I had spent some considerable time researching this family – the man of the house was a well known journalist, who had written books and articles on the current political situation, which meant he and his family mixed with some very influential people. His wife, Beatrice, was in her late thirties, with long dark brown hair, and they had three daughters – eleven year old Gillian, ten year old Sally and eight year old Hope.
Home for them was a large detached house near Hertford, and it was outside the house I found myself on this particular Saturday. Daddy was in the US on a lecture tour, so I knew if I was going to visit this place today, this was one of the occasions when I would have to make sure none of them could raise the alarm, and then alert the authorities myself.
I knew they liked to spend Saturdays at home – the privilege of rank meaning they could have food delivered and so on – so I was watching the delivery lorry as Beatrice supervised the unloading. She was wearing a grey cardigan over a green and white striped t-shirt, jeans and burgundy red leather boots, the legs of her jeans tucked in so they came to just below her knee. She also had a grey scarf with a brown pattern wrapped loosely around her neck, her long hair falling over the back of it.
So I watched and waited until the delivery lorry had left, and then a while longer to make sure they did not come back, checking the supplies I had brought as I did so. Eventually, I got out of the car, putting my rucksack on, and went to the front door of the house. As I slipped on my black leather gloves, I allowed myself a little smile, and then looked round before I pulled the stocking down over my head and tried the door handle.
The door opened out, so I slipped in and closed it noiselessly behind me, before walking down the corridor. Stopping at one door, I could hear the television playing, and looked quietly inside.
All three girls were watching what looked to me like an episode of Totally Spies – but it was also obvious they were dressed for some sort of play time. Gillian was wearing a pair of dusky pink pyjamas that had multicoloured spots on them, but the legs were tucked into a pair of long black leather boots with the cuffs turned down over her knees. Sally had long blonde hair which was falling over a yellow vest top that had a black roundel on it, and a grey long sleeved tops and I presumed pants. I presumed because she was also wearing a pair of long black leather adult boots, these coming up to the top of her legs.
Finally, Hope was wearing a pink summer dress, with puffed cap sleeves and a skirt that came down to her knees – and a pair of brown leather boots that went under the skirt. Her light brown hair was in pigtails, but she like her sister was enthralled by the television program.
I was already getting an idea of how to handle this, but first I needed to have a quiet word with their mother, so I made my way down the corridor, and then looked in what was obviously a study. Beatrice was sitting in there, looking at some papers, but as I came in and closed the door she looked up, saw me, and said “oh my god...”
“Shhh,” I said as I put my finger to my covered lips, and took the gun from my pocket, “we don’t want to scare the girls do we? In fact, I want you to ask them if they would like to play a game with you and me – a game of Totally Spies.”
“A game... You’re him aren’t you? The Games Player?”
“That’s right,” I said quietly, “so please, don’t panic or raise the alarm. I regret to say I will need to secure and silence all four of you, but we can do this in a way that will make it fun for the girls, and possibly for you. Will you help me do that?”
“And if I don’t?”
“Then you have three very scared girls to try and help. My way will be better – trust me.”
Beatrice looked at me, and said “All right – what do you want me to do?”
“Well, we’re going to go and talk to them now – you tell them this is part of their play day, and...”
When we walked into the room, all three girls turned and looked at their mother, and then at me.
“Girls,” Beatrice said, “You know how much you like Totally Spies?”
“Yeah, they’re cool,” Gillian said, “who are you?”
“Well – this man had been hired by me so that we can play a game of Totally Spies. I’m going to pretend to be a scientist, who you have been assigned to guard, but he is going to kidnap me. Your job is going to be to try and find me before he finds you.”
“And if he finds us,” Sally asked.
“Then he will hold you captive with me. Would you like to play that game?”
The three girls looked at each other, and then nodded in agreement as a new episode started. “All right then,” I said quietly, “here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to pretend that I’ve let off a sleeping gas canister in here, and you’re going to have the chance to watch this program before you come round, and have to find the scientist. Don’t worry – I’ll make sure she’s safe. Does that sound like a plan?”
The three girls looked at each other, before Hope said “will it hurt when you take us hostage?”
“No – you won’t be able to move for a while, but you’ll be with your mum.”
“All right then,” Gillian said, “we’ll do it.”
“Good,” I said with a smile, “because the gas was released a few minutes ago. Enjoy your nap, spies.”
The three girls opened their eyes wide, and then pretended to fall asleep, their eyes closing as I took the arm of Beatrice. “Let’s go to your bedroom,” I said quietly as we walked out of the room and up the staircase, finding the master bedroom and walking in.
“I need to make sure you are secure first,” I said quietly as I took off my rucksack and opened it, removing a length of soft white rope. “Turn round, and put your hands behind your back please.”
“All right,” Beatrice said, watching over her shoulder as I crossed and secured her wrists together, and then started to bind her arms to her sides with rope above and below her chest. As I pulled the bands tight, and then passed the rope under one arm, over and around the back of her neck, and then around the other arm, she tried moving before saying “This isn’t too bad.”
“As I said – secure, but not uncomfortable. Now, please, sit on the bed and stretch your legs out.”
As Beatrice did this, I bound her ankles tightly together, the rope rubbing on her boots as it went round and between her legs, and then tied her legs together below her knees.
“Now, before the girls start to come and look for you,” I said quietly, “it will be helpful if you tell me where you keep your valuables, so I can steal them. Then there will be no mess, and no sign this is a real burglary.”
Nodding, Beatrice directed me to her jewellery boxes, and I soon had them in my possession, putting everything back where it should be. As I replaced the last box, I heard footsteps outside, and put my finger to my lips to indicate Beatrice should stay quiet while hiding by the door.
She watched as it slowly opened, and Hope came in, clutching a little doll as she did so. “I found you,” she said with a smile, as Beatrice nodded and then said “Behind you...”
