When I was in middle school I won a pair of handcuffs in some carnival game. I don’t really remember the exact circumstances but I do remember planning to try to handcuff my sister’s ankle to her bed while she was sleeping because I figured that she’d wake up groggily, not realizing it was there, and fall on her face.
I’ve always had such a kind heart.
I’ve also always had a healthy fear of my nearest older sister. Couple that with her superhuman ability to wake up the second I stepped foot in her room and, well, it just wasn’t going to happen. So, the handcuffs became my luggage marker.
I mean, who actually puts a pair of handcuffs on their luggage when they travel, right? It was perfect. I’d never grab the wrong suitcase again.
Of course, when I stopped checking baggage, because those bastards that are the airline executives decided to charge bag fees, I couldn’t keep my handcuffs attached to my suitcase. The airport doesn’t take kindly to handcuff carry-ons. I’m not sure why.
So, the things got shoved in some small pocket of a random backpack never to be seen again.
Oddly, I had never considered other uses for them.
Isn’t it funny how things that get stashed, never to be seen again, always seem to resurface at the most… inconvenient times. These were no exception. Over six years after the fact, long after I had forgotten that I had them, and slightly shorter after some other uses of handcuffs had dawned on me, they came back to center stage.
In November, I had to go to court to fight a towing charge I had received when I was parked perfectly legally. As annoying as it was, I was a little bit excited to go to court and argue my case. I packed up all of my evidence and the rest of my things. Realizing that I needed more space than I had in my purse, I grabbed an old backpack.
I thought that the backpack was empty.
No, that’s not quite true. I knew that my sparkly horns were in there. I only wear them once a year on Halloween and there was no point of taking them out.
As I arrived at the courthouse, I felt nervously optimistic about my case. I knew that I had been parked legally and really wasn’t worried about the outcome. I cheerily walked my way through the first steps of security, nodding good morning at the guards and attendants. Putting my keys and cell phone in the tray and setting my backpack on the security belt, I casually walked though the metal detector, completely oblivious that anything was wrong.
Suddenly the guard looked up at me, cracking a wide mischievous smile. “Are those handcuffs?!?!?”
My eyes went wide with shock. My jaw dropped in sudden realization that I did, in fact, have handcuffs in my backpack.
Trying, though not very hard, to hold back his laughter the guard continued on very loudly, “You can’t bring HANDCUFFS into the courthouse.”
I turned a neon shade of pink so quickly; you would have thought I had a switch.
“Oh my god,” I said, “I totally forgot that they were in there.”
Now with the audience of the entire population of the courthouse foyer, the guard laughed and informed me that I could check them in, take a voucher for them, and pick them up when I left, quietly adding “nice horns.”
Nodding, and blushing more deeply, I quickly took the handcuffs out and handed them to the other attendant like you’d hand off a tampon, not wanting anyone to see what was being passed. He was having none of that, though. He took them from me, held up the clear Ziploc bag he was going to deposit them into, let one link loose to display them to the whole audience, and then dropped them into the bag still held high with great gusto. Continuing to hold the bag high, he sealed it and dropped it loudly into a bin and handed me my voucher.
I thanked him quietly and walked as quickly as I could to the nearest elevator, fixating on it so as to pretend that the whole room wasn’t still watching me.
Just as the elevator doors were closing, a man caught them and flung himself in with me. Staring pointedly ahead, I pretended not to notice him. With a smirk, he turned to me, “So, how are you doing? …It’s a nice day, huh? …What are you here for?”
He might as well have asked me if I come here often. I smiled awkwardly and darted out toward my courtroom.
Two hours later, when I was getting ready to leave, I had nearly decided to just leave the handcuffs there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t given that option. As I neared security, I saw that only the man who had taken the cuffs from me was still there. Spotting me, he broke into a wide grin and loudly said, “I suppose you want your handcuffs back, eh?”
“Um… yes, please,” I said almost as loudly.
Seeing as there was no way of getting out of this without drawing attention, I decided that I wasn’t going to be sheepish or ashamed. I would proudly reclaim my handcuffs and walk out with my head held high. By now, I had no pride left so I might as well.
Once again, he held the Ziploc bag up high as he picked up the handcuffs by one link, once again displaying them to everyone with a flourish. I held out my hand to take them and he dropped them in my palm.
Without breaking eye contact, I thrust them back in that same small pocket from which they came, thanked him, told him to have a nice day with a wide smile of my own, and confidently strode out. Yet again, some random guy hurried along to catch up with me, trying to make small talk. Ignoring him, I made it a block away before I broke down in laughter.
Calling my gossip buddy friend, I quickly told her the whole story.
“Does this actually happen in other people’s lives?” I asked.
“No,” she said, “pretty much only in your life and in the movies.”
“Well, another event to add to that list, I suppose.”
“Yep… You do realize that you have to write about this, right?”
So, please, tell me that I’m not the only one that this sort of thing happens to. Has anything like this ever happened to any of you? Spill it!