Flat shares were not uncommon amongst young women in London in the 60s and 70s – but this particular flat had some unexpected visitors, with a novel approach to entertainment…
Been a typist did not pay much, but at least the pay was enough for Amy to be able to share her flat in Enfield – which meant she was away from her controlling parents, and free to be herself. Her blonde hair was cut stylishly short, and she was wearing a sleeveless light blue top matched with a tartan skirt, pinned at the side. Her feet were nestled in a pair of high laced back leather boots, and she wore smart glasses that completed her face. An engagement ring was on the third finger of her left hand, the wedding just a few weeks away.
As she unlocked the door to the flat, she smiled as she walked in, and up the stairs, taking off the long black PVC coat she was wearing and hanging it on a peg on the wall.
“Hey yourself,” Amy said as she saw her flatmate Bea standing in the doorway to her room. Bea was smaller than her, her dark hair cut in a pixie cut, and she was wearing a long sleeved grey blouse with a dark blue and black mini skirt, her feet in tartan slippers. An actress, she was in rehearsal for her next TV role. “What’s happening?”
“Working through a scene,” Bra said with a smile. “Amy, I know it’s a pain, but I need to practice the escaped prisoner taking the young girl hostage…”
“Oh lovely, the things I do for your art,” Amy said with a sigh. It wasn’t the first time she had helped Bra find motivation – and they had taken turns in the past as captor and captive. “So it’s my turn to be the hostage?”
“It is,” Bea said with a smile as she walked over. “You don’t mind, do you?”
“Well, you cook dinner tonight, all right,” Amy said as they walked into her bedroom. “So, how are we going to do this?”
“Why don’t you lie down on the bed,” Bea said, “and I’ll use the thin cord to bind you like that woman in Man In A Suitcase?”
“Nice and simple – fair enough then,” Amy said as she lay on the bed, resting her head on the pillows as Bea opened a drawer, and took out a ball of thin white cord. Making a loop on the end, she smiled as he said “put your hands together in prayer, Deer lady.”
“Well, since you asked so nicely,” Amy giggled as she put her palms together, watching as Bea slipped the loop over her hands and then pulled it tight so that her wrists were held together. She watched as Bea wrapped the cord round her wrists and then between them, before she said “put them down on your lap now.” As Amy did so, Bea pulled the cord down, and then used it to bind her legs together below her knees, just above the knotted laces of her boots.
Once it had been wrapped round and between her legs, Bea took the cords further down, and bound Amy’s ankles tightly together, again taking the cords round and between her legs. Amy wriggled round, her boots squeaking as her legs rubbed together while Bea fixed the end of the cords to the foot of the bed, as she said “so I’m going to be kept quiet?”
“Yeah – and then I’ll leave you alone for a little while if that’s all right? When Dee comes in, I’ll explain what is happening.”
“Well, if you put the radio on, I should be all right,” Amy said, Bea nodding as she turned on the bedside set, and then removed the other girl’s glasses, folding the legs and putting them to the side before she picked up a roll of white medical tape and tore a strip off.
“Talk to you later,” she said with a smile, Amy nodding as Bea smoothed the tape down over her lips, and then left the room, closing the door behind her. She stood for a minute, her eyes closed as she pressed her hands back against the wall, before the door opened to the flat.
The girl who came up the stairs had longer dark hair, and was wearing a black and orange striped mini dress with white knee length PVC boots. She looked at Bea and said “how’s the line learning going?”
“Not too bad, Dee,” Bea said with a smile, “but I wonder if you can help me with something?”
“Don’t tell me – the pretty young girl gets kidnapped by the dastardly villains to force the handsome hero to do their bidding? What is it this time – Department S?”
“Randall and Hopkirk actually – but yeah, can you help me out,” Bea said as she walked to her bedroom, Dee shaking her head as she followed her into the room and saw the lengths of soft rope and scarves laid out.
“So how do you want me to do this,” Dee said as she picked up a length of rope. Bea smiled and turned round, putting her hands behind her back as she said “like the time you did this to me for Z-Cars – I’ll cross my wrists, and you tie them together.”
“Why on earth do you let us do this to you,” Dee said as she wrapped the rope around Bea’s crossed wrists and started to bind them together.
“Method acting – to be the part, you have to live the part,” Dee said as she looked back over her shoulder, “so make sure it’s nice and tight.”
Shaking her head, Dee bound her flatmate’s wrists together, tying the ends out of reach of her long painted fingers as Bea flexed them. She then took a second length of rope and tied it round her waist, so that her arms could not be moved.
