Top of the Pops
“What on earth is that racket you are listening to?”
Edith Bowman looked at her granddaughter as she sat in the large armchair, her legs curled under her as she watched Pete Murray introducing Manfred Mann.
“It’s the music I like Gran – and it’s only on for a little while,” Katrina said as she looked up with a smile. The eighteen year old was wearing a long sleeved top, with a red body and blue sleeves, the front fastened by large white buttons, as her long dark brown hair fell over her shoulders. Her short skirt was a patchwork creation, while her lower legs were encased in skin-tight brown leather boots.
“Well, he’s no Glenn Miller,” Edith said as she looked at Paul Jones. She was wearing a light blue dress with a round neck folded down, a small brooch pinned to the front, and long chiffon sleeves as well as a bow at the front of her waist as the pleated skirt came down to her knees. A matching pair of satin kitten heels was on her feet, her grey hair tightly held in place by hairspray.
“You about ready to go Mum,” Wanda said as she came into the room. Although in her early forties, she looked younger, especially in the sleeveless mini dress she was wearing, which was a bold fruit print. Tan toeless sandals were on her feet as she adjusted her earrings.
“I’m ready – you and Lesley take care, all right?”
“Go mum, we’ll be fine,” Katrina said as she waved her mother and grandmother out. “See you later,” she heard another woman say, and then looked at the door as Lesley looked in. She was a year younger, and had her dark hair pulled back by a white headband. She wore a long sleeved white blouse under a green tank top, a pleated tartan mini skirt and knee length white leather boots, and held a lamb’s wool scarf that matched her skirt in her hand.
“Where are you going?”
“I need to get a text book from Babs – I’ll be back in twenty minutes.”
“Okay then – I need to talk to you about something,” Katrina said as she watched her sister walk out of the room, and heard the front door open and close. As she watched Herman’s Hermits, the sound of the knocker on the front door made her look up.
“Did you forget your keys,” she said as she stood up and walked to the front door, opening it and expecting to see her sister. She did not expect to see the two men, only their eyes and lips visible in the balaclavas covering their heads, as she was pushed back in.
“Not a word lassie,” the taller of the two men said, “get back in there, lie down, hands behind your back.”
“Or,” the smaller man said as he produced from inside his boiler suit a shotgun with the barrel sawn off, “we make you lie down.”
“I’m back,” Lesley said as she closed the door behind herself, “now what did you...”
“Not a word,” the masked man growled as he turned the young girl round and made her face the wall, “hands behind your back.”
“What the hell...” she said as she felt him pull her wrists behind her back, and then rope as it was pulled tight round her wrists, forcing them together as it was passed round and between her arms.
“This is a robbery,” the man whispered into her ear as she felt him pull the rope tight, and then secured the ends out of reach of her fingers, “so just shut up. Actually, I’ve got a better idea.”
“What,” Lesley whispered as she saw his black gloved hands when they removed her scarf.
“Open your mouth.”
“Why, what are you gnnggttddmmggdddd.”
The shock of the man pulling the scarf into her mouth was soon replaced by the strange sensation of the lamb’s wool on her tongue, as the scarf was secured round her head, the ends hanging down her back as she saw dark rope passed round her body, her arms pulled tight into her sides as she felt the rope pressing on her chest, squeezing it out as it was pulled tighter and tighter.
“Get her in here,” a taller masked man said as he looked out of the main room. As she was forced in, Lesley’s eyes shot open as she saw Katrina on the couch, unable to talk as a wide strip of sticking plaster held her lips closed together. Her arms were held tightly to her sides with dark rope as well, her ankles crossed and secured, and her legs above and below her knees.
“Whthppnnff,” Lesley said as she was made to sit against the opposite wall, stretching her legs out as the smaller of the two men crossed her ankles together, the dark rope rubbing against the white leather as she felt them forced together, the squeak as she tried to move them mingling with those of Katrina.
He then wrapped more rope around her legs below her knees, Lesley watching as he pulled it tight around and between them, his hands stroking her legs as he did so, and then repeated the process above her knees, so that when he had tied the last knot off she could barely move them, only the squeak of leather on leather possible.
Katrina looked over, trying to find the knot with her fingers that held her wrists together behind her back. Having a shotgun pressed against you had made her very compliant as they had bound her, and the tape was pulling on her face, but it was held very tightly in place.
She tried once more to move her legs, again the brown leather squeaking as she moaned out.
The older girl shook her head, both watching as the intruders searched through the cupboards and then went upstairs.
“I enjoyed that concert,” Edith said as Wanda turned into the street. “Thanks for taking me.”
“My pleasure,” Wanda said as she turned into the driveway in front of the house, and turned the engine off. She could see the curtains drawn over the windows, the lights on behind them.
“The girls must still be up,” she said as the two women got out of the car, and she locked the car doors, while Edith walked to the front door. As she went in, Wanda looked round, and then followed her in.
