Jay and the Swap
As they got into the front seats of the transit van, Jay and Mrs. McPhee looked at each other.
“Ye were richt – tha was different,” she said in her soft Scottish accent.
“Oh yes,” Jay said with his soft Geordie accent as he started the van, “but educational, and profitable…”
The previous day, 1 pm
“Dad, is lunch ready?”
“Come and get it,” Ronan O’Dowd called out from the kitchen as he heard the footsteps, smiling as his ten-year-old son Eric came in and sat at the table. He was wearing a white t-shirt with a black Mickey Mouse logo on the front and gold trim, white deck shoes – and a knee length denim bib dress, the right strap hanging down his back and open at the front. Finally, he had a thin hairband with a large pink bow on it in his short blonde hair.
“Thank you,” Eric said as Ronan handed him a toasted sandwich, and a glass of milk. He kept house while his wife worked for a financial firm, but she was at a team building day, and the rest of his family were – out.
As he ate, Eric looked at his father, his long purple hair over the straps of his own denim bib dress. He had a grey t-shirt on under the bib, and the same style of deck shoes as his son.
“So when are Simeon and Aileen getting home,” Eric said as he took a drink from his glass.
“Soon,” Ronan said as he heard the knock on the front door, “now you eat that up – I’ll see who that is.” He smiled as he walked to the front door, opening it and saying “Good afternoon, how can I…”
“Who was it Dad,” Eric said as he heard the footsteps – and then he saw Ronan comeback in, his hands behind his head. He was not alone – there were four other people with him, all wearing blue boiler suits, black gloves – and black balaclava masks. Two were carrying large bags, and one – a woman – looked at Eric.
“Wuhl hello thair,” she said with a soft Scottish accent, “I’m Mrs. McPhee – whit’s yer name?”
“Wuhl Eric,” she said as she sat next to the young boy, “mah friends and I ahr gonna be staying here fuhr tiday, and we need you tae do whit we say. Can ye do that?”
As he slowly nodded, Ronan said “what are you going to do to us?”
“Allow you to finish your lunch, Mister O’Dowd,” the man behind him said in a soft Geordie accent, “and then we wait. Hello Eric – my name is Jay Edwards, and today is going to be a very exciting day for you. We’re going to have some fun, but it needs to be a surprise for the rest of your family.”
Eric nodded as he finished his sandwich, Ronan sitting opposite him and drinking from his mug. “Check the house, disable communications,” Jay said to the other two men as Mrs. McPhee said “When yer finished, Eric, Ah’ll take ye tae the front room, and tell ye whit we’re gonna dae…”
“Thanks,” Simeon O’Dowd said as he waved to his friend, and then checked his purse as he strode to the front door of the house, the wind blowing his long red dyed hair. The ends were falling over a black lace short sleeved top, a white one under that, while the dark blue skirt he was wearing came halfway down to his knees. A pair of natural tights, and black kitten heels with white trim, completed his outfit.
As the thirteen-year-old came in, he called out “Dad?”
“Simeon – can you come into the front room please?”
“Sure, what’s…” Simeon stopped as he came into the front room and saw his father in the armchair, ropes holding his arms tightly against his sides and his hands behind his back, bands of rope also around his ankles and his legs below his knees.
“Hshnnhen – thrfhffs.”
Simeon slowly turned his head to see his young brother sitting on the couch, a band of rope holding his arms to his sides. Eric’s wrists were tied together in front of him, and then down to a band of rope around his legs above his knees. Another band was holding his ankles together, and a strip of white tape was smoothed down over his mouth.
“Simeon, just do what they say,” Ronan said quietly, “I don’t want you or anyone to get hurt.”
“Okay,” the young boy whispered as a masked woman came forward, a length of white rope in her gloved hands.
“Put yer hands togeefer in prayer,” she said, Simeon watching as she quickly bound his wrists together. “Good – now sit next tae yer bruffer,” she said with a smile, watching as the young boy sat next to Eric, and then using more rope to secure his ankles tightly together, and then his legs above his knees, taking care as the rope went between his legs.
