Mother and Daughter Moments 36







It was a family night in with a difference – and for the son of the family, I think it was also possibly an educational night as well, for reasons I’ll explain at the end.


I was in Salford, and the home I was planning to visit was where the Markham family lived.  Not any relation, I hasten to add – John Markham is an actor, and he lived there with his wife Paula, and their three children – six year old Sue, ten year old Rita, and eleven year old Robert.  At this particular period of time, John Markham was appearing in a play in Manchester, so I knew Saturdays he left in the morning and did not get back until later at night.


It was about six o’clock when I arrived outside their detached house.   I had done my research, and I knew when this happened, the rest of the family tended to have a pizza and film night – well, tonight, there was going to be a slight difference, but one I hoped they would enjoy.


I could see the family in the front room through my binoculars, and then the pizza delivery as Paula opened the door.  She had on a long sleeved top, which was white at the front but I could see the black rear half, and jeans, the legs tucked into black leather boots.  She paid the delivery boy and waved to him as he drove off, then carried the pizza boxes inside.


I waited a moment more, and then got out of my car, walking quickly up the side of the house as I pulled the stocking down over my head, and found the side door.  It didn’t take me long to get it unlocked, and I let myself in as I listened to the family talking in the front room.  I checked my bag, and smiled as I walked along the corridor, and opened the door.


“Hi,” I said as I walked in, “please don’t be afraid – but your mum and dad wanted you to act out a scene for him, and they hired me to be a robber who holds a family hostage!”


Paula stared at me, and then looked at her children.  Robert was holding a slice of pepperoni pizza, wearing a checked lumberjack shirt over a black t-shirt, jeans and black trainers, while Rita was sitting next to him, wearing a blue vest top, jeans and a pair of mid-calf black leather boots over the legs of them.


“Mummy, what’s happening,” Sue said as she stood next to her mother, a potato wedge in her hand.  She had on a pale blue top with a scoop neckline, a skirt hat had funky coloured leopard print, and ballet slippers.


Paula looked at them, and then at me, before she said “well – it’s like the time Daddy asked us to read the script for the show he was making, that had the family who got lost.  I think he wants to make sure this one is realistic, so we hired this actor to pretend to hold me and you as hostages.  Then we can tell Daddy what it was like, and he’ll adjust the script.”


“But does that mean he’s really going to hold us hostage,” Rita said quietly.


“Yes I am – but we’re going to make it part of your family night,” I said with a smile.  “So you can continue to eat your pizza, and watch a film later.  It’s just I have to make sure none of you can move around or speak during the film.  So I need you to remain calm and keep eating, all right?”


“That’s fine kids,” Paula said as she stood up, “you can talk about what’s going to happen, but eat up.  Can I have a word outside?”


“Of course – sorry if I gave you a fright kids, but I had to be realistic.”


“That’s all right,” Robert said as I went outside with Paula, waiting as she closed the door and said “who the hell are you?”


“Me?  I’m the man who is going to rob you,” I whispered as I showed her the gun in my jacket pocket, “and I did what I did so that your kids will not be too afraid of what is going to happen.  Do you want them to be scared?”


Paula looked at me, and then shook her head as I said “good – so you go in, you eat, and then we start by making sure the kids stay in this room while you take me round the house.  Shall we?”


“Okay,” Paula said as we went back in, “the intruder has disturbed our dinner, but he’s going to allow us to finish our pizzas and drinks before he begins.”


“Who are you going to tie up first,” Robert said before he chewed some pizza.


“Me?  Nobody.  You and your mother – I am going to get you to tie your sisters up, before I tie you up, and then her.”


Paula and Robert looked at each other as Rita and Sue said “oh wow – a real intruder would do that, Mummy, because he could not watch all of us.”


“Very true,” Paula said as she took a drink from a glass, and I opened my bag, watching them carefully as I said “I need to take your mobile phones first – don’t worry, they’re only going to go off, so hand them to me please…”


“Now then,” I said as Paula cleared the boxes away, “do either of you need to go to the toilet?”


Both girls nodded as they went off, and I handed Robert and Paula a length of rope each.


“When they come back,” I said quietly, “I am making you tie their wrists together behind their back, in the way I’ll tell you to.”  They both nodded as the girls came back in, and I said “all right girls – I want you, Sue, to stand in front of your mother, and Rita in from of her brother.”  As they did so, I said to Paula and Robert “double the rope over, then take their hands behind their backs and wrap the rope round their wrists.  Put the ends under the middle, and then pull it back as far as it will go.”


As they did this, Sue said “you won’t hurt me, will you Mummy?”


“No I won’t,” Paula said as Robert forced his sister’s wrists together, then at my instruction the wrapped the rope carefully round five times, and ticked the ropes into the top loop.  I then told them to separate the ends, and pull them between their arms to tighten the binding, then to tie the ends together in a knot, and tuck the ends into the wrist binding.  As Rita twisted her arms round, I checked the ropes, and said “Well done – now, I’m going to give you both a long length of rope – double it over, wrap it round the girls at their stomachs, and do what you did to their wrists behind their backs.”


“It’s going to be all right,” Paula said as she looked at her son, while I instructed them in how to secure the arms of their girls to their sides, and then to tighten them by taking the rope under one arm, up and round the back of their necks, and under the other arm.  Both of them made sure to move the long hair of both girls out of the way, but when they had finished, Rita and Sue looked at each other and twisted round as Rita said “well, we’re not going to use our arms, are we Mister Intruder?”


“No you’re not – but now I need to make sure you can’t walk around either, so I need you both to sit on the double seat there.”  As they walked over, I handed Paula and Robert some rope, and said “now, when they are comfy, tie their ankles together in the same way as you tied their wrists – and remember, I’m watching.”


“Let’s do this, Mum,” Robert said as he knelt down in front of Rita and started to tie her ankles together, the rope squeaking as it rubbed on her boots, while Paula carefully tied her younger daughter’s ankles, remembering to take the rope between her legs as well.  She also tied her legs together below her knees, Robert doing the same to Rita, before they both stood up and looked at me.


“Well, I think Mummy and Robert took very good care of you both, don’t you girls?”  As they both nodded, I said to Paula “now, sit down and keep your hands where I can see them.  As for you young man – put your hands behind your back.”


“Does it hurt,” Robert said as he looked at Rita, the young girl shaking her head as I bound his wrists and arms in the same way as he had tied his older sister, the ropes pulling his shirt open as he bit his lower lip.


“Okay,” he said as he walked over and sat in an armchair, watching his mother and sisters as I tied her ankles tightly together, and then tied his legs below his knees, and then stood up.


“So, what film were you all going to watch?”


“The Jungle Book,” sue said as she twisted her legs.


“Well, until I come back with your mother, you can watch some cartoons,” I said as I  turned the television on, and found Nickelodeon.  “First, though, you all need to be quiet – so I want you all to open your mouths when I tell you.  Mummy is going to put a sponge ball inside, and then put some special tape over your mouths to keep it in there.  Sue, you will go first.”


“Okay Mummy,” Sue said as she opened her mouth, and I handed Paula a small red sponge ball.  She gently eased it in, and then as Sue closed her mouth I tore a strip of white micropore tape from a roll, and handed it to Paula, watching as she gently pressed it over the young girl’s face.  She smiled under the tape, and said “fhllsfhnnemhmm” before she giggled.


“Rita next,” I said as I handed Paula a blue sponge ball, and that went into her mouth, followed by the tape, and then a yellow sponge ball for Robert.  He looked at us in a funny way as he closed his lips over it, and Paula asked “are you all right Son” as she pressed the tape over his face.


“Ysskhhssfhkfhnnee” he said as he looked at her, and she kissed each of them on their head.


“Now, you three stay here while I take Mum for a little walk – and if you behave, you’ll all get a drink when we come back,” I said, smiling as they all nodded and turned to watch the television.


“Now,” I whispered as I walked Paula out, “about your valuables…”



“Hllhmmhmmmee,” Rita said when we came back in.  I had already tied Paula’s wrists together behind her back, and tied rope around her arms and upper body, but as she sat down I put three drink cartons onto the low table, and said “I just need to make sure Mummy stays in this chair, and then you can have your drinks.”


They nodded as I took more rope, and secured their mother’s crossed ankles and then her legs below her knees, Rita giggling as her mother’s boots squeaked when her legs rubbed together and she did the same.  Once I had done this, I put a straw in one of the cartons and peeled the tape away from Sue’s mouth, catching the sponge ball in my gloved hand before I let her take a drink.


“Slowly – you may not get another drink for a while,” I said, Sue nodding as she looked at me.  “Mister Intruder,” she said when she let go of the straw, “I want to sit with Mummy.”


“Well, I think that can be arranged.  Have you had enough to drink?”


