Lockpicking 101

amanda holland

The clang of the slamming metal door echoed off the concrete walls, sealing our fate. I turned around and backed up. The handcuffs pinched my wrists as I grabbed the knob and wiggled it.


I stepped away and turned to face the door, studying it as best I could in the dim light. “How did we get into this?”

“We? What did ‘we’ have to do with this?” Fury laced Evan’s voice. “You’re the one who got us into this mess, Casey. I told you to stay out of my case! You’re a private investigator, not a cop.” 

“Stay out? I’m the one who led you to them. It was my case first.”

Evan rattled the cuffs on his wrists. “It doesn’t matter. Being their hostages won’t help us stop them.”

It will if I get us out. “I’m going to need your help. I’m assuming they have your handcuff key?” 

His silent glare told me they did.

I stepped closer to him and eased myself to my knees. “Grab one of my hair pins.” Silence. I craned my head around. 

Evan’s blue eyes stared back at me in disbelief. I’m a sucker for blue eyes.

“You can either stand there gawking at me, or you can get a hair pin so I can get us out of this. I can’t reach it myself!” I tugged at the cuffs for added effect.

“Like I can do any better?”

“Just do the best you can.”

Evan sighed. 

“Look, whoever is right picks the restaurant for our second date.”

Evan’s eyes widened. “Second date? I just want to survive the first one.”

“Then give me a hair pin.”

“Turn around.” His fingers moved across my messy up-do. 

“Ow! Don’t take my hair out with it.” 

“I can’t exactly see what I’m doing!” 

He had reason to be mad, but he didn’t have to be rude. 

“Here.” He dropped the pin into my hand.

I fumbled, pulled the pin apart, and started working.

“This is your grand plan? To pick the lock with a hair pin? Come on, that only works on TV.”

“What, they didn’t have Lockpicking 101 in the police academy?” I turned just enough to catch his glare. I wasn’t helping things. “Do you have any better ideas?”

“What are we supposed to do if you manage to—” He stopped talking when I popped the lock and removed the handcuff from my left wrist. His mouth opened, but he didn’t say a word as I quickly popped the right one, too. “How…where did you…”

“It’s amazing what you can learn on YouTube. Turn around,” I said. “I can get yours off faster.” This time he listened.

As I freed him, he looked back at the door. “Now what? You can’t get that with a hair pin.”

“True.” I already had a good idea of what I would need, but I studied the lock a little closer. “I really need a screwdriver…”

“Oh, yeah, I brought my whole toolbox when we were kidnapped at gunpoint!”

“You know, your sarcasm isn’t helping right now. Did they take your wallet?” 

He shook his head. 

“I’m going to need to borrow a credit card.” 

Evan sighed and dug out a card.

I held my breath and thanked YouTube when the lock clicked open. 

Evan put a hand on my arm. When I turned to face him, he held a finger over his lips. He eased the door open and studied whatever was outside for several moments. Leaning closer, he whispered, “Stay close.” 

We stepped out into darkness lit only by a sliver of moon. Evan crouched down, staying close to the building. I followed as we darted for an alley. “We made it,” I breathed.

The brick beside my head exploded. 

“Run!” Evan pushed me ahead of him as more bricks exploded. 

My heart pounded so loud I could barely hear. “They’re shooting at us!”

“That’s why we’re running! Move faster.” 

My heel caught, throwing me to the ground. Pain shot through my ankle. “Ow!” 

Evan dove down beside me as headlights blinded us. A car screeched to a stop at the end of the alley. 

Evan threw his hands up as an officer jumped out of the car. “Evan Miller, Memphis PD! My badge is in my pocket.” 

“Miller? We got a tip about someone being held at gunpoint. What happened?” The officer moved closer as more cars pulled up behind the squad car. The night came alive with blue-and-red lights. 

Evan reached for me as he answered. “We got away. I think they’re still inside.” He wrapped an arm around me and helped me limp to a car, studying me as I eased into the passenger seat. “Are you okay?”

I nodded. “I’m rethinking my shoe choices for our next date, though. Heels weren’t a good option.”

Evan smiled. 

Shouts erupted behind us. Evan stood straighter, looking back to where we’d been held. A minute later, an officer rushed to the car. “We got them, thanks to you and your girlfriend.”

I smiled. “I’ve never taken down a drug ring on a first date. Or any date.”

Evan laughed. “It’s a first for me, too. I wonder what the next one will be like? You get to choose the date, since you proved me wrong back there.”

I winked. “I’ll make sure it’s memorable.”

“Just not as exciting as the first.”

Amanda Holland
Amanda Holland is a pastor’s wife, mom of two teen boys, and dental hygienist. She’s written several short stories and was an ACFW First Impressions winner and Genesis semi-finalist.

You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.