The first painting had a description on the wall next to it that it was an interactive painting, but people over the years had take parts off of it. Let the record show that when we went into the room, and the guy was giving us instructions about not destroying anything, or putting holes in the wall…I noticed a black duffel bag under a row of three chairs against the wall. I was pretty sure it was something to do with the challenge, but I didn’t mention it. The guy left, and we had 60 minutes to find the codes and put them into a tablet or notebook or some electronic happy sunshine garget (exact wording advertising a cell phone that Genius wanted me to buy him off the internet from China when he was in 6th grade) mounted on the wall. That right there would have been enough to keep me in the room for eternity. But The Pony knew how to work that newfangled contraption.
The first painting had two wooden knobs on it as the centers of flowers. They were the same shape as the plastic knobs Hick put two of on our microwave to replace the handle that broke off. Knobs. You know what to do with knobs. You pull on them. That’s what I did, but The Pony and Hick said not to break the painting. We’d been warned about that. So I tried to twist them. They didn’t. I saw that the painting was screwed into the frame, but the top right screw was missing. So I tried to pull that corner to see if the whole thing would pop out. “Don’t! You’ll break it!” Again, my minimum-wage-worker-fearing companions cautioned me not to pull on that painting. We tried all combinations of the petal numbers and flower numbers and how many colors and the date of the painting. Nothing. We did the one clue they gave us on the garget. It said everything we needed was in the room. Duh.
After a while, Hick said, “This is bull. I’m asking for another clue.” The guy had said we could, just open the door. He said everything we needed was in that black dufflel bag. So we got that out and there was a black box (locked) that said something about safety. Well! I pointed out that there was one of 20 small pictures on shelves on the wall that was titled Safety whatever-it-was, and Hick put in the date on that picture as the combination for the black box, and it worked! Inside were knobs for the other six flower centers. The Pony put them on. They were magnets. He could move them and hear something behind the painting. I thought maybe you could use those magnets to drag the code or something across the back of the painting to the open corner and take it out. We tried and tried. Hick started saying, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen! We don’t have any time left, and we haven’t even got the first one done. Pony, go ask for another clue.” The Pony didn’t want to, but he did.
Here’s where we got cheated! The guy came in and asked how far we were, and what we thought, and we told him about trying to get what was behind that painting, and he said this is what you needed to do, and GRABBED THOSE TWO KNOBS AND PULLED ON THE PAINTING JUST LIKE I HAD DONE IN THE BEGINNING! Nothing happened. He shook it. He jiggled it. He twisted it. Finally, he yanked really hard, and that painting came off. SERIOUSLY! He had told us not to break things, and this didn’t even work unless you forced it. I call shenanigans! He could have at least given us some time back. There was nobody else there, and the room had not been booked after us.
Anyhoo…we moved on to the next painting. Now this one was really hard, and I don’t think we would have gotten it, even with our stolen time. There was a big painting with symbols on it. The clue said something about BLUE, and some symbols were in blue. Things like equations. Like n - @ , and p - *. The Pony turned those 20 small pictures around and saw that there were symbols written on the back of them with white-out. We tried to look at where they were on a keyboard, because that’s what the "Safety" picture was of. Of course that didn’t get us anything. I thought that we should use only the symbols that also had a corresponding number on a keyboard, and those would be our code number. Nope.
After asking for a clue from the guy, because all the tablet told us was something about symbols, he said the order was important. Well. We’d moved them from their original positions. But I don’t think it mattered, because Hick and The Pony put them in order by the year on them.
And then our time ran out!
The guy came in and showed us that once in year order, we only had to look at the LETTER from the equations, not the symbols, and they would spell out in words our code number. Like seven twenty-three nine. Yeah. We’re pretty stupid. Maybe Genius being there could have helped us. Or maybe there would have been an actual murder in that room for a real crime. Hick was getting hot under the collar and The Pony was giving up. I was just glad I had a chair to sit in, even though Hick kept grunting at me indignantly when he was trying to put the pictures in date order. Even though there was plenty of room for him to reach over my head and put them on the shelf.
Now here’s where IRONY comes in. I am really learning what that means now, I think. We went to Golden Corral and ate lupper (late lunch, early supper) and then went back to our hotel and talked to The Pony for a while. As we were leaving to go by his apartments where he’ll live next year, and take him back to his dorm…he reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys.
“Oh. These are from that duffel bag at the Escape Room. They’ll probably want these back.”
Yep. The Pony had stolen the props from the Heist escape room! It’s on Campus Corner, so as we went past, Hick pulled into the parking lot and told The Pony to run them in while he turned around. The Pony got back in the car with a funny look.
“The door was locked. I guess he’s gone, even though their website says they’re open until 8:00. So I put the keys on top of the mailbox by the door.”
I guess that guy found them Monday morning. Or else I’ll be getting a bill. It’s not like they can’t solve that crime. We were the only ones in there that day.