The Four-Way Crossover Caper
He sat in the car, watching as the four staff members left Highsmith’s Jewellers and went their separate ways. Folding the newspaper he was reading, he started the car and watched as they walked off towards various forms of transport.
In a quiet suburban street, a man in a smart blue suit, white shirt and tie opened and closed the gate to the house, carrying a large computer bag over his shoulder. Pausing briefly to admire the roses, he rang at the doorbell.
A woman in her late fifties opened the door. She had close cropped, bleached blonde hair, and was wearing a brown chiffon dress with a short cardigan, and brown tasselled suede boots on her feet.
“Good afternoon, is your mother in?”
“That line was old when I was young!”
“I’m sorry; I find it breaks the ice. You are Mrs Jenkins? We spoke earlier on the phone about the position of personal assistant.”
“Oh yes – come in, come in.”
She held the door open and, with a last look at the street behind him, the man came in as she closed the door.
Sally had only just got in from Sixth Form College when the doorbell rang. She took off her jacket, hung it on a coat peg and answered to a workman standing there in a set of brown overalls, a baseball cap and glasses.
“Sorry to disturb you, miss,” he said as he put a workbag down, “but we’ve had a report of a sewer leak in the building. The superintendent has asked if I can check all the toilets.”
Sally shrugged, and let the workman into the flat, closing the door behind her.
Heather looked up from her gardening to see a man standing beside her. She stood up and brushed the dirt off from her hands.
“Good afternoon, can I help you?”
“I hope so. Are you Joanna Gosling?”
“No, I’m her sister. Can I be of any help?”
“Maybe you can. She asked me to come round to give her a quote for some replacement windows – I don’t suppose….”
“Oh yes – she told me someone was coming. Would you like a cup of tea, mister…?”
“White – and that would be fantastic, thank you.”
Heather led Mister White towards the back door, the denim cut-off shorts she was wearing swaying with her hips. As she went into the kitchen, the man laid the briefcase he was carrying on the table and closed the door behind him.
One week earlier
Jack walked into the darkened warehouse, closing the door behind him. A single bulb hung from the ceiling, its light shining down on three other men sitting at the table.
“Jack – you know Bert and Ernie, of course?”
The two other men nodded at Jack as he took a seat.
“So – what bank job are you planning this time, George.”
“Nothing so obvious Jack. As I was telling the others before you came, my time on the run has taught me how much more interesting the subtle approach could be. Besides, I need some capital to begin to think about hitting a bank, and I don’t have that capital.
“So, what’s the plan,” Ernie asked.
George laid out a set of photographs on the table.
“Highsmith’s Jewellers? Not a chance – they have security guards during the day, and one of the most sophisticated alarm systems out.”
“I know,” George replied, “to switch the alarm on or off, you need four alphanumeric sequences that are changed at the end of each day, and each of the four staff,” as he pointed to the mug shots of four women, “gets only one part of the code each. Only when they are all done in the correct order do they work.”
“So what are you suggesting – we storm the place during the day or we kidnap the four women? Either way, we need more people.”
“Nothing so blatant – here, this is all the information I’ve been able to dig up on the four staff members.”
He handed each of the men a dossier each, keeping one for himself.
“Now, this is what we’re going to do….”
Elizabeth walked up the road to her house, looking forward to getting out of the Highsmith’s uniform of a charcoal grey trouser suit and white camisole top and changing into something more comfortable. As she approached her door, she wondered what her mother wanted to do tonight.
“Mum, I’m home,” she said as she closed the door behind her. “Did that man come about the interview?”
“Yes he did,” she heard her mother calling back, “Would you like to meet him? He’s really quite charming.”
“All right then,” Elizabeth said as she walked into the living room and stopped dead in her tracks. Her mother was sat in a chair, her arms pinned behind her back, and Elizabeth could see that her ankles were tied together with rope. In a chair next to her mother was the man, smiling and pointing a pistol directly at her.
“Good evening, Elizabeth. Could I trouble you to take out your mobile phone and place it on the table there please? As you can see, your mother is quite safe, but if you want her to stay that way you will do exactly as I say.”
Opening her handbag, Elizabeth took out her phone and placed it on the table.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“All in good time, Elizabeth. I understand you don’t like your work uniform? Well then, go and change into something more comfortable – and remember, your mother is here, so no attempts to contact anyone please.”
