The Baker’s Dozen
“Yes, I can quite understand your views on the matter, and I will personally ensure that the matter is dealt with as swiftly and completely as possible, your lordship. I promise you we will have the order ready for delivery by this time tomorrow.
“Indeed – you have my word on it. Good day, your lordship.”
Putting the telephone down, George stood up and walked to the window, standing with his hands behind his back for a moment as he gazed out. He then turned and picked the phone up again.
“Carol? Would you find James and tell him I need to see him as soon as possible? If not sooner? Thank you.”
He then turned to his terminal and typed for a few minutes, printing off several sheets before there was a knock on the door.
“You wished to see me George?”
“Yes James – sit down.”
James walked over and sat on the other side of the desk, watching the African head of Objects of Beauty as he continued typing.
“One of our beloved rivals has gone out of business,” he eventually said.
“The Talent Town – it would appear the SCS finally caught onto their methods,” George said as he printed off one large sheet. “Unfortunately, they left a very well placed client hanging, and he has turned to us to supply his order. We have twenty four hours, and a baker’s dozen to prepare for his inspection.”
“Thirteen Women,” James said with a low whistle, “tough, but doable. Does he have a particular desire or wish?”
“He has informed me, and I have selected the most likely candidates from our watch list,” George said as he handed James the papers. “The good news is we have three families and, if our information is correct, one trio, so it makes things a little easier. Pick whatever staff you need, and get them in James.”
“You can count on me, George,” James said as he stood up, leaving the office before he took out his mobile phone.
“Dave? It’s James – I need your help if you are free tonight?
“Magic – I’ll be with you in two hours. Need to sort something out first…”
Eleanor Jones walked up the road from the Underground station, thanking her lucky stars it had not rained that particular day – given she had forgotten her coat. Instead, she wore a brown jacket over a Laura Ashley print wrap dress, her white top visible above the wide brown belt she had fastened around her waist, dark tights and knee length black leather boots. Her light brown hair was shoulder length, but the signs of grey and the lined face showed the pressure she had been under for the last few months.
Walking up to her front door, she opened it and walked in, putting her case on the floor as she called out “You in yet, Kate?”
“Upstairs Mum,” a younger voice called down, Eleanor smiling as she went into the kitchen and filled the kettle with fresh water. Switching it on, she took a mug from the tree and dropped a spoonful of instant coffee into it, and then walked to the fridge, opening it to take out the milk.
Her hand never made it to the bottle – as a gloved hand was placed firmly over her mouth and she was pulled backwards…
Kate Jones was standing in front of her mirror, looking at the results of her trip to the hairdresser that morning. Her blond hair was cut to the base of her neck at the back, and in a fringe at the front, her glasses accentuating her blue eyes.
Her leather jacket was tossed onto the bed, while she crossed her arms over her grey vest top. A pair of black leggings tucked into long grey socks, and a pair of black leather cowboy boots, completed her outfit.
“If you’re making some coffee, Mum, I’ll have a cup,” she called down as she heard the sound of the kettle boiling and then switching off. She smiled at her reflection and then turned – to see a man in a set of black overalls standing in the doorway, looking at her.
“Good afternoon,” he said as he walked in, making Kate walk backwards until she stumbled and fell on her bottom, her hands behind her to protect herself, “My apologies for interrupting, but I came to take you on a trip.”
“A trip? Where? And what if I don’t want to go?”
“You don’t have a choice,” the man said as he pointed an automatic pistol at her, and pulled a length of rope from his back pocket as he walked in. “On your knees, hands behind your back, and don’t move.”
“OH god,” she whispered, “I’m being kidnapped?”
“If you don’t do as I say, now, it will be worse,” the man said. “Now, on your knees, hands behind your back, and don’t say a word.”
Kate slowly knelt, looking straight ahead at the wall as he knelt behind her, put her hands back to back and then tied her wrists tightly together, the rope going around and between her arms. She then saw more rope pass over her head, and bit her lip as it pulled her arms into her side, encircling her chest above and below.
As she saw her breasts forced out, Kate let out a little gasp, only for the man to say 2No more talking. She felt him remove her glasses, and then saw a strange leather pad held in front of her, with a cork attached to the underside.
“no, I’ll be quiet…” she whispered again, only to open her mouth as her bottom was smacked, allowing the intruder to push the large cork into her mouth and then fasten the pad into place with leather straps around her head.
“Up you get,” he said as he helped her to stand, his hand clamped round her arm as she was marched down the staircase, and into the front room.
