The African Mall

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“You want to give me lashes?” the 23-year-old youth’s jaw quite literally dropped. His heart pounded, sweat soaked the back of his shirt.

The tall, security commander grunted, his lips forming a sneer. He shared a glance with a guard; a shorter, fatter version of himself.

Pierre’s eyes watered. The heat was oppressive. It was a tiny, airless room, hardly furnished. A rickety wooden table and a plastic chair. Nothing else. The room smelt of stale sweat, it made Pierre gag. Somewhere there was a faint odour of urine. The grimy green-coloured walls oppressed him.

“You’re not in the United States now,” the security commander barked. Pierre tensed. He hated it when people mistook his accent for American. He was from Ontario, for chrissake. That’s in Canada folks, he wanted to scream every time people did it. Don’t blame me for Donald Trump.

But he knew now would not be a good time for a lesson in geography.

“We have rules here,” the security commander’s eyes blazed. “We have ways of dealing with people like you.” He flexed a thick leather sjambok whip between his hands, his sneer morphing into a cruel smile. “Don’t think you’re getting away with it, just because you’re American.”

There he went again. American. For an absurd moment Pierre wondered if he could convince the man he was Canadian, he would let him off. Swipe! The whip swished through the air with speed and strength. No, it was clear the security commander wanted his pound of flesh.

“Stealing is a serious offence in Botswana.” The leather flew again.

It was a modern shopping mall, no different from the ones back home in Toronto; a little smaller perhaps. Pierre had pocketed a cake of soap. Nothing more. That’s all he wanted. He and his friends back in Canada stole whenever they could. Why pay when you don’t have to was their creed. Some people stole as their way of screwing the system, sticking it to the big corporations. Some people stole because they were poor, Pierre didn’t. He stole because he wanted something for nothing. Simple as that. Everyone he knew of his age felt the same.

“If you go to court you will be fined and get lashes on your bare buttocks,” the security commander tapped the whip menacingly against his right leg.”

“But I’m not a kid,” Pierre protested.

The security commander snorted, “Ha! Here, we lash the bare buttocks,” he rolled the words bare buttocks around his tongue enjoying the sound it made, “of men up to the age of 40.”

Pierre’s knees buckled. Suddenly, he remembered a story he had read in a local newspaper. Some taxi driver had been lashed with six strokes on the bare buttocks after he got into some ‘road rage’ thing. The guy was twenty-nine years old.

“The choice is yours,” the security commander drew in his breath. Mr Reasonableness. He only wished to serve. “I can lash you now or you can go to court, get a fine and get lashed.” He leaned into Pierre sprinkling him with spittle when he spoke. “And, it would be all over the newspapers. American lashed on bare buttocks.” There he went again, relishing the words

Pierre turned his head. The smell of stinky breath made him want to retch.  It wasn’t much of a choice. His eyes darted across the room. The two guards blocked the exit.

“Don’t even think of running,” the security commander read his mind. He raised the sjambok, poked it towards Pierre’s face and grinned, showing the only seven teeth he had in his mouth. Pierre flinched in revulsion.

The commander turned toward his companion, his head hardly moved. It was enough, the guard opened the door, stood in the corridor and called urgently in a language Pierre could not understand. Moments later a second squat burley guard was on the threshold. No words were spoken, everyone knew their role in this drama.

The room was small, it took the two guards only three steps to cross it. Pierre squealed. He flew through the air. One guard had his arms, the other his feet. The wooden legs shook violently as the youth’s body hit the gnarled table. Eventually, they stuttered to a halt. Pierre had no breath left. Face down on the table. Shoulders pinned at one end, legs held at the other. Trapped. He wriggled his hips and waist, he jerked his buttocks left and right; then up and down. No good. He was trapped. Held securely. Going nowhere until his captives said so.

The table top was hard beneath his body, his nose and mouth pressed into the rough wood. Pierre felt his heart thumping against the table, he could scarcely breathe. The strength of the guard at his shoulders was overwhelming. Pierre couldn’t move is head enough to see his captors. What were they doing? He didn’t have to wait long to find out.

The security commander’s tongue darted from his mouth, licked his lips and popped back inside. He eyed the youth prostrate before him; took a deep swallow and let the tongue do the lizard thing once more.

Pierre was not tall, nor especially small. He was neither fat nor thin. His yellow-patterned tee shirt had risen up, revealing a hairless back. His baggy basketball shorts had ridden down, showing three inches or more of underwear.