“Sally, are you home?”
Deborah took off her jacket, and hung it on a coat peg next to her daughters. Looking in the front room of her flat, she found it empty, so she then moved to her daughter’s bedroom.
“Sally, do you fancy a pizz…..”
Sally was lying on her bed – her hands were above her head, and handcuffed to the headboard, and a man in brown overalls was sat next to her, his hand clamped firmly over Sally’s mouth.
“Come in, Deborah,” he said as Sally looked at her mother with pleading eyes. “As you can see, your daughter has been keeping me company, but for now is unharmed. Whether or not she stays that way is up to you.”
“What do you want me to do?” Deborah asked.
“Go and get changed, and then you can phone out for that pizza you were going to talk about – this could be a long night.”
Joanna was fuming. She had been held up again on the tube, and now as she almost ran to her door she was worried that the double glazing salesman would have been and gone.
“Heather, has the salesman been yet?” she called out as she slammed the door behind her and ran into the living room of her house.
“You mean this man?” Heather asked as she lay on the couch, and Joanna took in the sight of her sister lying there, her hands behind her back and her ankles tied together over her socks with rope. Her short sleeved blouse had ridden up slightly, but she was looking at the man in the white trousers and shirt sitting at the table, with a gun in his hand.
“Please, Joanna, take a sear and I will explain what is going on.”
Patricia drove into the driveway of her house, glad that the day was finally over. As the manager, it had been her responsibility to make sure the new stock was properly catalogued, and that had taken all her time today. What she was looking forward to now was a bath, a glass of wine and an old movie to watch.
Entering the house, she made her way up to her bedroom, took off her work uniform and made her way to the bathroom, where she had a long and hot shower before putting on a silk nightgown and matching dressing gown. Making her way to the kitchen, she took a bottle of white wine from the fridge, and grabbing a corkscrew she made her way into the living room.
She was about to pour herself a glass when she heard a male voice saying “I would like a glass as well if that is all right, Patricia?”
Turning slowly round, she saw a man dressed in a grey jumper, slacks and leather jacket, pointing a gun at her. He took the bottle from her hand, and said “Don’t scream or make any loud noises – just get two glasses, I’ll pour and we will have a little chat,”
“You are having me on!”
“No I’m not. Each of us is going to visit these ladies, one each, after they finish work. They get sent the code for the next day by telephone to their answering machines at ten pm each night. We will pick up that message, then you will phone me and I will empty the store on your behalf. We meet up later that night, having secured them, and we split the loot.”
“And how can we trust you?” Bert asked.
“Have I ever let you down?” George said. “Trust me – this is going to work.”
Elizabeth and her mother were sat at the dinner table, eating a stew that had been prepared earlier. The man in the blue suit, who had said to call him Mister Blue, had joined them for the meal.
“So what happens when you get the code?” Elizabeth asked.
“All in good time, Elizabeth,” Mister Blue said wiping his mouth with a napkin. “I know this is an inconvenience to both of you, but I assure you that you will come to no harm.”
Elizabeth was wearing a long blue peasant skirt, short sleeved brown top and a beige scarf tied into her hair. She looked at her mother, who said “I’m all right, dear. I actually think this is quite exciting.”
“That’s the spirit. Now, shall I pour the coffee?”
Deborah and Sally were sat in Sally’s room, with the man called Mister Brown. Deborah had put on a pair of blue jeans and a white t-shirt, but Sally was still in her college outfit of white blouse, grey skirt and white socks. She had been released from the handcuffs, but both women had one hand cuffed to the side of the bed as they ate the pizza that had been delivered.
“Why are you doing this?” Sally asked.
“Your mother is going to get some information I need, once I have that, I will leave you both alone.” Mister Brown took a drink from his glass as he said this. “Now then, who wants some ice cream?”
Heather and Joanna were sat side by side on the couch. They had their wrists tied together in front of them, but otherwise were free to move around as they ate their sandwiches. Mister White, as he said to call him, was standing at the table laying out and sorting various lengths of rope.
“Do you really need all that rope?” Heather asked.
“That is entirely up to you and Joanna, Heather, and how co-operative you both are over the next few hours. Now, what film would you like to watch?”
Patricia took a sip of her wine. “I must say, it is an ingenious plan. What makes you think I won’t call the police when you turn your back?”
