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Big Bang Theory: HofstadterHoffman Cohabitation

By William Collins

Humor / Mystery

Chapter 10

10

After two hundred and twenty-three attempts to guess Jimmy's password, Sheldon gave up from trying to guess Jimmy's password, but to him, he hadn't given up anything. He was merely taking a break to reassess the situation. Reasoning that Jimmy possibly set the gates off a few times by accident, they then began searching the room for a release switch that lifted and opened all the gates from inside the room. They searched the shelves, the relics, the walls, the fake potted plant, the bear head, the radiator and even the adjacent bathroom fixtures. They even disrobed and redressed the Marilyn mannequin trying to find a switch on her person to undo the gates. Howard even copped a feel trying to see if they activated anything, but all he did was realize being dressed like Robin was not a good time to get sexually excited. Finally turning rational, they turned to Jimmy's Compaq Presario on the desk.

"Okay, guys," Howard sat at Jimmy's desk. "I've rebooted the computer, checked all his files and it seems Jimmy has a program that goes off whenever someone hacks his computer without the right password. It's connected to the gate system in the house."

"Can you reverse it?" Leonard asked.

"No…" Howard answered. "My guess is the computer is not connected to the release switch which is either outside the study or maybe even outside the house for the police to access."

"Do you think Sheldon contacted the police when he triggered it?" Raj answered.

"They would have been here by now." Leonard rationalized. "We've been in here over an hour."

"Leonard…" Sheldon came up to him. "What are you doing to help get us out of here?"

"I'm excising incredible mental control to not pummel you to death." Leonard glared at him.

"I don't see how violence is going to solve anything." He poked his head and arms against the bars in the doorway to the front hall. "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen…" He started singing a jail song in a deep baritone. "Nobody knows my sorrow…"

"You know…" Howard picked up an antique 18th Century Dutch crossbow Jimmy had near the front windows. "I bet I could do the world a favor and make it look like an accident." He aimed it at Sheldon with an evil grin then cocked his sound to the noise outside the house. Leonard and Raj ran to press their ears to the plate over the window. They heard Jimmy's car coming down the drive and go round the house to the side entryway. Raj heard it and got excited, but Leonard realized that Penny was still driving it. Unable to hear their screams for help, she sipped her soda from work, pulled in behind Leonard's car on the side of the face and flipped on the switch to pull the canvas roof over the car, waiting for it to finish closing before turning the engine off and getting out. Striding around the car to enter the side entryway, her hands reached to open the doors to the side portico and noticed the gates in the way. They had slid down to bar her entrance, but they hadn't closed all the way. There was a foot and a half clearance underneath where the gate had jammed from the weather warping the wood and buckling it into the house.

"Oh, I've got to hear this story." She descended to her hands and knees and shimmied her body underneath to get into the egress between the kitchen and the side hall. She then looked around and noticed the kitchen gate was down and locked. The pantry area was accessible, and it opened into the dining room. Dropping her purse on the dining table inside the room, she gasped and looked around the room. The wood doors had rolled together but had not locked to let her through them. Skirting between them, she made it into the foyer of the house, which now felt like a huge maze of passageways and dead ends. At the other side of the main hall, she saw the guys in their comic book costumes lined up like criminals behind the gate and trapped in the library study.

"Guys…" Penny came across the hall after them. "What the heck did you do? There are gates and shutters down all over the place!"

"How'd you get in?" Leonard called to her.

"The gate into the kitchen jammed halfway down." Penny stood in the foyer outside the gates on the study. "I just crawled under it." She looked at them trapped in the study. "What happened?"

"Sheldon set off a security program on Jimmy's computer." Howard told the truth.

"This is not my fault." Sheldon continued to try and deflect blame. "This entire system was created by Jimmy; how was I supposed to know it was tied into the security of his computer? I didn't even know it existed. I'm a victim here with the rest of you."

"What part of "Jimmy-does-not-want-anyone-on-his-computer" did you not understand?" Leonard stood at the gates and lowered his head against the steel gate. "Penny, could you please call Jimmy and ask him how to unseal the house?"

"Why me?"

"Maybe he won't be as angry if you ask him." Howard replied.

