LITTLE MISS KNEESOCKS

The cellar was pitch black. Flicking on an industrial strength flashlight, Little Miss Kneesocks aimed it at a small, odd-looking door, a little less than waist-high off the ground. Illuminating the floor in front of her, she stepped gingerly over to the little door and gave the handle a wiggle. After a bit of seducing, she broke down its resistance, and it opened.

“What is it?” I wondered.

“A dumbwaiter,” she replied. Leaning in and shining the light up the dumbwaiter shaft, she said with satisfaction, “Good. It’s empty.” Turning to me: “Okay, go ahead.”

“Go ahead what?”

“Shimmy up into Roz’s room.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Come on. We’ve got to get in. It’s the only way.”

“Why exactly do we have to get in?”

She handed me the flashlight. “When you’re in, I’ll tell you.”

I stuck my head in the empty shaft, which was about three feet by three feet, and shined the light upward. “I … I really don’t like small places,” I admitted.

“Get in there, sissy.”

“But even if I do, I won’t be able to reach the access door—it’s, like, ten feet up.”

“Can’t you jump up? Or press your arms and legs against opposite sides and shimmy up? You’re an athlete.”

She had obviously never seen me on the lacrosse field.