Mother and Daughter Moments 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love visiting larger houses – the opportunities increase geometrically to keep the families occupied and amused while I go about my business.  Occasionally, however, I may arrive a little too early as well as a little too late.

 

Last spring, I had done my research on a well know television actor – a very successful one, with a passion for fishing, who liked to go with his son and spend Saturday down by the river.  So this particular Saturday, I decided it was time to visit this house, and play with his wife Helen, as well as his ten year old daughter Rachel and her eight year old sister Monica.

 

It would have been about nine in the morning when I approached – he tended by my observations to leave at about seven, so I figured the rest of the family would be up and about.  The jeep he used with his son was not parked outside, and all I could see in the garage was the family car, so naturally I assumed they had gone as per usual.

 

So imagine my shock when I walked into the kitchen – remarkable how often those who live in the country leave the back door unlocked – and I heard said actor saying “Get a move on, Son – they’ll be here soon.”

 

There was a door at the side of the kitchen, so I moved as quickly and silently as I could to it, and found it was a staircase that led down to the cellar.  I went in, closing it and crouching at the door as I saw said actor and son coming in.

 

“Just as well Dave and Steve had agreed to come today,” I heard him say, “With the jeep in the garage, we would have been stuck otherwise.”

 

I groaned inwardly when I heard that – of all the things not to check...

 

I heard the faint sound of a car horn, as he said “there they are – let’s go.  Helen, we’ll be back later.”

 

“Okay,” I heard his wife call back, and then the footsteps as they left the kitchen.  I counted off a couple of minutes slowly to myself, and then put my hand on the handle of the door, opening it a crack.

 

Well, they were alone now, as I saw Helen standing at the sink.  She was wearing a white long sleeved smock top, the sleeves tucked into rubber gloves, blue jeans and brown short boots.

 

I watched her for a while, before she dried her hands and ran her hair through her long brown hair.  “Right – get the paperwork sorted out, then into town after lunch,” she said to herself as she left the kitchen, and I slipped out.  Walking down the corridor, I peeked into the front room and saw her looking at some documents on the coffee table.

 

I decided a game of hide and seek might be in order, but I’d need to get the girls to play first, so I made my way up the staircase and looked in the first door.  The younger girl, Monica, was lying on her bed, reading a book as she kicked her legs up and down.  She had on a pair of light coloured pants with a long sleeved grey top that had a floral pattern on it.

 

So I quietly closed the door behind me, walked up behind her and put my gloved hand over her mouth.  “Surprise Monica,” I said as she gasped, “Mummy wants to play a game of hide and seek with you – and she asked me to come and help you play.”

 

“Hdnndsk,” Monica mumbled as I took my hand away.  “You look funny,” she said as she turned and looked at my stocking covered face.

 

“Yeah – now, she wants me to hide you away somewhere, and make sure you cannot give her any clues to where you are.   That means I need to make sure you cannot move or warn her by speaking, but it’s just for a little while.  If she finds you, you go free.  If not, I make sure she gets hidden with you and your sister, all right?”

 

“All right,” she said with a smile, “but how will you make sure I cannot warn her.”

 

“Well,” I said as I took some rope out of my rucksack, “I’m going to tie some of this around your body and legs – it won’t hurt – and then hide you somewhere in the room once I make sure you cannot call out.  I promise it’s only for a little while.”

 

Monica nodded and said “all right – if Mummy says to play, I’ll play” as she put her hands together in front of her.

 

“No – put them behind your back for me, but first,” I said as I opened a drawer, “put these socks on your hands.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Makes it harder to cheat,” I said as she pulled the socks on, and then I crossed and secured her wrists together behind her back, before I tied some rope around her arms and stomach to lock them in place.  There was a large walk-in wardrobe, so I opened the door and said “why don’t you sit in here – oh, and would you like to listen to some music?  In fact, why don’t I give you a blindfold as well, so you can’t see if Mummy comes in?”

 

“Yeah, I’ll do that,” she said to my impromptu suggestion, as I helped her to sit down, and tied her ankles together, then her legs below her knees.  Picking up her iPod, I also picked up a woollen scarf from the floor and tied it over her eyes after I had put the earpods in.

 

“Now,” I said as she twisted her head round, “I’ll start the music in a minute, but I need to keep you quiet first, so open your mouth.  You’ll feel something inside, then something over your mouth, so just relax and enjoy the music.”

 

“All right,” she said as she nodded, so I pushed a folded triangle of cotton in her mouth, then taped it over, before I started the music and closed the door.

 

Slipping out of the room, I checked the next door, but it was the bathroom.  The next one, however, was Rachel’s bedroom – and as I opened it she turned round, then fell silent as I closed the door.

 

She was wearing a pale blue cardigan over a white top with black polka dots, and a silver bow on the front, black jeans and a pair of wedge sandals with blue uppers.  “Oh no,” she said as I closed the door, “Who are you?”

 

“Just someone who likes to play games,” I said as I looked at her, “and your mummy has asked me to help you and Monica to play a special game of hide and seek.  She’s already started, and soon I’ll tell Mum to start looking – but first I need to make sure you’re hiding and unable to warn her.  Monica has already started playing, so please, play as well.”

 

“Mummy agreed to this?”

 

“Yes – she said it would be like a game of Nancy Drew.”  I’d seen the books by her bed, so I played a hunch.

 

“Well – Mummy knows?”

 

“Yes – once I have you ready, I’ll go and tell her you’re ready?”

 

She looked at me again, and then said “all right – what do you want me to do?”

 

“Put some socks over your hands,” I said, “and then cross your wrists behind your back...”

 

 

A short while later, I closed the door on Rachel’s room, and made my way back downstairs.  Helen was still in the front room, so I walked in, coughed, and showed her my gun as she looked up.

 

“OH shit,” she whispered, and then she called out “Monica!! Rachel!!”

 

“They can’t answer you at the moment, Helen,” I said with a smile as I put my rucksack down, “They’re playing a game of hide and seek, and they are expecting you to come and look for them, but before I take you up, I need to explain what’s happening.”

 

“A game of...  You’re him, aren’t you?  That creep who makes the kids believe they are playing a game?”

 

“Well, I make it a game for them – and if you want them to stay calm, you play along as well,” I said with a smile.  “So please, put the pen down, turn round and put your hands behind your back – once I have you nice and comfy, we’ll go and look for them.”

 

“You haven’t hurt them,” Helen whispered as I started to tie her wrists together, hands palm to palm, and once they were secured tie her thumbs together.

 

“No I haven’t” I said as I wrapped some rope around her arms and body, and pulled it tight below her chest, “so let’s just play along.”  A few minutes later, I had her arms secured, the rope above and below her chest, and I helped her to stand up.

 

“Now, let’s check Monica’s room, then Rachel’s, and then you can show me where your jewellery is in your room, all right?”

 

“When you are done, will we be together?”

 

“I promise you will be,” I said as we walked out of the room and up the stairs.  Opening the door to Monica’s room, I took Helen in as she looked round and said “Monica, where are you?”

 

There was no reply, but I put my finger to my lips and pointed to the screen doors for the wardrobe.  Helen nodded as we both heard a very low sound, and then she said “Not in here – I’ll look elsewhere.”

 

She looked next in Rachel’s room, but she was not in there, so I took her into the master bedroom.

 

“Sit down,” I said as I pointed to the bed, “I’ll secure your legs, and then you can tell me where your jewellery is.” 

 

So I crossed and tied her ankles together, then her legs below her knees, before she pointed to the hiding places and jewellery boxes.  She watched as I talked to her and filled my bag before I said “Right – I need to keep you quiet, and then as the girls have won I promised I would bring them to you.”  Opening her wardrobe, I took out a blue scarf, and said “open wide please.”

 

“They will be with me?”

 

“I promise,” I said before I pushed the scarf into her mouth, and then wound the white tape around her head, trapping her long hair against her neck.   I then helped her to lie in the centre of the bed, before I opened the wardrobe properly, bent down and lifted Rachel out.  She had ropes holding her wrist behind her back, around her stomach and her shoulder, as well as her ankles and legs, and a strip of white tape covered her mouth.

 

“Mummy won,” I said as I laid her on the left side of Helen, the black sleep mask covering her eyes and the white iPod earplugs in her ears, the device in her pants pocket.  She turned her head and said “Srrpssmmm” as Helen rubbed the top of her daughter’s head with her cheek.

 

Leaving the room for a moment, I carried Monica in, and laid her on the other side of Helen.  “Hllmmm” she said as she cuddled in, Helen looking at me and nodding as I took my leave.

 

********

 

I read in the newspaper recently of the death of a young girl called Fiona Parr – she had been battling leukaemia for the last two years, and died far too young at thirteen, but she had spent that time raising as much money as she could for the search for a cure for her condition, and she died surrounded by her family.

 

It touched a chord with me, not just because it is always sad when that happens, but also because – well, to explain why, I need to go back a couple of years, and a visit I paid to a mum and daughter on the outskirts of a little village called Gerrard’s Cross, on the A40 out of London.

 

This was the house of a stockbroker, and it was an early Thursday evening when I surprised his wife and eleven year old daughter as they returned from school.  This was when I tended to use the knock and enter approach, so I managed to surprise the little girl as she opened the door, picking her up and hand gagging her as I carried her in and closed the door.  She had long dark brown hair, which went down her back as a yellow hair band held it off her face, and she was wearing a dark grey knee length pinafore dress over a white t-shirt.  The dress had a sequinned diamond pattern on the front above a black belt, while black wool stockings and a pair of straight leather boots completed her outfit.

 

“Hello,” I said as I walked into the front room, her mother slowly turning as she saw me, “Please, close the curtains – I’ve come to play a game of robbers with you and your daughter, and the first part is to ensure some privacy.”  I remember Mummy was wearing a pair of black trousers and soft shoes, with a black jumper.

 

Anyway, she must have read about me, because she quickly nodded and agreed to play the game.   After she closed the curtains, I made both of them kneel on the floor, the girl looking at me over her shoulder as I crossed her wrists behind her back and tied them together, palm to palm, before I held them to her body with some rope around her waist.

 

“Do you play a lot of these games,” she said as she watched me bind her mother’s wrists in the same way.

 

“I do,” I said with a smile under my stocking, “and the little girls always enjoy it.  The mummies enjoy it too,” I said as I took some duct tape from my bag, and taped their hands so that they looked like a silver glove covered the hands of both of them.

 

“It’s all right, dear,” her mum said as I made her stand up, and started to tie her arms to her side with rope, “just do as the man says, and then we can play together and try to free each other, all right?”

 

She watched as I finished binding her mother’s chest, and then said “All right – but you tie me in the same way as Mummy.”  Well, of course I obliged, and then I made the girl sit in a big chair, while Mummy lay face down on a long couch and I started to bind her ankles and legs.

 

“I know who you are now,” she said as I knelt in front of her, crossed her ankles and started to tie them together, “my friend Fiona told me about you – she’d read about you in the paper.”

 

“Oh,” I said as I passed the rope between her legs, and then tied it off, before I started to tie her legs together below her knees.

 

“Yeah – she was saying she’d be incredibly excited if you were to call on her and play a game, but she’s not rich.”

 

“So where do you know her from?”

 

“We’re in the same Guide troop – Mummy says Fiona has got sick.”

