The Games Players – Like A Fox









Janna and I did a joint visit recently – for reasons I’ll explain – but it proved to be a very different and entertaining afternoon.


The person we wished to relieve of some burden was Camilla Burden – a television host and “pop historian”, whatever that phrase meant.  She lived in the outskirts of Bristol with her two daughters, twelve year old Barbara and eleven year old Louise, as well as a live-in housekeeper and her family.


That housekeeper was a woman called Annette, who lived in the house with her wife Laura and their six year old daughter Poppy – and the reason for us both going was partly the size of the house, and partly the fact we needed to make sure the housekeeper and her family were kept out of the way first.


So it would have been around one pm when we drove up the driveway to the house in a grey transit van I had borrowed for the occasion.  I was wearing a blue polo shirt and grey cargo shorts, with a grey cap, to look like a courier – Janna was in the back of the van, wearing her brown jumper and pants with over the knee boots, and our supplies in the rucksack with her.  As we got to the front door, she pulled the stocking down over her head and handed me the brown package, before I got out of the van and walked to the rear door – my research had told me that was where deliveries were made.


I also had grey gloves on, and as I knocked on the door I looked round – the stocking was already pulled down over my head and tucked into the collar of the polo shirt, so when Annette opened the door I took her by surprise – allowing me to walk in and tell her not to raise the alarm.


Annette had short brown hair, and was wearing a grey collarless blouse, darker grey pants with a brown leather belt, and brown shoes.  She also was wearing glasses, her eyes wide behind the lens as she looked at me putting the box down, and taking a handgun out of it.


“Now, stay calm, all will be well,” I said quietly, “where are Laura and Poppy?”


“They… they are in the front room, we were going to have lunch soon…  Oh my god, are you going to rob Mrs Burden?”


“That’s the idea – but first we need to make sure all three of you are together and safe, if unable to raise the alarm,” I said as I smiled.  “I take it her daughters are at home?”


“They are doing an assignment – please don’t hurt them…”


“Do as I say, nobody gets hurt.  Now, I want you to open the door for me, allow my partner to come in – and then I will explain the rules of the game.”


Annette slowly nodded as she opened the door, and Janna came in, smiling as she closed the door and put a rucksack on the table.


“Now, there is no reason for Poppy to be frightened, so you are going to tell her this is a game you are all going to play with the Burden family – and I started with you.  Understand?”  As Annette slowly nodded, Janna took a length of white rope out of the rucksack and guided the young woman’s hands behind her back, securing her wrists tightly together and making sure it was neat and tidy.


“Good – why don’t we go and find them, and then we can all go to your bedroom to play the game, understand?”


“All…  All right,” she said as I picked up the rucksack, and we walked to the front room of their flat.  As we walked in, her wife looked over to the door and said “what the…”


“Poppy,” Annette said quietly, “we’re going to play a very special game with these two people here.”  The young girl was wearing a knee length black dress with white dots, the cuffs of her sleeves turned back, white tights and red satin slipper, her hair in two bunches with a black headband.  As for Laura, she was wearing a floral print round necked top and a knee length blue skirt.


“What sort of game, Mummy,” the little girl asked, “and why do they look funny?”


“They…  I think they’re pretending to be robbers,” Laura said as she hugged her daughter, “and they’re going to make sure we can’t move and talk for a while, but we’ll be together, won’t we lover?”


“That’s right,” Annette said quietly, “and they’re going to start by tying our hands behind our back.  Come and look at mine, Poppy, and then the masked lady will do it to you while her friend takes care of Mummy.”


“Okay Mum,” Poppy said as she came forward while I walked behind Laura.  “Thank you for playing as well,” I said quietly as I crossed and tied her wrists together behind her back.


“So will you do this to the girls and Mrs Burden as well?”


“In time – you’re first,” I said as I tied the ropes off, then watched as Janna tied Poppy’s wrists together behind her back, and then tied some rope around her arms and body to keep them locked in place.


“Look at me Mummy,” she said as Janna tied the ropes off, and she turned round.


“I think we’re going to be the same as you soon,” Laura said with a smile as I took more rope from the rucksack and wound it round her, framing her chest as I secured her arms to her body, Poppy watching as Janna did the same to Annette.


