MakeShift Challenge: Under Siege in a Laundry Room: Honorable Mention

MakeShift 14: Sean Rhinehart’s Honorable Mention Entry
by Lee D. Zlotoff
September 21, 2008

Solution by Sean Rhinehart

The first thing I do after barricading the door with the dryer is to sit on the floor, with my back against the dryer, and my feet against the studs of the opposing wall, pressing the dryer against the door with my legs. In this position I can last at least as long as the door will, and still have my arms free. This gives me time to plan my next move, while the two guys outside the door take turns kicking the door.

The door is vulnerable above the dryer, but I’m hoping it will take some time for them to figure this out. In the meantime, I look around to see what tools I have at my disposal. I have an steam iron, currently stone cold, on the top of a folding ironing board, some spray starch, liquid detergent, bleach, dryer sheets, and some stain pre-treating spray in a pump bottle. The iron is plugged into a power strip on the floor, which is plugged in, but switched off. All the other supplies were on top of the dryer, but fell on the floor when I muscled the dryer into position.

As luck would have it, I can’t reach the power cord or power strip, but I can reach the leg of the ironing board that is closest to me. I pull the ironing board toward me, and tip it with my left hand, so that the iron falls toward me. I catch the iron with my right hand, set the temperature slider to the linen position, and set it on the floor. I then collapse the ironing board, and use the edge of the far leg to hit the switch on the power strip, which turns the iron on.

I figure the iron will work like brass knuckles, with a bonus of causing burns, once it gets hot enough. This is still not enough of an advantage against two attackers who are stronger than I am, especially since the door is now starting to make cracking noises. I decide that I would have a much better chance at survival if my new friends were blinded, by say, spray starch or pre-treatment spray. I use the leg of ironing board to drag them closer to me. I like the aerosol-style spray for reliability and coverage area, while I anticipate that the pump spray will have greater range, and possibly be a more effective blinding agent.

Once I have a spray bottle in each hand, I wait for the next kick. Immediately following the kick, I spring up and rotate my hips 90 degrees. Standing on my left foot, I’ve got my left hip pressed against the dryer, and my right leg locked against the wall opposite the door. My position is not quite as sturdy as before, but has the benefit of allowing me to see my attackers, and spray them.

I intentionally give a little on the next kick, which encourages the lead attacker to change tactics, because he thinks he’s wearing me out. He now lunges at the door, and squeezes his right foot and arm through the partially open door, eventually allowing him to put his head through.

His evil grin changes as I spray his face with both bottles. This stinging distraction causes him to reflexively withdraw, presumably in search of water to rinse his eyes. I immediately go back to previous seated position, pressing the door closed again. I helpfully point out that his eyes should be rinsed, to prevent permanent blindness, and suggest that his buddy help him find the bathroom down the hall, where there are some eye drops in the medicine cabinet. Then I persuade them to quickly take the eye drops and go, by telling them that I am calling 911 on my cellphone. (They do not know I do not have it with me.)

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