I was confounded by the most stunning puzzle.
Have you ever heard of a 'Chinese finger trap?'
I'm not sure what's Chinese about it this peculiar woven tube. But after about 200 games of skee-ball, I was able to exchange these tickets for a brand new trap.
I actually had to cut a corner or two. Or three. It was really easy. All I had to do was find the first 10 year old with a pituitary problem, put my arm around his shoulder, and point at a young goober whose pockets were overflowing with tickets.
"Son," I said, "That young man was standing next to me at the urinal a second ago. You would not believe what he was telling me."
He was interested. I also was holding on quite hard, he didn't have much of a choice about whether to listen.
"That dirty little boy had some lurid things to say about your mother. I may have to draw a diagram, I'm not exactly sure how detailed sexual education is nowadays."
This one always works. His eyebrows perked up.
"I'll just give you the tip of the iceberg. The tip is always the sharpest, so please don't kill the messenger. He's managed to tunnel through the walls of your house, all the way behind the mirror of your Mom's bathroom."
I didn't have to hold on tight anymore. His teeth were grinding.
"I won't go into details, but he says that he likes to smear himself with butter while ... no hold on, stay with me here... videotaping her come out of the shower. He sells the videotapes to the chain smoking loonies in the park."
A couple of minutes later I had my tickets. I think the overgrown young man is before a juvenile judge right now, but I managed to get out of there quickly.
I digress. Back to the finger trap!
Wolfowitz and I were at dinner, and he told me what the purpose of the toy is. You stick your fingers in either side, and then try to get them out. So I shoved my two index fingers inside.
They got stuck.
We didn't know what to do: the harder we pulled, the harder the trap stuck to my fingers. Paul even helped me yank as hard as I could; after a half an hour my fingers were sore and bloody.
After the blood started to flow, there was no way in hell that I would press further into the trap, to give in to its clutches. We all know the story of Munich and its moral: cede not an inch to your enemy, the path will be hard, but in the end, good will prevail over evil. We were bigger than the trap and there was no fucking way we were going to give up.
Long story short, John Poindexter came over with a blowtorch an hour later and seared the thing off. I don't think there was any other way. My fingers are a little singed and I'm still pulling plastic threads out, but I didn't cede a goddamned millimeter to that ridiculous tool.
I'd say it was a good day, overall.