I know it’s going on. They think they’re pulling one over on me, but I know. I know as soon as I lock up and throw the latch, as soon as my footsteps stop echoing; they’re getting together, plotting in hushed tones, plotting their escape.
Freedom is too great a lure.
He’s a slippery one, the little one is. He’s tried to escape several times. Often he hides before lockdown. It’s a futile attempt, because he is always run down, captured, and returned to his cell.
He’s the type that will never learn, that one; you can see it in his eyes. Shifty, furtive, they’re always alert, on the look out for one slip up, one mistake that will give him his freedom.
When he’s alone, he works on the door. Scratching at the lock or the latches, hoping to find a weakness. He was successful one time. The door was found ajar, pulled off its hinges.
Was it our own negligence in locking him up? Did we not double-check to see if the door was secure? He is small and certainly not strong enough to pull the door down.
The door was replaced and reinforced and the Staff were all taught to double-check the locks and latches on the door whenever he was put back in his cell.
He’s had no further successful attempts at escape, but we’ve found the outer covering to the door locking mechanism torn off on several occasions. That one has us confused. The covering is in a position where it is hard to reach from inside and, even with a tool, nearly impossible to remove.
Then one day we found another outside latch broken off. This one, however, was in an area where the little one couldn’t even see, much less reach.
At first we thought he was the reincarnation of Houdini. Once we eliminated all plausible explanations for what occurred, however, we began to suspect he was getting help from an outside source. He had an accomplice.
Suspicion fell upon the trustee. He had the opportunity. He had the wherewithal. He had free run of the place and he was big enough and strong enough. He could easily tear off the door, the latch cover and hinges. It had to be him. There could be no other.
We questioned the trustee but his lips were sealed, he kept mum of the whole situation. That’s part of their code, be silent and don’t rat out your friends. Still, you could see it in his eyes. He’d look away and wouldn’t meet your gaze. He was hiding something.
But what was he hiding? He was hardboiled, refusing to cooperate whether we gave him the third degree or promised him extra rations. Even the psychology of good cop/bad cop failed to elicit a response. He just stared at us with those big brown eyes, mocking us, daring us to prove he was the one.
I was reminded of the movie with Paul Newman where the Warden says, “What we have heeya, is a failure to communicate.”
Even though we knew it was the trustee, we couldn’t prove a thing and he wasn’t going to crack. He’s a slick one, he is. There was no concrete evidence linking him to the crimes. And he’s done nothing else untoward that would make us remove his trustee status.
So he remains free to roam while the other is locked away.
But I know, when I leave for work each day, my Dalmatian goes up to the crate where we keep our Jack Russell and tries to free him.
Freedom and the lure of using furniture as chew toys beckon the little one like Siren songs to sailors at sea.
One day we’ll catch them in the act. They’ll slip up and when they do, there’ll be Hell to pay.