The Shape as an Agent of Direction and Energy

Pulling into the abandoned parking lot, you realize something is wrong. Turn to see the stun gun in his out-stretched hand. He is going to drive and you can either go peacefully, or in the trunk with permanent nerve damage. Struggle. Open the door to run. He’ll catch you by the hair.
          You won't escape.
          He pushes you into the passenger seat, puts a black wig and a hat on your head, sunglasses over your face: the lenses are covered in thick black tape. Don’t tell him you can see out the edges, that you know exactly where you are the whole time he’s driving around in circles. When he pulls up to an apartment, you know half of it is buried underground: a cheap way to keep cool.
          The room is covered with thick, blue Styrofoam: the walls, the ceiling, the door. There are no windows, but in the middle of the room a great big wooden chair constructed of two-by-fours and four-by-fours. An execution. He shoves you into the chair and tightens the nuts on the u-bolts that anchor your wrists to its arms. If you punch him it won’t knock him out; he’ll just get mad and punch you back.
          You don’t want to be punched.
          When he ties your ankle to the leg of the chair, flex the muscles in your leg. The rope might be loose when you relax. He doesn’t notice because he’s talking the whole time about dynamite in the walls and blowing up the building. Don’t take any chances while he’s tying your other leg.
          He goes into the other room and brings back a camera. See? I’ll be watching you, even if I’m not in the room. He puts headphones over your ears. He puts the glasses back on your face, a choke chain around your neck—what you might use to control an unruly dog—and clips one end to the back of the chair. He turns up the stereo, calls it white noise, and closes himself behind the door.
          You recognize the song. You know the words. Do not sing along.
          Call out to him. He doesn’t answer.
          Throw your head forward against the tightening chain. The headphones fall into your lap.
          He doesn’t come rushing in to put them back on. Maybe he’s not really watching you with the video camera.
          You shake the glasses off—the chain chokes—and you call out again.
          He still doesn’t answer. Maybe he isn’t coming.
          Don't be so afraid.
          Relax your leg and pull it out of the ropes, up onto the seat and underneath your body, where you can use it to leverage your weight against one u-bolt anchoring your arm.
          Hold your breath, pull your arm upwards as you push against the seat with your leg. Your hand might come off before the bolt comes out of the chair, but it loosens. Pull harder. Rock it back and forth and push it right and left and pull and force it upwards always upwards until you tear your arm unbolted.
          You are that strong.
          Unscrew the nuts bolting your left arm to the chair. Untie the rope around your other leg.
          Stand up.
          Pull one of the two-by-fours from the seat. You’ll use it to bash in his fucking head if he comes through the door.
          Grab your purse. Find your underwear.
          Hold the board ready as you reach for the doorknob. It isn’t locked. You’re in the hallway. He isn’t. Not in the apartment at all. Your keys are on the table by the front door.
          Drive to the police. Don't cry or laugh or scream. You haven’t gone crazy.
          You're twenty-one years old.

©2008 Dr. Lacy M. Johnson All Rights Reserved.