Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Challenge

Fiorella had an adventure yesterday, more mundane than any romantic suspense heroine's, but challenging nevertheless. When Husband and Son locked up to go to work at 6:30 a.m., they didn't notice that Fio, barefoot and wearing her long, red, terry cloth bathrobe, was outside supervising the residents canines' early-morning toilet training. Once the dogs were finished, Fio tried to let them back in the house.

But the door wouldn't open. She banged on the glass and called out loudly, but the culprits had already fled the scene. Yes, Fio was locked out into a backyard enclosed by a six-foot-tall chain link fence.

Since the back porch light was her only illumination in a world of pitch-black darkness, she settled into the one remaining lawn chair to think things out.

When you live on acreage, it's no use yelling for help, and she certainly wasn't going to starve to death if she had to stay outside all day, but it would be terminally boring. Besides, she had two important social engagements for the day, and Sonya, who had not yet breakfasted, was hungry.

First things first--Fio gave Puppy all the treats in her pocket. Then she checked every window on the back side of the house and examined the gasket around the door, but to no avail. She tried to pick the door lock with a barbecue fork, but the tines were too big. She considered breaking a window, but didn't want to have to pay for getting it fixed.

Dang the expense! She wanted out of stir! She hurled a big rock at the window that would be the cheapest to replace. That should get the sheriff at the house within the hour!

The rock bounced back.

She threw a big cotton scale weight at the window. It bounced back. Fio had been safer from break-ins than she knew.

She sat down again and pondered. If she could just scale the fence, she could walk around to the garage, use the magic code to open it from the outside, fetch the extra house key from its super secret hiding place, unlock the door to the kitchen, and be in like Uncle Wiggly finally reaching his rabbit burrow.

But first she had to wait out the darkness so she could check her perimeter. Strangely, Fio never panicked. The situation was a challenge, but if she was clever, persistent, and kept her cool, she'd find a way out.

When the darkness finally gave way to a murky pre-dawn, Fiorella walked the fenceline of the backyard dog dump, looking for opportunity. The most likely spot, she thought, was at the upper gate where it was joined to the fence by a long, padlocked chain looped tortuously over, around, and through both of them.

Fio hauled a heavy dog house across the yard to the fence to get the proper uplift, knowing the tired old vinyl could collapse under her at any moment. Now she needed to get the chain lower to use it as a stirrup from which she would throw her other leg over the top of the fence. Praying mightily, she finally was able to push the chain over a prong that held it rigid, reducing the tension on it.

The chain separated from its padlock.

Hot dang! The chain had been locked on itself, then wound and tied to look more secure than it was.

With the sprinkler system hissing at her from every direction, Fio untangled the rest of the chain, walked out the gate, and followed her previously charted course to the kitchen door, hidden key in hand.

The door was unlocked.

Yes, Husband and Son had locked the back door, but forgotten about the kitchen door.

Fio could dine out for months on this story.

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