Johnny should have realised there was something odd about Gleves the first time he visited him. The clue was the books on corporal punishment in his study.
It was midsummer and Johnny had been sleeping rough for months after he escaped down south from Doncaster. Things had not gone well. He had no job, nowhere to live and no prospects. Then, some busy-body from a church told him about Gleves.
It was a large house; far too big for Gleves to live in on his own. That’s why, Johnny was told, he rented three or four bedrooms to young men as paying guests.
It was so different from the flat on the sixteenth storey he had lived in in the grimy northern town. The huge house with its driveway and immaculately-kept gardens intimidated him. Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
He stood hesitating on the front step. No, he couldn’t go through with it. This place was way out of his league. He was just turning to retrace his steps back to the main road when the door flew open behind him.
It was Gleves. “You must be Johnny, come in, come in. I’ve been expecting you.”
Oh yes! Gleves was delighted. Father O’Malley certainly knew how to choose them. The eighteen-year-old wore a sleeveless black vest and judging by the sun-tanned skin, he had not worn it that often this summer. His jeans were non-descript and probably bought at Primark, but they hung from his hips perfectly. When he turned slightly, Gleves took in the fabulous sweep of his buttocks. The jeans needed washing – yes, Gleves thought, let me take them off you and put them in the machine for you. Here, right now.
Had the boy even started shaving yet? His clear skin and open face suggested not. His dark brown hair parted down the centre needed cutting.
Gleves was in his sixties with a round face and a rather weak jaw line. His hair was turning silver. His rimless round ‘National Health’ glasses slid down his nose. He wore a paisley sleeveless pullover and light brown cavalry twill trousers that had not seen the inside of a dry cleaner’s for a considerable time.
Gleves startled the boy by taking his hand in a formal hand-shake. Nobody had ever done that to him before; treating him as an equal. Johnny followed the owl-like man into the house; maybe, he thought, this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Gleves deposited the boy in the study. “Sorry,” he wheezed, “I have some baking in the kitchen I must attend to, I shan’t be long.” Then, waving his arm in the general direction of a large leather couch, he gave a warm smile and said, “Make yourself at home.”
The room reminded Johnny of the local library in Doncaster where, in happier times, he had loved to lose himself among the books. For a while, it had helped him escape the realities of his grim life.
A whole wall was lined floor to ceiling with shelving stacked with books. Absent-mindedly Johnny looked through the book shelves. He was not surprised that many of the titles were religious books of one sort or another; others were classic novels: Dickens and so on. But, he wasn’t expecting to see the books on one shelf. One was called The History of Corporal Punishment. Another was Thy Rod, Thy Staff, which was also about CP.
Suddenly the door burst opened and in rushed Gleves, apologising profusely about leaving him alone.
They talked politely. It was news to Johnny, but the busy-body at the church had already recommended him to Gleves. How could that be? He had only met the man once and he wasn’t sure he even knew his name. Father Something was it?
Gleves told him he already had two other paying guests and he was happy to take Johnny on similar terms. Johnny didn’t think to ask what these “terms” might be, assuming they were to do with payment of rent and the like. The next day he moved in.
There were two other lads lodging with the vicar: Jimmy a twenty-year-old and Tony who was eighteen. They had both been homeless and been found by Fr O’Malley and sent to Gleves as likely paying guests.
It was Jimmy, who on Johnny’s second day at the house, hinted at what “terms” Gleves meant the day he first met him. There were rules and regulations for staying and these went some way beyond things like meal times and curfews. It was alright Jimmy hinted as long as you kept to the rules.
It was just after breakfast the next day that Johnny learnt what happened if you did not. He hurried down the stairs and passed the open kitchen door. He needed to rush or he would miss his breakfast.
But, despite his urgent need to be fed, he stopped in his tracks, drawn by a heavy thudding noise from the kitchen.
Cautiously he approached the partly open door. Thwack! Once again there was that thudding noise; this time followed by a shrill “Ouch!!”
Gingerly, Johnny inched open the door an inch or so wider.
Jimmy, dressed in tight white PE shorts and a mauve singlet, was bent across a kitchen chair, gripping on to the wooden seat for his dear life. And, behind him, red in the face, was Gleves, brandishing a large wooden school-type paddle.