As she nodded, I put the sponge ball back into her mouth, and a fresh strip of tape over her mouth, before I lifted her up and sat her on Paula’s lap.  “Are you having fun,” Paula whispered, Sue nodding as she rested her head on her mother’s chest, between the bands of rope.


I let Rita have a drink next, and re-gagged her, before I removed the tape and ball from Robert’s mouth.  “Are you sure you’re all right,” Paula said as he took a drink, “you look a little flushed.”


“I’m fine Mum,” Robert said as he looked over, “it’s just such a strange experience.”


“I know,” Paula said quietly, “but once you’ve had a drink, I will be just like all of you, and we can watch the film together, all right?”


Robert looked at me as he took another drink, and then said “can I lie down?”


“Of course you can – but I’ll need to make sure your feet stay off your sister’s lap,” I said quietly.  Robert nodded, as Rita scooted to the far end of the couch, and I replaced the sponge ball and tape.  He then lay down, with his head on the arm of the couch, as I pulled his ankles back and tied them to the chest ropes.


“Now then,” I said as I folded a white scarf, and stood behind Paula, “time for Mummy to be quiet.  Open wide.”


“We’ll all tell each other how we felt when this is over,” Paula said, the others nodding as I pushed the scarf into her mouth, and then covered her lips and jaw with the white tape.  As the film started, I let them watch as I quietly slipped out…



So how do ‘I know it was an awakening for young Robert?  About a month later, I came across an interview with the family, where they told the story of what had happened, and how the children discovered it was a real robbery when their father got home.  It was Robert’s comment that caught my eye.


“I was scared, but I was also a little excited – I can’t describe it, but I know my sisters also enjoyed it when we thought it was a game.  And now we play the game with Mummy sometimes, and I get to be the robber…”



When Steve and I visit the States, and we have a spare couple of hours, we have been known to pay games visits to some outlying house.  This is the tale of what I call the black and grey day…


It was a large single storey house on the outskirts of Philadelphia, and as Steve and I drove up to park outside the house we took a moment to look around.  It was an interesting neighbourhood – houses far enough apart to be like little kingdoms of their own, and no-one really laying attention to the other dwellings.


We were both in black for this – jumpers, leather jackets, jeans and sneakers for Steve, leggings and knee length boots for me – as we left the car.  Steve was carrying a holdall we had bought the other day, with our supplies in it, and I had something in my jacket pocket.  


The home belonged to the Ingelson family – Papa Ingelson was a banker, and he lived here with his wife and five daughters.  As we walked up, we saw the garage door was open, so we slipped in, taking a moment to pull the stockings down over our heads before we entered the house.


As we did so, Helga Ingelson looked up from the kitchen table, and whispered “oh my god” as I put my finger to my lips, and Steve closed the door.  “Not a word, Mrs Ingelson – Helga,” I said quietly, “just listen.”


Helga was in her mid-forties, and was slim with long chestnut brown hair.  She was wearing a long cardigan, light grey with a darker grey front and shoulders, over a black top, black pants and mid-calf black leather boots with no heel.  She looked at me as I said “let me answer your questions.  Yes, we are here to rob you.  Yes, we are going to bind and gag everyone in the house.  Yes, we know you have young daughters, who may be terrified by this.  Do you want that last bit to happen?”


As she shook her head, Steve said “so we pretend this is a big game you and your husband have organized, and that way, they find it less stressful.”


“A game?  They’d never believe you!”


“They will if you say it is,” I said quietly.  “Will you do that?”  Steve and I watched as she slowly nodded, and said “One request – if we all have to be tied up and silenced, we are all together.  We have abasement romper room with a large screen television - leave us in there.”


“Perfect – so we do this,” Steve said as he walked behind her, guiding her hands behind her back and tying her wrists together with rope, “where will we find your youngest daughter now?”


“Inga?  She is doing an assignment in her room.”


“Then we start with her, and her next oldest sister.  Take us to her.”  



As we opened the room door, we could see Inga Ingelson sitting at a desk by her window, writing as she faced in the opposite direction looking outside.  She was ten years old, with long strawberry blonde hair, and was wearing a long sleeved black top, a white skirt with black polka dots, knee length black socks and flat shoes.


“Inga,” Helga said quietly, “please stop writing and listen to me – we’re going to play a family game now?”


“What sort of game Mama?”




Inga turned in her chair and looked at us, as I said “hello Inga – my friend and I ware actors, and your parents have hired us to pretend to be a pair of bad robbers.  So we’re going to hold you, your sisters and your mother captive, in one room, and make sure none of you can stop us.  But it is all a game, nothing really bad is going to happen, all right?”


She looked at us and slowly nodded as Helga said “we’re going to find Hanna next, is she in her room?”


“Yes, mama – but will be my hands be like yours?”


“Yes, they will,” I said as I took a length of rope, and walked behind her, crossing her wrists behind her back and tying them together as she looked at her mother.  “Now, where is Hanna’s room?”


The four of us walked two doors down, as Inga said “Freya and Frida are in the attic, will they join us later?”


“My sixteen year old daughters,” Helga said.  Steve and I looked at each other, as he said “let’s get Hanna to play first, we’ll take all three of you to the room you will be in, and then we’ll bring them down, all right?”


“Okay,” Inga said with a smile as I knocked on the door, and Helga said “can we come in Hanna?”


“Yes, Mama,” a voice called out, and as we opened the door Hanna turned and looked at us.  She was twelve years old, and was wearing a long grey tunic, black leggings and knee length black leather boots.




“We’re all playing a game of robbers,” Inga said as she turned round and showed her sister her bound wrists, “Mama says it’ll be great fun, and you’re to play too.”


Hanna looked at us, and then grinned as she said “so I won’t be able to do my homework, because I’ll be tied up?”


“I guess not,” Helga said with a smile as Steve walked round and tied her wrists behind her back.  “So we’re going to go to the romper room and we’ll all watch a film together.  Sound good?”


The two girls nodded as we left the room, and walked down to the cellar.  It was certainly a leisure room, with a long couch, bean bags and a large wall mounted television.


“Well, this will do,” Steve said with a smile, “but we need to make sure you three stay down here while we go and get your sisters.”  Taking a long length of rope form the bag, he doubled it over and used it to bind Helga’s arms to her sides, taking the rope above and below her chest, then feeding it under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and under the other arm.”


“Wow – are you going to do that to us as well,” Hanna asked. 


“Well, you should all be the same,” I said as Helga sat in the centre of the long couch, and we each took a long length of rope, binding the upper bodies of Inga and Hanna in the same way before they sat either side of their mother.


“It’s snug,” Inga said, Helga nodding as we took six lengths of rope from the bag, and secured the ankles of each of them together, the rope going around and between their limbs as they watched.


“It sounds funny,” Hanna said as she tried to move her legs, Helga nodding as they made their boots squeak.


“Now, the bad robbers have to go and get your sisters,” Steve said quietly, “so we need to keep you quiet.  We’ll put these sponge balls in your mouths, and tape over your lips, then start the film, all right?”


“We’ll talk later girls” Helga said, opening her mouth as I pushed the compressed sponge in, and then covered her lips with white tape, the girls getting the same treatment from Steve before we started the Harry Potter movie, and went back upstairs.


Steve headed to the bedrooms, while I took the bag and made my way to the attic.  I could hear music, and so I smiled as I opened the door with the gun in my free hand, and said “hello girls – no screams please, I have your mother and your two sisters bound and gagged downstairs.  Now, who am I talking to?”


Why the direct approach?  Well, the oldest Ingelson girls were sixteen, and would see right through the game story.  I needed to take a different approach with them.


“Frida, do you think she is telling the truth?”  I looked at the other girl, wearing a black smock with a grey hem and pattern on the side, black tights and over the knee black leather boots, and said “so you are Freya, correct?”


“I think she is telling the truth,” Frida said.  She had wavier hair, and was wearing a sleeveless black leather jerkin over a grey wool jumper, grey leggings and mid-calf black suede boots with a fringe at the side.   “They are all captive?”


“Indeed – so listen carefully.  My colleague is now searching for valuables, but your younger sisters believe this is a big family game, and that all of you are going to play.  I need you to maintain that illusion – you will be tied up, you will be gagged, but you will be together.  Understand?”


The twins looked at me and nodded as I said “good – then do as I say.”  Putting the bag down, I took two sponge balls out and threw one to each of them.  “We start by keeping you quiet – put that into your mouths.”


“Must we,” Freya said quietly.


“Yes, you must,” I replied as they looked at each other, and then pushed the sponge into their own mouths.  “Now,” I said as I passed Freya the roll of white tape, “tear a long strip off, and press it over your sister’s mouth.”  I watched as she did that, and then passed the roll over to Frida, who tape gagged her in the same way.


“Good,” I said quietly as I took the roll back, “now both of you – turn round with your back to me, and put your hands behind your back…”




“Thrruhhrrr- chmnhsstwhffsss!”


