Of Go-Go and Print
“All right,” the police officer said as she sat opposite Felicity, “why don’t you start from the beginning?”
Felicity Strand nodded as she sat back and held her mug of coffee in her hand. “I’m not sure how going over the robbery is going to help you officer?”
“Please – sometimes you end up remembering little things,” the female officer said.
“All right,” Felicity said, “I was working at Bebe Revisited as I usually do, it was a quiet Saturday lunchtime, and I was making sure the displays were in order.”
“You were wearing?”
“A dress – mid-length sleeves, gathered waist, skirt down to the knee, it has a floral print on it in autumn colours. I was also wearing a pair of knee length white boots with stack heels.”
“Okay – so the door opened?”
Felicity nodded as she took a sip of her drink. “Yeah – I looked over to see this smartly dressed man walk in, and start to look through the collection of vintage scarves that we have by the doorway there. I didn’t pay that much attention to him really, until I heard him call me over. I walked over, asked him how I could help him – and that was when he looked the door, put the sign to closed, and pointed the gun towards me.”
“I can imagine you were scared.”
“You think? Anyway, he made me turn round, and used one of the scarves to bind my wrists together behind my back. After he had tied that, he made me walk behind the counter and sit down, before he used two more scarves – a paisley print one and a green one – to secure my ankles and my legs together.”
“Did he say anything while he was doing this?”
“He said to keep calm – that all he was doing was to make sure I could not raise the alarm. He then rolled up a large horse print scarf, tied a knot in it, and used it to gag me, tying it round my head and trapping my hair under it.
“I had to watch as he emptied the till, and then let himself out, making sure the door was locked behind him.”
“And can you describe him?”
“About six foot, short blonde hair, blue eyes, slim build, and wearing a sports jacket over a v-necked jumper and grey slacks. Like I said, well dressed and polite, even as he bound and gagged me.”
“Okay – how were you discovered?”
“Two hours later, someone who had tried to get in – and couldn’t hear me call for help – went next door and asked why the shop was closed. The baker came through the back yard, managed to open the rear door, and found me. That was when he called your colleagues.”
“And there is nothing else you can tell us?”
“I’m afraid not – sorry.”
“Well, it was worth a try,” the officer said as she stood up. “Thank you for your time, Miss Strand.”
“You’re welcome,” Felicity said as she showed the officer out, and then sat down, thinking over what had happened. She had talked over what had happened with some of her family – with some surprising results.
The first story she had heard was when she sat with her grandmother over a coffee in Starbucks, a few days later. She was casually dressed, in jeans and a t-shirt, while her grandmother was wearing a cream coloured twin set and a tartan skirt.
“Oh you poor girl,” she said as she patted Felicity’s hand, “I can imagine how it must have felt.”
“How can you, Gran,” she had replied, “unless you had been through something like that?”
Felicity looked at her grandmother, as she said “Your mum was just a toddler, and had been taken out to the park by your grandfather, leaving me to get on with the house cleaning. This would have been some time in the early seventies, and I was wearing a green mini dress with a big white colour and white piping down the front.”
“It sounds revolting,” Felicity said.
“It was fashion then – as where the tight white leather boots I was wearing.” She saw her granddaughter raise an eyebrow, and smiled as she said “yes, I wore them as well. Anyway, I was trying to tidy some papers away, when I heard a noise behind me.
“When I turned round, I saw a man standing there, wearing blue overalls and heavy black leather boots. He was staring at me, but before I could say anything he had grabbed me by the arm and told me to be quiet – he just needed somewhere to lie low for an hour.”
“Who was he?”
“I found out later he was an escaped prisoner, but I didn’t know it at the time. Anyway – he made me go into the dining room, pulled a chair away from the table, and told me to sit down, with my hands on my head.
“Once I had done that, he asked me if I had any rope. Well, I didn’t, but I did admit we had some silver tape that your grandfather had sued to repair some burst pipes until he could get the plumber out. I told him where it was, and watched as he fetched it.”
“Couldn’t you have called the police while he did that?”
“It was a lifetime ago, Felicity – the phone had been pulled from the wall, and there wasn’t even CB radio, never mind mobile phones. Besides, w head a serving hatch then – he could see me through it.
“Anyway, he came back in and made me put my hands on the side of the chair. I watched as he used the tape to secure my arms to the chair back, and then wrapped tape around my stomach and the chair back, forcing me against it. He then taped my ankles together, as well as my legs below my knees and over the top of my boots, and finally around the chair and my thighs.”
Felicity could not help herself from wriggling round as she listened to her grandmother, before hearing her say “he then asked where my purse was, and after I told him it was sin the bedroom he tore a strip off the roll, and pressed it over my mouth – then did two more, so that my lips were sealed together and covered. I had to sit and listen as he went upstairs, took the money in my purse, and then ‘borrow’ some of your grandfather’s clothes, before he looked in on me and left the house.”
“How long were you left like that,” Felicity whispered.
