At 9 pm I answered a knock at my door and found my neighbor Marek in the hall outside my apartment.

“Do you have a spare key to the guest room, number 423?”

“No,” I replied. “The key we give out is the spare.”

“Oh. The guest has locked the spare key in the guest room.”

Dave’s mom at the peak of her frustration.

I joined the small group in the hallway to participate in the break-in. Carolyn keeps the master key, so Marek’s wife Sarah called Carolyn, but Carolyn was out of town. We supposed her husband Tyler might know where the keys were, but we didn’t have a phone number for Tyler and thought all was lost, then remembered he lived two floors up and it was possible to just go see him, so I did, but he was not home either. Sarah called Cindy who said Julie had the keys, but Julie didn’t answer Sarah’s call either, so we sent Tiana down two floors to look for Julie. Meanwhile, Marek and I explored mechanical means of forced entry. Marek fetched a butterknife, but the door stop was tight and neatly painted; the knife routine would do some damage to the woodwork. I extracted my library card from my wallet and tried the slim jim routine. The guest, Dave’s mom (visiting from Canada) marveled at my technique. “Wait for results.” I advised.

The card had nearly disappeared and still it would not engage the latch. I pulled out the card and went back to my room to examine the lock and its geometry. I sprung the latch and wrapped the card around the open door. The card was obviously too short to do the trick.

I returned to the scene where Tiana announced that Julie could not be located, so Marek took a hammer to the knife and pounded it through the woodwork. The door was open in a jiffy, there was much rejoicing, and we dispersed. I returned to my apartment at the end of the hall.

I had locked myself out.


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