“Hruhlrrthtmmhhm,” Frida said as I escorted her and Freya into the leisure room.  Sitting them on the opposite ends of the five seater couch, I quickly secured their ankles, and then their legs below their knees, as Steve came in. 


“Ah – I see the whole family is here,” he said, smiling under the stocking as all five of them wriggled round and tried to speak.  “Well, the hostage takers are going to have to make sure you stay here, so we’re going to pretend to put you to sleep.”  He picked up a cloth and held it over Helga’s nose and taped mouth, and she got the idea, opening her eyes wide and moaning before she slowly closed them and let her head flop to the side.


One by one, we pretended to chloroform the daughters, before Steve whispered “be asleep for a little while” and we tiptoed out…





Arnold is a small but important town to the north of Nottingham, and Gerald Blake is the manager of a jewellers in that town, where he lived with his wife Angela and their three children – Tom who was eleven, ten year old Grace and six year old Candy.  And on this particular Saturday, I was watching them as they walked round the weekly market.


Angela was in her early forties, with long brown hair, a pair of dark sunglasses perched on the top.  She was wearing a brown leather jacket over a white top, faded jeans and brown ankle boots with a patterned top at the ankle.  Tom, Grace ad Candy were all with her – and all three of them wearing some type of Ugg boot.


Tom was wearing grey ones with his grey trousers, a black leather blouson jacket over his upper body, while Grace had a sand coloured furry top over a white t-shirt with a leopard on the front, a black skirt and leggings, and pink boots.  Finally, Candy had a grey jacket on over a long pink jumper, a grey scarf tied like a bandana round her neck, a pink skirt and grey leggings, with blue boots.


I watched as they started to walk up the hill towards their home, and followed form a safe distance, my rucksack on my back…


They lived in a  fairly modern detached house, and I watched as Angela opened the front door of the terraced house, and they walked in, smiling as the door closed, and then I walked to the door as well, pulling something down over my head as I got closer…


It was Angela who opened the door after I knocked on it, her jacket still on as she said “yes, how can I…”  and then backing up as I walked in, the stocking pulled down over my head, the starter’s pistol in my gloved hand and a finger to my lips.


“not a word,” I said quietly as I put my hand over her mouth, “this is a robbery, but I need your help because we don’t want the children to eb scared, do we?”


Angela looked at me and slowly nodded as I said “good – now, here’s what’s going to happen.  We are going to make your children believe this is a game you are all going to play, and in return nobody gets scared or panics, or something worse.  Understand?”


She nodded again as I said “good, where are they?”  Taking away my hand, Angela whispered “Tom is downstairs, the girls upstairs.  Why?”


“Because we will need Tom’s help,” I whispered as I held up a length of cord.  “Please, removed your jacket, turn round, and put your hands behind your back…”


Tom looked up as we went into the front room, and said “Mum, who is this?”


“this is an actor, we’ve hired him to pretend to be a robber, and we’re going to play an escape game together,” Angela said as she showed her son her bound wrists.  “He’s already tied my arms, but he’s going to make sure we are all the same – which means he needs you to help him.”


“I need to help you – how?”


“Because we need to make sure your sisters are playing first – once I show you how to tie their hands and feet, by showing you how to tie your mum’s ankles,” I said as Angela sat down, and I handed Tom a length of rope.  “So, kneel down, double this over, then wrap the rope round your mum’s ankles, and pull the ends back through the middle loop.”


Angela watched as Tom followed my instructions, and tied her ankles tightly together, before I let him tie her legs together below her knees as well.  “Now, you need to some with me, tell your sisters what is happening, and that you’ll all be with your mum,” I said with a smile under my stocking mask, “but first, we need to make sure Mum can’t raise the alarm like a real robber would.” 


“IS that all right Mum?”


Angela nodded as she looked at me, and said “we’ll all be the same when he finishes, so if they see me like it, it won’t scare them.”  She then let me put a folded cloth into her mouth, then I tore a strip of white tape from a roll and let Tom press it over her mouth before we left the room.”


“I need to tie your mum’s arms a little more later, but right now, let’s find your sisters…”



Grace and Candy were in their bedroom, but as Tom and I walked in, Candy said “you look funny – who are you?”


“Mum’s paid this actor to pretend to be a robber, so we can all play an escape game together,” Tom said as I put my rucksack down, “Mum’s already playing, and she wants us to join her.”


“But I am a robber in the game,” I said with a smile, “which means I need to make sure your arms are secured before we go down.  It doesn’t hurt, but you both need to stand up and put your hands behind your back.  Tom will tie your wrists, Candy, and I will tie Grace’s.”


“And who ties Tom?”


“I will when we go downstairs – ready?”


The two girls nodded as I handed Tom a length of cord, and we secured the wrists of the two girls together behind their backs, then I showed him how to secure their arms to their sides with a longer length of rope.  We then walked downstairs, Angela looking over and saying “Hllhhghrls, rhdeeto plhh.”


“You sound funny mummy,” Candy giggled as Angela nodded, watching as I and Tom helped them to sit on the floor in front of the couch, and then securing their ankles together, as well as their legs below their knees.


“Why does Mum have that tape over her mouth,” Grace asked as she wriggled her bound legs round.


“To keep her quiet – and it’s time for you two to be quiet, so open your mouths nice and wide.”  I pushed the cloths into their mouths, while Tom put the tape over them, and then stood with his hands behind his back.


As the girls watched, I tied Tom’s wrists together, and then his arms to his sides, before he sat in an armchair and watched me tie his ankles and his legs together.  I then put a cloth in his mouth, and taped it over, before taking a long length of rope and tying Angela’s arms to her sides.


“Now,” I said as I turned the television on, “wait until Scooby Doo, and then you can try to escape.  Okay?”


All four of them nodded as I quietly slipped out of the back door…




The two girls giggled as they lay on their sides, looking at their mother as I finished tending to her.  They were eight year old twin girls, and were identically dressed, wearing black fur gilets over white jumpers that were ribbed at the front, and dark pants with the legs tucked into knee length black leather boots.  They also had a white headband in their blonde hair with a white rose on it – and had white tape over their mouths, keeping a folded cloth in there.


They had their hands tied together behind their backs, and rope around their stomach and arms to keep them locked in place, and their ankles were tightly tied, as were their legs below their knees.  Their mother was between them as they lay on their sides on the double bed in their parent’s bedroom, looking at them both as I removed the necklaces from their necks and put them into my bag.


She was in her early thirties, and was wearing a brown fur gilet over a black jumper, blue jeans, and knee length brown leather boots.  She also had her hands tied behind her back – the first thing I had done when I surprised her in the kitchen of the house – and bands of rope around her arms and chest, keeping them secured.  As she twisted her legs round, her daughters copied her, making a squeaking noise.


As always, I had persuaded her to tell them this was a game, before I bound them all and brought them up here.  They had watched as I tied their legs, as well as the wrists and arms of the girls, then I gagged the two young ones as she told me where to look.


So as I pushed a folded cloth into their mother’s mouth, and covered her lips with white tape, she kissed their foreheads before they all looked at me.  I was wearing a black leather jacket over a roll neck sweater, leggings and knee length black leather boots – and the stocking mask over my head.


I nodded to all three of them, and told them I was going to pretend to leave, and they could try to escape once the program playing on the television had finished, as I picked up the bag and left the bedroom.


So, my visit was over – so why am I starting at this point?  Because the story I want to tell is not so much about this family, but what came next.


The house they lived on had a shared driveway, and I had entered by the door that led to their kitchen.  And it was by that door I left, thinking to remove my stocking mask before I got onto the main street.  What I had not expected was that the house next door, which was empty when I had scouted the location, had been occupied – or that as I left the house, I would hear a little girl say “oh wow – are you a robber?”


I looked round to see the car there, and an eight year old girl looking at me.  She had blonde hair with a black hair clip, and was wearing a white cardigan over a blue top, a tiger print skirt, grey tights, yellow socks and mid-calf tan leather boots.


I had to think fast, while at the same time glad I still had some supplies, as I said “yes I am, what’s your name?”




“Well, Maisie, I can’t have you letting the police know I have just been next door.  Who else is at home?”


“Tom and Mummy?”


“Well, Maisie, I guess I have to come and play a game of cops and robbers with you and your family.   Will you play that game with me?”  As she nodded, I took a length of white cord from my bag, and said “well, we’ll start now – turn round and put your hands behind your back.”


“This is exciting,” she said as I tied her wrists together behind her back, and then we walked into her kitchen, making her mother shriek “OHMYGOD!”


“I met a robber, Mummy – look what she’s done to me!”  Maisie turned round and showed her mother her wrists as I closed the door, and said “I do apologise, but as I told your daughter, I cannot have the alarm raised for a while, so – you’re going to play a game.”


“A…  You’re the Games Player?”


