George's Big Job
“How on Earth did you figure it out?”
“I’ve had a lot of time to think and debate recently – and when it came down to it, it was obvious. What I don’t understand is why?”
Sunday, 9 pm
The knock on the door took John and Genevieve by surprise.
“Are you expecting anyone tonight, John,” his wife said as she looked up from the book she was reading.
“No, I’m not,” he said as he put his paper down and went to answer the incessant tapping on the door.
Genevieve listened as her husband opened the front door. “Yes, can I….” was all she heard before the sound of scuffling and pushing came through from the hallway.
“John,” she called as she got out of her chair and walked into the hallway, “is there something…..”
She was greeted by the sight of her husband wrestling with a large gentleman, dressed in a white shirt, dark suit and tie, but with a stocking mask over his head. Three other men ran past the struggling pair, dressed in the same way, and one of them grabbed the woman as she stood there.
“John,” the man said as he pointed a pistol at Genevieve’s head, “Stop struggling or your wife gets an extra hole in her cranium. NOW!!”
John looked over to see his wife being held hostage, and let go of the man he was fighting. He pulled the bottom of his jacket down, closed the door behind him and with a fluid motion hit John in the stomach with his clenched fist.
“That’s better,” he said, “Now be a good boy and do as you’re told. Disconnect the telephone and any alarm systems they have.”
The other two masked men nodded, and one went towards the kitchen while the other pulled the phone wire out of the wall socket. Genevieve was pushed back into the living room, while the two left in the hallway picked John up by the arms and dragged him into the room behind her.
“Sit down, lady,” the smaller of the two said, and Genevieve sat down on the chair she had been sitting in. John slowly sat up, struggling to catch his breath and holding his stomach.
“Right, the two of you are going to exactly what we tell you, and you won’t get hurt – again. Try anything like that last stunt, John, and you will both fail to see the night through. Do you understand?”
John groaned “Y..Yes” while Genevieve went over to hold him.
“John, your wife is going to stay here while we take a little trip to your bank and make a withdrawal.”
“If it’s money you want,” Genevieve said, “We have plenty here, more than…..”
“You misunderstand me,” the leader said as he cupped the frightened woman’s chin in his gloved hand. “We’re taking all the money, and you won’t be able to stop us. Both of you put your hands behind your back.”
“No,” John called out, “I’ll come but leave Genevieve alone….”
“A lovely name, Genevieve,” the smaller man said as the remaining two gang members came back in, “but I don’t think it’s going to help you. Both of you, stand up and put your hands behind your back, now.”
As the other gang members pointed their guns at the couple, John slowly stood up and turned round as he was asked. With an angry look at the smaller man, who was obviously the leader, Genevieve did the same.
“Thank you,” he said as he put his pistol in one pocket of his jacket, and drew two lengths of white cord out of the other. Weighing them up in his hand, he looked at Genevieve. She was wearing a white blouse over a brown jumper, a long linen skirt and brown carpet slippers. Taking her wrists, he crossed them in the small of her back and began to lash one of the lengths of the rope around them.
“Here’s the deal, John,” he said as he passed the rope around and between the woman’s wrists. “You are going to come with us and open your branch office, disable the alarms and security system, and let us do our work. In return, Genevieve here stays here with one of us until we do our work – as our hostage or our guest, you can think whatever you like.”
“Who are you?” John said as he felt his own wrists being tied together as well.
“Can’t you guess?” the man said as eh knotted the rope out of reach of John’s fingers. “I’ve been in the press rather a lot recently, after all.”
“The same, and these are my friends. Now, sit down while we look after your wife.”
John was pushed back into the armchair, while one of the gang placed a valise he had brought in on the table and brought out several long lengths of rope.
“Oh god, John, please don’t let them do this to me,” Genevieve called out.
“I’m sorry, Gen, I can’t do anything about this. I promise, you will be all right.”
“Just stand still now,” one of the taller men said as he unravelled one of the lengths of rope, doubled it over and passed it around Genevieve’s arms and chest below her breasts. Pulling the rope through the loop behind her back, he wrapped it around several more times, both above and below her breasts, before tying it off and pulling her wrists up so that they were attached as well.
“Sit down on the floor,” George ordered the woman, and she knelt down before managing to sit on her bottom. Two of the gang then took more rope and started to bind her ankles and her legs.