“Have you been practicing,” Bea said as she turned round and smiled.
“No comment,” Dee said as Bea sat down on the bed, watching as Dee knelt down and crossed her ankles, before she started to bind them together as well, again making sure she left enough length to go between her legs to tighten the binding. She then picked another length of rope from the bed, and said “do you wish to be silenced before you lie down?”
“Of course,” Bea whispered as Dee picked up a white scarf and rolled it into a band, then waited as her friend opened her mouth, and pulled the silk band between her lips before tying the band round her head. Bea then lay on her side as Dee walked to the other side of the bed, pulling her ankles back and then using the rope to secure them to her wrists.
“There now – think you can rehearse like that,” Dee said as she patted Bea’s head.
“Hfhhnkhlmhnnhj,” Bea mumbled, the scarf already darkening at the corners of her mouth as Dee said “Amy home yet?”
“Hnnhrrhhmmm, dhntdhsthrrbhrr,” Bea mumbled, Dee nodding as she turned her radio on, and said “half an hour?” As Bea nodded, Dee left her in the room, shaking her head again as she closed the door and walked to the main room of the flat.
The hand over her mouth took her completely by surprise, as her eyes shot open, and a male voice said “well, what do we have here?” She looked to the beaded kitchen that separated the main room from the kitchen, to see a second man walk in, wearing a blue boiler suit and black woollen gloves, a balaclava covering her head so that only his eyes and mouth could be seen.
The sawn-off shotgun in his hands took Dee’s attention however, as the man holding her said “be a good little girl, and when I take my hand away, lie face down on that seat over there without saying a word, understand?”
Dee slowly nodded before the hand was taken away, and she slowly walked over to the long seat, lying face down and wondering what was happening as she slowly turned her head, seeing a second identically dressed man as he took from his pocket several lengths of brown rope. Shaking one loose, he waited as the second man put the shotgun down, and grabbed Dee’s wrists, crossing them as his partner used the rope to bind Dee’s limbs tightly together. She suppressed a grunt as the rough rope rubbed on her skin, but she didn’t resist as she felt the bands getting tighter and tighter.
The masked man gave the rope one last tug and tied it off, before Dee felt him move her legs, crossing her ankles before she felt the pressure on her ankles as he started it bind them together as well. She struggled, trying to throw the man off, but he was proving to be too strong, as her ankles were forced together and tightly bound.
“Who are you,” Dee said quietly, but the two men said nothing, as her ankles were pulled back and tied to her wrists with another length of rope. She was then rolled onto her side, but before she had a chance to say anything a strip of brown sticking plaster was pressed firmly down over her mouth, cutting any sounds from her as the second man picked up the sawn-off shotgun.
“Let’s get to work,” he said as the two men left, the one who had bound Dee turning the television on as an episode of The Saint started to appear on the screen, Dee struggling as they made their way out of the kitchen.
The chimes of Big Ben struck as the deep voice said “this is the News at Ten” as Amy walked into the front room, smiling as she said “hey – you forgot about me, we need to… Dee?”
“Hlpphmmhhh,” Dee said as she looked up, Amy heading for the kitchen and coming back with a pair of scissors. She cut Dee free, and peeled the plaster away from her mouth as she said “where is Bea?”
“In her room - she got me to tie her up, and then…”
Both girls walked quickly to the room, seeing Bea asleep on the bed. She opened her eyes as she was cut loose, and then pulled the scarf out of her mouth as she said “Are the men still here?”
“The men? What men,” Amy said quietly.
“I’m sorry both of you,” Bea said as she started crying, “these two masked men broke into the flat, and threatened to kill me if I didn’t make sure the first of you to get back was tied up and gagged, and I got the next one to tie me up…”
Any and Dee looked at Bea, and then hugged her as the tears started to flow from all of them.
The next day
As Bea walked into the bar, she smiled as she saw the young clean shaven man sitting at a table by the window.
“Hey,” he said as he walked over, and handed her a half pint of lager, “how are you feeling?”
“A bit sore,” she said as she sat down, the hem of her leather pinafore dress riding up, “I still have the rope marks on my wrists.”
The man took hold of her hands and looked at the red marks, before he said “it must have bene tight.”
“You would know – you did it,” Bea said as she sipped her drink. “Did you have to be so rough?”
“It had to be realistic – my partner doesn’t know I know you,” he said with a smile, “but I am sorry.”
“Was it worth it?”
“Oh yes – the pawn shop was very providing. What would you say to a weekend in Edinburgh to celebrate – first class rail tickets and all?”