She and the Rev Crick were sitting together in the room next door, discussing the future of the nineteen-year-old. If the vicar agreed, the student would become the latest of the reverend’s ‘paying guests’.
He blanched. Craig had seen plenty of instruments of corporal punishment in his life: he came from that sort of family and had attended that kind of school.
His parents, his mother especially, were convinced Christians. They believed in the Bible. And, especially that bit about not sparing the rod. But, he had hoped that now he was at university, he had left behind that sort of thing.
It was an impressive room. The wall on the left side was lined with floor to ceiling with shelving. Some were stacked with books, but in the centre was a tall thin cupboard, with a smoked-glass front.
Craig stepped across to the cupboard intent on trying to peer through the glass to see the contents. He had a pretty good idea what was kept inside, but the glass was too opaque. He turned around to once again look at the two canes dangling from their crook handles. They were both something more than three feet in length; one was considerably thicker than the other and both were a little warped. Craig was not naïve; the curving was certainly the result of their constant use.
Also in the room were a huge Chesterfield couch and two armchairs to one side and the vicar’s desk. Once he moved in as Rev Crick’s lodger he would become very familiar with this room and those chairs.
It was September but the skies were leaden grey. It was cold and soon it would rain. Rev Crick had not set a fire in his study and the boy could not stop from shivering. He could not be sure if that was because of the cold or the trepidation he felt about his impending future.
In the room next door his mother and the vicar were in intense conversation.
“Reverend, I have heard so much about you and the ways in which you give guidance to young men,” Mrs Greenwood sipped thoughtfully at her Earl Grey tea.
Rev Crick flushed. He was enveloped in a cloud of smoke from his habitual cigarette. He had an angular face, with a jutting jaw line. What hair he still retained was thin and straw coloured. He had on a shabby sports jacket and dark brown corduroy trousers that were a bit thin at the knees. His round glasses were perched on his nose in the centre of a florid face.
Crick had no family of his own. He had been the vicar at Aston Budleigh for close on twenty years. The vicarage was a huge, possibly Edwardian, house; far too big for Rev Crick to live in on his own. That’s why, he said, he rented three or four bedrooms to young men as paying guests.
Mrs Greenwood continued, “I am afraid Craig has rather let himself down. He joined the university last September and much against my better judgement, we allowed him to move into the halls of residence.”
Rev Crick nodded enthusiastically. He had already guessed what Mrs Greenwood was about to tell him.
“He has no self-discipline, Reverend. There was too much frolicking about. He missed classes and has failed his examinations. The university has insisted that he resit the entire first year again.”
“Ahh,” Cricked purred. “Discipline is so often lacking in the young,” he said as he lit another cigarette.
Mrs Greenwood waved smoke from her face. She hated cigarettes and if she ever found any of her sons indulging in the despicable habit, she would ensure they were soundly thrashed. Even if she had to do it herself. But, she must endure the discomfort. Rev Crick’s reputation preceded him and she was anxious to put her son in his hands. He would cure the boy of his indolence. With the Rev Crick’s directions Craig could make something of himself.
“So, Reverend?” she asked. He understood fully her question. Yes, he would take the boy in hand. All that needed to be agreed were the terms of the arrangement.
Thirty minutes later, Mrs Greenwood left the vicarage. Craig saw her car pull away as he stared from the window of the study.
Suddenly, the door of the study burst open and in strode Rev Crick. They talked politely: Rev Crick said he had agreed with the boy’s mother about the terms of his stay. Craig didn’t ask what these “terms” might be, hoping that they were only to do with payment of rent and the like.
There were two other students lodging with the vicar: Bob was nineteen and reading business while Tommy, a twenty-year-old, was working to be a chemist. It was Tommy who hinted at what “terms” Rev Crick meant when he met Craig later that day. There were rules and regulations for staying at the vicarage and these went some way beyond things like meal times and curfews. It was all right Tommy hinted as long as you kept to the rules.
Later on his first evening Craig padded down the stairs in search of the dining room. As he passed the open kitchen door, Rev Crick popped his head out. “Craig. Please enjoy your supper and when it is finished I should like you to visit with me in my study.”
The youngster thought he detected a sinister smile playing around the corner of the vicar’s mouth.
Craig did not enjoy the supper. It was a tense affair. The vicar dined each evening along with his three paying guests. This evening both Tommy and Bob were thoughtful, trying to size up their new housemate, but also mindful of what the vicar had in store at meal’s end.
Soon, the jelly and custard dessert was finished and Bob, whose regular chore this was, cleared the table. The youngster collected Craig’s plate unable to meet the boy’s eye. He knew from his own painful experience what lay in store for him.