 

“Oh – a cold?”

 

“No – the sort you don’t get better from.  She’s started to make a list of things she wants to do.  I saw it – you’re on that list.”

 

I stopped for a moment and looked at the girl, and then at her mother, who nodded as she lay on her side and looked back at us.

 

“I see – she must be a very brave girl,” I said as I stood up.

 

“She’s scared,” the girl said as I went back to my bag, and took out two cotton bandanas.  I nodded – I could imagine, and then I said “Where does she live?”

 

She told me as I rolled up the first bandana, and tied it between her mother’s lips, before I smoothed several strips of duct tape over her mouth.  I nodded as I walked over to her, and then said “If I visited her, would it make her happy?”

 

The girl nodded, then opened her mouth as I cleave gagged her, and then taped over her lips.  “No promises,” I whispered before I said “Right – you both stay there, and I’ll see if I can find your mummy’s nice jewels to pretend to steal.”

 

I took what I could find, and left them in their front room, but the story the girl had told me about Fiona touched me.  To be ill that young, I understood how afraid she must be – so I decided I might be able to fulfil one wish on her list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two days later, I was parked in an estate on the other side of Gerrard’s Cross, watching the house at the address I had been given.  I’d already knocked on the door, and there was nobody home, but as I watched I saw a VW Beetle pull up, and a blonde haired women in her late thirties get out.

 

She had a green padded sleeveless jerkin on over a brown knitted cap sleeved cardigan, a black long sleeved top with a dropped neck under that, blue jeans and red leather boots under them.  As she moved the passenger seat forward, an eleven year old girl got out, smiling as her blonde hair blew in the wind.

 

She wore a jerkin, with a pale blue trim and a tartan print in blue and black, a pair of jeans and black slipper shoes, while a long woollen spotted scarf was around her neck. 

 

I watched as they carried some shopping bags into the house, and then got out of the car, walking across the road with my gloved hands in my pocket.  As I approached the driveway, the mother came out and picked up the last of the bags, closing the car doors before she called out “Help me put things away Fiona – your dad will be hours yet.”

 

As she walked in, I walked as silently as I could behind her, thanking my stars she did not turn round as she kicked the door to.  I stopped it with my foot, slipped in and then shut it as if the wind had pushed it in, and it had swung to again.

 

Taking the stocking from my jacket pocket, I pulled it over my head, and then made my way down the hallway to the kitchen.

 

“Put the tins away Fiona,” her mother said without looking round – but I allowed her to put the milk in the fridge and close the door before I hand gagged her from behind, and whispered “Not a sound – we don’t want to scare your daughter, do we?”

 

“Nnniddnnt,” she mumbled as I guided her to a seat, and helped her to sit down, before I removed my hand and stood in front of her.

 

“Oh my,” she said as I sat down, “I’ve heard of you – but we don’t have anything you can steal...”

 

“I’ll be the judge of that,” I said quietly, “but right now, the question is, will you and Fiona play a game of robbers with me?”

 

She smiled, and slipped off her jerkin, as she said “I know she’d like to – but do you promise not to hurt us?”

 

“Of course – when does your husband get home?”

 

She looked at the clock, which showed it was three in the afternoon.  “About six,” she said quietly, “what are you going to do?”

 

“What I always do,” I said quietly, “you have to tell her this is a game, and you are both going to play, then I secure and silence you both before I take what I can find.  Now, I need you to stand up, turn round and cross your wrists behind your back – and then we can begin.  By the way, what’s your name?”

 

“It’s Fiona – we named her after me.”

 

“Then you are both very brave,” I said as she stood up with me, and I pulled a length of rope from my bag.

 

“Fiona?”

 

The young girl looked up from the couch, where she was lying reading a bag, and then jumped up, her hands to her mouth as she saw me behind her mother, the stocking over my head and her mother’s arms behind my back.

 

“Oh my goodness,” she said quietly, “it’s really you isn’t it?”

 

“That’s right,” I said with a smile, “I’m here to play a game of robbers with you and your mother.  Will you play with us?”

 

Fiona looked at her mother, who nodded and said “It’s all right, love – let’s play the game with this man.”  She then looked at me and said “How do we play?”

 

“You can start by pulling the curtains to,” I said as I looked to the windows, “and then lying face down on that comfortable looking couch again, and putting your hands behind your back.  I need to make sure you and your mother stay in one place while I look for your valuables.”

 

“All... All right,” Fiona said as she walked to the windows, and drew the brown curtains over them.  I could see she was shivering, but wasn’t sure if it was fear or excitement.

 

“Now,” I said as I sat her mother down, and looked at Fiona, “I’m just going to make sure your mother cannot move very easily from this chair, and then I’m going to do what I can to stop you moving from that couch, all right?”

 

Fiona nodded as she lay down, turning her head and watching as I crossed her mother’s ankles, and tied them tightly together, as well as her legs below her knees. 

 

“it’s all right, Fiona, it doesn’t hurt,” she said as I walked over to her daughter, and bound her wrists together behind her back, before I bound her ankles and legs in the same way as her mother.  Helping her to sit up, I then tied some rope around her waist, fixing her wrists against her back, as well as her lower arms and stomach, and finally her upper arms and shoulders, each time making sure it was tightly cinched.

 

Her mother already had her wrists tied to her back with rope around her waist, so Fiona watched as I bound her mother’s arms to her side, taking it above and below her chest.  “Now,” I said as I stood up, “can I trust you two to keep quiet while I have a look round, or do I need to keep you from talking?”

 

“We’ll be quiet,” her mother said, so I left them talking quietly as I went and looked round.

 

There really was not a lot – a few pieces of costume jewellery and a pearl necklace in both their rooms – but I wanted this to be as real as possible for her, so I put them in my pocket, and then walked downstairs.

 

“Thank you,” I said as I closed the door, “but it is time for me to keep your quiet now.”

 

“Will you do something for me,” Fiona said as she looked at me.

 

“What would that be, Fiona?”

 

“Will you tie my mother and me back to back?”

 

I looked at her mother, who nodded in agreement, so I moved them so that they were sitting on a rug on the floor, and used some more rope to tie their waists and upper bodies together.  I watched as they grabbed each other’s fingers, before I said “Now, open wide please.”

 

I pushed a folded cloth into each of their mouths, before using a rolled up and knotted scarf to keep that in place, then micropore tape around their heads to keep that gag in.  I could see the excitement in Fiona’s eyes at that point, as I said “Right – start trying to escape – if you want to.”

 

“Fnkuu,” her mother mumbled to me as I left them alone, and returned to my car.  Once inside, I scribbled a little note on a piece of white paper.

 

You and your mother need to visit Fiona now – the door is unlocked.

The man who played the game.

 

Pushing that into the velvet bag that held the jewellery, I drove to the house I had visited the previous Thursday, put the bag on the door step, rang the doorbell and walked quickly away.  From a safe distance, I saw the dark haired girl open the door, pick up the bag, look inside and read the note.

 

“MUM!” I heard her call out, and then I returned to the car.

 

And now Fiona Parr, a very brave girl, has passed on – and I shed a tear for her.

 

********

 

And now for something completely different, as Monty Python used to say.  I was on a business trip in Denmark, in a city called Aarhus, and on my weekend off I decided to go to another nearby town and soak up some of the local atmosphere.

 

While I was walking down the main street, I saw a young woman and her daughter walking out of a bespoke jeweller.  The woman was in her late twenties, and wore one of those white hats with ear flaps on her head, as well as a dark thick quilted jacket.  Her dark trousers were tucked into a pair of slightly baggy knee length brown boots.

 

Her daughter looked about nine, and had a parka jacket on, with a woolly hat and a thick blue scarf wrapped round her neck.  I could see her pale grey skirt, white tights and short black boots as they walked hand in hand down the street.

 

Well, you guessed it – I was intrigued to see if I could visit them, so I followed them to a local bus, then out to a lovely little estate consisting of bungalows, watching as they went into one.  There was no car in the driveway, and looking at my watch I figured Daddy was probably at work or out.

 

The one drawback was no shops in the area, so if I was going to play a game with them, I would have to improvise with whatever they had in the house.  Still, it was an expensive jeweller, and I decided to go in and see what happens.  If I was wrong about Daddy, then I would get out sharpish.

 

So I pulled my own scarf up over my nose and mouth, looked round, and went up to their front door, turning the handle and letting myself in.   I stood in the doorway for a while, listening carefully, but there were no male voices – only the mum and daughter laughing somewhere.

 

They seemed to be having a good time, so I made my way into the kitchen, and started to look for something I could use to secure them.  There was some washing line, and I put that in my back pocket, but before I could find anything else I heard a little voice saying something in Danish behind me.  Vend og ansigt mig, skurk.”

 

I turned round, and had to stop myself laughing at the sight before me.  It was the daughter, her brown hair falling down her head, but her outfit was – cute, and different.  She had on some sort of pink body stocking, with a cape attached to the neckline that came in a scallop shape down her back to her knees.  She had silver bracelets on her arms, a silver girdle and short skirt, and knee length silver boots.

 

So there she was, standing in front of me, pointing her finger at me and with a serious look on her face, so I smiled and said “And how are you going to stop me, little heroine?”

 

She looked at me, as I suddenly realised she did not speak English, because the next thing she said was “Min superhelt mor og jeg vil stoppe dig!”  She then walked towards me, her fists raised as if she wanted to fight.

 

Well, this was going to be an interesting visit, as I easily grabbed her and put my gloved hand over my mouth.  As she struggled, I heard her mother call out ” Hvor er du, lille engel?”  I held her daughter as the footsteps approached – and in walked her mother, tall, slim, and dressed exactly like her daughter, save for the higher heels on her boots.

 

She looked at me, and then saw the knife I had picked up and was holding out of sight of her daughter.  ”I presume you speak English,” I said through my scarf, ”so you need to tell your daughter this is part of a game you have arranged, all right?”

 

The mother looked at me, and then said ” Åh nej, lille engel, det er vores nemesis, Tørklæde Man!”  The girl’s eyes widened, and then she looked up at me.

 

”I told her you are one of  our archenemies – I presume this is a robbery?”

 

I nodded, and said ”Yes, but for the sake of your daughter, I need you to pretend that this is part of the game you are playing.  Tell her I’ve come to make sure neither you or... I’m sorry, what are you calling yourselves?”

 

”I,” her mother said as she stood with her hands on her hips, ”am Magnificent Mother, and she is Little Angel, protectors of the city.”

 

”Okay, then I need to make sure the two protectors are kept out of my way.  I want you to tell her to play along with the game, and allow you both to be captured.”

 

She nodded, and then said to the little girl ” Han har brugt strålerne fra sin pistol til at svække og fange os - vi er ved hans nåde!”  She nodded and then relaxed in my arms, running and hugging her mother as I let her go.

 

”All right,” I said quietly, ”I’m going to use bands of FlexiSteel to keep you two superheros out of my way.  Do you have any silver tape?”

 

”In the basement,” mum said, and then she said to her daughter ” Tørklæde Man tager os til hans hemmelige hule.”  The girl nodded and raised her hands, her mother doing the same as we walked down to the very large basement.  There, on the shelves, were indeed rolls of duct tape.

