Burley the sixth-former towered over the cowering junior, a cricket stump raised at shoulder height. “Lick ’em; lick ’em clean,” he sneered. The small, trembling boy knelt forward. Tears welled as he poked out his tongue and started to wash the bully’s shoes.
“You have got to do something about Burley. The way he treats the fags is disgraceful.” Carstairs leaned forward in his chair, “You should take him to task.”
Alsop sighed. His chum was right of course. But what could he do?
“He is giving us all a bad name. He’s nothing short of a bully,” Carstairs was not about to let the School Captain off the hook.
“And what do you propose I do?” Alsop’s face flushed.
“Beat him. Six. That’ll soon put a stop to it.”
Alsop stared across the study. His crook-handled ashplant cane hung from a hook on the far wall. “How can I do that, man? He’s a sixth-former. The Sixth can’t be caned.”
“Nonsense,” Carstairs sneered. “The Sixth don’t get caned. It doesn’t mean they can’t.” He pulled himself out of his armchair and stood over the School Captain. “If it were a junior doing the bullying, you’d soon have him bent over that chair.”
“Well …” Alsop seemed to be thinking about it. Burley certainly deserved a whopping. “But he’d never stand for it,” his face brightened. “Or should I say bend for it.” He laughed at his own poor joke.
“I’d wager any number of the fags would hold him down while you laid the ashplant across his arse.”
Carstairs was probably right, Alsop concede silently. But, it was pie in the sky. It would never happen.
Burley strode the passageway toward dormitory two. The juniors were preparing for bed. He could always catch someone out. He paused at the door and peered through the window. Good, he smiled to himself, one boy was out of bed. He’d soon cop it.
Burley knew sixth-formers were not allowed to beat the juniors. The juniors knew it also. Only the prefects could. That didn’t stop Charles Alfred Burley. Every evening without fail he managed to get one poor boy or the other across his knee. Pyjamas down.
“He’s spanking the juniors,” Carstairs was back in Alsop’s study. “Over his knee. Trousers down.”
Alsop furrowed his brow. “His trousers?”
Carstairs giggled, “No you ass. The poor junior.” He crinkled his nose as if suddenly a bad smell had wafted in the room. “It’s immoral. You know it is.”
It turned Alsop’s stomach. A bully was bad enough, but a bully with a fetish was too much.
He ran his hand through his thick wavy hair. “Would Burley take it? If I ordered him to take a punishment, would he?”
Carstairs face lightened. At last, the bully would get his comeuppance. “He’d jolly well have to. Any boy who refuses a whopping from a prefect would have to go to the head. It’d be a public flogging, for sure. The sack, even. Even if he were a senior boy.”
Alsop supposed it were true. No boy had ever refused a prefect’s caning, as far as he knew. But, then no eighteen-year-old had been ordered to bend over for Six, either.
Burley lounged back in the armchair in the School Captain’s study while Alsop jawed him. He wasn’t about to stand on the carpet, hands behind back, head bowed, like some junior while Alsop berated him. Alsop gave it all to him. Both barrels. The Bulley’s cold grey eyes bore into his accuser. Such hatred.
At last the School Captain had finished. He ran his hand through his hair and waited. Waited for Burley to respond. He scowled, “What do you want to do? Cane me? You know you can’t cane a sixth-form man.”
“Not so.” He interlocked his fingers. He looked down at the carpet, avoiding Burley’s stare. “The headmaster supports my actions.” It was a lie the Beak knew nothing about it. Burley’s grey eyes shone. He narrowed them, preparing to offer a retort. His smart mouth let him down. Silence engulfed the room.
At last Alsop broke it. “I want you to stand up.” He stood and waited for Burley to do the same. He did not. His puzzlement was writ large on his round open face.
Alsop was surprised his hands were shaking. He grasped them behind his back. He took a deep breath. “Stand up please,” he said with over-stressed politeness. “Or shall we visit the headmaster?”
Burley blew out his cheeks and hauled himself to his feet. He thrust his hands deep into his pockets. He hoped it was a stance of defiance. He eyed the whippy ashplant dangling from its hook.
“I rather thought not.” Alsop paced the study, but he did not reach for the cane. Instead, he gripped the handle of the door and opened it. “Follow me,” he ordered, looking back over his shoulder.
“Where we going?” Burley growled.
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
The School Captain led the way down the dimly lit passageway. Burley shuffled two paces behind him. Where were they going? If Alsop was going to whop him, why hadn’t he done so in the study? What was he going to do? He had left his cane behind.
Alsop halted at the top of the large spiral staircase. It was the central thoroughfare of the school. Every boy and master passed through it several times during the day. It was as busy as any provincial railway station.
“Wait here.” Alsop had a plan. He had discussed it with Carstairs. His chum thought it an excellent idea. It would be historic. Boys will talk about it for generations to come, he had said.
Six junior boys heading off to the football pitch, halted. Something was up, they sensed it. But what, they didn’t yet know.
Alsop pointed to a large wooden bench. “I want you to bend over.”
“War …?” Burley took his hands from his pocket and stood to his full six-feet-one-inch. He pushed back his shoulders. He all but clenched his fist, ready to punch the School Captain on the nose.
“I want you to place your hands on the seat and stick your backside out. I’m going to spank you.”
“No you’re jolly well not!” Burley roared, his face colouring with anger. He turned his back and made to leave.
“Or would you have me take you to the junior study and put you across my knee and spank you on your bare bottom?” He glared at the bully. “Just as you do each night in the dorms?”
Burley felt his heart beat faster. He wasn’t usually a nervous boy. He was big and strong and always got his way.
Not now. “Bend over, I said.” Alsop grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him so he faced the bench. Then, he pushed him forward. Taken by surprise, Burley slipped and fell so that his stomach rested on the wooden bench. Alsop took advantage of his position and pressed his hand into the boy’s back. For some moments he was pinned; helpless.
Alsop rained down slaps into the bully’s backside. Burley wriggled and cursed. In equal measure. A crowd of boys gathered on the stairs. What a lark. Burley the bully being spanked on his bottom by the School Captain. “What ho! Alsop!” they cried.
Alsop couldn’t keep it up. Spanking with one hand and holding his victim still with the other was a near impossible feat. Burley broke free and red-faced with humiliation, he pushed his way through the throng.
That evening Burley sat in a poorly-lit corner of the public bar at the Three Fishers Hotel. His companion fidgeted with the cuffs of his heavy woollen coat.
“Tomorrow at midday, I’ll give you a signal. Then you do the deed,” Burley’s grey stared burned into the man.
“Yussir!” The man gulped down beer.
Burley walked from the bar, leaving five shillings on the table.
Next day at noon in the village Burley strode across the green in search of Alsop.
“Alsop old man,” Burley held out his hand. “No hard feelings about yesterday, what-ho.” He shook the hand of the School Captain heartily and darted on his way, leaving Alsop both startled and puzzled.
Five minutes later a sock full of stones crashed into his face, breaking his nose and three teeth.
Picture credit: The Magnet
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second