TOO MANY ROBBERS
Ray was coming to the conclusion that his methods would have to change. He almost always bought a London evening paper. London was 40 miles away but the paper sold well in his town because of the jobs it advertised. And for Ray it was a valuable source of news about crimes. Crimes to commit and crimes to avoid. A small-time robber who wanted to stay out of jail needed to keep abreast of developments.
The development that was attracting his attention this week was the growing popularity of tape in robberies, for binding and gagging those unfortunates who got caught up in them. Ray had always used cord or rope, and he'd been doing it since 1962. He saw himself as a craftsman, an artist of ropework. But in his heart of hearts he realised that a lady could look just as good when restrained with tape as with rope. And the newspaper evidence, right under his nose, seemed to confirm that it was more efficient. He read it again, for the fifth time. "Sisters taped up in shop raid nightmare. Bound women found three hours after robbery." was the headline. "Sisters Polly Davenport and Sophy Grant called in to the Curves womens outfitters to collect a dress that had been altered. Once they entered, just before closing time on Saturday, they were confronted by two thugs wearing ski masks, one of whom brandished a sawed-off shotgun. "It was terrifying” said Polly. "They made us face the wall and tied our hands behind our backs with silver tape, then ordered us into the back room. Suzy the manageress was lying on the floor all taped up already. They made us sit on the floor then taped our mouths and wrapped us up with yards of tape. We were there for three hours, rolling about, trussed up like turkeys, trying to get free, till Suzy's husband turned up and freed us".
There's a recommendation for tape, he thought. He wished he had been there to watch, Curves was a fashion shop for ladies with full figures, and the scene, with three plump ladies bound and gagged, was one he was sorry to have missed. And that wasn't the only one. A gang had swooped on a family owned jewellery business at closing time. Ivor Sherman, his wife Esther and their teenage daughters Hannah and Ruby were threatened by three men with baseball bats. Forced to lie face down on the floor, they were tightly bound and gagged with brown packing tape. "It was horrible "said Esther."None of us could get free. I've been robbed before and tied up with cord, and got loose after an hour. But this time we were there until the cleaner came and found us"
And that wasn't all. A headline in another newspaper read "Robber captured by own victim. Tied up woman gets loose, locks burglar in cellar ". The article explained how a housewife had been tied up with rope by a burglar, but while he was searching her cellar, she freed herself and locked him in, then called the police. All this, Ray realised, could be summed up as "tape, good, rope, not so good".
This sort of thing wasn't good for Ray's confidence. He realised that he needed to become proficient in the use of tape, and he couldn't do it alone. His relationship with Wendy Clarke had moved from robber and victim to knight and damsel, after he had rescued her from a hostage-taker. In the aftermath of that event he had lent her some cash temporarily, and they were now friends. Not romantically involved though. Ray found her very physically attractive, but too assertive for his liking. For her part, she was intrigued by his successful life of crime and found a little excitement in being involved in it. He knew that she knew he lusted after her, and he was certain that she was secretly turned on by being tied up. Since the rescue, though, they had met twice for a cautious cup of coffee in a department store. Ray knew that she found him interesting company and she could keep her mouth closed when it was needed. Otherwise he would already be in jail. She was one of two people who knew where to contact him and also knew about at least some of his crimes, the other being Nina the bank cashier. Funny, he thought, in the 1990's, that these two women, with their own jobs and homes, had befriended him, considering how they had both met him. Ray had, in the course of his career as a robber, found it necessary to bind and gag both ladies. In Wendy's case, more than once.
Now he needed two favours, and he was sure Wendy wouldn't say no. He wanted to hone his skills in the use of tape, for restraint of robbery victims, and both women might be up for that. But the second favour was in the nature of assisting a crime, and Wendy would be more easily persuaded than Nina, he thought.
On the next Thursday evening soon after eight Wendy rang the doorbell outside Ray's rented flat. Finishing her shift, she had eaten in a fast-food outlet then hopped on a train for the twenty mile journey. She hadn't changed clothes fully, still wearing her uniform dark blue knee-length skirt, white blouse buttoned at collar and cuffs, but with the addition of a thick-knitted, round-necked jumper in a royal blue and yellow hound’s-tooth pattern. A pair of black leather, low-heeled knee-length boots completed her outfit. She hoped that the boots, and the thick jumper over the shirt, would protect her from too many rope marks. She knew from past experience that these marks lasted for a few days and always drew comments from her friends and family.
Ray had given Wendy the newspapers to read as they drank coffee in his living room, watching her as she read. He was taking in the buxom redhead, her hair worn with a fringe but pinned up at the back. Convenient for speedy gagging, but he wouldn't mention that to her. She looked very fetching as she always did to him, though dressed in ordinary day clothes. But Ray preferred a pleasantly plump lady in a blouse and skirt anyway, which was what led him to make Wendy's acquaintance a few month before.
