Denise and Roxanne were staring at each other, noting the look in each other’s eyes. From the other side of the room, their two friends were looking on, wondering who would make the first move between them and silently hoping that they found a way to work together. After all, if they could not find a way to get over their mutual differences, then no-one was going to be able to do anything that day. They were too firmly tied down at their desks for them to be able to do anything.
The thing is, the day had started so well. Now all four were trying to free themselves from the situation the masked men had left them in – and the two who might be able to do most were the two that hated each other the most…
“All right, has Roxanne been in my desk drawer again? Come on – I want to know the truth!”
May and June looked at each other in exasperation. They, along with Roxanne and the currently angry Denise, were the sole staff at this branch of DeLittle’s Bank, and the last thing they needed was for two of them to be engaged in a battle of wits again. For whatever reason, Roxanne and Denise just did not get on, and every day there seemed to be some form of niggle causing yet another argument between them.
As an exclusive bank, all staff had to wear the uniform, which consisted of a royal blue jacket with the company crest emblazoned on the front, a matching knee length skirt, white silk blouse, royal blue scarf worn as a cravat and black shoes.
“Oh come on, Denise, can we go just one day without assuming it’s Roxanne who’s been in your desk?” May cried out.
“Why would I want to go into your desk drawer,” Roxanne said as she walked back into the customer area after opening the door, “I wouldn’t any of the junk that’s in there anyway.”
“Why you…..” Denise started to say, but June quietly coughed and pointed out the first customer coming into the area.
DeLittle’s was an old-fashioned establishment, with the four women working behind the counter in the customer area and a back office where the reserves were kept. Entrance was by a key-code operated door, although visitors could be admitted by a lock controlled by a button behind the front desk.
In the main, the four knew their clientele, so the morning passed uneventfully until there was a ring on the external door. May answered the intercom.
“DeLittle’s Bank, how may I help you?”
“My name is Mr Wolfe – I made an appointment yesterday to discuss opening an account with this bank?”
May scanned down the appointment book. “Ah yes, Mr Wolfe, you are expected – please do come in.”
The buzzer sounded as the door was opened, and a tall well dressed gentleman carrying a black briefcase came through. As team leader, Denise stepped forward with an outstretched hand.
“Mr Wolfe, how nice to see you,” she said as they shook each other by the hand, “Please do come and take a seat.”
The man followed Denise through the barrier to a desk, and sat on the opposite side to her, placing his case on the desk as he did so.
“So, Mr Wolfe, I believe you wish to open an account with DeLittles. As you will be aware, we do need to run a series of checks, so I wonder if you could show me the financial references we asked for when we spoke yesterday.”
“I think this should provide adequate proof of my resources,” Mr Wolfe said as he opened his case, and drew out a pistol which he proceeded to point straight at Denise.
“Ladies, I must ask you all to pay attention to what is happening here,” he said with a raised voice, and the other three looked over to see Denise staring at the gun. “Do exactly as I say and you will all live to tell the tale. You,” he said pointing at May at the front desk, “Open the main door now.”
May pressed the buzzer, and the front door opened to admit two other gentlemen wearing dark suits and carrying briefcases. One locked and bolted the front door as he came in, and hung a sign up that said “Closed for one hour.” The other came straight into the front area, opened his briefcase on the counter and produced a second gun. May, who was standing there, could also see coils of rope neatly folded and stored in the case.
“All right, ladies, this is a robbery and your cooperation is greatly appreciated. You,” the first man said pointing at Denise, “are going to open the safe for me. You,” he then said pointing at Roxanne, “will empty the registers into my friend’s case. Before we start, however, I want all of you to take the scarf off from around your neck, now!”
The four women looked at each other, then as one they undid their scarves and held them in their hands.
“Roll them into a band, and tie a knot in the middle,” the leader said, and as the other two gang members watched the four women did as they were told.
“Now, gag yourselves – put the knot in your mouths, and tie the scarf off tightly at the base of your necks. Do it properly, or we’ll gag you more strictly with tape.”
Reluctantly, each of the women used their own uniform scarf as a very effective gag, and placed their hands on top of their heads.
The leader took Denise by the arm and led her into the rear room. One of the two men grabbed Roxanne and led her over to the tills at the counter, while the third motioned for May and June to make their way to their desks at the back of the open area. When they arrived there, he told them to bring a chair each out and to sit on it, placing his briefcase on one of the desks and opening it to reveal yet more neatly coiled rope.
