I knew nothing of this. Why are you involving me? I have been set up by Mike. I want nothing to do with all of you, just let me go home.
Whether you like or not young lady, you are guilty with everyone else and you will have to keep your trap shut about this or you will find yourself in serious trouble.
No! You have no right to hold me just let me go, my Aunt and Uncle will be worried about me.
You will have to take care of that, Joe replied, passing her the heavy black phone with the frayed cord and well worn dial. Tell them you are with Mike’s brother and his family. Tell them you have been snowed in and will be home tomorrow. Do exactly as I say and don’t try to get clever either. Phone them now and no harm will come to you or Barry and Mary for that matter. He said with menace.
Leave them out of this, her voice was trembling. How do you know their names?
Mike tells me everything. I know all about you, your family, and friends. I even know where your Mother lies in a coma after that road accident that killed your Dad. So sad! So very sad! If you want to protect them, you will follow my orders. Do you understand!
Leave my family out of this and how dare you talk about them like that! Just let me go. I am not involved. Mike took me into the jewellery store to buy a present and we were busy choosing a necklace when those horrible men burst into the shop with guns. How was I to know that I was being used as a decoy?
Calm down, no need to raise your voice. You are now involved whether you like it or not. You mean to tell me that you had no idea what Mike was involved in. How do you think he could lavish on expensive meals at swanky restaurants and the best seats at West End shows? You two have been swanning around London like there is no tomorrow. You mean to tell me you had no idea where he got the money from.
He told me that you were a successful and very influential businessman, that you were his sponsor and that he worked for you in the family business.
He was right on that account we are a successful business. London is our playground! It is full of opportunities and even more so now with Hitler dropping bombs all over the place and causing havoc everywhere.
You are despicable! You are a common thief How can you take advantage of poor people who are losing everything in the war? I cannot believe it! Was it also your plan to kill an innocent woman! You are all monsters.
Enough of that young lady. I am warning you for the last time. You were there you saw what happened to that woman it was an accident
Accident? But they were all carrying guns? All three of them were armed to kill. The shop assistant was shot at point blank range right in front of me, she didn’t have a chance.
These things happen when people don’t listen. She was told to stay down behind the counter but instead tried to be clever and set off the alarm. You are now implicated and if caught will be charged as an accomplice to murder along with the other four. But you do not want to be caught, do you?
No! No! this is not fair I had nothing to do with this! You don’t seem to understand.
I fully understand. Now calm down and make that phone call, no amount of shouting will change anything. We must come to an understanding if you want to ever go home or see Barry and Mary again. Now you stay here. I have some business to attend to and do not try to leave. There is no way out! Oh by the way don’t try anything in your phone call we will be listening.
‘’What is going on? How has this happened to me! Please let the nightmare end. Mike and I had lunch and afterwards we walked down Bond street. We were chatting happily and stopped outside the jewellers, we did not go in straight away, we carried on talking as I looked in the window admiring the sparkling display of jewellery. Mike seemed impatient and kept looking at his watch. I remember there was a bread van outside the shop. It was the getaway vehicle. We all bundled into it when we drove away from the shop. I knew it was a bread van, it smelt of newly baked bread. What was the name painted on the side of the van? Do I remember? LONDON….. something. Was it LONDON BOYS BAKERY?
Mike took my arm and said that he wanted to buy me a Christmas present as he took my hand and led me into the shop. He was being so nice.
And then and then!!
I must try and calm down and breathe in and out slowly. Breathe in and hold 1,2 ,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 Out. In and hold 1,2,3,……..
Keep calm and don’t panic I will find a way out of this.’’
Here drink this, I am glad to see that you have settled down and made the phone call. We need to reach an understanding before you can go home, and I want you to listen carefully. Do you understand?
Good. Now there is nothing to link you and the other four to this robbery and the unfortunate shooting which should never have happened in the first place. It was an accident and there are no witnesses.
What about the other shop assistant? She will be able to tell the police everything. No one was wearing a disguise. She could easily give a description of all of us to the police. She will help them with, what do they call it, an identity kit picture.
It won’t do any good, the other woman is one of us! And now…. you are also one of us.
What are you saying! I would never want to be involved in your criminal ways.
Whether you like it or not you are now deeply involved.
Told you I don’t want to be involved in your devious ways. Just let me go.
It does not work like that. You will have to make a pledge and to follow orders from now on. Remember you will have to protect Barry and Mary and your poor Mother. I am sure you would want to do that. Are you prepared to take the pledge?
Yes, I suppose so.
‘You suppose so! That’s not the answer I was expecting to hear.
Say it! Pledge that you will be loyal to the Brothers of London. Go on, say it!
I…I pledge that I will be loyal to the Brothers of London.
I pledge I will be loyal to the Brothers of London.
If you break the pledge you can say goodbye to Barry and Mary and your Mother as well. Come on boys join Clare, place your hands on the shield. That’s right. Now say. I pledge allegiance to the Boys of London.
I pledge allegiance to the Boys of London.
Now this is what is going to happen. A taxi will take you home tomorrow morning, we have prepared a room for you for tonight. You will tell Barry and Mary that you had a wonderful time with Mike and his family. You will never mention this again and if you do there will be serious trouble. Have I made myself clear! Remember nobody crosses me…ever!
You are a dreadful man and I hate what you did. One day the police will catch up with you and all the others. Do you think you can get away with this? Give me my coat and bag!
Calm down there is no need for that, after all you are now one of us. One of the boys will show you to your room. All you need to do is behave yourself. Is that clear? Here’s your coat.
My handbag. I have just remembered that I left it on the floor in the shop under the counter when we were all told to hide behind the counter while your men went about the robbery.
Are you serious? Are you sure you left it in the shop?
Y….yes. Under the counter.
What was in it?
My ration card. My student card…um….. some make up; my cigarettes and a powder compact with my name on it, a present from my Mom. I cannot remember what else.
Shut up. Let me think.