A Tale of Two Katies
“Oh now look at this one Katie – I think this would look lovely on your sideboard in the new flat.”
The young woman looked over at her boss and shook her head – Katy Harmond knew a lot about interior design, but very little about her assistant’s personal taste. The young woman had worked with Katy for a year now, and had learned a lot, but she had her own style of dressing, completely different from the grey haired woman who was walking round the room.
Katy had short hair, cut in a bob round her face, and was wearing a blue denim jacket over a yellow rugby shirt, a knee length skirt with a sky pattern on it, green legging and red ankle socks, with her feet in a pair of red leather booties. By contrast, Katie wore her blonde hair long, and was wearing a black crushed velvet jacket over a boho top, with a beige body and long green sleeves, black skinny jeans and patterned loafers. She also had two strings of large beads around her neck, in contrast to her employers gold necklace that sat under her top, and wore large rimmed glasses.
“Well, I think we have everything we need, Miss Holder,” Katy said as the client came back in, “I’ll draw up the preliminary sketches and get them back to you in due course. Until then?”
The two women shook hands as Katie collected her notepad, and they both left the large detached house, climbing into the Daimler before they drove off.
“Right,” Katy said, “back to the office and we can start to pull this together.”
“Yeah Boss,” Katie said with a sigh. That usually meant a late night, and her plans changed for about the fiftieth time that year.
As they pulled into the driveway of the house, Katie noticed with passing interest the grey transit van parked in the road outside, before Katy stopped the car and got out.
“I’ll put the kettle on,” she said as she opened the front door, “you go through and start the computer up.”
“On it,” Katie called out as she put her bag on the table, and then walked into the back room, turning on the computer as she sat down. It was only when she looked up that she saw the man standing there, his finger on his lips as he pointed the very real looking gun at her.
In the kitchen, Katy was busy putting the coffee maker on and finding mugs. So busy it took her a while to realise that there was something not quite right. She looked round the kitchen – everything seemed to be in place, and the breeze through the crack in the open back door was cooling and refreshing.
“Hang on,” she suddenly said, “the breeze from the mmmmmgmmmmm.”
The leather gloved hand over her mouth made her open her eyes wide in surprise and shock, as a deep, calm voice said “Please, do not shout or scream. It would be most unbecoming of a lady of your obvious taste, and besides – it would do you no good.”
She caught a glimpse of the steel blade next to her, and slowly nodded, whimpering as the voice continued “Now, will you be so good as to do exactly what I say?”
She nodded as the voice continued “and if I remove my hand, you will remain quiet?”
“Ysss,” she said as she stared ahead, and then the hand was removed. She slowly turned to see a man standing there, dressed from head to foot in black. A leather jacket, trousers and shoes, gloves, and balaclava showing only his eyes and mouth. The most striking thing was his height – he stood at least six foot seven, even allowing for the shoes.
“Good afternoon, Katy,” he said as he put the knife on the table, “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mister Tall.”
“You don’t so,” Katy replied, and the masked man had the good grace to smile.
“Indeed – and it is with deep regret that I say my companion and I intend to rob your lovely home this afternoon. Can I count on your assurance you will co-operate and do whatever I say?”
“I have a… You companion? KATIE!”
“I did ask you not to shout – your assistant is almost certainly with him now. Shall we go and join them?”
“I have a choice?”
“Regretfully, no,” Mister Tall said as he took her arm and led her through to the office. She saw Katie sitting in the chair by the computer, and then turned to see another man dressed in black, this one the same height as her.
“Mister Small, may I present Katy, the mistress of this house?”
“Charmed, I’m sure,” Mister Small said.
“What’s going on,” Katie said as she looked over.
“A robbery – just do whatever they say, and I’m assured we will be fine, right?”
“You have my personal guarantee,” Mister Tall said with a slight bow. “May I ask you to come and sit in this comfortable looking leather chair, while your employer takes a seat there?”
Katie slowly stood up and walked over, sitting in the char as Katy took her place in the computer chair.
The two women watched as the smaller of the two intruders put a rucksack on the desk, and withdrew several lengths of white rope. He then walked over and knelt behind Katy, guiding her hands behind the chair back before her crossed her wrists and started to bind them together, the rope tightening with each pass.
“I regret that we must secure you here,” Mister Tall said, and Katie thought she could hear a tinge of genuine regret in there, “but we have to make sure you are unable to prevent our work or raise the alarm for a while.”
As he spoke, Mister Small tied her wrists down to the chair support, and then stated to bind her arms to her sides and her body to the chair, the rope tightening over her and pulling her denim jacket to the sides as he did so. She squirmed a little, but it was no use, especially when he passed the rope under her arms to tighten the chest bands even more.