“Not as long as you – your grandfather came back twenty minutes later, took one look at me and fetched a pair of scissors, before he went next door and called the police.”
“Why hasn’t mum ever told me about this?”
“She probably doesn’t remember – like I said, she was a toddler at the time. I just want you to know you’re not the only one who has been through something like this.”
As she put her mug down, Felicity thought over that conversation again. The fact her grandmother had also had white boots on was intriguing her – she liked her pair, but was it possible some people actually had more of a... A thing for that style of boot?
Putting the mug down, she took her laptop out of her bag and started it up. Opening a search engine, she typed “robbed while wearing white boots” and pressed return, wondering what she would get back.
There were a lot of reports of a bank robber wearing a red wig, dress and white boots, but when she added “Stories” to the search line she found an article from a Californian paper from the early seventies. Bringing the text up, she sat back and read the story...
SOUTHWESTERN STEWARDESS ROBBED IN APARTMENT
Police are looking for two men in their early twenties, who broke into the San Marino apartment of a twenty two year old stewardess, and then held her hostage when she disturbed them.
“It was terrifying,” Mindy Cole said, “I just wanted to relax, and instead they forced me to tell them where my jewellery was...”
Miss Cole had been working on short haul flights, and was wearing the new uniform of a one piece outfit in red velvet with hot pants, and a red leather belt, and knee length PVC white boots.
“I let myself in,” Mindy told reporters, “and then was pushed onto the floor by these two men. One of them pulled my hands behind my back, and the other used string to tie them together, before they did the same to my ankles, and then pulled them back to tie them to my wrists.”
As she was left struggling on the floor, Mindy could hear the two men ransacking her apartment, before they came back and used a red silk scarf to gag her and left.
“I was too scared to move,” she said, “my flatmate found me hours later, and cut me loose before she called the police.”
Although Miss Cole was unharmed, she was badly shaken up, and the men escaped with a small amount of jewels and money. Police are looking for...
“Again, the fashion of the time,” Felicity said to herself, but there was still something intriguing to her. She thought back to her own position, struggling as the silk rubbed over the leather, the squeaking sound it made, and how been so helpless had made her feel...
Shivering, she closed the laptop and took her mug into the kitchen. She needed to put this behind her, concentrate on getting back to work in the morning...
“Felicity – welcome back.”
“Thanks Cher,” Felicity said as she hugged the store manager. The sixty year old had come to the UK from America, and had run the shop for some years.
“I’m glad you’re managing to put what happened behind you,” Cher said as she looked at the young woman. “Lord alone knows, it took long enough for me to do so.”
“Oh no,” Felicity said as she hung her jacket in the stock room, “you were robbed here as well?”
“No, not here – back in Oregon. I was in my senior year at high school, and was one of the Drum Majorettes for my high school football team.”
“Make some coffee,” Cher said, “and I’ll tell you about it if you want to hear.”
Ten minutes later, Cher looked at Felicity and said “Well, it was Homecoming week, and we had cheered on the team at the football match. We had a particular uniform, in the style of the time – a mini dress with short sleeves gathered at the end, and a big white Peter Pan style collar. We also had to wear these short white gloves, and...”
“Don’t tell me – knee length white boots?”
“Yeah – how did you...”
“I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about women wearing white boots recently,” Felicity said with a smile. “Sorry – I shouldn’t have interrupted.”
“It’s all right – I had longer, browner hair then,” Cher said as she ran her hand through her short grey hair, “but when I was walking home that day, all I could think about was the homecoming dance that night, and Todd Baker who was going to take me.
“I guess that’s why I didn’t really notice that the front door of my house had been forced open, or that I couldn’t hear my mom who should have been home at that time. First I knew of what was going on was when I walked into the front room and saw Mom. She was still wearing what she had been wearing that morning – a short sleeved blouse, shorts and sandals – but she had not been wearing the rope bracelets around her wrists, ankles and legs, or the brown plaster strip that was covering her mouth.”
“Sounds like the sort of thing you saw in those old television detective programs,” Felicity said with a smile.
“It does, doesn’t it? But when I saw the two men in the room, with stockings pulled down over their heads, and a gun pointing at me, I knew this wasn’t some episode of Kojak.
“Anyway, they told me to sit down next to Mom, and one of them took some rope out of his pocket and tied my wrists together, while the other one stuck a strip of sticking plaster over my mouth as well. They then tied my ankles tightly together, and my legs above my knees, and then tied my wrists to that band of rope.”
Standing back, Cher took a sip from her mug, and then said “I remember the rope feeling rough on my wrists, and then the squeak as I tried to move my legs. I also remember smelling the sweat on Mom’s neck, as she turned and tried to look at me.”
“You must have been terrified?”
“To say the least – When we were eventually freed, I found out they had forced their way into the house an hour beforehand, trussed and gagged mom, and then – just waited.”
“What were they waiting for?”
“Pop – when he came in, they forced him back out with them. Again, we found out later, but they used him to enter the vault at the bank he worked at and steal several thousand dollars. Anyway, all we could do was try to free each other – but I was wearing gloves, and the way they had tied the knots it was almost impossible to reach them anyway.