"So, what do you deduce, now you've read them." he asked.
"The ones tied with rope got free and the ones who were taped, couldn’t” she said. "I see what you're getting at, but when I've been tied up I haven't been able to get loose from ropes, you know that". With a grin of realisation she said "tell the truth. You just want an excuse to tie me up and have your wicked way with me, don't you? "
As she expected, he went red and tried to dismiss the suggestion nonchalantly. "No, really, take it seriously, I need to be good at this, it could make the difference between freedom and prison".
"But you've been robbing for years, and tying people up, and not getting caught. Why are you suddenly worried now? And like I said, I couldn't get loose, five different times I've been tied up recently by bad guys, three of them you, so what will it prove? I mean, I've come along for a practice session, a bit of fun if you like, but what will you learn?"
Ray took a deep breath. "I want to develop a technique. There's all this new equipment, panic buttons, cameras, it's getting complicated. I need to work faster". He took on an expression of mock severity. "I'm sorry to hear you still think I'm a bad guy"
"Well, remember the first two times we met, first time you held me up and ordered that old bat to tie me up, and didn't she make a meal of it. I had marks on my wrists for two weeks. The second time, you tied me up and left me with my knickers pulled down. How do you think that felt?"
"And the third time we met, I saved your bacon, if you remember" he chipped in."And you still keep in touch, and you're here this evening. Come to help me learn the art of taping up pretty ladies, right?"
Wendy replied by putting her tongue out at him."So what's the issue with tape? Surely you do just the same, but it's quicker, because you don't have to tie knots". She looked around the room. "I don't see an ashtray. I suppose you don't smoke. Do you mind if I do?"
"I'd prefer it if you didn't, but in this case I'll make an exception. Here's what we'll do. I'm going to tape your hands behind you, and you can have a smoke in the kitchen when you get free. If you can't get loose, you can have one in half an hour anyway ".
She looked at the clock."Okay. And no marks on my wrists, please. I’ve got to go to work tomorrow” She pulled the cuffs of her shirt, then her jumper down as far as possible. "How do you want me?"
"A very leading question" he laughed. "Sat in the armchair like that is fine, but sit forward and give me your hands. Clasp them together behind you". He took the roll of silver tape from the table and wrapped it round her wrists before cutting it with the scissors". That's probably going to be easy. That's what a slapdash villain in a hurry might do. You're very trusting, aren't you?"
Wendy looked up at him, while testing the tightness of the tape."Of course I trust you, I needn't have come otherwise." As an afterthought she added "but there's a note in my locker at work with your address on it, just in case". It wasn't true, but no harm in him thinking that, just in case. Seeing his expression, she added "most murder victims are killed by someone they know, aren't they. Anyway, let me get out of this?"
Just over ten minutes later, Wendy was pulling the remnant of the tape from her left wrist. "How was that?" she said. “Did all right, didn't I. It wasn't anything like the times I was tied up for real though"
"I'm impressed that you used the door handle to prise the tape off once you had loosened it. If your feet were tied you couldn't have got to the door handle, not so soon at least".
Wendy took a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from her handbag. "I suppose the next trick is that you tie my hands and feet"
"Let's go in the kitchen with that" said Ray." You're wrong there. That won't prove anything"
"Oh, really?" said Wendy. "That's why I wore these boots.”
"And very nice you look in them too. Don't worry; I'll tie your legs if you like. But let me explain”
“That's not what I meant" she protested.
Ray continued. "The reason a criminal ties someone is to prevent the alarm being raised, or delay it. They raise the alarm by shouting, or phoning, or running to get help, so to stop this you tie their feet, and gag them. Tying their hands is secondary, it's so they don't untie themselves or ungag themselves. It's the most important bit of course, get that wrong and you end up behind bars. Sometimes I blindfold them, slows them down as well as stopping them describing me."
"So it's a science" said Wendy, finishing her smoke. "So what's the next experiment, professor?"
"This time I try taping hands and arms so you don't get free so quickly. Or at all"
"So what happens to me then” Wendy feigned terror "I'll be your captive princess until I'm rescued?”
"Don’t get carried away. Madam can be untied whenever she wants. But I asked you for help because I like your company, your appearance, the fact that you have a classic physique for the exercise in hand" Ray was trying to be reassuring in a flippant way. It wasn't that he was falling for her, but having a pleasantly plump lady here to help him, you couldn't beat that, he realised. Not when the task was learning how to tape up the lady in question.
"Do all your robberies involve tying somebody up?" she asked. "Is it always women?"
Strange question, thought Ray. "No, actually. It's easiest when there's just a large wad of cash that's not protected very well. Nobody else around, not discovered till the next day, no witnesses. But that doesn't come along often enough. And yes, always women. I don't hold up men, too risky. Too much chance a man would try to be a hero. And I only carry fake weapons. And I do appreciate the visual aspect of an expertly bound, pleasantly plump lady, as you know".
