The hotel key was ours. A rectangular piece of hard plastic with the words PLAY SLEEP REPEAT on the front. New York City. That humid summer day when it rained frogs and people shielded themselves with their umbrellas, only to be pelted anyway. Four concussions. One death. And us? We were snug in our suite. Plush pillows, silk sheets, turndown service. A mini bar we emptied. We filled that hotel room with the scent of weed, of sex. When we parted ways, I slipped the key into my purse. I’d never let the front desk shred it, erase its memory, cavalierly toss it away, whatever one does with a used hotel key. That night when I went home, I placed the key on my nightstand. Sat it upright, braced by a bottle of La Mer hand cream. When my husband came to bed, I reached for him and gave him a kiss. He didn’t notice the key. He would never notice the key. Instead, he pet me like a child and said goodnight.
Jules Archer writes flash fiction in Arizona. Her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, >kill author, Pank, The Butter, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. Her chapbook All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had is out from Thirty West Publishing.