“Noo, purse yer lips,” she finally said as she peeled a length of white tape from a roll, and then pressed I down over his mouth, Eric looking at the shape of his lips underneath as he said “Hthffhn.”
“Rhllhh,” Simeon mumbled as a young female voice said “oh my god…”
“Aileen,” Ronan said as the two boys looked at the doorway, “don’t scream, please – we’re all right, but I don’t want you to be hurt.”
“Wise words,” Jay said as he looked at the fifteen-year-old, the young girl stunned into silence. She had long copper red hair and was wearing a boy’s jacket and pants with Doc Marten shoes. Under the jacket was a man’s white shirt, and a black bow tie was round her neck.
“So, the men o this hoose are the women, ahn the women…”
“Are the men,” Aileen whispered as Mrs. McPhee stood up, and Jay selected a length of rope form the bags.
“Well then,” he said as he walked behind Aileen, “we need to make sure the men of the house are properly secured and silenced. Stand still -this won’t hurt.”
“Dad, who is this,” she said as she felt her wrists being forced together.
“The man,” Ronan said as he nodded to the side of the room, “is called Jay Edwards. The woman tying you up is Mrs. McPhee. I think they want your mother to do something – and we are the ones who will ensure she does this for them.”
“Sit yesel doo lassie,” Mrs. McPhee said as Aileen walked to the free armchair, sitting herself down and watching as the masked woman ensure her ankles and legs were secured with bands of rope.
“Put your lips together, Aileen,” the man said as he peeled a length of tape from the roll, “and once you’re quiet, we can put the television on.”
“Yhphrmhsswhwhntbhhrt,” Aileen mumbled as he smoothed the tape over her mouth with his gloved hands.
“I promise,” he said as he tore a second length of tape off and looked at Ronan. “Time for the man of the house to be quiet as well – until your wife returns…”
“Is everyone home,” Sheridan O’Dowd called out as she closed the front door and hung her denim jacket on the coat stand. She was wearing a man’s white shirt over a black jumper, jeans and black Chelsea boots.
“Ronan? You’re all being very quiet,” she said as she walked into the room – and saw her husband, her two sons, her daughter, bound, gagged, and two masked men standing behind the settee her sons were wriggling round on.
“Good afternoon, Sheridan – my name is Jay Edwards, and this is my good friend, Mrs. McPhee.”
She slowly turned to see the two masked people behind her, as she whispered “oh my god – please…”
“Relax, your family is fine, are you not, Ronan?”
“Whrfhnnlhf,” her husband said through the white tape that covered his mouth, the others nodding in agreement.
“How… Hoe long…”
“Most of the afternoon – so I suspect you three are getting quite hungry, yes?” Eric and Simeon nodded, as one of the men walked over and started to untie Ronan’s legs, helping him to stand up – while at the same time, Jay took Sheridan’s hands behind her back and started to secure them together with white rope. “What I suggest is you and your husband come into the kitchen, while Mrs. McPhee watches the children, and we can talk in there.”
“You must be wondering…”
“Not our place to wonder, Sheridan,” Jay said with a smile, “we make no judgement, we take things as we find them. Shall we?”
“Be brave – we’ll talk later,” she said, the three children nodding as she and Ronan walked to the kitchen. As she sat down, one of the masked men took rope and started to bind her ankles to the front legs of the chair, the second one tying rope round her waist as Ronan sat down.
“I am going to untie you and remove the tape – no attempts to raise the alarm. Remember, we have your children.”
Ronan nodded as Jay peeled the tape away from his mouth, and he felt the rope loosen on his wrists. As he rubbed them, he said “they came at lunchtime. Sheri, I think thy want you to do something – and we’re the way they make sure you do it.”
“I can’t go to my office…”
“No need,” Jay said with a smile, “we are aware of your home office, and all we wish you to do you can do here. I take it your husband and boys are always like this?”
