Long ago, I had a strange friendship with a rope. It has never been easy for me to tell people about this friendship. Many will walk away, giving me a stern stare in quick glances. It was a sunny April day, and I had driven over to the Seven Eleven to get a six pack of SunKist orange. I hadn’t noticed the little rope in the driveway and unintentionally stepped on it. I heard, “Do You mind?” I looked left, right, back left. I was the only person in the parking lot. “Down here. Hey. You. I’m down here. Mind getting your grubby tennies off my neck please.” I was standing there and saw the little rope. I took a step off, and my eyes shifted back and forth and down again. This is a clever trick, I was thinking. It sounds like that rope is talking. The thought made me smile. “You think this is funny, huh?” Then to my astonishment, this rope rose up like an S shape, and was threatening back and forth like a cobra trying to set its target. Then it struck my calf. I was in my sport shorts, and it made me jump aside, the bristles of its end startled me. Again, I surveyed the lot, hoping no one saw me jump. What is going on? I thought, and this rope was again in its cobra swaying stance. I was talking in a hoarse whisper: “Look, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you down there.” My head kind of went into a circle, my vision seeing sky, pavement, front of the store, back to the pavement and the rope. “What am I doing, talking to a rope?” I’m sure someone is laughing their ass off watching me. I ran my hand over the space above rope’s top, sure I’d run into clear fishing wire. Nothing. WiFi connection, batteries, maybe. “Okay, quit darting at me. What’s your name?” What can I do or say to clue me in to who’s operating this clever toy. “My name real name is Larry Att, but my friends call me Rope.” it said, with an air of majesty. I could see a little movement at the rope’s end. I guess that’s the mouth. “Look Rope or Larry, how do you do. I was going into this store to get some sodas. How about I share one with you? Will that be a good enough apology?” Rope seemed to be taking a moment to ponder. “Okay, look, I’ve been out here in the sun all morning. I’m really thirsty. Buy me a six pack of Pepsis, and it’s a deal.” I went on inside and bought the two six pacs. I was hoping the clerk didn’t see anything. I paid and went outside. I stood for a moment, looking over the lot. It was gone. Rope I mean. I had an impulse to call for it, but suddenly was feeling self conscious. It was gone. I went over to my car and got in. “Bout time you got here.” I heard, and there in the passenger seat was Larry Att. I said, “What do you want? Want me to take you somewhere? I don’t mind. Tell me where...”
Rope lifted up from his curled position but its ‘head’ went into a nod. “Look, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not a gay rope or anything. I just don’t have many people to talk to anymore. All my talking friends are off somewhere doing jobs and stuff. You can see, I’m too short to get hired. You think we could just drive around awhile, go look at shopping centers?”
At first I felt a little put upon, you know give an inch and the want the whole rope, but then I thought, well, I had nothing important planned. How often can you connect with a rope? I said, “Okay, Larry, but just for a few hours. And no getting out. I don’t want anyone I know...” I stopped myself. I really did not want to hurt its feelings, but what if any body saw me with a rope scooting along with me? I glanced at Larry, and thought I felt that his feelings were hurt a little. So, down the boulevard we go to drive around Eastgate Shopping Center. All of a sudden Larry is yelling. “Hey, pull over to the curb here, over here...” There wasn’t any traffic so I pulled over. “What?” I said. I just saw an old girl friend. Let me take a look.” He opened the door and look down the street behind us. “Lass! Hurry up, we’ll give you a lift.” Then he looks at me. “You’ll like her right off. Her name’s Lass O’.” I looked in my rear view and saw two ropes taking springy hops down the sidewalk. “Wait...come on Larry, there’s two. Who’s the other one?” They were soon close by. Larry says, “who’s your friend, Lass?” I hear a high pitched female voice: “Oh, hi, Larry Att. Long time no see. This is my friend Necholas. Necholas Noose. Call him Nech. I just met him. He’s okay.”
So, we’re back on the road. Lass says to me, “Hey, next time you see a hardware store, stop, Nech and I want to get hitched up.” I’m thinking, really? Then all the ropes are laughing. “Just kidding, just kidding. No, Nech Noose here and me, we’re just going to be friends, right Nechy?” I heard this deep sinister voice from the back seat. “Yeah, right, you got that right; but we might just tie one one, okay? Look, pal, let’s head over to your bank next, got it?” I wasn’t sure I heard right. “What..what did you say?” Suddenly I felt the tug of a rope around my neck, and I think a needle poking the side of my neck. Curling over my shoulder was Noose’s face, the rope end actually, and he says, “You got your ATM card here, right? Well I got mine, too. We going to do a little transfer, got it? That way you won’t get choked.”
Crap, here I am, just trying to be friendly, and open some dialogue with ropes I’ve never thought to even say hello to, and here I am. That needle actually hurt. Every time we went around a corner, it stabbed me. “What bank you use. That one coming up, is that your bank?” There was another little stab and a slight tightening of him, his rope. Yeah, that was a bank I had money in, so I pulled over. I could feel sweat running down my forehead. I saw the ATMs and pulled in. Suddenly, I saw a flash and a short pull on my neck. It was Larry. He had wrapped himself around Noose’s neck like a .. Like a noose! And was squeezing the crap out of him. I hated the choking sound of a rope choking, and ran my hand over my neck, massaging where Noose had been. I saw Larry had a very determined look on his face, and I didn’t know if I should stop him or just let it happen. “Maybe we shouldn’t kill him, do ya think?” I said in a pleading voice. Lass was all pulled up in the opposite corner, with a look of shock. “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry, fella, and Larry. I had no idea he was like that. I really din’t.”
Don’t worry, he’s finished. He’s now just a regular old rope. Larry rolled down the window and tossed the lifeless Nech Noose out the window.
I felt a tap on my shoulder, it was Larry tapping. “Look, Lass and I’ll get off here. Our favorite bar is just a block away. So we’ll let you be on your way. Maybe run into you again.” So, with a mixture of relief and admiration for Larry’s skill with knots and rope tricks, I told him thanks and good luck. I watched them scoot down the sidewalk. I saw a human, an old guy with a cane walking toward them, and both curled up like inanimate ropes until he passed.
A never ran into Larry Att or Lass O’ ever again, but the friendship still warms my heart. “I think that’s the whole story, Doc. Did I imagine it? What do ya think. It really seems like it happened.” I was laying on his couch, so had to pull myself up to look at his face. It was all squeezed into wrinkles, and he stared at me with glaring eyes. I saw his hand was still on a button near his chair. He was calling his security staff.