May sat down and looked at June, who seated herself beside her and wondered what was going to happen next. The robber went behind them, and grabbing a length of rope he pulled May’s hands behind the chair and proceeded to tie them together, wrapping the rope around both wrists before passing it around in the opposite direction and tying it off. The loose ends were secured to the back of the chair.
May shook her head, and her blonde hair began to fall around her face as she tested the strength of the bonds. June sat quietly with her short bobbed dark hair perfectly still, wincing slightly as her own wrists were brought back and tied together in a similar manner. At the other side of the room, they watched Roxanne as she opened each till and emptied the contents into a carrier bag for the second robber.
The two girls then became aware of the fact that a long length of rope had been wrapped around May, securing her back and chest to the chair and forcing her chest to show more prominently, and that the same thing was been done to June as they sat there. The buttons on her blouse began to show some signs of strain as the rope was pulled tightly across her chest, so she decided that struggling may not be the best approach to take at that time.
The third robber then came round to the front of the two seated woman, several lengths of cord in hand, and starting with June this time he pulled her ankles towards one of the chair legs and began to tie them together, fixing the rope across and through the joint of the leg and a side strut when her was done. He then tied her legs together above and below her knees, before repeating the whole process on May.
The man with Roxanne looked over as he finished tying the last knot on May’s legs. “Make sure those chairs are secured as well,” he said as he emptied the last of the tills, Roxanne watching all the time.
Both May and June wondered what he meant by that, until they were both dragged towards the tables the chairs had originally been under. Taking the longest length of rope either girl had seen, the robber began to methodically lash the rear legs of the chairs to the rear legs of the tables, so that by the time he was finished it was not possible to move the chairs away from the tables by any means.
The two seated women looked at each other, realising that the chances of them being able to free themselves were slim to nil. In the meantime, Roxanne had been forced to kneel on the floor by the other robber in the room, and as the one who had tied May and June stood guard the man began to sort out the coils of rope that were in his case.
Denise was dragged back into the front area by Mr Wolfe, her hands on top of her head and a dark patch starting to spread from the knot in her mouth across the scarf. “Nice job on those two,” he said nodding towards May and June, and the third robber grunted in acknowledgment.
“Now we have to get you two beauties secured,” he said as he pushed Denise down onto the ground facing Roxanne. “Are the two of you friends?”
The two women glared at Mr Wolfe, who shrugged his shoulders and mumbled “this should be interesting” under his breath before saying loudly “I want you to hug each other.”
Both women shook their heads, but when they saw the other two gang members pointing their guns at them they stopped. Denise looked at Roxanne with a mixture of hate and fear, then wrapped her arms around her and gave her a hug. Roxanne returned the hug very reluctantly indeed.
“Very good ladies – now just hold that pose,” Mr Wolfe said, and the other two took a length of cord each and started to tie the wrists together behind the other woman’s back. As they realised what was happening, both Roxanne and Denise started to twists around and stop the ropes from being tightly applied. A cocking sound made them look at Mr Wolfe, who had armed his pistol and was pointing it directly at Roxanne’s head.
“I don’t care if you two are lovers or mortal enemies; you both stay still and let them do what they’re doing, or one of you dies right now. What’s it going to be?”
Denise looked at Roxanne, and she swore a moment of indecision passed through Denise’s eyes before she stopped struggling. Roxanne threw her head back in disgust, and then almost over balanced as her ankles were brought together and rope was wrapped around them. Denise realised what was happening, so braced herself as the same thing was done to her.
The next thing Denise felt was a tug on her wrists, but looking over Roxanne’s shoulder she realised what was happening. Each of the two robbers had taken a length of rope, and was tying the wrists of one woman to the ankles of the other, effectively hogtying the girls together. Mr Wolfe put his pistol down as the tow men stood up, and taking a longer length he began to wrap it around their waists, which had the dual effect of pinning their wrists into the small of the other girl’s back and pulling the two enemies tighter together so that their noses were almost touching.
Further lengths of rope were tied around their upper and lower chests, and smaller lengths used by the other two to tie their arms together where they crossed. Finally, satisfied that they were securely tied, the three stood back to look at their handiwork on the four women.
“Well, ladies,” MR Wolfe said as he picked up his briefcase and the other two stuffed the money from the tills into theirs, “It has been a pleasure to do business with the four of you. We’ll make sure that you’re not disturbed for a little while, but please feel free to try and scream when we’ve gone – it won’t do you any good, but feel free to try.”
The three men left the open area, closing and locking the door behind them, and the four women quietly stared at each other.
