The Cat Shows Grace
Here we go – some Assam tea today. I’ve been trying to find a blend I can safely serve to my customers if they wish to discuss matters, and this week this is the leaf of choice.
It may surprise you to know that there have been quite a few occasions where, in addition to availing myself of the opportunity to add to my collection from those I visited, I ended up doing something for them as well. Let me give you an example.
In 1972, Idi Amin kicked the Asian business owners out of Uganda, and a lot of them came to the UK, settling in places like Leicester. As a result, the rather drab colours of that decade were often blasted away by a blaze of colour in those areas, and a lot of people were attracted to that style and colour of clothing.
A year or so later, I had come to Leicester with the intention of visiting a few homes, and one particular one was in the area many of these immigrants against their will had settled. Getting in was easy enough, as I forced the back door open, but I was surprised when I came in and found the lady of the house at home.
I wasn’t surprised at her outfit – a light pink sari with a white pattern on it, and the short top that revealed their belly – but what surprised me was she was European, her brown hair in a pigtail. She looked at me, and then at the dummy pistol in my hand, as I asked her if she was indeed the woman who lived there.
She was – in fact, she was a social worker who had been deployed to the area, and in order to show she was there to help she had adopted their style of dress. Very commendable, I thought – but I still had the intention of robbing her, so I invited her to take a seat on a kitchen chair, and guided her arms behind the back of the chair, crossing and securing her wrists together with some cord from my pocket before I tied them down to the chair itself.
As I knelt down, and used a second length of cord to bind her ankles together, the telephone that was on the wall began to ring. Well, I told her to answer it and not raise the alarm, as I picked it up and managed to put it to her ear and mouth, the cord stretching as far as it could.
It turned out to be one of the local clients, calling to say a dole cheque had not turned up, and they needed some emergency funding. For those who may not know what that is, it was the unemployment benefit, usually sent as a postal order or cheque that could be cashed at a Post Office. Very egalitarian.
Well, she said she would try to get something to them as soon as possible, and then looked at me as I put the phone back. She explained the family were in real need, and she would have gone with some money herself – but I had just tied her to a chair, and she knew I would make sure she couldn’t call someone else for help. She looked at me, and asked if I would do her a favour.
Well, I hate to leave someone in need, so I first took her valuables, and then used a long red scarf from her wardrobe to gag her – but not before she told me where she kept her emergency funds, and where to go. I silenced her, found the fund, took only what she had asked me to take, and stuck it in a brown envelope.
Thirty minutes later, I knocked on the door of a terraced house, and handed the envelope to the man who answered, saying it was from the social worker. He thanked me, and I went on my way to the train station..
Remember what I said about the Seventies being the colour of brown? Another event that happened a year or two later not only reinforced that impression – it gave me the opportunity to help a young lady please her partner.
This particular flat was near Heathrow – the preferred residence at that time for hard working air stewardesses. I had dated a couple by that time, and I knew they worked hard, and like to relax as much as possible between flights.
So when I slipped into the window of the ground floor flat, I was merely contenting myself with taking their jewels and other things. By then, however, I was ready for the unexpected returns, and this was going to be one of those times when I heard the flat door open, and a brunette came in, her hair styled like Farrah Fawcett.
She had obviously just come off a flight, as she left a small case and handbag by the door. Her outfit consisted of a light brown jacket over a waistcoat and hot pants, a long sleeved blouse with diagonal brown stripes, and a matching silk scarf tied round her neck. The whole ensemble was set off by a pair of low heeled brown leather boots.
Well, I am sure you can imagine what happened next – I walked up behind her, put my hand over her mouth and told her not to struggle, and just relax while I made sure I could get away. To my surprise, she nodded to show she understood, and then as I took my hand away slipped her jacket off to look at me.
That was when she told me her two flatmates were due in an hour, and they had planned to spend some – shall we say, quality time together. With a little smile, she said they would not call the police, if I did something for her.
So naturally, I asked what. She then untied her own scarf, and used it as a cleave gag, before she turned round and crossed her wrists behind her back. I looked in a store cupboard in the hallway, and found some ropes, using one of them to secure her wrists behind her back before she sat down, and I tied her ankles together with a second length while she sat on a leather couch.
I then had to wait a while, listening to the sound of the leather squeaking, before her blonde and brunette flatmates entered – and ended up next to her, bound and gagged in the same way. As I made my exit through the front door, all three were giggling and squeaking as they tried to move round.
Well, if you spend your working life in a tin tube at 30,000 or more feet, I guess it’s a safer way of winding down than drugs or drink.
Night time visits were always my favourite, because normally I would not be disturbed. But yes, I was, and often for the best of reasons.
Late Seventies, Knightsbridge, and I managed to get into the first floor of the house by use of the open bathroom window. I made sure I didn’t disturb any of the bottles of perfume or wash lotions, and looked out of the bathroom door onto a darkened corridor.
I had seen the husband leave the house earlier that night, and knew he was on night shift, so I was fairly confident I could find what I could, and get out without disturbing anyone, especially the wife.
I made my way downstairs, and soon found a few nice little items, but as I was about to head back upstairs I heard the sound that makes all night visitors, such as I, really stop and take stock.
The sound of a baby crying.
I froze and listened as there were footsteps upstairs, and then the sound of a young woman talking quietly as she came down the stairs. I hid in the shadows as the door opened, and the light was turned on.
She was in her mid-twenties, and was wearing a Victorian style nightdress, complete with long sleeves and shoulder pads, and had a three month old baby in her hand. I saw the bassinette on the couch, as she put the baby in, turned round – and saw me standing there.
She was about to scream when I pointed out she might scare the child, so she kept quiet as I said I would allow her to make the bottle up, and then feed the child to make sure he went back to sleep. I was fairly sure it was he – colour coding meant something in those days, and he had a blue bonnet on his head.