Rev Crick lit a cigarette and drew the smoke deep into his lungs. “Go stand outside my study, Craig. Hands on head. I’ll deal with you once I have finished this,” he waved his cigarette theatrically.
Craig dragged his chair back and he got up from the table. He had expected something like this. Why else had his mother deposited him with this eccentric cleric? Seconds later he stood in the passageway outside the heavy oak-panelled door of Rev Crick’s study. Obediently, the teenager faced the wall and after interlocking the fingers of both hands he placed his palms on the top of his head.
It felt like he was back at school; waiting outside his housemaster’s study ahead of the inevitable consequence of his unending idleness. He thought of the two well-worn canes hanging from hooks inside the room. Before long, he had no doubt, one or other of them would be thwacking against his stretched backside.
He smelt the stale cigarettes before he heard the reverend coming. Wordlessly, Rev Crick turned the handle to the door and eased it open. “Follow me, young man.”
Craig was uncertain if he was allowed to take his hands from his head. Not wanting to antagonise the vicar further he erred on the side of caution and kept them there.
“Stand there.” It was a sharp command. Rev Crick pointed to a spot in front of his splendid leather-topped desk. Craig did as he was ordered. From this vantage point he had a perfect view across the room of the two whippy canes. He averted his eyes and like generations of naughty schoolchildren summoned to a study for a caning, he cast them down at the carpet beneath his feet.
It had probably been blue or possibly green previously, but the carpet had been worn down over many years to a dull grey.
Crick sat down behind his desk. He knew what he intended to do, but there was some ritual that had to be followed first.
“Look at me when I’m talking to you young man,” the vicar was practised in intimation. Dutifully, Craig raised his head. It was the first time Crick had looked closely at his new lodger. He really was a pretty boy, he thought. He had the face of a cherub, with hazel green eyes, pale, almost glistening skin, a firm chin and the sweetest nose, just like a button.
Rev Crick was not a man to harbour doubts. He knew his Christian duty was to steer young people away from the hazardous rocks of life. A responsible adult understood duty and obedience. Sometimes, the young needed encouragement to achieve these things. Rev Crick knew exactly how to inspire obedience and duty.
Mrs Greenwood had left a long litany of Craig’s failings. One by one, the vicar repeated the accusations. It amounted to too much partying and not enough studying.
Craig knew he was guilty as charged. The only mitigation he had in his defence was that until last year he had spent his life since the age of eight at expensive fee-paying boarding schools. His life had been governed by rules. They were clear – and so were the sanctions for breaking them. The teenager knew that it was the rigid discipline at his well-known public school that got him through his exams and onto university.
His housemaster Mr Tompkinson’s cane had dealt effectively with the matter of Craig’s failed mock exams.
Rev Crick was coming to the end of his oration. “Your mother has given me full responsibility to deal with your behaviour. Do you understand that?”
It felt like a rhetorical question to Craig, but he mumbled, “Yes, Sir,” just in case.
“Soon we shall draw up a list of objectives that you will be expected to meet during your time at university,” Rev Crick intoned. “But first we must deal with your irresponsible behaviour at university last year.”
Involuntarily, Craig’s eyes darted to the two canes on the wall. Both looked awesome. In the hands of an expert – and he supposed Rev Crick was such – either could inflict intense pain on him.
“Your mother desires that I administer to you a severe caning,” Rev Crick sighed as if the weight of the whole world’s worries had been placed on his shoulders. He hauled himself out of his chair and stretched over to the wall. He picked up the lighter of the two canes and tested it thoughtfully between his hands. It was extremely supple and he bent it so that the two ends almost touched. He peered at it as if he had never seen it before and swished it through empty air.
His eyes narrowed as he gauged Craig’s reaction. The boy appeared impassive. The reverend placed the rod on the top of his desk before taking up the second cane. He reprised his bending and swishing action with this one. It was heavier than the first and did not bend so easily. It made a terrifying swipe when the vicar slashed it through the air.
Craig had hoped he had left the biting sting of the cane at school. Now that he was an adult he hoped things would change. But in truth, his mother would always be in charge of him. He came from a moneyed family and he was expected to obey his parents. They had paid for his schooling and they were paying for university. In time they would determine his future. He was made for life. But, if he disobeyed his mother he knew she was very capable of cutting him off without a penny. If he didn’t fulfil her wishes, he could end up having to work for his living. He might end up flipping burgers at Wimpy.
Rev Crick had made his selection. It was to be the thicker and heavier of the two canes.
“Come here, young man,” the vicar pointed to a spot close to the back of the Chesterfield couch.
Craig felt his throat tighten as saliva drained from his mouth. He was starting to sweat, despite the distinct chill in the air that winter’s night. He waited for the vicar’s inevitable instruction.