Sheridan nodded as Mrs. McPhee said “guid – ye need tae be comfortable in yerselfs. So ye can cook supper Ronan – and then ye can eat togefer.”
“Come on in. all of you,” Sheridan said with a smile as Eric, Simeon and Aileen jumped into the kitchen, the skirts of her sons rising as they did so, before they sat themselves down on the chairs. One by one, they had their waists secured in place with ropes, before they had their wrists untied, Sheridan also been released as Ronan served the food to each of them. He placed a pitcher of water on the table, as Jay said, “you may remove the tape, and start to eat.”
“Thank you, Mister Edwards, Mrs. McPhee,” Eric said when he could talk, “I felt as if I was a real damsel in distress.”
“Well then, you are going to love later,” Jay said with a smile as Ronan sat down, and said “all right – let’s eat, and let’s talk about what’s going to happen.”
“This looks great Dad,” Aileen said as she started to eat, “and I’m not scared now I know we’ll all be in this together. IT’s just funny – given what we wear.”
“I know – but let’s face this as ourselves,” Sheridan said before she took a sip of water.
“So, what is going to happen to us after we eat,” Simeon asked quietly, looking at the masked intruders.
“Well, we’ll take you to get ready for bed, one by one,” Jay said quietly, “and with the exception of your mother, we’re going to make sure none of you can move or say a lot. You’ll spend the night in your beds, but don’t worry – you’ll be just fine.”
“And why not me,” Sheridan said quietly, “are you not going to tie me up and gag me as well?”
“Oh yes – once you have conducted the business we need you to carry out, you will be with your husband. Does anyone want some more water?”
The family looked at each other as Ronan said “well, so far we’ve managed – what could happen next.”
When they had finished the meal, Jay secured the wrists of Ronan, Aileen, Simeon and Sheridan behind the backs of the chairs with tape, while Mrs. McPhee untied Eric.
“Cum wi me,” she said as she took the young boy’s hand, the others watching as she walked out before Jay said “now, why don’t my friends help to clear things away…”
“So I want you to show me your room,” Mrs. McPhee said as she picked up some ropes from a bag, “and you can pick what you want to wear tonight, before you go and get ready in the bathroom.”
Eric nodded as they walked up the stairs, and they went into his bedroom, Mrs. McPhee looking round as he opened a drawer, and took out from it a blue sleeveless nightdress.
“So ye always dress as ah girl?”
“Yes,” Eric said as he looked at the masked woman.
“Guid – go ahn wash up, then cum oot,” Mrs. McPhee said as they went to the bathroom. She stood outside for a few minutes, before Eric came out, the nightdress coming down below his knees. She noticed the ZZZZ design on the front, as she said, “Ah got these frae yer drawer ahs well – pull them up oer yer hands.” She handed him a pair of white sports socks, Eric nodding as he pulled them over his hands and arms.
“They look like gloves,” he said as he held them up.
“Aye – noo tern roond, ahn put yer hahns behind yer back.”
“So, I’ll be like Dad?”
“Aye,” Mrs. McPhee said as she crossed his wrists, and wrapped the rope around and between his arms, the coils sitting on top of the socks as she secured his wrists together. Taking a longer length of rope, she then passed it round his body, forcing his arms against his body as she formed two bands round his waist and his upper arms to keep them in place.
“How does it feel,” she asked as she tied the ropes off.
“Snug – nice,” Eric said, Mrs. McPhee nodding as she used two shorter lengths to tighten the bands between his arms and body. She used the final length to secure his legs together below his knees, before she said “ah wahnt ye tae walk – slowly – doon the stairs, ahn intae the fhront ruhm.”
“Okay,” Eric said as she slowly walked to the top of the staircase, and then slowly walked down one step at a time, Mrs. McPhee walking with him until he got to the bottom of the stairs.
