No Job Too Small
Like any self-respecting self-employed person, Ray was forever searching for new opportunities to ply his trade. The establishment consider this to be an admirable quality, but Ray was the exception, the one they wouldn't admire, as his chosen profession was to be an armed robber. He considered himself to be quite good at this. He couldn't brag about it, in fact none of his friends knew what he did. He always told people that he was a freelance photographer who worked in the engineering industry, so all his subjects seemed very boring. Nobody ever asked to look at Ray’s photographs any more. Those who had had been treated to a collection of close-ups of valves and brackets.
In more than twenty years he had never been caught, and he believed this was because his robberies were fairly low profile. The haul, always cash, was usually less than £5000, and he never embarked on jobs where real violence would be needed. He didn't really like violent situations, because he didn't like hurting people, but his worst fear was that the violence might be directed at him.
In his opinion the safest category of robberies were those in empty premises, but the second safest were where just one female employee was in charge of the loot. A woman on her own was easy to intimidate, and wouldn't risk her safety for the bosses money. Of course, once he had left, she would raise the alarm unless preventive measures were taken. Ray had learned early in his career that the hapless lady had to be bound and gagged, ideally to give him at least an hour clear to escape. Sometimes he would blindfold them as well, just because he felt like doing so. He loved the expression on the face of a bound and gagged lady when she realised that, in addition to her other tribulations, she was going to be blindfolded. He enjoyed this aspect of his work, especially with well-padded, curvaceous ladies. Sometimes there was something about the lady that made him think she really deserved to be spanked, and if there was time he often indulged this wish. He enjoyed their expressions when he told them they were going to be spanked. Sometimes horrified, sometimes indignant, sometimes embarrassed. Now and again there was one who almost seemed to relish the idea. He always read the press reports of his crimes, and so far he had never seen any mention of the spankings. This could mean one of two things; either the police knew about it but were suppressing it and compiling a file, or more likely, the lady had kept quiet about it out of embarrassment. He hoped it was the latter.
On this occasion in the spring of 1991 he was researching a popular entertainment venue. Ray had been in this night club several times in past years, but the performers they had now were not to his taste. So when he visited it with some friends, he found the singers and comedians were as dire as he expected, but now there was also a casino. Now that was something that he found interesting. It seemed to have lots of customers, and Ray guessed that it probably brought the club a very substantial part of its profit.
Realising that there were large amounts of cash somewhere in there, he had spent a few evenings losing money at the tables, while keeping his eyes open for any signs of cash being moved. He learned that the little cash desk that issued the chips had two doors, and neither of them led into a public area. That wasn't helpful. But eventually he found out something potentially useful .On one occasion he saw that one of those doors was ajar, and that it opened on to a staircase. He checked, and couldn't find any stairs in the public area. So perhaps that was where the cash was kept, on the first floor. The problem was, how could he find out. Not from inside the night club, that was certain.
Perhaps surprisingly for a man whose profession was armed robbery, Ray enjoyed birdwatching. It was a great way of getting away from life's pressures, and it enabled him to legitimately carry powerful binoculars .His outdoor pastime had sometimes been combined with research for a robbery, and this was going to be one of those occasions. He knew that the built-up area was overlooked by chalk downs, where cattle grazed, and that hillside was open to the public. It could be a great spot for a bit of birdwatching. The hills in question were popular with birdwatchers because of the variety of migrating birds that could be seen there in spring and autumn. And it was April, so that was going to be Ray's excuse for being seen there, if he needed one.
After three visits to the hillside Ray had gathered enough information to convince him that a cash robbery was feasible. He hadn't really been aware of the layout of the building. The upper storey covered a smaller are than the ground floor. It seemed to have windows on one side only, and was surrounded by what looked like asphalt roofing. On the first day, a decorator had been working on the exterior of the building, He had at one point gone up a ladder to the asphalt roof, and done some work on the window frames.