They both had their backs to the door and Johnny had an uninterrupted view of proceedings. He drew in his breath at precisely the same time Jimmy drew in his.
Jimmy lifted the front two legs of the chair clear off the ground as the pain shot from his tight bottom through his body.
“Woww, woww, woww!” he seemed to be singing in a vain effort to stifle the pain.
Gleves stepped forward, pushed Jimmy forcefully in the back until the seat was back on the ground and then gripping the distressed twenty-year-old around the waist he crashed the wood into the seat of his thin cotton shorts six more times. Rapidly. Rat-a-tat-tat! Rat-a-tat-tat!
It sounded to Johnny like machinegun fire rattling around the kitchen.
Suddenly, Gleves released his hold on the sorrowful boy who bolted upright and began the spanking dance; hopping from one foot to the other, clutching both buttocks in the palms of his hands while wailing from the pain.
It was over, the boy was about to be dismissed.
Sensing he was about to be caught spying, Johnny turned towards the dining room.
“Johnny! What are you doing? Come here. This instance!” It was Gleves and he was not a happy man. The confused boy ran through the front door and up the driveway to safety.
That was Johnny’s first experience of Gleves and his terms. He was astonished by what he had seen, but strangely intrigued. He wanted to know more: what had Jimmy done to deserve his spanking? Why had he allowed himself to submit to it?
Johnny walked the streets aimlessly, his mind reeling with what he had witnessed and his heart was beating a little faster with excitement.
He didn’t have long to wait to learn more about Gleves and his terms. As soon as he returned he was summoned to the study. The room stank of cigarettes and Gleves lit another as he gestured Johnny to sit on the heavy leather couch.
Then Gleves spoke as if was the most natural thing in the world for a landlord to spank his paying guests.
He told Johnny about the rules in his house and how every boy who lodged there was required to get a job.
Johnny snorted at that: it was easier said than done, he told Gleves.
Gleves was not deterred. Poorly-paid jobs were easy to come by for people with places to live. He would arrange something with the local supermarket. Don’t worry, he assured the eighteen-year-old, he would be able to afford the rent. He didn’t tell Johnny, but Gleves assured himself, that this arrangement with the paying guests was his way of performing a civic duty.
Then Gleves told the startled boy, he must make a “commitment.” Johnny paled significantly; a “commitment,” was Gleves running some kind of religious cult?
His new landlord explained that each lad drew up his own list of objectives, things he wanted to achieve, and a plan of how he intended to meet them. Then, the lad set about reaching those objectives by identifying a number of things he had to do. If he failed to achieve, he suffered punishment. And, here that meant corporal punishment.
Johnny must draw up his own list of objectives and he too would be subjected to whackings if he fell short.
Johnny had never heard anything like this before. Was he serious? How could he be?
Johnny broke off from his thoughts when he realised the Mr Gleves was speaking.
“So, those are my terms. If you want to we can make an agreement. But, if you don’t want to, you can leave in the morning. But, if you decide to stay, and I hope that you will, you will be subject to my terms.”
Johnny didn’t know if his jaw actually, physically, dropped, but he was gobsmacked by what he had heard. He had never come across anything like this before in his life.
Mr Gleves eyed the boy over the top of his round glasses as he sank further back in his green leather armchair. He knew the boy would be astounded by his proposition; all the boys had been.
Johnny might have grown up disadvantaged, but he was no fool. He was on to a good thing: snatched from the streets, given a room in a grand house, fed regularly and with proper paid employment. He had a home, job, and soon he would have money in his pockets. Now, he had prospects for the future. Why would he blow such a chance?
Johnny’s breathing was irregular and he felt giant butterflies in his stomach. His temples were throbbing. He stood up from the couch and saw the look of disappointment in Gleves’s eyes. He believed Johnny was about to walk out on him and his terms.
“Sir,” Johnny heard himself saying. He seemed to be a very long way away. “Sir, I accept your terms,” his voice quivered.
Gleves caught Johnny’s eye. They intuitively understood one another.
“Really boy?” Gleves flashed a warm smile. “How can I be certain?”
Johnny’s usually pale face flushed deep scarlet as he stared at the carpet with embarrassment.
Gleves’s warm smile never faded. “Come here Johnny, let’s test you out.” He rose from his chair and took the boy gently by the elbow and guided him across to the other side of the study. For a moment, he let Johnny go, while he moved a straight-backed wooden chair away from a wall and into space in the middle of the room.
