Another Fine Mess
“LUUUUCCIEEEE! What are we going to do!”
“I don’t know Ethel,” Lucille said as she wriggled, her friend moving as she did so. The two middle aged women were sitting back to back on an old fashioned long seat, Lucy wearing a short sleeved black top and a knee length grey wool skirt, while Ethel had on a sleeveless shift dress. Both women had their legs resting on an arm of the seat, with their ankles tied together with rope, and their hands tied together behind their backs, while a length of rope held them together at their waists.
“Are you watching that old comedy again,” Maisie said as she looked in the front room, where her daughter was watching I Love Lucy on a cable channel.
“It’s funny – and it gets me in the mood Mum,” Ruth said quietly as she looked at the screen. The redhead was wearing a white mini dress with a blue china type print, the neckline plunging to show the top of her chest, the sleeves flaring and ending at the elbows. She was also wearing a pair of knee length white boots with a square heel, as her red hair fell over her shoulders.
Her mother shook her head as she walked to the kitchen. Maisie wore a black sleeveless coat dress, which came to above her knees, and knee length black leather boots. As she put the dishes into the dishwasher, she wondered if she was going to be forced to spend the entire evening watching old black and white comedy programs.
The male voice took her by surprise, and as she turned round she saw two men standing there, identically dressed in black leather jackets, jumpers, pants, shoes, gloves and balaclava masks. The only difference between the two men were the height – one was over six foot, the other the same height as her.
“Please,” the taller of the two said, “remain calm and quiet. So long as you do as we say, no harm will come to you or anyone else in the house. I am Mister Tall, my friend Mister Small.”
Maisie stared at both of them, before she whispered “are you – burglars?”
“I suppose we are,” Mister Small replied, “so we need to take steps to make sure you – and anyone else here – cannot raise the alarm.”
“So,” Mister Tall said as he took from a bag he was holding a length of rope, “kindly turn round, and cross your wrists behind your back…”
“Hey you can’t deeetheettsss,” Lucy said as the man pulled a rolled up scarf between her lips, and tied it round her head, Ethel complaining as she was gagged in the same way. Ruth laughed as she said “That’s absurd – I could get out of that…”
As she looked round, she saw her mother – and the two masked men, one holding a gun as the taller one said “hello Ruth – please, remain seated for now. Mister Small, would you kindly ensure the telephone is disconnected?”
“Of course, Mister Tall,” the second man said as Maisie sat down, her arms behind her back as she said “I’m afraid we’re been robbed Maisie – we are going to be like those women in the comedy program.”
“Well, that is Hollywood at a time they could only hint at things – we like to be a little more professional,” Mister Tall said as he removed from his rucksack another length of rope. “So – Ruth, right? Turn your back to me, and put your hands behind your back.”
“Oh my god,” the young woman whispered as she moved round, Maisie watching anxiously as Mister Tall doubled the rope over, and crossed Ruth’s wrists before he started to secure them together. She grunted as the rope was wound tightly around and between her arms, but was surprised at how comfortable it was.
“I know,” Maisie said as her daughter looked at her, “tight, but not sore, correct?”
Ruth slowly nodded as Mister Tall knelt down, another length of rope in his hand, and crossed Ruth’s ankles before he started to bind them together as well, taking the rope around and between her legs as the rope squeaked on the leather.
“Oh god, I’m going nowhere,” she whispered as Mister Small came in. “All telephones dealt with – where do you wish me now Mister Tall?”
The taller masked man smiled as he paused the program, Lucy and Ethel struggling together, before he said “we should ensure both woman cannot move their arms. If you will take care of Maisie, I will ensure the security of Ruth.”
“What do you me… OH my,” Maisie said quietly as both men drew long lengths of ropes from their bags, and doubled them over, before each one stood behind one of the captives and wrapped the rope around them, pulling the band tight below their chests as their arms were forced into their sides.
“As much to protect you as to prevent your raising the alarm,” Mister Small said as he pulled the last band tight, and then tied them together behind her, before he fed the ropes under one arm, up and around the back of her neck as he held her dark hair out of the way, and under the other arm before he tied the ends off.
“TO protect us?”
“Indeed,” Mister Tall said as he further secured Ruth in the same way, and then passed the rope over one shoulder, under the lower band of rope between her breasts, and back up so that her breasts were enclosed in a rope bra. As she wriggled round, the rubbing of the ropes made her gasp, as Mister Tall said “I suggest remaining still – Mister Small, would you please escort Maisie on a tour of the house, and elicit her help in selecting appropriate items?”
“It would be my pleasure,” Mister Small said as he helped Maisie to stand up, and escorted her out of the room while Mister Tall selected another length of rope, and knelt down, securing Ruth’s legs together below her knees.
“You’re not how I expected an armed home intruder to behave,” Ruth said as he legs were forced more firmly together.
“Oh – and how would you expect an armed home invader to behave?”
“Threats – violence – maybe hurting us a little…”
“Ah - but that is not behaving, that is threatening. We are Gentlemen, we do not use threats beyond the bare minimum necessary. May I ask what you do for a living?”
“We’re scriptwriters,” Ruth said as she wriggled round.
“Ah – anything I may have heard of?”
“Well – we’ve worked on… Actually, may /I ask a favour?”
“Of course – I have no wish for you to be bored. What is it?”
“Will you put the television on to BBC One?”
Mister Tall nodded as he changed the channel, and saw a title sequence appear, with the last slide saying “The Madrigal Strikes, by Maisie and Ruth Graham.”
“Well, that is indeed something worth of congratulations – what is the show?”
“Connell – you know, the one based on the books by the Phillips writer.”
She was surprised to see Mister Tall smile, as she said “Oh no – don’t tell me you’ve visited her?”
“Let us say we know the family,” Mister Tall said as he retrieved from the bag a long white cloth, and a smaller square of white cotton. “But I regret to say you must watch without been able to provide the writer’s commentary. Please, open your mouth as wide as you can.”
“Ruth? Are you all right?”
“Mffnnememmm,” Ruth said, her voice muffled by the cloths in her mouth and between her lips, her red lips over the darkening white cloth. Nodding, Maisie was sat next to her, Mister Small taking two lengths of rope and binding her ankles and legs, as Mister Tall walked behind her, a folded white cloth in his gloved hand.
“So I’m to be gagged as well?”
“Indeed – relax, stay calm, and it will soon be more comfortable,” he said as he pushed the folded cloth into her mouth, and then wound a white cloth twice round her head, pulling it between her lips and then knotting the ends at the base of her neck.
As she twisted round, Ruth nudged her and nodded to the television.
“Mysssmmm,” she mumbled as Mister Small looked at Mister Tall.
“Their new television show – we should leave them to enjoy the fruits of their labours,” Mister Tall said as the collected the bags. “Ladies, enjoy the rest of the evening – we will ensure help arrives in due course. The Gentlemen Robbers bid you adieu – may we never meet again.”
Maisie nodded as the two men left. She had recognised them and heard of them – a long Skype chat with Sara Phillips had told the story. She was pleased to see their reputation was earned – even if it meant their jewellery was the price…