Flickertail and Paint were relaxing in the barnyard under the shade of the apple tree. They were each enjoying an apple when they heard Mary calling frantically. “Flickertail, help. I lost my car keys.”
Flickertail looked inside the car while Paint checked the ground outside. Mary’s anxiety was growing as she was running late for an appointment.
“Sit down, relax.” Flickertail led her to a bench by the picnic table. “You aren’t going to find them any faster by panicking.”
“Take deep breaths.” Paint suggested. “Now close your eyes and remember the last time you saw your keys. What were you wearing?”
“It was warm like today. I was wearing my jean shorts and a tank top.”
“Check the pockets of your shorts,” said Flickertail.
Mary went into the house and checked. “Not there,” she said as she came back outside.
“Were you carrying anything?” asked Paint
“I already checked my purse.”
“Were you carrying anything else? Maybe packages or groceries?” prompted Flickertail.
“Groceries. I already unpacked them and put them away.”
“Go shake out the bags.”
Mary was getting frustrated again but she did as Flickertail suggested.
“OK, sit down again and relax.”
“I’m already late.”
“Flickertail handed her his cell phone. “Call and explain. You can reschedule. People lose keys all of the time. They’ll understand.”
Mary rescheduled for the next morning.
“Do you have a place where you usually put your keys?” Paint asked.
“In the glass bowl in the hallway as I enter the side door.”
“Did you use the back door since you had groceries? It’s closer to the kitchen,” said Flickertail.
“Oh my, yes I did. Now I can remember dropping them on the counter with the bags of groceries.”
“Do you mind if we come inside and help you check the counter, cupboards, and floor?”
Mary held the back door open as they entered.
Paint checked the back stairs, a ledge, and the kitchen floor while Mary and Flickertail checked the counter first and then the cupboards. After several minutes Flickertail said, “Well, we checked everything with no luck. When did you get groceries?”
“I’m sure I saw your car leave last night.”
“Oh, that’s right Tom took it. It was parked in back of the truck and he didn’t feel like moving it to get the truck, so he just used my car.”
Mary picked up the phone to call Tom. When she hung up the phone she was shaking her head. She walked over to the laundry basket, reached in and took out the jeans Tom had been wearing. She checked his pockets and there were the keys.
“Get an extra key made right away and keep it in your purse so you always have it on you. It comes in handy if you lock your keys in your car too.”
Later that day Flickertail and Paint presented Mary with a small package. She opened it and laughed. Then she hugged her animal friends. “We thought about getting you a key finder that responds to a whistle but Flickertail said you can’t whistle so this one works when you clap.”