Monday, January 29
locked in with natalie
natalie is back! her son is out of hospital and spending some time with his grandmother in the country to recuperate. today was her second monday back at work, and as usual she was here early and finished on time. enid had already paid her, so was surprised when natalie called her, pointing at the door. it was locked, and there was no key to be seen.
once, there were two keys, but the man had lost his a couple of weeks before and not managed to find it. now there was just enid’s.
enid cast her mind back to that morning. the doorbell had rung. the man was eating pancakes for his breakfast, but had interrupted them to take stalin upstairs and shut him in the office. enid had unlocked the door and let natalie in. then she had made a cup of coffee for natalie, and tea for herself. by then, the man was back in the kitchen, finishing his pancakes. she’d said goodbye to him, taken her tea, and gone up to the office to work. and there she’d stayed for five hours, but for another coffee-making trip.
so, if she’d removed the key from the lock after she’d unlocked it to let natalie in and then lost it somewhere, either the door was locked at that point - in which case the man wouldn’t have been able to leave, or the door was unlocked, in which case it’d be unlocked now. the answer was obvious - she’d left the key where she always left it, the man had taken it, left and then locked her in.
she called him. no, he hadn’t got the key. it was her key, he’d never take it after that time she was annoyed with him for locking her in. (what if there’d been a fire, she’d asked, angrily.) enid explained her logic, but the man is, after all, a man, and what he heard was “blah blah it’s your fault blah blah.”
enid got a bit cross, and asked the man to have a look anyway.
he did so. “nope, can’t find it.”
“have you tried your briefcase?”
“uh, no, ok, i’ll look there... nope, not there either.”
“how about the car?”
“well, i suppose... i’ll go and look and call you back. but i’m sure i don’t have it - have you looked around the hall floor, it could have fallen out, and got swept aside or something.”
while the man went out to his car, enid decided she had to do something, so she may as well look for the man’s missing key. she went into every one of the man’s pockets, in trousers, coats and jackets, finding british money, a doctor’s receipt, some missing nail clippers, and, mysteriously, 4 CDs - but no keys.
the man called back. “it’s not in the car. it must be in the house, i don’t have it.”
“but you must have,” said enid, very cross by now. “it’s the only thing that makes sense. i always leave it hanging there - i never take it anywhere else. how did you get out if i took it?”
“i’ve got to go into a meeting now,” said the man. “i’ll come home afterwards, though i don’t see what good it will do.”
so natalie watched tv while enid searched all the suitcases, sock drawers and other junk collecting places of the house. still no key.
an hour later, the lift rattled and the man buzzed the intercom. enid rushed to the front door - which opened. “the key was in the outside,” said the man, sheepishly. “i must have locked it and left the key there. i did have a hangover.”