“Ruurlrrtkt,” Eleanor said as she twisted round, the rope around her ankles making the leather of her boots squeak as it rubbed against them. Kate was pushed into the chair next to her, as her ankles and legs were secured by more lengths of rope.
There were three of the men, all dressed in black overalls as they watched the two captive women. Eleanor’s mouth and jaw were covered with strips of silver tape, obviously holding something behind them in her mouth.
“Whtsgnnn,” Kate mumbled as she tried to move her legs, only to hear her own boots squeaking in protest.
“You’ll soon find out,” one of the men said as he took out a mobile phone and dialled a number.
“This is James, two to pick up at my location. Start standard clean up procedure – mum and daughter just decided to take a long overseas vacation.”
“NNNNNNNNNN” they screamed in response, realising what was happening as the man ended the call and looked at them.
“Don’t worry,” he said quietly, “you will be treated well, and enjoy your new life….”
“Oh hello, I’m wondering if I may speak to Mrs Vera Cheng?”
“I am Vera Cheng,” the small woman said as she stood in the doorway, looking at the caller. She was a blonde haired and thin woman, wearing a red and gold polo shirt and grey slacks. “How may I help you?”
“You are? That’s wonderful,” the caller said as she flashed a badge in front of her. “I’m from the borough council, Mrs Cheng, and we’re conducting a series of short interviews to get your opinion on local amenities. Would it be possible to come in and speak to you for – oh, about twenty minutes?”
Vera looked again at the woman, and then said “Very well, this way,” allowing her to come in and closing the door behind her. She then walked her through to the front room, and offered her an armchair, sitting herself down on one end of the couch opposite and crossing her legs.
Vera was in her late forties, with long black hair and a pair of yellow framed spectacles, and wore a blue v-necked t-shirt and jeans tucked into a pair of knee length black leather boots.
“So,” she said quietly as the visitor took out a pad and pen, “How can I help you?”
“Just some personal information first,” she said with a smile, “So I have Mrs Vera Cheng, 46, living at this address, correct?”
“That is correct- my husband died two years ago, and we had no children.”
“Good – tell me first, Mrs Cheng, do you fell the council have met your needs over the last year?”
“Broadly, yes, although I wish they could do more about the young hooligans on the street.”
“As do many other people,” the visitor said with a smile. “But do you feel the police do an adequate job?”
“Again, yes, I believe so?”
“Have you had any reason to call the police over the last twelve months?”
“No – I live alone, quietly, and I have been fortunate not to be robbed or worse.”
The interviewer allowed herself a little smile, as she picked up her case. “Very fortunate indeed – tell me, Mrs Cheng, what would you do if I was to tell you to lie face down on that couch?”
“I beg your pardon,” Vera said, only for her eyes to widen as the interviewer produced a gun from her bag and pointed it at her.
“The correct answer is to do exactly as you are told, Vera,” she said with a hard edge to her voice, “so please, lie face down on that truly beautiful couch, and put your hands behind your back.”
“If this is a robbery, I have to tell you I do not have much…”
“Final warning,” the woman said as she pulled the top of the gun back and let it go. Slowly, Vera lay down, her head turned to the side as she watched the woman take a length of plastic out of the case, and then walk over, leaving the gun in sight as she used the zip tie to secure her wrists together behind her back.
“Why?” Vera said as she felt the plastic bite into her skin.
“Because I am about to change your life,” the woman said as she used two more strips to secure her ankles and her legs together, and then rolled her over, pressing a length of white medical tape down tightly over Vera’s mouth and smoothing it into place over her jaw.
“Be at peace,” she said as she took out her mobile phone. “This is Denise – one to pick up at my location.”
“Good work Denise,” a male voice replied, “Pick-up in fifteen. Will you be able to cope until then?”
“Oh yes,” Denise said as she looked at the struggling Vera, “no problem at all.”
Claire Markham was standing at the kitchen sink, washing the dinner plates and pots as she listened to the television in the front room. She was glad her work week was over - there was a list of things that still need to be settled now that the divorce was finalised.
Looking down, she saw the water splashes on her white top, the sleeves of which came to her elbows, and shook her head. They would dry out soon enough, she thought as she stood there, her wedged sandals tapping to the music she could hear.
“So what do you think?”
Claire turned to see her twenty year old daughter Vicki in the doorway, standing with her hands on her hips. She was wearing a brown-grey sleeveless top with a wide black leather belt, the top itself bunched and hanging over the belt, a pair of dark bootleg jeans and puce coloured high heeled shoes.