 

Hvad vil han gøre, pragtfuld moder,” the little girl said as she looked at me.  As I picked up a roll of tape, and tossed it to her mother, I said ”Tell her I am forcing you to use this flexible steel to keep her secured, and then I will do the same to you.”

 

She nodded, and then said ” Lille engel, han tvinger mig til at binde dig med denne fleksible stål, og så hende vil binde mig. Vær modig, lille en.”  The girl nodded and sttod still as her mother taped her wrists to her side, then her lower arms around her stomach, and her upper arms to her sides.  The girl then sat on the floor, leaning against a wooden pillar as she taped her ankles and legs together.

 

”Very good,” I said as I walked over and guided her mother’s arms behind her back, ”your turn.”   I soon had her wrists crossed and tied together behind her back, and her arms taped to her body, before she sat next to her daughter and I taped her legs as well.

 

”Right,” I said as i stood up, ”Time to keep you both quiet while I lay my death trap!”  Taking the tape, I simply covered ther lips with several strips.  I didn’t want to break the illusion too much, as I left them in the cellar and raided the house.

 

Neat and simple – but still, a little bit of fun.

 

********

 

Another time when I was on business in the US, I had an opportunity to help two families to play along at the same time – purely unintentionally, of course, and mainly because I made a tiny little mistake.

 

This was in San Antonio, and I was visiting The Alamo, deciding eventually to get something to eat at the small mall that sat by the convention centre.  While I was there, a woman and what I took to be her twelve year old daughter were sitting at a table opposite, chatting away happily with their shopping bags beside them.  The names on the bags took my interest – all high class boutiques.

 

They had very expensive looking soft leather jackets on – the older woman underneath had a brightly coloured and patterned outfit on, like a combination top and shorts, with shoulder straps visible under her open jacket.  The young girl wore a crimson top with a design of a pair of swans picked out in diamante, and a pair of checked shorts.  Both women had long dark hair, and there was enough in their complexion to suggest they were Hispanic.

 

As they stood up, a letter slipped from one of their bags, and I stooped to pick it up.  Noting the address, I handed it back as they walked off, and headed to my hotel room.  I needed to pick some things up and then get into my hire car…

 

 

The house was a hacienda, on an estate a few miles out of the city centre, and as I looked around there were no obvious signs of a man around.   Still, I had to take precautions, so I picked up a clipboard, and adjusted the baseball cap I had on.  A false moustache on my upper lip, a pair of workman’s overalls, and a pair of dark glasses, and I was ready.

 

Walking up to the front door, I knocked on it, and was pleasantly surprised when it was opened by the twelve year old girl, who said “Can I help you?”

 

“Sorry to disturb you,” I said as I touched my cap, “but can I speak to your father please?”

 

“My father is dead,” she said quietly.

 

“Oh – my apologies, can I speak to the man of the house please?”

 

“Who is it Maria,” I heard her mother call, and then she came to the door.

 

“Sorry to disturb you M’am,” I said politely, “I’m conducting a survey in the area, and I wanted to speak to the head of the household.”

 

“Then you may speak to me – there are no other men in the house,” she said as she shooed Maria away, “How can I help you?”

 

“Can I take your name first please?”

 

“It is Consuela Martinez.”

 

“Well, Consuela,” I said as I took my gun from my pocket and gently pushed her in, “Keep very quiet and do exactly what I say, all right?”

 

I heard her mumble a little prayer and continued by saying “I’m just going to rob your house, but I need to keep you and your daughter out of the way, so you’re going to pretend we’re playing a game, all right?”

 

She nodded and called out “Maria, can you come here please?”  The young girl came out, looked at me, looked at her mother and said “Is this a drill, mama?”

 

“It is a drill, dear,” the mother replied, “so we will do whatever this man says, all right?  Where do you want us to go?”

 

I had my usual rucksack with me, filled with supplies bought at a hardware store out of town, so I said “Let’s go to your bedroom, Consuela.”  She led me to a nice, neatly furnished downstairs room, where I told them both to sit on the bed while I took my rucksack off, and fished out a roll of duct tape.

 

“Now, I need to make sure you are kept out of the way,” I said quietly as I passed the tape to Consuela.  “Maria, make balls with your fists, and your mother will tape them over.  Then lie down, on your tummy, with your hands behind your back.”

 

I watched as her mother made two little silver fist mitts, and then as Maria lay down I returned the favour to her, before binding her wrists tightly together with some rope.  Securing her arms to her side with a band above and below her chest, I then told her to lie on the other side of Maria, while I crossed and secured her wrists behind her own back, then helped her to sit up as I tied rope around her waist and her stomach to hold her arms in place. 

 

“You’re both playing this drill very well,” I said as they then lay side by side, watching as I crossed and tied their ankles together, and then secured them to the metal foot of the bed to stop them moving around.   More rope went round their legs below their knees, before I said “Now, Consuela, before I make sure you both keep nice and quiet, where is your jewellery?”

 

“Mama has no jewellery,” Maria said as she looked at me, “that all belongs to Miss Carson.”

 

“Miss Carson?”

 

“My employer – I am her housekeeper,” Consuela said, smiling at me as I heard a car draw up.

 

“Not a word – this is still a drill,” I said as I listened to the front door opening and closing, a little girl giggling and laughing as two pairs of footsteps walked past.  I had made a slight error of judgement, but I had a way of dealing with it.

 

“Time to be quiet,” I said as took two cloths from my bag, “Open wide.”  It only took a moment or two to push the cloths into their mouths, and then tape their lips over, saying “I need to do the drill for your employer now.”  The two of them nodded as I picked up my rucksack, and slipped out, listening to the giggles as I approached the front room.

 

A young woman, probably about thirty, was kneeling in front of a couch, tickling the feet of an eight year old girl.  The girl was wearing a light pink long sleeved top and a pink pinafore dress with a floral print, which came down over her knees.  She had long blonde hair, and was giggling away as her mother tickled the soles of her feet.

 

Her mother had short black hair, and wore a short sleeved yellow blouse over a pair of black pants.  From my angle, I could see a black scarf with a floral and polka dot pattern tied round her neck.

 

“Hello Miss Carson,” I said as I walked in, the woman turning and staring at me, “Sorry to interrupt, but I am here for the drill and game you arranged with the security company.”

 

“Drill?  Game?”

 

“You remember – we do a mock home invasion, as a game, so that you and yoru daughter know what to do if a real one takes place.  It’s a big game, remember?”  I showed her my gun as I said this, then put it away before her daughter saw.  Miss Carson understood, however, as she said “Where are Consuela and Maria?”

 

“they started playing a little while ago,” I said as I looked at her duaghter.  “I’ll take you to see them later, but I first need to make sure you and – what is you name, my dear?”

 

“I’m Abigail,” the little girl said as she smiled ta me.

 

“That you and Abigail cannot stop the bad robber from stealing your things,” I said aas I looked at her mother.  “You understand what you must do?”

 

I relaxed a little as she nodded, and then said “Abi, this man is going to play a game of robbers with us.  Watch what he does to me, and then he will do the same to you, all right?”

 

“All right Mummy,” Abigail said as I looked at her.  “Good girl,” I said as I slipped off my rucksack and took out some more rope.  I wasn’t going to tape their hands – for one thing, I had no more tape.  For another, I knew Miss Carson would behave.

 

“Now, your mummy is going to put her hands behind her back, and I’m going to make sure she can’t move them,” I said as I crossed her wrisst and started to tie them tightly together with rope, before tying more rope around her waist to secure them there.  “that didn’t hurt, did it mummy,” I then said, Miss Carson nodding as I walked over to Abigail and did the same to her.

 

“Can we lie on mummy’s bed later – it’s nice and soft,” the girl said as I tied her wrists together, keeping the rope over the cuffs of her top, and then tied them to her back.  “I think that will be all right – Maria is lying next to Consuela,” I said as I tied the rope off, and then looked at them both.

 

“Would you like to see them,” I said with a smile, and Abigail nodded her head as she stood up.  I took he rmother by the arm, walked them to the bedroom and let them look in.

 

“Cooo,” Abigail said as she walked pu to the bed, “They really can’t move, can they?”

 

Maria shook her head as Consuela said “mssssreemsscrtr” to Abigail’s mother.

 

“It’s all right, Consuela,” she said quietly, “I understand.”

 

“Will we be like them?”

 

“Not quite,” I said as I led them out, and closed the door.  With my rucksack in one hand, and Miss Carter’s amr in my other, we went upstairs and into the master bedroom.

 

“why don’t you both sit on the bed,” I said as I pointed to the large four poster, “and I’ll make sure Mummy cannot move her legs, then take care of you Abigail.”

 

Taking the rope again, I crossed and bound her mother’s ankles together, and then her legs below her knees.   I did the same then to Abigail, loving the way she giggled as I tickled her bound feet, then folded her skirt up, tied her legs together and folded them back down.

 

“Now, I need to do two things,” I said to them.  “I need to make sure you keep quiet, and then I need to make sure you cannot see.  Before I do that, however, I need to make sure your arms stay where they are.”  So the next thing I did was tie mummy’s arms to her sides around her stomach, and then did the same to Abigail – so that she was not scared she was different.

 

“Where do you keep your scarves, Miss Carson?”

 

She indicated a drawer, and as I opened it I took out three scarves – one smaller, two larger.  Folding the smaller one, I said “watch carefully Abigail – I need to keep your mummy quiet, but you need to see it will not hurt you.  Open your mouth, Miss Carson.”

 

“Please, don’t hurt her.”

 

“I won’t” I said as I pushed the scarf in, and then rolled and tied a knot in one of the larger ones, pulling that between her lips and tying it off round her neck.  I then folded the third scarf into a band and tied it over her eyes.

 

Putting my finger to my lips, Abigail watched as I untied the scarf around her mother’s neck, shook it out, folded it and held it in front of her mouth.   She nodded, and allowed me to push it in, before I fetched two more scarves from the drawer.  I rolled one up into a band and pulled it between the young girl’s lips, tying it off before the second one went over her eyes.

 

I found quite a few nice pieces that day, watching as Abigail slid down and snuggled in next to her mother.  I actually heard her start to snore, and realised she had fallen asleep as I left them to their peaceful rest.

 

********

 

 

Did I ever tell you I have a fan club?  Nothing official, no Facebook page or Yahoo group or anything like that, but there are a group of young girls that…  It may be easier if I start at the beginning, about six months ago.

 

I had a visit planned to the home of the owner of a chain of estate agents.  He lived in a nice detached house in a nice estate, and had a nice wife and a nice nine year old daughter.  I did all my checks, ensured there was nobody who might recognise me, and then on a Saturday afternoon I drove to the house and parked on the street outside.

 

I walked casually up to the door, looked round and let myself in, rolling down the balaclava I had on my head to cover my face, and slowly made my way down the downstairs hallway.  I could see the mother sitting at the dining room table, reading the paper, but her daughter was out of earshot.

 

So I did my customary thing – I walked in, put my gloved hand over her mouth, and said quietly “Hello Vera – please, don’t scream.  I don’t want you to scare Violet, and I don’t think you do either, do you?”

 

Vera immediately put her hands on my arm, and then shook her head, her frizzed light brown hair waving as she did so.  “Good,” I said as I slipped my rucksack off, and removed a length of cord from the pocket, “please lean forward and put your hands behind your back.”