The security commander inhaled deeply and slowly let the air escape; he sounded like a steam engine settling down. Silently, he reached forward and held the elasticated waist of Pierre’s shorts. The youth bucked his buttocks, writhing in a futile attempt to stave off the inevitable. It took three tugs to get both the shorts and the underwear to Pierre’s knees. A howl of protest bounced off the walls.

The youth’s temples throbbed, his eyes moistened. His vile persecutors could see into his crack. Pierre had not showered for days, that was why he stole the soap. Despite mounting humiliation, he still had the presence to wriggle his body, keeping his dick and balls under his body and away from view.

The security commander paused, preparing his strategy. Deciding the best way to deliver maximum pain. The American’s bare buttocks were tiny and slim, not much more than cherry pips.  The security commander had lashed many guys in the ten years he had been in the job. Local men were broad at the hips and had large meaty buttocks. The security commander was at a loss. How to proceed? Usually he would slash the sjambok down with maximum force and let the meat in the arse cheeks absorb much of the shock. This boy only had only two pimples for buttocks. The whip would tear him to shreds.

The security commander had no compassion for the youth. He despised rich Americans who came to Africa to steal from the people. He knew for certain this kid needed his arse whipped and probably much more besides. Nobody in his country would complain; schoolchildren; youths and men right up to middle age were beaten all the time. It was part of the culture. The men he arrests and spanks thank him for sparing them the court appearance, the fine the lashing and the resultant publicity in the papers. Everyone also agreed that it saved money, police and court time to administer summary lashings like his.

But, the youth was not local, he was American. The security commander almost spat at the thought. He’d probably have the U.S. Embassy on his case when the flogging was over.

Damn it. Who cared? He looked down at the youth clenching his tiny little bum, instinctively trying to make it an even smaller target, shaking as he waited. The security commander gripped the handle of the leather whip, raised it above his head, circled it a few times and brought it flogging down across the centre of both pimples. A banshee-like howl started from Pierre’s stomach, made its way through is upper body and then burst through his throat. Outside, in the mall, shoppers hurried by, heads down, knowing, but not wanting to, the source of the scream.

Pierre’s eyes saucered, blood sped to his face, his neck was as scarlet as his hind quarters. His body bucked. The two guards held him tightly. He was going nowhere.

Whip! The second slash landed. The youth’s mouth filled with vomit. He gulped it down, choking himself. Two welts ran in parallel across his cheeks. The security commander knew his job. Pierre’s whole body soaked with sweat. His buttocks trembled, raw, aflame.

He lashed a third stroke, the bruises on the victim’s bottom had deepened in colour, Pierre moaned a constant, low abject wail. The security commander tapped the leather whip against the corrugated bruises on the tortured buttocks. Pierre squirmed and clenched and unclenched his cheeks, but he found no comfort. What he craved to do was to rub his battered bum and make the agony go away.

The security commander paused, grinned widely and strolled leisurely across the room, swishing the sjambok as he went. A shiver of satisfaction ran through his body. He returned his attention to the bleeding, bare buttocks squirming on the table top; ready to give them more of what they deserved. After a few moments assessing where to place his next blow, he thrashed another cut deep into the flesh and delighted in the low groan of misery that escaped Pierre’s lips as his buttocks gyrated.

The fifth and final stroke cut deep. Pierre panted to draw in oxygen, vomit once more filled his throat. Weakened now, he couldn’t stop it spurting through his mouth onto the table, the stench of his own sick made him heave some more. He realised that he had been grinding his teeth and his jaw ached. He wailed heartily.

The security commander circled the table, carefully admiring his handiwork. Five high welts ran across the buttocks, almost in perfect parallel. Once had fallen low, just on the crease where the buttocks met the thighs. Pierre would feel the pain of that every time he sat for some considerable time to come.

Blood oozed from the wounds. The bum wasn’t ripped to shreds as the security commander had feared, but it was raw and throbbing. Pierre’s wailing subsided into convulsed sobs, he sounded like a new born calf separated from its mother.

The security commander, tucked the sjambok under his sweaty, stinking armpit and without a word, he strutted from the room, confident that the guards would know what to do with the prisoner.

Three hours later, his bum still tender to touch, Pierre stood in the immigration line, waiting to cross the border into South Africa.

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Milo, the grad student

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

 

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

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