Seventies Bound 3
You won’t find another clown like me, Babe,
No you won’t….
The sound of the New Seekers singing was discreetly playing in the background of Carrick, the exclusive boutique that sold clothes to the fashionable girls in the town. The store was owned by Cassie Carrick, now in her forties but still looking as good as she had ten years earlier when she had started the store at the time The Beatles were just starting out. In those days she ran it alone, but now her twin daughters, Jenny and Penny, were learning the trade as well.
This particular Saturday, the three women were taking with the customers. Jenny and Penny were identical twins; about five foot nine with long blonde hair. Jenny was wearing a light grey short sleeved mini-dress, with a light blue diamond pattern on the fabric, while Penny a brown short sleeved mini dress with a floral pattern and faux brown waistcoat. They took their blonde hair from their father’s side of the family – Cassie was shorter, with dark permed hair, and was wearing a chocolate brown jumper with a dark elastic belt around her waist fastened with a “S”-clasp. Her skirt was a brown mini skirt, made of patches of different shades of brown leather, and she had calf length brown leather boots on.
It had been a busy day, with a good number of customers coming in and out and making purchases, so Cassie was in a good mood as the time came round to close up the shop and count the takings. As the last customer was shown out, Penny locked the front door and turned the sign to show “Closed”, while Jenny went to make some cups of coffee and Cassie emptied the tills into a cloth bag.
Outside the store, there was parked a Hillman Imp, green with brown trim, and three men inside were watching the store with more than a little interest. It was a clear summer day, so they could see the three women through the window as they sorted the notes and small coins into piles and started counting.
It was a smart house, one of the new ones that had recently been built on the outskirts of town, that the Cortina the Carricks used drove up to. As Cassie stopped the engine, the twins stepped out of the back of the car and opened the front door, Penny carrying the cloth bag with her. A short distance away, the Imp pulled up and watched as the three women entered the house.
“Are you sure the husband is away?” The man behind the driver’s wheel said.
“Positive – I saw him get onto the train this morning. He won’t be back until late tonight, if this is like any other week.”
“All right – let’s get this over with,” the first man said as he picked up a canvas holdall from the front passenger seat. The three men quietly left the car, and as the driver walked towards the front door the other two walked quietly round the back of the houses.
Nice to see you, To see you…
The Generation Game was playing on the Bush television as Cassie brought the dinner plates through to the table. The twins sat down and started cutting into the crispy pancakes and chips as Cassie sat down.
“Good day today girls.”
“Ys mm” Penny said through a mouthful of chicken and pancake. “we sold a lot of dresses today.”
“I just wish your father was here – I don’t like the idea of having this money around the house, but he would forget to leave the night safe key today of all days. Eat up – they’ll be doing the play in a few minutes.”
There was a sharp knock on the door.
“Now who on earth could that be?” Cassie said as she stood up, placed her napkin on the table and walked out of the room towards the front door.
“Yes, yes, I’m coming, what is it?” she said as she opened the front door, only to be confronted by a man dressed in a cream roll neck sweater, brown blazer and trousers, holding a sawn off shotgun and with a stocking over his head.
“Girls, RUN!!” Cassie screamed as the man pushed her in. The twins looked at each other, suddenly stood up and rushed for the back door in the kitchen – only to be confronted as they opened it by two burly men dressed in a similar manner, one of them also carrying a shotgun.
“All three of you shut up and keep still!” the man at the front called as he closed the door behind him, one arm grasped around Cassie’s arm. He reached over, wrapped the telephone cord in his hand and pulled sharply, taking the fitting off the wall as he did so.
“You,” he said pointing his gun at Jenny as the twins were pushed into the hallway, “Go into the front room and pull the curtains closed. No funny stuff, or your mother and sister get a taste of lead. MOVE!!”
Jenny looked at her mother and sister, then quietly walked into the living room and closed the thick brown velvet curtains closed. The dim light was illuminated as the ceiling light was turned on, showing the brown fleck of the wall paper as Penny and Cassie were pushed into the room by the intruders.
“Right,” the leader said, “just do as you’re told and nobody gets hurt. You – you’re the mother right?” he said point at Cassie, who nodded as she whispered “Please, don’t hurt my babies….”
“Then do as you’re told, all right? Boys, why don’t you turn the television up and make sure the two youngsters here don’t interfere with us.”
Jenny and Penny looked at each other as the two men they met at the back took hold of them, and made them stand face to face. One of them leaned over and whispered in Penny’s ear “Put your hands behind your back, and tell your sweet sister to do the same.”
“Do as I do, Jenny,” she whispered as one of the men covered both the girls with the shotgun, and the second one pulled some lengths of white rope out of the canvas holdall that had been placed on the coffee table. Penny moved her hands behind her back, and Jenny copied her as tears started to roll down her cheeks.
“Come with me, lady,” the leader said as he pulled Cassie by the arm out of the room. As Penny stood there, she felt her wrists been tied together, palm to palm, behind her back with rope. The man made several passes around her wrists, before passing the ends of the rope between her wrists, pulling tightly to make sure the binding was firm, and then knotting the rope off.
“Put the money in this sack,” Cassie was ordered as the man held open a large white bag. Reluctantly, she began to place the takings in the sack, as the intruder looked round the room and noticed a large family portrait on the wall.
“Sit down with your hands on your head,” he ordered Cassie, and as she sat on a chair he placed the shotgun where she could see it, reached up and took the portrait down to reveal a large wall safe.