"I had noticed that" said Wendy. "I suppose another coffee wouldn't be amiss?"
"First you get taped up again, ok? If you aren't free in time you can have a straw to drink it through"
"Whatever you say. I may want a cigarette lighting for me as well" she said. Positioning herself at the front of the armchair again, she clasped her hands behind her back. "Like this again, hands behind me I suppose".
A few minutes later Ray stood back. "You're done. Let’s see you get out of that". Wendy had been observing in a detached way as Ray wrapped her tightly in silver tape, and was at a loss to see how she could get free. Her wrists were crossed behind her back and bound with several turns of tape, of course, and he had followed this by passing it round her arms at the elbow and pulling them back. That meant she wouldn't be able to get any leverage to twist her hands around. It didn’t end there, he had passed the tape round her upper body four times above her bust, and four times below, pinning her arms to her sides, and for good measure, a few more at waist level to hold her bound hands in the small of her back. Finally, he had commented “seeing as you wore your nice boots specially, it would be a shame not to do your feet, wouldn't it?"
"Wouldn’t it just" said Wendy, as he taped her booted legs together at the ankles and calves.
Wendy could wriggle her fingers but not much more. She thought about standing up, but she was afraid she would fall over. It was hardly worth the effort of trying. She was suddenly aware of being completely helpless, dependent on Ray's chivalry or lack of it. "Remember what you promised" she said, "Nothing happens unless I specifically agree, right. And no gagging me, then making out you couldn’t understand what I said, right. I know how your mind works ".
She knew this was going to happen. She was starting to feel turned on in spite of herself. She knew that Ray enjoyed tying up women, and spanking them, but she didn't know if he was aware of her own preferences. She hadn't been consciously aware of them herself till a couple of years ago. But though she didn't see Ray as husband material (he must be twenty years her senior) there was no reason why the evening couldn't be fun.
"At least you could try to get free "Ray interrupted her daydream. "It might take a while, but have a go"
"I just don't think I'll be able to " she shrugged. "You've done a thorough job. I think you needn't worry about not having the skill". She remembered that phrase from a crime story she had read."Trussed up like a turkey, aren't I. A damsel in distress "
"Well " said Ray" I want to see you try. Let’s see what you can do in half an hour. What would you do if you were a bank cashier tied up in a robbery? ".
"If I was tied up like this I'd probably just wait till somebody came. Isn't that what usually happens?" Wendy wasn't keen on rolling around struggling for his entertainment. "Seriously though, if you tie somebody up like this, and gagged them, they wouldn't be raising the alarm any time soon. So what's the point in me getting all hot and bothered for no good reason ".
"A fair point" said Ray."It's not so long ago that I could hold you up at gunpoint, and you were scared and did everything I told you to do. The magic's gone now, you argue back. You aren't afraid of me anymore".
Wendy laughed "Well, now I know you aren't going to shoot me or anything ".
"No" he said "but I might just gag you, tape your mouth up, then put you over my knee and spank you".
Taken aback at first, shocked and trying not to blush, Wendy replied bravely "You won't though, because I won't speak to you ever again, and you don't want that, do you?"
It was Rays turn to be surprised. "Touché" he eventually replied. "Funny, isn’t it? You're the one who's been captured, it's you that's tied up tight and can't get free. And you're the one who's giving orders".
"Yes, and what I want now is a coffee and a cigarette, and to be untied while I have them. Or I'll sulk" she said with a grin.
"All right, but I need another favour from you" said Ray. "I'll explain while I make the drink, then I'll untie you. Temporarily maybe".
"We'll see" said Wendy.
Half an hour later, Wendy stubbed her cigarette in one of Ray’s saucers. "So I go in the shop, in my lunch break, and ask how much they are paying for gold sovereigns. I say I've got ten and ask if I'll get paid right away, so you know if the cash is there. The woman tells me, and I just say thanks, then I leave. And you just want to know if there are cameras and how many people are there. Sounds easy enough. They won't assume I have anything to do with the robbery".
"I think so" he said. "If you do it this Wednesday just before two. They close for the afternoon on Wednesdays. I'm going to do the job next Wednesday ,assuming you don't see anything I don't like. You know, other people in the shop, big dogs, security cameras, that sort of thing. I just want to walk in take cash, silence the woman and leave. If you see anything that looks like a problem I want to know. You can have a share of the proceeds".
