The Keys

Head wobbling, he looked left and right as much as he could without tipping himself out of his chair. Near immobility was one indignity. It was the least.

“Matthew, do you want a drink?” the man asked him.

He was a pleasant enough man, white and ginger-haired. but otherwise anonymous in Matthew’s world view. He’d been introduced. Matthew hadn’t cared to hear, remember and store his name.

The man was offering a straw and glass. Matthew despised straws. Children drank from straws; he was an adult. He was a man. “No, thank you,” he said. His once sonorous voice chirped, slouched and broke through the three words. He wished he could close his ears and not hear himself any longer. “Where are my keys?” That voice sickened him.

“What do you need your keys for, Matthew?”

What fucking business is that of yours, Matthew thought. “Where are they?”

“Don’t worry, they’re right here.” The man brought him his keys, holding them so they dangled in front of Matthew, like he was a cat or a baby, and the man wanted was playing with him. “Do you plan on taking a ride?”

Fuck you. Forcing his will into movement, Matthew reached for his keys. The limb and hand trembled. His shoulder, elbow and wrist issued warning pains. Reaching for the keys took long seconds, something once done easily and without stress. When his fingers closed on them, Matthew wanted to close his eyes and rest. Tears welled up. Others would think it was pain or sadness. Only he knew it was anger.

Chatting, the man wiped Matthew’s eyes. Matthew didn’t care. He closed his fist on his keys and then closed his eyes. He had his keys. Time to die.

His journey could now begin.


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