“It is really quite straightforward Albertson, either you take down your shorts, come here and bend across my knee or we can visit the headmaster. What’s it to be?”
I can remember it as if it were yesterday: 1985. I was eighteen years old. A senior sixth-former at St. Jack’s Grammar. A prefect, no less. He was Mr. Braithwaite, head of the History Department. A lay priest as well. And, Head of Discipline for the entire school.
I don’t suppose we thought much of it at the time. School was school. Nobody was supposed to enjoy it. You went to classes, kept your mouth closed (unless you were asked a direct question by a master and then woe betide you if you didn’t know the answer.) You did as you were told. And if you didn’t you got a sore arse. That just about sums up my schooldays.
Even in the sixth form. Even if you were a prefect.
Braithwaite had a collection of torture instruments. I don’t know how many whippy crook-handled canes he had. Long ones; short ones. Thick ones; thin ones. A rattan cane for every occasion. Every occasion, except for when he decided to use the leather taws. Two-tailed. Three-tailed, he had plenty of those too. Nearly two feet of heavy leather; delivered with vigour across the palm of the hands. Scorching! He always asked which hand you wrote with. Then he’d whip the other one until it was red raw.
A gym slipper – the old-fashioned plimsoll with springy rubber soles, not the trainers we have today. Sized eleven. Big. Hard. It covered the whole of one buttock cheek. Whap! Ouch! The pain was intense. Even across trousers and pants. Think how bad it was with only thin cotton gym shorts to protect you.
“Bend over. Touch your toes.” I wonder how many times Mr. Braithwaite said that in all the years he was at the school. Mister Braithwaite. Even after so long, I still can’t help thinking of him as Mister Braithwaite.
He had a special room that he used for punishment sessions. Each lunchtime and often at four-fifteen after school had ended for the day there would be two or three boys lined up outside. Trembling. Waiting for the call, “Enter.” It didn’t matter how many visits a boy made to Mr. Braithwaite, he could never get used to it. The fear. What would Mr. Braithwaite do to you today? What implement would he use? How many strokes? Dear God! Trousers up or trousers down?
Or, as with me: in your PE kit. This one time. It wasn’t the first time Mr. Braithwaite had dealt with me, and even though there were only six weeks to go before I left school forever, it wasn’t the last. But never before like this.
I hated Wednesday afternoons. Compulsory sports. Even for the sixth-formers. I was bookish, a nerd if you like, I would have been very happy to spend the afternoons in the library. Reading. Swotting up for my forthcoming English Literature exam. Doing something useful.
Instead, Trubshaw the PE master, sent us on a road run. The lazy good-for-nothing couldn’t even be bothered to organise some actual games. So, a couple of dozen eighteen year olds set off on a three-mile run around town. Trebilcock and Howerstone were the only ones to take it seriously. The rest of us ran for a while, jogged for a bit more and walked the rest. Who cared?
“Don’t care was made to care.” There’s some nursery saying like that isn’t there? I’ll Google it later to find out. Nobody had told us we were being timed. “Be back at school by three-fifty-five or you’ll cop it.” That’s what bone-idle Trubshaw should have told us. He should have; but he couldn’t be bothered.
I don’t have long to tell this story, so I’ll cut to the chase. Eight of us. Eight! One in three of the group ended up in a line outside the punishment room. With me at its head. When the punishment queue is in alphabetical order it doesn’t pay to have a name like Albertson.
Braithwaite was a rangy, thin-haired man with a buzzard’s-beak nose. He must have been still quite young at the time. Even today, after so many years, I remember those steely-blue eyes. Cold as ice. His nostrils seemed to flare when he prepared to deliver a beating.
Me? I was eighteen years old and despite my distain for physical activity, I was in pretty good shape. The beer belly and the jowls arrived during my thirties. I had a twenty-seven-inch waist and a thirty-three-inch chest. Why do I remember that?
I expected a caning. Six very hard slashes across the seat of my PE shorts. They were thin cotton and because I was growing out of them, they were a bit tight across the buttocks. We weren’t allowed to wear pants under our shorts, so six-of-the-best would take my arse off. I knew that and resolved to take my caning with fortitude. I suppose by this time in my school career I had developed a very high pain threshold.