“Now, you tell me the combination or your daughters get some special attention from my friends,” he said as Cassie shook involuntarily.
Jenny watched as the man wrapped the rope around Penny’s waist, finally tying it in front of her. Her sister tried to twist around and get some movement in her arms, but her wrists were held firmly in the small of her back by the rope.
He then went behind Jenny’s back, and she winced as she felt the white rope being pulled around her own wrists. The other intruder then placed the shotgun on the coffee table, beside the holdall, and reaching in he took out a roll of wide silver tape. He turned Penny round to face him, and Jenny watched him tear a strip off the roll.
“Put your lips together,” he said to Penny, and Jenny stopped worrying about the rope going between her wrists as she watched him smooth the tape over her sister’s face, followed by two more strips. As the rope was passed around her waist, she watched Penny as she was taken toward a large ottoman recliner that sat in a corner of the room, and wondered what he was going to do to her next.
Cassie was now sat on the bed in the master bedroom as the leader of the gang was searching through her drawers. Her wrists had been crossed behind her back and tied together with white cord after he had finished emptying the contents of the family safe into his bag, and now she watched him emptying the contents of her jewellery boxes into the same sack.
“You know, you’re not a bad looking woman for one with teenage daughters,” he said as he threw another box onto the bed.”
“Do you honestly think flattery is making this any easier?”
“No – but it never hurts to be polite to visitors, does it?” As he said this, he came over and grasped Cassie’s chin in his hand, bringing her face up as he leaned over. “After all, you never know what might happen next, do you?”
Cassie tried to turn her face away, but he kept brining it closer a she leaned over. She began to cry as the door opened and one of the other two intruders came in.
“Boss, I…. oh sorry. I just wanted to say everything’s done downstairs.”
“All right,” the leader said as he let Cassie go, “Search the rest of the rooms up here. I’ll take this little lady downstairs to join her daughters.”
Taking Cassie by the arm, he led her out of the room and down the stairs. Through the open bedroom doors, she could see the other two men rummaging around in the girl’s rooms.
“What have they done to my babies,” Cassie called out as she was led down the stairs.
“Don’t worry, your daughters are fine – see for yourself,” the man answered as eh pushed Cassie back into the main room, and she saw what had happened.
Penny and Jenny were lying, side by side, on the Ottoman. Both had silver tape over their mouths, and their ankles and legs were tightly held together with tape. Cassie could see the rope around their waists, and the way their hands were under them behind their backs, and instinctively knew what had been done.
“MMMM!!” they both called out as Cassie was pushed into the centre of the room.
“I’m all right Girls – have you been hurt?”
“Nn, bt wr scrd” Penny mmphed.
“So am I – just be brave, all right?”
As she was sating this, Cassie was having rope wrapped around her arms and chest, but not in an ordered manner, but rather in a way designed to quickly bind her arms and prevent them moving. She was then pushed down into a large armchair, and watched as her ankles were crossed and tied together with rope, which was passed around her feet and between her legs as well to make sure they were secured together.
“We’re not going to stop you leaving, so why did you have to do that to my girls?” Cassie asked as the masked man started to pull her legs together above her knees with rope.
“Not taking any chances – now let me finish here,” he replied as the ropes were pulled tightly together. Cassie winced as the ropes cut into her skin, and the two girls protested when they saw the look of pain on their mother’s face.
“Now, time for you to shut up,” he said as he stood up and picked the roll of silver tape off the table. Cassie glared at him as he tore a long strip off, leaned over and stuck it firmly over her red lips, then followed it with two more strips.
“That should do the trick,” he said, “but just to make sure….” And he grabbed Cassie’s left nipple and squeezed. Her eyes opened with surprise and she let out a muffled “MMMPHHH!” as she tried to squeal in pain.
“Good – time we went, boys” he said with a grin that could be seen through the nylon of the stocking, and the three men collected up the detritus of the material they had used to tie up the three women. They glared at the men as they picked up the holdall, stuffed the various sacks that had been filled with their valuables inside and left them, turning the light off as they did so. The evening gloom was intensified by the thick velvet of the curtains as they pondered what their next action was going to be.
The two girls moved their legs up and down and rolled around a little, partly to see if they could find any give in the tape but mainly to see if there was any way they could work their hands loose. Sadly, they were too tightly held in the small of their backs, and in their fear the thought of rolling around to see if one could reach the knot at the front of the other girl’s waist never occurred to them.
Cassie tried calling out, but all her daughters could hear was “Hlp!! Smbdy hlp us – wre td p hr!!” Realising there was no point in joining in, they lay back and waited for their father to return home.
The theme to “Match of the Day” was playing when Mister Carrick finally opened the door to the house.
“Cassie? Are you still up?” he called out, then realised what was nagging at him – why was the television on and the light off? Entering the room, he took a step back at the sight that greeted him.
Jenny and Penny raised their heads and tried to call out to their father, but the tape was still over their mouths and stifling any intelligible sounds. Turning round at the sound of another muffled call, he saw Cassie staring wide eyed at him, licking her legs up and down and turning furiously. Rushing over, he pulled the tape away from her mouth and Cassie breathed a deep sigh of relief.
“Thank God,” she said in a horse whisper, “John – we’ve been robbed! Call next door and ask them to call the police – they pulled our phone out of the wall.” John rushed out, and Cassie called over “Be brave a little longer, girls.” The television continued to play in the background.
It’s Best on the ball as he takes it down the field….”