George’s Big Score
“Are you ready to go yet, Roberta?”
“I need a few more minutes,” Roberta di Costa said as she sat at her dressing table, using a pencil liner to finish her make up. The thirty eight year old had long auburn hair, which was swept back from her forehead, held in place by plenty of hairspray. A gold ribbon was tied in a little bow to one side of her hairstyle.
As she stood up, she looked at herself in the full length mirror. Her dress had a black top with blue details, a round neck and elbow length sleeves, and a royal blue knee length skirt. The top of the skirt was like a puff ball, with a satin bow to the left hand side, but the rest of the skirt was straight, covering the top half of her black stocking covered legs. She slipped on a pair of black satin slippers, and then went into the room next door.
“Betty’s ready for the party as well Mummy.”
“So I see, Mandy” Roberta said as she looked at her eleven year old daughter. She was dressed in a similar dress to her mother, save that the top half of her dress had elbow length puffed sleeves in the same material as the skirt, and the skirt was what was called a puff ball one. She was also wearing dark tights and satin slippers, while she had a gold headband with a false ribbon bow holding her hair back.
Mandy picked up her blonde haired doll and smiled as she held it. The doll was dressed identically, apart from the white tights. “Is it all right for me to take her with me to the party?”
“Of course it is darling,” Roberta said, “come on – your father is waiting.”
“Well now, I see I have three very beautiful women to accompany me tonight,” Daniel di Costa said as he stood at the bottom of the stairs, wearing a dinner jacket, white shirt, dark trousers and black bow tie.
“Why thank you kind sir,” Roberta said as she got to the bottom of the stairs, and kissed her husband on the cheek. “now, let’s go and have some fun.”
“Okay then,” Daniel said as he opened the front door – and then stepped back as four men walked in, smartly dressed, one of them aiming a gun at him as a second pumped the shotgun and pointed it at the women.
“Good evening,” the man aiming the gun at Daniel said, “I do apologies for the intrusion, but I’m afraid your plans for tonight are going to have to change. Nobody move, nobody make any fuss, and we’ll all get along just fun.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing,” Daniel said angrily as he stepped forward.
“Now now,” the armed man said, “do you really want to see your family hurt?”
Mandy hugged her doll tightly as she said “Mum? What’s going on?”
“Don’t worry little one,” the man holding he shotgun said “what’s your name?”
“And your baby?”
“This is Betty,” she said quietly.
“Well, Mandy, we are going to get your daddy to do something for us, and we need you to be a brave girl. You see, we have to keep you here while he does this for us.”
“It’s all right Mandy,” Daniel said quietly, “just do whatever the men say.”
“Right,” the first man said as the front door was closed, “everyone, walk into the front room.” He waved the gun as Roberta put her hands on Mandy’s shoulders, talking to her as they were marched into the front room, and made to sit down on the couch.
“all right,” the man said, “tie them up.”
“Tie… No…” Roberta said as Mandy hugged Betty.
“Hey,” the second man said as he put the gun down, “I know you’re scared, but we have to do this. Why don’t I show you what we’re going to do on Betty, and then we can do it to you, all right?”
Mandy nodded as the man was handed a cloth bag, her eyes widening as she saw him open it and take out a length of white cord. “Here – feel this,” he said quietly, smiling as he handed Mandy the thin cord, “does that feels scary to you?”
Mandy held the cord in her hands, and shook her head as she said “no.”
“That’s right – now, watch what I do to Betty.” As Mandy sat the doll on her lap, he wrapped the cord round the doll’s upper body, fixing her arms to her sides before he tied it off. He then used a second length of cord to tie the doll’s wrists together.
“Now, is Betty scared?”
Mandy asked her doll, and then shook her head as the man took a longer length of rope from the bag, and doubled it over. “Well, can you hold your little baby, and I’m going to tie your arms to your sides, just like Betty.”
“You’re very brave Mandy,” Roberta said as one of the other two men took her arms behind her back, and started to tie her wrists tightly together, Daniel watching as the fourth intruder tied his wrists as well.
“It’s just like you giving me a hug,” Mandy said as the rope was tied off, and then tightened with two short lengths between her arms and her body. She watched as the man wrapped a longer length of rope around her mother’s arms and body, making two bands on her chest.
She turned and smiled as the man said “right, would you like to hold Betty in your arms? If you do, I’m going to tie your wrists to your arms, and then make sure she stays in your arms. Sound good?”
