"So?" I was busy trying to go through Ashes' geometry homework, which wasn't coming easy. I never could figure out how to determine the radius of a circle.
"So, I locked up $500 worth of change in it for the hotel, and now, I can't get the money out!" he said. "Has this ever happened before?"
Actually, it had. About four years ago, during that unhappy period after I moved out of Josie's house, before I met Corb. I had gotten into a conversation with a guy from Alaska, and ended up at his apartment, in Braintree, which is about fifty minutes away from Eldredge.
For security, I had placed my wallet in the glove compartment, and locked it up. And when I returned to the car, at two in the morning, I tried to unlock it, but discovered that the key wouldn't budge.
The problem was, I was on empty. There was no way that I was going to have enough gas to drive home. And, it was the middle of winter, during a snowstorm.
Nervously, I drove to a gas station, hoping that the glove compartment would miraculously open once I got there. It didn't, of course. For ten minutes, I tried working it open. Shoving the key in, moving it around, trying to twist it in the lock to get it to move, until the key was at the point of breaking. Nothing worked.
I contemplated spending the night at the gas station, sleeping in the car, my teeth chattering, no blanket.
Finally, in desperation, I went over to talk to the attendant. Did he have anything that could unlock it?
I explained my situation to the attendant, a young Italian kid. He shook his head, not sure what he could do. He walked with me to my car, and fiddled around with the glove compartment. He placed the key in the lock. It opened up, immediately.
He shook his head at me and walked back to his station. I filled up my gas, and drove home. The next day, I bought a new key for my car. Turned out the old one had suffered a bit of wear and tear.
That's what happened, this time around, too. And the situation had some desperation to it, once again. We never lock the glove compartment. Why is it that whenever we need to, something awful always happens?
After I picked up a new key, I dropped Theo off over a friends, and drove to the Eldredge park. I was going to spend some time editing the final chapters of "The Late Night Show."
I must have edited--or written--hundreds of pages in that park, through the years. It's a great place for inspiration. Lots of secluded locations, shady trees, green foliage.
It didn't fail me, this time, either. Only fifteen pages left, and then I only have two chapters left to type. And then...and then...