The Daily Grind

by Tim Tobin

To paraphrase Poe, “Keys, keys, keys!”

My box hold thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of keys. My job? Find the key that unlocks The Door.

“Oh, good morning,” I say to Mr. Adams. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

Mr. Adams is my manager, supervisor, boss, whatever. Actually he does not supervise much. He sits in his chair all day and watches me try key after key. I frequently wonder why he needs me but, hey, the work is easy, boring but easy, and the pay is pretty good.

I sometimes wonder, though, what will happen to me when I find the key. Will Mr. Adams assign me to another job or am I out of work?

One day I asked Adams what’s on the other side of The Door. He smiled and told me we’d both find out when I locate the right key. Ok, I get it. Back to work.

Did I mention that the job is also frustrating? Some days I swear there are more keys in the box than I left the night before. Impossible, I suppose.


Hard to believe but I’ve been at this key gig for five years and finally only two keys remain in my box. Hooray!

Mr. Adams stands up behind me while I select one of the keys. I slip it into the lock on The Door and turn. The key does not move. I jiggle and wiggle the thing but the key won’t unlock The Door.

I sense Adams tense up behind me. The final key is in my hand. This one will open The Door. Unless someone has played a cruel trick on me.

My hands sweat and I struggle to grasp the slippery piece of metal. In a moment the key is in the slot. I glance back at a smiling Mr. Adams. The anticipation overwhelms me so I turn the key to the left. Nothing.

I try turning the key to the right. Click! The lock slides open.

Mr. Adams pats me on the back and then reaches around me to open The Door. Adams motions me to go ahead of him through The Door.




“Oh, good morning,” I say to Mr. Adams. “I didn’t hear you come in.”




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Writers Bio

Mr. Tobin holds a degree in mathematics from LaSalle University and is retired from L-3 Communications. His work appears in River Poets Journal, Static Movement, Cruentus Libri Press, The Speculative Edge, Rainstorm Press, Twisted Dreams, The Rusty Nail, In Parentheses, and the Whortleberry Press as well as various websites and ezines. Follow him on Twitter @TimTobin43.

Inspirational ImageKeys by Kevin Connorsby Kevin Connors

Pieces Inspired by this Image

'The Key to Room 14'
by Linda Casper

'Keys and Keyholes'
by CE Smith

by Connie Rae Sebert

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