Simon Harmer glanced out of the bedroom window. It was hot and humid. The weather was about to break; a thunderstorm was coming.
He was in deep trouble with his dad. The old man was downstairs preparing himself. Soon, within minutes probably, he would burst through the door. Intent on doing his duty. It would be a whipping, for sure.
Simon was a first-year university student; home for the holidays. He was only nineteen years old, but he had done a lot of living in the past year.
A bolt of lightning cracked the sky. He waited, counting the seconds in his head. Nine, ten, eleven. Then came the clap of thunder. The storm was still some way off.
Simon had passed all his exams. In many ways he was a model-A student. He studied hard and didn’t party too much. He went dinking with friends, but steered clear of weed. Cannabis smoking led to heroin injection, everybody knew that.
He had been home for a few weeks and landed a job at one of the new large supermarkets that were springing up everywhere. It wasn’t much of a job; filling shelves mostly and humping boxes around. But there were lots of youngsters just like Simon working there, so he was making lots of friends.
Like Tony. Tony was a special friend.
People hardly noticed Tony. There was nothing unusual about him. A person couldn’t be more “ordinary” or more “normal” than Tony. He had long straggly, curly brown hair down to his collar. He never combed it; there was no point. “Wild,” was a good word to describe Tony’s hair. It had a mind of its own. Don’t bother trying to put a parting in it.
Simon was growing his hair too. It was the longest it had ever been in his life; but he still had a long way to go to catch up on Tony.
Tony had acne scars around his chin. He was a little self-conscious about it. But Simon didn’t even notice it. His teeth were crooked too. They weren’t as bad as the tombstones Simon’s dad had. He had huge hazel eyes; like whirlpools. They shone green when he laughed – which was often. Simon could have eaten them with a spoon.
Tony was really very thin. Not sickness thin. Just thin. Simon noticed it the first item the pair went walking together around Gideon’s Meadow. It was swelteringly hot, so they took their shirts off. You could see Tony’s ribs poking through the skin.
He had spindly legs too. Simon and Tony wore fashionable snug sport shorts. They hardly covered their pants. His legs were like two matchsticks hanging down. He had the snakiest hips and no buttocks to speak of: just two pimples, really.
Simon’s dad was in the lounge. Reading his Bible. He had read it many times before. He wanted to go through a particular passage before he went upstairs to deal with his son.
Simon had been brought up on the Good Book. He could recite whole chapters. That gave his dad a great deal of satisfaction. Simon never told dad this, but he no longer believed a lot of it. There was no “Road to Damascus.” He just found that as he went through school and then to university he became more educated. More questioning. The history of how the Bible was written was well documented. How could anybody believe it was the literal word of God?
Simon wanted to call Tony. To get him on the telephone and tell him what was happening to him. He couldn’t. The phone was in the hallway and his dad wouldn’t let him, even if he tried.
If he was a character in one of those silly “teen” movies they showed at the pictures, he would climb out the window and go visit Tony. Guys were always doing that; goofing off to see their girlfriends.
But this was not a movie: this was real life. The window in his bedroom only opened a couple of inches at the bottom. Not even Tony was thin enough to climb through that.
Another lightning fork lit up the night sky. The thunder clap was closer.
Miserably, he lay down on his bed. He caught the faint whiff of Tony’s “Denim” aftershave. He always used just a splash too much. He put his hands behind his head and closed his eyes.
It had happened hardly thirty minutes before. Dad was prowling the house. He did that a lot. Opening and closing doors. Spying. When Simon had challenged his dad once about this lack of privacy, he was told, “This is my house and I’ll go where I want.”
It was masturbation. Wanking. Jerking off. Tossing. Spanking the monkey. One off the wrist. Dad fretted that his three sons were abusing themselves. No door in the house, not even the bathroom (especially not the bathroom) could be locked. Simon and his brothers could expect their bedroom door to burst open at any hour of the night and day. Dad would be standing there, eyes popping. Checking them out.
It hadn’t been masturbation that afternoon. It was something, in dad’s mind, far worse.
Simon and Tony were in the room. They weren’t doing anything much. Listening to the radio. Talking. Hanging out. The room was small. It was hot and sticky. So were the boys.
Nothing was planned. Off came their shirts. It didn’t help. The heat was unbearable. Sweat glistened on Simon’s defined torso. A pool of perspiration soaked the top of Tony’s snug blue sport shorts. Tony grabbed his own shirt and wiped down his friend’s body; making circular motions across the chest and stomach, like he was polishing a car.
Simon squawked. It was a giggle the like he had never shrieked before.
Tony laughed. His eyes shone green. He pushed his best pal onto the bed and leapt on top of him.
Small children call it “pretend fighting.” It’s when they wrestle around on the floor, but they’re not really trying to hurt one another.
The teenagers rolled on the narrow bed. Simon, accidentally hit his head on the wall. Tony banged his knee on the bedside table. They held each other tightly. In each other’s arms.
That was when the door burst open. Simon’s dad paled. His jaw dropped. And, then his eyes exploded. The sport shorts were tight. They were snug. Soldiers stood at full salute. There was nowhere to hide the bulges.
Bile flooded to Mr Harmer’s throat. He held his hand to his mouth like an embarrassed maiden in a Victorian melodrama.
