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Written July 2002

It seems that lately my car keys have had a social life of their own. Sometimes they travel to distant foreign (and sometimes perilous) places like the backyard, the toy box, the bathroom sink, or even the diaper pail. But there's one thing for certain; they are RARELY perched in their proper place. The culprit? My two-year-old daughter.

-Mama key go?

I look down at my daughter as she inquires about my missing car keys. It seems like this routine happens on a weekly basis.

-I don't know Baby... where did they go?
- Mama key go? she repeats.

Immediately I begin my "search and rescue" mission by looking in all the usual places. a., my daughter, tags along with her yellow plastic binoculars, and after a fruitless tour through the house, my search turns to panic. Images of some stranger, like the mail man or the gardener, peeling off in my Honda make my blood pressure rise. In desperation, I crouch down, look a. square in the eyes and plead, "Baby... can you find Mama's keys?"

She responds immediately by pointing to the living room couch. Ah yes...THE COUCH. Relief temporarily overtakes me as I have a positive feeling that my keys must be there. Somewhere.

Now before I can continue, I must add that my couch is no ordinary piece of furniture. No siree. Like a beleaguered soldier, it proudly displays milk stains, barf, and spit-up like shiny badges of honor. Seemingly millions of cat hairs cling mercilessly to the cushions, revealing that even our cat, Nenny, holds little respect for this beaten-up sofa. The thought of shoving my innocent hand down into the bowels of my couch sends a chill of sheer terror throughout my body. My focus quickly turns to my husband, H., who is napping peacefully.

-Querido, you've been drafted, I announce loudly.
-For what? Before he can elicit a response from me, I promptly point to the couch.
-Mama key go? a. adds.
-Oh the keys are lost, huh?

As if on autopilot, my husband reports to duty. He bravely removes the faded, milk-stained cushions and tosses them to the floor. a. immediately begins bouncing on them, and H. stoically sticks his hand down into the couch. I avert my eyes as I cannot i-ma-gine ever putting my hands down there.

Ewwww... it's gross in here, H. proclaims as his hand blindly searches the depths of the couch. Then like magic, he pulls out an eye shadow brush like a magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat.

-I've been looking all over for that thing, I say as I eagerly reach for it.
-I'm not kidding... it's all gooey in here, H. mutters as he continues his search of the nether regions of the couch. His expedition is growing serious as he begins skillfully using his body weight to depress the couch springs, allowing his hands to venture deeper into this black hole of a couch. a. peers closely with great interest, and I anticipate the awaited reunion with my keys.

After twenty minutes of deep searching, we find ourselves amongst a large pile of junk. Here, for your reading pleasure, is the unabridged list of the 37 items we found inside our couch on Monday, July 15, 2002

1. 2" plastic lion
2. Black Bic Pen - Medium point
3. Golf pencil
4. Packet of unidentified brackets and nails
5. Black overhead projector pen
6. Two small purple spoons
7. 16-month 2002 Mini Calendar titled "Puppies"
8. Green plastic comb
9. Unidentified aluminum key
10. Sample-size tube of Eucerin moisturizing cream
11. Three pennies
12. Heart-shaped badge, painted by a.
13. Leather bookmark
14. Silver golf ball
15. Green sateen ribbon
16. Long Beach Parks and Recreation schedule, Spring 2002
17. "Madeline" bookmark
18. One peanut
19. Fifteen used Kleenexes
20. Tiny plastic baby
21. Watch with eBay logo
22. Small, smooth black stone
23. Four elastic hair ties
24. Two plastic hair barrettes
25. Green foam letter "J"
26. Blue foam letter "P"
27. American Express financial statement, period ending March 31, 2002
28. Two Cheerios
29. One french fry
30. Twisted piece of plastic wire
31. Old Navy gift receipt, dated February 9, 2002
32. Parents Magazine subscription card
33. Behr Paint chip card with the following colors: "Angora Scarf," Kashmir," and "Foote Path"
34. Torn corner of a receipt from Sam's Club
35. Broken crayon
36. Torn piece of a yellow Post-It Note
and the piece de resistance
37. Packet of "Silicone Lubricant -- FISH SAFE... NON-TOXIC"
Item not discovered inside our couch:
1. My missing car keys.

