January 28th 1996
Agnes McAdam shook out her golden/red hair as she got out of the lift on her floor, looking up and down the corridor. She hated having to catch virtually the last tube home, but with Tamsin her sister back at boarding school she had volunteered to do extra shifts at work. And besides - the extra money would pay for the wedding present she intended to give Donald when they married in May. Smiling, she walked to the door and unlocked it, stepping in and closing it behind her.
“Brrrr that is cold out there,” she spoke as she took off her three quarter length camel coat. Underneath she was wearing a white silk blouse, and a knee length pleated leather skirt, the soft red material flowing as she walked in.
“Hello Lady D, well at least you kept warm in here all day,” she smiled as the Persian Cat rubbed itself up against her leg. “Alright who loves me today?” she asked herself as she saw the flashing light on her telephone answering machine, and pressed the play button.
“Darling,” a slow voice with a distinct drawl, came out, “I called round, you must be working late, call me when you can.”
“Alright, Mandy for one,” Aggie laughed as she poured herself a drink, and turned the radio on.
“Do you know it’s under 100 days till I marry the smartest, most beautiful girl, in all the world…KISS!”
“And Donald, I’ll call him as usual in the morning, annoy his bosses at the Foreign Office again with an obscene call.”
“Spaceman, I only wanna go into Space, man…”
“And that’s enough of that,” Agnes said as she turned off the radio, and removed her silk scarf…a real Hermes; Donald had been over generous at Christmas.
“Miss McAdam, I received the latest chapter of your theses there are a few things we need discuss. Please come next Tuesday to see me at nine o’clock.”
“Uggh, Professor Watt wants another tutorial.”
“Still love you.”
“And another from Donald,” Agnes laughed out loud.
“The Arab gentleman has booked you for the morning Lady…be early.”
“And we finish with the boss, “Aggie sighed, “Just five messages Lady D, it’s been a slow day.” She smiled as she slipped her shoes off, and headed to the well equipped kitchen.
She had just made herself a cup of tea when the sound came.
BANG BANG BANG.
“You do realize that it’s well gone midnight,” she called out as she made her way to the door. “If that’s you Donald you already told me that you love me seven times. Today.”
She unbolted the door, and then suddenly as in a blur felt herself being grabbed, a hand clamping over her mouth, the other pushing her into her flat till she fell on the sofa.
“Stay there, bitch,” a distinctly female voice shouted in her ear, as she felt cold hard metal on her neck, “this is a gun, and I’m not afraid to use it.”
“Alright,” Agnes tried to smile as she looked at the black clad figure, “you have a gun darling, what else do you intend to do?”
“Well first this,” the intruder snarled as she pulled a length of cord from her pants pocket, and tied her hands together in front of her, winding the rope around her wrists.
“None too tightly either, and not cinched – you’ve watched too many bad cop shows,” Agnes noted mentally.
“Now this you fucking bitch,” the intruder’ snarled as she turned round, pulling another length of cord from her pocket before she went down to tie her ankles.
“Okay you are about five seven I’m guessing,” Aggie thought calmly, “plenty of eye makeup, red lipstick, a quite expensive shade, and is that a strand of blonde hair I can see escaping from your ski mask?”
“Now,” the masked woman said as she looked at Agnes, picking up the gun and pointing it at her, “you keep fucking still while I do what I want to do.”
“That accent is phoney, you are putting it on,” Agnes took further mental notes. “If it was real you wouldn’t be using good grammar and whole words.”
“Now are you going to be quiet, or do I need to shoot you?” the woman waved her little gun in Agnes’s face.
“You aren’t very good at this are you?” Agnes laughed, “take it from someone who knows, you turn your back for five seconds and I’ll slip out of this with no trouble.”
“Shut up bitch,” the woman in the ski mask growled.
“Make me…” Aggie laughed as the woman turned round, and rummaged through a drawer in the bureau.
“This will shut you up?” the intruder stuffed a folded napkin into Aggie’s mouth, and used some Sellotape from Aggie’s desk to cover her lips and the cloth.
“You failed to bring tape didn’t you?” Agatha mentally asked the question. “What self-respecting home invader doesn’t bring along tape?” She decided to play along, and mumbled as she twisted on the leather couch.
“You know I’ve always wanted to do this to you,” the masked woman smiled as she ripped Agnes’s designer shirt open, lifted one of her breasts out of its bra cup, and violently squeezed her nipple.
For a few seconds Agnes’s face contorted with pain, but in her head she was managing to think. “Alright more clues, you gave away you are both an amateur, and that you must know me from somewhere…so just who are you?” Agnes looked even more closely at what she could see of the masked woman.
