Five Bucks & the Key to a Kingdom By Terry Savoie After squirreling away five dollars & squeezing them in the toe of my shoe, hiding the wad there before leaving the sixth floor walkup, I hung my key on a length of string tied around my neck, grimy & black with dirt-sweat since the temp that August was sky-rocketing well into the high 90s & forecasted to barely miss a hundred in the shade, a banner headline for riders on the J line as they read the Daily News over someone's shoulder while trying to maintain a balance: another oppressive day in NYC. So I found myself marooned as the world swirled about & threatened mightily to spin out of control. That was the way I traveled in '68 in the city, five lousy bucks crammed in the toe of my shoe & a dirty string with my apartment key dangling around my neck while my head drifted off into smog-clouds, all the while thinking & rethinking what of Spinoza's ideas I could recall after reading a page or two last night before dropping off to sleep. Exhausted. At last! What thief in his right mind would force me out of my thin, cardboard-soled shoes for a few bucks, I told myself. Home back then was ten adults & three Puerto Rican kids stacked in four rooms, God's kingdom with an empty, unoccupied mattress each morning after the night shift at the Elizabeth Arden factory in Queens, welcoming me with my five bucks & a dirty stringed key like a Saint Jude medal dangling down from my neck.