“Now stand there young man and think about your behaviour. I’m going to fetch my cane. I shan’t be long.”
Jerome watched speechless as his aging landlord exited the room.
The cane? Cane? What did he mean, cane? What cane? Cane where? Cane as in, “It’s-six-of-the-best-for-you-m’lad”-cane? Cane?
Upstairs in his spare bedroom, Mr. Epson pulled a chair towards the wardrobe. He stood on it and steadied himself before reaching for a large plastic bag that was hidden on the top. He threw it down onto the bed and carefully stepped back onto firm ground.
He unfolded the bag and peered inside. “Ah, me little beauties,” he whispered to himself and withdrew three rattan canes. He placed them gently on the bed with their curved handles resting on a pillow. His lined face cracked a smile. It had been some time since these had seen action. Not since young Simon used to visit. When was that? he wondered. It was while he was training at the bank in the High Street. Gosh, it must have been at least six years ago.
Still, he thought, it was like riding a bike. Once you had learned how to deliver a jolly good caning, you never forgot.
While Mr. Epson was swishing each cane in turn to rediscover its merits, Jerome stood uneasily in the lounge room. He felt such a fool. He had caused so much trouble. He had nobody but himself to blame. He was an idiot. He knew all these things were true. But, did he deserve to have his backside caned by Mr. Epson? Was he going to allow it to happen?
Jerome was Mr. Epson’s tenant. The top floor of the house was a self-contained apartment. But to reach it Jerome had to come in through the front door of the house. That was what caused the trouble. Well, Jerome had to admit, it was the lager he had drunk that caused the problem. If he hadn’t been plastered, he wouldn’t have done something so incredibly stupid.
Mr. Epson had been away for the weekend. Jerome had the whole house to himself. He had been out drinking with his pals from the insurance brokers’ office where he worked. Eight pints of Stella, drunk on an empty stomach was asking for trouble.
A kind friend poured him into a taxi and it wasn’t until Jerome wobbled unsteadily outside his front door that he realised his predicament. He had lost his door key.
The events unfolded once again in Jerome’s memory, while his landlord continued his preparations in the bedroom. To a casual glance, the three canes looked identical; they were each a little over three feet in length (minus the crooked handle); all were a yellow-brown colour and all were made from flexible rattan.
But, they had subtly different thicknesses and densities. Any one of them could deliver severe bruising to young Jerome’s hind quarters. But, one in particular, the densest and the thickest, would really take the stupid boy’s backside off.
Mr. Epson flexed that cane between his hands. Despite its thickness, it bent easily. He swished it through empty air enjoying the “swoosh!” sound it made. Then he moved one of the pillows from the head of the bed and placed it carefully near the foot. He stepped back two paces, tapped the cane into the feather-filled pillow, raised the stick above shoulder height and brought it crashing down.
The whack! resounded around the room. Mr. Epson grinned with satisfaction, raised the cane once more and let fly.
Jerome would have heard the sound of cane against pillow in the lounge room if he had not been so engrossed in his thoughts. He remembered how, drunk as a skunk, he had searched his pockets in vain for his key. It was not there. It was then he realised he desperately needed to urinate. If he didn’t get to a toilet right away, he would wet his trousers.
He needed to take immediate action. Later he blamed the booze and the pain in his bladder. There was nothing for it. He would have to break into the house. He hopped up and down to try to stop the urine trickling from his cock. Time was running out. Fast.
There was no choice. He took a deep breath turned his back on the house and with one mighty backward swipe, he smashed his elbow into a pane of glass in the door. It broke surprisingly easily. In seconds he had reached in, unlocked the door, and with the whine of the burglar alarm waking the whole street he rushed to Mr. Epson’s downstairs lavatory.
Mr. Epson delivered a third slice into the pillow. Yes, he was ready for action. He tucked the cane under his arm, rather like a Sergeant-Major might with a swagger stick, and started his journey back to the lounge room.
If Jerome had not needed the bathroom quite so urgently, he would have taken time to switch off the alarm. Instead, it wailed long enough to alert the Acme Security Company. Unlikely though it might seem for a security company, Acme was a model of efficiency. Within minutes the police were on their way and Mr. Epson had been aroused from his slumbers at his chum’s apartment.
Jerome considered the rest to be history. His drunkenness and vandalism was discovered. He was as writers of crime fiction were once wont to say, “Caught bang to rights.”
That had been yesterday. Now, was today. A glazier had visited and repaired the glass. Jerome naturally paid the bill. But, that was not to be the end of the matter. Not yet. Mr. Epson wanted satisfaction for a disrupted weekend.
Mr. Epson strode into the lounge brandishing his cane. Jerome stared, confused, unsure what he should do.
“Bend over. I’m going to beat you with this cane. With your trousers and underpants on it probably won’t hurt you much, but it will give me a considerable amount of pleasure.” Mr. Epson thought this, but did not say it out loud.
