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Question...? For owners of a block of kitchen knives

Space Chanteys

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E G Logan

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As mentioned by @Barbara in the Litfest thread, I am mulling a murder.
However, I am a little handicapped by not owning a block of kitchen knives.

I am sure those of you more foodie than I am (that would be most of you, probably), and not least @Emily, will be able to help.

Scenario:
Char A is standing with his back to long kitchen worktop and his arms around B's waist. B (shorter, slighter) faces A and can see over his shoulder a block of kitchen knives.
Can B feasibly, in one lunge around the top of his arm – she's too short to reach over his shoulder – pushing him aside, if necessary, and twisting out of his grasp, grab a knife very quickly from the block??

Do the knives come out easily? I know these blocks are different, but think averagely. The knife in her hand needs to take him totally by surprise.

I could use a magnetic knife rack, on the kitchen wall. That would be easier to grab from, but further away by the width of the work-surface and hence a long lunge for a girl.

Over to you!
 

Barbara

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I agree with Terry.

Yes, they come out fairly smoothly. But in a rush, pulling it out of a block might not be as smooth esp if pulled from an angle at speed. I just tried with mine. It's smooth enough, but it made a noise as the block moved and clonked.

Also if the knife is lying there already, then it can work as a 'oooh, will one of them? for the readers' I have used a knife, lying on a hall table in a scene and it did add a certain 'hmmm' the the happenings. It's like that Oger, watching from the corner. The stabbing can still be a surprise to A, after all, we don't expect to get stabbed every time we see a knife in a kitchen. If you want it super smooth and out of the blue, I'd leave the knife on the surface.

Are they fighting at the time? Is it an embrace, or more of an arm lock? I'm just asking because he may not let go of her so easily.

Personally, I'd have it loose within easy grasp.
 

Peyton Stafford

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I've had blocks like that. The knives slide out easily. However, since the slots for the blades fit them closely, the blade has to be slid out without tilting it out of alignment with its slot. Also, the block usually sits at the back of the kitchen counter, so it would require another long reach. I like @Terry Lowell's idea. You could even use the scene of her cutting fish or meat as foreshadowing...
 

E G Logan

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However, since the slots for the blades fit them closely, the blade has to be slid out without tilting it out of alignment with its slot.
That was what I was worrying about... Mmm. May need to be the magnetic rack after all, but less stylish and less expensive...
 

Izuku

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Or one of these
download.jpg

Pretty easy to grab. And they wouldn't need the range of motion to pull up or anything.
 

E G Logan

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Is it an embrace, or more of an arm lock? I'm just asking because he may not let go of her so easily.
He's just put her arms round his neck – how patronising – before putting his round her waist.
But my idea was that she could do the whole wriggle and lunge in one, taking him by surprise. So when he sees the knife out of the corner of his eye, it's a total shock.
Because if she telegraphs anything of what she's going to do, he'll stop her, being taller and stronger.
 

Barbara

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wouldn't leave anything lying around
If she turned up while he's cooking, the knife could be there on the kitchen surface. We don't put stuff away when the doorbell goes and we open the door. Or she arrives and he decides to make a snack for them, then goes on to cutting cheese.

Could she bring a knife? Or scissors? No idea why, but maybe ...

Of could she use something else to kill him?

A pen into an eye ...

Or knock him out first, then stab him after.
 

Izuku

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Do the knives come out easily? I know these blocks are different, but think averagely. The knife in her hand needs to take him totally by surprise.
I'd say, depending on how quickly she needs to grab, no. Mostly, they slip out alright, but they're generally quite close together, and I imagine she would have to kind of fist it if she's moving fast. By with a knife block, you wouldn't be able to grab the handle super quickly. A fast select is still much slower than a frenzied grab.
 

Izuku

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He's just put her arms round his neck – how patronising – before putting his round her waist.
But my idea was that she could do the whole wriggle and lunge in one, taking him by surprise. So when he sees the knife out of the corner of his eye, it's a total shock.
Because if she telegraphs anything of what she's going to do, he'll stop her, being taller and stronger.
If she's in the right state of mind, she might play along. Then she wouldn't have to grab so fast. She could press into him, maybe distract him by touching his hair with one hand as she reaches for the knife with the other. I'd do that in a heartbeat.
 