"I'm not sure about being paid" she said. You helped me out before with a loan, maybe you can help me next time I need it. Leave it like that for now. Anyway, I need to freshen up"
When she came back Ray was pleased to see that she had taken off her woollen jumper. Her blouse was now unbuttoned at the collar and she had rolled her sleeves up. Her hair wasn't pinned up, either, now it hung down to her shoulders . She sat down again, hanging her jumper and handbag over the back of a chair. "Make another coffee" she said "and do you need more practice with the tape? A different position, or the same one again even". Seeing Ray's surprised expression (he had assumed the current practice session was over) she added "You have to get it right. If you get nicked and they look into your background, I could be in trouble. But don't get carried away with the tape, I don't want marks on my wrists".
Ray took note of her concern. Wendy soon found herself sitting on the edge of the sofa with her arms taped securely behind her back again, but in a slightly different way. Ray had folded her arms behind her back and taped them together, parallel, with no pressure on her wrists> He had followed this up with bands of tape around her upper arms and body, some below her breasts and some above them. And as before, her booted ankles were wrapped in tape."As I said before, you have the perfect physique for this sort of thing" he commented.
Wendy laughed "I can see that you appreciate me, like what you see" Ray glanced downwards, he hadn't realized his erection was so visible. "Do you want me to try to escape?"
"Not really, no" said Ray. No harm in pushing his luck, he thought. "Actually I think I’ve learned enough about taping women for one day. I might need a refresher course tomorrow of course. But you’ve been a naughty girl, don't you think?"
Wendy felt something coming alive , a tingle of excitement, a little moist feeling. She hadn't been spanked since childhood, until recently. A few months ago she had been caught up in a robbery during which one of the robbers had taken great pleasure in putting her, bound and gagged, over his knee and giving her a severe spanking. From that day on Wendy knew that she had a submissive streak, but because she wasn't in a relationship, none of her needs, secret or otherwise, were being satisfied. Playing along with Ray wasn't going to do any harm at all. She smiled coyly at him. "Yes I have, and I don't care. I'll do it again"
"I thought as much" said Ray sternly. "Punishment seems to be the only option" Thinking for a moment, he added "I think you ought to be gagged, I don't want the neighbours complaining"
Wendy got the idea "You're in charge. But remember, whatever you start, you have to finish. Then you might get a treat, if I think you deserve one"
"Can't resist a challenge like that, can I" he said.
Wednesday June 19th.
It was 1.15 pm and Wendy was approaching the chosen shop. She smiled to herself as she remembered that evening. It had gone well, Ray had certainly finished what he started. She had been swiftly gagged with a surgical bandage, then put over Ray's knee and spanked soundly, her skirt pulled up and her panties pulled down, twenty smacks in total. Then, to her delighted surprise, he had brought her to orgasm with his fingers. Once released, and after another coffee, she had surprised him. She had prodded him in the back, saying" don't move, mister, this is a gun". He had played along, pleasantly surprised when she taped him up as securely as she had been, and gagged him. She couldn't help feeling a little thrill of excitement even now as she remembered his expression when she unzipped his fly and gave him the treat she had previously hinted at. From now on, things will be different, she thought.
But now I'm back in the real world, and about to abet a crime. She was nervous about this, her first criminal act, even though there wouldn't be anything to link her to the crime. For someone who, as a girl, had seriously considered joining the police, it was a big step, crossing a line. She was going to be an accomplice, a criminal in fact. The other night it had all sounded easy, the way Ray explained it. She had got swept up in the excitement of the occasion. She stopped at the doorway and took a deep breath. Pull yourself together, she told herself, what can go wrong? She opened the door and after being startled by the noisy bell, she went in.
A hundred yards along the road, on the opposite side, sat a stolen red Mondeo. The two occupants had been watching the jewellery shop, and the car clock, casually, knowing it wasn't quite the time to act. Then they saw something that unnerved them."Is she a cop? What's she doing here? " Trev muttered.
"Looks like one" said Phil."Watch what she does ". They studied her in detail, a plump redhead, her hair drawn back in a bun, smartly uniformed in a white shirt with sleeves rolled up, a navy blue knee-length skirt, a matching crossover bow tie, dark tights, black lace-up shoes, she certainly could be police. Then Phil spotted something. "Look at the hat. Yellow band. She's only a traffic warden".
"Well, I suppose that's better. What's she doing? "Trev exclaimed."She's going in". He turned to Phil "look at the time. We've got to go for it now or call it off".
"Go for it. We can handle two birds" Phil made the decision."Got two rolls of tape, haven't we?"
Wendy closed the door behind her, noisily because she could see there was nobody in the shop. Before long she heard footsteps and a door at the back of the shop opened. A woman about her own age or slightly older, and about the same build too. Her black hair was backbrushed ,with a fringe and her brown eyes looked Wendy over. She was attractively dressed in a waistcoat and skirt suit in a green and mauve flowered fabric, over a black short sleeved polo-neck sweater, and calf-length black suede boots. Pinned on her waistcoat just below her shoulder, a metal badge bore the name "KAREN ".Wendy guessed that she wasn't the shop owner, they didn't wear name badges.