“Stop looking at me,” the woman shrieked as she hit her hard round the face with her gloved right hand.
“Now isn’t that silly of me? You are holding the gun in the other hand. You are left-handed. Now what else can I tell? Smart little figure, what 34C breasts? Longish legs in those jeans, and you are comfortable in high heels…Very interesting…” Aggie committed all that to her memory as she watched.
“Now you just be a very good girl and I won’t be long.”
The thief started to go through Aggie’s furniture, throwing books from the large shelves as she did so. Silently Agnes thanked God, that she always kept her good jewellery including her engagement ring in the safe whilst she was at work. This thief wasn’t skilled enough to open the safe herself, or smart enough about her trade to force Agnes to do it.
She turned and looked at Agnes, the frustration and anger clear in her eyes as she stomped into the bedroom. “How the hell do you pay for all this?” the thief said in a low tone in the bedroom as Aggie heard her rummaging through her wardrobes.
“And you know and admire designer clothes eh?”
“Oh if only you knew,” Agnes smiled to herself.
“Where is it? Where are they?” she heard the thief getting angrier, and then what for all the world sounded like the words, “I know you’ve always kept one.”
“Oh-ho, so you’re after something specific…”
“Yes,” Agnes heard a note of triumph, as she heard her bedside draw being forced open.
“She’s at least found my cheaper jewellery,” Aggie sighed as she smelled petrol, and heard a distinctly unladylike cackle.
“Yes! I got them,” Aggie heard what sounded like a match being lit.
“See you around bitch.” The thief smiled as she held up a bag, then opened and ran out of the flat door. She then smelt the smoke…
“Alright this has gone on too long,” Agnes thought to herself as she expertly slipped her hands out of their binding, pulled the tape off and removed the napkin from her mouth, then quickly untied her ankles.
“Now what the hell did she… Oh shit!” she screamed at the mini inferno inside her bedroom, and then she heard the sounds of a fire engine outside. Seconds later there was another knock at her door.
“Fire Service Miss,” a loud voice shouted.
Quickly Agnes opened the door and saw the fireman in his uniform and helmet.
“Your neighbour smelled petrol and saw flames Miss.”
“I had a burglar, I was tied up, she lit a fire in my bedroom…through there.” Agnes pointed
“Alright Tom, bring in the hose…you stay out in the hall Miss we’ll soon get this out. The police are on their way as well.”
“Thanks,” Agnes said as she stepped out, the firemen going in as a neighbour opened her door.
“Aggie? What happened?”
“No idea – this masked woman forced her way in, tied me on the couch, then set fire to my bedroom.”
“Oh lord – here,” the grey haired woman said as she handed Agnes a glass of Johnny Walker, “this may help…”
After what seemed an eternity, but what was probably only fifteen minutes, the original fireman came out.
“Well we managed to save most of your clothes Miss,” he said with a smile, “though they might be smoke damaged, but your bedroom furniture including your bed is charcoal.”
“What about my bedside cabinet,” Agnes said quietly, “it was a family piece?”
“Sorry Miss,” he said with a smile, “it’s now really just burnt embers like most else.”
“Alright,” Agnes shook her head, “at least it means I don’t need to explain what was in there with my jewellery.”
“Miss…” a uniformed police officer asked in a kind tone, “can we get you something to drink? And we found her safely behind the sofa.”
“Found who,” Agnes said as he presented her with Lady D, who climbed into her mistress’s arms.
“Well at least you are safe Darling?” she smiled as she tickled the white cat under her chin.
“Now before the detective has a word, is there anyone you want to ring Miss McAdam?”
“Is my phone working,” Agnes said as she looked in, “I’d better ring my boyfriend?”
“Go ahead,” the fireman said as his colleague came out, “it’s still alright.”
“Agnes what happened?” Donald Fitzstuart said as he arrived ten minutes later, looking in the open door.
“Oh I had a third-rate home invasion,” Agnes laughed at the sight of Donald in a long raincoat over his pyjamas, with his slippers on his feet.
“You had what?”
“Oh don’t worry Donald,” she said with a smile, “I was able to give the police plenty to work on.”
“Now,” she said quietly, “for one night can I break our rules and sleep at your place, I have to be at work early.”
“Of course – if you are finished?”
“All done, Your Lordship,” the plain clothes detective said as the constable nodded.
"Why can I
never meet birds like that?" he asked as they walked out.
"Because she's out of your class Bennett," the detective smiled at the young constable as they both watched Agnes climb into the lift with Donald's arm protectively round her. “Right – finish up here, close and lock the door, hand the keys in at the front desk. I don’t think we’ll be back for a while…”