“Welcome,” I said as I put my hand over Hope’s mouth, “I hoped you would be the first spy to find her. Now I need to make sure you don’t move just like her – all right?”
Hope nodded as I said “Good – now, be a brave girl, and put your hands behind your back.”
Her mother watched as I used some rope to tie Hope’s wrists together, and then passed some around her waist to make sure she could not move them away. Some more rope around her arms and stomach locked them into place, before I picked her up and lay her next to her mother.
“Are you all right,” Hope said as I tied her ankles together, the rope pulling the soft leather firmly against her skin.
“Yes – but I’m sorry you got caught looking for me,” Beatrice said as she kissed her daughter’s forehead, watching as I tied the young girl’s legs together below her knees as well.
“I need to go and make sure the other two spies can’t find you,” I said quietly as I tied the final rope off, “but that means I need to stop you both raising the alarm. I’m going to put something in your mouths, and then use some very special tape to make sure you can’t push it out. So long as you both stay calm, you’ll be fine, all right?”
“I’ll go first,” Beatrice said, “so you can see what it is like.”
Hope nodded as I folded a white cloth, and pushed it into her mother’s mouth, watching as she closed her lips over it before I smoothed a wide strip of white tape over her lips, the material forming to the shape of her mouth and jaw.
“Sseetsfnn,” she said, Hope nodding as I folded a smaller cloth and put it into her mouth, and then sealed it with the white tape. As she snuggled into her mother’s side, I said “Don’t move,” and left the room – first making sure I had the bedside phone with me.
Walking down the stairs, I heard Gillian say “Why has Hope not come back?”
“No idea,” Sally said, “I’ll go and look for her. You stay here.” I crouched down and watched as Sally came out, the heels of her boots clumping as she walked along the corridor – and then her muffled gasp as I grabbed her and put my gloved hand over her mouth completing the effect.
“Hello,” I said quietly, “now, be a good little spy, and open your mouth wide...”
“Did you find her, Sally,” Gillian said as she heard the room door open.
“No – I found her,” I said quietly, as Gillian turned round. I had my hand on Sally’s shoulders, while the young girl was smiling, the shape of her lips evident under the white tape covering them. Her hands were behind her back, and there was some rope round her waist to keep them where I had tied them.
Gillian slowly said “Where are the others?”
“I’ll take you to them – but first, kneel in front of the couch, and put your head on the cushions and your hands behind your back.”
“Tsllrrtttjllnn – mfn,” Sally said as she sat on the couch, watching as her sister did what I had asked, and I knelt behind her, crossing and securing her wrists before I made her raise her head, and tied not only rope around her waist, but also around her stomach and shoulders as well.
“The doctor and your fellow spy are upstairs,” I said as I made sure the ropes were snug and secure, “and I’m going to take you to them once I’m satisfied you can’t talk. With that in mind, young lady, open your mouth.”
Gillian looked at Sally, who nodded before her mouth was opened, and a folded cloth pushed in, followed by the strip of micropore tape over her mouth. “Tslrrt,” she mumbled as I walked round and tied Sally’s arms to her sides as well, and then said “Stand up, both of you – let’s go and join the others.”
“Hllgrrlsss,” Beatrice said as I escorted them in, “rullrrtt?”
Both girls nodded as I took some spare cushions, placed them on the floor and said “Lie down with your head on the pillows.” Once they had done so, I secured the legs of both of them, at their ankles and below their knees, before I pulled Gillian’s ankles back and tied them to the rope around Sally’s tummy, and the other way round for Sally.
Hope looked at what I was doing, and mumbled “plssdntdtthhht.”
“It’s all right little one – I have something else in mind for you,” I said as I tied one end of a length of rope around her ankles, and then the other end to the rope below her mum’s knees. As for Beatrice’s ankles, I tied them to the foot of the bed, before looking round.
“You all stay here while I go and talk to my masters,” I said quietly, closing the door on them before I left the house. An hour later, I called the local police station to alert them to the situation at the house – the report in the papers later that week told me they had made more of a game of it after I had left, Beatrice saying she did it to keep the girls calm.
Not a problem for me to believe that...
One of the privileges of being rich, I suppose, is that you can employ staff to take care of house and home – and if you are rich and very busy, you get to employ someone like a nanny to look after the children as well. That adds an extra dimension to my work from time to time – as witnessed when I visited the Beechwood residence.
Beechwood Pater is a high flyer in the city, and Beechwood Mater the lead presenter on a news magazine programme. I’d spent my usual time carefully assessing them, and knew that an early evening might be the best time to go and play a little game with the family. At that time of night, that meant the only ones at home should be their ten year old daughter, Charlotte, and the nanny, a woman called Callie Highgrove. A graduate of a college, she was in her mid twenties, and a nice enough looking woman.
I watched from my car as they walked back from an after school club. Little Charlotte was wearing a tweed blazer over a white jumper, which had a little black bow at the collar, and a knee length blue denim skirt. Her legs were in a pair of white tights with coloured dots, and a white hat and brown flat shoes completed her outfit.
Callie was wearing a black coat over a long white blouse, which looked as if it was covered in multi coloured polka dots, black leggings and knee length tan leather boots.
As they went up to the front door of their house, I got out of the car and started to walk slowly up the road, watching as they went into the house, and Callie closed the door behind herself. I walked quickly up, pulling my gloves on and the stocking down over my head, before I opened the front door and let myself in.
Callie was hanging the jackets up on a rack fixed to the wall, and looked at me, her eyes wide open as I put my finger to my covered lips, and showed her my handgun. “Don’t say anything,” I whispered, “unless I ask, and then talk quietly, all right?”
She nodded as I then said “where’s Charlotte?”
“She’s in the kitchen – I’m about to cook her tea.”
“Good – we need to go and tell her this is a special game you’ve arranged, with her mum and dad’s permission. I’m going to pretend to be a robber, who needs to keep both of you out of the way for a while. Then you can cook her tea.”
