The Book of Gateways (Installment 10)

Go, go, go. I spur myself on and throw my long obnoxious hair into a bun and jump into my car. I blitz over to the book store and clumsily stumble through the door like a baby deer on ice. I almost forget to turn off the new alarm system (a precaution since the incident). I fling the door of the office and pull out the chair from the table and sit in front of the ugly flower painting.

            “God, I beg You. Let me open this safe.” A weird prayer, I know. But I’m sure He’s gotten a lot weirder. I take of the painting and there it is. The silver vault of secrets. I type in the numbers: six, three, nine, five. Red light. I slouch in my chair… Well maybe it’s a different combination. I reason with myself. Don’t give up hope! I encourage myself and continue to punch in random combinations of the four digits. Red light, red light, red light. How frustrating. Why can’t this be like the movies where I try two times and on the third the little lock clicks and I get the contents inside? I huff and try another combination. Maybe I should write the wrongs ones down so I don’t screw this up more. I grab a piece of paper and begin writing down my entries. I punch in a few more combinations, my eyes glued to the little keypad determined to taste success.


Several hours must pass because before I know it I see Piers in the door way of the office.

            “What, in the world, are you doing?” His speech is drawn out. His eyebrows are cinched together.

            “Hmm? Oh well I had this dream! And I- well! This! I got numbers! Combinations!” I start laughing. He just stares at me.

            “Do you want to explain why you are here? And why you’re in yesterday’s clothes and look like a crazy hermit lady hooked on reefer who found a nice box to live in but thinks it’s a castle?” He smiles clearly cracking himself up. I laugh again. Ah, yes maybe I am a bit overly tired. I pull out my cell phone to see the time. Eleven am. I came to the store at three-thirty am last night. My eyes widen. I went non-stop through the night. I see I went through several sheets of paper. The numbers are at first methodical and planned out and neatly written in straight lines and columns eventually progress into crazy scrawled barely legible chicken scratch all of the paper. I look like a serial killer. I laugh some more and I notice Piers flinches a little. Ooh I should stop before I traumatize the poor kid. I pinch my cheeks a little and rub my eyes to gain some sense back. I manage to tell Piers about the old card on Milo’s desk and my dream. His eyebrows raise and he just sits there analyzing the situation. I punch in a few more combinations while he thinks and scratch them down. All red lights. Piers disappears from the room and comes back again. I see he’s holding the old card in his hand. Scrutinizing every detail of the stem and flower. After a while he asks me to point out where the numbers are and which ones are what and so on and so forth. They’re really hidden quite well. Ten he looks through all of my papers, neat and crazy both and sits there longer. While he does all of this I punch in more numbers like the obsessed weirdo I am and forget writing the combos down. Now I’m really frustrated and push myself away from the safe. I’m huffing and puffing. I see Piers get up and stand in front of the safe. He punches in the numbers and I hear the door click against the lock. No success. A few more minutes go by and still no success. We’ll never get it open. But then suddenly I hear the click of the safe. My heart leaps and Piers turns his head towards me. My eyes water and I hug him from behind.

“You did it! You did it! How did you do it?” I leap up and down jostling him back and forth.

“I figured they were dates.” He says plainly, but I can hear the lilt of success.

“Wait, what?”

“Well the numbers correlated with nineteen fifty-nine from the card, and you surmised it was a hint to his day of becoming a citizen. So I just started on an algorithm that matched with the last two numbers of ‘fifty-nine’. It was a long shot but it was better than what you were doing. You looked like a serial killer.” He says flicking the hair out of my face. My bun slides down the side of my head. I just sit there shaking my head.

“You are unbelievable! You are just! Gah! I can’t even!” I kick my chair over.

“Are we going to look inside or not?” He grabs my nose really tight.

“Ow!” My nasal-y voice cries out. He lets go.

“Let’s just look inside, ok?”

“Fine.” He breathes out a heavy sigh. “Aren’t you even a little excited?” I feel the adrenaline pumping through my body.

“Well ya.” I see his hands shaking. “I just opened a freaking safe!” I can’t help but bust out laughing. The laughing finally stops after a bit longer than it probably should have lasted, but hey, the safe was open and I was extremely over tired.


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