“I am, but I need to make sure you and your children do not raise the alarm.  I’ve met Maisie – what’s your name?”


“Judy…”  Judy was wearing a mustard coloured cardigan over a white top, and jeans with the legs tucked into knee length tan leather boots.


“Well Judy,” I said quietly, “where is Tom?”


“He’s watching television – you’re going to tie us all up?”


“I am – but not rob you, so please, put your hands behind your back, and then we’ll go and tell Tom what is happening.”


“It’s exciting, Mummy,” Maisie said as she watched me bind her mother’s wrists tightly together behind her back, and then bind her arms to her sides with two bands of rope.  I secured Maisie’s arms with a double figure of eight around her arms and stomach, before I said “Tell Tom this is a game” and we walked in.


Tom was indeed watching television, a younger boy in a checked shirt over a long sleeved blue top, jeans, white socks and blue shoes.  As we came in, he looked at Judy and Maisie, and said “Mummy, what’s happening?”


“We’re going to play cops and robbers, “ Judy said, “this lady is the robber, and she’s going to tie us up until the cops arrive, but we’ll all sit and watch television together, all right?”


Maisie walked in front of him and turned round, wriggling her fingers as she said “your turn now.”  Thankfully, Tom nodded as he stood up and let me tie his wrists together behind his back, and then his arms and stomach in the same way as Maisie, before they all sat on the couch, watching as I tied Tom’s ankles together, and then his legs below his knees.


He moved his legs around as I started to tie Maisie’s legs together, as she asked “so did you do this to Cerys and Mavis?”


“I did indeed – and to her mother as well – so they’re playing a game at the same time as you,” I said as I tied that rope off, and then secured her legs together below her knees as well, and then did the same to Judy.


“I think we’re all going to be quiet as well,” their mother said as I stood up, and checked the ropes, then nodded as I took some cloths from my bag and put one in each of their mouths, then covered their lips with the white tape.  Smiling, I turned the television on and left them to have fun…




Allow me to tell the tale of the North Carolina Family Quiet Time.  I was on business in the Raleigh-Durham area, but before I had flown over there I had done some research in the area, and as a result of that I had identified a family where I felt a profitable and enjoyable afternoon could be had by all.


Arthur Dunbar was a senior executive in a mid-sized tech firm in the Research Triangle Park, and lived in a large house with his wife Alma and their five daughters.  Yup, five – Cora was sixteen, Angela fifteen, Rhona twelve, Suzanne eight and Bobbi four.  I knew her husband was away at a conference on the day I had off, and laid my plans accordingly…


It was about two in the afternoon on a cool spring day when I drove to a nearby public park, and walked through the woods to the rear of their house.  As I came closer, I could see Alma getting out of the car with Bobbi.  The mother was wearing a long taupe sweater coat over a blue t-shirt and jeans, the legs tucked into knee length brown leather boots, while Bobbi had a black denim dress and leggings with brown ankle boots.  She held her mother’s hand as they walked into the house, while I watched, and checked my bag before I pulled the stocking mask down over my head, and walked quickly across the yard to the rear door of the house.


I opened it quickly and walked into the kitchen, as Alma turned and looked at me, her eyes open wide as her blonde hair fell over the top of her jacket.  “Oh my god,” she whispered quietly, and then she looked to the door as I said “no – please, believe me Mrs Dunbar, I have no desire to hurt you or any of your family, but I need you to stay calm, and listen to what I have to say.”


I took my starting pistol from my pocket and looked at her as I said “please, take a seat, and listen.”  As she sat down, I said “now, I will be honest – I am here to rob you, and I know that before I go, all your daughters will be back from school.  That means I will need to make sure none of you can raise the alarm, but I also want to be sure nobody is scared or upset – so I need you to tell a little white lie.”


“And that is,” Alma said quietly.


“That this is all a game arranged by your and your husband – a drill, if you prefer, so that of a real intruder was to surprise you, they would know what to do.  Do that, and tell them it is all a game, and I promise you they will be less afraid of what will happen – starting with your youngest daughter.”


“Bobbi – oh god, she’s just a baby, please…”


“I said to remain calm,” I said quietly as I looked at her, “trust me.  Yes, I am going to tie all of you up, and gag you, but we can make it pleasant.  Tell me, do you have a romper room?”


“In the basement – why?”


“Then we will use that – but first, we need to start the game with young Bobbi.  Please, put your hands behind your back, and we can begin.”



“Mom?  Why are your hands behind your back?”  Bobbi looked at her mother as we came in, and then stared at me.


“Bobbi,” Alma said quietly as she looked at her daughter, “this is a man Pops and me have hired to play a big game with you and the other girls.  He’s dressed like that because he is going to pretend to rob us, and we’re all going to have to be the same way.  But, we’ll all be together in the romper room when he is finished, and we can all watch a film together, all right?”


She looked at me as I said “hello Bobbi – will you be the first to play the game with your Mom?”  As she nodded, I said “good – have a look at Mom’s wrists?”  She got off the couch and had a look at them, and said “did you tie them together?”


“I did – and now it’s your turn.  Put your hands behind your back – I promise, it doesn’t hurt.”  Alma nodded and said “don’t worry Bobbi – I promise you, it doesn’t hurt.”  Her daughter nodded and put her hands behind her back, Alma smiling as I took some soft cord and tied the little girl’s wrists together behind her back.  As I did this, Bobbi looked at her mother and said “will he be a bad robber, Mom?”


“Not in that way, Bobbi,” Alma said quietly as I tied the rope off, and smiled as I said “why don’t you both sit down on the couch, and I’ll tie your ankles together as well?”


“You can sit next to me Bobbi,” Alma said with a smile as she sat down, and I helped Bobbi to sit next to her, before I took two lengths of cord and tied Bobbi’s ankles together, and then her legs below her knees.


“Why are you not tying Mom’s legs like mine,” she said as she wriggled round.


“I will do – but first we need to get the other girls to play, and then I’ll take all of you down to the room in the basement, and Mom will join you later.  On which note – do you promise me you’re not going to call out when the girls come in, and spoil the surprise.”


As Bobbi nodded, she twisted round and then stared at the two longer lengths of rope I took from my bag.  “Now, one more thing…”




As I looked out of the window, I saw the yellow bus stop at the bottom of the road, as Rhona and Suzanne got out and started to walk up to the house.  Rhona was wearing a similar style of top to her mother, but this one was sleeveless and fawn coloured, with a black top and pants, as well as a pair of brown Ugg boots.  Suzanne had a white wool scarf tied round her neck, over a black jumper, faded blue jeans and a pair of black Ugg boots.


“Mom, we’re home,” Rhona called out as Alma looked at me, and said “girls, can you come into the front room?  I have a surprise for both of you.”  As they came in, they stopped and looked at their mother and Bobbi, the young girl lying with her head on Alma’s lap as she said “surprise – we’re playing a family game!”


“A – family game,” Suzanne said as she saw the rope around Bobbi’s arms and legs, and around her mother’s arms.


“That’s right – this man,” Alma said as she looked at me, “is pretending to rob us, and he’s going to make sure none of us can raise the alarm.  Bobbi and I have started playing – and now, you can join in as well, all right?”


The two girls turned and looked at me as I smiled under the stocking mask, and said “hello girls – now, I need to make sure you two are like Bobbi, so turn round and talk to your mom, while I put your hands behind your back and make sure they stay there.”


Both girls nodded as they put their rucksacks down and turned round, talking to Alma and Bobbi as I crossed and bound the wrists of each girl together behind her back, taking the rope around and between their arms, and then using longer lengths of rope to tie their arms to their sides, making sure they were held tightly in place.


“It feels funny, as if I am been hugged,” Rhone said quietly as I tied the ropes off, and then helped them both to sit on the couch next to their mother as Bobbi curled her legs up.  I then secured their ankles together, as well as their legs below their knees, as Bobbi said “now you’re just like me.”


“Yes, they are,” I said with a smile as I tied the rope off between Suzanne’s legs, and stood up as they both wriggled round.  “Now, Bobbi has promised to stay quiet, but will you when your big sisters get back?”


“IF this is a game of robbers,” Rhona said as she looked at me, “then we’re really going to play – so no, I won’t remain quiet…”




“I won’t remain quiet either,” Suzanne said as she wriggled round, so I nodded and said “then I have to make sure you stay quiet.”  Taking her scarf off from round her neck, I waited as she opened her mouth, and then tied the scarf between her lips as she bit down on it.


Walking to the hallway, I returned with two more wool scarves, one brown, one black, and used them to gag the other two girls as Alma watched.  Bobbi look up at her mother and said “hsshllrhttmhmm” as I said “nor, you remain quiet” as I heard a car pull up outside.