After rummaging through our pile of loot, H. and I find ourselves laughing hysterically on the floor. a. is quietly curled up on the carpet asleep and completely unaware of our treasure trove. We decide to order Chinese take-out, and as H. heads towards the door to pick up the food, he turns to me, smiles and says, - Do you have the car keys?



fiction based on reality by leslie

kRzYgAnStA8 (10:42:04 PM): Hey Miss
TouchTomorrow(10:42:19 PM): Hey there
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:42:27 PM): wat chu doin?
TeachTomorrow(10:42:51 PM): checking e-mail, chatting w/ you
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:42:59 PM) : dats nice. i dressed like a skool boi 2day. i had 2 comb my hair
TouchTomorrow(10:43:40 PM): yeah you looked nice today....after all it was graduation.
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:44:03 PM): my mom gave meh 10 dolla 2 comb my hair
TouchTomorrow(10:44:07 PM): LOL
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:44:12 PM): lol
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:44:15 PM): brb
TouchTomorrow(10:44:57 PM): ok
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:47:37 PM): bacc
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:47:54 PM): rival gang keep imin' meh
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:47:58 PM): and cussin meh out
TouchTomorrow:(10:48:11 PM): which one? put your away message on.
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:48:15 PM): abz
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:48:19 PM):asian boiz
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:48:38 PM): ima get out when im 18 support my family
TouchTomorrow (10:49:42 PM): E*** you need to get out now...not later.
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:49:44 PM): getting shot isn't really a problem
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:49:53 PM):lol
TouchTomorrow (10:49:58 PM): there's no LOL over here my friend
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:54:51 PM): i got shot at b4
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:54:53 PM): and chased
TouchTomorrow (10:54:58 PM): it's never too late
kRzYgAnStA8 (10:58:57 PM): being shot at iz scary i thought diein won't be a big deal but when ur being shot at all u can think bout iz living
TouchTomorrow (11:00:19 PM):Uh yeah... dying is a HUGE deal. You have too MUCH to live worry me E***
TouchTomorrow(11:00:41 PM):your parents would be devastated if anything happened to you. I would be crushed too.
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:00:48 PM): yea
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:00:54 PM): i lost alot ob friendz 2
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:01:06 PM): *of
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:01:27 PM): i seen their family n i seen their mom break down and cry and stuff
TouchTomorrow (11:01:58 PM): E***! Would u want 2 do that 2 your mom?
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:02:45 PM): no
TouchTomorrow (11:04:15 PM): always keep that in mind. your parents love you tremendously and it is their dream that you do well in life. No one wants to have their child's life cut short.
TouchTomorrow (11:04:31 PM): you're her future...her dreams rolled into one.
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:04:32 PM): yea
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:05:47 PM): g****** waz scared when he got shot at. he'z 4rm lpsk
TouchTomorrow (11:06:01 PM) G****** is another one that I worry about! low profile style kingz?
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:06:22 PM): he used 2 smoke wit me
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:06:25 PM): yeah.. we got caught
TouchTomorrow (11:06:31 PM): he smokes everyday that boy...I already talked to his mom
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:07:04 PM): and they say if i smoke ima go juvi
TouchTomorrow(11:07:32 PM): I thought you were going to juvi b/c of GTA?
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:07:42 PM): that to
TouchTomorrow(11:08:00 PM): E***!!!!
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:08:05 PM): imma try to change
TouchTomorrow (11:08:11 PM): yes, I can tlel
TouchTomorrow (11:08:16 PM): * tell...I'm so proud of you
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:08:20 PM): i stop gang banging
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:08:23 PM): and smoking
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:08:33 PM): and i tried hard at skool
TouchTomorrow (11:09:18 PM): and you have done so well
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:09:25 PM): and my parents found out about everything to
TouchTomorrow (11:09:36 PM): I know your dad was pissed...I know how he is
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:09:43 PM): yep he waz
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:09:49 PM): wiped meh good to
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:09:50 PM): lol
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:10:06 PM): i still didn't learn my lesson
TouchTomorrow(11:10:13 PM): hardhead
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:11:06 PM): GTG now
TouchTomorrow(11:11:13 PM): okay, but we need to talk tomorrow in person. CUL
kRzYgAnStA8 (11:11:26 PM): aiite, miss
TouchTomorrow(11:11:33 PM): GN be good...please. CUL