This old skeleton key? Hard t’notice most times cuz it’s hangin’ round my neck.
Not really. Well—suppose it’s special in some way. Least to me anyways.
Last March—you probably ’member when I was goin’ through that bad patch, a banker down at the TD—yeah, that one over on the corner—well, when he was heading inside, he dropped that key into my spare change hat.
‘You’ll be surprised what fortune it’ll bring you, Red’ he said.
He always called me Red. Back then my hair was more red-brown with a few white speckles through it. More on the white side o’ things now.
Anyways, that banker guy was laughin’ when he said them words, so I don’t put much stock in it.
You wanna hold it? Sure, here. Take a closer look. Notice anythin’?
Yeah, me too. Right off the bat, just like you. The damn thing’s givin’ off some heat. Not quite a burn but it’s pretty warm. Nothin’ else?
The top’s odd shape? Yeah. What’s it look like to you?
A wolf’s head? Now that’s real interestin’. I’d been thinkin’ more like a Lab’s head. But now you says it, does seem more wolf than dog.
Ok, I’m gonna tell you somethin’. It’s a bit weird but hear me out.
After the bank guy gives it to me, just for somethin’ to do while I was squattin’ on the sidewalk, I holds it up. Looked through that dog’s eye—oh I mean wolf’s eye—at some o’ the people passin’ over there in front o’ the Quick Cash.
Dependin’ who I looked at, in the wolf’s eye I could see a few hours, sometimes a whole day o’ their future. I’m not messin’ with you. No, sir. Yeah it took me a bit o’ puzzlin’ to figure out what I was seein’ but damn, that there key’s got some real strange magic goin’ on.
Did I see good or bad, you say? Well, a bit o’ both really. Anyways, at first I figured it was cuz o’ all the antihistamine I was buzzin’ with at the time. Sometimes them pills makes me feel like that. So I wasn’t none too sure what was goin’ on. But I know’d it was for real when for fun I looked through that key top at a young woman passin’ by the front o’ the Quickie.
No, I’m not jerkin’ you. Through the wolf’s eye on that there skeleton key I could actually see stuff about her. Future stuff. By holdin’ that key, I’d turned myself into a god damn fortuneteller or somethin’.
That there wolf’s eye, it showed her yellin’ at a mean-lookin’ dude. He pushed her real hard—twice right in the chest. Well, that lady, she was swearin’ and shoutin’—oh, forgot to tell you I can hear people talkin’ through that there wolf’s eye too—anyways, she was shoutin’ real angry-like. Then she pulled a nasty lookin’ knife. Screamin’ like a crazy woman, she stabbed that dude right in the belly. Pushed that long blade in real hard, oh yeah, she surely did. Lots o’ blood. That dude, he opens his mouth–said ‘bitch …’—then fell against a old brick wall. Hung like a damn flapping bird a few seconds afore slippin’ sideways to the floor. Left a smear trail all the way down. The patrol cops showed up. Took her away.
Well, that there wolf’s eye—it goes real fuzzy then everythin’ disappeared. Went back to normal-like with me seein’ that same woman still walkin’ toward the Hunter Street Bridge like she ain’t got no care in the world.
Yeah, hard to believe, alright. Kinda like I was watchin’ a video game or somethin’ through that friggin’ wolf’s eye.
Couple days later, I pulled the local paper from the trash barrel out front of Harvey’s—yeah, the one down by the river. I ain’t messin’ with you, but right there on the front page that same woman was bein’ took into court by the cops. She was wearin’ handcuffs. Paper said she’d murdered a guy. The dude was her ex, some scumbag called Skipper. She told the cops he’d always beat her up real bad. Most days he’d do it just for fun, she said. Paper says she’s pleadin’ not guilty cuz he was beatin’ on her so bad. Says she was only defendin’ herself. I’ll bet you it won’t matter a rat’s ass to the judge that he was beatin’ on her all the time.
I swear that’s what I read. I tell you I still couldn’t believe I’d seen all this happen through the wolf’s eye afore it actually done happen to her.
Course, I didn’t want to lose the wolf’s eye, so I found a piece o’ green string in a bunch o’ soggy old boxes out behind the Thai Lunch place. Put that key on it right quick. Hung it round my neck outta sight. Don’t want nobody gettin’ funny ideas ’bout havin’ it for themselves. Know what I’m sayin’?