"I'll try…" She pulled her cell phone from her purse, casually looked to the guys and chuckled a bit.

"What's so funny?" Howard asked.

"You guys look like you're in jail." She smirked with a light giggle and pulled up Jimmy's number on her phone. The guys eagerly waited to be released. Somewhere in Las Vegas, Jimmy was in the Las Vegas Crime Lab examining Navaho remains recovered under the foundation of a demolished restaurant. CSI Tech Nick Stokes stood by him to observe his results. Asking to see the location where the skeleton was born, Nick started leading the way as the cell phone in Jimmy's pocket rang.

"City morgue, you stab 'em, we slab 'em…" He answered it. Even Nick shined a bit at the joke.

"Hey, Jimmy…" Penny sounded cheery and happy. "How's Las Vegas?"

"Great…" Jimmy looked to Nick waiting on him.

"Did you win anything gambling?"

"Not really, I haven't had the time…" He raised his finger to Nick to reveal it would only be a minute.

"Is it hot?"

"Does Leonard want to know how to undo my security?"

Penny hesitated in surprise.

"You know?" She looked back at the guys in deep embarrassment. Over-hearing Penny, Leonard was having another Sheldon-induced stressed-out mini-stroke.

"Penny," Jimmy followed Stokes to the SUV to check out the location the bones were found for more remains. "I've got five older sisters who were always in my business. My computer sends a message to my cell when the gates are set off."

"What happened?" Leonard asked with his face in the bars.

"His computer talks to his phone." Penny reported.

Leonard started stressing out from the humiliation.

"How do we get out of here?" Howard asked.

"Howard asked how can they get out?" Penny talked to Jimmy again. Through the phone, he paused as Penny took a deep breath.

"Go to the left trophy case in the foyer…"

"I'm at it."

"The silver medallion in the back; its popped out, right?"

"Yeah…" Penny knelt down and noticed that the medallion in the back was connected by a rod behind it through the back of the case; it had popped out an inch and had turned upside down.

"Turn it counter clockwise until you can read the names on it, and push it back into place." He told her. In his Pasadena home, Penny turned the emblem until she could read the name Ernst Stradivarius Brunner atop several other names in the silver plate then pushed in back into its mold. The trophy case had been his. It was attached to the house back when it was a speakeasy to deter the police. After Penny straightened it and popped it back into place, another system of counterweights in the walls of the house descended and gates began chiming all over the house getting pulled sideways and upwards once again. The numerous gears and pulleys started reacting once more. In the study, the wood doors sprang shut once more, and the gate went up into the wall. Sliding the wood doors apart, Leonard and the guys let themselves out of their confinement.

"Tell Leonard I'll talk to him when I get back." Jimmy added.

"Will do…"

"Thank God that's over…" Sheldon entered the freedom of the foyer. "Thanks to Jimmy, we are now thirty-five point eight minutes late for the movie."

"Thanks to Jimmy?" Leonard was livid. "Sheldon, you were the one that set off the gates after going on Jimmy's computer."

"But Jimmy is the one who installed the program that set off the gates."

"So you're completely not to blame here?"

"I accept your apology."

"That wasn't an apology!"

"Leonard, you're beating a crazy horse…" Howard got off his cell phone. "Stuart can still get us in if we're there in ten minutes." The guys looked at each other for all of half a second and bolted for the huge oak doors at the entryway. Penny watched as Leonard started shutting the door behind him then left it partially open to race to Raj's car to ride with him. Sheldon tried grabbing the front seat, but Howard jumped into it before he could. Leonard came around the car and jumped into the seat behind Raj in the driver's seat starting the car up and pulling down the driveway with Sheldon still outside the car and running alongside it as he rapped at the glass of the backseat trying to get Leonard to open the back door.

"Ye-ow…" Penny commented on their behavior as she watched the fracas then pushed the front doors completely closed, taking the time to push the bottom latch in and securing the inside bolt before locking it from the inside. Stepping back to catch her breath, she still had to do her laundry.

"For smart guys, they sure do dumb things…" She headed upstairs. "Now, where the heck is Jimmy's laundry room in this place?"

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