Masher stared into the laptop, paused the image and made a screen grab. He had identified six of the lads now. Only one to go.
The door to the small airless office opened and Big Boy Bonzo rumbled in. He nodded a perfunctory greeting and eased his considerable bulk into a swivel chair.
“That the kids from last night?” he growled nodding towards the laptop.
“Yeah,” Masher replied concentrating on the cursor. “The CCTV has picked them all out.”
“Good,” Bonzo sneered. “Do you think they knew whose pub it was?”
Masher let his concentration wander from the screen. “Yeah, we get a lot of college kids in. They enjoy the frisson.”
“Frisson!” Bonzo rarely spoke without sneering.
“Yeah, frisson, it means ….”
“I know what friggin frisson means. Don’t try to bust my balls.”
Bust my balls, Bonzo said that a lot. It’s what gangsters in America said all the time. I’m just busting your balls. Bonzo knew for a fact, he had all seven boxsets of The Sopranos.
Masher returned to his screen. Now he had a clear shot of the last of the troublemaking students.
“There,” he said not trying to hide the triumph he felt. “I can print off their pictures, or email them, whad’ya want me to do boss?”
Bonzo rolled his huge arse on the narrow chair and thought for a moment. “Can we identify them. Do we know where to find them?”
“Yeah, boss. Look some of them are wearing Brocklehurst University Rowing Club shirts. It’ll be easy.”
Bonzo dragged himself to his feet, steadied himself and waved his flabby arms at Masher. “OK round them up. Have them taken to Damon’s gym.” With that he lumbered from the office, satisfied. He would teach the brats to come into his pub and disrespect it. They would regret their brash arrogance. They would pay for it. Bonzo was the head of the largest crime family in the South; he had a reputation to keep.
Five hours later a Bentley drew up outside Damon’s gym. A tall, strong black man rushed forward to open the passenger door. He waited patiently while the pile of flab that was the crime boss spilled onto the pavement.
“Good evening, Mr. Bonzo,” the bouncer touched his forelock before turning to open the door. He sucked in his own stomach to make room for Bonzo to squeeze past him and into the building. Upstairs, seven terrified young men waited, hands fastened behind their backs with plastic ties.
“You got them all?” Bonzo sneered to Masher as the crime boss glared at the youngsters.
“Who’s the shrimp?” He nodded towards a small dark-haired teenager. His chocolate brown eyes brimmed with tears. All the others stood six feet or more tall. This one was barely five-six.
“He’s the fair-haired one’s bitch,” Masher didn’t disguise his distain. He nodded at a clear-faced blond lad. He too fought back tears. He was tall and strong, his open shirt showing a smooth muscular chest.
“Whaýa mean?” Bonzo leant towards Masher. “They’re fags?”
Masher grimaced, “That one,” he indicated the fair boy, “was half way up the little one’s arse when we found them.” He paused, disgusted. “At three o’clock in the afternoon.”
Bonzo guffawed. “Fairies in a rowing team, who’da thought it?”
Bonzo waddled across the gym and paused in front of the line of young men. Then slowly, painstakingly, he manoeuvred down the line, like he was making a military inspection. His demonic stare froze each boy. One, a strong fresh-faced lad with a slicked quiff of hair, looked about to wet his trousers.
Bonzo eyed him up and down. “Now,” he spoke to the whole line of men, “I don’t want no one pissing their pants. It stains the parquet flooring.” He turned to his gangster accomplices and grinned, showing green uneven teeth, “We know that for a fact don’t we.” The four gangsters vigorously nodded their agreement and laughed loudly. The boss had made a joke.
“Do they know why they’re here?” he snarled at Masher.
“And,” Bonzo added darkly, “what we’re going to do to them?”
“Then let’s get on with it.” Bonzo ran his eye along the line, the way he often did when choosing a girl for the night. “Start with him. The fag.” He nodded at the fair-haired boy. What little colour he had drained from his face. Pointlessly, he struggled to free his hands from behind his back.
“B.. b… b…” he began to protest, but he could form no words. Two sweaty gangsters grabbed him, one on each arm and propelled him towards the middle of the gym where an old vaulting horse had been placed.