 

I removed my hand and watched as she did so, and then tied her wrists tightly together.  “What do you want,” she whispered as I made sure the binding was nice and tight.

 

“I’m going to rob you, Vera, but I don’t want your lovely daughter to be too upset, so you’re going to pretend this is a game, and you’re both going to play.  All right?”

 

Vera nodded as I helped her to stand up, and looked at her.  She wore a grey sleeveless jerkin over a white cap sleeved top, blue jeans and brown sandals.  A silver necklace hung round her neck.

 

“Now then,” I said as I tied some rope around her upper body, above and below her chest, to lock her arms in place, “Where is Violet, your daughter?”

 

“She’s in her room,” Vera said quietly as she tried to move her arms.

 

“Right then,” I said as I picked up my rucksack, “let’s go and play the game with her.”

 

So far, so good, as I made my way up the stairs with Vera.  We stopped outside a dark wood door, and I knocked as Vera said “Violet, can I come in?”

 

“Sure mum,”

 

“Now then,” I said as I opened the door, “Hello Violet, I have…”

 

Well, I was surprised to see not one, but two nine year old girls there.  I recognised Violet from my research – she had long blonde hair, and was wearing a pink t-shirt, black jeans and biker boots made of black leather.

 

The other girl was slightly smaller, with lighter brown hair, and was wearing a grey dress with a light white and pink rose print.  She was barefoot, and her dress was held up by shoulder straps.

 

“Evey,” Vera said with a slightly frightened voice, “I didn’t know you’d come in.”

 

“She arrived a few minutes ago and came right in, Mum – who’s this?”

 

“Your mother asked me to come and play a game of robbers with you, Violet – would Evey like to play too?”

 

“That’s right, Violet,” Vera said, “so you do what he says, and we can all play together, all right?”

 

For a moment, I thought I saw a grin on the faces of the two girls, and then Violet said “All right – what do we need to do?”

 

They were sitting on a large double bed, so I said “Both of you, lie face down and put your hands behind your back.  I’m going to use some rope to tie you both up, then I’ll go and secure your mother before I come back to keep you both quiet.  If you promise not to scream and shout. I won’t do that until I go.”

 

“We promise,” they both said as they lay down.  I crossed their wrists behind their backs, and tied them together with cord, before crossing and tying their ankles together, then securing their legs below their knees.

 

Getting them both to sit on the edge of the bed after that, I tied some rope around their waists to keep their wrists locked to their backs, then tied some rope around their lower arms and stomachs.

 

“There now,” I said as Violet twisted her ankles round, “Can I trust you both to stay here?”

 

“I don’t know,” Evey said, “we may try to free each other.”

 

“Not if I do this,” I said as I took a roll of duct tape from my bag, and taped their fists over. 

 

“No, if you do that, we just sit here,” Violet said as I took her mother by the arm.  “Good – I’m going to make your mother secure, then look for her jewellery, and then I’ll come back to see both of you, all right?”

 

They nodded as I took Vera to her bedroom, helped her to lie down, and then tied her ankles as well as her legs below her knees.  For the next fifteen minutes, she told me where her jewellery was, I promised it would be a game for the girls, and then I put a folded scarf into her mouth, before winding white medical tape around her head.

 

“Now wait there – I’ll bring the girls to you,” I said as I went back to their room, closing the door behind me as I went in.

 

“I’ve heard of you,” Evey said, “This isn’t a game is it?  You’re really robbing Violet’s mum and dad.”

 

Well, I always try to be honest so I said “Yes – does that frighten you?”

 

“Are you kidding – this is incredibly exciting!!  I just wish this was my house, and it was my mother that you were tying up as well.”

 

“Oh?  Does she have a lot of nice jewellery?”

 

“She does,” Violet said, “like my mum.  So you’re a real thief?  What now – you gag us to keep us quiet?”

 

“I’m afraid so, but I promised your mother I’d take you to her as well.”

 

“All right,” Violet said, “Will you do to us what you did to her?”

 

I nodded, and looked in her cupboard, taking out two hankies and folding them up.  “Open wide,” I said to Violet first, as I pushed the hankie in and then wound the tape round her head.  “I’ll be back in a minute,” I said as I picked the nine year old up, and carried her out of the room.

 

When I came back, Evey said “If I tell you where I live, do you think you could come and play this game with me and my mummy as well?”

 

“What’s your mummy’s name?”

 

“She’s Elizabeth.”

 

“Well, Evey, tell me where you live.”  She gave me an address a couple of streets away, before I pushed the cloth in her mouth and taped her over.  I then carried her into the master bedroom, and laid her on the other side of Vera from Violet.

 

The two girls looked at each other as I picked up my bag, wished them good luck in escaping, and them made my own exit.

 

For a few days, I ummed and aahed about whether or not I would fulfil Evey’s request – and then an unexpected bill came up.

 

One I needed to raise funds for quickly…

 

So, the next day and much against my better judgement, I found myself outside the address that Evey had given me, with my rucksack on my back.  I had done some initial checking, and had actually sat in my car for some time before a man I presumed to be her father drove off, and only then did I walk up around her corner of the street the house was on, and let myself into the back garden through a gate.

 

The garden was empty, fortunately for me, as I slipped the nylon stocking over my head, adjusted my leather gloves, and made my way up to the kitchen door.  As I went along the corridor, I could hear the television was on, but no sound of Evey or anyone else.  It was only when I made my way up the stairs that I started to hear someone.

 

I could see Evey’s mother, Elizabeth, making up the bed in a room.  She had hair of the same colour as Evey, but cut shorter, and she was wearing a long sleeved beige top with thin white horizontal stripes, a pair of patterned leggings and knee length brown leather boots.

 

Her gasp as I grabbed and hand gagged her was particularly satisfying, as I said “Quiet now – don’t want to scare your daughter, do we?”

 

“Whtssgnggnn,” she mumbled as I held her close to me.

 

“Please, stay calm,” I said quietly, “I just want to steal your valuables, but I know your daughter is in the house, so I want you to pretend this is a game you’re going to play with her, all right?”

 

I smiled as she nodded her head, so I removed my hand and said “What’s your name?”

 

“Elizabeth,” she whispered, “please, leave my baby alone.”

 

“I need to make sure she cannot raise the alarm as well, Elizabeth, but I will be gentle.  Now, please, put your hands behind your back and stand still.”

 

I soon had Elizabeth’s wrists snugly bound behind her back, and used some more rope to hold them against her back, before I tied her arms to her side with rope under her chest and around her shoulders.

 

“Now then,” I said as I tied the ropes off, “What is your daughter’s name, and where is she?”

 

“Evey – she’s downstairs watching television.”

 

“All right then,” I said with a smile, “let’s go down and tell her the game is about to start.”  I took her arm, picked up my rucksack, and walked her down the stairs, and into the front room.

 

Evey was sitting there as Elizabeth had said, watching television as she sat on a blue couch.  She was wearing a pink cardigan with capped sleeves over a matching top, and denim shorts, and she said as she looked up “Mum, who’s this,” without a hint she knew who I was.

 

The surprise was that Violet was sitting next to her, in a pink vest which had the CND symbol on it, and a pair of white Capri pants.  Both girls were barefoot as they looked t the two of us, so I gave Elizabeth a little prodding.

 

“Girls,” she said quietly, “this man has come to play a game with us.”

 

“What sort of game,” Violet said, and I could tell she could barely contain her excitement.

 

“I’m going to pretend to be a robber,” I said as I smiled at both of them, “which means I need to stop your mother and both of you from being the bad man I am.  It means you won’t be able to move for a while, but it won’t hurt you, all right?”

 

“Has he hurt you, Mum,” Evey said as she looked at the ropes around her mother’s body.

 

“No he hasn’t, so please play with me girls,” she said as she sat down.

 

Now, I wasn’t going to tie them like last time, so I said “I don’t have time to tie you both with rope, so I want you both to hold your hands out in front of you, as if you are praying.”

 

Violet and Evey looked at each other, and then did as I asked, watching as I used some duct tape to secure their hands and wrist together, then knelt down and taped their ankles and feet together.

 

As I started to tape Evey’s legs together below her knees, she whispered into my ear “Can we talk to you without Mum here?”  I nodded slightly as I tore the tape loose and smoother it down, then repeated the process on Violet.

 

“Right then,” I said as I stood up, “You two sit still and watch television while I take your mother and make her tell me where your nice things are.  I’ll be back to check on you though!”

 

“We’ll be good,” Violet whimpered as I helped Elizabeth to stand up, and took her back to her bedroom.  Using more ropes to secure her legs, I soon had her lying on her side, her ankles connected to her chest ropes, and tape covering the folded cloth I had pushed into her mouth, while I took some of her jewellery.

 

“Right – don’t move while I take care of the kids – and don’t worry, they’ll be fine,” I said as I left her on the bed, and then walked downstairs, taking two small silk squares with me.

 

“Wow – you actually came,” Evey panted as I walked in and closed the door, “thank you.”

 

“Yeah, well – never tell your mother this was your idea,” I said as I sat them back to back, bent their legs and taped their wrist to their legs above their knees, “So have you enjoyed it?”

 

“Oh yes,” Violet said, “it’s just a pity Ivy isn’t here.”

 

“Another friend,” I said as I taped them together around their tummies.

 

“Yeah – Violet and I wish she would play tie-up games with us, we ask her, but she’s too scared.”

 

“Well, this can be a scary thing to some people.”

 

“Not the way you play it,” Evey said, “so we were wondering…”

 

“Hold on,” I said as I looked at them, “if you’re suggesting I visit her as well…”

 

“We think if she knew it wasn’t a scary thing, she would play with us.  Please?”

 

I looked at their faces, their eyes pleading, and shook my head.  “I’m losing my touch,” I said to myself.  “Where does she live?”

 

They gave me an address, before I pushed a scarf into each of their mouths and smoothed several strips of duct tape over their mouths.  “No promises,” I said as I looked at them, smiling as they waved their taped hands at me before I left.

 

When I did some research on Ivy’s parents, however, it was obvious they had some interest to me as well, so she went on my list for the future…

It was a month or so later when I reviewed my schedule, and decided that maybe it was time to see what this house I had been told about had to offer.  Ivy’s father was a local radio DJ, and I knew her was on air between 2 and 5, which made that the ideal time to do a home visit and play the game.

 

So I pulled up outside the house, looked round and let myself into the front door.  I had adopted the ginger beard, glasses and balaclava for this visit, and I had come equipped just in case she had any friends at home.

 

The lower floor was empty, but as I stood in the kitchen doorway I could see Ivy’s mother hanging out washing outside.  She was wearing a pale blue cardigan and faded denim jeans, but I could see the orange hem of a top as she reached up to peg some sheets up.

 

Seeing she was occupied, I decided that for this game, finding young Ivy and telling her it was a game was going to be the best course of action, so I retreated back into the house and made my way quietly up the stairs.  As I walked along, I could hear giggling getting louder – and more than one voice at that.  So I was glad I got more supplies as I found the door in question, turned the handle, opened the door, walked in…

 

And saw Violet and Evey sitting either side of their friend Ivy, who had her back to the door.  Violet was wearing an orange top with a green V-neck on the front, jeans and trainers.  Evey had on a purple hoodie, jeans with turned up cuffs on the legs, and a pair of sandals.  They both looked at me, and then put their hands to their mouths as Violet said “Oh god, Ivy – it’s a masked robber.”

