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Fitrzoy Lockout – Our Advice? Wear your pyjamas

Before I give you tips that I have found effective in procuring peace of mind, I will give you one amusing piece of advice: if you sleep alone, wear pyjamas. Why? Late one Saturday/early Sunday morning on a very hot summer night, I received a distress call from a man. He was calling from a phone booth in Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia. He was calling from a police station! This man, who I will refer to as Steven, told me he had locked himself out of his apartment and that he needed me to help him get back in. So far so good. I told him what I charged. It was the middle of the night, and I charge a lot for that. “No problem, mate,” came the answer, “but can you come straight away?”

This was fine with me, but then came the rest of the story. “I want to tell you what I’m wearing.” Hmm, well, my caller ID said he was indeed calling from a police station, so I thought this a bit bizarre, but okay. “I’m in a police forensic suit, the kind you have to wear when you have murdered someone.” I almost hung up, but he continued quickly, “I’ll explain when you get here.”

Well, okay, I guess he’s not a pervert or a mass murderer or anything because the police are obviously letting him go, I thought. This was a bit strange, but maybe it would sort itself out. “I’ll come and get you, but you will need ID and full payment as soon as I let you into your house.”

I jumped into my van, and on arrival, Steven met me near the front of the police station. He was not handcuffed, but he did indeed have nothing on except that pre-announced forensic suit. I introduced myself to him and found him to be quite nice. He was sober, and quite apologetic about getting me out of bed at such an ungodly hour. I proceeded to ask him what had happened.

He explained to me that in the last couple of weeks, his work and private life had become very hectic, and that for the first time of his life he was starting to sleepwalk, finding himself waking up in various rooms of his apartment at all hours of the night.

But this night it had gone too far. Being a very hot night, he had decided to forego the pyjamas before crawling into bed. All he could remember was waking up exiting the ground car park into the laneway naked. His apartment building had doors that self-lock so he was stranded with no keys, no ID, no money. He had just himself – literally.

Fortunately, though, he had his wits and found a phone booth that he knew was not too far away. He dialled 000 emergency, explained to the person on the other end of the phone what had happened and the police came and got him. They verified his identity, and told him he’d have to call someone to come and get him. He had a better idea. How about if the police broke into his house for him? They had a good laugh at that one. Steve was embarrassed enough already, and they could see that. They explained that they couldn’t do that, but they let him use their phone to find a locksmith who would get him into his home. He called a few, but I was the only one who answered the phone. The rest, as they say is history. From time to time I run into Steve and we have a good chuckle. I always tell him that his story is the legend of the locksmith world. Me, I’ve learned, I always make sure a friend has a key to my home just in case …