A perfect week in Key West was marred– MARRED!!– only by the disappearance of a ring containing my house and car keys. Okay, I’m being dramatic– the trip wasn’t ruined or anything, but the last twenty minutes in the room were colored by the fact that we’d spent them searching high and low for the keys rather than spending them in the cafe having a final cup of coffee. We’d packed pretty carefully, too, considering that we were departing with a third more luggage than we’d arrived with, all for naught– everything was torn apart and dissembled and rearranged, with no satisfactory end result. Kirk luckily carries my car key on his ring, so we weren’t exactly going to be marooned when we arrived at the Orlando airport’s parking lot, but still… what a waste of time!
And it was all Robert’s fault.
In Key West’s East Martello Tower– a history museum inside a fort– lives Robert, the Haunted Doll. So they say. He was made by a family servant for little Gene Otto in 1904, when he was five years old. From the very beginning, Robert has been imbued with a disturbing presence, and the usual movements, eye blinks, giggles, etc. have been attributed to it over the years. Gene died in 1974, his wife three years later, and Robert, after a stay in the house where it was reported he liked to move around, ended up in the museum. He rests in a glass case there and it’s said (and testified to by dozens of accompanying letters) that he doesn’t like to have his picture taken: he’ll drain your battery or jam the camera’s mechanism if you try, or he’ll come up with ways to inconvenience your visit. Well, I had no problem getting pictures of Robert but, when trying to photograph the Elena Hoyos effigy in the next display (that’s another, horrifying tale), my camera gave up the ghost. Granted, the rechargeable battery was weak and I expected trouble– if not with Robert, then eventually. But the camera worked fine after I rubbed the battery contacts, and I had a fresh battery back at the guest house– a fresh battery, but no keys. Thanks, Robert.