I gently although with a certain amount of trepidation, push myself slightly back from the table complementing him again on preparing such a fine meal and thanking him profusely for allowing me the first time in approximately 2 weeks to actually sit at a table and eat one without being otherwise encumbered. As it was only a little after 7 o'clock in the evening, I had a sinking feeling that the evening was not over and in fact probably had not even gotten started.
He poured me another small glass of wine and said he would be right back. With that he rose, excused himself from the room and retired to the living room. In that room we had a wooden futon that most the time was used as a TV watching couch. I heard him opening it up, going upstairs, shuffling around for something and quickly returning downstairs. He poked his head around the corner, seeing that I had in fact finished the wine and with that, "invited" me to join him in the living room.
There of course was the open futon. Why at that moment I was strongly reminded of one of the South Pacific man being eaten by giant clams that we occasionally would read about, I'm not sure. I suspected a less than comfortable outcome was to be my fate were this a clam or a futon, both would be less than desirable. Before I could ponder the alternatives in any detail, I was ordered to lay down in the middle of the opened futon on my stomach. Since by virtue of a misuse of interpretation and a jury rigged clock, he had me for the next five weeks, so resistance at this point was futile.
As I lay there dressed only in a small pair of gym shorts, I heard the unmistakable ratchet sound of metal on metal accompanied by that ice cold steel talon as it surrounded my left ankle. A similar experience was soon to be manifested to my right ankle and from them both, snugly to the extreme bottom corners of the wooden futon rack. At this point of course it was no surprise that a similar drama was now being played out to each wrist in turn which were snugly stretched to the upper rack corners.
As I pondered my current situation, I admit I had to keep asking myself why I had acquired more than four sets of police style shackles. Like Sir Edmund Hillary and his famous mountain, the only answer I could bring to mind was simply, "because they were there."
"Don't go away, I'll be right back with your new present." Like I can hardly wait? I hear him shuffling around in the bathroom with sounds like he is mixing something in a plastic cup. I do hope he's not going to try and make me drink something with my head stuffed into this mattress. On the other hand, I hope he doesn't have any designs on another orifice which might be more accessible given my present position.
Finally he returns and deposits some things on the end table which is just out of my sight. I see the inevitable roll of tape but I also see I heavier cardboard sheet a little over a foot square. Beyond that I couldn't twist my head around far enough to see any more details at this time. Quite to my surprise, he begins taping this cardboard sheet over the center of my back. Very carefully taping down all four sides. Now what is he cooking up? What has this cardboard got to do with me being his prisoner for another five weeks? I was soon to find out.
"Do you remember those times when I spread you out on the iron hall railing and then proceeded to decorate you with a black magic marker?"
"Yeah, I think so (like how can I ever forget it?)."
"It didn't last very long after your morning shower though did it?"
"And you remember the next night when I just used spray paint?"
"Yeah, and it didn't last through the next day either, so we just gave up on it."
"Well, being an assistant manager of a large grocery store does have its advantages. We had a manufacturer's rep who handles the ladies beauty products come in and I got to talking with him. He suggested instead of using a paint or an ink, that I use a protein dye like the kind that is used in this particular bottle of hair coloring. That's what you're going to try tonight."
Well, he's tried everything else and nothing holds up to the infamous bar of soap so, considering my present circumstances in which I have no choice anyway, I'll humor him.
"Whatever he has given you probably won't survive a shower either, so do your best!" Upon reflection, I think I regret having said it that way. Not that anything else would have produced a different outcome, but it certainly spurred him on to be a success if at all possible on this almost sacred occasion.
I then feel this damp, cool, small brush following a pattern on my back which in response to my inquiries, he simply says, "just hold still!" After a short time I'm beginning to feel what it is he is drawing on my back and it appears to be a large letter "P". I finally again yield to temptation, "so what is the letter P representing?
"Prisoner of course!"
Suggesting we now watch TV, he puts on a movie in the VCR (I know, that dates us) and settled in to watch it with me still spread out on the futon. All I can remember is that this movie was exceptionally long, as far as I could tell from my position it may have had something to do with Moses burning down Atlanta in his famous march to the sea, or something like that. What I specifically do remember is about every half-hour or so he would return with his little paintbrush and give that protein stain another coat.
"I'm going to let you sleep relatively free tonight. I just need to make sure you're not trying to rub that thing off until morning. I just want you to wear one of your toys which reminds me of a pair of gloves." Like what choice did I have? I told him okay as he first fastened an iron collar around my neck and then removed the iron from the four corners of the futon and my limbs. As he removed the cardboard from my back, I could see it was simply a large stencil. No problem there. He then brought out his "gloves" for me to put on.
"Where the hell did you find those? You don't really expect me to wear those do you?
Okay, there was a period when I acquired a toy or a tool depending on your point of view simply because I wanted to see what it was like and once having satisfied myself I put it up on the shelf. These items he presented to me now definitely fell into that category. As you can see, they are two hollow steel balls that clamp over the fist and bolt together at the wrist. My protests and cajoling to the contrary found me snugly clamped in them in less than five minutes. To make sure I didn't figure out some way to undo the bolts, I noticed he replaced them all with zip ties.
Not being one to give in so quickly, I slyly said they him how did he think I was going to be able to go to the bathroom before going to bed since I obviously could neither pull my shorts up or down while wearing these things. To give him credit, he almost had me believing he was sincerely concerned about me attempting to resolve that problem when from behind, he grabbed both sides of my shorts and immediately brought them to my ankles.
"Now you don't have any problem at all. Except for perhaps, tucking yourself in without accidentally trying to knock yourself out by banging your head in those things."
With a rolled up newspaper and the enthusiasm of a tent show of evangelists, a couple of hard wallops on my now air-conditioned rear end was enough for me to abandon the shorts where they were and head on up to bed.
The next morning, I stopped in the bathroom to check the mirror and sure enough his artwork was plainly visible. I would've confronted him as he then lay sleeping, but he had closed the door and, try as I might, I failed miserably in attempting to turn that round doorknob. If I knocked or banged on the door, I could accidentally "unleash the krakin" and thereby focus a more unpleasant picture of attention upon myself then I would otherwise desire. All I could do was, like a well mannered puppy, sit quietly outside of his door and dream delightful dreams of tripping him as he emerged. When he finally did come out, the first thing he did was turn me around so he could examine my back and then, with good cheer he undid the zip tie releasing me from those two imprisoning clamshells.
Without further hesitation, and without any incentive from the morning newspaper, I presented myself with almost a loving embrace to the goddess of the stream or otherwise known as my warm shower. Although the P was in a difficult spot for me to reach, I used two types of soap and two rinses of shampoo, rubbing my back so hard I thought I would be accused of getting a sunburn, but at least I was going to get rid of that brand. After about a half hour, I emerged and vigorously dried myself off and then walked with great assurance over to the mirror and turned around glancing back over my shoulder.
The damn thing was still there! Most assuredly this was the black raven and I was cast in the role of Edgar Allen Poe. In the interests of some brevity I leave it to your imagination how I was mercilessly teased by him every chance he got for the next three weeks until it finally did wear off. This by no means takes the place of field testing items from the toy box, but it did certainly add to his enthusiasm and justification for keeping a prisoner like that.The days that followed unfortunately didn't give me any prognosis for an early release from our "deal" as you will see in upcoming chapters.