I stood there waiting. In my white shorts and white sleeveless singlet. It was late spring or early summer, but I still shivered. The punishment room was dark and dank. There was only one small opaque window. It didn’t let much light in.
Mr. Braithwaite admonished me. His tone was imperious. You would have thought I had been caught robbing the school safe, not dawdling on a town run. He didn’t say much. He assumed, as he always did, that he was in the right. The mournful schoolboy before him was never allowed to speak in mitigation.
Then, it happened. It was so unexpected it left me speechless. Rooted to the spot.
Mr. Braithwaite opened a cupboard door and took out his size-eleven plimsoll. It was dirty white. Us boys would never have gotten away wearing these for gym class. Three whacks, touching toes, crash, crash, crash. That was the penalty for wearing unclean PE kit. Mr. Braithwaite flexed the plimsoll between both hands. I could see it was a mighty springy shoe. The sole was worn to a sheen. It had seen a lot of action and probably not all of it on the running track.
I stood transfixed as Mr. Braithwaite gripped the back of an upright wooden chair and placed it in the very centre of the room. He sat down and spread his legs wide. Then he growled at me. “Albertson, take down your shorts and bend over my knee.”
My jaw probably quite literally dropped. Had I heard him correctly? Shorts down? Bend over his knee?
I blabbered. “B… b… b…” I wanted to say but I was wearing no pants. If I took my shorts down I would be bare arsed. Hadn’t he realized that? Surely, once he knew that he would change his mind and give me a whacking with the plimsoll on my shorts.
“It is really quite straightforward Albertson, either you take down your shorts, come here and bend across my knee, or we can visit the headmaster. What’s it to be?”
The headmaster. That was no option. I’d probably get a heck of a caning from the Beak. Then, because I refused to accept punishment, he would suspend me from school. With exams coming up I couldn’t afford to miss classes. I had ambitions. I needed those A-levels.
I stared down at Mr. Braithwaite’s legs. He had parted them so far, I had a perfect view of his crotch, encased in the cotton of his trousers. I didn’t look at his cock, I concentrated on his thighs that presented an ideal platform for me to bend over and present my bottom for punishment.
But, first I had to remove my shorts. Despite my lack of sexual experience, I had been naked in public many times before. We boys were not shy in the showers after games. Even now, I can recall the size of Thompson’s donger.
But, I had never before offered up my bared buttocks for inspection at such close quarters. Bending over to accept a caning was an act of submission; every schoolboy and schoolmaster knew that. But, the cane was delivered at arm’s length and across a clothed bottom. There was distance between the punisher and the punished. There was no intimacy involved. And none was intended. It was a business process. Something that had to be got through. Then everybody could move on with their lives.
A bare-bottomed over-the-knee spanking was something altogether different. It was something that a father might administer to a deserving son. It was intimate. It was meant to be. The father was saying, “I am doing this because I love you.”
I just knew I had to let him do it to me. I had no choice. He was the master. I was the schoolboy. Eighteen years old, maybe, but a schoolboy nonetheless.
“Quickly,” Mr. Braithwaite was anxious to get going. After all, I was only the first in a long line of sixth-formers he wanted to spank bare-bottomed that afternoon.
What happened next is as clear as a bell in my memory. I pulled down my shorts and placed myself over his knees. It was memorable as it was the first and last time I was spanked in this way. I remember I fitted quite snugly. My arms were stretched ahead of me and the palms of my hands rested comfortably against the vinyl floor covering. My head was so low I could see under the chair behind me. My white cotton shorts were bunched at my feet. My toes hardly brushed the floor.
My own cock was pressed deeply into Mr. Braithwaite’s body. I suppose I must have been quite a weight against him. Even so he pressed his left hand down hard across my shoulders, pinning me against his crotch. My buttocks must have been high above his right thigh. This would have given him a terrific view of my crack and hole.