Karen spoke first, “It's not my car, I came on foot" she said, catching Wendy off guard.
"Oh no, I'm not here on business "Wendy said, trying to sound friendly "I've got some sovereigns, and I saw your sign, best price paid. How much do you pay?"
"Well, today its €130. The boss gives me the figure every morning, it does change. How many do you have? "
"Sounds good " said Karen" have you got them now?"
"I haven't got them on me at the moment " said Wendy "would it be cash?"
"It can be, if that's what you want. Between ourselves, I can always offer cash if that's what it takes to get them"
Wendy was starting to feel not a little guilty. Karen seemed like a nice woman, just doing her job, but someday soon she was going to be robbed by Ray, and no doubt bound and gagged as well. The woman would quite probably have her bottom smacked as well, she thought. She would definitely be scared, like Wendy had the first time it happened to her. And all because of what she was doing here today. What would Ray think if she returned and said she didn't want any part of this, she wondered.
Their dialogue was suddenly interrupted as the door flew open, the bell ringing, then was slammed. Karen's mouth dropped open in horror, and Wendy turned to see two men wearing ski masks. One of them was pointing a pickaxe handle at them."On the floor, face down, NOW" this one shouted. She watched as his colleague slid the bolt across the door, turned the sign to "CLOSED" and pulled down the door blind. Karen was getting herself into a comfortable facedown position, resting her chin on her hands, so Wendy scrambled to the floor beside her. She glanced up at the shop window, wondering if there was a chance of a passerby seeing what was happening. Not much, she realised, the window sill was four feet off the ground and was home to several vases and lamps. You would have to peer inside to see much.
"Just do everything they say" said Karen, quite calm considering the situation. "They'll just grab some stuff, then they'll go. It’s happened a few times"
"What, here?" Wendy asked. How come Ray didn't know about this?
"Oh no. Another shop I worked in. I was tied up once, but usually it’s just threats, then they run away with the gold and stuff. Just stay calm " Karen seemed quite unruffled so far.
"Shut it, I said" It was the man who had shouted. "Any camera, panic buttons, anything like that?"
"No, nothing like that" said Karen "If only"
"Good "he said. I want you to show me the sovs and the cash. My mate will deal with your friend here, any problems and she'll get this" he banged the pickaxe handle on the floor, next to Wendy. " Come on" Karen got to her feet. Wendy listened as the pair went into the back room, then she heard them going upstairs.
She was face down, resting on her elbows , looking up furtively as the man followed Karen into the back room while uncomfortably aware of the other man squatting next to her. She was going to be dealt with, and she had a pretty good idea what that meant. She couldn't help it, she was blushing at the thought that these men were going to tie her up. He broke his silence. "Stop looking round. Face to the floor". As she obeyed this order, he pulled her hands behind her and crossed them in the small of her back. Her last moment of freedom, for a while. As if in a gesture of surrender, her cap slipped off as she lowered her head.
Here we go again, she thought, butterflies in her tummy. This really shouldn't be happening today. She heard tape being pulled from a roll, then it was being wrapped tightly round and round her wrists, then round her fingers and thumbs. Worse was to come though. He pushed her rolled-up sleeves up from her elbows, passed the tape tightly round her bare arms several times pulling them uncomfortably behind her. This is going to make my boobs stick out more, she thought, remembering what Ray had said in the past. He continued to wind the tape round her bare lower arms, then stopped and spoke.
"Look this way" he said suddenly. Wendy turned her head and was rewarded with the end of a length of tape being pressed over her mouth. He deftly passed the tape round her head, four times she counted, four layers of tape pressed across her mouth. She desperately hoped it wasn't going over her eyes, she tried not to think about that possibility. She was relieved when he turned his attention to her feet, arranging them so that her legs crossed at the ankles before binding them with a generous amount of tape. She realised that she wouldn't be able to stand up. How much of the stuff had he got, she wondered. Presumably Karen was going to be trussed up too, so they must have brought enough. He stopped for a moment, and assuming that he was finished, she moved sideways so that she wasn't lying on her breasts. "Keep still" he hissed. He slapped her hard on the bottom. "I'm not finished yet, so keep still". Her relief at not being blindfolded was soon forgotten, replaced by her dismay at what happened next. Her bound feet were pulled up towards her bottom, then more tape was passed round them and connected to her taped hands. This was called being hogtied, she remembered. A most undignified position to be left in, she thought. She heard footsteps and glanced up as Karen was ushered back into the room by the other man. Wendy noticed the woman's shocked expression as she looked down at her.
"Oh my god, what have you done? She's all tied up, why did you do that? Please say you're not going to tie me up like that. I promise I won't do anything, call the police or anything. Please! " She sounded as if she was about to burst into tears. Wendy was momentarily annoyed, why would this woman think it was all right for the robbers to tie Wendy up, but not her? Serves you right, she thought when the tying man replied. " Shut up, you stupid cow, down on the floor, quick".