Inside the window Ray could see what really interested him. It was indeed some kind of cashier's office. The woman inside spent a lot of time handling banknotes. Monday morning seemed busier, Ray supposed it was because the cabaret usually had a big name performing on Sunday evening. There seemed to be just one woman, who was there every day. One day he had seen her arriving and going in. She wore a uniform that was a feminine version of that worn by the male staff he had seen. She was a middle-aged brunette, some might have said a bit overweight, but Ray thought of the phrase "pleasantly plump". Her uniform was a dark maroon waistcoat and skirt, a white shirt and a dark-coloured bow tie. He didn't know what she was doing with the cash. She was probably cashing up the weekends takings ready for the bank, he thought. But what she was doing with it didn't matter, so long as it was there. It certainly seemed like Monday morning was the time to pounce, Ray thought. Yes, and she, as well as the money, would be the prey that was pounced on.
Ray had checked the future events for the best date to rob the place. An American singer, who had been cutting-edge in the sixties, but who was now definitely middle of the road, was coming. His fan base was women in their fifties and sixties, with husbands who would spend big money in the casino or at the bar. That night should rake it in, he thought, and the morning after, the lone lady cashier would be very busy. So "when" was sorted out, the next issue was "how".
He realised there was probably no chance of getting past the security and up the stairs, but he remembered the decorator with the ladder. Another decorator wouldn't attract much attention. People always ignored tradesmen at work, didn't they.
A ladder, a can of paint, some stained overalls, a brush or two, that’s all it would take to be a decorator. And the usual kit, a replica gun, a sports bag for his haul, and some equipment to immobilise and silence the lady cashier. He couldn't wear a mask for this, but he had three weeks before the big day. He would grow a beard, and get rid of it afterwards. He would avoid his friends for that time, so nobody would read news reports about the robbery and connect it with him.
So three weeks later, just after lunchtime on a Monday, Ray was in position. He had parked the stolen white van in the furthest corner of the car park. It belonged to some local handyman. It was emblazoned with the name, "Ron Bird Plumbing and Decorating Services", a comic image of a budgie, and the slogan, in big italics, "No job too small". He liked it in a way, it reminded him of his own operation. After the crime, the unfortunate Ron Bird was probably going to be hauled in for questioning. Oh well, he thought, that will teach him not to leave the van unlocked.
At the back of the club, where the dustbins were left out, a ladder had been extended up to the roof. There were no windows in that corner of the building. Ray was confident that he wouldn't be disturbed. But he had a strategy in mind in case he was challenged. He would insist that he was genuine, and demand to make a phone call to his boss. At some point before the phone call he would ask to use a toilet, and at a chosen moment, he would run away. It had worked before.
Once he was up the roof, he made a point of walking past the office window twice, carrying his tins and brushes, just so the cashier would see him and assume he was on legitimate business. Both times he saw her glance up as he passed.
In the cashier's office, Janet Mitchell had finished her sandwiches and had just filled the electric kettle. It had been quite a while since the weekend takings had been this big, she thought. She had never thought much of Cliff Jones herself, but lots of people has forked out good money to see him. So there was more to do today than most Mondays. That was OK though, she liked the job.
It was a bit solitary, up here on her own, but she had the radio for company and the money was good, while the hours were short, ten in the morning till five in the afternoon. Although she was working with large amounts of cash, she felt quite safe. The door was on a time switch and wouldn't open till five o'clock. But downstairs, security staff could open it if she pressed any one of three panic buttons. This wasn't because of robbery fears, but in case the person in the room was ill. Janet had never needed to press those buttons. Nobody bothered her because her manager had never been a cashier and was somewhat in awe of her. He was just impressed with the way that she always got things done on time, and never seemed to make any mistakes. He even sought her opinion about decorating the office. He once said that he would never question Janet's judgment about procedures in her office. What she liked most was being left to her own devices, so long as she got the work done. Nobody will ever rob your office unless they come by helicopter, her boss had once said. That made her wonder, she imagined Bruce Willis or Harrison Ford crashing in through the window and whisking her away. If only, she thought. It was a good place to work though, nobody bothered her and the pay was good. They had their funny ways though. One thing that amused her was the firm’s insistence that all staff wore the uniform at all times. Even when, like her, they never met the customers. But then, she had always liked the uniform look and it meant that one didn't have to buy clothes for work. There was none of that racking your brains about what to wear for work.