“Out!” The roar could be heard in the street outside. A stranger passing by stopped in his tracks, puzzled. What was that scream? Mr Harmer’s eyes protruded, a vein throbbed on the side of his neck, blood vessels on his nose were about to burst.
Tony grabbed his shirt and shoes and barged through the door; knocking Simon’s dad to the floor in his haste. In the distance, Simon heard the front door open and close.
Speechless. His dad gasped. The fury he felt was left unspoken, but the expression on his terrified face was enough. Struggling for breath, he picked himself up and staggered down the stairs.
Now, Simon waited for the inevitable retribution. Vengeance would be the Lord’s, and also his dad’s.
He didn’t understand what had happened that afternoon. He wasn’t naïve. University students knew about these things. Men going with men. Was Simon “one of them?” He didn’t think so, but so what if he was. It was legal. Well, legal if you were aged twenty-one or over. But, try telling that to dad. To him it was an “abomination.” Plain and simple. No discussion allowed.
What happened between Simon and Tony had seemed perfectly natural. Two pals having a bit of fun. Where was the harm in that?
His philosophising was cut short. The door burst open once more. His dad had returned.
Dad knew most of the Bible by heart. That afternoon he had the passages about men laying down with men and parents sparing the rod uppermost in his mind.
The “rod” in the Harmer household did not mean a cane or a stick. The “rod” was a magnificent three-tailed leather taws. The leather was scuffed, worn down by use. It was so old Noah might have used it himself.
There was a spanking ritual at the Harmer’s
“Take off those ridiculous shorts,” dad spat. “Pants too!”
While his son readied himself, Mr Harmer plumped up two pillows and set them down in the dead centre of the narrow bed.
“You know the drill.”
Indeed, Simon did. He knelt on the bed and gently eased himself forward so that his stomach, his cock and his balls, pressed into the duck feathers. His bare bottom was raised at an angle to greet the strap.
A three-tailed taws is an awesome weapon. When it flew, the business end could be more than ten inches from tip to tip. Mr Harmer tapped the taws across the centre of Simon’s cheeks. His shorts had covered so little of his anatomy that only a narrow strip across the teenager’s buttocks remained creamy white. The rest of his body was nut-brown, tanned by the strong sun.
Mr Harmer set himself a challenge. By the time he was finished no square inch of the flesh would remain white. His heavy leather strap would turn it first to pink, then claret, then yellow and blue, until finally the cheeks would be bruised a deep purple.
Satisfied that he had his aim, he pulled the taws by its stiff handle in an arc over his own shoulder until the tails rested in the small of his back. He bent his knees slightly to give him momentum and then slashed the leather at great speed into the submissive buttocks.
The crack of leather connecting with flesh echoed around the room. Three dark pink marks spread from the top of the cheeks into the under-curve where bum and thighs meet. Simon closed his eyes tight and waited patiently for swipe number two.
His father’s eyes glowed with righteousness. He was so intent on doing God’s work, he failed to hear the creaking of floorboards outside the bedroom. Luke, Simon’s twenty-two-year-old brother, peaked through the partly-open door. He had the perfect view of his father’s back and his brother’s raised naked bum.
Up and down fell the strap. Still, Simon remained silent. Up, down. Up, down. Soon six sets of marks scarred his buttocks. Not one gasp escaped the teenager’s lips. He had long ago developed a high pain threshold.
Six more. Then another six.
Luke’s mouth dried. He remembered the thrashing his father had administered to him. Only last February. The pain and humiliation he had felt was often on his mind. His heartbeat sped. Sweat poured from beneath his shirt collar. He appeared to be in a worse state than his brother who was stoically enduring the wrath and the lash of their father.
“Oh, please God! No, not again.” It was a silent prayer. Luke was having thoughts again. He gazed on as his father renewed his efforts. The thwack and the splat as leather bit deep into Simon’s bottom had an unwelcome effect on Luke. “Please, no!”
Too late. Nearly. He rushed into his own bedroom, pulling at his shorts as he went. He dived onto the bed and wriggled out of his underpants. A load shot over his belly after only two strokes.
Mr Hamer was nearly done. The once-creamy white backside was now fifty shades of spanked. He had succeeded in his task. The boy’s bum looked like raw hamburger meat.
Another half-dozen. Just to finish the boy off.
Then, it was over. Mr Harmer tucked the taws under his armpit, tuned on his heels and exited, making sure to leave the bedroom door wide open.
Simon lay face down. The agony in his arse was already subsiding, but he knew from experience the pain would stay for a considerable time.
All seemed still. The house was silent. Even his noisy brother Luke wasn’t playing his records.
Simon rolled off the pillows and hauled himself from the bed. Quickly he pulled on his pants and shorts. He didn’t want to inspect the damage in the dresser mirror. He had seen it all before. It did no good. There was no point dwelling on the intense damage his father caused him.
He picked by his shoes and padded down the carpeted stairs to the front door. He slipped into them and made his way down the garden path. He knew inside the house his father would be on his knees, praying to God for Simon’s salvation.
Simon would leave him to it. He needed to find Tony.
Overhead, a lightning bolt flashed. Thunder struck. The heavens opened.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second