“I guess you’re going to be back late tonight then,” Claire said with a smile. Vicki nodded, as she ran her hand through her long dark brown hair.
“Don’t wait up,” she said as she grabbed her handbag and went to the front door. Claire shook her head and went back to the dishes.
Dropping the cloth, Claire ran into the hallway, only to scream when she saw the two men in black overalls with her daughter. One was holding her upper arms, while the other had started to wind silver tape from a roll around her waist, trapping her wrists to her sides as it wound up her body.
“LET HER GO!” Claire screamed, but as she ran forward two more men stepped out of her front room and grabbed her as well, one of them holding her arms while the other ripped the end of a second roll of duct tape free.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing,” Claire said as Vicki started sobbing, the tape winding quickly up her body until it came to her neck.
“Hush,” one of the men with her said as the tape was wound up her body, holding her arms tightly to her side until she too was cocooned from waist to shoulders in silver. She could see a second toll being used to hold Vicki’s legs together, and heard the ripping sound and the pressure on her legs as well as she too had them taped.
“What are you going to do to us,” Vicki sobbed as she became a silver mummy save for her head and feet.
“What do you mean Silence themmgmgg” Claire said as a cloth bag was pulled over her head, and then she felt something being pulled into her mouth, forcing the cotton in as well. She was then picked up by the two men, and carried, the sound of Vicki next to her.
She felt herself being placed on a metal floor, and then felt the vibrations as they were driven off.
How long they drove for she lost time of, but eventually the vibrations stopped, and she felt herself being carried again. Eventually, she was sat on a floor, and as well as Vicki she could three other muffled voices.
“That’s five, James,” a man said, “Who’s next?”
“Dave is taking care of the next three. Don’t worry ladies – all will be explained eventually.”
“Louise! The limo is here!”
Anne looked at herself in the mirror, checking her black hair was properly adjusted and re-applying her lipstick. She was wearing a sleeveless knee length black dress with a thin brown leather belt, and knee length black leather boots with a fake lace up front. She had what could charitably be described as a fuller figure, but she was happy, and looking forward to the night out.
“Where is she,” Denise said as she came out of the front room, checking her handbag. The ash blonde haired friend was wearing a pale brown Grecian style dress, and tight knee length golden brown leather boots that had a three inch heel.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Louise said as she came down the staircase. The brown haired, full figured girl was wearing a sleeveless dress with a black collar and waist band, the blue and red abstract pattern covering the rest of the white material. The skirt came to just below her knees, allowing a glimpse of her black stockings above her black stack heeled boots.
“Let’s go,” Anne said as she opened her front door, the limo driver smiling as he opened the rear door.
“Good evening ladies,” he said with a smile, “I’m Dave, and I’ll be your driver for this evening. Please, make yourselves comfortable and accept the champagne as a gift from the firm.”
“I can go for that,” Anne said as she and the other two girls sat down, picking up the bottle and pulling the cork out while Louise and Denise held the glasses.
“There we go,” Anne said as she filled the three glasses, and then put the bottle back in the ice bucket, while Dave drove off, “Cheers!” The three women clinked their glasses and then drank, sitting back in the leather seats as they headed down the road.
“You have the direction for tonight?”
“Right her, Miss,” Dave said quietly as they headed into town, the three women chatting as Anne re-filled their glasses.
After a while, Louise blinked several times, before she said “What strength was this shampagne? I feel very….” Her eyes closed and her head fell back, Anne following suit as Denise blinked and struggled to stay awake.
“The drink – it was drugg….”
Dave allowed himself a little smile as he drove to the warehouse, pulling up outside as the door was opened.
“There you are James,” he said as he got out of the car, “Three mature fun loving women, as per instructions.”
“Dave, you are a miracle worker,” James said as six men in white overalls came out, carrying one of the girls between two of them, and made their way to a large room. “Come and see.”
The women were taken into a large room, in which were situated thirteen chairs. Five of them were occupied, all by women who were asleep – although for two of them the hoods made it difficult to tell. All were bound, all were gagged, and soon Anne, Denise and Louise joined them, strapped tightly to their chairs and rolled up scarves pulled between their lips.
“You’re doing well so far,” Dave said, “I’ll pick up the other request you made in the morning. What about you?”
“One more tonight,” he said quietly, “and then a few hours sleep.”