So today, like every day, Janet was wearing the company uniform, which was a white button-down shirt ,with sleeves rolled up above her elbows, held in place by buttoned tabs. At her buttoned collar was a bow with a red and black paisley pattern. Her suit consisted of a maroon waistcoat buttoned up at the front and a matching skirt which ended just above her knees, and on her feet were shiny black shoes with 2-inch heels. She liked to look smart, so she always rolled her sleeves up when counting large quantities of cash, Otherwise her cuffs soon looked soiled. Sitting back at the desk, she kicked her shoes off, it was more comfortable and they wouldn't get scuffed.
That decorator had just walked past her office window again. It wasn't the same man who had been there a few weeks ago, but presumably he worked for the same firm. Maybe some of their work needed touching up, she thought. She had just poured herself a cup of tea when he reappeared and tapped on the window. Janet had got so used to feeling safe in the little office, it never occurred to her that there might be any danger in opening the window. He was just some middle-aged bloke in overalls, the sort of person you hardly noticed.
"Sorry to bother you, Mrs. I got a bit of a problem. I left my ladder up against the wall over the back but it's laying on the floor now. Either it's fell down or somebody's took it down. But I can't get down now. I need to use a toilet, so could I come in this way and go downstairs?"
Janet looked thoughtful. She didn't want to bother the security people, they might not like the idea of opening the door for him. The more she thought about it, the more she thought they would object and make a fuss. She had a washroom adjoining her office, he could use that. I'll be a Good Samaritan, she thought. What harm can it do? Her boss's words came back to her "Janet's judgment decides what gets done up here."
"Tell you what." she said. "Come in and use the one up here, then we can phone down and ask someone to put the ladder back"
"That's great, Mrs. Thanks a bunch". This was just what Ray had expected. His "cheeky chappie" persona seemed to be lulling her into a false sense of security.
She opened the window to its fullest extent and Ray climbed inside. He had put down his bag, his can and brushes outside the window , but once inside he pulled the bag in after him. He quickly pulled out the replica gun.
"Through that door" Janet said pointing. Her expression changed to one of dismay as she saw the little gun pointing at her. The one time I do a favour, she thought. "P-please don't shoot me. What are you doing here?" She looked close to tears. Basically Ray didn't like to terrify, he liked to intimidate just enough to get his own way. So long as the lady was keen to obey he was happy.
"Gonna do as I say then ,and you won't get hurt. I just want the money. Gonna do as you’re told?" He had changed to a more threatening accent. It didn't sound very convincing to him, but she seemed to be impressed enough to obey.
"Yes, yes. Anything you say." said Janet quickly." what do you want me to do?"
Ray took the roll of duct tape from the bag and put it on the window ledge. Janet, seeing it, realised with a sinking feeling what it was for. She couldn't resist asking though."What's that for?"
He glanced at her with an amused expression. "Surely you can guess, can't you? He passed her the bag. "All the notes, all the pound coins, anything with notes in it, in the bag. Don't miss anything. Then I'll be happy and you'll be safe. What do you think the tape's for then? Go on, have a guess"
"Is it so you can wrap the bag up, stop the money coming out?" Janet said hopefully. It's for me really, she thought. He's going to use it on me, to truss me up tightly and tape my mouth, but just in case he isn't I don't want to put ideas in his head.
He laughed. "How touchingly naive you are. Completely wrong I'm afraid. It's so I can deal with you, so you don’t make too much noise or move around too much. What do you think about that?"
