“Stand up straight boy.”
“Take your hands out of your pocket.”
“Take that look off your face.”
I wasn’t used to this. Usually, when a boy stood on the carpet facing my desk, he was contrite. “Yes sir. No sir. Three bags full sir.”
But, not this boy Rawlinson; he was as cocky as they come. He needed taking down a peg or two. And, I knew the best way to do that: a flogging with my cane.
Reluctantly, he stood straight. At first he held his arms limply at his sides and then, perhaps not quite knowing what to do with them, he clasped them behind his back.
He was an older lad. He was dressed in a shiny red blazer, long charcoal-grey trousers, with an immaculate crease down each leg, a grey shirt and tightly knotted red and silver striped tie. He resembled just about any of the schoolboys who had ever stood in my study to receive a lecture as a prelude to a thorough thrashing from me.
“You were seen drinking beer in the Goat’s Head. What have you to say for yourself?”
The Goat’s Head was a pub in town, frequented by under-aged drinkers. One of my colleagues had spied Rawlinson in the bar last evening.
There wasn’t actually a school rule that said pupils could not go into pubs, but I think you would agree with me that we can take it as read that they should not do so.
I swear he snorted his reply. “No I wasn’t.”
My blood pressure rose slightly.
“How dare you argue with me boy! You were seen.”
He stared straight at me. “I wasn’t there.”
This was outrageous! I don’t think I had ever in my entire career encountered such insolence from a boy.
“Don’t lie to me boy. You were seen by one of the masters.”
“Who was it? Which one?” he snapped back at me.
I struggled to retain my temper.
“I do not intend to bandy words with you about this matter. Accept that you were caught red-handed and take your punishment.”
“No. I wasn’t there. I didn’t do it.” There was not a trace of fear or contrition in his voice. Usually, by now a boy would be close to tears, confessing all and begging for mercy.
“You were there.” I thought I might be sounding a little foolish. We were beginning to behave like two squabbling children. “You did. I didn’t.”
I was sure how to conclude this. It was my intention to beat him black and blue with my heaviest cane.
But he was not yet ready to submit.
“Let there be an end to this!” I roared as I reached over to a wicker basket containing an array of swishy canes. I selected the heaviest and turned to face Rawlinson. It was a crook-handled senior cane that I used on the older boys when I wished to ensure that the message was clearly understood. This particular model had more spring than flexibility and this meant a significant degree of bite.
Still there was no look of fear in his eyes. He did not even pretend to be nervous or scared.
I swished the cane a few times so he could see I meant business. His eyes followed, fascinated by the arc of the cane as it moved through the air.
“I am going to beat you and I am going to beat you severely. Not only have you been drinking in the pub, you have shown no remorse. Further, you have shown disrespect to your headmaster. I shall give you twelve strokes for each of those offences.
Rawlinson looked at me unabashed. Did I feel more anxious than he? I had never delivered thirty-six strokes at the one time before. Surely his backside would be a mess by the time I laid down my cane.
“But, Sir. I’m too old to be caned, Sir.”
Too old? Good God, they were never too old to be caned.
“Stop that nonsense at once, Rawlinson. You will take a beating, or I will arrange for you to be expelled from this school. What is it to be?”
I swear he smirked. I was dumbfounded, now. I had never been treated with so much disrespect by a boy.
“Hang your blazer on the door boy and stand in front of the desk.
Without hesitation he did as he was told. He faced my desk, hands still clasped behind his back.
“Rawlinson, bend over the desk.”
Rather eagerly, I thought, he stretched his arms out and dived across the desk. He wriggled into position, his stomach flat on the desk and his arms folded in front of him.
His bottom was raised slightly on the near edge of the desk. I moved forward and grabbing the tail end of his scarlet jersey I pulled the garment up his back. He now offered a superb target, his trousers stretched across his plump buttocks.
“I want you to count as each stroke is delivered. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir,” delivered in a clear, strong voice.
“Spread your legs wider.”
He did so without fuss.
My first stroke was a beauty. It landed dead centre and fully covered both buttocks.
“One sir, thank you, sir,” he responded without hesitation. Other than that there was no reaction to the searing pain that must at that moment have been travelling from his buttocks all through his body.
And, this was repeated three more times. I was caning hard and he was taking it like a man. I could see clear deep lines had formed across the trouser seat where the cane had struck home. Again, he counted in a clear, resolute voice.
I don’t think I have ever caned a boy as hard as I did Rawlinson that afternoon. All twelve cuts were superb stingers, delivered with all the power I could muster. Any other boy would have been howling with the pain and dancing over the desktop. I shouldn’t be surprised if they begged for mercy.
But not Rawlinson. I knew he must be in agony. How could he not be after a thrashing like that? His buttocks must be throbbing like mad.
“Stand up Rawlinson. Those twelve strokes were for being in the pub. The next twelve are for not showing remorse. Take down your trousers and bend back over the desk.”
The trousers were down in a jiffy, revealing that he was wearing tight white briefs. I suspected they were a size or two too small for him. This was confirmed when he went back over the desk. I could see a set of welts had formed under the pants. My thrashing had indeed hit the mark so to speak.
“Twelve more Rawlinson. You know the rules. Count after each stroke.”
Again, I laid twelve humdingers into his backside. He counted them off without faltering once. I could see that under the tight cotton some of the welts were beginning to seep blood.
“Stand up Rawlinson.” He sprang to his feet.
“Now for showing disrespect to me, twelve on the bare. Take your pants down.”
He slid his thumbs into the waistband of his pants and with the merest flick of the wrist sent them tumbling to his knees. He parted his knees slightly and they fell all the way to his feet.
“Back over the desk.”
I had a perfect view of his by now scarified buttocks. There was some blood, but they there were not, as yet, open wounds. But, soon there would be. I didn’t mind about this at all. I had my job to do.
I lashed into him twelve more times. Not once did he cry out. His body stayed in place hardly moving during the entire thrashing, but as the final six cuts whooshed into his already raw flesh he let out an almost silent cough as each one slashed into him.
It was over. I looked down at the boy prostrated across my desk. He appeared to be breathing evenly, unperturbed by the whipping I had delivered to him. I think maybe it had been more of a physical ordeal for me than for him. I had put my all into the 36 strokes. I was the one breathing heavily.
“Get up boy.” He did so and stood before me. He at least had the good grace to shuffle his feet a little, as if to admit that, yes, he was in some pain.
He pulled up his pants and trousers and buckled his belt, as if he did not have a care in the world.
“You are dismissed.”
Jauntily, he grabbed his blazer from the hook, turned the handle on the door, and was gone.
Five minutes later, more composed myself, I exited my study. Crossing the hall, I knocked on the door of the room opposite.
“Yeah, come in.”
I found Rawlinson, trousers and pants at his knees, admiring my handiwork in a mirror.
“So, how was it?” I asked.
“Brilliant. Fantastic. Wonderful,” he replied a broad smile across his face.
“So, what now?” I inquired.
“Let me put my short trousers on. Then you can take me across your knee and spank me as hard as you like.”
“Okay. I’ll go back to the study. You come along when you’re ready.”
More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second