When I was twelve years old in the summer of 1977, I spent three weeks at my Aunt Jean's house, where I played tie up games with my cousins Donna (13), Shirley (11) and George (7; who mainly watched) the neighboring kids Karen (13), along with Becca (14), and her brother Jim (12).
On Thursday of my first week, I slept late. I had stayed up late the previous night watching a horror movie on TV with my oldest cousin Keith (16), and his friend Pete (also 16). I was blissfully asleep, until I heard a voice urgently say "WAKE UP, DOUG!"
In an instant, I shot up into a sitting position and found myself staring bleary-eyed at a smiling George, and a very sheepish looking Karen. Little did I realize that while I slept, Karen had decided to launch a major tie up offensive, starting with Donna and Shirley and me. However, her plans were foiled when she discovered that I was still asleep. That was when George graciously offered to wake me.
"I'm sorry," Karen blurted out, "I didn't know he was really going to wake you." Barefoot, she was clad in shorts and a tank top. Her shoulder-length black hair was pulled up into a pony tail, and she held twin lengths of clothesline rope, which she kept wringing nervously in her hands. "If you don't want to play, I'd understand!"
Me, not wanting to play a tie-up game? The silly girl.... I immediately put my hands up in the surrender gesture to indicate that I was more than happy to participate. Karen's response to this was to break into a relieved smile and order me to put my hands behind my back. I was shirtless and barefoot, clad only in a pair of red cotton shorts with an elastic waistband. While these were technically my "pajamas", they were your basic pair of shorts, and I could get away with wearing them on the street, if it came to that.
Karen bound my wrists together behind my back by wrapping the rope around a good four times before cinching it off with a tight knot. Then she tied a the second length of rope over the original bond in between my wrists. Karen wasn't fooling around this time; I tried to move my wrists and found that they were tied snugly together without being too tight.
She helped me get to my feet and escorted me down the hall to the living room. I'd figured my Aunt Jean must have been out, or else Karen wouldn't have been this brazen. Once we entered the living room, Karen cried, "Oh, look at this!"
Donna and Shirley sat back to back on the carpeted floor of the living room. Like me, their hands had also been tied behind their backs, and the girls had been in the process of picking each other's knots when we walked in on them. Both barefoot, my cousins were also still clad in their pajamas as well: Donna wore an extra large, mid-thigh length football jersey; while Shirley was clad in more traditional summer style pajamas, which consisted of a lacy ensemble with shorts. Even George was still clad only in his pajama bottoms. I began to wonder just how early Karen had come over!
I was made to sit cross-legged on the floor while Karen pulled the sisters apart and rechecked their wrists bonds. It turned out Donna was still securely bound, while Shirley's wrists had to be retied. Once this was done, Karen made Shirley take a seat on the sofa, where she was gagged with tape. Then Karen raised Shirley's legs on the sofa cushion and bound them together at the ankles with some more clothesline rope. Once Shirley laid on the sofa securely bound hand and foot to Karen's satisfaction, it was my turn.
Karen led me over to the sofa, where I took a seat. I was also gagged with tape, then made to lay down with my feet up on the cushions. Karen tied my ankles together, then gave the sole of my bare foot a little tickle when she was done.
I noticed that Karen was careful enough to have Shirley and me lay on the sofa facing each other. Our heads laid on the arm cushions on the opposite ends, while our bound bare feet rested next to the other's stomachs.
Karen recruited George into her nefarious scheme by giving him a water pistol and ordering him to stand guard over us. Then Karen went over to Donna and help her to her feet. She explained that she wanted Donna to call Becca and get her to come over here, where she will join our ever-growing ranks of captives. "Any funny business," Karen added, "and your sister and cousin will pay for it, understand?"
Donna turned sideways to gesture with her bound hands. "How am I supposed to call her like this?!"
Karen dialed the number, then huddled close to Donna as she held the phone to Donna's face. When Becca answered, Donna began to sweetly ask her if she could come over right away--without saying why.
I had to admit, I was simply enjoying the hell out of myself. Waking up to a tie-up game was a big treat--and that fact, as well as the way Karen treated Donna, Shirley and me as hostages in our own familiar surroundings, just made the game feel all that more real to me.
Of course, Shirley had to try and ruin the mood by tickling my side with her toes. When I retaliated by wiggling my bound bare feet into her side, she let out a fit of giggles under her gag as she writhed and squirmed--only her bonds prevented Shirley from getting away.
George stopped us by growling, "Knock it off!" We behaved ourselves from that point onward.
