Authors: Jeff Brown
Stanley suddenly saw that they were surrounded by a barbed wire fence that cut them off from the shoreline.
That wasn't on the blueprint!
“Prepare for emergency takeoff!” said Lily.
“We're too far from shore!” screamed Stanley over the sirens. “If you launch me from here, your wheelchair will never clear that fence!”
“PREPARE FOR EMERGENCY TAKEOFF!” repeated Lily fiercely, turning the wheelchair on a dime as the spotlight's glare grazed her elbow.
Still on Lily's lap, Stanley quickly connected the wires attaching him to the Escapist. Lily backed away from the fence, and the spotlight caught them. “DO NOT FLEE!” a voice commanded over a loudspeaker.
Lily took Stanley's hands and looked him squarely in the eye.
“Let's blow this taco stand,” she said through gritted teeth.
And she threw Stanley over the fence and right off the edge of the Rock.
Stanley kept his eyes trained on Lily as her wheelchair lifted off. They climbed swiftly, but then he felt a terrible lurchâthe wheels of the Escapist had snagged the barbed wire at the top of the fence.
“Lily!” screamed Stanley. No matter how hard the wind pulled, it couldn't blow them free. The force against Stanley was so great, he could barely breathe. Caught like a bug in the spotlight, Lily took a spoke from the Escapist's wheel, and pulled it apart into two handles. They were wire cutters! Lily was snipping the barbed wire!
All at once, the Escapist was free, and Stanley blew out over the bay. Almost immediately, he felt a series of hard, jagged tugs on the wires that ran down to the wheelchair.
Lily must be bumping the rocks on her way to the water!
thought Stanley. He angled upward, pulling her higher.
The San Francisco skyline twinkled up ahead, a slim pyramid-shaped building leading the way.
She must be over the water by now,
thought Stanley, and he slowly descended until he felt a smooth bump in the lines. Lily's wheelchair was skimming the surface of San Francisco Bay.
Down below, a spotlight caught Lily in its circular halo. But it wasn't coming from Alcatraz. It was coming from across the bay, from Oda Nobu's press conference. The world was watching Lily speed along, miraculously rolling on the surface of the water. Doing the
Stanley was overcome by a wave of happiness. Then a faint sound filled his ears: people cheering from the shore. Lily was almost there!
Stanley got ready for the moment his friend would detach the wires, rolling onto the shore without anyone knowing how she'd crossed the bay. He felt a slight jerk as the line was released, and he let himself safely descend, floating down like he'd learned to do at the wind farm in Texas.
Stanley fluttered on top of a building overlooking the press conference. Below, TV cameras were swarming around Lily. From the stage, his friend Oda Nobu said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lily Fox, the first person in history to escape from Alcatraz!”
The crowd went wild. Lily beamed.
“Thank you! Thank you all!” she shouted into the microphone. “I couldn't have done it alone! I had someone special looking down on me!” She scanned the rooftops, her eyes twinkling. And Stanley, invisible in his suit, took an invisible bow.
Two hours later, Stanley was out for a crab dinner on Fisherman's Wharf with his parents; his brother, Arthur; and his friend Thomas Anthony Jeffrey.
“What do you mean you won't tell us where you've been for the last three days?” cried Arthur.
“It's a secret,” said Stanley.
“George, you said someone needed Stanley's help,” said Stanley's mother. “Who was it?”
“I can't say,” said Stanley's father.
“Come on, Stanley,” said Thomas. “Can't you tell us anything about this latest adventure of yours?”
Stanley looked down at his cracked crab. He felt bad. “I'll let you try on my superhero suit,” he offered.
“You got a superhero suit?” cried Arthur. “How come I can't have a superhero suit?”
Suddenly a murmur swept through the restaurant. Everyone was turning to look. And then Stanley saw them: Lily and her parents had arrived, right on schedule. They rolled right up to the Lambchops' table.
Lily gave Stanley a triumphant high five.
“You're the girl who escaped from Alcatraz!” Stanley's mother exclaimed.
“May I have your autograph?” Thomas asked.
“Everyone, this is my friend Lily,” said Stanley, “and these are her parents. You all want to know about my adventure? Well, it's not my adventure to share. It's hers.”
“Hi, everybody,” said Lily. “Thanks for lending me Stanley and Mr. Lambchop.” She paused, and Stanley was surprised to see that she was blushing. Then she took a deep breath and began. “It started with a dream. And the trick with any dream is figuring out how to make it real.”
When the Lambchops finally returned home the next day, Stanley was awfully happy to see his and Arthur's room. Somehow, of all his adventures, this one seemed like the biggest journey.
Stanley studied his bulletin board. There he had souvenirs from his travels: a newspaper article about how Stanley saved Mount Rushmore, a photo of him bullfighting in Mexico, and on and on. He rummaged through the front of his bag and pulled out the front page of this morning's
: “Daredevil Escapes Alcatraz Without Getting Wet.” In the photo was Lily, beaming. Stanley, of course, was nowhere to be seen.
And, as he tacked the clipping to his bulletin board, Stanley realized that this was the souvenir that made him proudest of all.
means “strange bird” or pelican. The island “de los alcatraces” was named by Spanish explorer Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1775.
Al Capone played the banjo in the Alcatraz prison band, the Rock Islanders, which gave concerts for other inmates.
Thirty-six inmates put the “escape-proof” Alcatraz to the test. But there were no confirmed prisoner escapes from Alcatraz.
Alcatraz was home to the Pacific Coast's first lighthouse, activated in 1854.