“I hope you won’t be too uncomfortable,” George said as he stuffed a rolled up handkerchief into Genevieve’s mouth, before tearing strips off a roll of black tape and sticking them over her lower jaw. He then took a black scarf and tied it over John’s eyes.
“John, you’re coming with us.” As he said this, two of the masked men took John by the arms and lifted him up, before leading him out of the room, George and the other gang member following as the clock struck ten.
“Right – Bert, you stay here and watch the woman. We’ll call you once we’ve started work. You two, put John in the back of the van and make sure he can’t do anything.”
As John was led out by the two men, George clapped Bert on the shoulder and followed them, closing the door behind them. Bert went back into the room, closing the door behind him, and sat looking at Genevieve struggling on the floor. They listened to the sound of van doors closing, and then a motor receding into the distance.
“Well, John,” George said as he sat in the back of the van with Jack, and Ernie drove, “I have a bit of news to tell you.”
“What’s that,” John said as he turned his head in the direction of the voice. George moved over to kneel beside him.
“Night night, John” he said as he stuck a hypodermic needle in John’s arm. John’s head lolled to one side as he fell into unconsciousness.
“So, George,” Jack answered, “What happens now?”
“Well, I hope I’m wrong, but this is a necessary precaution.” He took a cell phone from his pocket.
“Lily? How are things at your end.”
“No problem, Uncle. I got what you wanted next to me, and I’ll meet you at the rendezvous point.”
“Wonderful – take care of it now.”
Lily smiled as she turned the phone off and looked over her shoulder. “We’ll have you home soon, Katie, and then everything will become clear.” A muffled sound was all she heard as she drove off.
Genevieve was looking up at Bert as he sat in the chair. The clock struck eleven as he took his mobile phone out.
“Hello? Is that Barton Road Station? Could you ask Mister Reeves to call me back – he needs to know that George Simpson is moving tonight.
“Don’t worry, Genevieve,” he said as he put the phone down and looked at the startled eyes of the woman, “I’ll set you free in a little while, once I’m sure George is well out of the way.
Sunday, 11 pm
“Where the hell is that girl,” Irene Clarke muttered to herself as she looked out of the window. “Katie should have been home by now.”
She drew her dressing gown round her as she sat back down. Katie was old enough to look after herself now, but it wasn’t like her to be out this early. As she sat there wondering what was going on, she felt to notice the slight sound of the kitchen door being opened, and footsteps going down the corridor towards her.
Irene looked up to see a young woman standing before her, dressed in a dark jacket and skirt with a white blouse and leather shoes. The most remarkable things about her, however, were the stocking mask over her head and the fact she had Katie in front of her, blindfolded and gagged with tape, and with her hands behind her back.
“Oh my god, what have you done with Katie?” Irene called out, and Katie brought her head up.
“Mm – hlp m pls.”
“Now now, Irene,” the masked woman said as she pointed a pistol at the woman. “No sudden moves – just sit down, and we will wait for my friends to arrive.”
As Irene sat down, Lily pushed Katie on to the floor. She had been out for the night with friends when she had been grabbed, and was wearing a light blue top with a cowl neck, a blue leather miniskirt and short blue leather boots. She knelt on the floor, raising her head to see if she could find her mother.
“What have you done with my daughter,” Irene asked as the sound of a van pulling up outside came from the other side of the windows. A few minutes later, there were three sharp raps on the window.
“Come with me,” Lily said as she took Irene by the arm and led her to the front door. As she opened it, Irene was greeted by the sight of three well dressed and masked men, two of them carrying a man with his hands tied behind his back and a blindfold over his eyes.
“Good work, my dear,” George said as eh came in, “It’s so much easier to do this sort of thing now the council has turned off these street lights, isn’t it?”
“That’s John, from the other bank,“ Mary said as she recognised the unconscious man, “What’s going on here?”
“Why, a bank robbery, Mary,” the smaller man said as the other two deposited John onto her couch. “John thinks it’s his bank that is being raided, but we had a change of mind.
“We’re going to rob yours instead. Hands behind your back, Mary – we have a bit of a trip ahead of us….”
“That’s right, Mister Reeves – they’re hitting the main branch in the high street now. They left me to look after his wife – you should be able to get all of them there now.
“I’ll see you at the station later.”
Shutting the phone down, Bert knelt next to Genevieve and pulled the tape away from her mouth.