Karen, looking sorry for herself, got down on hands and knees, then lowered herself to the floor. She glanced towards Wendy and whispered "Sorry. That sounded bad, didn't it? I didn't mean, like, you should be tied up but I shouldn't. It just looks so bloody uncomfortable". Wendy tried to smile through the layers of tape. If I thought pleading would help, I'd have done it too, she thought.
"You talk too much " the man muttered. He began to tape Karen's mouth before tying her hands and feet. Soon she was gagged as thoroughly as Wendy had been, and he set about taping her hands, arms and feet. The trussed traffic warden knew there was no chance of them freeing themselves anytime soon, she just hoped someone might turn up soon, after the men had gone. How long would it be before either of them was missed, she wondered. She was supposed to be meeting Ray the next day to tell him about the shop, and she wasn't due back at the police station until six. She knew it wasn't much past one o'clock, but the shop shut at one, so maybe Karen would be missed quite soon. Their only hope was that someone would come looking for her. They could be there for hours. If only they weren't hogtied, they might be able to wriggle over to the window and attract the attention of a passing pedestrian.
The other man spoke again" There's tape left, why don't we blindfold them?"
"Sure, why not, it'll slow them down a bit. Don't want them raising the alarm too soon, do we?" he glanced down at Wendy, making eye contact with her and grinning. She shook her head frantically, hoping it was just a cruel joke to scare them. She suddenly felt very vulnerable. An hour ago she felt confident, an authority figure in uniform, and now she was hogtied and helpless on a dusty floor, being tormented by two low life criminals.
"Put some tissue, toilet paper or something, on the tape, don't want them to lose their eyebrows taking it off. No need to make it worse for them ".
He disappeared through the door at the back and returned holding several sheets of toilet tissue. Wendy found herself watching in despair while he held a folded tissue over Karen's tearful eyes and taped it down, then wound the tape round her head three times, knowing that she was about to receive the same treatment. She imagined the next hour or two lying there unable to move or see anything, only able to listen out for rescuers. She knew from past experience that she was hopeless at escaping from ropes and tape. Now it was her turn, the tissue was pressed over her eyes and taped in place. The tissue at least was something to be grateful for, she wouldn't lose half her eyebrows when the tape came off. He wasn't being very gentle, jerking her head back as he wound the tape round. "You'll do" he said, smoothing the end of the tape down before letting her go. She listened as they prepared to leave.
"What did we get?" said the man who had blindfolded them.
"About four grand, plus gold and jewellery, not bad for a day’s work". Wendy pricked up her ears at this. So far her information-gathering exercise had gone badly wrong, but here was some useful knowledge. That's if Karen's boss didn't decide to change everything because of the robbery.
"What about these two? Do we phone the cops, let someone know they're here?"The man sounded concerned.
"Why, we don't usually. That hotel receptionist last week, we didn't phone anyone about her".
"No, but this is different. These two could be here till the morning, the shop's shut. What if they live on their own and nobody misses them. After all, they way we tied them, they won't get free"
"The traffic warden will be noticed, her boss will notice when she doesn't show up at the end of the shift, won't she? I tell you what. At six we'll be well clear, we'll phone somebody then. Not the police, that pub up the road, the Three Magpies or whatever it’s called".
"Fine. I just don't like to think of them being here all night, that's all. This tape's so much quicker, isn't it. Remember when we used to use rope and bandages ".
There was no more conversation. Wendy listened as they left the shop, the bell ringing as the door was closed. She didn't hear it being locked, but perhaps they had and the bell had masked the sound. She knew there was a very real prospect of her and Karen spending the next four hours bound, gagged and blindfolded in here, She realised she wouldn't last that long without needing to pee. She had to do something, she just couldn't bear to be found by her police colleagues when she had wet herself. If the door wasn't locked there might be a chance of something, the only chance. They had to make their way over to the door. She thought back to the robbers comment about blindfolds slowing them down. She tried to visualize exactly where the door was. She knew that Karen was on her right, quite close, so she rolled onto her side with her back to her fellow prisoner.
Roger Bailey turned up at his wife Karen's workplace just before three o'clock, as he did every Wednesday, and as always he knocked three times on the glass door. Karen always came to the door to let him in, but not today. He knocked again and still she didn't come. What's she doing, he wondered impatiently. There were no lights on inside, he realised, and that was unusual , the shop was quite gloomy because of the small windows and the staff always had the lights on. He peered through intently and tapped loudly on the pane. There was movement, on the floor towards the back of the shop. Something pale, he focused his eyes on it. He realised that it was a woman in a white blouse lying on the floor facing him. Her face seemed blurred, but he soon realised that her mouth and eyes were covered. He couldn't see her arms and hands either. It occurred to him that she was tied up, with hands behind her back. Karen must be in there too, most likely bound and gagged as well. No doubt about it, he would be justified in breaking in. He decided to go round to the back of the shop, there was nothing at the front to break in with.