“You won’t hurt her or me?”
“I promise,” I said as I took her arm, “shall we?”
Callie nodded as we went through to the kitchen, Charlotte looking up with her mouth open as she saw me.
“Who are you,” she said, and then she listened as Callie explained what I had told her.
“All right – that sounds like fun,” she said as she put her pencil down.
“What are you doing?”
“Well, what I’m going to do first is make sure you stay in the chair, and I’m going to tie your legs together, like a real burglar would,” I said as I looked at her, “but your hands and arms will be free, and you can do your homework while Callie cooks your tea.”
“Will it hurt?”
“No – it just feels funny. So, put your hands on your head please.”
As she did this, I took off my rucksack and found the rope, tying her waist to the chair back and then tying her ankles together, as well as her legs below her knees. She looked at the white bands around her legs, swinging them up and down a little, before I pushed her chair in and she went back to work.
“Feel free to cook,” I whispered into Callie’s ear, “but don’t do anything to raise the alarm.” She nodded and went to put the oven on, as I sat next to her charge.
An hour later, Charlotte was tucking into a plate of Spaghetti Bolognese, while both Callie and I watched.
“This is delicious,” Charlotte said with a smile, “thank you Callie.”
“You’re welcome,” the nanny said, “now make sure you have a drink as well.”
“Once you’ve finished your tea,” I said with a smile, “we’re going to carry on the game. The burglar is going to have to make sure you and Callie are kept safely out of the way, but we’ll put the television on so you don’t get bored.”
“That sounds good,” Charlotte said as she put another forkful of her meal into her mouth.
“I’m going to start to get Callie ready now, while you finish your dinner,” I said as I stood up, and took some rope from my rucksack. Walking round behind Callie, I moved her arms behind her back, and started to bind her wrists together.
“I guess the washing up will need to wait, Charlotte,” Callie said with a smile as I took the rope between her arms to cinch the coils.
“That’s all right Callie – it’s part of the game,” Charlotte said as I tied the rope off, and then she said “I’ve had enough.”
“All right then – would you like me to make sure you can’t move your arms in the same way as Callie?”
“Yes please,” Charlotte said as she leaned forward, and I tied her wrists behind her back as well, before I untied her from the chair back. Putting the rucksack on my back, I then lifted her in my arms, and said to Callie “stand up, and walk in front of us.”
We made our way through to the front room, where I sat Charlotte on the couch, and asked Callie to sit next to her while I pulled the curtains across the windows, before turning the light on. “Now,” I said as I took the rucksack off, “I now need to make sure Callie’s legs are just like yours.”
“All right,” Callie said as I bound her ankles tightly together, Charlotte giggling as the rope squeaked on the leather, and taking it between her legs. I bound them below her knees in the same way, before standing up and taking out more rope.
“The next thing I need to do is make sure your arms are fixed to your sides – watch,” I said as I wrapped the rope around Callie’s arms and chest, her blouse stretching as I took it above and below her chest, and then tied it off behind her back.
“That looks neat,” Charlotte said, “do the same to me.”
Which is exactly what I did, leaving both of them nice and snugly tied.
“Now, the bad burglar has to make sure you can’t call for help,” I said as I took out a roll of white tape, “so I want you to keep breathing normally, while I put some of this very special tape over your mouth. IT won’t hurt, but it will keep your lips closed.”
Charlotte nodded as I tore a strip off, and smoothed it down over her mouth, and then stood so that she could not see the cloth I held in my hand. Callie looked at it, at me, and then opened her mouth, allowing me to push it in and closing her lips over it before I covered them with tape as well.
“Weecnttlknnw,” Charlotte said, Callie nodding as I helped her to sit on the floor, her legs bent and tucked under as I tied her ankles to her chest ropes, and then helped Charlotte to lie down, her head on some pillows.
“Let me turn the television on now,” I said quietly as I put on a kid’s channel. “You can both watch this while...”
That was when I heard the front door open and close, and a woman say “Are you in?”
I put my finger to my lips and stood behind the door, both Charlotte and Callie looking towards it as it opened inwards, and Mrs Beechwood appeared. She had the same light brown hair as her daughter, and was wearing a white slip dress with a fern pattern over a long sleeved black jumper. The dress had black shoulder straps and a matching belt, and came to just below her knees, covering the tops of her over the knee black suede boots.
“Hllmmwrplgngagmmm,” Charlotte said as she looked at them, and then felt my gloved hand over her mouth.
“That’s right,” I said quietly, “I came because you hired me to surprise your daughter with this game of pretend robbers. Callie knew all about it, but she’s played along as well, haven’t you Callie?”
The nanny nodded, her eyes wide over her tape gag as she glanced at Charlotte. Mrs Beechwood was quick to understand the situation, as she nodded and I took my hand away.
“I forgot this was today,” she said as I put my hand on her shoulder, “are you enjoying it so far darling?”
Her daughter nodded as she said “well, I’m going to play along as well. The bad robber is going to take me upstairs, but I’ll make my way back down to you later. Both of you watch and enjoy the television for now, all right?”
“I’ll be back in a little while to check on both of you,” I said as I escorted her out of the room, picking my bag up first, and said “Nicely handled” as I closed the door.
“This is a real robbery, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is- but your daughter does not need to know that yet. For now, please, turn and put your hands behind your back.”
She stood still as I bound her wrists and arms, the band around her chest as the other two had theirs, and then she walked up the stairs in front of me, entering the master bedroom.
“All right,” I said as she sat on the bed, and I knelt down, rope in hand, “let’s keep this neat. Where are your valuables hidden?”
Thirty minutes later, I closed the last drawer and said “Thank you for your cooperation, Mrs Beechwood.”
“Urwlcm,” she mumbled through the tape covering her lips and the folded scarf filling her mouth. I had crossed and tied her ankles together, as well as securing her legs below her knees, and then laid her on her side, as she watched me rob her.