Janet blushed and turned away, and set about the task ,trying not to panic. The sooner the bag was filled the sooner the man would be gone. "By the way" he said. "If you think of pressing the buttons, just remember I'm here with the gun, and you're here too, and they are down below" He read my mind, she thought. As she stuffed the money into the bag, she tried in vain not to think about the roll of tape on the ledge, and how she was probably going to be dealt with. Ray was amused by her reaction. He loved to savour the moment when a woman realised that she was going to be tied up. The moment came when all the money was in the bag, the desk was clear. “Go to that side of the desk, lean forward and put yourself face down on it, then don’t move,” Ray ordered, and as Janet hurried to do as she had been told he reached for the tape
Once in position, she turned her face toward him. "Look, I just did you one good turn, letting you come in. Surely I don't deserve to be mistreated" Janet said pleadingly.
"Oh, I won't mistreat you, you’re a treasure, and I'm going to wrap you up very carefully. I won' hurt you. Can't just leave you to raise the alarm, can I? Have you ever been tied up before?"
Janet was already recalling a couple of incidents from early in her career as a cashier, and one from three years ago, but that was her business, she wasn't going to talk to him about that. "No" she said "and if I had a choice I wouldn't be now"
“But you have no choice, do you, so better grin and bear it. Keep still , won't you, while I tape you up” he continued. "Everything will be just fine if you do what I say." Her hands were gripped and forced together in the small of her back, wrists crossed. They were swiftly bound with the tape, tightly wrapped round many times. She didn't find it painfully tight, but her wrists were bound very securely. There was no give at all in the tape. Then he pulled her into a standing position. She heard the scissors cutting the tape. He began wrapping more of it round her, passing above and .below her bust and pinning her arms to her sides. After passing it round her five times, he stopped. “Better not use it all up on your arms” he said . “Going to need it for the rest of you” She momentarily caught sight of her reflection in the window. She always felt completely in control in her working environment, until now. But now she saw a forlorn figure, her hands and arms strapped behind her back, at the mercy of this intruder, who seemed to be feasting his eyes on her. Standing beside Janet, he snipped off two strips from the reel and plastered them across her mouth in a big X shape. He looked into her wide-open worried blue eyes as he did so. "Don't be frightened. I'm not going to hurt you. I just want the money you know."
But of course, being with this pleasantly plump lady, who looked so appetising once she had been trussed up with tape, Ray's demon was not going to let this opportunity pass. Taking more tape from the reel, he wrapped it several times round her ankles. " Now you aren't a threat to anybody's plans, are you?" He stood facing her. "I suppose that you letting me in could be considered to be a breach of the rules on your part, wouldn't you say?"
Janet was puzzled. What was he on about, why didn't he just go now that he had the money.
"Well, is it?" he asked. She nodded her head in agreement. "Well, it's not really my business, but I think you've been a naughty girl"
He's just teasing me, she thought. Heaven knows why?
But he continued."Naughty girls get their bottoms spanked, don't you agree? You're a mature lady, you understand. The younger generation don't know what's best for them , but we do, don't we. You'll remember this next time you’re tempted to break the rules. You knew you shouldn't let anyone in, but you just went ahead and did it, didn't you?" Janet stood precariously, her feet bound tightly together with tape, staring incredulously at him. He sounded serious. He couldn't really be going to spank her. That sort of thing just didn't happen. He continued his nonsensical, 1950's schoolmaster-type teasing. "You'll thank me for this one day" he said grinning. Janet felt herself colouring up.
If only you knew, she thought. These days Janet's husband of thirty-two years was only aroused by football and beer, it seemed, but that hadn't always been the case. Years previously it wasn't unknown for an excited, giggling, much younger Janet to find herself being put over her husband's knee, as a prelude to a wonderful evening of lovemaking .But those days had just drifted away. And any fantasies that Janet might have had did not feature slightly built bearded middle-aged men wearing paint-stained overalls. But in spite of this, she was starting to feel as if a little glow of anticipation had been switched on inside her. It had been quite some time since a man had laid hands on Janet, and as she remembered those last few occasions with her husband, it hadn't been very satisfying for her anyway. So why did it feel so exciting, thinking that this stranger might be going to fondle her, perhaps not just with his hands.
