I see the Games Players has told a tale about one of the times he had to deal with a son as well as a daughter. Believe me, it can be quite an experience – because I’m one of the few boys who has met both of them, with my little sister, when they both called at my home a few weeks ago.
My name’s Bob – I’m fourteen, a typical teenager living in the North-East of England, playing football, computer games, watching television. I love those old action shows – Hawaii 5-O, Charlie’s Angels, that sort of thing. And yeah, I do get a bit excited when the girls get taken hostage. Not just the girls though – one of the shows I love is The Professionals, and I remember one episode where a gang of assassins take over a flat so they can try and shoot someone. The take the mum, dad and son into a bedroom, tape their wrists and ankles, and cover their mouths with sticking plaster to get out of the way. I will admit, I wondered what it would be like to be that boy, when one of them put a leather gloved hand over his mouth as well…
Anyway – my sister Sue is ten, and has shoulder length brown hair, while my mum is a few inches taller than me with brunette hair. Dad works for a firm that builds cars, and works shift work – so that the particular evening I’m thinking of, he was not due in until after eleven.
It was early summer, and Mum was wearing a floral print sundress. It was sleeveless, with the top half looking as if she was wearing a corset – shaped, buttoned up the front, with wide shoulder straps that covered the tops of her arms, and a pleated skirt that came to her knees. She was also wearing a pair of light pink sandals with straps round her ankles.
I was wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans, as well as sneakers, while Sue had on a white sundress with a pink cardigan, a white hair band holding her hair back, and white socks with pink shoes. We were both sitting at the kitchen table, finishing our homework, while Mum was preparing our tea.
“I’m finished Mum,” I said as I closed the book, “can I go and watch the television now?” She turned and looked at me, and then at Sue as she said “are you finished as well?”
“Yes Mummy,” she said as she put her pencil down.
“Okay then – on you go,” she said as we went into the front room, and turned on the television. It was Scooby Doo – a show Sue likes - so I said nothing as we sat down to watch. A few minutes later, Mum came in and said “Right – the food is in the oven now. I’m going upstairs to sort some washing out.”
“Okay Mum,” I said without looking round, and I heard her walking up the stairs. A few minutes later, I heard someone at the front door, so I called up “I’ll get it” and left Sue to watch the program.
I could see a couple of people through the frosted door, so I opened it and said “hello, how ca…”
My little speech was cut short as I was picked up and carried into the house by the man who was standing outside, the woman with him coming in and closing the door behind herself. Both of them were wearing dark leather jackets, jumpers and jeans, as well as sneakers – and a balaclava covering their heads, meaning I could only see their eyes and lips.
Oh yeah – and leather gloves on their hands, as the man kept his large hand over my own mouth as he held me. I could smell the leather as I inhaled, and said nothing as he held me tight.
“Hello,” the masked woman said quietly as she looked at me, “you must be Bob. My friend and I were invited here by your mum – she knows how much you like those old action programs, and we run a company that help families live out those adventures.”
“Ewwdd,” I said into the glove – and I have to admit, at that point I was wondering if this was a game.
“So,” the woman continued, “we need to talk to you and your sister, and explain what’s going to happen. If you go with my friend here, I can go and let your mother know we are here. Where is she?”
I indicated with my eyes as she looked at the staircase. “thank you Bob,” she said quietly as she walked to the staircase, and the man whispered into my ear “let’s join your sister – you can tell her this is a game, agreed?”
I nodded as we walked in, Sue turning to look at us, and then looking again.
“Hello Sue,” the man holding me said, “I’m here so that you, and your brother, and your mother, can play a very special game. So I need you to be very quiet, and listen to what I say, all right?”
As Sue nodded he said to me “go and draw the curtains over the windows, then sit with your sister.” I nodded as he let go of me, and I slowly walked over - trying not to show how excited I was, as I then went and sat with Sue. “It’s going to be a great game Sue,” I said quietly, “and they’re not going to hurt us, are you?”
“Of course not,” he said with a smile as we heard the footsteps, and then Mum came in with the masked lady. “Surprise,” she said with a smile, “we’re going to have a great game together after dinner – these actors are going to pretend they are holding us hostage while they do something. I know it sounds scary, but we’re going to make it fun, all right?”
“yes Mum,” I said as Sue nodded as well.
“Good,” the woman said, “now, your Mum is going to come with me and finish cooking your tea, and then we’ll play the game, all right?”
We both nodded as the man said “So, has Daphne been caught yet?”
“Thank you Mum,” Sue said as she took the plate, and we started to eat the pasta bake. We were all sitting at the table, while the masked man and woman stood at the side of the kitchen.
“SO what’s going to happen once we have eaten our dinner,” Mum said as she looked at the woman.
“We’re going to make sure you all stay in the same room,” she said with a smile, “while we go about our work. But as I said, if you…”
She suddenly looked up as the doorbell rang, and the masked man and woman moved. He came behind me and clamped his gloved hand over my mouth as she hand gagged Sue, and I heard him say “whoever it is, get rid of them as quickly as possible.”
“Okay – remember kids, it’s just a game,” she said as she stood up and went to the front door. I look over at Sue, who had her eyes wide open, and mumbled “Ruullrht?”
“Usndfnneee” she said as we looked at each other, while Mum was talking to someone in the hallway. “Quiet now,” the masked woman said as we heard the door close, and then Mum came back in, saying “it was just a neighbour with a parcel” as she sat back down.
“Good,” the man said as he took his gloved hand away, “you’re not expecting any other visitors, are you?”
