Country Roads

Writing prompt. Keys found in an intersection in the country – no people or vehicles around.

Are these your keys? They were found in the middle of County Hwy FF near Dutch Hollow Rd. If they are yours, please contact the Green County Dispatch Center at 608-328-9401. Thanks!

Keys found

I was driving around town after my shift at the restaurant ended and ran into (not literally) Susan and Tom. Susan had been my best friend in elementary school and she and Tom had been dating for a year. We were going to be juniors in high school, Tom had graduated the year before. I left my car in the parking lot of the Swiss Colony Outlet store on the corner of 8th and Hwy 69 and jumped into their car. We drove to my new boyfriend’s house a few blocks away. It was an August hot, sultry, Wisconsin summer night. Scott was home and he waved to his folks as the screen door slammed behind him.

We drove around town for a while, debating whether to go to a movie at the local theater. None of the shows looked interesting. So Tom headed out of town, going north east into the country.

It was close to ten by this time, and the summer sun’s glow was still on the western horizon. But stars were popping out on the south and eastern sky and the Wisconsin hills enveloped our little car. I’m not sure exactly where Tom stopped, but he pulled over and he and Susan got out and walked down the road.

That left Scott and me in the back seat. Alone. It started out slowly, but one little kiss lead to another, and then another, and then…Well, it wasn’t very comfortable, and it was getting hot. Literally.

So I opened the door and spilled out onto the blacktop. The heat was still emanating from the asphalt. Scott and I sat next to each other, our backs up against the fender, Scott’s T was sweated through; my tank top stuck to my back. We sat in companionable quiet, his hand on my thigh.

The mosquitos began to buzz and about that time Tom and Susan wandered back. Susan had some twigs and grass in her long blonde hair. We all piled in and drove back to town. Not much was said.

We dropped Scott off at his house. He gave me a long kiss in the backseat before he jumped out. The porchlight was still on.

Tom and Susan dropped me off at my car, but I couldn’t find my keys. Tom turned on the interior light, and we searched, reaching into the back seat and under the front seats, but the keys were nowhere. The search was futile. We decided to return to where we had parked in the morning, since searching at night would have been pointless. They drove me to my home across town.

I was frantic. The set belonged to my dad, and had not only car keys, but house, shed, locker, office…and a couple I didn’t even know what they went to. He would go ballistic, especially if I told him how I’d lost them—which of course I would never tell.

The next day around 10 we drove back to the scene. We had driven north on 69 and turned right onto FF. Beyond that I didn’t have a clue. Tom wasn’t sure exactly where we had parked but got us close. We searched. They day was gray, muggy, rain on the horizon. I had put the keys in my back pocket and figured they must have fallen out when I slid out of the car. Nothing. We finally gave up.

Later that day, Susan sent me a Facebook post. It was from the Green County Sheriff’s Office. A picture of my keys was front and center. They had my keys at their office.

I rode my bike to the jail and picked up the keys. It looked as though they had been run over, but everything was intact, and the electronic part of my car key was fine. I thanked the reception lady profusely, asked who it was that turned them in. She didn’t know.

But I dodged a bullet that day, and so did my boyfriend, Scott.

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