Once there was a girl named Meg who drove a rusty blue shoebox named Squeaky. Her boyfriend Stick, on the other hand, drove a pretty ultramarine Cougar. (And Cougar is the model, not it’s name) He’d bought it new, and it would need to drive a hundred thousand miles to catch up to what it said on Squeaky’s odometer.

However, the Massachussetts weather and winter potholes had done a number on the poor Cougar, and it had spent quite a bit of time in the green lot, and was scheduled for some automobile surgery. So Meg would drive Squeaky and pick up Stick. Sometimes when it was snowy or rainy, she’d give the key to Stick and he would drive. This went on for a few months.

“I need to make this key copied,” I said. I handed Squeaky’s key over to the handware store guy. This moment is fraught with relationship symbolism. My key, getting copied for Stick! It’s sign of the stabilty and trust, etc., etc. It’s a huge relationship step.

I was going to continue my giving-Stick-a-key-to-my-soul montage, but at this point, the weird Aubuchons guy shows up and starts to give me the crazy eye and a lecture on mesh screens…

Anyway, Eric has the other copy of Squeaky’s key, and I have a key to the Dropship (that’s Eric’s new car, since I crashed the Jellybean). But Eric’s been working in Sterling for a while, so he’s been a little too far away for either of us to do designed-driver duty or locked-out rescue for the other. This s heavy with it’s own copied-key symbolism.

The morning after I gave Stick the key, I’m leaving for work when I realize I can’t get my key into the lock! Well, I can get it in, but I can’t turn it, and I can’t get into the car! This is where my trust symbolism ends… with me locked out of my car and late for work. I decide to leave my car illegally parked and rely on Marcus’ parking services connections to keep me from getting towed, and I hightail it to the store. I call Stick after work.

“Hey, baby, I’m taking my car to the garage,” he says. “What’re you doing?”


“Why? I thought you didn’t like to drive, and now I can get my car fixed and — “

“The key I gave you was the original, and I have the copy, and the copy doesn’t work!”

Stick and his Cougar are at the parking lot next to Squeaky when I get there. Stick does not say anything dumb like “Are you sure your key doesn’t work?” or “Did you turn it both ways?” He hands me his key, totally unaware of the symbolic tragedy of trust, and my deep sense of foreboding.

I remind myself that maybe the key can be some kind of ironic avant-garde anti-foreshadowing, and go to the hardware store with my defective key. This is not a symbol of my failure as a girlfriend I tell myself, and then show the key-cutting guy my defective key.

“Oh, this is easy to fix,” he says, “Right core, right cut, I just need to take off the rough edges,”

Yeah. I knew that.

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