On Labor Day of 1978, when I was thirteen years old, I got caught up in something that became far more than your average bondage game. I found myself lying facedown in the cramped cabin of a speedboat with my hands bound behind my back. My ankles were crossed over one another and tied together. There was a cloth gag wrapped around my head, with the knotted section stuffed into my mouth. I was barefoot, and clad only in a Speedo-style bathing suit with a half T-shirt that exposed my torso. Lying next to me on the berth cushions was Laura, Uncle Jerry's girlfriend. Barefoot, she wore only a skimpy bikini, and was tied and gagged in the same manner I was. We were clad in our scant outfits because we had been expecting to spend this sweltering day on the lake. Instead we found ourselves as the bound and gagged captives of this group of strange people.
Laura and I stared anxiously at each other as the speedboat we were held captive aboard slowly rumbled through the water. I didn't know where our captors were taking us, and I'm sure the question of where we were being brought to, and what would happen once we got there, weighed just as heavily on Laura's mind as it did mine. Uncle Jerry had left on some errand to get something for these people-I also had no idea what it was that he was getting. But these people wanted it so badly that they took Laura and me captive as a way to insure that Jerry returned.
I rolled over slightly and peered out through the cabin doorway, which had been left open. I saw one of our captors, a thirty-something woman named Sharon, seated on the row of seats at the stern of the boat. Clad in an extra large shirt that she wore over her bikini, she sat with one leg casually crossed over the other, her bare foot bouncing up and down as she laughed gaily at something that one of the men said. She sat facing the cabin doorway, with a clear view of Laura and me, thus I didn't dare to pull any escape attempts-at least not right now. I still didn't really know who these people were to begin with. What I did know was that they made the most unlikely bunch of kidnappers I had ever seen. To look at these two couples, you would think they were simply a group of snooty wealthy suburbanites who were out enjoying summer's last gasp during the Labor Day holiday. And yet they thought nothing of taking hostage a thirteen-year-old boy and a twenty-year old woman.
After several more minutes of travel, the speedboat abruptly shifted gears and slowed down to a crawl. I felt the vessel make a sharp turn, and before we knew it we had entered some kind of a structure. I figured it had to be a boathouse of some kind. The engine switched off as we heard our captors walking all over the boat, mooring it to the dock. They still spoke very calmly and pleasantly, their conversation was casual and laced with laughter-they certainly didn't act like a bunch of kidnappers, at least not the ones I saw on the TV cop shows. It was as if having a pair of young scantily clad people tied and gagged below the deck of their boat was the most normal thing in the world for them.
The boathouse door slowly rolled to a close, throwing the interior into shadows. I watched through the narrow window as Sharon and the other woman stepped off the boat and onto the dock. My attention was diverted when Roy and his friend entered the cabin.
Roy glared at us for a moment, and then said, “I just want you two to know that this is nothing personal. Had Jerry acted like a decent guy, none of this would have been necessary. However, since he's tried to screw us big time, then all of this is on Jerry's head. Therefore, how long you remain like this depends entirely on Jerry. The sooner he gets back here with our stuff, the sooner you'll be released.”
Roy left, but the other man stayed behind. He grabbed a newspaper from a shelf and then took a seat on the passageway steps. Laura and I lay there, watching the man casually read the paper. He started with the sports section.
I thought long and hard about what Roy said in the silence that followed. Apparently some sort of business deal went awry between Jerry and these people. And knowing Uncle Jerry as well as I did, I really wasn't surprised to hear that he ripped them off. Jerry was always something of a two-bit huckster who flashed a quick smile while he tried to con you out of money. The unsettling thing about all of this was that Laura and I were presently a pair of trussed up hostages, and I didn't like the fact that the only person we could depend on to get us out of this dire situation was Jerry, who could be as undependable as they come.
We must have lay there for almost an hour before Roy came on board the boat and said: “Jerry called. He's got it.”
The man put down the paper and joined Roy on the deck of the boat, where they chatted in hushed tones.
If playing bondage games for several years had taught me anything, it was to keep my cool whenever I was tied up, as well as to remember several old escape tricks. I twisted and writhed my bound body until my back, along with my bound hands, was facing Laura. I glanced over my bare shoulder, hoping she understood what my reaching hands meant, and was gratified to see that Laura got it. She already twisted her bound body over so that her tied hands face my own.
However, just then, Roy and the other guy came back down into the forward stateroom. “You two are in luck,” Roy said. “Jerry came through.”
Laura and I were then made to sit up on the bed, where Roy blindfolded Laura with a piece of torn cloth. The other man blindfolded me in similar fashion. And then, while bound, gagged and now blindfolded, I was picked up and carried off the boat over the shoulder of my captor.
Although I could not see where I was going, I could sense that we had left the boathouse and-judging from the smell of motor oil-had entered a garage. This assumption was proven true when I was placed down on the floor of the back seat of a car. I flinched when the door was slammed shut behind me. As the car started up, I felt something brushing up against my bare leg-it turned out to be Laura's bound bare feet. I leaned forward and reached around from behind my back with my bound hands and gave her toes a little squeeze of support.
We drove for a while, and I was grateful that the car at least had air conditioning. It actually felt a little cold, but that was probably because I wasn't wearing much to begin with.
Finally, we came to a stop.
The men got out of the car, which they left running with the AC on. I thought I heard them talking to somebody outside, but I couldn't be sure over the constant rumble of the car's engine, along with the blast of the AC. Finally, I heard the rear passenger door opposite from me open, and Laura let out a muffled grunt from under her gag as I felt her bare feet quickly slide past me. She had been taken out of the car.
I sat there in the icy coolness of the car, wondering when I would be released. If Uncle Jerry had truly come true, then my time as a bound hostage should be over, right?
