Time and Time Again Part 5
by Rex Hurst
And here Schultz was again, looking frantically for his keys, feeling the same panic he endured while in his early 20s. It over-road everything, making him sloppy in his search, cut corners, and ultimately come up with nothing.
He knew the damn things were still in the house. They had to be, the car was still out front. But his house was a twisty weird design full of small nooks and narrow hallways. Added to that, Schultz’s wife enjoyed collecting knick-knacks, gewgaws, baubles, grimcracks, ornaments, little figurines, bric-a-brac, bibelots, and various other trinkets and displaying them all over the house, adding another hundred odd little places for his keys to be misplaced behind.
This is going nowhere, he realized. Schultz could spend the next eight hours looking for his errant keys and still not find their hiding space. He needed to think differently. It was time to take out the big guns. He opened the closet door and looked upon a thing of beauty.
And they told me it would be a waste of money.
He pulled for its hook a twisty piece of metal, wide at one end with a handle grip on the other, and a large display grafted onto the metal just below where it was gripped. Wires coiled up and down the main shaft.
It was the Bonjourno AT Max Metal Detector. It sent an electromagnetic field from the search coil into the ground. Any metal objects within the electromagnetic field became energised and retransmitted an electromagnetic field of their own. He had paid extra for waterproof coils in case he ever made it to the beach and wanted to scrounge – that was three years ago and he hadn’t made it yet. A bargain at only $399.99, plus tax. It had come with the added bonus of a plastic trowel to help scoop out whatever garbage he found buried in the sand and a baseball cap with the company logo which didn’t fit his head.
Worth every penny.
True, this was the first time he ever had an occasion to use it. But being forward thinking was how a person solved problems that hadn’t occurred yet. He flipped on the device. Let those keys try and hide now!
Schultz hefted the metal detector and flipped it on. A menacing, high-pitched, beep cut across the room. This machine meant business and it was letting everyone know it. No key was safe from being sniffed out. Schultz began waving it wildly around the room, nearly knocking over two lamps and an ugly vase his mother-in-law had regifted them for a wedding present. This was all due to jitters. Who didn’t get upset when they were about to lose control of their vehicle. Eventually he calmed down and began a solid sweep of the house.
Room by room, he surveyed the area, breathlessly waiting for the metal detector to do its magic. Naturally, he ran across a host of false positives. Pennies jammed into corners. Bent paper clips fallen between cracks. Some loose staples. A turquoise toe ring Schultz had bought his bovine wife for their fifth anniversary. An actual ring to fit keys on. All this but no car key.
Schultz checked the kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room, that little alcove which lead into the backyard, the closet which they called a laundry room, their extremely narrow foyer – if you even call it that. It was empty. Clean of keys. Schultz was flabbergasted. He banged the machine around, making sure it was on the highest setting. Was this thing even working? It must be if it picked up staples.
No, the fault was not in his stars, but his stairs. The elusive object must be lurking on the second floor. Schultz leaned against the bannister and tiptoed up the steps. He crossed himself as he did so. Were he to wake up the wife or kids, things were going to get bloody.
Creak, creak, creak. Schultz tiptoed up the stairs. The awkward metal detector seemed determined to bang into something with every step. Little scuffs and tears in the wall paper appeared up along the bannister route. Every sound was amplified in his nervous condition.
If the kids and wife were woken up, he would have to hear about it for the next month. But car keys trumped family. They were essential for modern daily life, right next to bread and water, so he would have to risk waking the beast in his pursuit of lost treasure. Still the stairs seemed an insurmountable object to overcome this morning.
After an Ice Age he departed the well-worn stairs and arrived on the second floor landing. The carpet was brown and grungy. Little specks of dirt and ash lay cloistered between the fibers. It was Schultz’s son’s responsibility to vacuum the place each week. A job which shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes and for which the Little Boy Schultz was paid the princely sum of $20 a week – $15 dollars more than the allowance Schultz himself had been given by Grandpa Schultz back in 19-whenever.
Unfortunately, Little Boy Schultz wasn’t very enthusiastic about the amazing business opportunity presented to him. In fact, he refused to comply, stating that he was being forced to do it and that his father was a Nazi and Fascist for trying to make him. This exploded into an argument, whereupon Schultz told his son he would do his assigned chores or he wouldn’t receive any money. Little Boy Schultz countered that he was fine with that and would make do on his own.
So far it had ended in a stalemate. The carpet was un-vacuumed, but Schultz had not had to shell out a dime to his ungrateful son.