The dark haired beauty was walking down the residential street to her home, a black linen jacket over her purple party dress. The skirt of the dress barely came halfway down her thighs, while the front was ruffled in a way that showed her chest to the best of advantages. A white belt was around her waist, and tight black high heeled leather boots encased her lower legs.
She shivered a little as she fished in her handbag for the door keys to her house. It was as if someone was watching her, but she had no reason to think that, no sign of anyone else in the street, so she unlocked and opened her front door.
She only had time to catch a glimpse of the man waiting behind the door before she was pulled inside, and a sweet smelling damp cloth clamped over her nose and mouth. She had no time to scream, no time to struggle as the fumes overwhelmed her, and her eyes slowly closed, her mind slipping into a deep unconscious state.
“Sorry I didn’t have time to introduce myself,” James said as he picked the sleeping girl up in his arms, watching as a black van drew up, and the side door was opened. “Perhaps later…”
Cheryl Tweed looked out of her front room window, and smiled. The sun was shining, and she had a meeting with her boss that morning about the promotion she had been promised at the office. All in all, a good day to walk to work.
Her long flowing black hair was fixed into a swept back style with plenty of hairspray, and fell over the shoulders of her red jumper. A pair of black leggings tucked into knee length tan leather boots, and a pair of red framed sunglasses, and she was ready to face the new day.
Picking up her large matching handbag, she put it over her shoulder and walked out, closing and locking the door behind her before she strode confidently down the road. At the corner, two men were standing by a black van, looking at a clipboard.
“Excuse my love,” one of them said as Cheryl approached, “We seem to be lost. Can you tell me where Damsella Road is?”
“Damsella Road? I don’t think there’s a road called that round here,” Cheryl replied as she looked at them, “are you sure you have got the right address?”
“I think so,” the other man said as he stood on the other side, “here – it’s printed on the invoice.”
Cheryl glanced down at the sheet, and then looked again at the writing on it.
“There is a gun pointing at your back from the van. Say nothing, and do as we say.”
Swallowing hard, she looked at the two smiling men and said “What’s going on?”
“Perhaps you can show us, Miss – we can give you a lift,” one of the men said as he opened the cab door.
“All right,” Cheryl said as she climbed in, sitting quietly and placing her bag at her feet as the man walked round and got behind the wheel. The second man took two thin plastic strips from the underside of the seat, and used one to secure Cheryl’s ankles together, pulling it tightly over her leather boots, while the other was used to secure her wrists together in front of her.
“Open your mouth,” the driver said, and as Cheryl did so he pushed a balled up hankie into it, watching as she closed her lips before smoothing a length of clear tape over her lips to seal them shut.
“All right then,” he said as he started the van, “Sit back, and enjoy the ride – it’s only the beginning for you.” Cheryl could only stare mutely ahead as the other man got into the back, and the van drove off…
“Mother, how much longer are you going to be? Nadeem is going to be waiting for me!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming Ananda,” Smita said as she put on her earrings, “Stop worrying, I am sure he will still be there when we arrive.”
She picked up the long white scarf and placed it over her right shoulder, pinning it in place over the long green and yellow floral print robe she was wearing. The robe covered her to the floor, but the collar was cut to reveal a little of her chest. She combed through her black hair, noticing the first grey streaks, and then started to walk down the stairs.
“And I thought I took a long time,” Ananda said with a smile as she checked the watch on her slim wrist. She was wearing a purple silk dress, the cap sleeves pulled down off her shoulders to reveal the spaghetti straps that held it up, and a sash tied round her waist with the bow at the side. The skirt was tiered, and came to just above the knees of her long legs. A pair of dark tights covered them, while her feet rested in a pair of gold sandals.
“He will be very pleased with you,” Smita said as she checked the way Ananda had brushed and placed her dark hair, “and so will his parents.”
“I wish father was still here to see this.”
“So do I child,” Smita said, “but come – we must make him…”
“Good morning ladies,” the man said as Smita opened the door, motioning her back inside with the gun in his gloved hand as two more followed him in. “Please, put your hands in the air, and do exactly what I tell you to do.”
Ananda looked at Smita, who was staring at the gun while one of the men walked behind her, guiding her arms behind her back as he pulled a length of thin cord from a pocket of his overalls. “Who are you,” she said as she felt her wrists being drawn together, the cord holding them firmly to each other.
“We are here to invite you to a very special event,” the armed man said as the third man pulled Ananda’s arms behind her back and started to bind her wrist tightly together. “It’s an invitation you cannot refuse.”