Wendy and Karen, though still lying back to back, had given up trying to free each other. The tape around their fingers wasn't tight, but it was enough to prevent them from unpicking the tape from each other’s wrists. They both realised they were going to stay there until somebody found them. So when Wendy heard the tapping at the window, she stopped daydreaming about being found(but not untied) by some handsome hero, and wondered who it was. Surely it wasn't Ray. More tapping, then silence. Whoever it was, they were probably calling the police. She listened intently, and soon heard the sound of breaking glass, from the rear door. She felt a rush of cool air as the door, and heard male footsteps. "Oh my god, what's happened here. Karen, it's me, Roger, don't worry, I'll soon get you both out of this". Wendy was aware of him squatting down close to her and fumbling with Karen's bonds. She supposed she would have to wait her turn while the man freed his wife. Understandable, she thought. Since she acknowledged the sexually arousing potential of having her hands tied, it was quite pleasurable lying here still bound while the other woman was being freed. What if they didn't untie her for some reason, but fled, leaving her here. What if they were in on the robbery.
"I'm getting nowhere with this tape. I'm going to find some scissors " Roger stood up, and Wendy listened as he moved around the shop. A draw opened. "Ah. We're in business. Right, soon have you untaped, ladies". She listened as he set about cutting Karen free.
Soon she spoke. "Ugh! Thank god that stuff is off my face. Are you all right?"
Is she talking to me, Wendy wondered. Then the man repeated the question. "Are you all right? " They did mean her. She nodded her head and grunted in what she hoped was an affirmative. "Once she's untied she will be. Who is she anyway, a policewoman?" said the man.
"She's a traffic warden, but she's a customer, that's why she's here. Just her bad luck, she was in her about selling some sovereigns when two guys in masks steamed in. It sounded like they took all the stuff we've bought in, and the cash float".
"What about under the floor? " he asked, sounding worried now.
"Don't think so, but I was blindfolded, remember. Didn't hear anything like that. Anyway......"
"Oh, right" he said. Then "there's only the spare keys to my classic Aston Martin in the box down there now, and they wouldn't have known what they were if they found them"
"Yes, all right " Karen sounded impatient now. Wendy was listening intently now, but hoped they didn't realise this. A hole under the floor, this was useful knowledge considering the reason for her visit to the shop. The talk of car keys was just some nonsense, spoken because they realised that she might have heard. Where was the hole though?
Roger answered that question for her by getting to his feet. She listened as he walked into the back room and moved an item of furniture, a chair perhaps. He came back, without a word. He'd have plenty to say if his stuff was gone, Wendy thought. In the back room, in the back room under a chair ,she would remember that."Give the police a call while I untie this little lady". She heard him kneel next to her.
She waited for him to start removing the tape, but nothing happened. Lying on her side, hogtied and blindfolded, facing him, she was uncomfortably aware of his eyes on her."Not so little, actually, are you?" he whispered. "You'll have to excuse me if I'm a bit clumsy when I pull all this tape off". Wendy steeled herself for the unwelcome touch of his fingers, wondering where the groping would begin. What a creep, she thought. His wife's been threatened and tied up, all he cares about is his hidden stuff and feeling me up while he's supposed to be untying me.
Karen unwittingly came to the rescue, returning to the room."They're on their way. Haven't you started yet, I thought you'd have her free by now. Roger!"
"I'm just wondering where to start " he protested.
"No, you were leering at her. I've told you before, I am not letting you tie me up, especially after today. Start with the gag and blindfold, the poor girl doesn't want to lie there listening to us arguing".
"Isn't that the truth " muttered Roger. "I think we've said enough, don't you".
At this point the conversation dried up, while Wendy's mouth, then her eyes, were unwrapped. Next came her feet, he cut the hogtie tape then unwrapped her ankles, but instead of untying her hands he stood up.
"Like to sit on a chair while I finish doing your hands?" he asked, looking down at her." I'll help you up" He was wearing jeans and looking up at him, Wendy couldn't help noticing his erection .She knew what helping her up would involve. So did Karen apparently.
"WE'LL help her up" she said sternly. Wendy didn't realise how stiff she was, and was grateful for their help in getting to her feet and placing her on a chair. Roger, under close surveillance, didn't do anything inappropriate, but once she was seated, had a suggestion. "Why don't I put the kettle on? You girls have had a terrible time, you must be dying for a cup of tea". He was looking Wendy over as he spoke, and she realised that if it was up to him, she would probably stay tied up indefinitely. She remembered Ray's remarks about how she had exactly the right physique for being tied up. She wasn't sure she liked the phrase "pleasantly plump", but it was good to know that her looks were appreciated. And it wasn't just Ray, as today proved.
