Key

Out walking in the town streets, the pavements full to bursting, many times so full are they, I can barely shuffle along, until it starts to clear again to re-establish my own stride. Further away from the shops, the people even fewer still, until there is just me but just for solitary steps behind me peace at last, still at least one mile from home, I continue around the corners across the streets. I notice, the same foot fall behind me, my heart quickens as I think of the why’s and the who’s, just walking, just coincidence.
I calm myself and continue, make a deal with myself, that if they are still behind when I turn this next corner, I shall steal a glance. I turn, they follow. I take a wobbly deep breath and I turn, to see, to my amazement, striding towards me is Tom Waits, in brown battered trilby hat, tatty suit, just a few feet from me now, he smiles at my shocked face, tips his hat and hands me a large rusty key, no word just a look, a look that says ‘Do not lose this key’ . No word could I manage, I just stood and stared down at the key in my palm as the foot steps faded, leaving me in silence.
Silence broken aptly by the cawing of a crow on an adjacent rooftop, it breaks my hypnosis so I continue home, I would think of what this key could mean, but I am at a loss, even if my brain was up to speed, what possible use is it?
I arrive home, walk up the path, open my front door, and there in the hallway sits, a large wooden trunk.
The trunk looked very old, with brass band straps going green, the wood dark from what looked like the centuries that had past since it was a tree. Looking to the lock, I found there was no lock, just a catch, so curiosity draws my hands to the lid and I open it, I jump back as I see, curled up asleep inside is Iggy Pop, a sound sleeper it seems, as the trunk lid banging open did not stir him a jot.
While I gather my thoughts once again, in his own time Iggy wakes and unfolds his elastic body from the trunk. He glares at me with bloodshot wild eyes and asks “what time is it?”, I automatically check my watch and tell him “it’s seven thirty,.. wh.. what are you doing here?”, “well, I was sleeping, but now I am leaving” and with that, he walks straight out of the front door.
I checked the trunk for any clues of what had just happened, nothing, just an empty trunk, later I try to move it, but it proves to heavy to budge, so I just close the lid and go to bed, whatever dreams arrive, cannot be any stranger than this day.
As the sun returns, it brings with it brightness, warmth and bird song, it takes a few moments to recall the day before, the oddness once again washes through my head.
Get out of the house, out see normality, to return to base. Reaching in my pocket, the key remains, but downstairs I find that the trunk is gone, just the slightest dent in the carpet to prove its existence, put it to the back of my mind, its gone. Stepping out of the front door I pause to take a deep breath and listen to the blackbird sing, to feel the air to my face, sigh and off.
The morning unfolds in cheerful normality, talk of weather and of political greed, no talk of Tom Waits, its rare to find anyone who has heard of him, let alone one who wishes to hear such madness, given time it will drift to story in my own mind, I should just dispose of the key, but my heart says hold it just in case, it is after all just a key.
Now to go back home, a flinch in my chest says I am not done yet, and as I near a church I begin to hear a guitar, a rich riff wafts to my ears and carries me nearer, up the stoney path and through the gate. Before me a closed wooden church door with an old key hole inviting a key. As I fumble for the key the music stops and I hear foot steps, and the door slowly creaks open, and there with guitar in hand is Marc Ribot, he looks very tired. I bumble “I was just about to try this key in the door.. Tom Waits gave it to me..”, “Well yes, of course, come in I guess”.
The late afternoon sun pours in through the stained glass windows, lighting the haze of cigar smoke in many colours, half the pews are missing, replaced with a few tables, chairs and a stool, some guitars rest on stands, “its just for a few friends, some new stuff, would you like a drink?”, he pours a bourbon regardless of answer and hands it to me, “This key, can I see it?”, I fetch it from my pocket and offer it for appraisal, “Nope, wont fit this door, but then, you are here already”.
I sip my drink and take a seat as Marc takes to his stool and continues practicing, stooped over the guitar like it is the only thing in the world. I make my excuses and leave the glass half full, and the church to its echoes.
Exiting the church the cawing of a crow greets me and I automatically look for it’s accomplice Tom, but no sign, just the busy rustle of taken flight. Again I find myself treading the same path home, the earlier sun is becoming shy, as I turn a corner it starts to rain. as it rains harder I am resigned to a soaking, I stop and look up and feel the rain on my face. There is a freedom in resigning yourself to just getting wet. Flap, awakes me and an unfolded umbrella is held over my head, “a little early to quit isn’t it son? I’ll take back the key in exchange for this umbrella”, I reach into my pocket and hand Tom the key, “Some stories are mean’t for another, enjoy normality son” and with that Tom popped his collar, tipped his hat and headed off. I headed the other way, home to normality.

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