Last night I had a thrilling escape.
Oh you should've been there. There was shouting and wailing and weeping, and violence! Oh so much violence! There was a knife involved, and a hammer, and it was all very dramatic. What started out as a normal night in changed in the blink of an eye, and suddenly I was trapped, with no way out.
Over the past few weeks, I've been having some work done to the house. One of these little jobs is to have all of the inside doors replaced- because they were old-fashioned, apparently. (They didn't look old-fashioned to me, to be perfectly honest. They pretty much looked like doors. I didn't even KNOW doors could look old-fashioned. But there you go.)
Anyway, so the carpenters spent the whole day fitting these new doors. They put the hinges on, set the doors into the door frames, put in the locks and latches. The only thing they didn't do was put the actual door HANDLES in. Which was fine. They were going to do that first thing in the morning. The only thing I had to be careful of was not let any of the doors actually CLOSE. No problem, thought I.
I was heading to bed at about three that night. I gave the doggies their usual scratch behind the ears at bedtime and left them in the dark kitchen. Next I went looking for the cats with a can of air freshener (the only thing that will convince the cats to leave the house at night is when I spray an aerosol can nearby. Otherwise they'll just look at me while I'm trying to herd them out, and not actually move). I got the first two cats to leave, but the Mammy Cat was in her usual place, sitting on my chair in my office. She's really taken to this chair. Every day it's a struggle to be the one to sit in it- and the problem is compounded by the fact that she's sneakier than I am. She'll stand on the desk, watching me, and then she'll usually knock something over. After I've picked it up I'll look around and she'll be curled up on my chair with this insanely smug cat-expression on her cat-face. It's gotten so bad I'm seriously considering buying a second chair, just for her.
But I digress.
So, the Mammy Cat is in my office. I close the door over- careful not to close it fully- and open the window. I look at the Mammy Cat. I know she knows what this means. I know she knows I have the aerosol can. I know she knows the door is closed over so there's no escape. I hold up the can. She glares at me through slitted eyes. I shake the can. Reluctantly, she stands, and stretches. She moves from the chair onto the desk, up onto the printer to the window-sill.
"Good girl," I say.
She looks at me. Then the VERY slight breeze wafts in through the window and the door behind me clicks shut. I freeze, my eyes wide. The Mammy Cat gives a cat-smirk, and vanishes into the night.
I turn to the door. "Oh no," I say. "Oh no no no." I dig my finger into the hole burrowed for the handle to go in, and try and pull the door open. No chance. I take out my pen-knife, slide it through and try to unlatch the latch. No luck. I have a screwdriver in my office, so I push that into the handle-hole and try to use the screwdriver itself as a handle. Not a hope.
I stare at the door. "Oh dear God."
I look at the window. It's pretty narrow and it's pretty high up, but I'm relatively sure I can clamber up and squeeze through. But then what? I've just locked up. Every door in the place is locked, and all the keys are still IN the locks. Even if I got out the window, there would be no way back in.
I stare at the door. This is becoming a situation. This is becoming serious. I am actually trapped in my office, with no way out.
(This is when the shouting and wailing and weeping occurred. The violence will occur soon.)
I spend the next twenty minutes trying to open the door using my pen-knife and the screwdriver. I've seen the movies where the hero slides a credit card between the door and the doorframe and unlocks it, so I even try that. But apparently my door is cash only, because my credit card isn't accepted and so is returned- kind of sheepishly- to my wallet.
I have to break down the door. I have to.
The idea fills me with a strange sort of glee.
I've never broken down a door before. I've written about it, but I've never actually done it.
I'm going to kick it down. That's what I'm going to do. I grin, take a step back, and get ready. This is going to be AWESOME.
But then I remember that the door opens INWARDS. So if I DID kick it down, it would splinter the doorframe. And while replacing the door wouldn't be a problem, replacing the door-FRAME would be slightly more of an issue.
My grin fades. Whatever I do, I can't damage the frame. Which means I literally have to make a hole in the door so that I can dismantle the lock/latch mechanism by simply pulling it out.
I look around my office. There are all the usual things you'd find in an office. Pens. Paper. A computer. Strange-looking lamps. A scarf. A phone. A filing cabinet. Books. Comics. A board game. And then I see it, resting on one of the shelves. A hammer.
The grin returns to my face. I'm going to bust open my door using a hammer. This night is AWESOME.
I return to the door, hammer in hand. I spend a few seconds going over all the possibilities. I'm going to feel pretty silly in the morning if I've wrecked the door and there was an easy way out all along. But I'm pretty sure there isn't. I'm pretty sure I don't have a choice.
So I swing.
Oh, it is glorious, the swinging. The hammer makes a big dent on impact. I swing again, and the wood cracks. I swing again, and again, and suddenly I'm through. I can see the hall. This is going to work.
And so, I demolish the door. With each swing the intensity grows. The wood splinters and cracks and falls away and still I swing, harder and harder, reveling in the violence. Battered holes in the door join up to make bigger holes. The impacts ring in my ears. I can see the lock mechanism but I have to make the hole bigger. Much bigger. Laughing, I continue my attack. The door doesn't stand a chance.
"Think you're so tough?" I almost rant. "Think you're such a tough door? Look at you now! I'm breaking you apart! I could stick my head all the way through you and shout "Heeeeeeere's Johnny!' You are NOTHING to me! I am victorious! You are NOTHING!"
The door doesn't stand a chance. By the time my bloodlust has abated, pieces of the door are scattered all over the hall floor. I rip out the lock mechanism and pull open the door and laugh. LAUGH, I tell you.
"Is that it?" I almost cry. "Is that the best you've got? Is there no one on this Earth to even CHALLENGE me? Come! Kneel before me! Kneel before the Golden God!"
Silence echoes around the house. The house fears me. The house SHOULD fear me. For I am a great and terrible God.
This morning the carpenters came back. They looked at the door, at the mess on the floor, and frowned. "Did... did we leave it like this?" they asked.
I hesitated only a moment. "Yes," I said. "Very sloppy work, gentlemen. Very sloppy work indeed."
And I walked away.