“I think the fact we have not only your workmates, but their immediate families hostage will stop you, don’t you?”
“And what may I call you?”
“You may call me Mister Grey?”
“Not George Simpson, then.”
George inclined his head. “I prefer Mister Grey tonight, I think.”
He looked at the clock, which showed the time at nine o’clock.
“Excuse me,” he said as he took out a mobile phone and sent a text message.
Mister Blue looked at the screen of his phone.
“I’m afraid we have to make preparations for your telephone call now. Please,” he said as he took Elizabeth’s mother by the arm, “stand up and put your hands behind your back.”
She did as she was asked, and Mister Blue took a length of cord from his bag and wrapped it quickly around and between her wrists. After tying it off, he took a longer length and tied it around her waist, holding her wrists firmly against the small of her back.
“Elizabeth, please sit in that chair there and put your hands on top of your head,” he said as he helped her mother to sit on the floor, and then bound her booted ankles with cord. He finished by wrapping more cord around her legs, pulling the skirt of her dress tightly against her legs as he did so. She sat back against another chair as he stood up.
“Can I trust you to be quiet now?” he asked, and Elizabeth’s mother nodded.
Mister Brown took Sally’s other wrists, and fastened the cuff around it so that her hands were secured to the headboard above her head. Taking a length of cord, he crossed and tied her ankles together over her socks, before tying her legs together above her knees.
Taking a bandana that he had rolled up earlier, he tied a knot in the middle and pushed that knot into Sally’s mouth, before securing it behind her head and allowing her head to fall back onto the pillow.
“Now”, he said to Deborah, “Why don’t w ego downstairs and wait for your phone call.
Sally watched the two of them leave the room, and then started to try and struggle free.
Heather winced as her legs were brought up behind her wrists, and secured to them with rope. Her wrists had been released, and then re-tied behind her back, and more rope lashed around her upper body to hold her arms in place before her ankles and legs were secured. She now lay on the couch, trying to find a way to be comfortable as Joanna looked on.
“Do you promise not to scream?” Mister White asked, and Heather whispered “yes” just as the telephone rang.
Patricia replaced the receiver, and handed the piece of paper over to George. He looked at and saw 3rd a8rtbc
“Now what?” she asked.
“Now, please take a seat,” George said as he indicated a straight backed chair. Taking a seat, Patricia watched as George produced a roll of silver duct tape.
“Please, let your hands fall down to the side of the chair,” he said, and Patricia allowed him to tape her wrists against the back of the chair, before he started to wind tape around her upper body, securing her to the back of the chair.
Bending down beside her, he placed her ankles together and wrapped tape around both them and her feet, before taping her legs together and her lap to the seat of the chair.
“So, I guess you’re going to gag me now?” she said as he took a napkin from the table.
George nodded, and then stopped as his phone indicated a message had come in.
“Well, it has been a pleasure Patricia,” he said as he stuffed the cloth into her mouth, “but I’m afraid I must leave you now.” He tore strips of tape off the roll and plastered them over her lips before turning the light off and closing the door behind him.
Mister Blue turned off his mobile phone, and looked at Elizabeth and her mother. Elizabeth had been tied in the same way as her mother, and the two were now sat back to back, with thick scarves tied into their mouths.
“So long, ladies” he said as he turned the lights off and left them struggling to find a way out.
Mister Brown double-checked the text before sending it as he left the flat. Deborah was lying on the floor of her main room, with her wrists handcuffed behind her back and her ankles and legs tied with washing line Mister Brown had found in the kitchen. She also had a bandana tied into her mouth, and she was slowly making her way to Sally’s bedroom to see if she could at least be there for her, as she could hear her muffled cries.
Joanna turned her head and looked at Heather as Mister White left. She had never had the chance to get out of her work outfit, so she lay on the floor hogtied with ropes holding her trouser suit around her, and her breasts prominently showing through the jacket. Both women had medical tape over their mouths, and Joanna tried hard to get Heather to try and get off the couch to join her in an attempt to get free.
Jack, Bert and Ernie were waiting in the warehouse as George walked in and dropped three very full bags onto the table.
“My god, it actually worked?” Jack gasped as George showed them the contents of Highsmith’s recently raided store.
“Just as I said it would,” George said with a big smile on his face. “Now, you can take your cut and go now, or you can join me and invest some in the real big deal I have coming.
Who’s with me?”