Vanishing Keys and Wallets

Our neighbor and friend, Gisella, had to go into the hospital for major surgery and asked us if we’d keep tabs on her husband, Wes, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Things went pretty well the first few days.  Bill and I would go over to fix breakfast, make sure he had his morning pills, give him his morning allocation of cigarettes and sit and visit for a bit.  We’d return to fix lunch, dole out the afternoon cigarettes and sit and visit some more.  Dinner was the last trip of the day.  We’d take him a plate of whatever we made for ourselves, and give him his evening pills and his final ration of cigarettes.

One the fifth day, when we came over and announced we were there with dinner, I noticed that the front door deadbolt key was gone and, if I couldn’t find it, I’d have to go back home to get the spare because the front door couldn’t be locked without it.

After we got him settled in at the dining table with a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and a glass of milk, I decided to conduct a search for the missing key.

“Wes, do you know where the front door key is?” I asked as I looked on table tops, under magazines and newspapers, on bookshelves and on the TV stand in the combination family/dining room.

“Nope, but my wallet’s gone missing,” he replied in between bites of pasta and marinara.

“Did you look in your pocket?” I asked.

“I think so,” he said, patting down his shirt with a piece of garlic bread, “but it’s not there.”

“What about the front door key? Is it in your pocket?” I asked.

“Nope.  It must be in the front door.”

“No it’s not.  It’s missing.”

“What’s missing?”

“The front door key.”

“Well where is it?”

“If I knew that it wouldn’t be missing,” I answered with a sigh.

”What’s missing?”

“The front door key.”

“You know, I think my wallet’s gone missing too.  I think someone snuck in here and took it,” he informed us as he munched on a meatball.

“Wes, I really don’t think someone snuck in,” I replied as I opened kitchen drawers and cupboards looking for the key and his wallet.  “I think you would have noticed if a stranger came into the house.”

“When did a stranger come in the house?” he asked, somewhat alarmed as he looked up from his plate of half-eaten pasta.

“They didn’t.  No one.  Never mind.  We’re just trying to figure out where your wallet and the front door key went.”

“The key’s in the door.  And my wallet’s gone missing,  I think someone took it.”

“Nobody took it.  It’s just been misplaced.”

“What has?”

I came to an abrupt stop in the middle of the kitchen.  My head was spinning, I was holding the refrigerator door open and couldn’t remember why.  I looked across the room at Bill, who was standing by the back door, his hand on the knob, making not-so-subtle gestures that it was time to go.

“Nothing, don’t worry about it,” I said with a smile.  “Enjoy your dinner and we’ll see you in the morning.”

“Okay.  Thanks for stopping by,” he said as he waved goodbye to us with the last of his garlic bread.



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