You know…there is nothing more tempting than a locked door.
When I moved into the house, the door to the extra room was locked. I tried to pick the lock with a hair pin to no avail. I know, you’re wondering, why a guy like me has a hairpin, but that’s not the point of this story.
I called the landlord. “So, the extra room is locked. I can’t get the lock opened. Can you bring me a key?”
“You don’t need a key. The room will remain locked.”
I ran my fingers through my hair, blew out a breath. “Look, I rented the house. I should have access to the whole house. I’m going to have a locksmith come out and change the lock on that door.”
“No, the contract is for a two bedroom house and that’s what you got. The extra room is of no concern to you. A locksmith can’t help you.”
The dial tone thrummed in my ear.
What the heck was this guy’s problem? I rented a house, I wanted all the rooms. I dialed the number of a locksmith and waited while the phone rang in some business a few blocks away.
The locksmith peered at the door knob. He scratched his head. “I only seen sumptin like this once before and it weren’t good. I can’t help you.”
“Seriously, dude, you’re a locksmith. I just need you to remove the door knob and put a new one in. One that I have a key for.”
He dropped his flashlight into his bucket full of tools. “Sorry. I just can’t help you with this one. I’d advise you to leave it be.”
“You know what, just get out of my house.” I pushed him towards the door.
“Don’t go gettin’ pushy on me. I’m leaving. If I was you, I’d leave also. Find a new place to live.”
“Don’t tell me what to do.” I yelled the words as he made his way down the walk.
When he was gone, I closed the door and returned to the locked room. One way or another, I was going to get in there.
The next day, I dialed the landlord’s number again as I stood in front of that locked door.
“Listen. This is stupid. Just unlock the door.”
His sigh whispered across the airwaves and tickled my ear. “No. Let it go.”
“Fine. Then I want out of my lease. Give me my money back and I’ll move out today.”
“Well, now, we have a contract and that says if you break it, you’re responsible for full payment of the complete year of payments.
“But I signed a lease for a house and you won’t let me in all the rooms. You’ve broken the deal, so I can leave without paying you.”
“Well, if you read the paperwork, you’ll see that room isn’t part of what you rented, so I haven’t broken anything. Move out if you want, but you’ll owe me for all the monthly payments plus you’ll lose your security. I’ll take you to court.”
I threw the phone across the room.
“If you want to play that way, I can play along.”
In the garage I found my old ax in a box marked “outdoor tools.” The heavy ax head swung slightly by my side as I went back to the room.
Taking a deep breath, I swung the ax against the wood grain of the door where it stuck. A few wiggles back and forth released it from the door.
“Take this you ornery old coot.” I screamed the words knowing the stupid landlord couldn’t hear me, but the feeling of success warmed it’s way through my core and I put the ax in the door again.
After a few good swings I was able to push through the door and grab the handle on the inside. I turned the knob and pulled the door open.
I felt my jaw drop open. A scream bubbled up in my throat, but caught on my Adam’s apple.
The old man was right…I should have let it be…