Chapter 6: Very Stuck
In my last story, Tyler came to spend the night with me on a Sunday night. On Monday, after hanging out and playing all day, we got to go to his house, and I spent the night there. We were best friends, and spent tons of time together both in and out of school. This was right after school let out for the summer. Freedom!
It was about the same situation as at my house; camping out on the living room floor. Tuesday morning, I was looking forward to a day of running around outside, going to a nearby river for swimming, etc., but on the other hand laziness is a powerful force. We woke up after 9:00, ate cereal, and laid around playing video games until after 10:00.
Chance got up about the same time we did, skipped breakfast, and went out to the garage to mess with a four-wheeler engine. When he came inside, passed us on the way through the living room, he said, "You better not sit here and do nothing all day." We weren't doing nothing; we were on the playstation. That's something!
Tyler said "We're not." So he was also content to do nothing else
"You need to get outside and do something." Their parents were gone to work, so Chance felt the need to parent us and make us do things for the sake of doing things. I'd say Chance was 16 but close to 17 now.
It was actually Tyler's idea: "Cops and robbers!"
Chance didn't find that suggestion unusual. "If that's what you want. But I think we're out of caps for the cap guns." We could always play with something else, but we really liked the cap guns for this kind of game. With a little arguing, we convinced Chance to take us into town just to buy some cap gun ammo. Driving kids around wasn't Chance's favorite thing, but clearly he had a problem with idleness and laziness, so he said yes. "Get some clothes on."
Tyler ran up to his room to get a shirt on. I looked through my bag, but didn't see what I wanted. I asked Tyler if I could borrow a shirt; he was ok with that, we did that a lot. I looked in his drawer and found a gray wifebeater, just the thing I really felt like wearing that day. Why? Because Chance was wearing one, too. I admit it, at age 11, I really looked up to Chance, and I was goofy enough to try to copy him. When Chance saw what shirt I put on, he might have rolled his eyes, but I wouldn't have noticed if he did.
We piled in Chance's truck and drove to town (only 6 or 7 miles), to Walgreens. Not a toy store, but they had caps for toy guns. Got several packs, and Chance paid for all of it. Tyler and I talked about stupid crap the whole time, and probably drove Chance crazy stuck in a truck with us. Hopefully he thought it was worth it, for the sake of the game.
Back at their house, we loaded up the toy guns, and put ammo in our pockets. Tyler took his shirt off, and not long after I did too. It was summer and cloudless, and I wouldn't survive the heat running in an active outside game otherwise. Chance kept his shirt and shoes on. Tyler and I ran barefoot.
Tyler and I teamed up against Chance, naturally. I won't bore you with too many who-shot-who details. There was some back and forth before the story I really want to tell: we took turns being the cops then being the robbers; everybody got caught at some point. But one interesting change is using the shed again.
In one of my earlier stories, I talked about using a shed in the back as a jail, with a door that padlocks. But the shed could easily get too hot, dangerously so. Since that time, the shed got sort of "remodeled." The door was falling off and eventually got replaced. It looks like they got a leftover door that was scrap from some other project. This door had a sliding glass window about shoulder height to me and Tyler. When opened, it made about a square opening about 12-15 inches on a side. The door could be padlocked shut, but the window wasn't secure (and probably didn't need to be with that small an opening). So they regularly kept the key hanging on a nail just INSIDE the door of the shed; it was very easy to open the window, reach inside, and get the key (but only if you knew it was there).
Chance didn't put us in the shed; that was our idea. At one point, when we caught Chance we brought him to the shed, opened it up, and told him to put his hands over a beam. It was just barely above his head, but we had to reach up high to get the handcuffs locked back on him. We left the key on a nearby shelf, then closed the door, padlocked it, and put the key back on its nail. We left the window open so it didn't get too hot.