“Bend over the Chesterfield,” Rev Crick tapped the back of the couch as if there was any doubt what he meant.
The teenager had been beaten many times in the past, but that did not stop his heart from racing at speed at the prospect of another caning. He drew in a lungful of air to steady himself, then in one complete athletic movement he dived over the couch. The Chesterfield was a little taller than the armchair he had draped himself across when his housemaster last caned him. Craig found he needed to stand a little on tip-toe to get his backside in the required position.
Rev Crick watched emotionlessly as Craig settled himself down. The height of the couch meant the boy had to stretch his legs which in turn tightened the muscles in his buttocks. The boy wore dark grey trousers with a subtle blue check. They were part of a tailor-made suit and fitted him to perfection. The vicar who had considerable experience beating buttocks believed it to be the best presented backside he had seen for some time.
Craig’s breathing was a little laboured and his buttock cheeks trembled in anticipation of the first stroke. The cane had looked fearsome and the teenager had no doubt it would soon inflict searing pain upon him.
Rev Crick took up position to the boy’s left side, took a moment to find his aim and then took a powerful swipe. It was as if he were beating a carpet. There was no dust on Craig’s backside to rise, but a distinct line appeared across the very centre of his bum where the cane had struck home.
The boy screwed up his face in appreciation of the intensity of the stoke. He took a deep gulp of air and settled down for the second cut.
It was some time in coming. Rev Crick had perfected many techniques for caning. This time he would swipe the cane down with great force and then saunter around the room, his left hand in his trouser pocket. Then he would return to his position beside the punished boy to take aim once more. This routine meant there was a delay of at least twenty to thirty seconds between strokes, thereby giving time for the pain of one stroke to be fully felt and for the anticipation of the next to build in the boy’s mind.
Crick was very satisfied with the shriek of pain from the bent-over boy as the second cut struck just below the first. Craig’s feet marched up and down on the spot like a guard on sentry duty as the pain travelled from the centre of his bum through his legs.
Crick went off on his tour of the study once more. He could see Craig’s once pale face was now scarlet, as he supposed was the boy’s backside, even though only two strokes had been delivered.
“Aaaargh!” Craig could not help himself. Number three struck low: too low, it missed the buttocks completely and landed on the back of his thighs. He stomped his feet again and clung on to a soft cushion as if his very life depended on it.
Again, Rev Crick ambled around. Craig’s bottom trembled and the boy’s hips swayed from side to side.
“Keep still young man, you don’t want me to miss the target again …”
He tap, tap, tapped the cane across the very centre of the boy’s backside, in an area where he had most fleshy padding. Craig shut his teeth, closed his eyes and gripped the scatter cushion tightly. Whoosh! The fourth cut struck the middle of the cheeks squarely and at such force the cane bit deep into the meat before remerging a second later and bouncing off the tightly stretched fabric of the trousers.
Tommy and Bob who were secreted behind the study’s oak-panelled door exchanged sympathetic glances. Their new pal was certainly being put through his paces. Craig’s wail echoed around the study and tears welled up behind his beautiful green eyes.
Rev Crick walked slowly towards the study door with a half-smile. “If I open this door and find anybody hiding behind it they will come in and join young Craig across the Chesterfield.”
The two lodgers skedaddled.
Rev Crick was nearly finished. Only two more strokes to go; then it would be over: a traditional six-of-the-best. He rested the cane across the by-now raw cheeks from the top left corner to the bottom right. Craig’s whole body tensed as he recognised what the vicar was up to. Crick raised the cane high and lashed it down so that the stoke cut across the previous four, slicing across them and reigniting their agony.
Craig’s face bounced up and down as he head-butted the back of the couch in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the torture. Tears and snot covered his face. Never in his whole life had he ever felt so much pain.
Crick lined up the cane for the sixth and final time; this time taking the opposite diagonal. After it was lashed home Craig had a perfect ‘X’ mark across four parallel welts.
Quietly, the vicar replaced the canes on the hooks on the wall. Craig was holding on manfully to his cushion as his entire body shook, wracked with pain.
“You may get up now,” it was a kindly instruction. Craig rose and instinctively his hands clamped his buttocks. He ran up and down on the spot, as if that would help ease his agony. It didn’t.
The vicar delved into his jacket pocket and found his cigarettes. “Welcome to your new home.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Craig replied, extending his hand for an embarrassed Crick to shake.
“What a well-trained boy,” the reverend thought, as he watched as the teenager shuffle out of the study on his way to his bedroom where he would inspect the damage.
Episode two of The Spanking vicar is published here. Rev Crick’s three lodgers must face the weekly reckoning, where they pay for their bad behaviour over the previous seven days.
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