“I know you said you would make your way to your daughter, but do not do so for the next thirty minutes,” I said quietly. “Good luck.”
She nodded as I went downstairs. Charlotte had fallen asleep, gently snoring through her nose, as Callie looked at me.
“Take good care of her,” I said as I left them, and the house, disappearing into the gloom...
In these stories, as I look back over them, there have certainly been a wide range of situations – from the funny to the touching to the downright strange (hello Disney Princesses) but over the last three months there have been three very different versions of the love between a mother and a daughter, each of them with their own merits. I thought I’d share them with you now – the case of Mommy Manager and that of Majorette Maggie will come later, but first let me tell you about a real mother and daughter workout.
It was December, in the Peak District, and there was a light gathering of snow on the ground as I pulled up outside the house on the outskirts of the town. This was the home of the manager of a building firm, and as I watched he drove out of the driveway in his Bentley, obviously on his way to work.
I knew his wife Jennifer worked from home, as a copy writer for some well known science magazines, and they had a ten year old daughter called Yvette. I’d spent some time researching the family, and knew they were all reasonably fit, but just how fit I was about to find out.
Leaving my car behind, I fastened my jacket up to my chin, and pulled on the gloves as I made my way up the path and around the side of the house. I could see a light on in the large back windows – and although I did not need to pass them to get access, I took the opportunity to take a little look in.
Jennifer and Yvette were sitting on some exercise mats, obviously doing some form of exercise together. Jennifer was wearing a black sports top, like a bra, and a pair of exercise pants made of some sort of Lycra, that went over her heels and covered half her feet. The material had a psychedelic pattern of coloured swirls, while her long black hair hung loosely down her back.
Yvette was dressed identically, copying her mother with all the moves she made, and doing very well for her age. Smiling, I slipped back to the rear door, and let myself in, closing the door quietly behind myself before I took a stocking from my jacket pocket and pulled it down over my head, walking past the room they were in and letting myself into the downstairs office.
A search of that room led to me finding a small safe, with a digital lock. Smiling, I tried the date of birth of Jennifer, and the safe door swung open for me, giving me access to some jewels, coins and money. As I closed it however, I heard Jennifer saying “let’s go and get a drink of water” and looked out to see them heading for the kitchen.
Putting my gains into my rucksack, I made my way back to the kitchen and saw them standing by the fridge, Yvette drinking from a glass as Jennifer drank from a bottle. I stood back, pressing myself against the wall, and waited as they came back out, walking right past me.
So when I reached round and put my hand over Yvette’s mouth, holding her against me, her mother heard her muffled gasp and turned round to see me.
“Good morning, Jennifer,” I said quietly, “you remember that you arranged for me to come and play a game with you and Yvette here today? The game of robbers?”
Her mother looked at me, and then at Yvette, before she hit her head and said “Oh yeah – I clean forgot. Yvette, do you remember you were asking me what it would be like to be one of the girls in those stories you’ve been reading – the girl detective ones?”
Yvette nodded slowly as I removed my hand from her mouth. “Yeah – is he pretending to be one of the bad guys?”
“That’s what I asked him to do – he’s going to pretend to be a bad guy who takes us hostage, and we need to try and get free. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I wanted you to be surprised as well. So, do you want to play?”
“Can we be together,” Yvette said as she turned and looked at me.
“Of course – but I’m going to make it very difficult for you and your mum to get free. You both look as if you are very fit, however, so it won’t be too bad. So, this bad man wants you both to put your hands on your heads, and walk up to mummy’s bedroom.”
“Let’s do that Yvette,” Jennifer said as she put her hands on her head, her daughter copying her as we went up the stairs. When we entered the bedroom, I said “Yvette, you sit on the bed, and /I want your mother to lie face down on the bed.”
“Are you going to tie us up to stop us escaping,” Yvette said as she sat down, and I could see the excitement in her eyes.
“I am – I’ll do it to mummy, and then do it to you, all right?”
She watched as I moved Jennifer’s arms and put them behind her back, hands palm to palm, and then tied her wrists tightly together, the rope going around and between her arms.
“Are you good at yoga and gymnastics, Yvette?”
“Yeah,” she said, and then she watched as I tied her mother’s arms together at her elbows, making them touch. Jennifer let out a little gasp as I did this, before I said “do you think toy can cope with this Yvette?”
Jennifer turned her head and watched as I bound her daughter’s wrists and elbows in the same way, Yvette giggling as I put the rope between her arms.
“That’s ticklish,” she said as I tied the ropes off, and then produced a roll of white tape from my rucksack.
“What’s that for,” Yvette said, and then she said “oh” as she watched me tape her mother’s hands together, making a single white glove. Once I had done the same to her, I said “now I need to tie your ankles and legs. Watch what I do to mummy first.”
I crossed and tied Jennifer’s ankles together, and then secured her legs below her knees, the white bands of rope snugly wrapped round the leggings. I then did the same for Yvette, her giggles louder as I accidentally tickled the back of her legs.
“Are you all right, darling,” Jennifer said as I helped her to kneel, her daughter nodding as I did the same to her, before taking a long length of rope and tying it around Jennifer’s chest, forcing her arms against her back and framing her black top.
“That makes you look funny,” Yvette said, her mother nodding as I tied the rope off, and then used some to bind Yvette’s arms to her back as well, taking it above and below her top before tying it off.
Jennifer wriggled her body, as she said “I don’t think we’re going anywhere for a while, Yvette – what do you think?”
“I think the bad man has really captured us,” she said as I went to my rucksack, and took out two cloths and two strips of towel, with a knot tied in the middle of the strip.
“Now, I need to make sure neither of my captives can call for help,” I said with a smile, “so mummy opens her mouth first.”
Yvette watched as I pushed a folded cloth into her mother’s mouth, and Jennifer said “Lthhmddtdrlng.” As I pushed the cloth gently in, she said “wbffsndfnnemmee.”