My bum cheeks twitched in anticipation. How much would the plimsoll hurt against my bare flesh? I had been spanked previously with a similar slipper across the shorts and that had hurt like hell.
I would have to wait before I found out. Mr. Braithwaite wasn’t quite ready. I felt his hand – and it was surprisingly soft – caress my cheeks. With circular motions, he gently followed the contours of my right globe from the top near the spine, across the mound and into the under-curves. Then he travelled further south down my thigh and almost to my knee. Then he did it all over again on my left side.
Then, he spanked me. With his hand. Whack-whack-whack. He kept up quite a rhythm. First my right cheek, then my left. I gasped. It didn’t hurt, but I was taken by surprise. I had expected the searing pain as the springy rubber-soled plimsoll struck home. Instead, he was giving me love-taps.
This went on for some time. I lay face down, staring at the vinyl floor. How absurd that I still remember that a ball of fluff breezed past my nose. Mr. Braithwaite stopped his spanking. I couldn’t see for myself, but by this time my bottom would have been a rosy-pink colour.
I felt a movement in his body. He gripped hold of the slipper and brought it crashing down across the very centre of my left cheek, then the right. A dozen slaps fell rapidly, like machinegun fire. Bang. Bang. Bang.
That hurt all right. My legs kicked out behind me and my body twisted and turned across Mr. Braithwaite’s lap. More spanks rained down. The pain intensified. I had been on the receiving end of corporal punishment many times before. Mr. Braithwaite was that kind of man. It was that kind of school. But, always I had been able to control my body movements. But, not this time.
In the past I had always had something to hold on to. My shins, a chair, a desk. But, while draped over the lap of Mr. Braithwaite I just dangled: in midair. I tried to wriggle my arms to clutch hold of the chair leg, but it was out of my grasp. I swivelled my body a little and reached back behind me, intent on preventing further blows. Mr. Braithwaite was wise to this. He gripped my wrist tightly and pushed my arm up my back as far as my shoulders. I wasn’t going anywhere; Mr. Braithwaite made certain of that.
I carried on kicking and squirming as wave after wave of slipper spanks toasted my backside. Sweat soaked my white PE vest. My breath came in short bursts. My heartrate must have been off the scale.
I gritted my teeth so hard I almost bit into my tongue. On and on he went. My buttocks throbbed. I could feel bumps forming on my bum where the slipper repeatedly connected. I writhed and wriggled, like I was trying to swim away off his lap.
Then, he stopped. I shot off his lap and pulled my shorts up. I was breathless, but Mr. Braithwaite also seemed unable to draw air into his lungs. I hopped from foot to foot, desperate to rub away at my raw buttocks; but I wouldn’t give him the pleasure of knowing he had really hurt me.
“Go,” he croaked. “Send in the next boy.”
I didn’t need telling twice. I flung open the door and rushed out. “You’re next,” I nodded at Collins, the next boy in the alphabet. I didn’t hang around to wait for the others. I went to the changing rooms and inspected the damage. My bum was dark pink all over and there were small patches of purple in the very centre of the cheeks. On the outer edges were several imprints of the size-eleven slipper.
I got dressed and walked the mile or so to my home. I needed to get some fresh air in my lungs. I needed to walk off the pain. The throbbing had gone by the time I reached my house, but there were tender spots that reignited when I put pressure on them. The backs of my thighs were raw and it was pretty difficult to sit at the tea table in comfort.
Why am I telling you all this after more than thirty-five years? This morning as I travelled on the Tube from my home in Leytonstone to my work at Liverpool Street, I noticed a newspaper that had been discarded by a passenger. It was open and I saw the headline, “Sex pervert schoolmaster jailed.” One George Albert Higginbottom had been sent to prison for six years after being found guilty of “the inappropriate use of corporal punishment”. The newspaper said he had assaulted dozens of pupils that police knew of over a twenty-year period.
I read the story slowly, taking in every detail. Then, the train thundered into the station. I threw the newspaper to the ground and pushed my way through the crowds to the exit. Well, I thought to myself, I was glad I hadn’t been to that school.
Other stories you might like
More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second