The Coffee Club









“So, when did it happen to you,” Beryl said as she looked over at her friend Betty.  Betty slowly picked up her coffee cup and took a sip, before she said “two weeks ago – Dora and I had just got back from Chapel that Sunday, while Bert went to the Club.”


“So what happened?”


“That was a different sermon this morning Mom,” Dora said as Betty drove down the road towards their house.  The eighteen year old was wearing a short sleeved coloured dress with a swirling pattern, and brown sandals.


“Certainly different,” Betty said with a smile as she caressed the steering wheel with her gloved hands.  Her dress was pale pink silk, sleeveless and with a wide belt round her waist, and worn with matching heels.  “Thought provoking is certainly a word I would use.”


Dora stayed quiet as her mother pulled up outside the front door of the house, and both women got out.  The street was quiet, nobody around as they walked in and Betty closed the door – and then the male voice shouted out “on the floor, both of you – hands behind your back.”


Both women turned to see the young man standing there, dressed in denim with a white t-shirt under the jacket – and the large carving knife in his hand as he said “I told you both toile down – DO IT!”




“Do as he says – I don’t want to see you hurt,” Betty said quietly as she lay down on her stomach, Dora doing the same before the young man knelt next to her mother.  Dora turned her head, watching as he took a ball of cooking twine and crossed Betty’s wrists before  he wound the twine round and between her arms to hold them tightly together.


“What do you want,” Betty whispered as she felt the thin cords biting int her bare wrists.


“I want you to keep quiet,” the man said as he pulled her feet back and crossed her ankles before the secured them with the twine as well, and then wound it between her wrists and ankles so that she was held in this position.


She then turned her head and watched as he did the  same to Dora, watching her start to cry as she said “I know you’re scared – I am too- but we cannot do anything about this.”


“I’m scared, Mom.  What else is he going to do?”


Dora gasped as she was placed in the hogtie as well, and then the man knelt next to her, holding her nose until she opened her mouth and he pushed a rolled up washcloth into her mouth.


“Please, just tahhkwhttuhwhnt.”


“I will,” the man said as he pushed a second cloth into Betty’s mouth, and she was thankful they were clan ones  as she saw the edges sticking out from between Dora’s lips.


“Don’t move, don’t push them out of your mouth – or I use the twine to keep them in there,” he said as he walked off, the two women rolling onto their sides and looking at each other…


“He left a few minutes later, and Bert came home a couple of hours later to find us there.”


“You must have been terrified Betty.”


“We were, Wilma,” Betty said as she looked to the brown haired woman sitting at her side, “but strangely, it means I’m not so scared today.  I heard you had an unwanted visitor as well?”


Wilma slowly nodded as she looked down, and then picked up her coffee cup.  “Oh yes, we did…”


“Petra, can I come in for a minute?”


“Sure, Mom,” the seventeen year old said as she turned from where she was working on an assignment.  The young woman was wearing a sleeveless dress, the top part blue with white polka dots and the skirt pleated with yellow rings, a pair of slippers on her feet.  She turned as the door opened and Wilma came in – and Petra slowly put her pencil down.


Her mother was wearing a beach coloured dress with short sleeves, a belt fastened tightly round her waist, and white shoes – but Petra could see she had her hands behind her back, and she was not alone.  The man behind her was wearing a black jacket over a white polo neck sweater, dark pants and shoes, and dark glasses – as well as a smile as he said “this is your daughter?  You’re not going to give me any trouble, are you girl?”


“No, Petra will do what you say,” Wilma said quietly as she looked at Petra, the girl slowly nodding as she said “what do you want me to do?”


“Lie on your bed, and put your hands together in prayer.”  He watched as Petra slowly walked over and lay down, her head on the pillows as she put her hands together - and started to pray as she saw the man walk over with some lengths of rope in his hand.  He doubled one over and started to bind her wrists tightly together, Wilma silently giving thanks for her daughter’s bravery as he wrapped the rope around and between her arms, and then took her hands above her head as he secured the rope to the metal headboard.


“Is he robbing us, Mom,” Petra said quietly as she watched him take a second length of rope, and cross her ankles before he secured them together and to the foot of the bed.


“Yes, he is,” Wilma whispered as he tied the ropes off, and then went to a drawer, taking out a pair of sports socks and balling one up as he said “open your mouth.”


“I’ll be quiet…”


“I know you will – open your mouth.”


“Petra, please…”


The teenager nodded as she opened her mouth and he pushed one sock in, her cheeks puffing out as he said “are you going to try and push that out to call for help?”  She shook her head as he said “good- let’s go,” taking Wilma by the arm as they left the room.


Petra lay there, hearing the sound of children playing in the street outside. And trying to get as comfortable as she could before she heard footsteps running past.  A few minutes later, there was the sound of someone jumping, and she saw her mother come into the doorway.