“Now, this makes sure that stays in place,” I said as I eased one of the knots into Jennifer’s mouth, and tied the strip round her head, trapping her long hair under the knot at the base of her neck. Doing the same to Yvette, I then took the roll of white tape and wrapped a band around their heads, sealing the gags in place.
“Lie down next to each other,” I said, helping Jennifer to lie on her side and then pulling her ankles back, securing them to her chest ropes. As I did so, Yvette wriggled up the bed and rested with her head against her mother’s chest, Jennifer resting her chin on her head.
Using more rope, I tied Yvette’s lower legs to her mother’s thighs, and tied a shirt length of rope from her ankles to the rope around Jennifer’s legs, before I said “now, the bad man needs to make sure you cannot see for a little while. Both of you, close your eyes.”
As they did so, I pressed a length of white tape over their eyes, before I searched the upstairs rooms in the house. That yielded a fair few pieces as well, but I then went back to the room and removed the blindfolds.
“All right so far,” I said as I stroked Yvette’s hair away from her face. The young girl nodding as her mother said “Fnkkuuu.”
“Now comes the fun part – see if you can escape and surprise me as I execute my evil plan downstairs,” I said, watching as both of them started to wriggle round before I made my way down and out of the house...
Majorette Maggie... Many of you will not remember majorettes. They were kind of like cheerleaders, but instead of pom poms and athletics, they were baton twirlers and usually formed a marching group, providing entertainment alongside bands at big events and so on. My mum used to be one, back in the seventies.
Certainly the pictures I used to see of them had them in either military style uniforms, or in matching leotards and short skirts, as well as boots. This been the seventies of course, the short skirts were short, and the boots were tight and often lace up – but I think you get the general picture.
Why do I bring this up? Well, to understand why, I need to go to a previous visit I made to the US on business – to Wisconsin, in fact. I was doing some work for a firm based on the outskirts of Milwaukee – nice little place, really a commuter town for the city, and one of the most famous of the people who lived there was Ronnie Jane, who was a newscaster on the local ABC affiliate.
The publicity photos of her has her smiling, her long brown hair set around her face, sitting on the news desk with her colleagues. Well, I had looked into her – she lived alone, having divorced her husband some years ago, and had a thirteen year old daughter called Maggie. I had found some photos of the two of them together at events – she looked a lot like her mother.
Well, I’ve told you before what happens on these visits – I start thinking things over, checking things out, and before long I had a plan for visiting Ronnie and Maggie, and helping myself to what she may have to offer.
The school holidays has just started in the US, so it was early on a June Friday that I pulled up outside the house she lived in – it was a large one storey home, standing alone in a quiet street. Perfect for me to wait a few moments, then get out of the car and collect my rucksack from the boot, before I walked round the side of the house, where a line of trees gave me some cover.
Pausing a moment, I slipped on my gloves, and pulled a stocking down over my head, tucking it into the collar of the jumper I was wearing, before I snaked along the wall and peeked into the kitchen. IT was empty, and the door was unlocked, so I let myself in and closed it quietly behind me.
I could hear movement in other rooms, and then Ronnie calling out “Maggie, you need to get a move on – we need to be on our way in a few minutes.”
“All right mom,” I heard her call back, as I made my way down the corridor and looked in what turned out to be the master bedroom. Ronnie Jane was standing in front of a full length mirror, putting on a pair of earrings as she did so, and looking amazing.
She was wearing a sleeveless leather dress, with a round collar, that came to just above her knees, but the leather was in a shade that blended with her tanned skin, so that from a distance it might be difficult to see where the dress ended and her skin started. There was no such problem with her legs – she had on a pair of knee length grey snakeskin boots, and each little movement she made something creaked.
Anyway, I was there for a reason, so I walked in, removing the fake pistol from my pocket, and closed the door.
“Are you ready,” she said as she turned round, and then stared at me, her mouth open.
“Good evening,” I said quietly, “please, no screams or shouting. We don’t want to upset your daughter Maggie, now do we?”
“Oh my god,” she said quietly, “who are you?”
“Someone who likes to play games – I find it helps the people I visit relax, especially the younger girls. So I need you to tell Maggie, when she comes in, that this is a game you’ve arranged, and to play with you.”
“And if I don’t?”
“Do you want her to be scared knowing this is a real robbery?”
Ronnie shook her head as I said “good – so follow my lead, and do exactly what I tell you, all right?”
“She – we’re expected at an event!”
That was when the door opened and Maggie came in – wearing a white military style jacket and skirt, with fake fur on the cuffs at the elbow and collar, a gold coloured belt, dark tights and over the knee white leather boots. She also had a brown Russian style fur hat on her head, the strap under her chin.
“Ready, mom,” she said as she came in, and then said “what’s wrong?”
“Hello Maggie,” I said from behind as I put my hand over her mouth, “I want you to listen very carefully to what your mom’s going to say to you, all right?”
“Maggie,” Ronnie said quietly, “I just had a call from the station. They want me to do a piece on what it is like to have someone rob you, and this man then appeared. I’m sorry, but he’s been asked to act as a burglar, so that I can then file a report.”
“I know – but we can play this as a game instead. I’ll call and make an apology for both of us, and there will be other games. Please, Maggie, I know this is short notice, but it is important.”
I kept my hand over the thirteen year old’s mouth as she slowly nodded, and then I said “all right – my brief is to make this like a real robbery, so you both do as I say, all right?”
“All right,” Ronnie said as Maggie nodded again.
“Good – now,” I said as I took my hand away, “your mom needs to call and explain why you will not be there tonight. Remember, Maggie is with me, so no tricks or hints to anyone – just say she’s been taken ill, and has to stay in bed.”
“I’ll do that,” she said as she walked to the telephone at the side of the bed. As she dialled a number, I said to Maggie “Take your hat off please – you need to leave it safe somewhere.”
