He hadn’t done the math.
There hadn’t been complicated calculations of vectors and wind speeds. He hadn’t taken into account the mass and/or the velocity of the object versus the tensile strength of the barbed wire.
He hadn’t needed to. Not consciously, at least. It was an intuition kind of thing. He called it, half-jokingly, his “Butterfly Sense”. Y’know, the butterfly? Flaps its wings here, causes a big mammajamma of a storm all the way over there. The Rube Goldberg wiring of his brain let him instantly know where to flick his wings to blow things to hell.
Of course, there was a bit of thinking involved in how to get the wings flapped. It was one thing to inherently understand that hitting the fence juuuuuust there would cause it to fail magnificently. That was helpful knowledge, no doubt.
But he still had to figure out how to hit the fence and with what. That took time and planning and no small amount of cleverness, above and beyond his natural brain mojo.
It’d taken him a week or so. A week of bad food, elbow to elbow with people who thought table manners were as mythical as unicorns, or the Easter Bunny. A week of avoiding burly men who wanted to do harsh things to his asshole. A week of dealing with guards being unbelievable bastards to him, sometimes with their smacky sticks.
I mean, you’d think he was dangerous or…
Well, anyway. He’d collected the elastic bands out of his prison issued underwear. Found a pebble in the yard that was the right size and shape. Underwear and rocks weren’t hard to come by in a desert hellhole prison, oddly enough.
The hard part was finding the frame. The guards noticed little things like hiding silverware up your sleeves. Doubly so, if the cutlery happened to be a knife or two.
The ironic part was that he wasn’t trying to swipe them to, y’know, “shank” a “bitch” in the yard. They were just the right shape to be lashed together in a rough Y, and serve as a delivery system for the pebble.
He ended up using three toothbrushes, with the bristles pulled out and the handles carved to fit together almost seamlessly. His cellmate had figured he was just stocking up on shivs, or maybe crafting them to sell for cigarettes and Get Out of Buggery Free vouchers.
Three shivs. Please.
The fourth toothbrush, that was the shiv. A tough, concealable, and very pointy stick is a fantastically multi-useful tool to have on the run. You can poke holes in cactuses in water, defend yourself from snakes, stab a pursuer with surgical precision.
Anyway. The week passed busily. But the following Monday came and found him ready. He assembled the slingshot calmly, right out on the yard bench. Held the Y together at the specially wedged parts, tied them close with one elastic band. A few others pooled their strength and formed the sling. And that was that.
He pictured the spot in his mind. That certain little knot of pointy metal, made from metal strands huddling together for safety. It looked like a spring, armed and dangerous.
Hit it just so, and the strands would pop. The strands would sever the strands above as they lashed about in release. The current that was pumped through them would spark and fail, all along the fence.
Pebble in one hand, slingshot in the other, the most dangerous man in the prison walked within firing range of freedom.