Wilma now had white rope holding her ankles together, and she could see the white cotton between her lips as she jumped over and then sat on the bed, trying to talk to Petra…


“So why didn’t either of you try to push the cloth out?”


“I was too scared,” Betty said, Wilma nodding in agreement as she added “I wanted him to go away, and then to be there for Petra so she knew we were in this together.”


“I guess I can understand that” the younger woman said as she looked at the other three, “when it was Peter and Bobby that was threatened, that was my prime fear as well.”


“What happened, Carol?”


Carol could only sit and watch, the gloved hand on her shoulder as the second man squatted down in front of her sons.  Peter was eleven, and wearing a burnt umber shirt, jeans and black shoes, while five year old Bobby was wearing a grey top and blue jeans, with grey trainers.


“Now, do you understand what is happening,” the man said as he looked at them.


“You and the other man are making sure we can’t tell Daddy or anyone else what is happening?”


“That’s right – and that is why my friend has done something to make sure your mother has her hands kept behind her back.”  Both boys looked at Carol as she twisted a little, the grip still firm on her shoulder.  They had come in through the kitchen door and surprised her- and then surprised her sons as well.


“Are you going to do that to us as well,” Bobby asked quietly.


“Yes I am – but it won’t hurt, it will just feel funny – so both of you, turn round and put your hands behind your back.”  He showed them both the roll of white tape he had used to secure their mother’s wrists together against the small of her back, and then peeled the end away as both boys did what he had asked them to do.


“Be brave,” Carol said quietly as he crossed Peter’s wrists behind his back and then used the tape to secure them together, before he did the same thing to his younger brother.  The two boys looked at each other as Carols aid “You are being very brave.”


“Yes, they are,” the man behind her said, “now, sit on the love seat over there – my friend is going to do to your ankles what he did to your wrists.”


The two boys sat down as the phone rang, Carol watching as the hand was taken from her shoulder and the man walked over.  He waited for the machine which took messages to start, before a third man said “I wish to speak to the man of the house.”


As his partner wound the white tape tightly round Peter’s ankles, he picked up the phone and said “hello?


“Yes, everything is in place here.  There?


“Good – continue.”  He put the telephone receiver down and then looked at Carol.  “All right – I want you to lie down on the couch.”  She nodded as she managed to lie on her side, looking at her boys as the other intruder came over and taped her ankles together as well.


“Now, we need to keep you quiet,” he said as he looked at the boys, and tore a strip from the roll, then smoothed it down over Carol’s mouth, the tape sealing her lips as she looked at the boys.


He tape gagged both of them as the second man sat down.  “Now,” he said quietly, “we wait…”


Beryl nodded as she looked at Betty, Wilma and Carol, all three of them looking at her and behind her.  “Well, you all manged to come through it,” she finally said as she leaned over and poured more coffee, handing it to the woman who had just joined them.  “Shirley – have a drink and tell us what has happened to you?”


“I don’t know…”


“It can help,” Wilma said quietly as she looked over.  The redhead nodded as she said “I guess I was lucky – my daughters were kept with me the whole time, but we really could not be separated…”


“Here – a top up,” Shirley said as she looked at her two daughters, laying back on the sun loungers with dark glasses on.  Tracy was sixteen years old, wearing a red and white striped t-shirt and blue hot pants, with blue deck shoes, while her nineteen year old sister Laurie had on a pink sleeveless top and striped shorts, again with blue deck shoes.


“Thanks Mom,” Laurie said as Shirley put the pitcher down on the metal table.  The older woman was wearing a blue short sleeved blouse and patterned shorts, with blue deck shoes on as well.  She looked round and smiled as the clouds started to gather in the sky above.


“I think your sunbathing time may be over soon,” Shirley said quietly.


“It’s over now.”


She turned to see three women standing there, wearing short sleeved pilot suits with wide belts round their waists, and folded bandanas covering the lower half of their faces.  All three were armed, as one of them said “all three of you – get up, hands your head, and walk out onto the lawn.”


Th e three women looked at them – Shirley with her permed red hair, Laurie with long brown hair, and Tracy with shorter blonde hair, and then they raised their hands in the air and walked out onto the short cut lawn.  The masked woman nodded as she said “Good – sit down, link arms, and then cross your wrists in front of yourselves.”


“Do as they say girls,” Shirley said, the other two nodding as they sat down in a  circle and linked arms, Tracy watching as one of the other two girls came over with a length of thin cord and quickly tied her wrists together on front of herself.


She moved over to Laurie as the third woman came down with more lengths of cord and bent Tracy’s legs, securing her ankles together as well as her legs below her knees and then tying her wrists to the band at her legs.  She went back to the patio, withdrew more lengths of rope from a  bag, and then came back as Shirley felt the rope rubbing on her own wrists.


“You three can enjoy the sunshine,” the first woman said as Shirley bent her legs, her feet flat on the grass, “while we rob you.”


“And what’s going to stop us calling for help.”


“Glad you asked – girls.”


