MakeShift Challenge: Under Siege in a Laundry Room: Most Creative Entry

MakeShift 14: T. Daniel’s Most Creative Winning Entry
by Lee D. Zlotoff
September 21, 2008

Solution by T. Daniel

Presuming that asking the bad guys to leave really nicely won’t work, the means of escaping the described unpleasantness can be broken into three basic goals:

Secure the laundry room from the intruders
Signal for help
Repulse the attackers

First things first: a barricade more effective than the washing washing machine must be immediately put in place. The room should be searched for anything large and rigid to jam between the door and the opposing wall. A 2×4 from a homemade shelf or a similar shelving post should be sufficient. One end of the post should be placed on the door, close to the door handle, and the other kicked into place against the opposing wall (obviously without removing the washing machine). This type of barricade should be effective against kicking or pry bars, or in fact anything short of a power saw or angle grinder physically removing the door from the other side, depending on the strength of the door. (And honestly, if they had the foresight to bring an angle grinder, they wouldn’t need you to get to your oodles of wall-safe loot, anyways. And you’re in a lot of trouble, wall-safe hotshot.) If a suitable post can’t be found, the dryer or other hard objects should be pushed to fill the gap between the washing machine and the opposing wall.

As for signaling, if, by some stroke of totally-unmentioned-in-the-article luck, the house circuit breakers are in the laundry room (not completely uncommon), they should obviously be flicked on and off to signal an SOS (in classic suspense movie fashion).

The fire alarm (which, c’mon, you should have in your laundry room) should be set off as well by setting a (very small) fire next to it (and you have a lighter because, c’mon, a hotshot like you obviously smokes). If perchance you don’t, sparking the wires from the washing machine/dryer to set alight that strip of underwear or whatever should be fairly easy. Continuing the absurd-luck-not-mentioned-in-the-article streak, maybe you have one of those fancy alarm systems that alert the authorities when the fire alarm is triggered. If not, continue to the last step.

The third, last-ditch, Home Alone-esque, quasi-insane solution is to repulse the intruders and run like hell. Your MO: first, find a spray bottle and fill it with bleach or any sort of toxic fluid. This’ll be your boom-stick (well, eye-melting spray-stick). Set aside. Find the most club-like thing in the room, and similarly set aside. Next, fill the sink with water, and mix in baking soda if available (though exponentially grosser, urine will also work). Excepting a small area at the bottom, jam clothing wetted in the sink into the door seal, as tightly as possible. Remove the flexible exhaust hose from the dryer and flatten it just enough to fit under the door, and pack more wetted clothes around it. Use more of the wetted clothes to cover your mouth and nose, making a DIY gas mask (which’ll be pretty gross if you went the pee route). Also, take this time to make a scary headdress out of whatever is available.

Now, take a deep breath (unless you did go the pee route), and with your deadly bleach-shooter at the ready, pour the rest of the bleach into the tube, followed by ammonia (if not available, vinegar or anything acidic laying around should work). Immediately plug the tube with more wet clothes. The bleach pooled under the other side of the door will mix with the ammonia or whatever and will either explode (bad, but not all that likely) or release tons of chlorine gas. The wet clothes should stop most of the vapors from seeping into the room, the baking soda (or urea from the urine) neutralizing the chlorine.

Now wait until either a) you hear your attackers fleeing and screaming in pain, or b) your shoddy sealing-work fails and you start to feel real, real bad. Kick away your barricade, run out in your panic-inducing headdress, screaming a terrifying death cry, and spray and/or club in the face anything that gets in your way. Anyone remotely sane will run. Far away.

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