What If… The Games Player
What If… Stories where well known characters are slightly different, or not where they are normally seen…
Take, for example, The Games Players – they like to get the families to play a game to make sure they are clam and secured – but what if they were operating in the 1970’s, in America – how would they go about their business?
It was the Fourth of July, a day for families – unless the man of the house had to work because of his position. That was certainly the case with Sheriff Donald Moore – the man of the law in Serenity, California, who was on duty this particular day, planning to meet his family later for the barbecue and fireworks.
And me? I wanted to make sure this was an exciting day for another reason, as I parked outside the house in my Oldsmobile. I had a sports bag by my side, which contained all I needed, but I waited a few minutes while some of the local kids went past, wearing shorts and tops.
Eventually, I pulled a pair of driving gloves on and got out of the car. I was wearing a brown shirt, jeans and a denim jacket, but as I walked round the side of the house, I took a black stocking out of my bag and pulled it down over my head, pressing my hair down and distorting my features.
I stopped and looked out onto the rear yard, where Bobby and Jacqueline Moore were playing. They were both nine years old, with short bleached blonde hair. Bobby was wearing a red sleeveless top, blue shorts and trainers, while his twin sister was wearing a red strapless top and white shorts as well as a white visor – and her red sandals.
There would be time to talk to them in a little while, as I let myself in and saw Eleanor Moore standing there, preparing food with her back to the kitchen door. She was in her late thirties, with dark hair pulled back, and was wearing a blue blouse with red and white hoops on it, as well as blue shorts.
I coughed softly and smiled as she turned round, a knife in her hand as her eyes widened. I could now see her blouse was open, the ends secured below her chest and a blue bikini top underneath.
“Please,” I said quietly, “put the knife slowly down. I don’t want to hurt you, but ~I do want you and your children to play a game with me.”
“A game… Oh lord, my husband talks about you,” she said quietly, “you’re the Games Player.”
“That’s right – so you know that if you and the kids do what I say, you won’t come to any harms,” I said with a smile. I watched Eleanor as she put the knife down, and then said “please, pour some drinks for you and the kids, and then sit down – I want to talk to you before we start the game.”
“But you’re going to rob us – and my husband is the Sheriff! What makes you think you can get away with this?”
“Oh, that just adds to the enjoyment of the day,” I said with a smile, “so here’s the deal. You call the kids in, tell them this is a special game you and your husband have planned as a surprise, and that it is going to be fun.
“Which it will be – I even brought some things to show patriotism. Do that, the kids are happy, and you know they are safe. Understand?”
Eleanor nodded as I said “good – call them in for a drink, and we can start the game.” She stood up and walked to the door into the yard, saying “Bobby, Jacquie – come in for a minute, I have a surprise for you.”
“Sure Mom,” I heard her son say as they ran in – and then stopped when they saw me.
“Your dad and I have a special surprise game for you – one we are all going to play,” she said as she sat down next to me, “so sit down, and have a drink while he explains.”
“Hey – mind if I call you Bobby and Jacquie as well,” I asked as they sat down. “Tell me – do you watch the exciting television programs, like Scooby Doo, when the bad guys kidnap the good guys?”
They both nodded as Eleanor said “Well, your Dad and I have hired this man to play a game where he is the bad guy, and we are the good guys he has to take hostage. We’ll all play it together, but you need to do as he says, all right?”
“But Daphne has something over her mouth, and she gets tied up,” Jacquie said, “are you going to do that to us?”
“In a way – but it’s the 4th of July, so I feel patriotic,” I said as I opened the bag, and took out three rolls of tape- one red, one white and one blue. “So when you finish your drinks, we’ll start playing with your mom using the white tape to keep your hands behind your back. And don’t worry – later in the game, I’ll make sure your Mom is just like you.”
They both nodded as they drank their juice, while Eleanor picked up the roll of blue tape, and looked at me. Bobby then said “me first, Mom” as he put his hands behind her back, and #i watched as she made sure his wrists were taped tightly together. She then did the same to Jacquie, a is picked up my bag and the other two rolls.
