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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Micro Fiction: 140 words
By Todd Mercer

The Key Event


Roll the tape back to the beginning.

I worked mixing paint and locksmithing at a True Value hardware. A woman needed key copies for her apartment. She wanted to hide a couple for contingencies.

“You never know when a backup will save you.”

She later ended up marrying a guy who took enough architecture classes to be dangerous but didn’t complete his undergraduate degree. Me.

She nearly left my life, never to cross paths again, except I felt a strong impulse to break True Value policy and buck my own slow-moving nature. I asked if she’d like to see a movie. Maybe drive around looking at mansions?

That evening I pointed out styles to Jane as we rolled through the fancy neighborhood at 10 mph. Italianate, Federal, Tudor, Chateau, Eastlake. Storybook. Already we were going places.

—From the author’s in-progress manuscript, In the Location Business, a collection primarily of microfictions.

Todd Mercer’s
Issue 12, March 2022

short collection Ingenue was a winner of the Celery City contest. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, is available free at Right Hand Pointing. Recent work appears in Beatnick Cowboy, Flash Frontier, and Literary Yard.

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