A whole hour had passed since the gang had left, and May and June had been watching their work colleagues with a growing sense of frustration. Surely they could see that there was no way for them to get free by themselves? Both had been trying desperately to free their hands from the ropes, but the binding was just too tight and surely they could see their chairs were secured to the tables?
For Roxanne and Denise, however, the last hour had been spent staring at each other, eyeball to eyeball. Whether it was embarrassment at their relative positions, anger that they were each tied to the last person in the world they wanted to spend time with, or fear that the gang would come back; they had not moved a muscle. Instead, they had just looked at each other, wondering who was going to try and make a move first.
Instead, it was the sound of the telephone ringing that broke the silence. Realising it was the phone on the desk behind her, June tried to lean back with her head to dislodge the receiver, but the only thin that was knocked off were the top buttons on her blouse, revealing the black lace bra she was wearing under her blouse.
Roxanne was snapped out of her trance like state, and started trying to talk to Denise.
“Dns – cn u mv ur hnds?”
Denise tried moving her hands, but with no success, and she shook her head.
Roxanne shook her head in response. As the two women were tied tightly together face to face, she knew it was going to be difficult to try to move without Denise, but as they were both kneeling and their ankles were linked to their wrists trying to stand up was out of the question.
Instead, Roxanne looked over to May and June to see what their situation was, only to notice the intricate ropework holding their chairs to the tables behind them. Denise looked in the same direction, and saw how tightly the ropes were tied around them. Not only was June’s blouse bursting open, but May was showing signs of the ropes digging into her thighs and bruising starting.
“Rxn – tr t mv wt m”
Roxanne stared at Denise, wondering what she was saying, when Denise startled her by moving her whole body very slightly to her right, so that her back was starting to face June. Realsing what she was trying to do, Roxanne moved her body slightly to her left, so that she was moving both of them towards May.
It was a slow, painful process, but May and June watched as inch by painful inch the other two worked together to get close to their workmates. May looked over at June, and saw that her scarf had turned a much darker shade of blue as June’s saliva had soaked into the silk. By the moist feeling across her face, May realised the same thing must be happening to her.
At least an hour passed with the two seated women watching, until finally Roxanne and Denise were next to the other two. All four tried to reassure each other that they were all right, but Roxanne in particular was looking at the drawers of the desk May was tied against – her own desk. The only problem was, Denise was next to them, but maybe, just maybe…….
Roxanne mmphed at Denise, and indicated with her head that the two of them needed to shuffle backwards a little. Denise nodded, and shuffled with Roxanne until she was next to the desk drawer. Roxanne then dropped her shoulders slightly, and the two women lowered themselves until they were kneeling down.
Denise was surprised when Roxanne began to lean into her, but as he moved herself back she realised that Roxanne was also reaching up towards one of the drawers, using the slack they had gained from kneeling to reach further. With some effort, the two managed to get into a position where Roxanne was able to open very slightly the bottom drawer of the desk, and reach in to remove a pair of thin paper scissors.
Holding the scissors gently in the fingers of one hand, she turned them round so that the blade of one edge was against the rope around their waists, and sawed at it until it gave way enough to enable her to move her wrists a little more. Roxanne then went to work on the rope holding her wrists to Denise’s ankles, and began to gently saw away at the rope. After a few minutes, the rope gave way and Roxanne stretched her arms out. Turning the scissors again so that the blade rested against the ropes around their waists, she began to gingerly move the blade across the knot holding the rope together.
May and June watched anxiously as the sawing continued, and even Denise stayed as still as she could until with a grunt of satisfaction Roxanne shook the remnants of rope from around her wrists.
Reaching up as best she could, Roxanne managed to reach the knot fro Denise’s gag and slowly loosened it. Denise took the hint, and pushed at the knot with her tongue until the sodden silk knot fell onto her chest.
“Roxanne, that was amazing!” Denise said as she caught her breath. “Do you think you can reach the telephone on the table now and dial 999?”
Roxanne nodded, and raised her head upwards to indicate they should push themselves up. The two women rose up so that they were on their lower legs only, and Roxanne reached over on the desk to take the receiver off the phone before dialling for the emergency services.
“Emergency, which service please?” A female voice spoke from the phone.
“Police – and hurry, I and three others are tied up here and we can’t get free,” Denise shouted, and the other three seemed to visibly relax. Roxanne began to see if she could loosen the ropes still holding her and Denise together around their chests, but at least they knew now that some help was on the way.