Lunch with George
It was early afternoon, and the rain had stopped pouring down to be replaced by brilliant sunshine. The man looked out of the window of the room as people passed by.
“I see it’s stopped raining. I’m glad of that, at least I won’t get wet later.”
He went back to the seat he had vacated, and picked up the bowl of soup he was eating.
“You know, this is exceptionally good soup. Are you sure you would not like to try some?”
The woman sitting next to him glared back silently.
“Oh well, your loss. Shall we see what is on the news? I haven’t seen a paper for a few days, and I seem to have lost touch with events.”
He picked up the remote control, and turned the television on. After flicking through a few channels, he found a news bulletin and settled back to watch.
“You should always make sure to watch the news at least once a day – it’s important to know what’s going on, don’t you agree?”
The woman shifted slightly in her chair, but continued to stare back in muted silence.
“Oh come now – I know it was a little inconvenient for you that I came round, but – oh look, I’m on the television.”
He turned up the volume as his picture appeared on the wall behind the newsreader.
“Police are still searching for the George Simpson, the bank robber who escaped from Maidstone Magistrate’s Court earlier this week. He was last seen in the Maidstone area, where two women were held hostage for a short time, and was believed to be heading towards Birmingham. Police advise members of the public not to approach him if they see him, but to contact your local police station immediately.”
“Yup, that’s me alright. Are you sure you don’t want some of this soup?” George held a spoonful up to the mouth of the woman, but she turned away and started trying to shout through the gag over her mouth.
An hour earlier, Rhona had been sitting at her desk, trying to get to grips with the history assignment she had to complete. This was to form part of her final exam mark, but the amount of research that she had to do was overwhelming, and her eyes were beginning to hurt from the continual staring at the screen. She removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes – perhaps a cup of coffee and a break would help?
Replacing her glasses, Rhona pushed back the chair, and stood up. She was wearing a long blue denim dress which buttoned up the front, and a brown woollen sweater underneath. Having popped out to the shops earlier, she was still wearing the brown suede boots she had put on then, and she had a bandana tied over her frizzy brown hair.
She stretched and yawned as she made her way to the kitchen, and took the kettle to the sink to pour water in. While she was standing at the sink, she felt a slight breeze, and looked over to see that the kitchen door was ajar. “Funny,” she thought, “I was sure that was closed.” As Rhona went over to close the door, she suddenly felt a hand over her mouth, and could see that a kitchen knife was against her throat.
“Not a sound, not a word, or else I make sure you’ll never talk again – understand?” A male voice whispered in her ear. Rhona stared ahead with eyes full of fear. “Now, do exactly as I tell you. I’m going to take my hand away, and I want you to stand perfectly still and quiet with your hands on top of your head. All right?”
Rhona nodded, and the hand was removed from over her mouth. As she stood there, the man came round and stood in front of her. He was wearing a jumper and jeans, and a casual coat, and looked middle aged with grey flecks in his hair.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Rhhrrhhhh – Rhona”.
“Well, Rhona, you do as you’re told and you have a story to tell your friends. I just need a couple of hours to get something to eat and collect a few things, and then I’ll be on my way. Is there anyone else here?”
“No – my mum’s out and my dad’s at work.”
“All right – what are you doing at home?”
“I’m finishing an assignment – but please, don’t hurt me, I’ll do whatever you say.”
“Yes you will –why don’t we go to where you were working?”
The man pushed Rhona in front of him into the main room where the computer was still switched on.
“Take a seat, Rhona, in your chair there.” The man indicated the computer chair, and Rhona sat down in it. The man sat down in a chair next to her, and placed the knife where they both could see it.
“Now, as I said Rhona, I just want a couple of hours to sort some things out. You’re not going to get in my way, are you?”
Rhona shook her head, thinking she could get to the phone in her handbag when she was left alone.
“Please, put your hands on the armrests of your chair.”
She did so, and then looked on with horror as the man produced a roll of duct tape from his jacket pocket.