“Now, in a little while, I’ll be going to get the Burdens to play,” I said as I tied the ropes off and looked at Poppy, “but first we need to make sure all three of you stay in the same room.  We’ll go to your mummy’s room for this – after you.”


So we walked into the bedroom Annette and Paula used, and all three of them sat on the bed, me watching as Janna took more ropes and secured their ankles together, as well as their legs below their knees.  I then took a roll of white tape from my bag, tore a strip off in my gloved hands, and said “I’m going to cover your mouth with this Poppy – you mum and mummy will get the same – so breathe through your nose, and relax, then you’ll be fine.  When I’ve done this, I’ll lie you down, and your mummies will lie by your side.


“Okay Mister Robber,” Poppy said with a smile as I gently smoothed the tape over her mouth, and then helped her to lie down before I tied some rope between her ankles, and to the foot of the bed.  Janna then helped Annette to jump round to the other side of the bed and lie on her side, and I helped Laura to lie on the other side so they were both looking at Poppy – before we secured their ankles to their chest ropes.


“My friend is going to stay with you while I start the game with the Burdens,” I said with a smile, Poppy nodding as Annette and Laura kissed her on the head with their taped lips, and then gag kissed each other as they wriggled round.  Janna nodded as I took the second rucksack with the other supplies and left the room, making my way to the front of the house as I listened for the sounds of the two girls.


Eventually, I heard music from a room – a song I recognised from my parents, and form a recent film.


I - don't wanna know your name
'Cause you don't look the same
The way you did before
Okay - you think you got a pretty face
But the rest of you is out of place
You looked alright before

Fox on the run
You scream and everybody comes a running
Take a run and hide yourself away
Fox is on the run
Fox on the run
And hide away

Slowly, I opened the door and found Barbara and Louise dancing to the music – but it was the way they were dressed that took my attention.  Remember I said their mother was a modern historian?  Well, both girls were dressed as if they were in the decade that song first came out.  They both had long blonde hair which fell over the shoulders of what looked like black leotards – the neckline on Louise slightly deeper than Barbara.  But it was the skirts they were wearing – genuine wool crochet skirts, Barbara’s in purple and blue, Louise’s in orange and white, complete with fringe and tassels at the front.  Both girls were also wearing knee length black leather boots which were tightly laced up the front – truly the style of the time.


And both were enjoying dancing to the song.


You - you talk about just every band
But the names you drop are second hand
I've heard it all before
I - don't wanna know your name
'Cause you don't look the same
The way you did before

Fox on the run
You scream and everybody comes a running
Take a run and hide yourself away
Fox is on the run
Fox on the run
And hide away


As the song stopped, I clapped my hands – and they both looked at me, Barbara saying “who are you and what are you doing in our house?”


“Me?  Oh I’m an actor who your mother has hired to play a special game with you,” I said with a smile, “a game of robbers.”


“Robbers?  Is that why you’re wearing a mask?”


“That’s right – just like the robbers in the seventies would wear,” I said with a smile.  “Now, for this game you’re going to be the family I rob – and that means I need to make sure neither of you, nor your mother, can raise the alarm, but you two first.  Ready to play along?”


As both girls nodded, another song started – this one a Partridge Family song.


In the eyes of the world
I'm a loser just wasting my time
I can't make a dime

In the eyes of the world
Being born was my first big mistake
Can't get a break

“Okay then,” Louise said, “what do we need to do?”


“Turn round,” I said as I put the rucksack down and took out two lengths of brown rope, “and put your hands behind your back.  Once I have you both tied up and quiet, I can go and get your mother, and she will play as well.”


As both girls did that, the song continued.

But in the eyes of my woman I stand like a hero
A giant, a man who's as tall as can be
Any fool can see that she's

Looking through the eyes of love
She's looking through the eyes of love
She's looking through the eyes of love when she looks at me

Once I had their wrists secured, I used more brown rope around their upper bodies, stretching their tops as I secured their arms and made two bands of rope.

In the eyes of the crowd
I'm a do nothing kind of a guy
Who'll just live and die

In the eyes of the crowd
I'm another poor Joe on the street
Can't get on my feet

“We really can’t move our arms,” Barbara said as both of them twisted round.


“That’s the idea – now, both of you sit on the floor, and stretch your legs out while I secure them as well.”