“What sort of event?”
“There are people who wish to meet you, more than that I cannot say,” the armed man replied, smiling as the two women felt their arms being pulled together at their elbows, and saw the way their chests were forced out.
“But my boyfriend and his family are expecting me,” Ananda pleaded as she looked at her mother.
“Well, I regret to say they will be disappointed,” the man said as he reached into his pocket, and took out two sponge balls. “You will allow these men to put these in your mouth, and then close your lips. Either that, or we knock you out – your choice.”
The two women looked at each other, before Smita opened her mouth, feeling the sponge on her tongue, pressgang it down and absorbing the saliva as she closed her mouth. She turned and watched Ananda do the same, and then heard a strange sound – like soft material ripping.
Turning to look at the armed man, she was taken by surprise as he smoothed a wide, long length of off white tape over her mouth, pressing it down with his gloved fingers as it moulded to the shape of her jaw. As she tried to speak, she realised she was unable to, as a second strip was pressed over Ananda’s mouth.
“Let’s go,” the man said as he looked out of the front door, the twp bound and gagged women forced to walk down the path and into the waiting black van…
“That’s right,” June Carter said as she stood in her front door. She had long dark hair, and wore a pair of wide rimmed glasses that highlighted her blue eyes. She was out of uniform today, wearing a candy striped blouse open at the cuffs, a long dark red skirt and black boots.
“We have a delivery for you, Reverend Carter,” the man said as he indicated a crate his colleague had on a trolley, “can we bring it in?”
“Oh yes – my new books,” June said with a smile, as she opened the door up, “Please, bring them in.”
She stood to one side, allowing the man to wheel the crate in, and then closed the door behind them. “Can I get either of you a drink?”
“No thanks, m’am – if you will just check the contents, and sign, we will be on our way.”
“OF course,” June said as she opened the top of the crate and looked in. “There must be some mistake,” she said as she looked inside, “this is an ampprrndnnnddwehtsgnggnn.”
Her confusion and muffled voice were understandable, as one of the men had pulled a rolled up and knotted bandana into her mouth, pulling the band around her head and tying the ends tightly together at the base of her neck. At the same time, the other delivery man had grabbed her wrist and pulled them behind her back, securing them together with a pair of steel handcuffs.
“My apologies, Reverend,” the man said as June was lifted off her feet and dropped into the crate, sitting down as she looked up at them, “but we have a deadline to meet, and we can’t be late.” Her eyes widened as the lid of the crate was closed, and she felt herself being wheeled along…
The light blinded her as the crate lid was taken off, and she was helped to stand, then lifted out by two men in white overalls.
“Bring her,” the young man in the dark suit said as June was frog marched across a warehouse floor, various people walking round with some sort of purpose as her heels clicked on the stone floor. She was taken through some double doors, and then into a large room, staring at the others already seated there.
There were three obvious mothers and daughters, one an Indian family who were seated beside each other, staring out over white tape gags. Another were blonde haired, secured with ropes and gagged, while the third were mummified in silver tape.
Then there were the older women – one of who looked as if she had some Chinese ancestry, and three mature, well built women in part clothes, staring at her as they struggled in the ropes that held them tight to the chairs, and what looked like rubber balls strapped between the teeth.
And finally the other two younger women, one with lips that looked as if they were glued together, the other held with leather straps to the chair.
“Whstgngnnn,” she mumbled as she was sat in the one empty chair, and her legs strapped to the front legs.
As if in answer, the door opened and a tall, well built African man came in, dressed in an expensive suit with a white shirt and dark blue silk tie. With him was a man June recognised.
“Hello Reverend Carter,” Lord Elshire said with a bow, “I am glad to see you were included in this group – at my request I might add.”
June’s eyebrows shot up as the lord walked round the room, examining each of the women in turn and groping the breasts of each of them, making a chorus of muffled yelps come out.
“Excellent,” he said as he turned to the African man, “Your reputation is well placed, George.”
“Thanks James and his organisational skills,” George said quietly, “to gather a group of totally unconnected woman was a challenge, but I felt we rose to it. Now we need to discuss, if you are happy, delivery and payment.”
“Have them all delivered to my estate in Switzerland in two days – that will give you time to prepare them,” Lord Elshire said to a chorus of muffled screams. “You have earned you fee – and a bonus as well.”
“Objects of Beauty thank you,” George said as he escorted the lord from the room, to a continued chorus of screams and cries…