Tyler went back toward the house to get more ammo. I stayed to watch Chance struggle in the "jail." Chance got straight to work: he slipped a shoe off of one foot, and then the sock. He reached that leg up so that he could grab the handcuff key with his toes! Then he leaned back further and was able to get his foot up to a higher shelf and drop the key off there. Then he could slide his hands along the beam to get closer to that shelf, reach one arm way over the beam, and his hands were within reach of the key! "Dang! He's escaping!" At that point . . . I didn't watch any more. I took off running because it was my turn to hide, and sooner than I thought!
Actually, I still had a couple of minutes. Chance had to fiddle with the handcuffs, then get the key and reach through the window to unlock the padlock, and also put his shoe back on. But it was a very impressive escape (I thought), and the game was back on.
There were a couple more rounds with me and Tyler getting caught, but when released we were the cops again. Long story short: we caught Chance a second time and tried out the shed/jail again.
In what became the last round of the day, we locked up Chacne in exactly the same way we did the first time, with one added detail. There was some rope in the shed, so we tied his feet together. It didn't have to be very tight or a great knot; since his hands were way out of the way, it just had to be good enough to keep his feet together.
We succeeded. Standing at the door and watching him, he hardly moved at all. "Yeah I can't get out of this. The whole reason I got out the first time was because I could use my feet, and I really can't now."
"No way out?" asked Tyler.
"No, I'm good and stuck." Excellent! You know, it took a lot of trust for Chance to ALLOW us to do stuff like that to him. But as somebody said on the board recently, you have to let the kids win sometime, or the game isn't any fun. So he let us do this, and yes it was fun!
So after letting him "rot in jail" for all of 2 minutes or so, we needed to let him out if we were going to keep playing. I put my arm through the window, reached up for the nail, and grabbed the key . . . and dropped it. That scared me for a second, but I was sure it wouldn't be hard to find a way of picking it up. I just didn't see it yet; but Chance saw where it dropped. I saw an awful look in his face, and very slowly he said, "OH, CRAP."
All I could say was, "Oh, crap, what?"
"It went through the cracks in the floor!" I don't think it really hit me right away. The floor was old, so there were indeed cracks between the boards. The key to the padlock was now UNDER the floor! Oh, crap.
The floor boards jutted out to the outside of the door where I was; but under floor there was another board sealing off the space under the shed from the outside. So we couldn't reach under the shed to find the key.
Was there a way to get it from the inside? Maybe, but the only person inside the shed was chained up in the middle of the room with his hands over his head!
"All right, don't panic." Chance said that; Tyler and I were slightly panicking. What if we couldn't get the key? What if we had to wait several hours for his dad to get home to help us? We both thought we were grounded for years.
We started exploring. This was a replacement door, and it didn't fit that great. There was a gap of about one or two inches between the bottom of the door and the floor. We thought of prying up the boards. Tyler ran to get some tools. He came back with a long screwdriver which could be used as a little crowbar. We pried up one of the boards, and there was enough space for Tyler to get his hand under it, but he couldn't feel the key.
Chance said, "You can probably see where it is through the floor in here. Can you make it in through the window?"
We hadn't even thought of that. Tyler was the smallest, so he started squeezing through the window. It took a minute and a little help from me, but there was just enough room for him to get in! Awesome. He quickly grabbed the handcuff key and gave it to Chance, who began releasing himself and untying his feet. So game over . . . and yet Chance was still a prisoner in the shed. He certainly couldn't fit through the window!
But now we had a better view of the problem. Chance and Tyler could peek through the cracks and see exactly which board the key was under. Outside, I pried up that board as far as I could get it. Inside, Chance also pulled up on the board, to make as much space as possible. Tyler got his hand under the board, and hoped that neither of us got tired and let go! It took a minute of feeling around, but he finally touched the key, fumbled to get it between his fingers, and was able to pull it out. Success!
I don't know how long Chance was trapped in there, but the key was handed out to me, and the door could be unlocked and opened wide.
So, no more cops and robbers that day. We really needed to take a break! That was one of the scariest moments we ever had during tugs, and I bet scarier for Chance although he really didn't show it. But it's still one of my favorites to think back on.