He had spied on the large detached house for some time and was certain it was unoccupied; and rich for the pickings.
Making sure he wasn’t seen by anyone in The Avenue he hurried across the road and dodged behind the hedge. Now, hidden from the view of passers-by, he made a beeline for the front door and knocked loudly.
The man, let’s call him Salter, had a plan. If nobody answered it meant the house was empty and he could attempt a break-in. He waited two or three minutes: no answer, he reckoned the coast was clear.
He was pretty certain that large as the house was there was only one man who lived there, and he was probably a wealthy old git, by the looks of the place. Salter hoped he’d be able to break in and steal something valuable; he didn’t want much, cash would be preferable, just enough to pay for some booze and drugs. If there was no cash, he’d steal an ornament (these kinds of people always had ornaments) and he’d sell it.
Satisfied that no one was at home, Salter darted round the back of the house. A result: he lifted up the mat at the back door and picked up the key. Why are people so stupid? And, thank the Lord that they are.
Stealthily, just in case there was someone at home, he opened the door and entered the kitchen. It was a bright room, far too modern for a house this old. Quickly his eyes scanned around; where’s the tea-caddy; old people always hid their money in the tea-caddy. He searched through the cupboards, trying not to leave too many traces, but found no caddy, only a box of tag-less tea bags.
He opened and closed all the drawers, no money and nothing of value.
Adrenalin pumped through Salter’s veins. Out into the passageway. Coats hanging on hooks. Search the pockets. Nothing.
This might not be as easy as he thought.
Four doors off the hallway; try this one. The lounge. There’s a huge flat-screen television; that’d be worth a few bob. No, far too conspicuous carrying it under his arm away down The Avenue. Bookshelves. Drawers. He opened them all; just DVDs. What’s this? The Boys of St Marty’s. A picture of schoolboys on the front. They look a bit old to still be at school. The Boys of St Marty’s? Wasn’t that the one with Bing Crosby? Nobody would want to buy that. He put it back.
Salter took a deep breath; he was calming down a little. He tried another room. What’s this? This is strange. The room was gloomy, heavy curtains were drawn keeping the light out so it was like dusk even in the middle of the afternoon. Oak panelling on the four walls absorbed much of the remaining light. There was a hat stand and dangling from it was Batman’s cape.
A large old fashioned wooden desk dominated the room. Maybe this was an office or something. There must be something of value in one of the drawers. He sat in the capacious chair and opened the drawers one by one. He tried three and they were all totally empty; but not the fourth and last. Inside was a fountain pen and a hard-backed lined exercise book. Not worth a thing. Punishment Book? What’s a Punishment Book? Salter opened it and flicked through the pages. Half the book was full; he read the last two entries, which were in immaculate handwriting:
17 May. Keynes. 6. Smoking.
20 May. Keynes. 12. Insubordination.
Suddenly, he heard a faint sound. Oh, no. he knew immediately what it was. The front door was opening. There was no escape. He put the book back and closed the drawer.
“Hello. Is somebody there? Is anyone there?” It must be the owner of the house.
Salter shrank into the room, where could he hide? Nowhere; only under the desk or behind a large armchair, but that was no use. He was trapped.
The door opened cautiously. “Who the Hell are you? What are you doing here? In my house?”
Salter backed against a far wall. What choices did he have? Conceivably, he could have made a run for it. He was almost certainly quicker than the man, but he would have to get past him first. The only way out was to attack the man and leave him sprawling and then leg it.
The man, let’s call him Springer, did not seem the least bit nervous. Was he ex-military? He had a stature suggesting he would take no nonsense from anyone. Especially from Salter.
Salter knew a fight was out of the question; Springer would probably beat him to a pulp.
“I assume you are a burglar,” it seemed a stupid thing to say, but that’s all Springer could think of.
Salter said nothing.
“How did you get in?”
“Key. Back door,” Salter was unable to speak in sentences, but it was enough.
“So, I should phone for the police,” Springer put his hand in his jacket pocket to find his phone.
“Please mister. No, not the police.”
“Who are you calling ‘Mister?’” Springer’s tone put the burglar in his place. Unprompted, he said, “Sorry, Sir,”
“That’s better. Why shouldn’t I call the police?”
“I didn’t mean no harm.”
“No harm? You broke into my house. What were you after?”
Silence from Salter.
“Are you a drug addict?”
Silence from Salter for a while, and then, “Can we do this some other way?”
Springer snorted, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Salter was puzzled and he showed it.
“Look around you. You’ve broken into the wrong house, don’t you know what this room is?”
Rather theatrically, Salter slowly looked around: the oak panels, the desk, armchair, a tall thin cupboard in the corner, the hat stand and the cape. He did not quite shrug his shoulders, but the effect was the same.
Springer scowled, “It’s a headmaster’s study. And, do you know what takes place in headmasters’ studies?”