Just when I started to worry that I would never be released, the rear passenger door abruptly opened behind me, and somebody removed my gag and blindfold, and then untied my wrists. A pair of masculine hands hauled me up and out of the car, and stood me up before a smiling Uncle Jerry.
“None worse for the wear, huh Doug?” Jerry asked.
My ankles were tied bound together, and instead of answering him, I bent over and untied my feet. Once my feet were free, I started walking towards Uncle Jerry's truck until Roy abruptly grabbed my arm. He held me tightly in a vise-like grip as he glared at Uncle Jerry and said, “Remember what I told you.”
Uncle Jerry held his hands up. “It's cool, man, it's cool.”
Roy released me and I practically ran over to Uncle Jerry's pick-up truck.
I noticed that we were in the parking lot at the main beach on the lake. We were in the empty section of the lot. I found Laura sitting in the cab of the pick up with her arms crossed tightly over her chest and staring out the window. No matter what I said, she would not speak nor look at me.
When Uncle Jerry got in, he started the truck up and drove off. Nobody said anything as we drove along the road. I was afraid to say anything, so I simply sat in the middle of Uncle Jerry and Laura and kept my mouth shut.
When we arrived back at my house, Laura abruptly got out of the truck and held the door open for me. I hesitated, because all of my clothes were still up at the lake house. But since the air was so thick with tension, I decided to cut my losses and quickly get out of the truck.
“I'll be in touch, Doug,” Uncle Jerry promised me.
Laura got back in the truck and started screaming at the top of her lungs about how Uncle Jerry had better get her home right away, first. As the pick up truck drove down the street, I could still hear them arguing. Apparently, even though I had to ditch my belongings, I had made the right decision.
I went into my house and stripped off my clothing, scant though they might be. I then washed off the sweat from the day with a cool, refreshing shower. It was still a hot, humid day, so after I got out of the shower, I put on another Speedo-style swimsuit and got something to eat.
As I lounged around my home, I kept thinking about the clothes I left at the lake house. They would probably still be on the boat. My parents were away for the three-day weekend, and there was nothing else for me to do, so I thought I might take a trip up there to retrieve my stuff. After the day I just had, I guess I should have been grateful just to be home. But the fact was that I was feeling very restless, and despite my skimpy attire, the house still felt very warm and uncomfortable.
I went outside, got on my bike, and shoved off. I figured since Uncle Jerry would be bringing the very angry Laura back to her home, I would have more than enough time to slip in, get my stuff, and slip away. I was enjoying myself, getting the rush that came from playing a bondage game. I was still yearning for an adventure, no matter what it was.
Little did I realize how my wish would be granted.
Still barefoot, shirtless, and clad only in my Speedo bathing suit, I rode my bike as fast as it would go down the asphalt streets. The constant wind blowing was just what I needed; it cooled me off so much that by the time I arrived at the lake house, my hair, which was wet and slicked back from the shower, was now completely dry.
I placed a bare foot down on the ground for balance as I stood up on my bike and examined the lake house. The boat was still moored to the dock, and Uncle Jerry's pick up was nowhere to be seen. The place was deserted. Realizing that I left my belongings aboard the boat, I rode my bike down the dock, then dismounted and climbed aboard the boat.
To my shock and horror, Roy stepped out from the cabin. “Well, well,” he said, “looks like Jerry sent his little nephew to get the stuff.”
I stared at him in incomprehension over my bare shoulder as Roy stepped behind me and held both of my wrists firmly behind my back with one beefy hand. He grabbed my neck with the other hand and pressed me up against his body. “Jerry screwed us, again…as you well know, Doug. Because he's sent you here to get a little package, the real package, didn't he?”
“I just came to get my stuff, that's all,” I said, as I frantically writhed in his grip. “Jerry doesn't even know I'm here!”
Roy shoved me in the direction of the cabin. “So get your stuff, already.”
I practically ran towards the forward stateroom to show Jerry the bag I had filled with my clothes. When I handed him the bag, he upended it, spilling the contents onto the floor. The pile was mainly shorts, underwear, a few shirts and more bathing suits-basically a wardrobe of scant clothing that was suited for a warm, summer's weekend like this.
“Stop yanking my chain and show me where the real package is,” Roy demanded.
“That's it,” I cried. “I was just getting my stuff!”
I was startled when I saw Roy's friend walk into the stateroom. He dropped his sunglasses from his eyes as he regarded me and said, “Well, well, Jerry's using his own nephew to retrieve the package, huh?”
“I swear I don't know what you're talking about,” I told them. “Jerry's not really my uncle, anyway!”
That made them both burst into laughter. “Not much loyalty in your family, is there, Doug?” Roy asked. “But then with a piece of scum like Jerry for an uncle, who can blame you?”
I backed up against the wall when Roy came at me in a threatening manner. “Now either you tell us where the package really is, Doug,” he said, “or else we'll be holding you as a hostage until we find that package, one way or the other.”
“I swear to God,” I said, my voice shaking. “I don't know what you're talking about. Uncle Jerry never sent me-”
“Larry, tie him up,” Roy said with a dismissive wave at me. “We'll take him with us, along with the boat.”
Before I even knew what was happening, Larry grabbed me by the nape of my neck and forced me down to the floor, where he promptly pulled my arms behind my back and bound them together at the wrists with rope. A balled-up handkerchief was stuffed into my mouth, and secured there by another handkerchief that was wrapped around my head. My feet were bound together with more rope that was secured around my ankles. And so once again that day I had become a trussed up captive. I couldn't believe my bad luck!
Roy and Larry left me, bound hand and foot and gagged, on the floor of the forward stateroom. After a while, I heard the boat's engines rumble to life. And then we were moving away from the dock.
To where we were headed, I had no idea. And there was nothing I could do about it, either.