E G Logan

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Obviously, this is not something I've ever tried.
And when you say: 'I'm looking for a volunteer to be stabbed in the neck with a very very sharp kitchen knife' you find yourself looking at a rather short queue.
But something did seem unworkable about Plan A.
 

Izuku

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And when you say: 'I'm looking for a volunteer to be stabbed in the neck with a very very sharp kitchen knife' you find yourself looking at a rather short queue.
Well, did you offer an AMC gift card? These always draw out the college kids. ;)
 

Barbara

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He's just put her arms round his neck – how patronising – before putting his round her waist.
But my idea was that she could do the whole wriggle and lunge in one,
Because if she telegraphs anything of what she's going to do, he'll stop her, being taller and stronger.
From that position she'd have to stretch a bit, I think, which would telegraph to him that something different is happening. I suspect doing anything fast, like wriggle and going for the knife would telegraph something to him. They're embracing and if she shifts into a position that isn't the obvious embrace, he might readjust her to be back in his arms. Subconsciouly he might be aware something is off, if she does something not expected in this circumstnace, like reaching behind.

He could realise at the last moment that she's going for the knife but up until then he might assume she's going for her handbag which she placed nearby (deliberatly). She might tell him she's 'reaching' for, I don't know, a tissue to blow her nose.

His size and strength doesn't necessarily matter. Knife fights aren't simple. If someone has a knife (man or woman), the advice is generally to avoid a fight at all cost and to walk run away unless you're practiced at disarming someone because the risk of getting cut or stabbed is huge. Disarming someone is tricky. It looks easy on Youtube but is very different when you're in a fight and the opponent with the knife isn't standing waiting for you to do it.

If she has the knife, it doesn't matter if he's taller or stronger or aware of the knife. He's at the disadvantage. It would be fairly hard for him to disarm her without getting injured, unless he's used to this kind of thing. Most likely there would be a scrap where he tries to grab her knife arm. She probably wouldn't let go easily cos she has an agenda and is now committed. During the scrap he might get cut (she too probably). You could use that for dramatic effects. He thinks he can control her but she won't let go and it could escalate into a full on scrap during which she could stab him.

Here's a scenario. They embrace. She knees him in the groin (she'd need a bit of room between them to do that), or better, she slides her hand down his trousers and SQUEEEEEZE (even more fun if she has long nails - he hehehe). He curls up in pain. She grabs the knife. Bye bye.
 
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Izuku

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His size and strength doesn't necessarily matter. Knife fights aren't simple. If someone has a knife (man or woman), the advice is generally to avoid a fight at all cost and to walk run away unless you're practiced at disarming someone because the risk of getting cut is stabbed is huge. Disarming someone is tricky. It looks easy on Youtube but is very different when you're in a fight and the opponent with the knife isn't standing waiting for you to do it.
One of the best ways to get out of one of these situations is to urinate or defecate on yourself. I don't know if I could shit on command, but peeing? sure.
 

Hannah F

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She's picked a fine time to grab a knife! Can't she offer to cut his veg? Load the dishwasher?

Or maybe she manouevers (I give up. i can't spell that word.) him, all lovey dovey, so that he plays along and sits her on the counter. Now those magnetic knives are in such easy reach.
 

Brayati

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That was what I was worrying about... Mmm. May need to be the magnetic rack after all, but less stylish and less expensive...
The magnetic rack is much 'cleaner' than a block, and most blocks are not stylish at all, merely receptacles for the knives - and they get dusty, grimy, and wet. Use the magnet, especially if you've described the person as a neat/clean freak.
 

Brayati

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He's just put her arms round his neck – how patronising – before putting his round her waist.
But my idea was that she could do the whole wriggle and lunge in one, taking him by surprise. So when he sees the knife out of the corner of his eye, it's a total shock.
Because if she telegraphs anything of what she's going to do, he'll stop her, being taller and stronger.
his arms around her waist? How much taller is he? Can he put his arms around her waist? Hands, yes, arms, no. If it's his hands around her waist, she's got enough distance to do the knee to the groin, or to twirl out of his grip. She can let all her weight drop into his hands as she lifts her hands and drops her elbows - which is a great position for an elbow to the solar plexus - but does she know these moves?
Don't think that males can't be outmaneuvered by a smaller female.