“You make a very convincing robber,” she said as she removed her hat and placed it on the dressing table, “even with the mask.”
“I like to play the part,” I said with a smile as Ronnie put the phone down. “All right,” she said as she looked at us, “so what happens now?”
“I need to make sure neither of you can do anything to stop a burglar,” I said quietly as I slipped my rucksack off, “so I need you both to stand in front of me, and put your hands behind your back.”
“You’re going to tie us up?”
“I am,” I said in answer to Maggie’s question, “just like the real burglar would.”
Taking two lengths of rope out, I started with Ronnie, crossing her wrists behind her back and tying them tightly together, and making sure I took the rope between her arms as well. As she looked over her shoulder, I took the second length of rope and tied her daughter’s wrists.
“Now, I said you were so ill you had to go to bed,” I said as I tied the ropes off, “so let’s make sure that is true. Take us to your room, Maggie?”
We walked down the corridor, and as we went in I could see her baton on a small bookcase, as well as pictures of her in action on the wall.
“You like being a baton twirler then, Maggie?”
“I’m a Jefferson Junior High Majorette, mister robber sir,” she said as she looked at me.
“Well then, I need to make sure you cannot move your arms,” I said as I indicated to Ronnie she should sit in the desk by Maggie’s chair, “so stand very still for me.”
Ronnie watched as I tied her daughter’s arms to her side, taking the ropes around her stomach and above her chest, and then used smaller lengths of rope under her arms to make sure the bands were tight. “This feels funny,” she said as I tied the ropes off.
“Just stay very still,” Ronnie said, “and you should be all right.”
“Now, I need you to sit n the bed for me Maggie,” I said, and as she did so I took two more lengths of rope out, one around her ankles and one around her legs below her knees. Both lengths were tied over her white leather boots, which squeaked as the rope was pulled tightly over them.
“I’m not going anywhere now,” she said as she swung her legs up and down, so I took the opportunity to bind her mother’s arms to her side as well, her chest forced out under the soft leather as I pulled the bands tight.
“Now, the robber has to take your mum to make her show him where things are hidden,” I say as I tie the ropes off, “and that means he has to both keep you quiet, and make sure you can’t get away.” From the bag, I take out a sponge ball and a roll of white micropore tape.
“Oh – that matches my outfit.”
“Yes it does,” I said quietly, “now, open your mouth as wide as possible – I’m going to put this in there first, to help you to stay quiet, and then put tape over your lips so that you can’t push it out.”
“What happens when you’ve finished with mom?”
“I’ll take you to be with her, all right?”
“All right,” she said as she let me push the sponge in, and then cover her lips with the tape. Smiling, I helped her to lie on her side, and then tied her ankles to the foot of the bed with rope.
“Don’t move,” I said as I helped her mom to stand, and we left her wriggling happily on the bed.
Thirty minutes later, I came back in and said “Ready to join your mother?”
She nodded as I untied her ankles, and then took her back to the master bedroom. Ronnie was lying on her side on the bed, her lips covered with a wide strip of flesh coloured sticking plaster, which held the sponge in her mouth and also blended with her skin and outfit. I had bound her ankles and legs, and then pulled them back at 45 degrees, before tying them to her chest ropes.
I laid Maggie next to her on the king sized bed, and secured her ankles to her chest in the same way, using the rope that had been previously tied to the foot of the bed.
“Tsdfrrtngmmm,” Maggie mumbled as Ronnie tried to move her legs, the snakeskin boots creaking as she did so.
“Now, the robber has to get away – but a rescue crew will be coming. Of course, you could both try to get away, that is you prerogative. I look forward to seeing your report.”
I left them both there on the bed, Ronnie struggling as Maggie moved her legs to and fro...
A week later, she did indeed file a special report on the news – a very accurate one, it has to be said. I know, because they discussed it on the fan board after that. That was the night when – nah, that’s a story for later.
Garage bands are nothing new of course – I think most bands these days, if they’re not manufactured boy or girl band variety, start out in that way – but the one I met was a little different.
I had been looking into the possibility of visiting the home of Iris Wilson for some time – she was a prominent local business woman, very successful, attended all the right events. Her husband was a barrister, and she had an eleven year old daughter called Melanie.
I had researched their home, their families, their lifestyle – Melanie liked to play the guitar, for example – and I had also learned the father was going to be away on this particular Saturday for the whole day.
So at about ten am, I was walking up the driveway of their detached house. It had a large garage to the side, and I could see it was closed, even though there was a car parked outside.
That wasn’t a concern to me though, as I walked to the door. I had on a blue windcheater and jeans, and because it was a cold day I’d put a woollen hat on my head – with the stocking underneath, so that I reached up and pulled the stocking down first, and then the hat, the balaclava meaning only my eyes and mouth showed under the stocking.
With my leather gloves on my hand, I was about to try and open the door when that was no longer a problem – the door opened inwards and Iris Wilson appeared, wearing a pastel coloured plaid wool jacket over a white top, tight burgundy pants and over the knee black leather boots. She also had a necklace around her neck, and a very startled expression as I pushed her back in, my hand over her mouth as I held her against the wall.
“Good morning,” I said quietly, “do not struggle or make any loud noises, Mrs Wilson. I know your daughter is at home, and you don’t want to scare her, do you?”
She looked at me, and then slowly shook her head as I kept her mouth covered.
“If I remove my hand, will you scream?”
She shook her head as I took my hand away, and said “good – turn round, and put your hands behind your back.”
“You’re going to rob us, aren’t you,” she said quietly as she looked over her shoulder, watching as I took a length of rope from my pocket and started to tie her wrists together.
“That’s right – and at some point we will talk to your daughter, but when it does happen, I need you to pretend this is a game that you have hired me to play with her, understand.”
“Oh,” she whispered quietly as I pulled the cord between her arms, “you’re him, aren’t you?”
“My reputation precedes me,” I said as I took her arm, “let’s go into your front room.”
