It was six o’clock in the evening as Jim and his friends from work settled down for their second pint of beer in the pub.
He glanced at the clock behind the bar; it was getting dangerously late. If Jim wasn’t careful his father would arrive home first and discover the young man was not at home.
Although he was twenty years old, he still lived with his parents in the suburbs of a small industrial town. His father was a strict Methodist and never touched a drop of alcohol; many times he had warned Jim about the dangers of drink and the punishment he would receive if alcohol ever touched his lips.
Jim regularly disobeyed his father. His co-workers at the bank usually went to the pub after work for “a quick one” as they liked to call it. Most only did have one pint and that suited Jim just fine. He could have his beer and get home before his father returned from his own job.
But this night was different. Carol, a new cashier at the bank, joined the gang. Jim could not admit it, even to himself, but he had a mad crush on Carol. Her eyes, her smile, her smell, her physical bits: they were all capable of touching Jim’s buttons.
Not that Jim had any “buttons” to touch. His father’s strict religious views extended far from alcohol. Sex before marriage was a taboo and, reluctantly, at the age of twenty, Jim was still a virgin.
The hands of the clock edged to 6.30 and glasses were drained.
“Who’s for another?” Jim’s friend Bill asked.
“Not me,” Carol reached for her bag, “I’ve got to go.” And, not expecting anyone to argue, she swept out of the pub, hurrying home to her boyfriend.
Jim was crestfallen; he was so shy around women he hadn’t even had the chance to strike up a conversation. With Carol gone there was no point in staying. If he were lucky, he might still get home before his father. If he failed, his father would find out about his drinking and his disobedience and there could be only one consequence.
Jim’s days dragged endlessly at the bank, where his job was inputting data into a computer. There was always plenty of time to think about other things. Often, he day-dreamed about quitting his job, leaving home, travelling to the city and starting a life on his own with new friends who knew how to enjoy themselves.
But, it was always only that: a day-dream. Jim was stuck in a rut. His job paid badly so he could not afford to move out of his parents’ house. Even if he went, he had no friends away from the tiny miserable little town where he lived, and would probably find it hard to make new ones. Worse of all, Jim knew, he was a coward: he did not have the courage to strike out on his own.
The truth was he had to carry on his life as always: following his father’s rules.
His father smelled the ale on his breath the moment his son arrived home.
“Have you been drinking?” it was a statement rather than a question.
Jim would not deny the obvious. “Yes father, sorry father. I’m sorry father, it won’t happen again.” He desperately wanted his father to know he felt remorse. He was ashamed of his actions. It really would not happen again.
His father’s face went puce. “Go to your room. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. We shall discuss this later.” Jim knew that was the end of the matter for now. His father always got the last word.
He also knew that there would be nothing to “discuss” later that day. His father had already decided on his course of action.
Jim obediently trotted up the stairs, leaving his father to stride into the living room in search of his Bible. In his room he had hardly removed his tie when: “Jim!” It was the call from his father he had dreaded.
He opened his bedroom door and shouted back, “In a moment father I’m changing.”
“Good. Change into your pyjamas and get down here immediately.”
Pyjamas? His father would not even give him the protection of his jeans. He must be in a fury.
Jim was scared by the impatience of his father’s tone. Quickly, he stripped off his clothes and climbed into his pyjamas. He knew better than to keep his father waiting when he was angry: he didn’t want extra stokes.
Jim was still tying the drawstring to his pyjama bottoms as he reached the bottom step of the stairs and heard his father call, “Come to the living room.” He obeyed and found his father, dressed in black, like a funeral director, standing near the middle of the room with a new cane in his hand.
Jim had never seen this cane before. His father already had quite a collection, but had he been out to purchase a new rod of correction? It looked fearsome. Perhaps it was the way his father was slashing the cane through the air with malicious intent. He swished it a few times before slamming it down on the sofa next to the phone. It made a wicked and frightening crack as it made impact.
His father was a man of few words. There was nothing to talk about now. Jim had disobeyed his father and the word of God. There was only one course of action. His father swished the cane one more time before pronouncing, “Bend over. Touch your toes.”
It was the command Jim had been expecting with dread and he obeyed without protest, as if he were on auto-pilot.
He was a grown adult of twenty, being treated like a ten year old. He didn’t know of any other man his age that had to submit himself to such humiliations. Surely most people would think it absurd that his father was about to cane him.
But, it didn’t matter what other people thought. His father’s word was law in his own house and Jim accepted that.
His father read Jim’s thoughts. “If you didn’t disobey me then you wouldn’t find yourself in this position young man.”
Jim knew that when his father commanded “touch toes” he meant exactly that: do not grasp the knees or the shins, toes meant toes.
Jim was a supple young man, but even for him to touch toes was a struggle. He leaned forward from the waist, spread his legs wide, kept his knees straight and with the tips of his fingers managed to reach his toes. He could feel the pyjama bottoms tightening across his backside, presenting a magnificent target for his father.
