Which Came As Some Surprise (2)
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so I hit her good spots: behind her ears, on her freckled nose, and finally, her loose, pink belly. She twitched her back legs in happiness, kicking stray envelopes underneath the sofa.

When Chicken was finished with me, she trotted away, back into the labyrinth of the back rooms, and I set about raking up all the scattered papers.

Beneath the couch, however, the top of my hand brushed something cold. A bit of metal, stuck to the underside of the couch -- no, taped to the bare wood where the upholstery was stapled. I picked until it was free, and then held it to the light to examine.

It was a key: half the size of my pinky finger, heavy as a roll of quarters. The cuts in it were ornate and unusual, more like the backbone of an imaginary animal than the blade of a regular key. The to...

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