Walking over and looking out of the window, I saw a yellow Beetle stop, as the two older girls got out.  Angela had a black cardigan over a Metallica t-shirt, dark denims and brown Doc Marten style boots that laced up the front, while Cora wore a white cardigan over a grey top, faded denims, and knee length tan leather boots.  I put my finger to my lips as they came in, walked in – and Angela looked at me as Cora said “oh god – MOM!”


“Girls,” Alma said calmly, “this is a man your father and I have hired to pretend to be a robber, so that we can all play this game and know what to do if we are ever really robbed.  We’ve already started playing – but I need both of you to play as well, so that we do this as a family.  Do you understand?”


The two older girls nodded as I said “thank you.  Now, both of you, kneel in front of the others, and put your hands on your heads.”  I watched as they both did this, the palms of their hands on top of their long blonde hair,  and took more rope from my bag before I knelt down and guided their hands behind them, crossing and binding their wrists in the same way as the others.  I knew they knew this wasn’t a game, but their mother had made it clear she wanted to pretend it was as well.


Once their wrists were secured, I tied their arms to their sides, like all the others taking the rope above and below their chest as their arms were secured tightly to their sides, and making sure it was snug.  Looking at the others, I said “now, I’m going to take these two young ladies down to the cellar, and when they are ready, I will come and take you down one by one.  I’ll put the television on, and you can watch it while your Mom comes round the house with me, and then she will join you.  All right?”


The three girls nodded as Alma said “I’ll be quiet for them, but they’ll need a drink.”


“Leave that with me,” I said as I helped Cora and Angela to stand up.  We walked down to the cellar, as Cora said “you are a real robber, aren’t you?  You’re the Games Player.”


“That’s right – so for your younger sisters, play along,” I said quietly as I put my bag down.  “Now, sit on the floor, and cross your ankles.”




“Right,” I said as I came back into the room, “who’s first?”


“Hmmwhlll,” Rhona said, Bobbi and Suzanne watching as I picked her up and carried her down to the cellar.


“Hllthrrr,” she said as she looked at Cora and Angela, both girls nodding as they looked up from the floor.  They were lying on their stomachs, their ankles and legs secured together with rope, and then their ankles pulled back and tied to their chest ropes.  They both also had wide strips of white tape over their mouth, and as they mumbled their lips moved under it.


I sat Rhona on a bean bag, and then went back up the stairs, returning with Suzanne and placing her on a second bean bag, then Bobbi as I laid her on her side on one of the couches.  “Now then,” I said as I turned the television on, “watch this, and your mom will join you in a little while, all right?”  All five nodded as I started a film, and walked back up to where Alma was wriggling round.


“Now then,” I said as I helped her to stand up, “let’s go and find your valuables, shall we?”



“HLLHMMMMM!”  The five girls looked up as I escorted Alma into the room a short while later, their mother looking at them and nodding as she said “Hllghrlls, hffnnfn?”  She had a little trouble talking – I had put a folded scarf into her mouth and covered her lips with white tape, and as I helped her to lie on the long couch I took two more lengths of rope, and bound her ankles tightly together, as well as her legs below her knees.


I then looked at Bobbi, Suzanne and Rhona, as I said “do you want the tape over your mouths as well?”  The three girls nodded, so I made sure their lips were covered as well, before starting a second film, and saying “the bad guy is going to leave now.  Watch the film, and then you can see who gets free first.”


They all looked at me and nodded as I slipped out…




We do plan carefully, Steve and I, but sometimes the greatest enjoyment comes from the unexpected.  Case in point…


We planned to visit a family of a bank manager in a small town in the West of Scotland.  Agnes McCormack lived with her husband and her eleven year old daughter Megan in a farmhouse on the outskirts of the town, so I drove up the farm road and parked at a nearby picnic spot, putting my rucksack over my shoulder as I hiked the rest of the way.  I was in my usual attire for these visits – brown leggings and jacket, knee length brown leather boots, and as I walked carefully across the farmyard I pulled the stocking mask down over my head, and put on my leather gloves, before I glanced into the kitchen – and seeing it was empty, I let myself in.


I could hear music in a front room, so I walked along and looked in to see Agnes sitting there.  She was wearing a long maroon sweater, with a grey scarf wrapped round her neck, grey pants and knee length black leather boots, her long dark brown hair covering the back of her neck as she sat there.


It was when I closed the door that she looked up, and gasped – but the sight of the starting pistol in my hand as I said “Good morning Mrs McCormack – now, don’t scream or shout, and do not try to raise the alarm.  This is a robbery – but we’re going to have to make sure you and your daughter cannot raise the alarm.  So, you’re going to pretend this is a game.”


“A game?”  She had a soft West of Scotland accent, and then she looked at me and said “you’re one of the Games Players, aren’t you?”


“I am,” I said as I sat down, and put my rucksack on the floor, “so do as I say, and when I ask you in a moment to call Megan down, tell her this is a game you’ve arranged of robbers.  That way, if you can keep telling her it’s a game, she won’t be so scared.  Understand?”


Agnes slowly nodded as I opened my rucksack, and took out a length of white cord.  “Good – now slowly, put your hands behind your back while I secure your wrists, and then we’ll get Megan in here?”


“You promise you won’t hurt us,” Agnes said quietly as she turned and I walked behind her, crossing her wrists and securing them tightly together with the cord.


“Not if you both do as I say, all right?”  As I spoke, I pulled the rope between her wrists and made sure the binding was tight, before I opened the door and said “now, call for your daughter?”


“Megan,” she called out, “can you come in the front room please?”


“Coming Mummy,” I heard her reply, and as I stood to the side her daughter came in.  Megan had shorter brown hair, but she was also wearing a long sleeved maroon jumper, as well as faded blue jeans with the legs tucked into a pair of mid-calf light brown biker boots.  She also had a scarf wrapped round her neck – in her case, a white one with a black pattern on it.  She took one look at her mother, and said “Mummy, what’s going on?”


“We’re going to play a game of robbers,” Agnes said as Megan turned and looked at me.  “This lady is an actress, and she’s going to pretend to rob us.  Now, that means we’re going to be tied up, and I think she’s going to make sure we stay quiet as well, but it is a game, and she won’t hurt us.”


Megan nodded as she said “so what are you going to do to me, robber lady?”


“What I did to your mother,” I said as I held up a length of white cord, “turn round and put your hands behind your back, and then I’ll tell you how the game is going to go.”  I watched as she nodded and then turned, and a few minutes later I had her wrists secured together behind her back as well.


“Now – I’m going to make sure neither of you can use your arms, and then Megan I’m going to tie your legs together.  Then you can stay down here while your mummy and I take a walk round – but then she’ll come back and join you, and you can stay together before you try to escape.”


“Mummy said you might make sure we stay quiet,” Megan whispered as she tried to move her wrists, “how are you going to do that?”


“There’s time for that later,” Agnes whispered, but I smiled and said “I’ll show you in a minute if you want, but first, I need to make sure you really cannot move your arms.”  As her mother watched, I took a longer length of rope, and then tied Megan’s arms tightly to her sides, making two bands on her body as she wriggled round.


“It doesn’t hurt Mummy,” she said quietly as I used two shorter lengths to tighten the bands between her arms and body, and then I removed her scarf before I rolled it into a band.


“Now, let’s keep you quiet Megan – open your mouth as wide as you can please.”


“We’ll talk later,” Agnes said as I pulled the rolled up scarf between Megan’s lips, and then tied it round her head, the ends falling down her back. 


“Now, you sit next to your mummy while I take care of her,” I said, Megan nodding as she sat down and I started to bind Agnes more tightly the ropes framing her chest as I tied them round her.  As she watched, I then knelt down and tied Megan’s ankles tightly together, making sure the rope went around and between her boots, and then secured her legs together below her knees.


“Now,” I said quietly, “let’s make sure your mummy…”


“What are you doing to Aunt Aggie and Megan?”


I stood up and looked at the six year old girl who was in the doorway.  She was wearing a white woollen hat over her blonde hair, a long black coat under which I could see the hem of a white cardigan, purple tights and short grey-black boots like Megan’s.  In her arms was a stuffed brown toy pony.


“Shhllrhhtwhrrplhnnaghm,” Megan mumbled as she tried to speak, before an older woman came in behind the girl.  She also had a long black coat on, the hem of a grey skirt underneath and a black scarf round her neck, dark tights and knee length black leather boots – but she was staring at me through her glasses as Agnes said “Well, Laura, Kerry – we’re playing a game of robbers.”


“And I think Megan would love it if you both joined in,” I said quietly as I smiled at them under the stocking mask – and showed the older woman the butt of my starting pistol in my jacket pocket.  She slowly nodded as she said “well, I think we can play, can’t we Kerry?”


“Can Horsie play too,” Kerry said as she looked at me.


“Of course Horsie can play,” I said with a smile, “please, both of you take your coats off, and then your mummy can sit in the armchair, with her hands on her head, while I take care of you and Horsie.”