Instead, he did say, “Bend over. Touch your toes.”
Jerome grimaced. “No. I don’t think so.” He stood his ground. He wasn’t going to let this man assault him with a stick. He did not sound as confident as he hoped. Inside, he was debating: should he run to his apartment, lock himself in and hide?
Mr. Epson’s rather grey lined face turned an intimidating shade of purple. He swished the cane menacingly. “It is up to you,” he growled. He let the cane fly through the air once more. “You will take a beating or you vacate the flat.” He gave Jerome time for the news to sink in, then added. “Out. By Friday.”
Jerome felt himself tear-up. Evicted. No. He loved that apartment. It was perfect in every way and he would never get anything like it again. Not at the price of his rent. He shuffled from foot to foot in confusion.
“So?” Mr. Epson was tapping the cane against his own right leg. Jerome couldn’t keep his eye off the thing.
“This is your last chance.” He flexed the cane thoughtfully between his hands. “The cane. Or the street?”
Jerome stared transfixed at the rattan rod. He had never seen a cane before. Corporal Punishment had been banned in schools thirty years before. Two years before he was even born. Where on Earth had Mr. Epson found such a thing.
Mr. Epson resumed tapping his leg. He was sure he was close to victory.
“Bend over lad. Touch your toes.”
Jerome looked at the cane rubbing against the heavy tweed trousers of his landlord. It couldn’t hurt so much. Could it?
He looked pityingly at the older man. But he would get no pity this day.
“Bend over. C’mon lad. Let’s get this over with.”
With reluctance Jerome lent forward at the waist leaving his arms and hands dangling in front of him.
“All the way lad. Touch those toes. Properly.”
A wave of fear flowed through the young man’s body. He wanted to comply with the landlord’s instruction, but he couldn’t get his body to agree. Suddenly, he felt a heavy hand on his neck pushing his head further towards the carpet. He gripped his shins to avoid falling facedown.
He heard the swish of the cane as Mr. Epson began his practice strokes. No, the lad realised, he could not do this. He twisted his body so that he was no longer facing down and looked at Mr. Epson. The landlord and the cane sent an involuntary shudder through his body. He started to straighten up.
“Down!” Mr. Epson screeched. He despised a young man who couldn’t present himself properly for a thrashing.
Confused about his own feelings, he once more tried to assume the required position. He knew he had screwed up terribly the night before. He had been Mr. Epson’s tenant for nearly six months and had grown to like the man. Certainly, he reckoned, the old man liked him. Perhaps, Jerome thought, just perhaps, he did deserve some kind of punishment.
He stared for a moment at his own feet. He wasn’t wearing shoes and he noticed a small hole was forming at the big toe of his left sock. Concentrate on the sock, concentrate on the sock. That’s how he would get through this ordeal. He felt a slight tap of the cane against his tight buttocks. Any second now his backside would be ablaze.
He lost his nerve. He was just standing when the cane connected with force against his trousers. He let out an ear-splitting yelp and jumped up and down holding two palms tightly against the seat of his cream cotton chinos.
“Huff, huff, huff,” he wheezed as his body twisted and turned with the pain.
“Pah!” an exasperated Mr. Epson made his own wheezing. Never before had he seen such cowardice.
He paced across the room, gripped an armchair and swivelled it one-hundred-and-eighty degrees so that its back now faced into the room.
“Over the back. Now. And, don’t you dare move out of position until I give the order to stand.” Jerome had never heard his landlord speak so gruffly before.
Once more he stood his ground, fearing the agony that a beating with a stout whippy cane would induce. But, mingled with his fear was a little shame. Shame that he had not been brave enough to present himself stoically to Mr. Epson’s cane.
He sucked in a great gulp of air and walked slowly towards the chair. He paused about three feet from the large padded leather beast. Then, he gulped again, rubbed the palms of his hands together, took a further pace forward and dived over the back of the chair, rather like a diver plunging into an icy lake.
His body sank into the soft leather and his face brushed against a bright orange scatter cushion.
“It will be better if you hold onto the cushion.” It was kind advice from Mr. Epson. Jerome wriggled a little and then hugged the cushion, rather like a small child might hold a teddy bear.
“Spread your legs a little, please.” Another quiet word from the landlord. Jerome did as instructed and offered his posterior perfectly to receive lashes from the cane.
Mr. Epson was not quite ready. He wanted to make the most of this opportunity. One like it might not come along soon.
Jerome wore chino trousers that were cut snuggly around the buttocks and then tapered down the thighs and legs. The cloth spread each of the lad’s firm buttock separately. It had been some years since the landlord has been blessed with such a sight. Mr. Epson reached forward and gripped Jerome’s waistband and tugged them up. It wasn’t strictly necessary as the seat of his trousers was already as taut as a drum, but now the outline of the lad’s briefs was clearly visible.
