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Parenthood
"Another Hobby Day"

Joel's escape trick went over so well for Hobby Day at Sydney's school that he wants to try a more impressive trick when the next one comes around.

Adam and Crosby were halfway to their sister's house to see their brother-in-law, Joel. Adam had agreed to drive over, but he still wasn't clear on why Joel needed them.

"Tell me again why Joel needs us to help with this," Adam asked.

"It's simple. Joel wants to do another magic act at Sydney's school for Hobby Day. Julia will have the car and his is in the shop, so he needs you to take him and his gear over to the school."

"And you can't do it because..."

"We have a recording session that day. Unless you think you've learned enough to work the board," Crosby replied.

"No, no, I get it now. But... magic? Really? Who does that anymore?"

"Joel says he was a big hit last year. The kids loved it."

They arrived at Julia and Joel's house to find Joel in the living room gathering his props for the act -- a large curtain on a rod, a huge canvas sack, and a pile of chains and manacles.
"Oh, great, you're here," said Joel. "You can help me practice. Hey, Adam, I'm going to need an assistant during the act. If you wouldn't mind, since you'll be there anyway..."

"Sure, no problem," Adam replied. "What do I need to do?"

"Just stand over here and help me. Crosby, can you go to the other side of the room and watch us the way the audience will? Okay. This is an escape trick like the one I did last year but a little more ambitious. I'm gonna be handcuffed and shackled, put into this sack, and then escape."

"That definitely sounds more ambitious," Adam said.

"Just watch, it's a piece of cake. I'll kneel on the empty sack after giving the audience a good look at the shackles. Adam, go ahead and put them on me."
Joel placed his hands behind him while Adam put the manacles around his wrists, and also fastened the attached leg irons to Joel's ankles.

"That isn't too tight, is it?" asked Adam.

"No, it's fine. Now, pull the sack up over me and tie the opening. I'll wriggle around for a few seconds in view and then you hold that curtain in front of me until I get loose. When I do, raise the curtain with a flourish. Okay?"

Adam looked skeptical. "Okay, if you say so." They ran through the moves that Joel had described. Once he emerged, Adam waved the curtain aside. Crosby confirmed that the act had looked good; he and Adam asked Joel how he had done it.

"Well, I really shouldn't say, but it's such an easy trick. See, there's a hidden pouch in the sack where the key is -- it's right here by the seam so it isn't noticeable. Any one of us could do this; you could do it, Adam."

Crosby spoke up. "You know, Joel, that's not a bad idea. If Adam practices the trick, he could be the backup in case you get sick or something."

"I don't know," Adam said doubtfully. "That doesn't seem very likely."

"Aren't you the one who always wants to be ultra-prepared for everything?" Crosby asked. "But now, when it's not your butt on the line, it's a different story."
Joel didn't think he really needed a backup plan, but he'd heard Crosby and Adam argue before and didn't want to get between them. So, after Crosby had Adam convinced, he decided to go along.

Adam positioned himself, kneeling on the empty sack. "Okay, what do I do?" Joel described how to show the chains to the audience first, and then was beginning to chain Adam's hands behind him when Crosby interrupted.

"Wait a minute. Adam, if you're doing the trick because Joel can't, then he's not going to be the assistant. Maybe I should be the assistant for now, and Joel, you can review for yourself how the trick looks."

This made sense to the others, so Joel and Crosby switched places. Crosby resumed putting the manacles and leg irons on. Once Adam was securely chained, Crosby pulled the top of the bag over Adam's head and held the curtain up.
When Adam still hadn't emerged from the bag after a couple of minutes, Joel asked if Adam was having trouble working the key.

"I can't seem to find the key," Adam answered. "I can feel a pocket, but there's nothing in it."

"Maybe it fell out of the pocket," Joel suggested. "Feel around the bottom of the sack."

"No, that won't help," said Crosby. "See, I took the key out of the pocket before I closed the bag."

"Very funny," Adam said angrily. "Crosby, get me out of here right now!!"

Crosby began to explain. "Hold on, Adam. Remember when Dad made me join the Boy Scouts and you were helping me learn knots? Remember when you left me tied to that tree for hours? Now you know what it feels like."

"Come on, Crosby, that was just a prank," Adam pleaded. "You can't seriously tell me you've held a grudge all these years."

"You aren't the one who had to listen to Dad when he found me. He called me a wuss for not being able to get loose, and then when I wanted him to yell at you, he said I should shut up and act like a man. No, I think we're even now."

"Joel, get the key from Crosby and let me out, please," Adam sputtered.

"Oh no, you're not getting me involved in this," said Joel. "You guys play rough."

"How 'bout this?" Crosby suggested. "Joel, let's go get a beer, and Julia can let Adam loose when she comes home."

"Okay, I guess so," replied Joel. "I don't think I want to get on your bad side after seeing this."

Crosby called to Adam, who was still delivering threats and complaints, "Hey Adam, have Julia text me when she gets home and I'll tell her where the key is."
This prompted a new flood of protests from Adam, but they faded as Crosby and Joel reached the front of the house, where Crosby put the key on a shelf. They headed out to await Julia's call, leaving Adam's muffled pleas behind.


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