Once the phone call was finished, Donna warned Karen that while my Aunt Jean may be gone for a while--she went to visit a neighbor--they had no idea when she would be back; which meant that she could very well walk in on us at any time.
George was assigned guard duty on the outside porch to keep watch for either Becca or my aunt. Karen, meanwhile, gagged Donna and made her sit back in the recliner. There, Karen bound Donna's ankles together. She was only halfway through the job when George popped in and excitedly announced that Becca was on her way.
Karen grabbed the water pistol from him and they both stood behind the opened front door. Donna, Shirley and I all waited in gagged silence for the next few seconds until Becca opened the screen door and strolled inside. Barefoot, Becca wore a matching two piece, light blue outfit which consisted of a pair of short-shorts and a mini tank top that exposed her mid-rift. Her long blond hair, which was usually kept in a pony tail, now cascaded down her shoulders and around her face like a lion's mane. Becca's extremely casual appearance (more casual than usual, at least) told me that she had merely intended to stop by and see what Donna wanted.
"Hello," Becca called. Then, upon seeing Donna, Shirley and myself all bound and gagged, Becca's eyes grew as wide as saucers as she stopped short and cried, "Whoa!"
At this moment, Karen and George came out from behind the door, which slammed shut with a dreaded finality. Karen stuck the water pistol into Becca's face and screamed, "DON'T MOVE!"
Raising her hands in surrender, Becca blurted, "Don't shoot! I'm not really friends with these people, anyway! So whatever your problem is with them, it has nothing to do with me!"
"Just put your hands behind your back," Karen ordered.
"You called me for this?!?" Becca said jokingly to Donna as she knelt down on the floor. "Thanks a lot!"
Donna, who sat bound and gagged, merely shrugged her shoulders. For some reason, I noticed Donna kept wiggling her feet, as if the bonds on her ankles were causing her some discomfort.
Karen tied Becca's wrists together behind her back in the double bound fashion. Then she gave George the honor of gagging Becca's mouth.
"You should be ashamed of yourself!" Becca chided George, as she glared at him in mock indignation. "Turning on your sisters and cousin like this! You're nothing but a little--" Becca made a big show of angrily mmmphing through her gag after George happily plastered the lower half of her face with tape.
Karen decided to move her captives into the bedrooms, where we would have more privacy in case my Aunt Jean--or anybody else--should return home. Since her legs were still untied, Becca was the first to be escorted down the hall by Karen and George.
When we were left alone, I realized why Donna had been wiggling her feet. Karen didn't have enough time to properly tie Donna's ankles before Becca came over. So all Donna had to do now was give her ankles one last wiggle, and the already slack ropes unraveled enough for her to pull one foot free. She got up from the recliner, with the loose ropes still coiled around one ankle, and walked over to Shirley and me on the sofa. She then turned with her back facing us, and sat down directly in front of me on the edge of the sofa.
I had anticipated her plan, and was already twisting my body around so that my bound wrists were within reach of Donna's. Shirley let out an annoyed sound under her gag--from the look in her eye, I could tell that she was ticked off that Donna chose to untie me this time.
Donna ignored her sister and went to work at picking my knots. The trouble was, with double bonds binding my hands, it took twice as long to free me. Donna barely got the first knot loose when George strolled into the living room.
"HEY, THEY'RE AT IT AGAIN!" he shouted at Karen.
Donna immediately stopped trying to free me and slid down into a kneeling position against the front of the sofa.
Karen came back out and rechecked our bonds. She retied the knot that Donna had loosened on my wrists. Then, seeing that Donna's feet were free, Karen told George to go ahead and get the paper towels and meet her back in the bedroom while she escorted Donna down the hallway. George instantly hopped to his task with renewed vigor.
I had to admit, I was intrigued. What was Karen doing in the bedrooms? What did paper towels have to do with it? And how long would it be before Shirley and I found out for ourselves? (And did we want to find out?)
I waited until George ran out of the kitchen with a trail of paper towels flowing from his hand. Then I promptly decided to make a break for it. I still laid on my side, with my bond hands now facing Shirley's bound ankles. Craning my head over my bare shoulder, I started pulling at the single knot which bound my cousin's ankles.
Shirley giggled under her gag. I guess she thought it was funny that I was only untying her ankles, but I figured that since Karen tied our feet with only one knot, it would be easier and faster to untie them first; besides, even with our hands still tied behind us, we could still run away and hide in solitude until we managed to free our wrists.
However, my grand plans of escape were shot down when Karen and George came back out. I stopped untying Shirley's ankles and gave Karen a sheepish shrug. Karen just shook her head at me, then ironically bent down and continued to untie Shirley's ankles. After my ankles were freed, Shirley and I were then escorted down the hallway to whatever fate Karen had in store for us.