 

The third girl turned and looked at me, eyes wide in shock.  She had short dark hair, and was wearing a white t-shirt with Minnie Mouse and pink bows on the front, dark blue jeans and sandals.

 

“Don’t scream, girls,” I said as I closed the door.  “I’m here to play a game of robbers with you, and then to pretend to steal things, but I’m afraid you need to start playing before your mother.”

 

“A game?”  Ivy looked at her two friends, and I could see she was wondering if they put me up to it.

 

“Don’t believe him, Ivy,” Violet said, “I think he’s a real robber, and he’s going to tie us up.  He visited our houses before!  If we don’t do what he says, he might get angry with us.”

 

“That’s right,” Evey said, “he taped us together that time, and we had to wriggle for hours before we could get free, because we wouldn’t do as he said.”

 

“But I don’t want to be tied up,” Ivy said, and I could see she was afraid, so I said “Look, I promise you all it will do is to stop you moving, it won’t hurt.  I’ll take care of your friends first, then you, all right?  All three of you, sit down in front of me nice and still.”

 

I had a number of pairs of sports socks in my bag, so I took three out and handed one to each of them.  “Put these over your hands,” I said, “they will protect your wrists, and make it a little more difficult for you to get free.”  Once they had done that, I walked behind then, knelt behind Violet and tied her wrists together, hands covered palm to covered palm, before wrapping some rope around her waist.  Once I had done the same to Evey, Ivy looked at them and said “Does it hurt?”

 

“No – it feels funny and tight, but it doesn’t hurt.  Just let him do it, Ivy.”

 

Slowly, Ivy moved her hands behind her back, looking over her shoulder as I used some more cord to tie her wrists together, and then to her back with a band around her waist.

 

“See,” I said as I tied the knot off between her arms and her back, “it’s not as scary as you thought, is it?”

 

Ivy shook her head as I took three more ropes out, and tied their arms to their bodies in the double figure of eight just below their elbows.  As she wriggled her body round, Ivy looked at the other two said “It’s actually not that bad is it…”

 

Now, that was when I heard footsteps approaching, so I stood behind the door and waited as Ivy’s mother came in, took one look at the three girls, and then would have screamed had I not put my gloved hand over her mouth.

 

“Excuse us a moment,” I said as I walked Ivy’s mother out of the door, and down the corridor a little as the girls talked together.

 

“Now,” I whispered as I held her mother, “Don’t scream or shout.  I am a robber, I am here to rob you, but for the sake of those three girls, you have to behave as if this is a game, understand?”

 

“Btuvfftedthmp,” she mumbled.

 

“Yes I have, and I will tie you up as well, and I will make sure you all stay quiet, but it need not be something they fear.  So will you play along with me?”

 

She nodded, so I removed my hand and said “Very slowly, cross your wrists behind your back.”

 

As I tied her wrists together, she whispered “You’re that robber who convinces the kids you’re playing a game, aren’t you?”

 

“That’s right – Ivy and her friends think this is a game, and it needs to stay that way, all right?  Now, let’s go back in and talk to the three of them.”

 

I led her back into the room, as she said “I’m sorry girls – it seems this man is going to rob us, so be brave,  all right?”

 

“All right, Mum,” Ivy said as they watched me tie her mother’s arms to her sides with more rope.  Of course, Violet and Evey had seen this before, but Ivy could see how worried her mother was, so she said “It’s all right mum, he hasn’t hurt us.”

 

“Good – he said he wouldn’t do that,” she said as I knelt down and crossed Ivy’s ankles, before tying them tightly together with more cords.  I then tied her legs together below her knees, watching her watching me.

 

The other two soon had their legs tied as well, before I said “Right – I need to take Ivy’s mother to another room and leave her there, but I need to make sure you three can’t get out of this room.”  Taking more rope, I tied their ankles to each other, and then left them to it as I took Mum to her bedroom.

 

“You’re going to gag all of us, aren’t you,” she said as I sat her on the bed, then started to bind her ankles together.

 

“Yes, I am,” I said as I bound her legs together, “but it won’t be that bad.  Now, your jewellery boxes and any safe – where are they?”

 

She pointed out the wardrobe and some drawers for me to look into, and watched as I took what I wanted, and then produced a sponge ball and a roll of white tape from my bag.

 

“Just open wide,” I said as I squashed the ball, “this will feel a little uncomfortable to begin with, but it will soon settle.”

 

She nodded as I pushed the sponge in, then waited as she closed her lips over it before winding the tape round her head to seal her lips.  She then watched as I put her valuables in my bag, helped her to lie on her side while I tied her ankles to the chest ropes, and then returned to Ivy’s bedroom.

 

The three girls were sitting against her bed, talking to each other as I came in.  “I need to go now,” I said as I opened the bag, “but I need to make sure you can’t talk to each other for a while.  Open your mouths – this won’t hurt.”

 

“Where’s mummy,” Ivy said as she watched me push a sponge ball into Violet’s mouth, then put a long strip of the white tape over her lips.  Her eyes widened when she saw the shape of her friend’s lips under the tape, as Violet said “Tssllrrttssfn.”

 

“Are you sure,” Ivy said as I did the same to Evey.  She nodded as I brushed Ivy’s hair from her forehead, and said “I promise, it’s not that bad.  Open wide, and don’t try to cough.”

 

“Wllddthsm,” Evey said as Ivy allowed me to push the sponge in, and then covered her mouth with a strip of the tape, before I tied their ankles to the ropes around their stomachs as they sat there.  “Now, you can try to escape,” I said as I left them there, and made my escape.

 

So there we were – three robberies, and all had something in common.  I don’t particularly like it when it happens, and it did, so I hoped they enjoyed the experience, and I would not meet them again.

 

Some wish…

 

********

 

I’ll get back to those kids later, but I want to tell a different tale first – one which had a few different surprises.

 

This family lived in the posher part of Edinburgh, and I had researched them for some time.  I knew the father worked at the Halifax Bank of Scotland head office, and mother was a school teacher.  They had three kids, aged 11, 10 and 8, all girls.  And I also knew that on this particular night, the parents were going to a bank dinner, black tie and all.  A perfect time to get the babysitter to play with me, I thought.

 

Now I was visiting on business, but I had my trusty rucksack and supplies, just no car.  Having said that, it was a short bus ride, and in Edinburgh if you wrap up warm, nobody notices really, so I just caught the bus out, walked down the crescent of Georgian terraced houses, found the one I was looking for, and opened the door with my skeleton keys.

 

I could hear at least two of the girls laughing somewhere in the house, as I slipped the stocking over my head and slowly crept down the long, thin corridor.  I made it to the front room and looked in, but it was empty.

 

Then I heard the babysitter says “Janice, Morag, calm down.  Your sister is in bed and trying to sleep.”

 

“Yes, Granny,” I heard two young voices call as I stood behind the door in the room, listening to the footsteps approaching.  Granny?  Interesting, as I held my breath and watched the door open.

 

She was about five nine tall – just slightly shorter than me – with long brown hair that had plenty of grey at the edges.  With her back to me, I could see she had on a black round necked top, grey flecked trousers and a pair of blue slippers.  There was a cord round her neck, I presumed the string for a pendant of some type.

 

Not that made much of a difference as I hand gagged her and grabbed her from behind, saying “Not a sound – don’t want to scare the kids, do we,” as I showed her my gun.  She shook her head from side to side, and then nodded as I said “Not a sound – just walk over to the chair, kneel in front of it, and put your hands behind your back.”

 

The nice grandmother did as I asked, kneeling down as I took my rucksack off, took some cord out and tied her wrists tightly together, hands palm to palm.  I cinched the rope, and then for added security tied her thumbs together with a piece of string.

 

“Look,” she said as she looked over her shoulder, “I can’t stop you robbing the house, but please leave the girls alone.  They’ve done nothing wrong.”

 

“Neither have you,” I said as I tied her wrists to her back with rope around her waist, “but I need to make sure they can’t interrupt me at work as well.  What I will do is make it a game for them – tell them their parents arranged this as a special surprise game, and they just need to play along.”

 

“Why?”

 

“That way, they don’t get as scared,” I said as I helped her to stand up.  “Now, where are they?”

 

“Morag and Janice are playing dress up in Morag’s room.  Wee Kerry is in her bed – she has a cold.”  The woman then went pale and said “Please – not her as well.”

 

“Don’t worry, she’ll be fine,” I said as I picked up my rucksack.  “Let’s take care of the two older girls first – after you.”

 

We walked back and up the staircase, and stopped outside a door.  I smiled and opened the door as we both walked in, and saw the two older girls.

 

Morag, the oldest, was wearing a white t-shirt with some characters on the front, a pair of brown jodhpurs, and what looked like a pair of her mother’s black suede boots on her legs.  They came up over her knees, as she stared at us, her blonde hair held back by a green headband.

 

Janice was wearing a black knee length dress with a pink sash around her waist, and pink details on the front, white tights and long black leather boots.  She said “who’s the man, Granny?”

 

“He’s come to play a game with us,” Granny said, “Who are you pretending to be?”

 

“We’re spies,” Morag said.

 

“Well then,” I said with a smile, “I’m the enemy agent who has managed to capture both of you before you could get the secrets from your grandmother.  I’m afraid I’ll need to keep you both here while I decide an appropriate way to dispose of you.”

 

“How are you going to do that,” Janice said as she looked at me.

 

“By tying you both up and gagging you,” I said as I showed them my gun.

 

“Is that a real gun?”

 

“IT’s a pretend one,” I said as I looked at Granny.  “But that’s the game – you pretend it’s real, so I need you two beautiful spies to put your hands on your head, and then sit on the bed.”

 

They both actually squealed as they did as I asked, and I said to Granny “Sit next to them, and don’t move.”  She walked over and sat down, as I removed my rucksack, left the ‘fake’ gun where they could all see it, and took out a length of rope, which I used to start to tie Janice’s ankles tightly together.  She giggled as I secured them, and then tied a second length of cord around her legs below her knees.

 

“I’m not going to be able to move, am I you fiend,” she said as I did the same to Morag, pulling the material of her boots tightly round her legs as I did so.

 

“That’s the idea, you lovely little spy,” I said as I stood up, “to keep you from escaping.  Right, I need you both to stand up now, hop round and only move when I tell you.”

 

They managed that with no problem, as I guided Morag’s wrists behind her back, crossed them and tied them tightly together, before securing them to her back, then doing the same for Janice.

 

“Right,” I said as I lifted Janice off her feet, and sat her on the floor, then sat Morag behind her, “I need to keep you two quiet now.”  I looked in a drawer, and found two hankies and two scarves.  I rolled the first scarf into a band, folded a hankie and said to Morag “Open wide – I’m going to put this in, then ties the scarf between your teeth to keep you from calling out.”

 

She nodded and said “I’ve seen that in films” before she allowed me to gag her.  “I can do anything my sister can,” Janice sad before I gagged her as well, and then tied their upper bodies together with rope around their waists and their shoulders.