She nodded as we walked into what was more like a large drawing room, and I slipped my rucksack off, looking round as I said “Very nice – now, stand still for a moment.”
“So what are you going to do,” Iris said as I opened the rucksack, took out a long length of rope, and then started to bind her arms to her side, taking it above and below her chest as the jacket was forced open.
“Well, I’m going to secure you first,” I said quietly, and then stopped as I heard the sound of something being banged. Shaking my head, I finished binding her arms, tying the ropes off before I fed it under one arm, around the back of her neck and under the other arm, before tying it off. “Once I have you secure, we can... What is that noise?”
“Probably Mel,” she said as I sat her on a black leather lounger, and crossed her ankles, taking more rope and binding them tightly together, before I secured her legs below her knees. Tying that rope off between her legs, I looked up and brushed her light brown hair away from her face, before I said, “now, why don’t you call her in?”
Well, this seemed to be a day when things I needed to happen happened, as the door to the room opened, Melanie running in as she said “Mum, can... Mum?”
“Hello dear,” Iris said as I stood up, “surprise.”
“Mum, what’s going on?” I looked at Melanie as she stood there, wearing a grey tiger print fleece over a black top, grey tiger print pants and ballet shoes. I also noted she was wearing odd ankle socks – her left one had yellow and black checks, her right black with pink bows. She also had on a pair of large glasses, with her light brown hair falling down her head.
“Melanie,” Iris said quietly, “I had forgotten I had arranged a game for today.”
“On the same day as band practice,” Melanie said as she looked at me.
“Yes – we’re the OddSocks.”
“Well,” I said, thinking first, “your mum asked me to play the part of a kidnapper, who holds the band hostage and forces your manager to raise the ransom.”
“Wow – are you the manager mum?”
“Yes, I am,” Iris said as she smiled and nodded, “he’s already made sure I can’t warn you, but you walked in before he had finished. Listen – do you think Sue and Bev will play along as well?”
“I’m sure they will,” Melanie said, before she said “Oh god – HELP, HLPPPPPP!”
I had stepped over and held her, my gloved hand over her mouth as I said “Be quiet, little one – now, come with me and don’t struggle.”
“Please, do as he says,” Iris said with a smile, Melanie nodding as I walked her over to stand in front of her mother, and then took some more rope, tying her wrists together so that her hands were palm to palm, and then tying some rope around her waist to hold them against her back. I also took another length of rope, and tied her arms to her side, making sure I wrapped it around her stomach and her shoulders.
“Sit down for a minute,” I said as I took Melanie over to a chair, “I need to make sure your manager stays where she is. Now, lie down.”
I took more rope as Iris managed to lie down and roll onto her stomach, before I pulled her ankles back, the leather squeaking as the rope stretched tighter, and then tied her ankles to the chest ropes. Rolling her onto her side, I said “You are going to stay here while I collect the band together, then I’m going to leave you a ransom note.”
“Please, don’t hurt them,” she whispered as I took a sponge ball from my rucksack, as well as a roll of white tape.
“Time to be quiet,” I said, watching as she opened her mouth and let me push the sponge in, and then wrapped the tape around her head, lifting her hair out of the way to avoid trapping it.
“Now then,” I said quietly as I looked at Melanie, “stand up – where is the rest of the band?”
“In the recording studio,” she said as she smiled at her mother.
“Take me to them,” I said as I picked up my rucksack, and we set off, through the kitchen and into the garage. The reason the car was outside was clear now, as I saw two girls about the same age as Melanie standing on front of microphones.
One had dark hair, and was wearing a long sleeveless dress with two shades of horizontal purple stripes. She also had on odd ankles socks, and was holding a large grey toy microphone.
The other girl had her hair in a ponytail, and was wearing a black and white striped t-shirt, purple flecked pants and short brown leather boots.
“Hey, Mel,” she said as she looked round, “what happened to the oh my god who are you?”
“IT’s all right, Bev” Melanie said, “he’s an actor, hired by mum to pretend to be a kidnapper. He’s going to pretend to kidnap us and hold us to ransom as a game – Mum’s the manager, and she’s already been taken hostage by him. He’s tied my arms – do you want to play along as well.”
“Hey, we’re bandmates,” the other girl, obviously Sue, said, “of course we’ll play along. What are you gonna do, mister kidnapper?”
“Make sure you two are like Melanie here,” I said as I put my rucksack down. “All three of you, sit down facing the garage door.”
A few minutes later, I was tying the ropes off behind Sue, all three now with their arms and wrists secured. I then took the white tape, and taped their hands together, to make sure they could not free each other, before I knelt in front of each of them in turn, and tied their ankles tightly together – removing Bev’s boots first, and noting with a smile she also had odd socks on.
“Where are you taking us, you fiend,” Melanie said as she watched me binding her legs together below her knees.
“Never you mind, you all need to behave and keep nice and quiet,” I said as I tied the ropes off, and then wound one more length round Sue’s legs, trapping her skirt against them as I made sure it was nice and tight.
“In fact,” I said as I picked up the white tape, and found three more sponges, “time to be quiet. Open wide.”
“It’s all right – I saw him put one in Mu... our manager’s mouth,” Melanie said, so they allowed me to push one into each of their mouths, and then wrapped the white tape around their heads.
“Now, I can’t let you see where I take you,” I said as I tore a strip off the roll, and stood in front of Melanie, “so close your eyes.”
“Lllrrtt,” she said as the others watched me remove her glasses, and then press the tape gently over her eyelids, and then let me do the same to them. One by one, I picked them up and carried them through the house, up and into what looked like Melanie’s bedroom, where I laid them face down and then tied their ankles back to their chest ropes, so that they all lay hogtied and wriggling round.
“Now I need to deliver a message to your manager – stay put,” I said as I left the room, checking from time to time as I searched upstairs for valuables. After a while, I went back down, Iris looking at me as I searched the main room.