“Does it hurt?”
“no,” Jacquie said as she twisted round, “but it feels funny.”
“It sounds funny too,” Bobby said.
“Well., we’ll all go in the main room, and turn the radio on before your Mom draws the drapes – that means you are all kept in the dark for4m anyone seeing outside.”
I could see they trusted me now, as we all walked in, the kids sitting on the wooden long seat while Eleanor pulled the drapes over the windows. She then sat down and watched as I used the red roll of tape to secure their ankles together, as well as their legs below their knees.
“Now then,” I said as I stood up, “can I trust you both not to call for help while I pretend to take your Mom to show me where her valuables are?” They both nodded as I watched Eleanor stand up, and kiss them both on the forehead.
“We won’t be long,” she said with a smile as we left them in the room, the radio playing before she said “now what?”
“Now, show me your room,” I said as I held up the blue tape, “and then we move to the next stage.”
When we came back into the room, Bobby and Jacquie could both see their mother also had her wrists taped together behind her back - but she also had a band of blue tape round her arms and body, holding them against her sides.
“Wow – will we get that as well,” Bobby asked as he looked at his mother.
“In a while, let me make sure your mom stays here first,” I said as she sat down on the chair, watching as I taped her ankles and legs together with the red tape, and then came back over to secure their arms as well.
“Now, the bad guy needs to make sure none of you can shout and raise the alarm,” I said as I picked up the white tape, “so you need to put your lips together, and don’t struggle, all right?”
“Do me first,” Eleanor said, her children watching as I tore a long strip of the tape from the roll and then pressed it firmly down over her lips.
“Hshllrhtt,” Eleanor said as she looked at Jacquie, while I made sure Bobby’s mouth was covered with the tape as well. I then checked their bindings were still good, before I said “now, I’ll leave you for a while as my captives. I’ll come back and check you in a while, and then you can try and escape, all right?”
“Whllbhghdd,” Eleanor mumbled, Bobby and Jacquie nodding in agreement as I made my way to the kitchen. I wanted to look elsewhere in the house in case there was something else…
“Why have you got that on your head?”
I turned to see a seven year old boy standing in the kitchen, wearing a red long sleeved top, dark blue shorts and black sandals.
“Well, it’s for a game,” I said “who are you?”
“Denny – I live next door. Where are Bobby and Jacquie?”
“They’re – a little tied up at the moment. Would you like to play the game they are playing?”
Denny nodded as I took the roll of blue taper, and said “well, let me do something with you. Are your parents at home?”
“Just my Mom – why?”
“I’ll explain – she might want to play as well…”
Well, you can imagine Denny’s Mom’s surprise when I walked into his front room with him, his hands behind his back and secured with blue tape, a band of blue tape round his body, and white tape over his mouth as he said “Hmmhhmm,whrrhplhhnaghmwhhffbhbbhe.”
“Oh my gawd” she whispered in a southern accent. She had long brown hair, and was wearing a red mini dress and black slip-ons.
“No screaming – Denny wanted to play a game Bobby and his family are playing next door,” I said with a smile, “and he wants you to play as well. So, just sit nice and quiet while I make sure Denny’s legs are like Bobby’s, and then I’ll take care of you as well, all right?”
“Ohhhhokay,” she whispered as Denny jumped on the seat next to her, watching a is taped his ankles and legs with the red tape – and then did the same to his mom, before the blue tape held her wrists together behind her back, and her arms to her sides. I then covered her mouth with white tape as well, before I said “now, stay nice and quiet and watch some cartoons – I’m sure rescue will come soon.”
Stepping out of the room, I searched the house, and then unplugged the telephone from the wall, before making sure they were both fine. Going back next door, I said “ now, try to escape” before I unplugged their telephone as well and left, removing my mask and walking quickly back to my car.
I didn’t want to miss the fireworks – just the ones that would go off when the Sheriff came home…