 

“Now don’t move,” I said as I picked the gun up and helped their granny to stand, and they watched us leave.

 

“Where’s the other daughter?”

 

She nodded to two doors down, so we opened that door and went in.  Kerry was sitting in her bed, reading a book as she looked at us.

 

“Kerry,” granny said as she sat on the bed, “mummy and daddy have asked this man to come and play a game of robbers with all of us.  Now, I know you’re not feeling very well, but he thinks you can still play along.  Do you mind?”

 

Kerry was wearing a pair of pink pyjamas, with a round necked top and white cuffs, some design sin dark pink all over them.  She looked at me, and said “Will it hurt?”

 

“No it won’t” I said as I put the gun in my pocket, and took my rucksack off.  “What’s wrong with you, Kerry?”

 

“I just feel very tired.”

 

“Well, what I’m going to do is stop you from getting off the bed and moving round, and put something on your mouth to stop you talking.  Now, once I’ve finished pretending to rob your parents, I’ll bring granny back in here to stay with you, and make sure you’re all right.  Does that sound good?”

 

Kerry nodded as she said “So how are you going to stop me moving round?”

 

“With this,” I said as I took a roll of white tape from my bag.  “Can you cross your wrist in front of yourself for me?”

 

I watched as she did that, then smiled as I taped her wrists tightly together.  “Very good, Kerry – not sit up, and I’ll stop you moving your arms next.”

 

When I had taped her arms to her body at her stomach and her shoulders, I helped her to lie back down, and taped her ankles and feet together, then her legs below her knees, and finally her thighs.  When I had finished, she wriggled round and said “I’m a worm, granny!”

 

Her granny laughed as I brushed her hair from her face.  “Time to be quiet, Kerry,” I said as I tore a strip of tape off the roll, “put your lips together and smile for me.”  I smoothed the tape firmly down over her mouth, and then said “Now, I think Granny should stay with you now.  Would you like that?”

 

She nodded as I took some rope, and bound her granny’s arms to her upper body, before helping her to lie on the bed.  Kerry moved over and snuggled against her as I tied her ankles and legs, then pulled them back slightly and tied her ankles to her chest ropes.

 

“Now, granny can talk to you for a little while,” I said as I left them there, and searched the rest of the house.  Before returning to Kerry’s room, I checked the other two girls, tightened their ropes and said “you need to be kept quieter” before putting some tape over their mouths.

 

Back in Kerry’s room, I saw she had fallen asleep.  “I’m going to leave you now,” I said to her grandmother, “but I’ll get a message to someone soon.”  Holding a folded scarf in my hand, I pushed it gently into her mouth, and then wound the tape round her head, before leaving her to look after her youngest granddaughter.

 

********


So, a few weeks after the encounter with those three girls, I felt I was safe enough to visit a potential target in the next town over.  The man of the house ran a pharmacy, but it was a popular one, and he made a good living from it.

 

He had a ten year old daughter, called Paula, and I deliberately picked a Saturday as I knew he would be at his store all day.  The street they lived in was fairly quiet, with only one or two cars around, so nobody noticed me as I walked up to the front door and knocked quietly.  Not getting a reply, I let myself in, closing the door before slipping the stocking over my head.

 

I could hear some chatter in the front room, so I figured mummy and daughter were in there, having a little chat, which would make things easier for me.  So I opened the door, walked in – and suddenly my day was getting weird again.

 

Paula was indeed in the front room, wearing a pink t-shirt and a pair of pink and light tartan checked shorts, but it wasn’t her mother with her.  Her dark hair was slightly longer than the last time I had seen her, but there, in an orange t-shirt and shorts, sat Ivy.

 

“Oh my goodness,” she said as she looked at me, “it’s you, isn’t it?  The man who robbed my house before?”

 

“That’s right,” I said with a smile, “so why don’t you tell your friend what’s going to happen?”

 

“It’s all right, Paula,” Ivy said as she looked at the brown haired girl, “this is the man who played the game with me, Violet and Evey a few weeks ago.  He really is a robber, but he lets us pretend it’s a game.”

 

“A robber?  So what’s he going to do to us?”

 

“Well,” Ivy said, “he’ll stop us from moving round and talking for a while, and then do the same to your mum, but I promise it doesn’t hurt.  I was scared first time too, but I’m not now – he taught me there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

 

“That’s right,” I said as I looked at Paula.  “Just think of it as a game or an adventure, like in Nancy Drew books.”

 

“But won’t Mummy be upset?”

 

“You let me worry about your mummy, Paula – I’ll explain what’s happening to her.  Right now, I need to start the game with you two.  Why don’t you go first, Ivy – show her she has nothing to fear.”

 

I gave them both a pair of socks to put over their hands, and then crossed Ivy’s wrists behind her back and tied them tightly together, before tying the rope round her waist to hold them in place.  “There, see Paula,” she said as she turned round, “nothing to worry about.”

 

“All right then,” Paula said as she pulled the socks on, “tie me up too!”

 

So I tied her wrists behind her back, and secured them with some round her waist, before I got them both to sit on the floor and tied their ankles tightly together.  The two girls were barefoot, so I made sure it wasn’t going to hurt them, before I tied their legs together below their knees.

 

IT was just as I was passing the rope between Paula’s legs, below her knees, and tying it off behind her legs that her mother walked in.  She had shoulder length dark hair, and was wearing a pair of light green jeans, and a blur short sleeved top with a floral print on it.  She took one look at me, one look at the girls, and said “What the…”

 

“It’s all right. Mum,” Paula said as she wriggled round, “he’s playing a game with us, honest.”

 

“That’s right,” I said as I stood up and took her arm, “do they look as if they are afraid or they are enjoying themselves?”

 

She looked at Ivy and Paula, who were giggling and talking to each other, before she looked at me and said “but…”

 

“Come with me,” I said as I escorted her out of the room, “and let me explain.”

 

She had big blue eyes hidden behind a pair of glasses, which widened as I explained to her outside that I really was a robber, but I was making this a game for the girls to stop them from being too afraid. 

 

“You promise you won’t hurt them,” she said when I had finished.

 

“I promise – but you need to promise to play along as well,” I said with a smile again.  Fortunately, she agreed as I took her back in, and handed her a pair of socks, saying “Mummy has agreed to play as well, Paula, so you to sit tight while she catches up.”

 

“That’s right,” she said as she put the socks on, and then allowed me to bind her wrists together behind her back as well as to her waist, “we can all try to escape together when he goes, all right?”

 

The two girls nodded and watched as I tied Mum’s arms to her side with rope above and below her chest, and then helped her to le down on a long recliner so that she was facing them.  I then crossed and tied her ankles tightly together, as well as securing her legs in the usual way, before I said “Now I need to make sure you two can’t move your arms as well.  Can you shuffle forward for a few minutes?”

 

Ivy and Paula slid themselves forward on the wooden floor, as I took some more rope out, and then tied it around their lower arms and tummies in a double figure of eight.

 

“Now then,” I said as they sat there, “I need to go and have a look round the house.  Can I trust you all not to scream and shout for help?”

 

They all nodded, Ivy actually winking at me before I left them alone and started to search for valuables.  While I was in the bedrooms, I also selected some suitable materials for the gags – I knew Ivy could cope, and I imagined the other two would do so as well.

 

Paula’s mum did have a few nice things, so when I was done I picked up some juice boxes and a bottle of water and took them back in with me.  “I imagine you will be thirsty,” I said as I opened the bottle of water and put a straw in, “here – have a drink while you can.”

 

“Thank you,” her mum said as she took a drink of water, and then watched me give both the girls a juice carton each.  When they had finished, I folded up the two cotton triangles I had found in Paula’s room, and said “I’m afraid I need to make sure you all stay quiet now, so that I can pretend to make my getaway.  Open wide, and once I’ve put these in I’ll put something over your mouth to stop you spitting it out.”

 

“It’s all right, Paula,” Ivy said, “this is the best bit.  We spent hours trying to talk to each other when he did it to us last time.”  She then looked at me, and said “I really did enjoy that time – do me first,” opening her mouth when she had finished.

 

I pushed the folded cloth into her mouth, then waited until she closed it before I smoothed a strip of my white tape over her lips, then added one of Paula’s mother’s headscarves folded into a blue band over that.  I did the same to Paula next, as the girls mumbled and tried to talk to each other, before I used a bandana and a third headscarf on her mother.

 

“Just to make it a little more difficult,” I then said as I put the two girls on the floor, with a cushion under their heads, “I’m going to tie your ankles to your other ropes.”  I then hogtied both of them, fairly loosely, ankles to chest ropes, before leaving them to have a fun time getting free.  I even removed Mummy’s glasses as she lay on her side, watching the two girls laughing and giggling.

 

And I really did hope that was the last time I would see those girls – not that it was not fun, but it was becoming something of a habit running into them.  Fate, however, had something else in store…

 

********

 

Last month I had a – well, a trip down memory lane for want of a better word.  I had been assessing a local celebrity – actually our local MP, who also ran a family business, in terms of how profitable a visit to them would be.  He was in his forties, but had a younger wife and a nine year old daughter.  I had seen their pictures in materials for elections and the papers – the man in his suit, the wife in a conservative (with a small c) style of dress, and the little girl always dressed in frocks or smart clothes.  The Rankin family – George, Diana and little Shauna.

 

Well, all the background checks I made seemed to check out in terms of who they knew, and who I knew, and also I had observed the way they dressed and shopped from a distance, and on this particular Saturday I knew George was holding a constituency surgery, after which he was due to speak at a luncheon organised by the local party, so I had a clear window of opportunity.

 

So I drove to their detached house on the outskirts of town, and donned my disguise – the ginger beard, the dark glasses, and then the leather gloves before I pulled the balaclava down over my head.  Looking carefully around, I got out of the car parked in the driveway, walked up the side of the house, and let myself in through the back door.

 

I could hear music in the background, and some laughing, so at least I knew they were at home, and I had come prepared.  As I walked along the corridor, however, I listened to the song that was playing, and the lyrics.

 

Wig wam bam, gonna make you my man,

Wam bam bam, gonna catch you if I can.

 

Not a song I had heard recently at any rate, as I stopped and listened for a little while collecting my thoughts as a different song played.

 

Ride it on out like a bird in the sky way,
Ride it on out like you were a bird,
Fly it all out like an eagle in a sunbeam
Ride it all out like you were a bird.
Wear a tall hat like a Druid in the old days,
Wear a tall hat and a tattooed gown,
Ride a white swan like the people of the Beltane,
Wear your hair long babe, you can't go wrong
Catch a bright star and place it on you forehead,
Say a few spells and there you go.
Take a black cat and sit it on your shoulder
And in the morning you'll know all you know.

 

Well, what was becoming obvious was that they loved the music of the seventies – the music of my parents, if truth be told.  Anyway, I opened the door to the front room, and saw Diana and Shauna dancing away with their backs to me.

 

They really were dressed for the occasion as well, in matching outfits.  Their dresses were light purple with a psychedelic blue and purple swirl pattern on the material, and sleeves that flowed from their elbows to wide cuffs above their wrists.  The skirt of the dresses was slightly pleated, and came to just above their knees, while they both had a thin scarf of the same pattern tied around their heads, knotted at the side.

