In the summer of 1977, when I was twelve years old, I spent three weeks with my cousins and friends at my Aunt Jean's. We played tie up games, and the usual suspects included my cousins Donna (13), Shirley (11) and George (7), as well as the neighborhood kids Becca, (14), her brother Jim (12) and Karen (13).
On Thursday of the second week of my stay, I was hanging out at my Aunt Jean's house. The abode was pretty quiet that day: Donna had gone over to Karen's house for some kind of super secret meeting; George left with my Aunt Jean to go shopping, and even Becca and Jim were gone for the day with their mother. (My oldest cousin Keith was out working) It was just Shirley and myself in the house, and we had each gone off on our own.
I sat on the living room floor, looking through some comic books that I had bought earlier that day. I was barefoot, clad in shorts with a T-shirt. After a while, Shirley came over and stood next to me. I didn't look up at first. Instead I muttered, "How's it going?"
When Shirley didn't reply, I finally glanced up at her and found myself peering into the barrel of a water pistol, which she held right in my face.
"Come with me," Shirley said with a smug smile. "Right now."
"Ok," I said agreeably, as I raised my hands in surrender and left with her. I left the comics right where they were on the floor.
When Shirley escorted me downstairs to the basement rec room, I immediately saw that this was no spur of the moment decision on her part. She had laid out about several miles of rope on one of the sofas, along with several handkerchiefs.
Shirley ordered me to lie down on the empty sofa across from the one with all the rope on it. I laid face down, and placed my hands behind my back. Shirley proceeded to bind my wrists together with the rope. She must have wrapped the rope around my wrists a hundred times before tying it off in a knot. Then she got another length of rope and tied that vertically over the original bond.
She cleave-gagged me with a handkerchief, and then tied my ankles together in the same double-bond fashion that she tied my wrists. After pausing for a second to look me over, Shirley tied my knees together with yet more rope.
What surprised me was Shirley's brisk, almost business-like attitude during the entire time she tied and gagged me. Other than the smug smile she gave me when I was first captured, there was no gloating on her part whatsoever. She worked with an intense urgency to make certain that I was securely bound, and was going to stay that way. Once she was satisfied that I wasn't going anywhere, Shirley simply turned her back on me and left the rec room. She turned off the lights and shut the door behind her without so much as a second look at me.
And, I've got to admit that I loved it. Although I was in familiar surroundings, it was all too easy for me to fall into one of my kidnap fantasies. I imagined that a gang of kidnappers had abducted me. They stashed me, bound and gagged, in the basement until my parents paid my ransom.
I squirmed and writhed around on the sofa as I gave my bonds a run for their money. I figured maybe I could at least try and get my legs free, but when I rolled over on my side, I saw that that idea would not be possible. Shirley had wisely tied off the knots on my ankles and knees so that they were located on the front of my body, well out of reach of my bound hands, which were tied behind my back.
I placed my head down against the sofa cushion and gave up my struggles to get free. It looked as if I would just have to wait until my parents paid the ransom.
After a while--I wasn't sure exactly how long, but it was a long time--I heard people talking upstairs. I tensed up, thinking it might have been my Aunt Jean. We were still going under the myth that my Aunt Jean knew nothing about our tie up games, when in fact she'd known about them all along. But I relaxed when I recognized the other voice speaking to Shirley as being that of Donna's. Obviously she had returned from her visit with Karen and was chatting with her sister in the kitchen.
Needless to say, this also did wonders for my overactive imagination. I've written before about how much I loved listening to the sounds of a casual conversation in another room while I was a bound captive. Overhearing my captors speaking about mundane matters, while I struggled against the ropes that bound me, added so much to the experience of being kidnapped.
I found out later that Donna had actually been looking for me, and when she asked Shirley where I was, Shirley merely replied that I was out.
They continued talking for a while longer, and I lay there, watching the ceiling, imagining them sitting at the kitchen table directly above me. I gave my bonds another test by pulling my wrists apart as far as the ropes binding them would allow. But this only caused the rope to cut tighter into my skin. I had to give Shirley credit: the little creep could sure tie knots.
Eventually, my Aunt Jean returned from the supermarket with George. I could easily hear the clamor and commotion of everybody helping to carry in the bags of food. I had been bound for so long, now, that I was beginning to wonder if I would miss dinner!
Finally, Shirley returned alone to the rec room. I still lay on my side, and stared at her expectantly over my gag.
She stood staring back at me in the center of the room for the longest time. It was a solemn, thoughtful gaze, as if she were debating within herself whether or not she would untie me. This weird little act of hers was beginning to creep me out, and not in a good way. The funny thing was, despite her morbid little impression of Wednesday from the Adams Family, Shirley was decked out in what had to be the brightest and cheerful summer dress I had ever seen. When I think back on this moment in retrospect, Shirley’s behavior reminded me of the movie The Bad Seed, in which an angelic-looking girl commits terrible deeds.
I glanced up at the ceiling when I heard my Aunt Jean start giving orders to Donna and George while she got the kitchen ready to make dinner. I rolled forward and held up my bound hands. "Do you mind?" I said to Shirley through my gag.
Shirley smiled slightly as she came over and untied my wrists. It looked like my parents had finally paid my ransom.
She untied and removed the first strand of rope from my wrists. Then she only undid the knot on the second length of rope before she turned on her heel and left the rec room once more. Although the final length of rope was still wrapped around my wrists, without any knot to secure it, the rope quickly unraveled when I pulled my arms apart. I sat up and removed the gag, then went to work on untying my legs.
When I finally ascended the basement steps and entered the kitchen, Donna gave me a double take. She and Shirley had been busy helping their mother get dinner ready, and Donna was surprised to see me emerge from the basement. I saw her give Shirley an accusing look--after all, Shirley told Donna that I was out. Shirley, for her part, stayed close to her mother the entire time. And she would not look at me; whenever she did, it was with quick, guilty glances. She was no longer in her Bad Seed mode, and back to being just plain old Shirley.
I never said anything, of course. But I did quietly swear to take my revenge. However, it would have to wait, for I discovered the reason Donna wanted to talk to me was to ask if I were interested in playing a tie up game that she and Karen were planning. She wouldn't give me any details, but she really didn't have to, for I quickly agreed to play.
That will be the next tale, to be posted here next month. As always, thanks for reading.