You can also see that the gap starts only inches away from my door, the base of which is on the far left of the picture. You see, my roommates and I would always joke that one of these days we were bound to drop our keys into the abyss, but I'd never seen anything fall down there before, and I really didn't think it would happen. The chances had to be one in a million, right? Well, this is the fourth year that I've lived in this same apartment, and I suppose that I have unlocked my door about a thousand times by now.
So you guessed it, Gentle Reader: I was about to put my key into the lock when it fell out of my hand and into that very same abyss. It might as well have been going in slow motion, and I'm pretty sure that I made some feeble attempt to retrieve it before it as lost forever, which in slow motion would have looked very clumsy, and my voice would undoubtedly sound like Fezzik in The Princess Bride. But fall it did, and there was really nothing I could do about it but stare at that gap for a couple of seconds in disbelief.
Anyway, I knew at once that I had to get my keys out of that abyss at all costs, not only because of the sentimental value of the key chain, but because I would have to stand outside in the ice and snow until I had my keys in my hands once again. So I decided to try to first figure out a way to retrieve the keys, and then second find a person to assist me in this endeavor, and by that I meant a boy. I have found that they are extremely useful in situations like these because they tend to have a vast array of power tools at their disposal. (Why men who are starving college students find it requisite to acquire such costly devices remains a mystery to me, but I'm not complaining.) So I went down into the parking lot to see if there was some way to get my keys out down there, and this is what I found:
Apparently, there was a little opening down there that I hadn't noticed before, too small to crawl into, but large enough to stick my arm in it. Here's a shot that's a little closer:
So there was some hope, I guess. An small, ominous opening that seems scary beyond all reason is better than no opening at all, right?
So I went out to find men to help me on my quest, but to no avail. it was still a little earlier in the afternoon and no one was home. So I went to an apartment of some female friends of mine, who were incredibly sympathetic and offered me a wire hanger. (This, as you may have been aware, is the extent to which we women have tools of our own accord.) I returned to the little opening and got an even closer look, and to give you an idea of the horror inside of that space, here's yet another picture:
Who knows what sorts of dangers lurked inside of that thing. There might have been scorpions, or cobras. Maybe even some dead bodies left behind by the mob when a deal went sour, and for all I knew, those people were suffering from malaria before the mobsters put them out of their misery. One thing was for certain, and that was that this was going to be dangerous. If only I had Indiana Jones on speed dial!
But I didn't; I only had an apartment of friends and a wire hanger. So I tried to dig through the grossness to find my keys, but to no avail. I still didn't know where in the abyss my keys had landed, so it was going to be extremely difficult to get them if I didn't know where they were. So I went back the my friends and asked them if I could borrow a flashlight. One of my friends insisted on going back with me, completely unable to comprehend why an architect would create such an obvious flaw in their structure. I was still trying to figure out the same thing.
The funny thing is that I bought this key chain at a period of my life when I was losing my keys all the time, and I chose this particular one because I figured it was too big to get lost. And when my friend and I peered down into the abyss from the gap above, it was clear to me that I was exactly right: It took only second for us to locate my plush Mr. Spock and the keys he was the steward of.
Once we were able to gauge the distance between the opening and Mr. Spock, the rest was fairly simple. All we had to do was unwind the hanger, and plunge it into the malaria-ridden abyss, using the hook of the hanger to grab Mr. Spock and take him to safety. My friend boldly volunteered for the task, and I was very grateful that she did. She was instantly successful, and not only was I reunited with a valuable ally, but I was also able to enter my apartment again.
Thank you, Mr Spock, for being the big, plushy guy that you are. I'd be lost without you.
Regards, best wishes, and Gold Rush-era diseases,
P.S. It later occurred to me that the opening, with its rough and jagged edges, had to have been cut out of the wall after the building was finished. My theory is that the mob had originally bribed an architect to create the gap and its abyss so they could use it to stash diseased corpses after they had chopped them into manageable pieces. One day, they accidentally threw their keys in as they were disposing of a body, and thus had to cut through the wall with a power saw. They removed the pieces of dead bodies when they realized that the abyss was now more accessible to the public and eventually the cops.
After all, it's only logical.