“A very fetching necklace,” Mister Small said as he unfastened the clasp and removed it from Katy’s neck, “I hope you will not mind if we take it as well.”
“We have a choice,” Katie snapped back, making Mister Tall say “Of course you have a choice, dear lady – co-operate or not. All I will say is co-operation would be in your best interests – and infinitely more comfortable.”
He then put his gloved hand under her beads and lifted them up.
“I have to admit, I personally have never quite understood the fascination for big chunky jewellery, but rather I prefer the finesse and art involved in fine gemwork.”
Katie looked up at the man and said “You think you are in a position to comment on that to me?”
“Katie for goodness sake!”
“If I were you,” the tall masked man said, “I would listen to your employer, Katy. Mister Small, are we satisfied she is secure?”
“Quite satisfied, Mister Tall,” the second man said as he tied Katy’s ankles back under the chair.
“Very well then, we can proceed. We need to look at the contents of your safe, Katy, so please inform your assistant here of the combination, and then she can open it for us.”
“I’ll do no such thing!” Katie looked at her boss, who was watching Mister Small secure her legs below her knees. “How can you let them do this to you?”
“Well, for one thing he has a gun,” Katy said as she wriggled round, “and for another thing, it is just money in the end. Your… Our safety is far more important.”
“An eminently sensible outlook on the situation, Katy. So, the combination if you please?”
As Katy gave the code for the safe, Mister Small rolled up a large red scarf and tied a knot in the middle of the silk band.
“Thank you, Katy,” Mister Tall said quietly. “Now, with deep regret, we must ask you to open your mouth and allow Mister Small to silence you somewhat.”
“As you wish,” the older woman said as she opened her mouth, and felt the silk knot push her tongue down while the band was tied tightly round her head.
“Mister Small, if you will take care of the upstairs rooms, young Katie and I will take care of the safe. If you please?”
Katie looked over at her employer, who nodded and watched as she got off the seat, walked over and knelt in front of the safe, typing in the code and then opening it.
“Splendid,” Mister Tall said from behind her as she stood up, “now, kindly put your hands behind your back.”
“My turn now, I suppose,” she said, but she did as she was asked, and felt the cords tighten around her wrists as Mister Tall bound them together behind her back, keeping the ropes over the cuffs of her top.
“Oh,” she said quietly as she then felt the rope around her arms and body, pulling them into her sides under her chest, “do you have to do that as well? I’m not going anywhere.”
“I know – but we have a professional standard to maintain,” Mister Tall said as he wound the rope around her arms, above and below her chest, before tying the ropes off at the centre of her back.
“Forgive us, Katy,” he then said as he picked u the bag, “but I must make your young assistant comfortable secure in a different room. I will return shortly.”
Katy nodded as Mister Tall took Katie by the arm and led her into the front room, sitting her down on a long couch before he knelt in front of her, crossed her ankles and started to bind them tightly together as well.
“Dntwrreee,” Katy said as she wriggled in the chair “wrsttrllssfff.”
“So long as you keep still you are, dear lady,” Mister Tall said as he looked over, “I would hate to think you would hurt yourself by tipping that chair over.”
Katy suddenly stopped and watched as Mister Tall bound Katie’s legs together below her knees, and then went back over to the safe, emptying the contents into his bag.
“All done upstairs, Mister Tall,” Mister Small said as he came back in.
“Excellent – if you would kindly help the young lady to stay quiet.”
Katie watched as the smaller of the two masked men took a black scarf from his bag, rolled it and tied a knot in the middle of the band, and then walked over to her.
“I don’t have a choice, do I,” she said as she tried to move.
“Not really on this one – it will get more comfortable in time, I promise you.”
Nodding, she opened her mouth and tasted the silk as the knot pressed her tongue down, the band against her skin as it was tied tightly round her head.
“For your own safety,” Mister Small then said as he removed the strings of beads from Katie’s neck, and left them on the table by the computer.
“There now,” Mister Tall said as he closed the safe door, “I think our business here is concluded. Our apologies for the inconvenience ladies, but sometimes it is a necessary evil.” He turned the radio on, the music covering their muffled speaking
Both women watched as the two men packed away their remaining gear and picked up their rucksacks. “The Gentlemen Robbers bid you adieu – may we never meet again.”
They watched as the two masked men left, listening to their footsteps receding in the distance, and then Katie started to try and free herself.
“Cllmdwnnktee,” her employer said, “twntnddnegd. Jstrlx.”
The younger girl nodded and closed her eyes, hoping someone would come looking for them soon…