~They were gone.
Five times I retraced my steps. Five times—or more—I peaked in every window of the truck—they were nowhere to be seen. How could a set of keys just vanish?
I asked the receptionist at the main hospital entrance—nope, no keys. She phoned the emergency desk near the security guard office—same answer.
She did however, have a hanger. The wire bendy kind; and she let me borrow it. “Bring it back. I keep it here for stuff like this,” she warned.
I tried. My pregnant daughter Kayla tried. Two of my sons, Travis and Josiah, tried. It was cold outside. Finally, I gave in and called out, a locksmith. I brought the hanger back and asked again. No keys.
I told the kids to go be with their sister who just gave birth to her first child. I scolded myself as I scoured the parking lot, again, and asked the receptionist, again. Walked over to the emergency desk by the security office and asked in person—nothing.
Where could they be?
I walked back to the truck looking at the ground. Walked back to the emergency entrance and waited, because that was closest to the truck, and the spot I told the locksmith to meet me.
He got lost. Couldn’t find the hospital—and could hardly speak English. He drove while I talked to him on the phone. I told him the exact address. Told him exactly where I was standing.
He acted like I wasn’t where I said I was. “I am here, but you are not.” He said.
“I’ve told you the exact address and exactly where I’m standing, I don’t know what else I can tell you…” I was about to tell him to forget it and I’d get someone else. But he pulled around the corner in a silver Toyota. He motioned for me to get in the little car. I did. I was cold. And hot. As I sat in the passenger seat a bumper sticker on his dash board stared at me. IRAQ.
I showed him where the truck was parked and he pulled up beside it. We got out and he pulled out a receipt book.
He opened his trunk and started to fill out some information on the receipt. “This will be $85.00 for service call and $100.00 for emergency; $185.00 total.
“I’ll break the window out before I’ll give you $185.00.” I told him. I’m not proud of this, but think I was about to forget I was a Christian.
“Then how much you give me?” He blurted out, disgusted.
“I’ll give you $100.00 that’s it or forget it,” I said.
“Cash?” he asked.
“Yes.” I said, disgusted.
He scribbled in large letters across the top of the receipt book, “AMERICANS” and handed me the receipt book. “Put name, make, model, license number on here.”
Wish I wouldn’t have, but I took it. The pen was cold and didn’t want to write—neither did I. But, I scribbled some information, and handed it back to him.
He stuck a plastic pad in the top of the door and pumped air into it. The door spread open about a quarter of an inch. He stuck an aluminum tube, which resembled the kind on the back of an air conditioning unit, through the opening and placed it under the latch and lifted. The door opened. It took about as much time for him to open the door, as it did for you to read how he did it—ten seconds or less.
I handed him a hundred dollar bill and jumped into the truck and searched for the keys—everywhere. They were nowhere.
Now what am I gonna do…Dear Jesus—
The timing couldn’t have been more imperfect. I sat back in the seat and watched my hundred dollars drive away, and then, saw the sticky note under the wiper blade.
The words kicked. I was relieved and mad all at once…then guilty.
My mind flashed back to a couple hours earlier, when I was searching for a parking spot. Every row had signs prohibiting parking unless you were a doctor or employee. Up and down until I reached the far end against a snow bank. I parked and got out and started toward the door. But a sign caught my eye.
NO PARKING. Violators Will Be Towed At Owners Expense.
It wasn’t directly in front of where I parked, but the arrow indicated it applied to where I was parked. A snow bank covered another sign. I spun around and did something I rarely ever do. I swore. I said, "D---this parking lot." (psst I've haven't told anyone that part of the story yet--you're the first, so keep it quiet ok?)
I drove to a spot that had to be a hundred miles away. And then, my dash to the door is how I lost the keys.
I remembered running and feeling the empty pocket where the keys used to be. I thought I should turn around to search, but I didn't.
I remembered about an hour earlier, my son Travis telling me I should check with security, but I didn't.
Cursing the lot cost me a lot—a hundred bucks, I thought.
This is a follow up to the prior post: The Walk.