It was the smile of the little girl that gave the game away, as she took her coat off to reveal a blue dress under the white cardigan, her mother revealing a grey V-necked sweater as she sat down.  “So this is a game,” she said as she looked at Agnes.


“It is – so we’ll all play along.  She,” she said as she looked at me, “is going to take me round the house, pretend to steal things, and I think you and Kerry are going to be as quiet as Megan, Laura.”


“You look funny,” Kerry said as she looked at the older girl, then watched as I used two lengths of cord to tie the front and back legs of the horse together.  “Now – I’m going to make sure you hug Horsie all the time you are playing,” I said with a smile, “so put your arms round him now.”


“Like this,” Megan said as she hugged her horse, and I nodded as I used some cord to tie her wrists together in front of her, then another length round her arms, body and Horsie so they were held together.  I then sat her across her mother’s lap, and she watched as I tied her ankles together, then her legs below her knees, and finally her wrists to her legs.


“Look at me mummy,” she said with a smile as she wriggled round, Laura nodding as I said “now Mummy is going to give you a very big, very long hug just like you are giving Horsie.”  I nodded as Laura wrapped her arms round her daughter, and I tied her wrists together in front of her as well.  I then secured her ankles and legs, tied her wrists down to her legs, and as Kerry rested her head on her mother’s chest I tied rope round her upper arms as well.


“So how are you going to keep us quiet,” Kerry said as she looked at me.


“Well, I think I need to do something different for you and your mummy,” I said as I stood up, “but let me put the television on first so that you can watch something.”  Once I found a channel, I took a roll of brown sticking plaster from my bag, and pressed a long, wide strip over both their mouths, before I took Agnes by the arm and helped her to stand up.  Once she had done that, I helped Megan to lie on her side so that she could watch the television as well, before we left the room.


“Thank you – for not scaring either of them,” Agnes said quietly as we walked up the stairs.


“They will be able to cope better later,” I said as we walked into the master bedroom.  “Now, where shall we start…?”



“Whlchhmbhk,” Laura mumbled under the brown fabric as we came back in.  Agnes nodded – the scarf which was now pulled between her lips making it as difficult for her to talk as it was for Megan – as I helped her to lie on the floor, and then tied her ankles and legs together, before I pulled her ankles back and tied them to her chest ropes.  I then switched the television to a player, and as Sunshine on Leith started, I left them to some quality family time…




We learned a new game last Saturday, and I want to tell you all about it – and the nice man who taught us how to play it!


We had been to a matinee at the cinema – me, my seven year old sister Maggie and my five year old brother Steve, and Mummy.  We often do that on a Saturday when Daddy has to be away on a tour – he writes books, and he’s often away at weekends.  I was wearing my favourite grey cardia over a white t-shirt, a pink skirt, white tights and brown slipper shoes, while Maggie had on a purple top, grey jeans and sneakers.


Mummy had a black cardigan on over a red top, leggings and her black leather boots that came up to her knee, and Steve was wearing a white short sleeved shirt, trousers and brown shoes.  Anyway – we’d stopped at McDonald’s to pick up lunch, and when we got home we were talking excitedly about what had happened in the film.  Mummy told us to take our lunches into the front room, while she went to the kitchen to get a sandwich for herself.


And I guess that is where the fun began – because when Mummy came in with her sandwich and a drink, she was not alone.  There was a man with her, wearing a black leather jacket and jeans – and he had something over his head that covered it, and made him look very strange.


Mummy sat down and told us this was a man that she and Daddy had hired to play a very special game with us – a game she called Robbers, and that as part of the game, we were all going to end up as wriggly worms on the floor.  Before that, however, we were going to eat our lunch, as she looked at him and took a bite from her sandwich.


The man smiled as he turned the television on, and told us we should enjoy our happy meals as he closed the curtains over the big windows.  He spoke in a nice way, and although he did look funny, Mummy was smiling, so we knew it was going to be all right.


I had chicken nuggets, Steve a hamburger and Maggie fish fingers, and we all had milk and fruit bags.  We also all had toys, but the nice man said we could play with them after the game.


So I asked how we play the game, and he said he was pretending to be a robber.  So he had to make sure that all three of us stayed in the room while he and Mummy went for a walk round the house – and then he asked if we had seen any films with robbers in them.  I had, and he asked if they had made sure the people stayed in the room.


I nodded, and said they stopped them using their hands and feet – and then he took out of a rucksack a length of white rope, and told me he was going to do the same, so I had to look at Maggie and Steve, and put my hands behind my back.  I looked at Mummy, who nodded as she said we would all be the same later, so I did as the nice man asked.  I felt him put my wrists together, and then I felt the rope as they were tied together.


I thought it might hurt, but it didn’t really – the man told me to treat it as a game, and when he had finished I really could not move my wrists apart.  He then took another rope, and tied it round my arms and tummy so that my arms could not move much either, before he told me to sit on the couch, and asked Maggie to stand where I had been.


As he tied Maggie’s arms, Steve whispered to me to ask if it hurt, and I shook my head as I showed him my arms.  He nodded as Maggie managed to sit next to me, and Mummy asked if we were enjoying the game as the man tied Steve’s arms like ours.


He sat on the other side of me, as the masked man looked at Mummy, and then he said he was going to make sure our legs were as secured as our arms.  He started with me, taking more rope out of his bag and wrapping it around my ankles, pulling them together as he made sure they were really tied together.  He even tied the rope between my legs as well, and then he tied my legs together below my knees.


I twisted them round, and then watched as he did the same to Maggie and Steve, so that we all were sat on the settee, our feet hanging off the seat with our ankles tied together.  Mummy came over and kissed us all on the forehead, as the man said we could watch television quietly if we all promised not to try and call for help.


Well, we all nodded at that, as Mummy went with the man and I saw them walking up the stairs.  Steve nudged me and said this was a fun game – and I had to admit, he was right about that, as we all watched the cartoons on the television.


When they came back in, Mummy had her arms behind her back as well, and /I guessed the nice man had tied her wrists like ours.  Her arms were also tied to her sides, but he had used two bands of rope for her, above and below her chest.  She then sat in the chair as we all watched him tying her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, as she smiled and told us we were all going to have a drink of water.


As the man went out of the room, she said for the next part of the game, we were all going to have something in and something over our mouths to stop us from making any noise, and then we would be left to play a game of wriggly worms.  We all got a bot excited at that, especially as Mummy was going to play with us.


When the man came back, he let us all drink some water out of a glass, through a straw, and then he told us to watch how he was going to make sure Mummy stayed quiet.  We watched as he squeezed a sponge ball in his hand, and then put it into Mummy’s mouth.  I giggled as I watched her cheeks puff out after she closed her lips, while he tore a long strip of white tape from a roll, and then pressed it down over her mouth.  When he stepped back, Mummy tried to talk, but we didn’t understand her, as we could only see her lips moving under the tape.


He then asked which of us was going to go first, and I nodded.  When he pushed the sponge ball into my mouth, it tasted funny, and it pushed my tongue down as it filled my mouth.  The tape was nice though – it certainly stuck to the skin round my mouth, but it didn’t seem to pull on it, and I really wasn’t able to say much.  He said to relax, and we’d all be all right, as he made sure Maggie was quiet, and then Steve, as Mummy twisted round in the chair.


He then helped Mummy to lie on her stomach on the floor, a cushion under her head, as he pulled her ankles back and tied them to the ropes round her chest.  We were all then told to stand up and jump over, as he put three more cushions on the floor next to Mummy.  It was great fun to jump over, and then we lay down as he tied our ankles to the rope round our arms, all of us looking at each other.


He stood back, and said we were now wriggly worms, and we could try to move round if we wanted.  We all started to do that, and had great fun – so much fun, we didn’t notice he had gone until Mummy motioned to us to come closer to her, and she started to try and untie us…


We were still there when Gran came and found us, but it was a good game to play…




I need to clear up one possible misconception about the visits I make – not all of them involve families with daughters.  It may seem that way with the stories, but it’s not the case – case in point…


Janna and I had been researching the Boyle family for some time.  No – no relation to Danny Boyle, this Boyle was David Boyle, and he ran a reasonably successful manufacturing company in the West Midlands.  His wife, Sheila, worked from home as a tax consultant – for a very good reason, which I will explain in a minute, and they had two sons, twelve year old Ben and ten year old Colin.  As I was sat outside their house on the outskirts of the town in question, I was perusing an article that had appeared about them in the local paper, visiting their home as they showed some of their possessions – and the jewellery I knew they possessed was of some interest to me.


This was a Saturday afternoon, and I knew Mister Boyle was at the factory – so my intention was to make sure that Ben and Colin played a nice game with their mother, and then do what I had come to do.  And the key to this was going to be getting Sheila Boyle to cooperate first.