Karen was now in charge though."She's been tied up for two and a half hour, she wants to be untied. No more fannying around. I will untie her while you make us all a drink "
"Ok, you're the boss" Roger filled the kettle while Karen set about freeing Wendy's hands.
"Men!" she said."Don't mind him, he's having something of a midlife crisis".
"Don't they all" said Wendy agreeably. "Glad you weren't too shaken up by the robbery, anyway"
"Well, it was hours ago, and they didn't hurt us, did they. Anyway, I've been in other robberies. You seem all right too, considering, you don't even work here, you just walked in."
"I'll cope," said Wendy." not my first time at being captured and tied up".
"What, in your job? Really? How come?"
"Today's the third time I've walked in on a robbery, been caught by robbers and trussed up. The other times, they tied me up with ropes, not tape like today"
"You don't sound as if you were too bothered about it, do you?" said Karen.
I don't, do I - better change the subject, thought Wendy. At this point he sound of police sirens distracted all three of them
Not many days later at six thirty in the evening, Wendy and Ray sat in a town centre pub, having chosen to meet there before it got crowded. Wendy was still in her uniform ,but with a waist length tan leather jacket over her blouse.
"So the good news is, that place can be robbed, obviously" said Ray."And they bound you with tape, not cord, which sort of proves my point. That wasn't meant to be part of the research, but it’s a useful bonus".
She glared at him “Says the man who wasn't threatened, trussed up and blindfolded for three hours, and then, when the shop woman’s husband turns up, he seems to think it’s all good titillating fun. And I suppose you will if I tell you about it".
" Well, what did they take, did anyone tell you?"
"I heard the robbers talking about it as they left. About four grand plus gold and jewellery, they said. And, guess what. Something’s hidden under the floor in the back room. I don't know what, but the guy was really worried they might have found it, and they didn't, so it’s still there. This was when she was free and I was still tied up, and I think they forgot about me. When he remembered he said it was spare keys to an Aston Martin, but that was just for my benefit".
"So there will be a few thousand plus whatever's under the floor" said Ray."Now whets this about titillation? Since you mentioned it, you know you'll tell me".
"You're predictable, you know" she began."It's that man, the shop woman's husband. He untied her first, but, I thought, he would probably get an ear bashing if he had done me first. So I'm lying there listening, and when she's loose ,he sends her in the back room to call the police. I'm expecting him to untie me, but he doesn't do anything. I can't see, remember. She comes in after a while and tells him to stop leering at me and start untying me. Then he does take the tape off, in slow motion. I honestly think he was going to grope me, but she was on his case. He took the tape off my mouth and eyes, and then my feet, and then he was going to help me up and sit me in a chair , I've still got my hands tied behind me at this point. She joins in though and starts nagging him, otherwise he'd have helped me up with a hand on each boob. Then he tries to get her to make tea, while he unties my hands. But he's so slow, it's as if he really wanted me to stay tied up for as long as he could spin it out. She took over and got me untied, it took a while because they used so much tape. I still have marks on my arms. I know why he was behaving like that though, at one point she said she wasn't going to let him tie her up. So he was making the most of the situation. I tell you, I'd still be trussed up in there now if it was just up to him"
"I'm just sorry I missed it" said Ray, grinning. "I told you you have the perfect physique for displaying the art of restraint. But getting back to business, it’s kind of spoilt things. The problem is, there are just too many robbers around here. I have a good idea, but somebody else has it too. That shop job was mine. Now they'll install cameras or something. I should go and hold it up next week, no later, if I'm going to do it at all . We'll have to check it out again and see if anything’s changed".
"Do you mean me? Do you think I'm going back in there? All the time I've spent giving statements to the police, won't it seem suspicious if I go back?" Wendy had misgivings about this. Wasn't it possible that they were keeping an eye on her. Ray had an answer.
"Look, she thinks you've got some sovereigns to sell, why wouldn't you go back. I'll give you some to take in. After all, if it's safe to do the job I'll have them back soon. Lightning doesn't strike twice, and all that".
Wendy sat looking thoughtful. "Maybe you're right" she said eventually.
"I'm right, you'll see. By Monday they'll be open, gold wanted posters up again, cash box full of money to buy sovereigns. The only thing I'm not sure about is, will they have installed security cameras, and will there be more people in there".
"Well, the husband said that there was car keys under the loose floorboard, and the robbers didn't get it, so you know that's there" she reminded him. "I wonder if it is cash really, Illegal cash".
"When you take the sovs in, have a look if you get the chance. You'll be all right, what are the chances of anything else happening so soon" said Ray reassuringly. "It's on for next week, ok!"