 

Shauna was wearing a pair of white leather boots, with a small heel, that came up to her knees, while her mother had a pair of metallic silver knee length boots on that had a two inch stack heel.  They were jumping and dancing to the music, until they both jumped round and raised their hands in the air at the end of the song, seeing me for the first time.

 

“Hello,” I said as Diana stared at me, “I saw the door was open, so I just came in.  I see you’re ready to play the game you asked me to come and take part in.”

 

“Game,” Diana said quietly as she put her arms round Shauna, “what game?”

 

“Oh, the game of robbers that you thought Shauna might like to play – where the seventies glam girls have to watch as a bad man steals their things.”  I gave her a little glimpse of the gun in my leather jacket as I said this, while Shauna looked up at her mother.

 

“Oh,” Diana said as she realised who I was, and what I was saying.  “Shauna, I asked him to come and pretend he’s surprised the two of us at home.  He’s going to make sure we can’t move for a while, and probably can’t talk very easily as well, but it’s like you saw on that film we watched, the one where the family were kidnapped.”

 

“Oh, so it’s like play acting,” Shauna said as she looked at me.

 

“That’s right, sweetie,” Diana said quietly as she looked at me, “play acting.”

 

“And what’s more,” I said as I thought fast, “because you’re seventies chicks, I’m going to make sure you can’t move as they did in that time.  Now, Shauna, I need you to be a very good girl and sit in that armchair, with your hands on your lap.  The music will keep playing, all right?”

 

“so we can sing along if we want?”

 

“That’s right,” I said with a smile, “so you sit up there, and I’m going to do some things to your mummy so that she cannot move her arms.  Then I’ll come and do the same to you, all right?”

 

Shauna nodded as she hopped onto an armchair, and started to sign along to Slade as I said “Please put your hands behind your back” to Diana, removing my rucksack and taking out a length of brown rope as I did so.

 

“It’s all right, Shauna,” Diana said as I placed her hands together, palm to palm and then tied the rope tightly around them, making sure I cinched the band between her arms, “We can talk to each other until he says it’s time to be quiet, and then we can hum to the songs, all right?”

 

I smiled at Shauna as she nodded, and I tied her mum’s thumbs together with a piece of string, before taking more rope and tying it around her arms and chest.  Once I had tightened those ropes, I said “Why don’t you sit down on the recliner there, and I’ll make sure Shauna has her arms and wrists secured.  Shauna, do me a favour and shuffle forward, then put your hands together as if you are praying.”

 

As she did that, I tied some rope around her arms and body just above her elbows, using a double figure of eight as opposed to Diana, who had rope taken under her arms and around the back of her neck to hold her arms in place.  Once I had tied that off, I wrapped some rope around her wrists, and tied them tightly together, before laying them down on her lap.

 

“Wow, I really can’t move my arms very easily,” she said with a giggle as she waved her hands around.  “I know,” I said quietly, “not shuffle back while I make sure mummy can’t move her legs either.”

 

Going back to Diana, I pulled some rope around her ankles, the cords squeaking on the silver leather as I tightly bound them, and then tied her legs together below her knees.  As usual, I passed the rope between her legs to conch the coils, and then did the same for Shauna, before tying her wrists to the rope between her legs as well.

 

“Now then,” I said as I turned up the CD player, “I’m going to go and pretend to look for mummy’s valuables, so you two just stay there – although…”

 

Walking over to Diana, I untied the scarf from her brown frizzed hair, and said “Perhaps I should gag you both as well, just to be sure.  Don’t worry – just keep calm.”  I held the thin scarf in front of her mouth, waiting as she opened it wide before pulling the scarf between her teeth, and tying the ends together at the base f her neck.

 

“Tllblrrtshne,” she said as I did the same for Shauna, who then said “Wssnffnneemm” as she tried to talk as well.

 

Mummy did indeed have some very nice valuable things, which I put in my sack, but as I passed the bathroom an idea occurred to me, so I had a look in the medicine cabinet and the first aid box.  I found what I was looking for, as I returned to the front room to see them both singing to another song.

 

Sufkgtfnenefs
Ndthtsntwrng
Ndedntkwy
Ndedntkwy
Lnbtwekestppdthsrs
Mnnhreee
Ndedntkwy
Dntknwy, nemr, nnn.

Cmnflthnss
Grlsrkurbss
Lgtwldwldwld.
Wldwldwld.
Cmnflthnss
Grlsrkurbss
Lgtwldwldwld.
Tldwn.
(cmn!!!!)

“Well, I can see you’re having fun,” I said as I put my bag down, “but you’re making too much noise, and I think the police might hear you before I can get away, so I need to put something over your mouths as well.”

 

I helped Diana to lie on her side, her head resting on the cushion and her legs bent, before I tore a strip of the brown fabric plaster off the roll I had found and pressed it firmly over your lips.

 

“Wwwthtsdffrnt,” Shauna said as I did the same to her, the material covering her lips as they closed over her scarf.

 

“Yes, but it’s what they used in the seventies to keep robbery victims quiet,” I said as I stood up.  “Enjoy the rest of your time together – I’ll come and let you free in a little while.”

 

Well, of course I didn’t, but I did call the local party HQ and get them to tell Daddy to go home quickly.  I hope he didn’t regret missing his lunch…

 

********

 

Magic shows are not as popular on the television now as they used to be – not unless your name is David Blaine or Dynamo – but at one time they were the stalwarts of midweek television, and escape acts were a firm favourite.  Nowadays, you find them on shows like Britain’s Got Talent, or in holiday parks, but on a recent show I saw a husband and wife act called The Carlislies – very good they were too.

 

And I should know – a few weeks previosuyl I had visited them.  Mister Carlisle is a successful writer, and my researches had suggested they were worth calling on.  Those same researches had shown me, through the power of YouTube, just how good they were as well, so I made sure I went fully equipped.

 

It was a Sunday afternoon when I let myself into their house, and heard Mum and daughter talking.  As I listened, it was clear that the ten year old was trying to persuade her mother she could be part of the act, if she learned her tricks, and Mum was equally adamant that was not going to happen.

 

“No, Holly,” she eventually said, “and that is my final word on…”

 

She walked out of the room and right into me, stocking covered head and all, so that when I turned her round and walked her back in she had no chance to respond. 

 

She was wearing a red vest top and black knee length Lycra cycling shorts, with a red stripe down each leg on the outside, while Holly was wearing a white t-shirt and red Capri type pants.  Both of them were barefoot, as Holly said “Who are you?”

 

“Me?  Your mum asked me to come and help you with a surprise lesson in escapology.  She was just leading you on earlier, weren’t you Mum?”

 

I had my gun against her back now, hidden from view, as her mother said “Yeah – sorry if I upset you Holly.”

 

“So what are you going to do,” Holly said as she looked at me.

 

“Well, I need to see how good you are now, so I’m going to tie you and your mum up, and then we’ll see who can get free first.”

 

I felt her mum relax as I said this, so I said “Mum first - hands behind your back please.”

 

“All right, if you insist,” she said with a smile, as I took a length of cord from my pocket and tied her wrist together – tightly, but simply, with no rope between her wrists.   The room they were in was a simple gymnasium, so I sat her on a mat against the wall and tied her ankles together as well, once again without the rope between her legs.

 

“Your turn, Holly,” I said as she walked over, and I secured her wrists, then her ankles after she sat down.  “Now then,” I said as I sat on a large exercise ball, “show me what you can do.”

 

Well, it was an education to watch them at work, but to her mother’s surprise it was Holly who wriggled her wrists free first, and then untied her mother’s arms before she untied her ankles.

 

“Ta-da” she said as she stood up and struck a pose, “that was easy.”

 

“So I see,” her mother said as she looked at me with triumph in her eyes.

 

“Ah – but would you escape as easily if Holly tied you up?”

 

“I bet she couldn’t – not with my girl guide training,” Holly said, but her mother just shook her head. 

 

“Oh yes I could.  I always do Holly.”

 

“She’s right – I’ve never managed to stop her escaping,” Holly said with a sigh.

 

“Really,” I said as I took off my rucksack, “Would you accept a real challenge, if I showed Holly what to do?”

 

Her professional pride must have kicked in then, as she said “Sure – do your worst.”

 

“Fine,” I said as I took out two small sponge balls, “hold these.  Holly, I want you to take this tape and cover your mother’s fists with it.”

 

She started to look worried now, as her daughter made two silver balls, then covered them with a clean pair of sports socks before taping the tops of them to her arms.

 

“Now, my dear lady, kneel down and put your hands behind your back.”

 

“All right,” she said as Holly took some rope that I handed her, “but this is a challenge, right?”

 

“Oh yes, it will be a challenge,” I said as I told Holly to double the rope over, and then wrap it round her mother’s wrists, pulling it back to tighten it and then round a few times, before separating the ends and taking them between her arms, then tying it off on top.  She then took a second length of rope from me, and tied it round her waist, locking her wrists to the small of her back.

 

“Not bad,” her mum said, and I was impressed as well – the knots were neat, and the rope tight.  “Now, Holly, I want you to double this rope up, pass it round your mum’s arms below her chest, and then pull it tight.  I’ll tell you what to do after that.”

 

With my help, Holly tied her mother’s arms tightly to her sides, above and below her chest, and then she used two smaller lengths under her arms to tighten them.  She was beginning to look a little more worried now, as I helped her to sit down, then instructed Holly in how to tie her ankles together, and her legs below her knees.

 

“Very well done, Holly,” I said as she tied the rope off behind her legs, and even her mother looked impressed.  “I’ll still get out of this though,” she said as she looked at me.

 

“Oh I wouldn’t be too sure,” I said as I took a black sleep mask out.  “Put that on your mother’s head, Holly, and then see if you can find her iPod.”

 

“Now that’s unfair,” her mum said as Holly pulled the sleep mask on, then fetched her iPod.  I flipped through the albums, selected a nice Bruce Springsteen one, and then popped the ear buds into her ears as I turned it on nice and loud.  I then slipped it under her waistband at her back, before taking a roll of white micropore tape and tearing the end loose.

 

“What’s going on,” she said as I helped Holly to wrap the tape round, covering her ears and the sleep mask at the same time.  “Will it hurt Mum,” she said as she looked at me.

 

“no, it’s fine, but I want to really give her a challenge.  Do you know what it means to hogtie someone or something.”

 

Holly shook her head, so I moved her mum so that she was lying on her stomach on the mat, and then pulled her ankles back, before showing Holly how to tie a rope from her ankles to her chest.  I then told her to add some more ropes, and secure them to the wooden bars that were fixed to the wall.

 

“Well, are you ready for me to start escaping yet,” she called out, but that was a note in her voice that told me she knew she was stuck.

 

“Not quite,” I said to Holly, “we need to remove the temptation for her to order you to untie her, so we need to gag her.  Take this and put it into her mouth.”

 

I gave Holly a folded cloth, which she pushed in and then tied a knotted strip of towel into her mother’s mouth to keep her quiet.  “Not enough,” I said, so I told her to wrap the tape round her head and mouth as she had her eyes, keeping it away from her nose.  I then folded a red silk scarf, and told her to tie that tightly over the tape around her mouth.

 

“there,” I said as we stood up, “she’s ready to start the challenge.”


“I'm sorry,” Holly said as she looked at her mother, “but with the skills of Mom, she could easily escape that!"