One part of her hoped this would be an idle threat, just meant to scare her, maybe it was all talk, maybe a couple of smacks. He took hold of her shoulders and manoeuvred her so that she was face down on the desk again. With his left hand he pulled her skirt up over her bottom, and ran his hand over her bottom, squeezing gently. Janet was wearing frilled white panties which, though she thought them alluring, were by no means skimpy. And those tights which support themselves,, stopping just above the knee. This was just what Ray liked to see. "I hope you don't mind me praising your derriere, I'm finding that just looking at it's quite a turn on." Janet strained against the tapes that bound her, but there was no slack at all. No possibility of escape. That tingle of excitement grew. His hand gave her a gentle slap. After a few seconds of silence he raised his hand higher and brought it down across her bottom. Then, after a few seconds, again, and again. Janet still couldn’t believe this was happening. It stung of course, more so with each slap, but she was quietly buzzing with suppressed excitement . At least he hadn’t pulled her knickers down, that was something to be grateful for. Or was it? But a little voice inside her was reminding her that it was more fun that way. I really must not give any indication that I like it, she told herself. But I'm a bound, gagged and helpless plaything, with no control over anything, she thought again. No, stop thinking like that, her inner voice said. She counted a total of nine smacks on her bottom before he stopped. "I hope I haven't overdone it" he said. His voice though conveyed amusement rather than concern. He suddenly pulled her panties down to expose her reddening bottom. She strained against the tapes again. He gave her another smack. He ran his fingers gently across her buttocks. Janet was breathing heavily, but trying not to show it. But then he said. "You’re rather enjoying this, aren’t you." She went very still."Don't be embarrassed. You certainly aren't unique. Look, I tie ladies up for a living and most of them react like you." It wasn't entirely true, but her enjoyment was also his enjoyment. "I bet you'd like me to give you a bit of a treat". He gently worked his fingers between her thighs, from behind.
Janet tried to breathe slowly and calmly as the probing fingers explored all her moist and sensitive areas, stroking, squeezing, caressing, and finally pulling away, unexpectedly. Her eyes were tightly shut and she was gritting her teeth. She was perspiring, everything felt tight, the tape binding her wrists and ankles, strapping her arms to her sides, the buttoned collar of her blouse. She was going to come, she knew it. And then the fingers pulled away. He stood back. "That's enough for now" he said. Janet noticed that the pitch of his voice was different. What was going on? What was the matter with him?
Ray had realised that he was getting a bit too aroused. It was just too much, standing here looking at Janet from behind. He couldn't take his eyes off the pretty picture made by Janet's exposed, freshly spanked buttocks, reddening after the treatment they had just received, with her panties and tights untidily pulled down to the top of her thighs, and above them her crossed wrists securely and tightly taped, her hands clenched into fists. He was a minor league armed robber, but, thinking in police terminology, he had slipped into the offence of indecent assault, or perhaps aggravated robbery. If he became a rapist, the police hunt for him would be far more determined than it had ever been before. And however much Janet seemed to be enjoying it now, she might not see it like that when she had had time to think about it. It was really time he stopped, while he still could. So he reluctantly turned his mind back to the main task, which was robbery.
He hastily pulled up her panties and tights, drew her skirt down over her bottom and stood up. "It's time I went. It's been nice, but I really must go now"
Janet was aware that he sounded rather aroused himself. She knew she was blushing, but he was behind her and unable to see her face. Her more timid ,repressed self was relieved that he had stopped touching her, and was going to leave in a hurry, but another side of her wanted to shout out "you can't just stop, don't leave me like this, you just can't". But he hadn't finished with her yet. Still out of sight behind her, he was talking to her and himself
"I can't have you pressing those panic buttons the moment I'm out the window. I think I've spotted them all, but I know what to do."