Edith was looking at her daughter over the large gloved hand that covered her mouth, while the balaclava masked man pointed the sawn-off shotgun at her. “Close the door,” he growled, “and then in the front room, hands in the air.”
Wanda nodded as she slowly closed the door to, and then walked towards him, her hands above her head as she was followed by the other two. She saw Katrina lying on the couch, and Lesley on the floor, a dark stain on the scarf where it sat between her lips.
“What are you doing here,” she said as a second, smaller man, closed the living room door.
“Robbing you – go and get two chairs from the dining room,” the tall man said, his partner nodding as he went off and returned with two high backed chairs. “Where are your jewels?”
“If I tell you, what will you do?”
“Not hurt you and your family – fair deal?”
Wanda nodded as the tall man looked at Edith. “Sit down,” he said as he waved at the chair, “and put your arms round the chair.”
“Please, mum, do as he says,” Wanda said as Edith walked over, staring at the tall man as his partner knelt behind her, and started to bind her wrists together with rope.
“You,” the tall man said, “come with me, we’re going to your room.”
“You always treat a lady like this,” Edith said as she felt the rope pulling her wrists together, and then the wooden chair back as the intruder tied them to the centre spar of the chair support.
“We always make sure they cannot raise the alarm,” she heard him say as he passed rope around her waist, and then pulled her back so that she was forced to sit upright, the rope tied again to her wrists.
“What about you girls, are you all right?”
Both Lesley and Kristen nodded as more rope was wrapped around Edith’s upper body, securing her to the chair before he walked in front of her, and held up another length of cord, using it to bind her ankles and then take them to the right front leg of the chair and tying them in place. He used a final length of rope to bind her legs together below her knees, before he stood up and looked at her.
“Proud of yourself?”
“I think I’ve done a good job,” he said as Wanda was pushed back into the room. Her wrists were already tied behind her back, as she was made to sit in the second chair.
“Bind her,” the tall man said as he put a large blue headscarf on Edith’s lap, and then rolled a second bright yellow one into a thick band.
“Open your mouth,” he said as he walked behind her, Edith grimacing before she slowed him to pull the scarf between her lips, the taste of scent on the scarf as it pressed on her tongue a different sensation again. She could feel the corners of her mouth been pulled back as he secured the ends together at the base of her neck, and then turned her head to watch as Wanda was secured to the second chair in the same way as her.
Wanda could feel her hands at the small of her back as she was forced against the wood, but had to adjust as best she could, the ropes holding her firmly in place. As he legs were tied, she looked at the masked man and said “so what happens now?”
“You shut up,” he said as he rolled the blue scarf up, “and we go. Have a nice night.”
“Veryfnneeeeubstrd,” Wanda exclaimed as the rolled up silk scarf was pulled into her mouth, and the ends se cured at the base of her neck, before the men picked up two bags and left. She looked round the room, saying “hmgdddd,” as she tried to get free of her ropes.
“Dntwnddd – tstttht.”
As her mother and grandmother tried to talk, Lesley was trying to push the scarf out of her mouth, without much success. Kristina was starting to cry as she lay still, the ropes holding her arms and legs firmly in place.
Eventually, Lesley started to shuffle forward, the others watching as she lay flat on the floor and then managed to kneel.
“Whtrudngg,” Kristen said as Lesley turned herself round, and then stated to shuffle on her knees across the room, her boots squeaking as they rubbed against each other.
“Gttnfusfrrr,” she mumbled as slowly, painfully, she inched across the floor and then made her way behind her grandmother, Edith looking over her shoulder as she sat on her thighs, and then brushed her scarf gagged mouth against Edith’s fingers.
“Gtcchh,” the older woman mumbled as she edged her fingers round and under the lamb’s wool scarf, Lesley nodding as she started to move her head round and Edith pulled as much as she could.
It took twenty minutes, but eventually Lesley coughed and said “thanks – I really need a drink of water, but I think I need to get you freed first.”
Edith nodded as Lesley started to pick at the knots above her wrists with her teeth, slowly unravelling the knots until she managed to free her wrists from the chair back, and then from each other.
She could see the knot securing the rope around her grandmother’s upper body, so she picked at the next, until it was loose enough to allow Edith to pull it off her, and pull the yellow scarf from her mouth.
She looked at the saliva stain that darkened the centre, and then said “good work Lesley. You try and get your mother loose, while I release myself.”
“Nnn – nteehrncllplsss.”
Wanda looked at Kristen, who both nodded as Edith leaned forward and released her ankles, before she worked the rope round and finally stood from the chair. She walked round and untied Lesley, before going into the hallway.
“They’ve pulled the phone from the wall – I’ll go next door,” she said as Lesley walked over and pulled the plaster from her sister’s mouth.
“Thank god – well done,” Kristen said as Wanda watched. She could not be prouder of them – even if they had taken all her jewels, the two most precious were safe.