“I’m sorry, but I have to be sure you won’t get in the way,” he said as he held onto her left wrist and began to wrap tape around it, securing her arm to the chair. Tearing the tape, he then stood up and went round to tape her other wrist to the opposite arm.
“Please, you don’t have to do this, I said I’d be good,” Rhona cried, but the man just looked at her as he tore the tape again and smoothed down the wrist bindings.
“I know you did, Rhona, but I have to be sure you won’t try to raise the alarm while I’m busy.” Saying this, the man started to wind tape around Rhona’s body and the back of the chair, essentially pinning her to the back.
He moved round and knelt down in front of the bound girl. “Ankles together please,” he said, but Rhona started to try and kick at him. “You bastard,” she said, “What do you think you can gain from this?”
“A bite to eat, a change of clothing, and a little peace and quiet, actually, now put your ankles together unless you want your knickers to be on display to the whole world!”
Rhona realised the implications of what he was saying, and did as he asked. It was the work of a few minutes to wrap tape around her ankles, and also around the soles of her boots to further immobilise her. Tape was then wrapped around her legs below her knees, which had the effect of pinning her legs together over her dress and pulling the skirt hem up slightly, and then her lap was taped to the seat of the chair.
“There – that should keep you nice and comfortable, “ the man said as he stood up.
“I’ll scream as soon as you leave the room,” Rhona said as she struggled to get loose.
“You know, I do believe you would. I should do something about that.” The man untied the bandana around Rhona’s hair, removed it gave it a good shake before rolling it into a small ball.
“Open wide”, he said, and as Rhona opened her mouth to complain he stuffed the bandana in, then tore off three strips of tape and placed them over her mouth.
“Try calling out now.” As he said this, the man pushed Rhona, in the chair, further into the room. “Now, I’m going to fix myself something to eat. You just sit there and relax, and I’ll bring you something as well.”
George out down the soup bowl, and looked over at Rhona’s gagged face. She was still squirming a bit in the chair, trying to get free and staring at George all the time.
“Well, Rhona, I’m going to go and have a quick wash and borrow some of your father’s clothes. I hope you don’t mind that….” He broke off as he heard the sound of a key in the front door, and grabbing the knife he stood behind the door of the main room.
“Rhona, love, have you had any lunch yet?” A female voice called through as the front door was closed and a woman in her forties entered the room. She was wearing a red polo neck sweater, dark blue skirt, and a black leather jacket with knee length boots. She also had a blue silk scarf tied around the neck of her sweater.
“Rhona, can you hear m ….. Oh my god, Rhona!!” the woman screamed as she saw her daughter in the chair. She screamed even more when George grabbed her, but stopped when she saw the knife he waved in front of her.
“Whhhhh – who are you?” she stammered.
“Your house guest for the next hour or two. Put your handbag down carefully on the floor, and then put your hands behind your back.”
George held on to the woman’s arm as she very slowly placed her bag on the floor, then placed her hands behind her back. George pushed her into the centre of the room, then took the roll of duct tape off the table and began to tape her wrists together behind her back.
“I asked you who you were?” the woman replied.
“Well, on the presumption that you’re Rhona’s mum,” George said, and Rhone nodded, “then I’m the escaped prisoner who needs to keep you both nice and quiet while I get a few things. Understand?” With that, George tore off the tape and began to wrap more round the woman’s waist to hold her wrists against her back. Having accomplished this, he then used more tape to tie her arms and upper body together.
“Rhona, are you all right?” Her mum asked, and Rhona replied with “ys – m scrd mm”.
“Sit down in the armchair,” George said, and Rhona’s mother found herself seated opposite her daughter. George knelt down, crossed her ankles and proceeded to tape her ankles and feet together as well.
“Don’t worry, Rhona, We’ll get through this,” her mother said as George taped her legs together both below and above her knees. Standing up, he watched as she tried to loosen the tape bindings around her.