For good measure, the older man pulled the end of Jerome’s tee-shirt a couple of inches up his back, revealing a strip of hairless tanned flesh.
Now, Mr. Epson was ready.
He rubbed the cane gently across the centre of both buttocks. “Brace yourself boy.” Jerome buttocks responded by twitching vigorously. His hips twisted and the young man’s legs buckled at the knees.
“It is better for you if you try to keep still. You don’t want me to miss my target and hit you on the back of the thighs.” Mr. Epson left no time for his advice to be heeded and landed his cane across the underside of Jerome’s cheeks.
“Hisssss!” It wasn’t a yelp, it wasn’t even a cry, it was an expelling of air that began in the lad’s lungs and travelled at extreme speed through his body. By the time it escaped from his mouth and filled the room it sounded like a steam train setting down.
The second cut of the cane fell almost immediately. Jerome gripped the scatter cushion to his body and buried his face. It muffled his yelping.
Mr. Epson paused to admire his handiwork. Two parallel lines were clearly visible across the tightly-fitting chinos. Mr. Epson’s aim was as good as it had ever been. Jerome’s legs stamped up and down and his hips swivelled. He clutched the cushion as if his very life depended on it. A sharp red hot pain, the like he had never experience before, radiated from his backside. It started at the lower curves of his buttocks and travelled up and down his legs.
Mr. Epson repositioned his own body slightly. The next stroke would be higher, on the crest of the globes. In the fleshiest part of the bottom. It wasn’t a hefty swipe. Mr. Epson was no sadist. The hopeless lad before him had no experience of caning. Even a lightly laid on “Six” would be an overwhelming punishment. The older man would give Jerome a swishing all right; but only one that would warm him up a little. He held hopes that this day’s spectacle might be the start of something. He had missed Simon’s visits so very much.
The third stroke thwipped down and bounced off Jerome’s bum. It was greeted with another round of military marching. The lad’s head and shoulders rose from the chair. Mr. Epson stepped forward, expecting Jerome would stand up and jump up and down rubbing the pain in his posterior. But, to his deep satisfaction, the lad controlled himself. He furiously wriggled his backside from left to right and up and down in a circular motion, but he resumed his position. The cushion was clutched to his by-now scarlet face.
Sweat soaked the back of the lad’s tee-shirt, even though it was cold day and the central heating was not on. Mr. Epson was feeling the strain himself. It had been such a time since he had the pleasure of such a delightfully beatable backside.
The landlord steadied himself once more, raised the cane two or three feet from his target and landed another across the centre of both buttocks. Four distinct lines now decorated the seat of Jerome’s chinos. The lad was calmer now. He felt the cane connect and another wave of pain shot from his buttocks, but perhaps he was getting used to this. A little. He could feel ridges forming under his trousers and briefs. Later when in the privacy of his apartment he would inspect the damage and discover a set of red marks emblazoned across his bum. They would look a little like railway tracks.
He braced himself for number five. His breathing was heavy and his temples throbbed almost as much as his backside. His eyes were misted with tears, but as yet he was not crying.
That quickly changed. Thwip! Thwip! Mr. Epson landed two stingers one after another. The cane landed almost on the same spot twice. Jerome bounced his head up and down against the armchair’s seat cushion. His hips swayed. His legs marched up and down. His throat evacuated a wail so loud and so piercing Mr. Epson feared the folks in the house next door would hear. What would they think? That a murder was taking place?
The landlord slowly walked the length of the lounge, all the time keeping sight of the prostrate young man. He eyed him from the front, the side and the back. He wanted to remember as much of this for as long as he could. If only he could now take Jerome across his knee and pat and preen and slap and spank those mouth-watering buttocks.
Jerome lay face down, bottom still high across the back of the huge leather armchair. The once searing pain was quickly easing into a throb. Surprisingly quickly it would become a warm glow. Then the pain would be gone, only to be reignited when Jerome touched or sat down on a particularly tender spot.
Jerome was unsure what should happen next. The punishment seemed to be over. He had taken six strokes. Wasn’t that what you got? Six-of-the-best? But, Mr. Epson had warned him he must not rise from the chair until instructed. He peered down at the seat cushion, noticing for the first time a large indentation. How many lardy backsides had contributed to that, he wondered? And how many other tenants had seen the cushion at such close quarters?
“You should get up now,” Mr. Epson’s spoke as if from a long way away.
Jerome hauled himself to his feet. Neither landlord nor tenant spoke. What was there to say? The silence enveloped the room. Jerome once again studied the hole in his sock.
“You should go to your room,” Mr. Epson almost whispered.
“Yes, I should,” Jerome croaked. He shuffled uncomfortably towards the staircase, noticing as if for the first time the huge erection straining against his underpants.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second