“Tahk him in the fhrohn ruhm,” she said to one of the other masked man, who smiled as he helped Eric to shuffle in, and then to sit in the center of the couch before he took white rope and wound it round and between his ankles to hold them together. He could see Mrs. McPhee walk up the stairs with Simeon, as the man said “now, we need you to sit nice and quiet, and when your brother and sister come in, Jay will make sure you all stay quiet.”
“Okay,” Eric said quietly as he sat still, wriggling round a little as he got comfortable. Eventually, he looked to the door as Simeon came in, wearing a pair of peach-coloured silk pyjamas with a lace edge to the neckline. He also had bands of rope around his stomach and upper arms, his hands behind his back, and a length of rope round his legs below his knees as he jumped over and sat next to his younger brother.
“We really are damsels in distress,” he said as Eric nodded, the man kneeling and binding his ankles tightly together with rope.
“Yeah – and he says we won’t be able to talk either,” Eric said as Simeon wriggled round. “Is it wrong if I am excited by this?”
“I don’t know,” Simeon said quietly as he wriggled round, the ropes rubbing on him, “but I am excited as well. What do you think Aileen is going to wear?”
“Pyjamas – she always does.”
“True – and she is going to be just like us,” Eric giggled as he twisted round, and then he stopped.
“Are we going to be all right, Simeon?”
“I’m sure we are,” the older boy said as their sister came in with Mrs. McPhee, wearing a pair of boys red tartan pyjamas. Her upper body and legs were bound in the same way as theirs, and both of them saw how her jacket was stretched over her chest as she jumped over and sat next to them.
“Nothing,” Simeon said as the man secured Aileen’s ankles together, before they saw their father in the doorway.
“I’ll be down in a few minutes,” he said, all three of them nodding as Mrs. McPhee same in.
“Noo then – time tae make ye all quiet,” she said as she took from another bag three white scarves and folded them into pads. “Open yer moofs.”
“Here we go,” Aileen said as Eric opened his mouth, and Mrs. McPhee gently pushed the pad into the space, his cheeks puffed out as it went in. The masked man then took a knotted length of toweling, and pushed the knot between his lips and teeth, tying it round his head as Simeon felt the white silk on his tongue, filling the space behind his teeth before he felt the toweling pressing in on his cheeks.
Aileen was soon gagged in the same way, before Mrs. McPhee took the roll of white tape and tore the end free. Pressing it on Eric’s cheek, she wound it round his head, covering his mouth and pressing his hair against his head before she tore the end free and patted it down.
“Hmmhhh,” he mumbled as the tape went round Simeon’s mouth, and then Aileen’s, all three silenced as their mother was brought in by the second masked man.
“Oh… Are you all right?”
“Whrffhnnhmhm,” Simeon said as se sat down, all three seeing that her hands were tied behind her back. She then looked at Ronan as he came in, wearing a long red nightdress. White tape was already wrapped tightly round his head, and his cheeks were bulging out as he sat down, Jay taking more rope and securing his ankles tightly together, and then wrapping another length round his legs above his knees, the skirt of the nightdress gathering underneath.
Sheridan could also see that the bands of rope round his chest were tightened, and then one band went over one shoulder, under the lower band and back over the other shoulder. He looked over and said “Whlllhthhlbhuhshwhl.”
“I know – are you all right?”
Ronan nodded as Jay looked at them all, and then said “let’s all watch a film together.” Mrs. McPhee turned on the television as they all watched, the clock slowly ticking away as Eric’s eyes blinked several times, before he finally closed them.
“Ah’ll tahk him tae his room,” Mrs. McPhee said as she lifted the young boy up and carried him out of the room as the others watched.
“Don’t worry, she’ll make sure he cannot leave the bed,” Jay said with a smile as he checked his watch. “Don’t worry – everything will take place as required…”
Half an hour later, Simeon started to fall asleep, Jay nodding as he lifted him up and carried him out of the room. Sheridan and Ronan looked at each other, as Aileen said “chnnehghhswhl?”
