Tony started his first day at school with some trepidation. It took no time before the handsome blond eighteen-year-old realised Albion Manor was stricter than the school he had just left. He fell afoul of two masters before midday. Things were clearly going to be very different for him here. More than once, he silently cursed his father for taking his new job and making the family pull up their roots.
After the lunch break, he was stunned to hear his name called out. He was told to report to the headmaster.
“Me?” he asked the master. “Are you sure?”
“Your name is Anthony May, isn’t it?” the master swished his academic gown about his body imperiously.
“Yes, Sir,” he admitted.
The schoolmaster squared his shoulders and stood menacingly in front of him. “At this school,” he thundered, “boys do as they are told – first time!”
Half a minute later, Tony knocked timidly on the oak-panelled door of the headmaster’s study.
“Come!” the voice from within was authoritative.
The teenager took a deep breath and slowly opened the heavy door. At his desk sat the headmaster. He was about fifty, tall, portly, and imposing with a massive strongly marked face and a commanding figure. Black eyes glittered in a swarthy face. His nostrils seemed to flare at the sight of the handsome blond eighteen-year-old.
He motioned with a finger for the teenager to stand in front of him.
“You… you sent for me, Sir?” Tony said haltingly. He had no idea why he had been summoned to the headmaster’s study. He hadn’t done anything wrong. It was his first day at school, he hadn’t had the time.
The headmaster folded his arms and looked at him icily. “You are new here, aren’t you?”
“Yes, Sir,” Tony mumbled. The tone of the headmaster’s voice told him he was in deep trouble.
“You have certainly got off to a bad start, boy!” the headmaster snapped.
Tony’s blue eyes widened. He had given a bit of cheek to the history master, but only because the old duffer hadn’t understood why African countries wanted independence from Britain and he had been reprimanded for talking during maths, but that was all.
The headmaster stood up. He was a tall man. “I’m going to teach you a lesson, boy,” he rapped. “I hope you will benefit from it.”
He strode towards the corner of the study. There, propped against the wall was a thin, springy, crook-handled cane. Picking it up, the headmaster swished it menacingly.
Tony’s legs turned to jelly. This was going over the top. He couldn’t believe it.
Tony flushed. He always blushed easily, his pale complexion immediately turned scarlet at the first hint of embarrassment. He stared at the headmaster who was now flexing the crook-handled cane thoughtfully between his hands. “You can’t,” he croaked.
“How dare you boy!” the headmaster thundered. “Lower your trousers this instant and bend across my desk.” He swiped the cane through empty air to demonstrate his dominance. “If you do not do so immediately, you will be suspended and then expelled from this school.”
Tony blanched. Expelled, on his first day. There were only a few months to the A-level exams and then he would leave school forever. He couldn’t be expelled, he had no other school to go to. He would miss the exams and never get a place at university. Besides, Albion had an excellent academic reputation. A reference from Albion would get him into a top-flight university.
Jesus. He really had no choice. All right, he conceded to himself, he had been a bit rude to a couple of masters, but did he deserve to be caned? And, trousers down, on the underpants. His chin wobbled; he felt his eyes moisten. This was so unfair.
A draught hit his face as the headmaster once again took a practice swish with his cane. It was an unnecessary movement; Dr Bennett was exceptionally experienced with the cane. Hardly a day went by when he didn’t rip the backside off some errant schoolboy. He especially enjoyed beating older boys who thought they were too mature for school rules. They believed themselves to be already adults. He and his cane soon changed their minds about that.
Tony fought the urge to cry. He bit his quivering lip. He would not disgrace himself in front of the headmaster by breaking down. He would take his beating like a man, he vowed. He was sure that was the Albion way.
“Put your blazer on the chair there,” the headmaster’s command was quiet and even. But he expected it to be obeyed. Tony thought he was resigned to his fate, but he couldn’t get his fingers to work properly. At last he had the three buttons of his blazer undone and he slipped it off his shoulders.
“Stand in front of the desk.” It was another calm instruction. Tony shuffled his feet forward until he stood about four feet from its edge. “Closer, boy!” Dr Bennett was becoming irritated. He expected to be obeyed, every time without exception. Tony could see he couldn’t bend himself across the shiny desktop from this distance. He moved closer and waited for the next command.
“Trousers down. Quickly boy.”
Again, the fingers seemed detached from his brain. He unbuckled his belt with great difficulty. It was easier to get the trousers loosened and they slipped down his thighs and snagged at the knees.
“What is the meaning of this boy!” It was more of a statement than a question. What Dr Bennett meant was, “Those blue-and-gold underpants are not school uniform. How dare you come to school improperly dressed.”
Tony blushed under the disapproval of the headmaster. “Tomorrow, immediately before assembly you will attend my study and demonstrate to me that you are wearing the correct underwear. Is that understood boy.” The headmaster was full of pomposity.
“Sir,” Tony mumbled. He couldn’t think of anything else to say.
The headmaster tapped the desk with the tip of his cane.