“Right – now, as I was saying before you came in, I want to have a quick shower and a change of clothes. Can I leave you two ladies alone for a little while?”
“I suppose so – but why did you have to gag my daughter?”
“Oh, I almost forgot –I need to make sure you are kept quiet as well.” With that, George bent over the mother and untied the scarf around her neck. As he had with Rhona, he shook it out, rolled it into a ball, and stuffed into her mouth, then placed strips of duct tape over her lips to keep it in.
“Now, please sit very still, and I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
George left the room, and the two bound and gagged women stared at each other before frantically trying to get the tape loose. They also tried screaming for help, but realised eventually that no-one was going to hear them through their gags.
An hour or so later, George returned wearing some clothes that belonged to Ronah’s father. He found that Ronah had slowly moved her chair towards her mother in an attempt to help her, but at the same time her mother had slipped off the armchair and was now lying on her side on the floor. Her jacket had started to slip down her shoulders, and her skirt had ridden up revealing her knickers.
“Dear, dear, you have got yourselves into a mess, haven’t you? Here – let me help you up.”
George bent down and helped the older woman to stand up, and then he helped her to hop over to the settee where she allowed herself to lie down. Placing a pillow under her head, he said “There – that should be a bit more comfortable for you.”
Moving over to Ronah, he checked that all the bindings were still secure. He then pulled her chair back to the head of the settee, so that she was sitting next to her mother’s head.
“Forgive me, ladies, but I do need to take your money so that I can continue my journey.” As he said this, George was going through both Ronah’s and her mother’s handbags, removing any cash and cards that they had.
“Now, I have to be on my way. Please thank your husband for his clothes, and try not to hurt yourselves. Here – I’ll leave the television on so that you don’t get bored”
Blowing a kiss to the women, George slipped out of the room and escaped back through the rear garden.
The two women stayed perfectly still, but after a little while Ronah started to struggle again against her bonds. She noticed after a while that the tape seemed to be loosening slightly on one arm, and called out to her mother.
Her mother twisted round and looked up at her.
“Wht s t?”
Ronah pointed down with her head to the arm nearest the settee, and looked pleadingly through her glasses. “Lok – I thnk th tps lssning”.
Her mother looked at the chair arm, and realised there was a chance of escape there. Grunting, she managed to sit herself up and swing her legs off the settee.
“Cm ere – Il cee f I cn mv t” She mumbled. Ronah placed her bound feet on the ground, and succeeded in moving her chair round so that her mother could put her bound hands on the arm rest.
Slowly, painfully, she picked away at the tape until she managed to get the edge free. It then took some time to slowly peel the tape back from the arm, as with her hands bound behind her back she kept loosing her grip. Eventually, however, as the sun was setting she succeeded in loosening the tape enough for Rhona to pull her left arm free.
Rhona shook her arm to get the feeling back, then quickly unwrapped the tape from her right arm and pulled the tape off her mouth. Spitting out the bandana, she sat and panted for a few minutes to get her breath back.
“Can you come any closer, Mum, and I’ll se if I can get that stuff out of your mouth as well?” Ronah’s mother shuffled along the settee and held her head up to her daughter, as she carefully pulled away at the tape gag and pulled the sodden blue scarf out of her mouth. It took time, as Ronah was still strapped to the back of the chair, but eventually her mother was able to talk clearly again.
“Who was that man, Ronah?”
“George Simpson, the escaped bank robber. He told me as much before you came back – we watched the news and his picture came up.”
“Oh dear god – so why did he come here?”
“No idea – it must just have been a guess on his part. Can you move at all?”
“Not very easily – can you get ahold of any of this tape?”
“Not very easily – if we keep moving around, perhaps it will loosen up.”
The two women had not succeeded in getting free by the time Rhona’s father returned an hour later. Their shouts as he came in the door were the first thing he heard, but it was only a short while after that they were finally freed.
As for George – he’s still out there somewhere…………..