the bed and the shower. This frenzied assault on the floor was sure to wear her out for the rest of the day. 

            A low snarling “rawr” emitted from the doorway. Schultz looked up. There stood his cat, issuing a warning growl for everyone to stay away from his prey. Clutched in his mouth were the car keys. 


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