Their home was a large bungalow, but it was off a busy street, and had a gated entrance, so I drove round and parked a few streets away, and then put my rucksack on my back as I walked back towards the rear of the house, looked round, and climbed over the back wall into their spacious garden.


There was no one outside – a fact I was grateful for, as I carefully made my way over to the back door and let myself in, stopping only to pull the stocking mask down over my face and put my gloves on.  The house wasn’t quiet, but the noise was muted, as I made my way down the corridor.


Peeking into the front room, I could see Ben and Colin reading books.  Ben had his hair cut short on one side, and was wearing a short sleeved checked shirt, grey combat pants and grey socks.  As for Colin, he had a grey sleeveless pullover on top of a white shirt, grey pants and light grey socks.


Smiling to myself, I left them to their books for the moment, and made my way to the office I knew was towards the front of the house.  As I looked in, I could see Sheila working on a laptop by the table, sitting in her wheelchair.  You see, Sheila Boyle had been crippled in an accident some five years before.  She had long brown hair with a copper red colouring, a black t-shirt with a diamante patter, a short grey skirt, dark tights and a pair of baggy black boots that came to just below her knee.


I let myself in, but it was the noise of me closing the door that made her look round, “oh my god…” escaping from her lips as she looked at me.


“Please,” I said quietly, “no screaming for help, Mrs Boyle.  I think the last thing you want is for your sons to be upset, would I be right?”  I looked at her as she continued to stare at me, and then slowly nodded as she said “who are you?”


“Me?  Well, I’m the man who is going to rob you,” I said quietly as I looked at her, “and who is going to make sure nobody in the house can raise the alarm.  That means I need to secure and silence you, and your sons, but I think we can do it in a way that will not be scary.  Can I count on your help with doing that?”


She continued to look at me, and then said “you’re one of the Games Players, aren’t you?”  As I nodded, she relaxed a little and said “well, I cannot stop you, but I refuse to lie to my sons, so I want to tell them the truth when the time comes.  I assure you, there will be no problems.”


I nodded – I could sense she was telling the truth, and said “fair enough then, but the time has come to begin to secure you.  I know you are in the wheelchair, but I need to do to you as I would do to anyone else.  I trust you understand?”


“Honestly, I think I would be offended if you did not.  So, what are you going to do?”


Taking my rucksack off my back, I opened it and took out a length of rope, saying “I want you to lean slightly forward, and put your hands behind your back.”  The wheelchair she was using had a low back support, so it was easy enough for me to cross and bind her wrists tightly together, then use the longer length of rope to bind her arms to her sides, making sure I kept the bands neat above and below her chest.


I then cinched the bands between her arms and body as she looked down, and said “I hope Ben doesn’t get any ideas?”


“I am sure you will find, when he is the same – and he will be – he has a different view on the matter,” I said as I knelt in front of her, moved her legs so that her ankles were together, and then tied them tightly together, making sure I took the rope between her legs as well.  Another band held her legs together below her knees, as I stood up after securing the knot and said “Shall we start in here?  The combination to the safe, please.”


She was more than happy to oblige as she twisted round, watching as I opened the safe and made sure any money and jewels inside were safely stowed into my rucksack, before I said “we shall visit your room later – but I think it is time we told your sons what is happening.”  Opening the door, I pushed Sheila out of the office as she sat bound in her chair, and took her along to the front room.


As I opened the door, Ban looked over, and then stood up as I pushed her mother into the room, Colin staring at me as I said “hello boys – I want you to listen to your mother, all right?”


“Thank you,” Sheila said as she looked at me.  “Boys, this man is robbing us – but I don’t want either of you to panic.  Come and have a look at me.”  I watched as they both walked over and looked at their mother, before she said “he’s going to do the same to you, and also he’s going to make sure we cannot do much to raise the alarm – but once he has gone, we can make it a game to see which of you gets free first, and then can free me.  I know it may seem a bit scary, but it will be fun, all right?”


“Has he hurt you Mum,” Ben said, and as she shook her head he looked at me, and said “so what are you going to do to us, Mister Robber?”


“Well, first, I need to make sure your wrists and arms cannot be moved easily, just as I have down with your mother – so, both of you, stand in front of her, and put your hands behind your backs.”


“Do as he says, boys,” Sheila said with a smile, as I took two lengths of cord out, and crossed Ben’s wrists behind his back before I tied them tightly together.  He nodded as I tied the rope off, and said “it’s all right Colin – it doesn’t hurt.”  The ten year old nodded as I tied his wrists as well, and then made sure each of them had their arms secured by wrapping the rope around their upper bodies in two bands, then cinching the bands in the same way as their mother.


“It feels funny,” Colin said as he twisted his body round, Sheila laughing as she said “yes, it does – now, what are you going to do next?”


“Well, I need to look in your parent’s room for things to take, so we’ll all go there,” I said, “but first, I want to make sure you two stay nice and quiet.  So, I want you both to let me put a sponge in your mouths, and some tape over your lips.  It won’t hurt, and so long as you breathe in and out through your nose you’ll be fine.”  Reaching into the bag, I took out two yellow sponge balls and compressed them in my gloved hands, Sheila nodding as she said “don’t worry boys – we’ll all be the same.”


As I pushed the sponge into Ben’s mouth, he nodded as he said “fhsllhsfhnnee” then laughed as I did the same to his brother.  Wide strips of my white medical tape then went over their jaws and lips, so that the shape of their mouths could be seen underneath, before I said “right then  - let’s go to the main bedroom, and we’ll see what happens there.”


The boys walked in front of their mother, and I pushed her along, before we walked into the large bedroom.  It had a king size bed, and I smiled as I said “good – boys, I want you both to lie on the sides of the bed, facing each other.”


Sheila watched as they did that, and then I took more ropes, securing their ankles together as well as their legs below their knees, and then tying their ankles to the foot of the bed with two more lengths of rope.  As they watched, I then said to their mother “it will be less mess if you tell me where to look.  First, however, let’s put the television on.”


I turned on the television set that was on the far wall from the bed, as Sheila told me where to find her jewellery boxes, the boys looking at us and then at the music channel that was playing.  I soon had her valuables in my bag, as I compressed another sponge ball and gently eased it behind her teeth and into her mouth.


“Whlhrrwhhrr,” she said through the tape covering as I lifted her gently out of the wheelchair, and laid her down between the two boys, Ben and Colin nodding as I said “count to one hundred, and then you can try to start and get free.  Good luck.”


“Fhnksmhsthrrhhbrr,” Colin said as I took my rucksack, and left them to their fun…



For a while there, there was a fad on YouTube and other channels to do the “Desafio da Fita” or Duct Tape Challenge with a mother and daughter.  Well, one recent visit allowed me the opportunity to make sure the people I played the game with got a lasting memory of it…


It was actually last January, and I was watching outside the home of the television chef George Theo – not so much for him, but for his wife and daughter to come home from a party.  Hanna Theo was in her early thirties, a writer for a local paper, and they had a ten year old daughter called Esther.


The thing is, they were running a little late – and I was beginning to consider abandoning the visit when I saw the car finally pull off the road into the driveway.  As the lights went out, the outside light came on, and I watched as Hanna got out, a long black coat over her dress, and opened the back door for Esther to get out of the car.  The ten year old blonde girl had a bomber jacket on over a black dress, the skirt of which was sparking, and short black boots.


Anyway, I watched them go in, and then got out of the car myself.  I wasn’t wearing the stocking mask for this one – a decision I had to make on the spur of the moment to save time – but put on a pair of dark glasses as I walked up to the front door, and rang the doorbell.


Hanna answered the door, saying “can I help you” and then walking back in as she saw the starting pistol in my gloved hand, a gloved finger to my lips as I closed the door and looked at her.  She was wearing a long sleeved blue jersey dress with a black belt studded with silver, dark tights and black heels, her blonde hair in a bob.


“Not a word Mrs Theo,” I said quietly, “I have no desire to hurt you or young Esther, but I need your cooperation.”


“Witthhhhh what,” she stammered.


“I am going to rob you – but I do not want you or Esther to be afraid, so we are going to pretend this is a special game we are playing,” I said as I thought on my feet, and then smiled.  “Tell me, have you heard of the Duct Tape Challenge?”  As she nodded, I said “good – let’s get Esther a drink, and I’ll explain what we are going to do…”


As the door opened, Hanna smiled as she said “Esther, we’re going to do a special challenge game and film it to show Poppa.”


“What sort of game, Mamma,” Esther said as she looked at me, wearing a black bomber jacket over a dark jersey, jeans and over the knee black leather boots.


“You’ve seen those films of mothers and daughters trying to get out of tape?  Well, this is one of Mamma’s colleagues, and she’s agreed to give us the chance to show who is the fastest.  So, I want you to have a drink, while she shows you how we are going to be taped on me, all right?”