I nodded, saying, "Yeah, but maybe this time, it'll take longer than the usual!"

Of course I knew she would not get free, and she knew it too as she tried to wriggle round.  I saw no reason to quell Holly’s enthusiasm for her mum’s abilities.

 

“Now it’s your turn,” I said quietly, “How would you like to be set a challenge like your mum as well.”

 

“Oh yeah,” she said as she looked at me, “Will you do this to me as well?”

 

“Not quite, but still tough,” I said as I picked up an old chair and set it so she could watch her mum.  “Sit down, and then you can hold a couple of sponges for me while I cover your hands.”

 

She gripped the sponges tight in her hands and watched as I covered them with tape and socks, taping the socks on just below her elbows.  “Now then,” I said as I looked at the chair, “can you put your fists between the slats?”

 

She looked at the chair and gently pushed her fists between the slats, allowing me to cross her wrists behind the chair back and tie them tightly together, this time cinching the ropes.  “Shuffle back,” I said, and as Holly did so I tied her wrist to the chair back, then used a length of rope around her waist to stop her slipping around.

 

I then use a long length to tie her chest to the chair back, weaving it around her and the chair itself and securing her arms to the back as well as her waist, tummy and shoulders.  When I had finished, there was a web of rope around and over her t-shirt.

 

“this is different – I really can’t move very easily,” she said as I walked to the front of the chair, and tied her legs together below her knees.  Her feet were dangling a few inches above the ground, so I crossed and tied them together, then secured them to the two front legs as well.

 

“Now then,” I said as I put my hands on her shoulders, “why don’t you try to encourage your mum while you try to escape as well.  Just take care – I don’t want you falling over and hurting yourself.

 

“All right,” Holly said, “but what are you going to do?”

 

“I’ll go and get a drink for you, and then I need to call your dad and tell him how well you’re doing,” I said, which made Holly smile.  I left her talking to her mother, who was wriggling round on the floor, and went to check the rooms for what I could take.

 

The search took me a little while, but when I came back down I put my bag down and walked back in.  “You’re really good,” Holly said, “I can’t move.”

 

“Neither can your mum – she hasn’t managed to do anything.”

 

“Oh, she could easily escape, but is pretending that she could not just to make me happy. She always does this when a visitor is watching!"

 

“Well, that’s nice,” I said with a smile, “but I think I should even the odds a bit.  She can’t encourage you – I think I need to make sure you can’t encourage her.  You can still watch her, but I’m going to put something in your mouth as well.”

 

“Will it hurt?”

 

“No,” I said as I folded a handkerchief, “Open wide now.”

 

“Lllrrtndfnks,” Holly said as I pushed the cloth in, then tied a strip of towelling between her lips.  The tape went round next, making sure it was pressed down firmly, and then a folded white scarf went over that band.

 

“All right,” I said as I backed off, “I’m going to watch from out here, so enjoy your test.”

 

“Hwwlwl,” Holly mumbled as I silently crept out, quietly picked up my bag – and scarpered.  I called the police an hour or so later, to go and free them.

 

********

 

I learned very early in my career how to improvise – after all, before I started to carry a bag with supplies with me, more often than not I had to use what was to hand.  And on one particular occasion, I even helped one girl get a Guide badge…

 

This particular day I was just doing some window shopping, minding my own business, when I saw the mum and daughter come out of a high end fashion boutique – the sort of place you don’t go into unless you have the wherewithal to pay.  The mother looked as if she was in her late thirties, with dark hair cut in a bob, and a pair of black glasses on her face.  Her daughter looked to be about eleven, and had her hair platted into two pigtails either side of her head.  They both had long coats on, as they walked down the street talking to each other.

 

Well, I was young, I was hot-headed, and I was still in the first flush of confidence that comes when you realise you are good at something, so I followed from a safe distance as they walked to a very nice residential area, a short distance from the main street, and walked into a semi-detached house with a neat little garden.

 

I looked round, walked up the side of the house, pulled a pair of gloves on after I had wrapped my scarf up over my nose and mouth, and let myself into the kitchen.  I could hear the two of them upstairs, but at that stage I did not know of we were the only people in the house, so I checked every room carefully before heading upstairs.

 

There didn’t seem to be anybody else home, so I slowly walked up the stairs, listening to the conversation as I did so.

 

“That’s right, Mary – right over left and under, pull, then left over right and tie off.”

 

“Wow – is that all right, Mum?”

 

“It appears to be – now, try the other sling.”

 

I checked the other rooms, and finding them empty I waited outside the last door.  I heard her mother say 2Hold on there – I’ll fetch a blanket,” and then she walked out.  She was wearing a blue blouse, with the sleeves rolled up and the top buttons undone, a pair of black pants and short black felt boots.  The last thing I think she was expecting was a masked man waiting outside, showing her a penknife and putting his finger to his masked mouth.

 

“OH shit,” she whispered, “look, I’ll let you take what you want, just don’t hurt us.”

 

“I’m not going to hurt you,” I said, “but I am going to tie you and your daughter up, so I need you to pretend it’s a game.  What are you doing anyway?”

 

“Practising for her First Aid test,” her mother whispered as she looked at me.  Looking in the room, I could see the first aid kit – and that gave me an idea.

 

“You said you were going to get a blanket?”

 

“Yes – she needs to know how to wrap a patient up in one.”

 

“Good,” I said as I took her arm, “Get two – and just say I’ve come to do a role play with both of you.  Then let me do the talking.”

 

 

 

When we came in, Mary looked up and said “who’s this man, Mum?”

 

“He’s going to help us with a role play, Mary,” her mother said as she glanced at me.

 

“That’s right Mary,” I said.  “We’re going to imagine that your mother has broken her leg in a ski chalet, and we need to prepare to take her to the hospital – but we can only use what we have in this room to make sure she is comfortable and cannot hurt herself more.”

 

“But why have you got your scarf over your mouth?”

 

“Ah – I’m a robber who has found you and your mother, and has promised to fetch the ambulance once she is ready.  Do you mind playing that out?”

“So Mum’s hurt, you break in, and help me to get her ready for the rescue and ambulance?”

 

“Exactly,” I said, “Want to do it?”

 

“All right,” she said with a big smile as I looked at her.  Mary was wearing a pink long sleeved top and grey joggers, and her feet were bare.

 

“Good,” I said quietly.  “Now Mum’s going to lie down on the bed with her hands on her tummy.”  As she walked over and lay down on the king sized bed, I said to Mary “If we have no bandages or splints, and your mother has a broken leg, what should you do?”

 

She thought for a moment, and then said “Find something to tie one leg to the other?”

 

“That’s right,” I said, “so find as many scarves as you can in your mother’s wardrobe, and bring them over here.”

 

Mary went to the wardrobe, opening a drawer inside and bringing a variety of various scarves over.  Looking through them, I selected a black head square and folded it into a band.

 

“Start at your mother’s ankles, and make sure they are secured tightly together,” I said to Mary as I handed her the silk band.  She smiled as she put her mother’s feet side by side and then wrapped it tightly round both her legs, tying the ends with a neat reef knot under her heels.

 

“Good work, Mary,” I said, “now where else should you secure one leg to the other?”

 

“Below her knees and around her thighs?”

 

“That’s right – so pick two suitable scarves and do that next.”

 

Mary giggled as she selected a larger shawl and a long woollen scarf, using the former below her mother’s knees and the latter around her thighs, so that her legs were well secured.  All the time her mother was watching me, knowing what I was doing was getting her daughter to tie her up, and she couldn’t do a thing about it.

 

“Is that all right,” she said as she looked at me.  I inspected the bands, tightening the knots a little, and then said “Very good – now, we need to make sure your mum is well wrapped up for the journey.  Do you know how to do a blanket wrap?”

 

Mary shook her head, so I said “First things first – your mum needs to be well secured, so we’re going to tie her wrist together on her tummy.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Then once we’ve wrapped her in the blanket, she’ll be kept in and won’t get cold.”

 

“Oh – okay,” Mary said as she picked up a red bandana, folded it and used it to secure her mother’s wrist together in front of her.  As she did this, I selected one of the blankets and folded it on a diagonal, then placed it so that one corner was against her mother’s head.

 

“How does that feel Mum,” Mary said as she tied the last knot.  Her mother wriggled her fingers, and said “It’s very comfortable, but now you need to wrap me up.”  I knelt on the bed, and said “I’m going to roll your mother towards me, Mary, and I want to push the fold of the blanket under her back.”

 

As I did so, and Mary pushed the blanket under, I whispered “You’re doing very well – just keep pretending.”  The older woman nodded as I lowered her and onto her other side, then pulled the blanket under and lay her flat on her back again, her head at one corner of the blanket and her feet at the diagonally opposite one.

 

“Watch carefully,” I said to Mary as I got off the bed, walked to the bottom and lifted the corner of the blanket up, tucking it between her mother’s feet and under the scarf.  I then lifted the blanket to her left up and over her body, covering her legs and half of her upper body as I tucked it under her.  I then lifted the other corner over and down, and tucked it under, so that all you could see of Mum was her head on the blanket.

 

“Wow – that’s good,” Mary said as she looked at her mother, “but how do you keep the blanket on?”

 

“We need to tie it round her,” I said quietly, “can you find your father’s ties?”

 

She went back to the wardrobe and brought two hangers back, her father’s ties neatly arranged on them.  With my help, she used them to tie the blanket round her mother, knotting two together when necessary, so that there were coloured bands over the blanket at her ankles, calves, thighs, waist, and shoulders.  As I tied the last one off to her side, she wriggled round and said “I really can’t move now – I won’t be able to hurt myself anymore.”

 

“That’s the idea,” I said as I looked at Mary, “Well done.”

 

“Thanks – I’m sure to pass my badge now,” she said with not a little pride, but then she looked at her mother and said “But what if I break my leg as well?”

 

“Then I’d have to make sure you were secure to take to the hospital – why?”

 

“Because I just did,” she said “so do to me what you did to Mum.”

 

Well, I was going to anyway, but I laid the blanket out and allowed Mary to lie on it first before I used scarves to secure her ankles, legs and wrists, and then wrapped her up tightly in the second blanket, tying it round her with more of her father’s ties as well.

 

“This does feel warm and cosy,” Mary said as she looked at her mother, “so you would then call for an ambulance?”

 

“That’s right,” I said, “but I’m also a robber – what else do you think I would do?”

 

Mary looked at her mother, before saying “Stop us from talking?”

 

“That’s right,” I said with a smile, “so I need you to be a good girl and close your mouth for me.  Don’t worry – this is pretend, but I want it to be as realistic as possible, all right?”

 

When I had checked the bathroom, I had found a roll of fabric sticking plaster, so as Mary put her lips together I tore a strip off and pressed it down over her mouth, hearing her say “Reelelcntlk” as I did so.

 

“There we go,” I said as I gagged her mother in the same way, then removed her glasses, folded the legs and left them on the bedside table.  “Now, I’m going to pretend to look for valuables, and then I’ll call the ambulance, all right?”

 

Mary nodded and shuffled over to her side, lying next to her mother as I left them there and searched the rest of the house, then left them alone.  I called the police half an hour later – and hopefully, she had no problems with her First Aid badge that week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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