But in the eyes of my woman they're wrong
I'm a king and a lover strong and as brave as can be
Any fool can see that she's

Looking through the eyes of love
She's looking through the eyes of love
She's looking through the eyes of love when she looks at me

The two girls tried moving their legs, the leather squeaking given they were held tightly together at their ankles and below their knees with bands of brown rope, and then they looked at me as I said “now, a gag from the Seventies, and I will go and get your mother.

She's makin' me believe someday, someday I'm gonna find a way
To be the man that she can see when she looks at me
Looking through the eyes of love
She's looking through the eyes of love
She's looking through the eyes of love


I smiled as I pressed the brown sticking plaster over Louise’s mouth as Barbara tried to speak, and I left the music playing as I said “once your mother joins you, the next part of the game can begin, but for now, the bad robber is telling you not to move, understand?”


Whhndhrshthnt” Barbara mumbled as the fabric held her mouth closed, and I smiled before I made my way to where the office of their mother was likely to be.


Camilla Burden was sitting a t a desk, typing as I entered the room.  Unlike her daughters, she had long black hair – dyed, would be my guess – and was wearing a long bohemian style dress with black and red decorated panels.  I could also see the taupe baggy boots she was wearing on her legs under the table as she looked up, saw me, saw the gun, and said “oh no…”


“Relax,” I said quietly as I closed the door, “and don’t scream or try to raise the alarm.  I have your daughters in a room downstairs, tied up and gagged, but they are unharmed – and I will take you to join them before I leave.”


“Tied.   Gagged… who are you?”


“The papers tend to call me and my partner the Games Players – oh, and she is currently with your housekeeper and her family.  Their daughter and your daughters think this is all a game you have arranged – I strongly encourage you to continue with that idea, so that they don’t panic and hurt themselves.”


“The Games Players – both of you?  I don’t know if I should be flattered or terrified…”


“All we ask, all I ask, is you play along with the game,” I said quietly, “but first, I need to be about my business.  Please, open the safe, and then stand in front of me, hands behind your back.”


“I don’t really have a choice, do I,” she said quietly as she stood up and walked to the wall, moving a portrait of her and the girls back and then opening the safe behind it.  As she walked towards me, I took a length of brown rope from the rucksack, and soon she too had her wrists tied securely together behind her back.


I then forced her arms into her sides, the rope stretching her dress over her chest as it formed bands above and below her breasts, and tied that off before she watched me take valuables and money from the safe, and put it into the rucksack.


“So what happens now,” she said as I closed the safe door, and replaced the portrait.


“Now, you join your daughters,” I said as I took something from the rucksack, “once I have done one thing….”




I won't laugh at you when you boo-hoo-hoo coz I luv you
I can turn my back on the things you lack coz I luv you
I just like the things you do mmm,
don't you change the things you do mmm


Hllhhmmmhm” Louise said as I brought Camilla into the front room.  The two girls were still sat on the floor, where I had left them, while Camilla said “Huhllhrht?” through the brown fabric plaster that now covered her mouth.


Louise and Barbara nodded as I sat their mother on the couch, and used more brown rope to tie her ankles tightly together, the leather softly squeaking as all three tried to move their legs.


You get me in a spot and smile the smile you got and I luv you
You make me out a clown then you put me down I still luv you
I just like the things you do mmm,
don't you change the things you do mmmm

I then tied their mother’s legs together above her knees, trapping her dress under the tight band, before I helped her to lie on her side, her head on the arm of the settee.  She watched as I stood in the doorway and looked at all three of them.

When you bite your lip you're gonna flip your flip but I luv you
When we're miles apart you still reach my heart how I love you
I just like the things you do mmm,
don't you change the things you do mmm,

“Now, the bad robber is going to look round – wait thirty minutes, and then you can try to escape.  First one to join me in the kitchen gets a prize.”


Hkhheee” Louise said as she looked at me, and I left the room.


Only time can tell if we get on well coz I luv you
All that's passed us by we can only sigh hihi coz I luv you
I just like the things you do mmm,
don't you change the things you do mmm.

La la laa la la..


When I joined Janna, I saw that Annette, Laura and Poppy were asleep on the bed.  She looked at me, I nodded, and we made our way back to the van, knowing they were all happily playing along…







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