He sat himself down on the chair, then reaching out for Johnny’s arm again; he pulled him closer to him. Neither of them spoke, but Johnny was certain the thumping of his heart must have been echoing across the room, breaking the silence. Gleves unbuckled the boy’s belt, released the button and zipper of his trousers and pulled them down to his shins.
Then, his orange briefs headed in the same direction.
Johnny stood his ground, uncertain if he wanted to go ahead with this. He was about to let an older man take him across his knee and spank him on his bare bottom: something that no one, not even his despised father, had ever done before.
Gleves raised his head to look directly at Johnny. No words were spoken; none had to be. He thought he saw consent in the boy’s eyes and in his submissive demeanour. He reached for his arm and in one movement guided him across his lap.
The grey carpet had a pattern once; maybe it was green, but Johnny couldn’t tell. Working this out was not important at this time. Far more important was the fact that the reason he was able to study the carpet was because he was bent across the knee of the old man, his trousers around his ankles, his pants yanked down, and his bare bottom exposed, buttocks clenched, waiting to be spanked.
He stared at the carpet; his heart was racing so fast he thought he could feel the blood rushing through his ears. He felt Gleves’s hand gently stroke his bottom in circular motions: first the left cheek, then the right; then across both.
He felt his shirt being neatly folded up, exposing his lower back to the cool air of the room. Then, there was a movement in Gleves’s body as he raised his hand high and brought it down on Johnny’s bum with a resounding crack. Johnny’s bottom jerked high and he involuntarily let out a gasp.
As Gleves began to cover the whole of Johnny’s bottom with more smacks, he had to hold him firmly in position as the eighteen-year-old’s cries and kicking got worse. After about a dozen spanks it felt as if the whole of Johnny’s bottom must be glowing red, from one side of his cheeks to another, and from the top of his bottom to the tender tops of his thighs: all was aflame.
Johnny gritted his teeth as the sting began to spread and then deepen to a burning sensation. The slaps were hard, steady, and fast paced. He kicked his legs trying to escape the stinging spanks. He twisted and turned his body all over the old man’s lap, but he held the boy tight with his big arm wrapped around his middle.
Spank Spank Spank. “Owww, ok, please, ow, that hurts, oww,” Johnny pleaded, but to no avail. Gleves was in charge and he would only stop spanking when he was ready to do so. And, that would be when he felt Johnny had suffered enough. He knew his boys hated being spanked, which was why it was so effective.
He covered every inch of the bum, making sure there was no untouched spot. The heavy slaps from his hand stung and smarted, raining down pain for a long time. At last, after at what felt like several hundred hard swats he stopped and told Johnny to get up. The boy’s backside burned like the fires of hell.
He gasped for air. He was a grown man, crying like a five-year-old. He just stood there rubbing his bum. At long last Gleves told Johnny to pull up his trousers and pants and go to his room. Johnny thanked him before leaving his study, closing the door quietly behind him.
He had spent the last few minutes draped across Gleves’s lap with his trousers around his ankles and his underpants around his knees. Gleves had given the boy’s bottom and the top of his legs a thorough spanking. Not one square millimetre of his rear end had avoided the expert attention. His bum was aglow.
Johnny hurried to his room; he didn’t want to meet any of the other lads. Even though they would have understood his situation, he wasn’t sure that he did.
Once safely in the room, he whipped his trousers and pants down, bending over in front of the mirror to inspect the damage. He backed off in surprise as he saw the angry, raw marks adorning his buttocks. His bum was red and throbbing. He could see the outline of Gleves’s fingers, where they had pounded into him. Had a hand spanking really done so much damage?
He lay on the bed, his hands gently massaging the burn in his bum.
Over the next few days Johnny drew up his personal plan. It was pretty simple really, concentrating on what he wanted to achieve with his new job. Gleves tried to persuade him to include something more personal (like finding a wife), but Johnny successfully resisted.
They added a few details to do with the lodgings themselves: like performing communal chores such as vacuuming the carpets and washing up the dishes and the task was completed.
Johnny felt surprisingly liberated by the experience. For the first time in his life he had some idea about what he really wanted to achieve and how he was going to do it. And, of course, the penalty, for failure: a very sore bum indeed.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second