A simple piece of stamped brass with an irregular ridge line cut into one edge. The number '5' stamped on one side, 'DO NOT DUPLICATE' stamped on the other. This is an order which seems to have no meaning as I have now duplicated this key three times without difficulty.
This key represents a code, an inanimate secret handshake between metal and metal. Its unique skyline familiar to only one lock. But it is a mercenary key, offering access to its possessor irrespective of their rights or intention. I am unhappy about this key. In an apartment like this I always wonder how many other copies there are that I am not aware of, the landlady doesn't seem to be able to keep track. I once lived in a shared student house where a former occupant got drunk one night, forgot where he lived, and let himself into our house by mistake.
I fear the intentional and malicious repeat of this event. I have no right to add a new key to my collection, so I must go on fearing a matching key in someone else's.