Skeleton Key

He tapped his fingers on the cover of the book causing the quandary. It was now very overdue, making him feel even more guilty.

Still, he had tried to return it – what, a month ago? And had gotten to the front door, pulled it open and then clumsily dropped the book on the top step. Of course the yappy little Pomeranian from next door had come running, and then the problems multiplied. Every time he reached for the book, the dog bit off a finger. Soon he wouldn’t be able to pick up the book at all.

So he aimed a light kick at the mutt, thinking to scare it.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Philpott was looking for her darling Betsy Boopsie – and saw a skeleton on the stoop next door, apparently intending on harming her precious. Luckily, Mrs. Philpott fainted, Betsy Boopsie ran for the safety of her mama’s arms, and he got the book and his appendages gathered up and safely interred behind the stalwart front door.

Good stuff, oak.

With a sigh, he sat down at the dining table and poked through the contents of the top drawer in the adjacent buffet. He’d bought several tubes of that super-special wonder glue over the net a few months ago. Having been ambidextrous in the so-called real world, he soon had his finger bones properly aligned and sutured with silicon once more.

Then he had his brilliant idea.

At midnight, naturally, he took the overdue book and walked the three blocks to the library. Mrs. Philpott had obviously recovered from her faint enough to watch her favorite tv programs at full volume, but the welcome silence indicated she and Betsy Boopsie were slumbering peacefully.

At the library side door, he inserted his bony finger into the lock and jiggled it lightly. Ah! With a most welcome click, the lock disengaged and the door swung open slightly. He slipped inside and walked swiftly to the circulation desk, leaving the book on the counter.

Cheselden’s “Osteographia” was returned to its home at last. He chuckled to himself at the use of his own ‘skeleton key.’ And he’d never, ever allow his great-grandfather to ‘borrow’ another book.