Thursday, September 27, 2007

room 418

“Fuck, dude. We are royally fucked.”

“Stop saying that. If you say that, it’ll be true. And we don’t want it to be true.”

“I’m just saying. We’re fucked.” I jiggled the pick in the lock a little bit. The third pin snapped back down again. Damn.

The trick to picking locks is to not think about it very much. All the books say you need to visualize the lock, to picture the pins in order from front to back as if the doorknob was made of glass. Then you’re supposed to solve it from front to back, starting with the first pin and moving along in order to the back pin. When I was learning to pick locks I used to do it this way; I spent hours painstakingly attempting to solve the lock the correct way. These endeavors never fared well for the locks, because eventually I would just grab a hammer and smash the damn thing until it opened. I’ve never been a very patient person.

“God, would you hurry up and open the fucking door already, man?”

“It would help if you’d shut the fuck up.” I felt two clicks, and at once the torsion wrench gave way. I let Smith through the door first.

“Ok. Good. Let’s hurry up,” he said.

We made our way down the corridor quietly, to room 418. We picked room 418 after observing this corridor for the past 3 days. This particular corridor was the boy’s wing on the fourth floor of this particular dormitory hall. Smith had hidden a small camera in the ceiling vent, and we watched for 3 days. We watched the residents arrive, and we watched them leave. We listened to their passing words. The guy in 418 was large, and he seemed to be a violent sort of person, the kind who likes to talk fondly about various firearms, and what he would do to “those damn Mexicans” if said firearms were in his possession. But, in truth, any of those dorm rooms would have been an adequate target; guilt becomes irrelevant when everyone is guilty. I really picked that room because I like the number eighteen.

I handed Smith the black bag that I had over my shoulder, and he hurriedly began to empty its contents onto the floor. I thoroughly enjoy watching Smith work with electrical things. His hands operate with a certain swiftness and assuredness; he seems to know exactly what he is doing, even if he does not. Before long, Smith’s device was assembled. I went to work on the door to room 418.

“Are you sure about this, man? I mean, we could get into deep shit for this.”

“It’s too late to be unsure now. Is it ready to go?”

“Of course it’s fucking ready. Just open the door.” I felt the last click, and the torsion wrench again turned. I removed my tools from the lock, and with my eyes asked Smith if he was ready. He nodded.

In one movement, Smith and I together pushed the door into room 418. Smith hit the switch on his device, and threw it into the room with unnecessary force. We then ran the fuck away.

I later heard that it was 3 weeks before room 418 was inhabitable again, and the inhabitant of this room was seeking psychiatric therapy. When this news was delivered to me, I felt like I should smirk, but I didn’t. Instead of satisfaction, I felt nothing, if for just a small twinge of grief, like a father who has to punish his child. I then told myself that I had no choice but to play my role.

And it seems that everywhere I go, there’s another fucking lock to pick.

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