A Blast from the Past
West Ealing Police Station
The blonde haired woman looked up from her desk as she heard the knock on the door. “Come in,” she called out, smiling as a young man, wearing a light blue shirt and dark tie with black trousers came in.
“Perkins – what’s up?”
“Sorry to disturb you Boss,” he said as he closed the door, “but we were called out to a robbery at a local business this morning, and I thought I should brief you on it.” He looked at her supervisor, the collar of her blue blouse over her grey jacket.
Sitting back, she placed her pen on the table and said “now why would you want to do that?”
“Because a name was mentioned during the robbery.”
“And that name was?”
DCI Jennifer Wayne suddenly sat forward, and said “tell me more…”
“Another day at the coal face,” Joey Blake said as she searched in her handbag for the front door keys to the boutique, the noise of the traffic on the busy high street as it passed by distracting her.
“Tell me about it,” Kay Davis said. Her colleague was wearing a black leather jacket fastened up the front, her long black hair falling over the shoulders, her legs bare between the hem of her knee length skirt and her long black suede boots. Joey was also wearing a black leather jacket, hers open at the front so that her black vest top was visible, the thin spaghetti strands over her shoulders. Her skirt was blue, and slightly shorter with zip pockets, and instead of boots she was wearing a pair of black block sandals.
“There they are,” she finally said as she fished out the keys, and unlocked the front door, letting Kay in first so that she could go and disable the alarm as she closed the door to again. When the beeping sound ended, she turned on the lights and looked round the clothing racks.
“Please,” Joey called back as she heard the front door open and close. “I’m sorry,” she said as she turned round, “we’re…”
“There we go,” Kay said as she came back in, having hung her jacket up and revealing her black lace crop top, her modesty preserved by the black bra underneath, “a nice cup of…”
“Very slowly,” the masked man holding the gun that was pointing at her said, “put that mug down, and put your hands on your head.”
Kay stared at him and the other man, who was standing behind Joey as she heard a harsh, rasping sound. They were wearing black boiler suits, and each had a black balaclava pulled down over their heads, allowing only their thin lips and their blue eyes to be seen.
“Walk very slowly over here,” the man said, “and stand beside your friend here.”
“Joey, what the hell is going on,” Kay said, walking forward as she had been commanded.
“I’ve no idea,” the other woman said as she watched the second intruder take a thin white plastic strip, and feed the end through the hasp, pulling Key’s hands behind her back and using the strip to secure them together. “I turned round, and there they were.”
Kay nodded as she heard the rasping sound again, and then the thin strip biting into her wrists as they were forced together. “What on earth do they think is of value here anyway,” she whispered to Joey.
“Get them in the back,” the armed man said as he looked at his partner, “and make sure they stay there.
“And stay quiet.”
“Move,” he said in a West Country accent to Joey and Kay as he pushed them towards the storeroom.
“Hey – you in the back Joey,” Amanda Blake said as she came into the store. As she closed the door, she slipped off her own leather jacket to reveal a short sleeved black knee length dress, covered with astrological symbols. The black choker round her throat had a gold metal clasp at the front, and she was wearing a pair of open toed and laced ankle boots.
“Joey? Kay? Where are you,” she said as she looked round through her black rimmed glasses – and then her eyes opened wide in shock as she felt the leather gloved hand over her mouth, and heard the man say “don’t do anything or say anything – we are in charge, understand?”
As Amanda nodded, the voice said “good – take your jacket, drop it on the floor, and then put your hands behind your back.”
“What’s going on,” she whispered as she felt the man pull her arms back, and then felt the zip tie as her wrists were suddenly forced together.
“You’ll find out – take her to join the others,” the voice said as she was pushed towards a second masked man, who took her by the arm and frog marched her into the storeroom at the back of the boutique. As she was pushed in, she saw Joey and Kay, and whispered “oh my god…”
“Msreee,” Joey mumbled through the thick knot of silk that filled her mouth, the rolled up scarf tied tightly round her head, the ends tickling the back of her neck. She and Kay were seated on the floor, their ankles secured together with a second zip tie, and another tie holding their legs and arms together. The man pushed Amanda over and ordered her to sit on the other side of Kay, the dark haired girl watching as her friend’s ankles were forced together, and then her leg and arm secured to Amanda’s.