She nodded slowly as I walked into the kitchen with her, and watched as she made the bottle of milk and then cooled it down. As we walked back through, I asked her to sit in an armchair, and then used s roll of black tape I had in my pocket to secure her ankles together, as well as her legs above her knees, gathering the skirt of her nightdress around her legs as I did so.
I then picked the young man up, tickling his chin as I handed him to his mother, and then gave her the bottle. As he was drinking, we sat and talked of matters in the news, music, films – anything to help her to feel at ease, and keep the baby contented.
Eventually, the little tyke let go of the bottle, and I offered to wind him while his mother watched. Once he was more comfortable, I rocked him gently off to sleep, and then placed him back in the bassinette – before I crossed his mother’s wrists in front of her and taped them together, and then down to the arm of the chair she was sitting in.
I used a scarf from the hallway to cleave gag her, and then left her watching the sleeping baby as I turned the lights off, and made my exit...
Lest you think I still do not help out if I can, then this more recent event may help you. In fact, it was more of a two stage event, as you will see...
The daughter of an old friend asked me if I would do her a favour – there was a certain item which she needed extracted from the current location, but it had to look like a cat burglar, as opposed to the normal methods she may employ in that situation. Well, I do like to keep my hand in from time to time, so I agreed to do this for her.
The house in question was near Edgbaston, and there happened to be a Test Match on that day, so I took the opportunity to watch the cricket, and then have a meal before I drove to the house in question. Taking what I needed in my pockets, I made my way to the back door and picked the lock, using a penlight torch to find the safe, and then taking the time to open it before I extracted the item I had been asked to collect.
So far, so good – so when I turned round and saw the redhead in the chair, staring at me over the white tape that covered her mouth and jaw, I wondered what had happened.
She was dressed in a green sleeveless top, with a black back, and a matching long skirt with large black pockets. The skirt was split at the front, revealing the long fawn coloured leather boots on her legs, her ankles secured to the front legs of the chair with rope. She also had rope around her upper arms and chest, and as I looked behind I saw her arms were box tied behind her.
Well, I was curious, so I peeled the tape away from her mouth and asked what was going on. She then told me this was a challenge with a friend – see who could manage to stay tied and gagged the longest, but she had been left alone, and now her father really was been robbed.
Now, this sounded to me a little unusual, but she then said she wanted to teach her ’friend’ a lesson. She then said, if she told me where she lived, would I do the honours?
Well, I was intrigued, so I agreed, making a note of the name and address before replacing the tape gag, and leaving. I took the liberty of securely storing the thing I really needed, and then made my way to the new address.
This was a loft studio flat, which meant I had to get into the building, up to that floor and then in the front door. So when I finally got in, I figured the place would be in darkness.
An incorrect assumption, s it turned out, because I could hear music playing as I came in. I had a balaclava rolled up on my head from earlier, which I then pulled down again and covered my head before I looked where the music was coming from.
There was a bleached blonde dancing on the floor, a black scarf covering her hair like a washer woman from my youth. Her pastel bleu and peach blouse was open at the top, showing her white vest, a long peach poodle style skirt, and black felt boots.
She stopped when she saw me standing there, but when I said who had sent me, she nodded and grinned as she walked over, and then turned with her hands behind her back. She then pointed to a basket, with ropes sitting in it, and told me to do my worst.
That, my friend, is a dangerous thing to say to an experienced thief and cat burglar. A short while later, she was sitting on the floor, her arms folded behind her and her wrists tied to her elbows, before rope was tied around her upper arms and chest. Her legs were crossed under her skirt, her ankles lashed tightly together, and a strip of white tape covered her mouth as well.
She had offered to allow me to take something to make it a robbery, so I took some of her rings and bracelets, and left her there.
Wonder who won that bet?
Let me give you one more example before I have to get back to work. In 1980, I was visiting another old friend, while he was showing his daughter round Edinburgh University. I excused myself for the evening, and made my way to the Corstorphine area – specifically, to a terraced house near the Zoo, which I knew was the home to a very well off banker.
This was the sort of house that had a basement, so I managed to get in that way, and made my way up to the top floor, starting there as I searched for valuables. And a fine haul I found as well, as I made my way down the floors, searching each room in turn.
The surprise came when I was searching the main room downstairs, when I heard a woman say “Who the hell are you?”
Looking up, I wondered how it was I had not heard her approaching. The house had wooden floors, and she was wearing a pair of thigh high chocolate brown leather boots with a four inch heel! Her long light brown hair fell over a leather jacket of the same colour, with a cowl necked jumper underneath, and I could see the jeans between the hem of her jumper and the top of her boots.
It took me a minute to recognise her – the daughter of said banker was a well known model, and as she walked in I could see how light on her feet she was.
She repeated the question, so I told her I was robbing her parents. Her response was unexpected.
Turned out she was in dispute with her father over her moving to London without them, and with me there she saw an opportunity to persuade him. She offered to let me go, on the pretext I disturbed her and tied her up before gagging her to stop her raising the alarm. She could then say she had to get away, and – well, I’m sure you can see the way she was thinking.
Well, I insisted she was at least comfortable, so we went to her room, and as she lay on the bed I tied her wrists together in front of her, and then secured them to the headboard. More rope went around her ankles, her legs below her knees, and her thighs, each band cinched between her legs as well, before I tied her ankles to the foot of the bed.
I then pushed a clean pair of her panties into her mouth – at her insistence – and used a second scarf between her lips to keep them in, before I left her alone.
I eve went further – I called her father and left an anonymous tip of his daughter’s predicament. I guess it worked – when I next saw her, it was in London near Harrods.
Anyway, must be getting on – I have a package to deliver...