Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rescue on 81st Avenue

Summer, 1992. I pulled into the parking lot on 81st avenue and 105th street, just a couple of blocks away from Warp One. I had my day planned out: pick up some comic books, walk across the back alley to Greenwoods' to browse for novels, cross Whyte Avenue to spend a couple of hours at the Wee Book Inn, and then break for lunch somewhere along the avenue. It was going to be a good day, I thought as I shut the car off and then swung myself out into the summer heat, making sure to push the lock down and hold the handle up as I when I closed the door; otherwise, the lock wouldn't engage. 

I shut the door firmly, released the handle. And then through the window I saw my keys, still dangling innocently from the ignition. I'd locked myself out of my little silver Corolla station wagon.

I stuffed my hands into my pockets and stared at the keys for a minute, as if I could step backwards in time and get myself out of this through sheer force of will. There were no cell phones back then, and I had no change for payphones; I was on my own.

Or so I thought. For down the sidewalk came two imposing figures, rough-looking bearded men in jeans and leather jackets.

"You lock yourself out?" asked the burlier one.

"Uh huh," I said shamefaced.

"No problem," he said, and reached into his jacket, unfurling an unwound coat hanger. With balletic grace, he stepped past me and wormed the long, stiff wire inside the door frame, wriggling it around until a catch popped and the lock popped up. The entire process took only a second.

"Thanks!" I exclaimed, opening the door to retrieve my keys. But my benefactors were already halfway down the block, their hands raised briefly in offhand acknowledgement of my gratitude.

With my keys safely tucked away in my pocket, my thumb hovered over the lock once more...and then retreated without pushing it down. I casually flipped the door shut and headed east down the sidewalk. On that day, at least, locks had caused nothing but trouble. Why encourage them?


3 comments:

"Ensign JeffRo" said...

An interesting little story, Earl. Many questions unanswered and left to the imagination.

Earl J. Woods said...

I certainly had plenty of unanswered questions, but that's life.

Liam said...

I've heard that locks only keep honest people out. Looks like this bears that out.