All three of them walked off and came back, folding large headscarves into wide bands before they pulled them tight over the mouths of all three women, the bands going round their heads and securing the ends at the base of their necks as they felt the pressure on their lips.


“Move off,” the woman aid, Shirley and the girls twisting round with little success as she heard Tracy say “Thhskhjpphsqhht??”


“Qhhththnhf,” Shirley said as she heard the sounds from the house, and then a door closing.


“Coo – Mrs Dove?”


Shirley looked over to where the two sons of her neighbour were looking over the fence, as she said “GHTUHHDHD” as loudly as she could.


“So let me get this right  all four of you have been robbed recently?”


Betty, Wilma, Carol and Shirley all nodded as Beryl looked at the sixth woman in the room.  She winced slightly as she said “must have been a busy time for the police.”


“I read the reports, Yootha,” Beryl said as she looked over.


“All right,” the smaller woman said, “yes, me and my daughters were robbed last week as well…”


Yootha had her arms round her four year old and six year old daughters, kissing them both on the head as she said “we’re going to play a little game.  Now, I’m going to do something so hat the two of you stay where you are, then keep you quiet, before the man does the same thing to me.  All right?”


She looked at her younger daughter, April, who was wearing a short sleeved yellow summer dress with a yellow hat, white bobby sox and white shoes, and then at May who was wearing a yellow sleeveless dress with  white yoke collar, as well as white socks and shoes.


“Will it hurt Mommy,” May asked.


“No, I promise you, it will not hurt,” Yootha said as she looked at the men standing behind her girls.  “So, when you’re ready, turn round and let me take your hands behind your back.”


“Okay,” April said as both girls turned round.  Yootha stroked May’s long blonde hair from under the straw boater, and then took her arms behind her back, crossing her wrists and tying them together with the soft white rope before she took it round her waist and secured the ends.


She did the same to May before he hugged them both again, and said “Well done girls – now, sit on the floor, and I’m going to do to your ankles and legs what I did to your wrists.”


The two girls sat down and looked at their mother as she knelt in front of them, the hem of her yellow sleeveless coat dress covering her knees, as she smiled and then wrapped some more white rope around April’s ankles, holding them together and making sure it was neat and comfortable, and then doing the same to May.  “There,” she said quietly, “is it uncomfortable, does it hurt?”


“No Mummy,” April said with a smile as she twisted her legs round, then watched as Yootha did the same thing to both girls around their legs, below their knees.  “Do the boys do this in your Den to you?”


“It has been known to happen,” Yootha said with a smile, “but now I need to make sure you two stay nice and quiet – and ten it is my turn.”  She picked up the yellow triangle, and rolled it into a band as May opened her mouth, then pulled it between her lips and tied the band round her head.


He used a blue scarf for May, the two girls watching as she helped them to move round and sit back to back, then sat down and watched as the stocking masked man tied a longer white rope round both girls to hold them together.


“All right,” he said as he stood up, “Mommy’s turn.”  The two girls watched as he bound Yootha in the same way, making her lie on her side on the couch before he used a green headscarf as a cleave gag on her, and then he left them to struggle and try to break free.



“Were they really scared, Mrs Joyce?”


Yootha looked to the side of the room, where Beryl’s daughters were sitting, and said “I think all our children were, girls – but they were brave, and I know you two are being just as brave now.”


“Yes you both are,” Beryl said as she put her cup down and walked over, kneeling and looking at her daughters. Kay was ten years old, her brown hair held back by a wide white hairband, and she was wearing a green dress that buttoned up the front, with a white pater pan collar and cuffs, a red belt round her waist.  She was also wearing white knee length socks and brown sandals.


Summer was seven years old, and was wearing a blue velvet short sleeved dress with a white hem and a green collar, white tights and red shoes.  Beryl kissed them both on the head as they sat there, their hands behind their backs and secured together with rope, and ropes round their ankles, their legs and their arms to keep them against their sides.


The man who had done this to them was standing behind them, dressed in black and with a balaclava over his head, as he tore strips of brown sticking plaster from a roll.  At the same time, a second masked man knelt behind Beryl and took her arms behind her back, before she felt the rope on her wrists.  He was wearing a  short sleeved green dress with  white fen pattern on it, the skirt coming halfway to her knees, and green heels – but a few minutes later, she was as tightly bound at the wrists and the arms as her girls.


He helped her to stand up as the first man pressed the lengths of plaster over the mouths of the two girls, then turned to face the women of her coffee morning.  “I guess you all had some practice on this,” she said as tow more masked men started to bind the wrists of each woman behind their backs – their ankles and legs already secured with white rope.


“I want them bound and gagged before we come back in,” the man with Beryl said, “we’re going to call her husband at the bank now.”   He escorted Beryl out of the room as she heard her daughters trying to talk, and the silencing one by one of her friends as he picked the telephone handset up.


“Remember – just as we said,” he whispered as he dialled a number, and then held the handset next to her head…








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