“It was after dark when I was woken up by the sirens and flashing lights, and we both called out as loud as we can. Two officers came in, and – well, that was the end of the story. Took us a while to get over it, as I said.”
Felicity nodded as she said “I can believe it – it’s just funny.”
“How they all seem to involve one of the women wearing white boots. It’s not even that popular a colour of leather in this country – not as boots anyway?”
“Wasn’t always that way, Felicity,” Cher said with a smile. “Anyway – customers, so let’s get to work.”
“Oh come on Felicity – it’s just a coincidence, nothing more.”
“I know, I know,” she said as she looked at her friend Amy across the counter of the wine bar, “but it just seems to keep coming up and again and again.”
“What does,” the barmaid said as she looked at them.”
“My friend here was caught up in a robbery at the store she works at,” the redhead said, “and now she keeps hearing about women who were tied up while wearing white boots. I’m telling her it’s coincidence, not some sort of wide spread fetish.”
“Well, getting tied up isn’t a fetish unless something else happens with it,” the barmaid said, “and when it happened to me, it was just for a bit of fun.”
“WHAT!!” Both Felicity and Amy looked at the barmaid as she went to serve another customer.
“Hang on,” Felicity said as she same back over, “what happened to you?”
“Oh – it was a bet. Some friends and I went to a sixties disco, and I got dressed up in a metallic fabric dress with a red paisley pattern – long sleeves with flowing cuffs, that sort of thing – and a matching scarf tied round my head as a headband. I also had on these loose fitting white PVC boots that came up to my knees.
“Anyway, we were having a great time, when they organised this dance off – and there was going to be a prize for the most unusual dancer. We’d had a few drinks b that point, so the next thing I knew I’d agreed to do a dance while tied up. Some of my girlfriends managed to find some ropes, and really did a job on me – wrists behind my back, ropes around my arms and chest, my ankles secured side by side, and my legs tied below my knees. They even used my head band as a gag over my mouth, and carried me onto the dance floor to laughter and applause.”
“Good grief,” Amy said, “what did they make you dance to?”
“Let’s Twist Again,” the barmaid said, “and I won as well. Very easy to do the twist when you’re not capable of doing anything else. Want those drinks topped up?”
Amy and Felicity looked at each other, and nodded as the barmaid refilled their glasses.
“I still say it’s all coincidence,” Amy said, “and I will prove it!”
“Oh – how?”
“I am going to a wedding on Saturday,” Amy said, “and I will wear white boots. If nothing happens to me, you pay £50 to a charity of my choice.”
“And if it does?”
“I’ll pay £100 to a charity of your choice – that’s how confident I am that this is just one long line of coincidence.”
“You’re on,” Felicity said as they brought their glasses together.
So when, on the Sunday, Felicity got the following text, she could not believe her eyes.
Nominate your charity
She replied insisting they met that night, so when Amy came in and sat down, Felicity handed her a drink and said “what happened?”
“Well... The wedding went without a hitch, and I kept my word. I wore my new dress – the one with the wrap effect top and flared skirt, with the blue pattern?”
“Yeah I know the one.”
“And I bought a pair of white leather boots to wear – and damn I look good in them,” Amy said. “Anyway, wedding great, reception fantastic, I danced with a few eligible bachelors, and then I headed to my room. I’d barely had time to put my purse down before there was a knock on the door, and a man said I had left something in the reception room.”
“Oh lord,” Felicity said, “who was it really?”
“Nice looking guy – smartly dressed – but he had a gun in his hand, and forced me to walk back into the room as he closed the door behind himself. Once we were back in, he told me to turn round and put my hands behind my back, at the same time pulling some lengths of rope from behind himself.
I felt him cross my arms, and then the rope on my bare skin. IT was tight, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable – I was too scared to really notice anyway, as he made sure I really could not move them, and then tied some more rope around my elbows, pulling the, back so that they nearly touched.”
“Ouch,” Felicity said in a sympathetic voice.
“Anyway, he then made me sit on the bed, before he lifted my feet up and moved me round. I had to watch as he crossed and tied my ankles together, and then tied my legs together below my knees, before he made me lie face down and pulled my ankles back, tying my ankles to the rope between my elbows.”
“Oh my god – how are they?”
Amy pulled up the sleeves of her jacket to show Felicity the bruises on her wrists and arms. “Anyway, he took my earrings and necklace off me, as well as my watch, and then emptied my purse, before he used a pillowcase as a gag, pulling it between my teeth – and then he left without a so much as a thank you.”
“he was robbing you, Amy – I don’t think politeness was a priority for him,” Felicity said quietly, before seeing the look on her friend’s face. “Sorry – not funny.”
“Actually, that is,” Amy said with a smile. “Anyway, I somehow managed to get the phone off the hook and raise the alarm – but I made a bet, and a bet is a bet. What charity?”
“CrimeStoppers – sounds like they might need the help...”