She shook her head as she said “eat up kids…”
When we had finished, the masked man said “all right – we need to make sure you can’t disturb us while we go about our business. We need to make sure you two kids stay safe in one place while we talk to your mum.”
“And how will you do that,” Sue asked, as I felt a little thrill – I could guess the answer.
“We need to tie you up, like the bad guys do to Daphne,” the woman said as she took two lengths of white cord from her pocket, “so I want you both to lean forward, and put your hands behind your backs.”
“It’s all right,” Mum said as I looked at her, “they will do the same to me, but I want you to go first so that you know there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“We’ll do it mum – it’ll be fun,” I said as I leaned forward, and put my hands behind my back, trying not to show my excitement as the man crossed my wrists and started to tie them together. I was going to find out exactly how it felt! Sue looked less certain as the woman took her hands behind her back, but then she said “it’s not so bad” as her own wrists were secured.
The man then took another length of cord from his pocket, before he tied Mum’s wrists behind her back as well, and then said “We also need to tie your arms to your sides. I want you both to see what I do for your mother first, all right?”
We both nodded and watched as he left the room, and then returned with a longer length of rope. He doubled it, and then passed it round her arms under her chest, Mum smiling as he pulled it tighter, and then passed it round her body again above her chest. He made several more passes, before he tied the ropes off behind her, and /I saw the bands framing her chest. It made me feel a bit funny as I looked at her – and then I was aware the masked man was tying my arms in the same way, while the masked woman tied Sue’s arms to her sides.
“It feel like you’re giving me a hug mummy,” Sue said as I watched the ropes get tighter, and her arms forced into her sides, but she seemed to be enjoying it – and to tell the truth, so was I.
I tried to wriggle round after he had finished, but I knew I couldn’t move my arms either, as the masked man and woman helped us and Mum to stand up and we walked out of the kitchen, and towards the staircase. As we walked up, the woman said “do you keep your scarves anywhere?”
Mum looked at her, and said “in a drawer upstairs – why?”
“No reason,” the man said as we were walked up the stairs, and into my bedroom. “This will do,” the man said as he looked at us, “you two can stay here for a while, and then we’ll make sure you’re with your mother. Now, hop on the bed, and cross your ankles for me.”
“Come on Sue – we can play together,” I said as I walked over and sat down, Sue next to me as her legs hung over the side. The woman put down a rucksack she was carrying, and took out four more lengths of the white rope, which she used to tie our ankles together, and then our legs below our knees – Sue had her skirt raised a little to do that.
Well, now I knew what it felt like to be tied up – I wriggled my legs as well, Sue giggling as she did the same. The masked lady then left the room, and came back with two of Mum’s patterned scarves. Rolling one into a band, she stood in front of Sue and said “time for you to keep quiet – open your mouth please.”
“Will it be all right Mum,” she said as she looked at our mother. She smiled, nodded and said “it’ll be all right Sue – tell me how it feels.” I could only watch as my sister opened her mouth, and the woman pulled the rolled up scarf between her lips, tying the band round her head and making sure the knot was at the base of her neck. She tried to move her lips over it for a few minutes, before she said “ssllrrhtmmee.”
“Good,” the man said as he took a black bandana with a white pattern on it, rolled it into a band and stood in front of me. I swallowed – I really wanted to know what it felt like to have my mouth covered with tape – but as he pulled the cotton band between my teeth, I tasted it as it pressed my tongue down, and I had to admit – this was just as good.
“Stay there,” the woman said as she helped us to lie on our sides, facing each other, and then they took Mum out of the room. I watched as Sue wriggled round, and I did the same, both of us wanting to see if we could get free.
But they were both very good at their job, so we had to wait until the masked woman came back in, with two juice cartons that had straws in the top. She helped us to sit up, untied and removed the scarves, and then let us both take a drink.
“Now then,” she said as she brushed the hair from our faces, “your mum wants you to be with her for the next part of the game, but she wants you both to be just like her, and that includes the way she is kept quiet. So, I need you both to open your mouths as wide as possible.
“Do me first,” I said, Sue watching as she folded the bandana, and then pushed it into my mouth so that it filled it. To my delight, she then took from her pocket a wide roll of brown sticking plaster, tore off a strip, and pressed it firmly over my mouth! I felt the tug on my skin, and I knew I was not going to be able to talk now. And it felt so nice…
She then folded one of my handkerchiefs, and used it to stuff Sue’s mouth before she taped that over as well, and then she carried her out of the room, returning a few minutes later to get me. Sue and Mum were lying on their stomachs on Mum and Dad’s bed, and I could see the plaster over Mum’s mouth as well as the masked man was tying Sue’s ankles to the ropes round her chest.
I remembered that scene from the TV series – the mum was sitting on the floor, the dad face down, the son on his back – but as she laid me on the bed, rolled me over and tied my ankles to my chest ropes, I knew this was way better!
Mum looked at both of us and nodded as the man said “we need to do what we came here to do now – we’ll check on you every so often.” As they went out of the room, Mum rubbed her plaster covered mouth on both our cheeks, as we listened to the radio and tried to wriggle round…
I guess I fell asleep at some point, because the next thing I remember was Dad saying “what the…” and Mum trying to speak to him as we all wriggled round. He took the plaster from our mouths – and I saw Mum had a folded scarf in hers as well – and then she told us the biggest secret of all.
We really had been robbed – they were the couple the press called the Games Players, and she had gone along so we would not be afraid.
Somehow, that made it all the more exciting – and I wondered if it would ever happen again…