Patio Key – A Short Story

And then there was Byron Street. When me, Roolie, Katie, and Dex were outside The Bad Wolf and Crazy Eddie (the band) was playing heavy metal blues. Traffic moved by, bright blue red purple cars shining under the street lights. The music poured out of the door and along the ground and bounced off the small yellow orange rocks encased in concrete on the garbage can, shimmering and stinking. Dex blew his smoke straight up in the air. Trying to look cool. He liked Katie back then.

“You are my pocket friend,” Katie said to Roolie, almost yelling at him though they were no more than three feet apart.

“Ah. My itchy toe rash. You sweet.” Roolie tried to see what was going on inside The Bad Wolf, swaying like a boxer to get a better look.

“Who’s Crazy Eddie?” I asked.

“That. They are playing now!”

“Is it anyone I know?”

“Nah. No one even named Eddie in the band.”

“They suck. Who likes these guys?”

“Barry.”

“Barry’s a fuck.” That was Dex. “Let’s get the fuck outta here.”

“Where?” Katie asked.

“I can’t,” I said.

“To the Brockmire. Why?”

“She’s inside.”

“I’m not paying cover to listen to this shit.”

“They’re not bad, Dex.” Roolie said.

“You’re my pocket friend,” Katie repeated. She stole a smoke from Dex. She took whatever she wanted from him.

“Come on. Easy.”

“Why do you need to see her?” Katie asked me.

“She has something of mine.”

“This is the shit. This is the shit!” Roolie beat his foot hard on the ground for emphasis.

“Let’s go,” Dex said.

“I’m going in.”

“Okay, okay. But fuck.”

We paid the cover and went in. The bar was small and I picked up a drink and looked around for you, finding you standing near a table sipping a Long Island from a high ball glass and wearing a summer dress and leather sandles with flowers painted on them. Your brother was seated with a group of his friends. From behind him you smiled at me.

“Barry! You lousy fuck. What the hell is this music?” Dex yelled at your brother.

“Fuck off Dex.”

Dex was out of it, I mean really gone, when he rolled up to the table and punched him.

“Damn Dex! What are you doing?”

“Get out. Get out of here!” you yelled.

“What? Wait. I gotta talk to you.”

Everyone got up and started to scramble around and Barry rose with an evil look in his eye and it was about to turn real bad but then the bouncer came and grabbed Dex dragging him out while he laughed and yelled “Fuckin’ Barry. Fuckin’ Barry!”

“You guys with him?” A waitress asked.

“No. Not us,” Roolie said. “Berry. Sorry about that. Dex. Damn.”

“What do you want?” you asked me, and my head was floating and not on straight. Your hair was cut in a bob then, brown red and gorgeous, and you pushed a strand behind your ear.

“My key.”

“What?”

“Can we go somewhere quieter?”

“No. What do you want?”

“My key,” I yelled. “My patio key.”

“I don’t have your key.”

“Yes you do. That day we had lunch in the cafeteria. I showed it to you. It was a skeleton key and you put it in your purse.”

“Really? I don’t remember that.”

“Can you check? I have not been able to open my patio door for a week.”

You looked in your purse but didn’t find it.

“I don’t have it.”

“Can we go somewhere quieter?”

“Sure.”

We went outside and Dex was sitting about half a block down on the curb.

“Did you get it?”

“No.”

“Fuck off then.”

“See you at home.”

We went the opposite direction. The night was warm, but I was wearing a grey suit as I just got off of work and my job made me work nights and weekends since I had school during the day. You put your arm around me, under my coat, and you smiled into the lapels and I was wrapped lost in your perfume. We walked without talking out and off Byron Street making our way to the park under the fat eucalyptus and in the soft midnight grass still moist from a recent watering we sat down without a care. No one was there and I kissed your cheek and you pinched my ribs.

“What day is it?” You asked.

“Saturday. There is a boat parade tomorrow. Want to go?”

“Sure. You’re going to have to get a new key for your patio?”

“No. I wish there were stars out.”

“Clouds. Been cloudy and humid for days. Why not get a new key?”

“I gotta spare. And Dex never locks it anyway.”

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