“They’re in Melanie’s room, momma manager,” I said as she looked at me, and I released her from her hogtie. “Good luck in getting to them.”
She nodded as I put my well gotten gains into my rucksack, and went back to my car, wondering how long it would take her to get to them...
I know Steve has met a few – shall we say, interesting families in the past, who like to dress up in certain ways, including ones who seem to think that when my gran was a young girl had the best fashions of all.
It’s debatable, but I remember one particular family when he talks about them. This happened before I knew who Steve really was, and I was just beginning to find out how much I liked doing this.
As you know, I have a young niece, and she attends a local school in the infant part. The school also has a junior school which means the kids attend up to the end of primary school, so the oldest there would be about thirteen. The headmistress of the school is a woman called Denise Holmfirth, lovely lady, in her late thirties, with brown hair and a nice smile.
Her two daughters also attend the school. Rebecca is eleven, and has long blonde hair, while nine year old Hayley has long brown hair.
Now, this was the end of the academic year, and the school was having an end of year seventies themed disco. The other thing you have to bear in mind is the occupation of Denise’s husband – he owns a jewellery store.
So, I think you can understand why I was walking up to their house in the fading daylight, wearing a black leather jacket with the zip pulled up, pants and short boots, and then slipping around the side before I used a screwdriver and a lighter to get into the kitchen.
Once inside, I cooled the blade down in the sink, and put them away in the bag I was carrying, and made sure my gloves were nicely on before I made my way through and up the stairs, and started to search through the rooms, finding a lot of very nice pieces that I stored away in my bag.
Now, my intention was clear – to get in and get out before the family got back. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw a set of car headlights through the bedroom curtains, and I moved them slightly to see who it was.
And yeah – my luck was out, as I saw Denise and her two girls get out of the car. They were dressed in the style of the time – Denise was wearing a pink mini-dress that had a round neckline, and a peter pan collar, with white piping around the collar and the front of the dress. There were also two lines of dark detail, and I could make out the same detail on the cuffs of the sleeves. She was also wearing a pair of knee length white leather boots.
Rebecca and Hayley were wearing identical tops – they were pink, and long sleeved, with a round neck and a multicoloured psychedelic circle pattern on them. On Rebecca, the length of the top meant it was like a smock, and she was also wearing a pair of black leggings and knee length leather boots. She had a white and pink hat on, large peace sign earrings, and a peace sign around her neck on a long chain.
For Hayley, however, the top was long enough that it was a mini dress for her, and she also wore a pair of white tights and black Mary Jane shoes.
I watched as they walked into the house, and took out of my pocket a mask I had made from a pair of tights, having doubled them over and tied a knot in the top. I pulled that down over my head, and started to think about the best way to get out without them seeing me.
Which I soon realised was going to be next to impossible, as I heard footsteps on the stairs. I barely had time to hide behind the door before it opened and Denise came in, turning the light on as she saw the open drawers, and exclaimed “what th...”
Which was all she got the chance to say before I grabbed her from behind, hand gagging her as I held her by the waist and said “Don’t speak, don’t say a word – do exactly what I say, and keep calm. The last thing you want to do is scare your daughters.”
I kept my voice low, as she stopped struggling and nodded. “If I take my hand away, will you scream?” She shook her head from side to side, as I said “Good – now, the bad news is I have to make sure neither you nor the girls downstairs can raise the alarm until I get a chance to get well away.”
“No – please, don’t tie us up...”
“I have no choice – but we can make it a game for the girls, if you agree to do as I say.” I was thinking on my feet by this point – I usually brought something to secure anyone I found when I visited, but my rope was out of reach. What was within reach of me was a roll of white electrical tape I had in my jacket pocket, so I said “Kneel by the bed, and put your hands behind your back.”
“What are you going to do,” she said as she knelt down, and I crossed her wrists behind her back, using the white tape to secure them tightly together.
“Stand up,” I said quietly, as I helped her to her feet and looked at her. “We’re going to go downstairs now – tell me, what scenario would keep your girls quietest while I secure them?”
Denise thought for a second, and then said “we’ll pretend you’re robbing a fashion show, and we’re the model spies that tried to stop you. They like programs like that.”
“All right,” I said as I looked at her, “we’ll go and do that, but first we need to stop in the bathroom.”
“The bathroom? Why?”
“Rebecca, Hayley – we have a problem.”
The two girls looked at their mother as we came into the room, Rebecca looking at me and shaking as he mother said “This is one of our neighbours – I asked her before we came home tonight if she would help with something to make up for the disco ending early.
“She’s offered to be a thief, who has robbed a fashion show, and we’ve all disturbed her, so she has to keep us in one place. I know you’ve asked about playing games like this in the past – well, I’ve started to play, so will you both play with me?”
I watched them as they thought it over, before Hayley came over and looked at her mother’s wrists, taped behind her back.
“Cool,” she said, “do it to me.” She crossed her own wrists behind her back, so I used the tape to secure them together as well.
Rebecca looked unsure, but when Hayley stuck her tongue out and said “what’s the matter scaredy-cat?” that was enough to get her to let me tape her wrists together as well. I then wrapped the tape round their waists, to keep the hands secured, making it look as if they all had a white belt on.
“All right now,” I said as I looked at them, “all three of you, I’m going to use some more tape to keep you from walking round, so sit down side by side on the couch and I’ll take care of that.”
The three of them sat down, Hayley with her feet hanging off the end of the seat, as I took the white tape and made sure their ankles were tightly secured, side by side, and then their legs below their knees. As they tried to move, the leather squeaking for both Rebecca and Denise, I walked behind them, and took out the roll of brown sticking plaster I had found in the bathroom.
“I need to make sure you can’t shout and scream now, so keep your lips together,” I said, using strips of the plaster to cover their mouths so that all they could do was mumble. I then – well, I high tailed it out of there, before somebody else came home.
Crude, I know – but it worked then...