Perspiration formed under his pyjama jacket and soon a rivulet of sweat would be running down his back. His breathing was even but he knew once the first cut slashed into his stretched bottom his heart rate would soar and he would have to gasp for breath.
His father continued his own preparations, lifting Jim’s jacket away from his backside to expose his hairless back. Then, by tugging at the waistband of the pyjama bottoms, he smoothed the cotton tight across Jim’s buttocks. He never beat his son on the bare buttocks; the pyjama bottoms or underpants preserved the necessary degree of modesty.
He tapped Jim’s clenched buttocks with the tip of the cane, and the young man took a deep breath. Those damn taps with the cane: he almost feared them more than the strokes themselves. They were always so excruciatingly nerve-wracking. He never knew if the tap would immediately be followed by the swish, then the crack, then the searing stripe, or if it was just one of many slight taps while he measured his distance, readied himself, took aim.
The way to survive a caning, Jim believed, was to think about something else. He concentrated on his bare feet; they were really quite ugly, both of his little toes were deformed, probably caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes as a young boy.
His toe nails definitely needed cutting. He was wondering where the clippers might be, when a searing pain flashed across his buttocks. Father was showing no mercy.
No matter how much Jim wanted to think about something else, by the time the third cane stroke slashed into his taut buttocks, the agony was all-consuming. Pain shot from his cheeks through his thighs and down to his knees. His bum felt like a red-hot wire had been pressed deeply into the flesh.
“I’m sorry father. I won’t do it again,” Jim meant it, but his father knew (as all fathers know) that a boy will make all kinds of promises if it he thinks it will stop the punishment early.
“I very much hope you are. But, you will be a lot sorrier by the time this is over,” he lashed another stroke into Jim’s blue-and-white-striped pyjamas.
Jim’s jacket stuck to his back as sweat poured off the young man. His temples throbbed almost as much as his backside as his blood pressure flew off the top of the scale.
His legs were beginning to feel the strain of staying rigidly apart. His father tapped the cane across his bottom once more; then twice, and then there was a pause. A moment later the sound of the swish of the cane echoed around the room, followed almost instantly by another fierce burning pain as the whippy rod cut into Jim’s backside, making him cry out.
“I’m sorry, really, really sorry,” Jim’s sobs were almost uncontrollable. He really was sorry. He so wanted to please his father. He was a good man; he provided for his family and wanted his sons to follow in his footsteps. Jim wanted to be like his father, but deep down knew this was not possible. He had drifted away from the church and wanted a life full of energy and joy and his father could not provide this.
Three more whacks crashed into his bottom, so hard, so unbelievably hard, they made Jim yell. His father had never beaten him like this before. Welts had formed under Jim’s pyjamas and he was sure blood was seeping from his wounds.
He took eighteen strokes that night, each one delivered with force from a man who knew without a shadow of doubt that righteousness was on his side.
Jim’s buttocks were sliced to ribbons, the thin cotton pyjama bottoms were no protection. The cheeks could be not be any more brutalized if he had taken the whipping on the bare flesh.
He remained in position waiting for his father’s permission to stand. He just wanted to get up clutch at his burning bottom with both hands and rush to the bathroom to sit in a bath of cold water.
But, his father was not quite finished. While still staring at his ugly toes, Jim had to endure a sermon from his father. It took an age for him to read his chosen Bible passage. But it was wasted on Jim. All he could concentrate on was his throbbing buttocks and the welts he knew had formed under his thin PJs. When he was eventually allowed to inspect the damage he was certain he would find blood seeping from his weals.
At last, satisfied by his own smugness, his father commanded Jim to rise. The tears had stopped flowing, but his face was stained. He bowed his head in remorse as his father once more lectured him about his behaviour and the consequences of disobedience.
Jim desperately wanted to rub away at his blistered backside, but knew from experience this was not allowed by his father. Once, two years ago, after a caning, he had disobeyed his father and continued kneading his buttocks. In a heartbeat, he was dragged across the man’s knee for a couple of dozen hard slaps with his bedroom slipper. Jim remembered the agony of the slippering on top of the initial caning stayed with him for days, reigniting every time he sat down on a hard surface. Ever since Jim always waited until he was dismissed by his father before he began to take curative action.
Eventually, he was allowed to leave and in the privacy of his own room he gently rubbed antiseptic ointment into his ripped backside. Face down on his bed, his pyjama bottoms discarded on the floor; he recounted in his mind the events of that day.
He had been severely thrashed for disobeying his father and drinking in the pub. He deserved it, he knew. There had been many times in the recent past that he had been in the King’s Head and not been discovered. Yes, he was long overdue a caning.
He knew his father’s rules and he had deliberately broken them; he had no complaints. He vowed not to go to the pub ever again.
But, then as he softly caressed the cuts that criss-crossed his tender bottom, he saw in his imagination Carol sitting in the pub with her hair, her smell and most of all her pert breasts. Unbidden, his penis rose to attention. It ached even more than his poor backside. Maybe it would not be easy to avoid the pub tomorrow.
More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second