“Don’t worry, Genevieve, your husband will be free soon.”
“I don’t understand – why did you do that?”
“Money – and I never really liked the way George Simpson gives orders anyway…”
George watched as Jack and Ernie emptied the safe of contents into the bags.
“Very good of you to open the safe for us, Irene – I hope you’re not too uncomfortable?”
Irene looked up at the masked bank robber. “Considering the circumstances, no, I’m fine thank you. Are you all right Katie?”
Katie looked over her shoulder at her mother and nodded. The two women were bound back to back, seated on a rug on the floor of the branch office. They had been brought here by the gang from their home, and made to sit down while rope was passed around both of them to secure their upper bodies together. Their ankles had also been bound together, as had their legs above their knees. Irene was still in her dressing gown, but it had fallen open to reveal the blue silk nightdress she had been wearing when the gang arrived.
Lily was watching the pair as they sat there, when the sound of police sirens passed by,
“Ah – that is unfortunate,” George mumbled to himself as Ernie closed the safe door to. “Still, at least the diversion worked. Ladies, we will leave you here now. If everything goes according to plan, you will be free in at the most a few hours. Meanwhile, try to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.”
“Do we have a choice in the matter,” Irene said as she tried to twist her wrists around.
“Frankly, Irene, no – which reminds me.” Taking a small sponge ball, George stood in front of the older woman. “Open wide please.”
Staring defiantly at him, Irene opened her mouth and allowed him to push the sponge into her mouth. Several layers of black tape followed, and the two women watched the four gang members make their way out of the rear of the bank.
“What do you mean he wasn’t there?”
Bert was standing in John’s home, arguing with the police detective who had accompanied the squad car.
“It was a set up, Bert. I have no idea where George Simpson is, but the branch office is empty and there is no sign of a break in. Are you sure they took her husband with them.”
“I watched them,” Genevieve said as she looked up, a cup of tea in her hand, “they drove off with him. Where on earth could he….”
The telephone rang, and Detective Reeves looked at Genevieve.
“Answer it on speakerphone,” he said as he pressed the button on the telephone.
“Genevieve – oh thank god you’re all right.”
“John – where are you?”
“I’m not sure – I was drugged, and woke up in this house. I managed to remove the blindfold I had on, found the telephone and called you.”
“John – this is DS Reeves, Barton Street. Your wife is safe – is there anyone else there with you?”
“No – they left me here, and there doesn’t seem to be…. Oh.”
“John – John, what’s wrong.”
“I’m looking at a photo – this is the house of Irene Clarke, she and her daughter are in this photo.”
“Irene Clarke – who is she, John?”
“The manager of our other branch office in the town – you need to get some people round there now.”
Reeves turned and glared at Bert. “He’s rumbled you, Bert – I suggest you make arrangements to get out of town as fast as you can. Control – get a squad round to the other branch of the back immediately – Simpson hit there instead.”
Monday, 10 am
“I needed the money, George. Nothing personal – it happens all the time.”
“So why didn’t you shop me for the jewellery robbery?”
“I needed the money again – I had debts to clear.”
George was sat in the front room with Bert, a suitcase lying on the couch and a gun in George’s lap. He had surprised Bert before he had a chance to make a clean getaway.
“So what happens now,” Bert asked nervously.
“Well, in a way I should thank you Bert. Those weeks on the run gave me a fresh perspective on things. So I’m going to take a chance.
“Get out of here, Bert – and don’t let me ever see you again. If our paths ever cross, I will take the greatest of pleasure in shooting you dead where you stand. Understood?”
“But where will I go?”
“Not my problem – but you have an hour before Jack and Ernie get here – and they may not be forgiving.”
Bert grabbed his suitcase and ran out of the front door, George watching through the window.
“Eeejit,” he mumbled to himself, but before he could do anything else the telephone rang.
“Well, well – long time no speak. How are things in your corner of the business?
“Thank you, I though tit showed some class as well – I’ll let the usual people have the rat’s description. So, what can I do for you?
“Yes…Yes… Well, I do need to lie low for a little while. What’s in it for you?
“I think we can do that.
“We – I think Lily should come with me for a little while. Once we’re done, I thought of recommending her to you.
“Excellent – I will be in touch shortly.”
Turning the phone off, George smiled. A week in the country would do him and his niece the world of good just now….