I looked at the ten year old – her dress was black, with a feathered skirt and a belt like her mothers, a black scarf tied like a cravat round her neck, tights and the boots.  She took the drink from Hanna, and watched as I smiled and took from my rucksack a roll of silver duct tape.  Not real duct tape – this was the same sort of stuff I have used to gag others, but it looks like the real thing, and is just as good for my purposes today.


“Sit down and put your hands together in prayer,” I said to Hanna, watching as she sat next to Esther and then taping her wrists tightly together, before I used the tape to cover her hands as well.  “Wow – she’s good,” Esther said, and I smiled as I then taped Hanna’s arms to her sides, the bands framing her chest as she smiled and wriggled round.


“Now watch what I do to her legs,” I said with a smile as I knelt down, and taped Hanna’s ankles tightly together, and then her legs below her knees, Esther giggling as her mother raised and lowered her legs, the tape crinkling under the movement.


“So is it my turn now,” Esther said as she put her glass down, and held her hands out.  I made sure her wrists and hands were covered, and then her arms held to her sides, before I took her boots off, laughing as she wriggled her toes under her tights while I taped her ankles and legs together.


“Now then,” I said with a smile, “I need you both to sit on the floor in front of the couch, and bend your legs so your feet are on the floor.”  I watched as Esther slid off quickly, Hanna more slowly, and they bent their legs, watching as I out the forearms don on their upper legs and then taped them all together.


As they looked at each other, I said “now, I just need to go to the toilet, but when I get back…”


“Hey Granny – we’re doing a challenge!”


I turned quickly round to see a woman in her late fifties standing there, wearing a camel coat over a grey jersey dress, grey tights and heels.  She looked at me, and then at Hanna as she swallowed and said “hi Mum – I guess you catch us at a n- awkward moment…”


She nodded as she said “I see I do – ad you are?”


“The fiend who agreed to set this challenge up for them – and the one who is asking you to join them,” I said with a smile before I turned and showed the new arrival my gun.


“Ah – well, how can I refuse,” she finally said as she took her coat off, folded it and placed it on the back of the chair, and then winked at Esther as she put her own hands together in prayer.  When I had taped Hanna’s wrists, I had taken her rings off discretely at the same time, so I did the same for the grandmother, before taping her hands together.  A few minutes later, she was sitting on the other side of Esther, kissing her head as I taped her secured forearms to her sides, all three of them wriggling round as I said “now, don’t start yet – I’m going to make it difficult for you to talk to each other, and then take a few minutes to get used to it while you watch the television.”


And with that, I pressed a strip of the grey tape down over each of their mouths, Esther saying “fhnkuh” as her lips moved under the tape, while I took a look round.  I then took Hanna’s phone and set it up with the camera running, saying “this is a family escape challenge – ready?”


As they all nodded, I started the recording with a timer – and left them to their fun…




It was one of the wettest days of the spring, and I was walking down the Eldon Square shopping mall in Newcastle.  It was a day off during a business trip, and I wanted to get something for Tammy and the baby.


And that was when I was tempted by something I had not been tempted by in a long time – a chance encounter.  I was passed by an Asian woman and her daughter, who came out of a high class jewellers, the woman carrying a bag.  They both had dark hair, that of the mothers cut straight at the nape of her neck, her daughter’s in a ponytail.  The little girl had on a Hello Kitty rain poncho, and I could see the neck of a pink top, dark leggings and her black wellington boots.  Her mother also had Wellington boots on, black Hunters with a red trim, her dark leggings tucked in and a grey long sweater over the top half of her body.  Her outfit was completed by a long grey scarf with a rose print.


As I say – they intrigued me, so I followed them onto the Metro and then out to Gosforth, an area I had visited before.  So once I knew where they lived, I went shopping, and half an hour later came back with what I thought I would need in a new rucksack, slipping my gloves on as I opened a pair of black stockings.


But you know what they say about acting on impulse – be prepared for the unexpected – a lesson I have learned over my career.  And it was just as well in this case, as I opened the front door of the house and walked quietly in.  I could hear the television was on, so I walked past the front room and went to the kitchen – which is where I had my first surprise.  The mother was there all right, embracing a second woman as they kissed each other.


She also had dark hair, but I could see she was European, wearing a black skirt/dress with shoulder straps, that showed most of her purple top with a ruffled front.  Her legs were in dark hose, with knee length black leather boots.  I watched for a moment as they continued to kiss, and then coughed softly, the partner opening her eyes wide as she saw me.


“Good evening,” I said quietly, “I think you would find it better not to shout or call for help at the moment.  It would be better for you and anyone else in the house if you remained calm, and listened to me.  Please, both of you, take a seat, hands where I can see them.”


“Who are you,” the European woman said as they sat down.


“I believe the media refer to me as the Games Player,” I said with a smile.  “May I know your names?”


The two woman looked at each other before she replied “I am Anita, and this is Ping.  You are going to rob us?”


“I am – but I know any children in the house are still up, so we are going to make this a game for all of you.  I need you both to maintain that illusion, all right?”


Ping nodded slowly as she said “what are you going to do?”


“I start by making sure you both play along,” I said as I put my rucksack down.  Anita watched as I pulled her partner’s hands behind her back, a length of white rope in my hand, and I started to tie her wrists together.


“So who else is in the house- and please, be honest, no surprises.”


Ping looked over her shoulder as I took the rope between her wrists, and said “my daughter, Jen – and Anita’s son, Karl.”


“Well then,” I said as I tied the ends of the rope off, collected a second length from my rucksack, and pulled Anita’s wrists behind her back, “once I have you both secured in terms of your arms, we will take a drink through for them, and you can tell them all about the game we are playing.”


“Are you going to tie them up like us?”


“I am,” I said as I pulled the rope between Anita’s arms, “it’s always better if the children play in the same way as the adults, it means they feel more part of the game, and not ignored.  Now, sit still, both of you, and tell me where I may find your valuables once I have you all secured.”


Using two longer lengths of rope – for the record, I had bought several coils and pre-cut them to the lengths I knew I might need, and I always prepare for double now – and tied them round the upper bodies of both women, framing their chests and preventing them from doing more than wriggling round – especially after I cinched the bands between their arms and bodies.


Picking up my rucksack, I asked where they kept juice cartons, and looked in the one Ping mentioned.  Removing two cartons of apple juice, I picked up my rucksack and said “shall we” as I looked to the door.


As I opened the door, I saw Jen and Karl watching a Studio Ghibli film on the television.  Like her mother, Jen no longer had her wellies on, and I could see the pink top was under a grey pinafore dress.  Karl had on a dark grey woollen sweater and combat pants, with a pair of lighter grey high top trainers.  He looked at his mother, and then at me, before he said “who is this man, Mama?”


“He’s come to play a special game with us,” Anita said quietly, “one where we are going to be like a family that is robbed.  You know, like in those programs awe have watched.”


“And he did that to you,” Jen said as she stood up and looked at her mother.  Ping nodded, and said “it really doesn’t hurt – and he is going to do to you what he does to us. In a few minutes.”


“First, though,” I said with a smile, “you can both have these drinks, while I show you how I make sure your mothers cannot leave this room – and then do the same to you.”  The two kids took the boxes from me, while I asked Ping and Anita to sit on the centre of a large couch.  They watched as I knelt down and crossed the ankles of both women, then tied them tightly together with the rope, taking it around and between their legs, and then tying it off, before I tied their legs together below their knees.


“That does look tight,” Karl said quietly as he watched his mother raise and lower her legs.


“It needs to be for your own safety,” I said with a smile as I stood up.  “Now, it’s your turn – who wants to be first?”


Jen and Karl looked at each other, before Karl stood in front of his mother and put his hands behind his back.  Jen watched as I took the rope and tied his wrists tightly together, and then bound his arms to his sides in the same way as his mother – one band of rope around his upper arms and shoulders, and the second round his lower arms and stomach, then cinched between arms and body.


As he wriggled round, I asked Jen to put her hands behind her back, Ping talking to her while I bound her arms in the same way as her mothers and brother.  She then giggled as I sat her next to Ping, and Karl sat next to Anita, all four watching as I tied their ankles together, and then their legs below their knees.


“Now, can I trust you all to sit quietly and watch the television, or do I need to make sure it’s difficult for you to talk,” I said as I looked at them.  Jen wriggled round, and then said “we need to be stopped from calling for help, don’t we?”


“Indeed you do,” I said as I took two pairs of ankles socks I had bought from the bag, folded each one in turn, and then pushed them into their mouths, before I covered their lips with strips of silver duct tape. 


“Now, you can still watch the film,” I said with a smile, Ping and Anita nodding as I went to have a look round.



When I returned a half hour later, the kids were lying on their sides, their heads on their mother’s lap as they watched the film.  I checked the bonds were still good, as they both fell asleep, Ping and Anita looking at me as I said “Try to escape later – good luck” and left them to it…







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