One gangster snipped the plastic ties, freeing him, but only long enough for him to be manhandled face-down over the horse. Masher looked on as each of the boy’s wrists were secured by specially-made leather restraints to the legs of the horse. Once this was completed Bonzo walked forward. He said nothing, but stood directly behind the boy wheezing. When the crime boss’s hands reached around the boy and tugged at his belt there was no doubt of his intentions. The boy wriggled his hips but it was useless.
Masher watched Bonzon loosen the lad’s trousers and tug them to his knees. The gangster’s face flushed crimson as he placed his fingers in the waistband of the boy’s cotton trunks and slowly wound them down over his meaty, but firm, buttocks. He left them snagged at the knees. Masher always thought it was a bit “gay” the way Bonzo stripped a boy naked before the whipping started, but he kept his thoughts to himself. He didn’t want his balls ripped off and fed to him.
While Bonzo prepared his victim another gangster known as Nosher fetched a large metal bucket from the corner of the gym. It was filled with brine and heavy. He set it down close to the horse, making sure the lad could see the bucket and its contents. His grin was malevolent. He picked out one of the four birch rods in the bucket and swished it through the air. Droplets of brine splashed on the boy’s face. He screwed his eyes shut, partly because the liquid stung them, but mostly in terror of the ordeal he was about to suffer.
The birch rod actually was made of twenty-four hazel twigs bound together with twine. Nosher felt the weight of it in his right hand. Without the added brine, it was probably a little less than a pound.
“Get on with it Nosher,” Bonzo growled. “We’ve got a lot of work to get through tonight.”
Stung by his boss’s displeasure, Nosher took up position to the lad’s left, he touched the birch rod across the fleshiest part of the (for now) creamy white flesh. He delighted when the boy’s body tensed and he flailed his hands trying desperately to free himself. He felt his heart pounding against the smelly leather top of the horse. Oh sweet Jesus.
“One.” Bonzo liked to be in charge. He knew he had neither the strength nor the energy to inflict floggings. He contented himself with taking a ringside position and directing matters from there. He had a perfect view. He would see the birch rod cut deep into flesh and the blood seep from the resulting wounds. He would lick his lips as a posterior was whipped so hard and so often that it finally resembled raw hamburger meat. It was a bonus (a result, he liked to call it) if the lashed boy howled and screamed with the agony. Let them holler. Who cared? Nobody could hear them. And if they were heard by someone, who would dare interfere with the work of Crime Boss Bonzo.
Nosher took his cue and raised the birch rod high, he swung it around his head, building momentum, before bringing it crashing down across the centre of both buttocks. The boy’s body convulsed, his unrestrained legs kicked behind him, his head threw back and the most almighty yowl flew from the back of his throat.
Bonzo cleared his own throat. “Two,” he called. Nosher did the swirling thing again and landed the rod across the boy’s bum, lower this time. He repeated his convulsion and yelling. Even now, after only two strokes, it looked, from where Bonzo was watching like the whole of his backside was ripped. Welts had risen and three tiny drops of blood seeped down his buttocks.
The more the boy screamed the more Nosher lashed the unrelenting birch across his arched backside. By the eighth stroke, realising that unremitting straps held his naked frame firmly in place, he screamed and begged for release.
“Please sir, no more sir. Please.”
Nosher whipped the birch rod down, harder than ever. The boy’s bum was already a mass of cuts, the thin whippy twigs ripped them open further. Blood now flowed freely.
Behind him and therefore unseen by Bonzo, six other young men waited their turn in terror. One, and not the small dark boy as one might imagine, had an erection, longer and stiffer than he had experienced in his life.
The rod tore into flesh once more.
“No more. Oh god, please sir, please sir. No more sir. Please no more. I’m dying.”
Across town, five young men from Brocklehurst Cricket Club lurched through the doors of the Beluga. “This is where the gangsters hang out,” one slurred to the others, as he stumbled towards the bar, knocking over a stool.
At Damon’s gym, the birch rose again.
Picture credit: Sting Pictures
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