“No – no you don’t have to do thsssmmgdd” she mumbled as the man rolled up a black scarf, tied a knot in it, and then pushed it into her mouth, tying the band tightly round her head and then securing the ends together at the back of her own neck. She could only blink as he removed her glasses, folded them and put them on a high shelf, all three hearing the front door open again…
“Put the sign to ‘Closed’, lock the door, and walk over here.”
April nodded as she turned – the gun pointing at her was reason enough to do so. She, unlike the other three, was not wearing a jacket, but was wearing a black vest top with thin straps. She was also the only one not wearing a skirt, preferring instead to wear a pair of dark grey jeans and black fabric ankle boots.
As she turned the sign, and locked the door, she nodded, and walked over, seeing the gun in one of his gloved hands and a plastic zip tie in the other. He turned her round, pulled her wrists behind her back, and secured them together before picking up a large brown shawl/scarf from a counter, rolling it up and pulling it between her lips, the thick band pressing her tongue down as he secured the ends at the base of her neck.
As he pushed her into the storeroom, she groaned as she saw her colleagues siting on the floor, a second masked man taking her by the arm and making her side beside Joey before her ankles were secured to each other with another strip, and then her arms and legs secured to those of Joey.
“Is that the lot,” the second man said as he stood up.
“Yeah – the front is locked, the closed sign in place. We’ve got all the time we need.”
“So where do we start?”
“According to the plan George Simpson made, we clear that wall, and then knock it through.” The first man looked at the wall, nodding as he said “let’s do it then – we don’t have much time.
The four girls could only watch as the two masked men started to clear boxes and packing crates from the far wall of the storeroom – the wall that connected to the business next door. That was a betting shop – but why would they try and get in that way…
Twenty minutes later, the wall was cleared, as one of the men took a crowbar and started to hit the wall. To the surprise of all four, the ‘wall’ broke easily as the plasterboard came away, and they saw the space behind.
“There it is,” the man said as he reached in and removed an old ammo box, before the two men looked at their captives. “So long ladies,” were the only other words they heard before the intruders left, leaving them struggling in the back room, as Joey tried to reach for the nail file in her back pocket…
West Ealing Police Station
“That was a name I never thought I would hear again,” Jennifer Wayne said as she looked at the young DC.
“Who was George Simpson?”
“Not was – is. He and I crossed paths when I was a DS, working with Jack Grayson. He escaped from a court hearing, spent months going round the country, and then – disappeared to the continent.”
“So he’s still alive?”
“We got occasional reports, but nothing for at least two years… Maybe he never got everything resolved…”
“Do you want to be kept informed?”
“Yeah – the girls had no idea that wall was a false one. But what would be in that box?”
“I have no idea – see if you can find the ownership records for that building. Thank you Perkins.” Jennifer stood up and grabbed her coat.
“Where will you be Boss?”
“Visiting an old friend…”
The building stood proudly, the clean sandstone walls and large windows projecting the image of the prosperous insurance and shipping company it housed. The words “Xavier International” were in large silver letters on the outside wall.
If you were to go inside, you would see the comfortable reception area, smell the coffee, and wait to be escorted through the security gates to the lifts, and then to the floor you had business with. On the top floor were the executive offices – and in one of them, a tall, thin auburn haired woman was sitting at her desk, reading some papers when there was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” she said in a deep voice that was like hot butter on toast, as the door opened and brunette came in. Unlike the other women, in her blouse and skirt, she wore a jacket over a red jumper, and a matching pair of trousers.
“My apologies, Madame, for the interruption?”
“My door is always open, Penelope,” Madame X said, “what is it?”
“I would normally leave this for the morning report,” her number two said, “but this cannot wait. We were alerted to a raid on a clothes store in Ealing this morning?”
“A minor crime surely?”
“Not this one – we had a flag on the premises.”
Putting down her pen, Madame X said “was it under our protection?”
“No – but George asked us to keep an eye for any actions?”
“George Simpson? Where is Lilian?”
“Gone home for a couple of days?”
Nodding, Madame X said “contact Dominique…”
“Should we be worried, Madame?”
“I do not know…”
Jack Grayson was sitting, watching the news when his wife went to answer the ringing doorbell.
“Who is it Delores,” he said as he heard her say “well, this is a surprise – come in, come in!” He turned, then stood up and smiled as Jennifer Grayson came in.
“Sorry Boss – am I disturbing you?”
“Of course not – what brings you to my retirement?”
“Two words – George Simpson. Can I sit down?”