Shane waited outside his employer’s office, he knew that he was likely to be sacked and the police would be called: he would do anything to stop that happening.
He had stolen seven pounds from the petty-cash tin and been caught, it was as simple as that. There were no mitigating circumstances; he had wanted the money so he could go down the pub, it wasn’t as if he took it to feed his starving children or widowed mother.
Shane was eighteen years old and had worked at Ferguson’s since he left school two years previously. It’s true that he did have a widowed mother, but when his dad died a few years ago, he left behind a very good insurance policy and the family had lived very comfortably since.
No, Shane had stolen the money because he wanted it.
Mr Ferguson’s secretary opened the door, “He’ll see you now, Shane.” She flashed him a smile, she knew what was going on, but it was impossible not to like Shane, he was a charmer, many women, especially those old enough to be his mother, often thought.
Shane entered the office and stood in front of Mr Ferguson’s desk; he couldn’t help comparing it to his old headmaster’s study. He had visited that a few times, he recalled. But, this was not the headmaster, this was his boss: he wasn’t going to get the cane; he was getting the sack and a criminal record.
Mr Ferguson liked Shane too, but not in the way the women did. Even if he was only eighteen, Shane had the kind of ducking-and-diving spirit that was a good quality in a salesman. He had recently been promoted from general office assistant to a junior salesman; it might be the first rung on the ladder, but it was certainly on the ladder: Shane could climb very high with his talents.
But, now this had happened, Mr Ferguson thought: petty theft. He didn’t know it but Shane felt no remorse; sure he was sorry about being caught but not about the theft itself. He thought they were all hypocrites, the salesmen fiddled their expenses all the time and what was seven quid to a company like this?
Mr Ferguson wasn’t sure what to do. Shane was a thief, but let’s be honest, he thought, it wasn’t armed robbery and the boy’s not a thug. Actually, he’s just like a lot of kids his age, a bit selfish with no real scruples and he wanted everything on a plate, now. He just needs to learn to grow up; a short sharp lesson would be enough, he doesn’t need a criminal record.
When he first heard of Shane’s theft, Mr Ferguson thought how uncannily similar it was to his own experience thirty-odd years ago. He was eighteen years old when he and some pals stole a few bottles of beer from the local tennis club where his father worked as a steward. They took them into the fields and drank them. It was theft, of course, but also youthful high jinks. They got caught, but the police weren’t involved; he was thankful for that because a criminal record would have scuppered his successful career before it started.
Instead, his dad was informed and he dealt with it. And, how he dealt with it, Mr Ferguson could smile in retrospect, but at the time it was humiliating and painful. His dad marched him home and lectured him about how much he had embarrassed the family. And, here’s the rub, then he made him take down his trousers and underpants, bend over the arm of the settee, and he thrashed the living daylights out of him with his razor strop. He howled the house down with the agony and the indignity of it, but it taught him a lesson and he never stole again.
A bit of him wished that he could deal with Shane in the same way; a bloody good hiding would bring him to his senses and then we could all move on, but, he knew, if he told the boy’s mother he was a thief, she would die of shame and how would that help? Certainly, she wouldn’t be able to give him the punishment he so richly deserved.
Sometimes in the past, Mr Ferguson had hoped Shane might see him as a bit of a father figure, a role model if you like, but there was nothing to show he actually did. Perhaps, if Shane had done so, Mr Ferguson might be the one to give him a sound spanking now.
Shane expected the worse outcome from his meeting with Mr Ferguson; he had no excuses, he had stolen the money and he knew there had to be consequences for being found out.
If he realised what Mr Ferguson was thinking he would have jumped at the chance; he was no stranger to corporal punishment. He had been caned often at school for various misdemeanours such as smoking in the toilets and skiving off school at playtime: he was a naughty boy, but not a thug.
The idea that he might have to sack Shane and involve the police, upset Mr Ferguson and he really wished they could come to another arrangement. Then he had a brainwave; why not be honest with the boy, but he knew it would sound very odd if he just came out and said, “Let me spank you as a punishment.” How would that sound at an industrial tribunal?
Instead, he simply told Shane the story of the tennis club, the beer and the razor strop. When he finished there was an awkward silence between the two. Mr Ferguson could see Shane was debating with himself: should he or shouldn’t he? And, then he did.
“Could you spank me like your father did to you? he looked down at the carpet to hide his blushes.
“Well, I don’t know, Shane.” In fact, he did know, he knew very well that a leathering was the ideal solution.
“You must be quite sure Shane; it is a very unusual solution to the problem.”
Shane said he was sure, please don’t sack him, please don’t call the police.
“Well if it’s what you want, Shane.”
“If it’s what you want?” As soon as he heard the words, Shane was convinced it was exactly what he wanted. It was the perfect answer, the schoolboy’s solution if you like. You commit the crime, you get found out, you are punished and then we move on.
Yes, Shane was certain: a spanking would be the ideal resolution.
Alright, Mr Ferguson thought, the boy had consented to his belt whipping, so we should get on with it.
“Shane, take off your jacket and leave it on my desk.” With no obvious embarrassment, the boy did as he was told. “Now, take down your trousers and pants and bend over that chair.”
In a swift movement the smart city-style trousers were down, quickly followed by his crisp new briefs. He knew matters had to take their course, so took a deep breath, rubbed his hands together and lent forward to offer his bare cheeks to Mr Ferguson’s belt.
His employer had no experience of spanking backsides, but instinctively knew the objective was to cause the punished boy considerable pain; otherwise what was the point? He doubled over the belt rested it across Shane’s buttocks to get his aim and lashed it down.
It had been two years since Shane was last caned, but he still had the schoolboy’s attitude that he should take it like a man. As the first six strokes landed across his bum he made no outward sign that he was in considerable pain. This was a tactical error, because, with his inexperience, Mr Ferguson assumed this meant his punishment was not working. So, he increased the tempo and brought the belt whacking into Shane’s bum harder and faster.
He covered both buttocks, from the top of the fleshy globes to the bottom. Shane’s resolve not to show pain did not last. His gasps turned to groans and then to whimpers. Despite himself he couldn’t stop shaking his legs as the pain built up in his bum to become agony.
Mr Ferguson remembered how his own father had thrashed him thirty years ago, it had been a rigorous beating, hard and fast, but it was not a flogging. His dad had wanted to get the point across, he had hurt his son badly, but not to the point that the boy resented his punishment or the man who punished him.
Mr Ferguson knew his father had spanked him out of love; he wanted his son to grow into a fine man (and he hoped he had fulfilled his father’s ambition). Likewise, Mr Ferguson loved Shane in a way and did not want to destroy any relationship they might have, but he did want him to learn and to mend his ways.
He whacked six more strokes across the centre of Shane’s bum and then told him to stand up.
Shane’s face was ashen and there were tears forming: how could such a thrashing not bring tears to the eyes? He rubbed gently at his bottom and then without waiting for his boss’s permission, he gingerly bent down to pull up his trousers and pants. His buttocks were tender and he felt the pain increase as his tight briefs hugged his burning bottom.
“Go home Shane: it’s over. If you mend your ways, we will not speak of this again.”
Shane picked up his jacket and limped from the office. He was relieved that Mr Ferguson’s secretary was nowhere to be seen and he left the building unobserved.
The pain turned to a glow quite quickly and it took a day or two for the bruising to go, but Shane did not feel he had been unjustly beaten. He had committed a small crime and had been properly punished for it and Mr Ferguson was right, there was no need to ever mention it again.
So long as Shane behaved in future.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second