“Yes please,” Mandy said, watching as he put Betty in her arms, and then tied her wrists to her forearms, before he took two thin lengths of cord. He used one to tie her doll’s ankles together, and then the doll’s legs together below her knees. He then wrapped some cord around Betty’s waist and Mandy’s arms, so that she was held in place.
As she shuffled back in the seat, she saw the men tying her mother’s ankles and legs in the same way as Betty, while her father watched.
“So – would you like me to tie your legs in the same way as your mother?”
Mandy nodded and watched as the man, who had been very nice, secured her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, the white almost shining on her black tights.
“Right,” the man who had been standing with her father said, “you’re coming with us. We’ll be checking in from time to time, and if anything goes wrong, or you mess us around, it’s them who will suffer.”
“Hey – don’t scare the kid.”
The man looked at the one who had been talking to Mandy, and then said “shut them both up.”
Mandy watched as the man took out of the bag a large white scarf, rolled it into a band, and then said quietly “open wide for me Mandy.”
“What about Betty?”
“I’ll be doing something else – and Betty will be quiet after that. Now open your mouth.”
As she opened her mouth wide, Mandy felt the scarf on her tongue as the man pulled the band between her teeth, and then tied it tightly round her head. As she looked to her side, she saw one of the other men use a second scarf in her mother’s mouth.
“Rullrhhttdrln,” Roberta said, Mandy nodding as the man took a wide roll of white tape from the bag, and tear off a small strip. He pressed that gently over Betty’s mouth, before he stuck the end of the roll to Mandy’s cheek and wrapped it round her mouth, covering the scarf. As he tore the tape off and smoothed it down, she watched him do the same to her mother.
“Carry them out to the van,” the first man said, the other two picking Roberta and Mandy up and carrying them along the corridor, out of the front door and into the back of a black transit van. As they were taken inside, they were sat down on a mattress that was laid to one side, the man who had taken care of Mandy sitting with them and saying “don’t worry – we’re going to go for a little drive, and then you’ll be left with your daddy.”
The side door of the van was slammed shut, and then they oved off, the man sitting down and smiling as Mandy rested her head on her mother’s chest.
As she opened her eyes, Mandy wondered why she felt so stiff, and why she could not speak – and then she felt the movement stop, as she looked at her mother.
The man nodded as he waited for the side doors to open, and then the leader of the group came in.
“Get them in here,” he said as the other two men came in, and Roberta and Mandy were carried into what Mandy could now see was some sort of cellar, with a metal cage at one end. On the other side of that cage were three walls, with little doors and locks on them.
“Right,” the leader said as she saw her father been brought in, and his wrists untied, “use the keys and open the safety deposit vault up.”
“All right, all right – just don’t hurt them,” Daniel said as he took a set of keys, and opened the metal gate. The man took the keys back, and started to tie Daniel up as Mandy and Roberta were carried in and sat by the gate.
They watched as Daniel was bound and gagged in the same way as them, and then sat on the other side of Mandy.
“Let’s get to work.”
As they watched, the four men used drills on the locks of the small doors, and then opened them, tipping the contents into large velvet sacks. It seemed to take forever, as Mandy’s eyes slowly closed again…
“Holy… Daniel, what the hell happened!”
Mandy opened her eyes to see a man kneeling next to her father, peeling the tape away and then easing the scarf from his mouth as Roberta opened her eyes as well.
“We… We were taken at home last night,” her father said, “they tied up Roberta and Mandy, and forced me to open the vault…”
“All right,” the man said as two security guards came in. “We’ve called the police, and they’re on their way. Let’s get you freed and upstairs – I’m just glad none of you have been hurt too badly…”
11 am EST
“The Bond Street Safety Deposit raid – I remember reading about it,” Caroline said as she sat back. “I didn’t know you were involved in it though?”
“I was the junior partner - the one charged with keeping the kid from getting too scared,” George said with a smile. “I don’t think I did too bad a job, given the time. At any rate, we left the family bound and gagged in the vault, and made off with the contents of the boxes.”
“Okay,” Caroline said quietly, “but why are you thinking of that when I mention a robbery in Ealing?”
“Well… You ever see a film called The Bank Job?”
No, but I’ve heard of it, some nonsense about a safety deposit raid that threatened to reveal evidence of a royal… But that was nonsense!”
George smiled as he said “yeah – that was…”