She heard the sound of tape being pulled from the roll, and then the scissors snipping. "Sorry about this, but somebody will find you before long" She saw movement in the corner of her eye and turned that way. He was holding a strip of the tape, and pressed onto it were two folded pieces of tissue paper. Before she could pull away the tape was placed over her eyes and smoothed down on her temples and forehead. Bastard, she thought. Why do you need to do this to me? Then his hands were on her, standing her up. He turned her round and carefully lowered her to the floor, face down. She didn't struggle, she didn't want him to drop her. Surely he was going now, she thought. But she was wrong. She heard even more tape being pulled from the roll. In no time at all he had pulled her bound feet up toward her bottom and used a few feet of the tape to fasten them to her hands. Now she was well and truly wrapped up. Even wriggling about on the floor would be difficult. She could hear him rummaging around, but eventually he spoke.
"Got to go now. If I had my way I'd take you away with me as well. But never mind, I'll be in touch." Then she heard him scrambling out of the window. It occurred to her that his story about the ladder was untrue. Silly cow, she thought. Now where the hell are those panic buttons? She had no idea. She tugged against the web of tape that bound her, but all she could do was flutter her fingers ineffectually. She would never find those buttons, and it could be five o'clock before anybody found her. I'll never be a Good Samaritan again, she thought. She wondered what Bruce or Harrison would have done. They would have finished what they started, she thought. She allowed herself to daydream about white might have been, before getting back to the futile business of trying to escape. Janet had seen enough film and TV thrillers where bound heroines and heroes got loose as soon as the villains departed, but she knew that real life wasn't like that. She had been a cashier all of her working life, and she had experienced six armed raids before this one. In three of those, she had been tied up and had been unable to free herself. Having her hands tied behind her back and her feet tied had been quite sufficient to immobilise her on those occasions, she remembered, so what chance did she have now, wrapped up like a Christmas present.
But eventually, after what seemed like hours of rolling about, squirming around forward, sideways, backwards trying to get her bearings, Janet was finally able to find and press one of the panic buttons. She was quite proud of herself for having found it, considering how thoroughly she was restrained. She thought that most women would have lain there sobbing, waiting for the time lock to open and for her workmates to discover her.
At home, Ray had just listened to the 7 o'clock news on the local radio. There was a report, not very detailed, saying there had been a hold-up at the casino. So at least Janet wasn't still squirming around helplessly on her office floor. He looked at the video club membership card he had taken from her handbag. It gave her name and address. A few months before, he had made contact with one of his robbery victims. He guessed it would be safe because of the way she had reacted to being bound and spanked, and he had picked up the same vibes from Janet. He decided to sleep on it, maybe send the card back to her in a week. Tomorrow he would shave his beard off, and start being seen out again. He had told friends that he had the flu, so they were mostly happy not to meet up with him.
A few days later, at her house, Janet was opening her mail. There was an envelope, handwritten in capitals, which contained her video club membership card . Had she dropped it and someone found it, she wondered. She hadn't realised it was missing. Then she read the post-it note that was stuck to it. It read " You helped out when you thought I had lost my ladder, Sorry I lied and took advantage of you. Call me if you need counselling". (Ray had used that phrase last time, in his note to the bank cashier, and it had worked then).Then there was a mobile phone number . She thought that was strange, he was taking a risk there. But it's probably not his phone, he's stolen it, she told herself, from some poor woman he tied up in a robbery. The robber must have taken her ticket from her bag. He had given her his phone number though, so he must want to meet her. He had some nerve. Perhaps he wanted to continue where he had left off. Certainly she had trouble keeping it out of her mind, maybe he was the same. She put the letter and ticket in her handbag, it was time to go to work. Lucky that her husband hadn't seen it first. She really would have to think about this.
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