Also, why does she need to lunge for the knife and then attack him? Attack, and while he's reacting with the immediate and automatic response to pain in the chest, and/or groin, she lunges for the knife. Just remember that any weapon you carry can be taken by your attacker and used against you. If there's a knife block, or another heavy object, it can be thrown to good effect to enable a fast exit from the danger zone. Knives take skill, and kitchen knives are not weighted for a fight, and to stab a person takes knowing where to stab to avoid inflicting more damage to yourself (particularly the heel of the blade, because if a blade hits bone (say, ribs) it deflects, and the hand holding it slides forward, into the heel or beyond, and onto the blade - and there you go, she's given him a huge advantage).
 

Peyton Stafford

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Not knowing much about these people, it's hard to imagine the scenario. We know he's bigger and very neat. We know she's smaller and wants to kill him. Is this premeditated murder, sudden rage, or perhaps fear that he is going to rape her? Or is she a serial murderer who has a thing for educated men who are good housekeepers? Does she know a martial art? Does he? Are they dating? Divorced? ???
 

Robinne Weiss

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Damn. I have to quit the day job so I'm here for these good conversations! (Though one of my students did kill me in a story today, and we had a nice discussion about good and bad ways to go about killing me...) Anyway, I have knife block and agree with everything that's been said about them--magnetic strip or lying on the counter is better. If it were little me and my much taller husband (not saying that I've considered this very scenario before or anything, but...), I would lean in for a kiss so I could reach the knives, but this would only work if my hands were below his shoulders, not if he'd put my arms around his neck. The knives would be too low down to reach over his shoulder to them. So maybe I'd rub his arms (to get my arms off his neck), then lean in for a kiss, and carefully snag a nice knife while I did so.
 

JohnBertel

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I suggest you go for a knife-drawing that isn't too easy. Obviously, it should be believable, but I think it could be a good tense moment if it does not go according to plan but the knife gets stuck, if only for a heartbeat. Personally, I would go for the block, because many readers will imagine that knife slid out easily, but as some have pointed out, they can actually get stuck.
By the way, if you would like inspiration about a kitchen fight there is a fantastic one in the James Bond movie The Living Daylights. Granted, it is between two persons trained in hand to hand to combat, but there is a good use of boiling water, salt(!), electric carving knife etc.
 

Barbara

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I have a knife block (from the 1990's!).;)
Me too. I keep it in a kitchen cupboad to save worktop space. Bought in the late 90s for about 5 quid from Aldi. And the knives are still sharp after all this time.

This is just my design taste (and totally off topic) but I'm not keen on those magnetic knife things. Stylish they may be but to me they look messy and now the midnight burglars have the weapons. (Says the woman with swords and daggers hanging on the bedroom wall.)

And I am strongly reconsidering my inviting myself to @Barbara 's house for cake one of these days... :oops:
Oh, I'll be using my knives to slice the cake, not you. And you survived the last visit, so you'll be fine. (As long as you behave and do as told.:D)

And Eloise: you might want to consider a slashing action instead of a stabbing, because of this:
because if a blade hits bone (say, ribs) it deflects, and the hand holding it slides forward, into the heel or beyond, and onto the blade
Either way, stabbing or slashing, think where the main arteries are and more importantly, where they are close to the surface, not protected by bones: in the neck, in the armpit (if she goes for his left - the heart side - he might bleed out faster), in the groin is a good one to stab into, although she'd have to get to it through the abs, and another good spot is the main artery the abdomen near the solar plexus (you can feel it beating when you lie on your back). Your best bet would probably be slashing the carotid in the neck. She wouldn't have to cut too too deep, and I suspect he'd go unconscious fast from bloodloss to the head. And remember, a stab isn't usually instant death. The victim bleeds out. The speed of that will depend on the place of injury. Prob is, if she stabbed him and doesn't hit a main artery (hard to stab precisely in the heat of the moment if not used to handling knives), his adrenalin will have kicked in and he'll be fighting back. Even if she does get a main blood vessel, in all likelyhood it would turn into some sort of scrap as he may still have an moment we're he can fight during which he could use the knife against her.

Your best bet is to have her knock him out with a pan or something first (might need more than one hit and that too would prob turn into a scrap between them), because it'd be hard for her to stab him without him fighting back. Fights are scrappy at the best of times. Add a knife and it's dangerous for everyone. She still needs to be cabable to do what she does next.

I'd make it more sinister and hateful by having her knock him out cold first, then have her sharpening the knife, and then make her slash his carotid while he's unconscious, a smile on her face. @Emily when are you coming over for cake?
 
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Space Chanteys

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