April 16, 2018. 10:35.

Joe sat up and watched as his captor rushed off to the restroom. The door flapped closed; not necessarily in place, but close. Ajar perhaps. He waited motionless and listened for the sound of rushing water. When it came, he reached awkwardly for the phone in his pocket. But not surprisingly, the phone remained dead. He put it back.

For old time’s sake he gave his restraints a tug. When they didn’t budge he looked around the main room for another weapon or possibly a pick, though how I’ll crack the lock is beyond me.

There was the post itself, a sturdy old thing, as well as the pillows underneath him. And then there was the bedside table. With his free hand— the wrong hand— he stretched over himself and pulled on the drawer. It seemed to be stuck to the sides and it let out a little squeak. He quickly looked to the lavatory waiting just a moment for Dani to come storming out, but lucky for Joe, she didn’t hear.

So he tried again more carefully and more slowly. But there was only one thing inside. The New Testament. I don’t think that can help me right now. Next time give me a gun, God. Otherwise, there was nothing helpful.

The nightstand on the other side of the bed however, was another story. He could forget about the lamp sitting on top, as well as the stationery and the matching bible he might find within. Laying there next to the lamp was a phone. A real, proper phone. A landline complete with a cord and base. Joe began wondering why he didn’t see it sooner. And he wondered if he would be able to reach it, or if was even plugged in still.

Nevertheless, Joe went to work, unsure for how much longer the woman would be in the shower. Inching closer proved useless in that instance, landing Joe well past the middle of the queen-sized mattress, but not much closer to getting his hand on the receiver.

He decided he wouldn’t be able to reach it all with his hands. So he committed to trying with his feet.

First he kicked off his shoes, letting them sit on the end of the bed; ready for when he’d have to put them back on. His socks were a little bit trickier, but again he managed. Then with little added effort, he stretched out laterally along the bed so that his legs stuck well out over the edge. Joe smiled, and angled himself a little more. Bending his knees so that his feet dangled directly over the phone.

Okay, now the tricky part. Eventually, Joe began to realise just how difficult the next part would be. Not only would there not be enough cord for the handset to reach his ear, but he would have to hold the phone with one foot, and dial emergency services with the other. But he had to try.

Slowly, Joe lowered both feet down. Since he was laying cantilever it didn’t take long for his abs to begin to ache. The same could be said of his feet, as he curved them and gingerly scooped up the handset. For a moment he grinned, as he set it down directly in front of the cradle.

It was all too far away to hear if there was a tone, but he decided to dial regardless. He made out the dozen buttons on the base, arranged in the usual four by three pattern and after a second remembered the placement of each digit. 9 was the third number of the third row. And 1 was the first number on the top. Whether he had the dexterity to pull off the next stage of his plan worried him, for his chest grew sore, and his legs grew heavy. Although  he groaned in pain, Joe muttered to himself some words of motivation and did what he had to.

Hovering over the first of the buttons, Joe bent his big toe and pushed down. Excitedly, he moved his hallux on to the next digit, which he pressed twice and more quickly.

Joe assumed that a dispatcher would answer and call out for a reply. And despite hearing none, would send aid of some kind. An ambulance maybe, Joe didn’t know the procedure. But hopefully, the police would be on their way as well.

Now, shoes.

Suddenly, the water stopped flowing; her shower had ended. And Joe heard the scrape of the shower curtain. It wouldn’t be long before Dani would be out.

Feeling the pressure mounting, Joe grunted, extending his legs into the air; sliding and wiggling around on the bed. Returning to the vertical position in which he started. Then he used his feet to pull his socks and shoes closer towards himself. To save time he skipped the socks, stuffing them into his front pockets.

As Joe donned shoe number one, he saw Dani push against the door. In one fluid motion, he smoothed out the sheets, shoved his foot in his other loafer, and tucked in the laces.

Without even trying, Joe looked pissed off, doing his utmost to stare out the grimy window. He held his breath so it didn’t seem like he had done anything suspicious. Briefly, Dani gave Joe a leery eye. She noted that the manacle stayed secured to her prisoner’s wrist, so she sat down on the bed to tie up her boots, completely unaware of what he had done. Then Joe asked as brusquely as humanly possible, “Are you going to uncuff me yet?”

The End

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