“Aye ye can,” Mrs. McPhee said as one of the masked men lifted her up, and all three left the room as the second man sat watching her parents. As she was carried up the stairs, Aileen looked into Eric’s bedroom. Her younger brother was lying on his side on the bed, rope running from his ankles to the foot of the bed, his eyes closed and his chest gently rising and falling.
She was then carried past Simeon’s room, and as she looked in, she saw him lying on his side, Jay using rope to secure his ankles to his chest ropes so that he was tightly hogtied. He looked over and nodded as Mrs. McPhee opened the door to her bedroom, the man carrying her in and laying her on her bed.
“Aye,” Mrs. McPhee said as she gently rolled Aileen onto her side, and then pulled her legs back before she used a length of rope to secure her ankles to her chest ropes. “Noo then, lie still, sleep will cum – guid nicht.”
“Fhknuh,” Aileen mumbled as the light was turned off, and she slowly closed her eyes…
“Where are they,” Sheridan said as Jay and Mrs. McPhee came back in.
“In bed, asleep,” Jay said as he looked at the clock. “Eleven o’clock – time for the next stage. Help her husband to get up the stairs.”
The two masked men nodded as they helped Ronan to stand up, and then helped him to shuffle to the stairs as Mrs. McPhee took Sheridan by the arm. They made their way to the staircase, Rona sitting down and pushing himself up as they followed him, and then the party made their way to their bedroom.
“Time for you to change,” Jay said as he looked at Sheridan. “Take some nightclothes and go with Mrs. McPhee to the bathroom.”
“Hllbhlrht,” her husband mumbled as he sat on the bed, and then lay on his side, watching as Sheridan selected a pair of blue pyjamas and headed out of the room. Roman then looked over as Jay walked behind him, and pulled his legs back, making sure the skirt of his nightdress covered his kegs before his ankles were secured to the ropes round his chest.
“Whthhphnsnh,” he said as Sheridan cameo back in, now wearing the pyjamas.
“Guard him,” Jay said quietly as he and Mrs. McPhee took Sheridan out of the room, and to the last room on the floor. This held her home office, Jay pulling the chair form the table as Mrs. McPhee put down the ropes she was carrying.
“We’re going to secure your legs,” Jay said as she watched the masked woman double over the first length of rope and began to bind Sheridan’s ankles together. She then secured her legs together below her knees as Jay turned on her computer.
“Now, do exactly what we say, and all will be well,” Jay said quietly as Sheridan as turned, her chair pushed in as she started to type, logging into her system as the two masked intruders watched.
“Excellent,” Jay eventually said, “now, plug this stick into the port, and accept the pop-up.”
“What will it do?”
“Arrange the transfer of various funds – don’t worry, you can say you were forced to do so,” Jay said with a smile, Sheridan nodding as she took the stick and plugged it in. She clicked on the popup window, and then said, “now what?”
“Now,” Jay said as he took more of the rope, “we bind you. Mrs. McPhee?”
“Allow me,” the masked woman said as she pulled Sheridan’s chair back, and then helped her to stand up, before Jay took her hands behind her back and crossed her wrists.
“So, you will leave me with Ronan?”
“Of course,” Jay said as he tied the rope off, and then doubled the longest length over, wrapping it round Sheridan and then pulling it tight. He took it round her upper arms and stomach, the bands framing her chest as her arms were held against her sides, before Jay took the rope under one arm, up and round the back of her neck, and then under the other arm.
“Am I going to be kept quiet as well,” she asked as she felt the ropes tighten.
“Och aye,” Mrs. McPhee said as she held a folded scarf in her gloved hand, “open wide.”
Ronan looked to the door as he heard the thumping sound, then saw Sheridan as she jumped in, the white tape round her head as she came over and lay on the bed facing her husband. He watched as Jay pulled her ankles back and placed her in a hogtie, before he and Mrs. McPhee left the room, turning the light off.
“Hfhnksh – theshlrdrhn?”
“Hfththrhshtthm,” Ronan said as he twisted round. “thrsnhfhnhnwhchndh.”
Ronan looked at Sheridan as she shuffled over, and placed her taped lips on his…