We were taken to the girls' bedroom, where I finally saw what had happened to Donna and Becca: they both laid across the width of one of the single beds with their ankles hog-tied to their wrists. Karen had placed them on their sides, facing each other, and--as an added measure--blindfolded them.
The paper towels George got from the kitchen were folded over Becca and Donna's eyes, then held in place by a strip of tape. The paper towels were folded wide enough so that they covered the eye brows, as well as the eyes themselves, and prevented these sensitive areas from coming into contact with the sticky tape. I learned later that this was Karen's idea, which would soon be adopted by other captors in future games.
Shirley and I were made to take a seat on the remaining empty bed (which was actually Donna's bed). There, Karen--with help from George--blindfolded us with the paper towels and tape. It's even more exciting--and a little scary--to be blindfolded in these games. Speaking for myself, being blindfolded only added to the fantasy, because the mundane world with its familiar surroundings are no longer there to keep you grounded in reality. My imagination ran even more wild than it usually did whenever I was blindfolded.
I sat there waiting for whatever was going to happen next. From the commotion I heard and felt to my right, I gathered that Shirley's ankles were tied together, and she was made to lie down on the mattress, where her ankles were hog-tied to her wrists. I heard Shirley let out a few muffled grunts, which made me inadvertently flex my wrists against my bonds. It was no use; my hands were securely tied.
Karen turned her attention to me by placing a hand on my bare shoulder and saying, "Lay down on your right side."
I did what she said, and once I laid down across the width of the bed, my feet dangled off the side. Karen took care of that by binding my ankles together, then hog-tying me. I was now as helpless as my other fellow captors.
"So," Karen said with a heavy exhale, "now we wait for the phone call."
"What phone call?" George asked.
Karen explained a pretty complex plot about how it was her job to abduct all of us kids and keep us tied up while her accomplices contacted our parents (who were either out working or running errands) and extorted ransom money from them by personally escorting them to the bank. Once Karen got the phone call that the ransom had been paid, she would untie one of us, then leave.
I remember laying there listening to this story and marveling at how well thought out it was. When I complimented Karen about this later, she shyly admitted that she lifted the scheme from a movie she saw called Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. I was still impressed at how effortlessly she adapted it to one of our tie up games; it went far in creating the reality for me that we were really being held hostage.
The four of us stayed hog-tied, with Karen and George watching over us, for just over a half an hour. Then, Karen said, "Why don't we just say the phone call was made?"
With that, I felt her bend over me, and my wrists were untied. "Count to ten," she whispered in my ear, "then untie yourself and everybody else."
I laid there with my freed hands still behind my back while I counted to ten. As soon as I was finished, I cautiously reached up and pulled off the blindfold. Shirley laid right next to me, still trussed up, as well as gagged and blindfolded. Both Karen and George were nowhere to be seen.
I sat up and untied my ankles, then I removed Shirley's blindfold and untied her hands and feet. When I moved over to the second bed to free the others, Shirley, with a broad smile, loudly said, "Aw, do we have to untie Donna and Becca? It's so nice and quiet with them tied up like that."
In response, Donna and Becca, who laid there quietly, suddenly sprung to life: each writhing and struggling against their bonds, with Becca growling various obscenities and threats under her gag. Thanks to Shirley's snide comment, I now didn't want to untie them, but I still did.
After Donna and Becca were freed, we went outside to the living room to find George talking with Lori (16), who was the girlfriend of Keith, my oldest cousin. Keith was working part time now, and Lori would often come over and hang out at the house until he got home. She knew full well of our tie up games, since she was dating the very guy who first started them with his sisters many years ago. She and George told us that Karen made a quick escape back to her house.
"I say we track down the fiend who kidnapped us and make her pay," Becca said, "right now! Who's with me?"
"Me!" I said eagerly.
However, Donna turned down our offer of vengeance against Karen. While she said she had a blast, there were still some chores that she (as well as Shirley and George) had to do around the house--chores they would normally have done before playing any tie-up games, but had been put off until now because of Karen's surprise attack. I noticed that Shirley and George didn't look too pleased with this, but grudgingly went along. Donna added that she, her sister and brother would gladly join us if we were still playing when they were finished with their chores.
And so, after a change of clothes on my part, Becca and I lit out for Karen's house, determined to spring a surprise attack on our own. Little did we realize that we were doomed from the start. For as soon as we left, Donna made a phone call and warned Karen, and she was ready and waiting for us. To use an old phrase, the hunters became the hunted.
This story will be coming up next. As always, thanks for reading.