Salter gulped, again rather melodramatically.
“Come here,” and taking Salter by the arm, Springer led him to the cupboard.
“Stay there, there is no escape for you.” He opened the door to reveal an array of punishment canes. “Do you know what these are? Look at them boy.”
Salter’s eyes widened. There were about a dozen rattan canes: some long, some short: some thick, others thin. Most had curved handles.
Springer extracted one at random and flexed it intimidatingly between his hands, then, dramatically he swished it through the air. It had the desired effect and Salter stood back in horror.
“Here’s what I am going to do. I am going to beat you with one of these canes, just as if you were a schoolboy. If you take your thrashing well, I will not involve the police.”
Nodding at the cupboard, he continued, “Which one do you want me to whip you with?”
Salter played dumbstruck. He didn’t know what to say.
“Is it to be the cane?” Springer asked.
“Then it is to be the police?”
Springer was becoming impatient, “It is one or the other for you my lad.”
Salter knew this without being told. He was being given a choice, but in truth, he had no choice.
“The cane, Sir.”
“Good choice lad,” Springer was visibly excited now. “Come to the cupboard, chose one of the canes.”
He walked to the hat stand and took down the headmaster’s gown and put it on while Salter took his time handling cane after cane. He could tell they were all subtly different; but without doubt they would all pack a punch.
Now, suitably attired, the headmaster took hold of the armchair and swirled it round so that its back faced the room.
“Have you decided?”
Salter had. He picked out a crook-handled, medium strength ‘senior’ cane, more than three-foot long and as thick as a pencil.
“Hand it here, lad.”
Salter stared at the armchair. It was obvious why it had been positioned in such a way, but he still was unsure what he was supposed to do next.
The headmaster was practising his swing with the cane, as if he were trying to get its measure. In reality though, he was very familiar with all his little toys.
“Right lad. I want you to stand behind the chair.”
Salter was rooted to the spot.
“Now!” It was a command he could not refuse.
Salter shuffled from one foot to another, showing his nerves. He seemed to be breathing heavily in anticipation of the pain that would soon consume him.
The headmaster made sure he was in the lad’s eye line before delivering the crushing order, “Take down your trousers and underwear.”
Had Salter expected this development? Who knows? But he acted as if he had not.
“Oh, Sir. Please, Sir. Not on the bare.”
Swish! Swish! went the cane through the air.
“Is it to be the police then?”
“Then you will do as I instructed,” The headmaster knew how to appear stern; he had been doing this long enough.
Reluctantly, Salter unbuckled his belt, then he stopped, as if still considering his alternative. With a deep intake of breath, he undid the top button; pulled down the zip and let his jeans fall to his knees.
The headmaster was captivated by the sight the lad’s bright green briefs and the bulge within them, but silently professed not to be interested.
Salter had made his mind up. Come what may, no matter how great the humiliation; or the agony he would suffer; he must go through with this. With a flick of the wrists, he sent his briefs southwards to rest on top of his Levis.
The headmaster took a moment to admire the lad’s manhood before barking the order every schoolboy across history has dreaded, “Bend over that chair!”
In one athletic movement, he stepped forward and dived across the chair.
“Head low, bottom high, legs apart.”
Salter positioned his bare bottom as high as he could, affording the headmaster the perfect opportunity to inflict maximum pain into his buttocks.
The headmaster waited a full minute to let the lad stew a little. Then, Swish! he lashed down twelve hard cuts deep into Salter’s backside.
It only took thirty seconds to turn the lad’s creamy-smooth buttocks into raw meat. Springer was a master headmaster; he laid parallel stokes from the top of the backside near the spine, across the fleshy globes, into the sit-spot where the bum meets the thighs and then into the thighs themselves. For good measure, he laid the final stroke diagonally across the others so it smashed through rapidly-forming welts, making them bleed at the points of intersection.
Salter took his twelve strokes impeccably; it was as if he had been doing this all his life.
The headmaster left the lad over the back of the chair; he was not yet ready to allow him to go. He admired his handiwork; the lad’s backside was clearly on fire; it was covered in welts as thick as his finger. The throbbing pain would be excruciating, the headmaster hoped.
“You may get up, now.”
Salter eased himself off the chair; his face was almost as red as his backside.
“Get dressed,” the headmaster walked over to his desk, opened the drawer and extracted the pen and Punishment Book. While still standing, he wrote an entry in his immaculate handwriting:
3 June. Keynes. 12. Attempted theft.
He replaced the book and turned round to see Keynes, grinning wildly, bouncing up and down rubbing his buttocks exaggeratedly.
“Wow! That was a humdinger! No a bum-stinger!”
The headmaster beamed back as the lad fell to his knees, unzipped Springer’s trousers and plunged inside.
Other stories you might like.
More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second