“Lift up your shirt, away from your buttocks and bend over. Flat on the desk”
The eighteen-year-old sucked in a deep breath, and lifted his shirt to reveal a tight hairless stomach. Then, he closed his eyes, and leant forward. The hard wooden desk felt cold against his exposed flesh. Tony opened his eyes and looked around him. He had his stomach flat on the desk, as instructed, but where should he put his arms? He could fold them and rest his head on them; or possibly stretch ahead of him and try to grip the far edge of the desk. But, it was a mightily huge desk; he might not be able to reach that far.
The headmaster solved the problem for him. “Put your hands on your head and keep them there.”
Tony immediately complied. His long legs stiffened when the headmaster placed the thin whippy cane across the centre of his bottom. The headmaster admired the pair of pert globes presented for his punishment. He had rarely seen such a tremendous pair; they were small and firm, unlike those of so many other pupils.
But not everything was right. Dr Bennett breathed deeply and then rubbed the palm of his right hand across the boy’s mounds in a circular motion. After that he caught hold of the waistband of the garish underpants and pulled hard, so that all creases were smoothed from the cotton-covered arse. Now, he had a terrific target. Two pert, perfectly presented cheeks.
Tony clamped his eyes tight shut. He tensed as he heard the terrible high-pitched swishing. What would it feel like when it…? The cane landed squarely across the under-curve of both buttocks. Tony let out a stifled squeal. The first stroke was agonising. He had expected some pain, but not the sheer agonising hurt that engulfed his whole body.
Then another cut hit the teenager’s lovely firm bottom, a little higher this time. He bit his lip as the heart-stopping pain surged through him. He had no time to recover before another swoosh was the prelude to another cut. Tony’s back arched and his feet drummed against the carpet. The agony was excruciating. Never before had he felt so much pain, not even when he was nine years old and broke his wrist falling off his bike.
Dr Bennett paused. He let the agony that travelled from the teenager’s buttocks throughout his entire body fade. Then, he let rip again with a tremendous slash that any golfer teeing off would be proud of. He was rewarded by a wail so loud the headmaster was certain it could be heard in the quadrangle outside the study.
Tony’s hands shot from the top of his head and he clamped his teeth into the sleeve of his shirt in a desperate but futile attempt to stifle the scream his body told him he must make. Salty tears ran down his face. Vomit collected in his throat and he gulped it down.
Tony’s underpants were tight and rather fashionable. Unlike regulation Y-fronts they did not fully cover his buttocks. From his vantage point high above the boy’s prone body, Dr Bennett saw an area of bare flesh. Well, he thought, it serves the boy right. This will teach him to wear correct school uniform. The headmaster deliberately aimed at the patch of pink, hairless, flesh below the hem of the underpants. A thick red line immediately appeared. Within seconds it had risen to become a deep welt.
Tony howled like a banshee. Any effort he might have made to take his thrashing stoically had failed miserably. He was quite literally a beaten boy. He sobbed and sobbed onto the desktop. His tears formed a small puddle beneath his head. Dr Bennett had never seen a boy behave in quite such a manner.
It was time for the final stroke. Six-of-the-best was a headmaster’s standard tariff. That was sufficient in most cases; especially when delivered with the boy’s trousers at his ankles and across the seat of the underpants. But, Dr Bennett had not finished yet. All boys knew that a headmaster’s caning was something awesome. Dr Bennett rather enjoyed his reputation as an ace caner.
The final stroke was always delivered in a particular way. He took his time and adjusted his stance. He aimed the cane along a line from the bottom left hand corner to the top right, raised his hand high and positively whipped the rod down at excessive force so that it landed in a diagonal slashing into the previous cuts. Later, when Tony inspected the damage down to his poor arse, he would see it had been branded in a pattern rather like a five-bar gate.
The thrashed teenager lay across the desk whimpering. His bum was ablaze. It felt like he had sat on a barbecue. It was roaring hot. Dr Bennett admired his handiwork. Yes, definitely a job well done. The eighteen-year-old had learnt his lesson, he would behave in future. There would be no recourse to cane him again, he thought sadly.
The agony in Tony’s arse quickly melted to an intense throbbing. Soon it would be a warm glow. It would be tender for a day or so and the marks would probably last for a week. But, the beating was over and he had lived through it.
Gingerly, he rose from the desk and without waiting for instructions he bent down and retrieved his trousers. His crying had ceased, but his pale open face was tear-stained. A dribble of snot congealed under his nose.
Dr Bennett placed his cane in its resting place in the corner of the study. The ache in the front of his own underpants might rival that in Tony’s backside. He consoled himself that he still had the next day’s underpants parade to look forward to. Gruffly, he dismissed the new sixth-former from his study. Tony, his face deathly pale, wriggled away down the passageway.
Two minutes later there was a frantic knocking on the door of the study. It was the master who had sent Tony to the headmaster. He apologised profusely and explained that the boy he should have sent to him was Anthony Ray and not Anthony May. He hoped he wasn’t too late.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second