Chief Inspector Morose gulped on his fourth pint as he studied the written report in his hand. Another killing at a college. Oxford would soon surpass those villages at Midsomer as the murder capital of the world. Just then Sergeant Lois hurried into the pub. Morose hated working with a girl but these were modern times. How he hated modern times.
“Lois,” he said gruffly. “Knock on doors, find witnesses, get Scene of Crimes to check the room where Professor Blenkinsop was found, get fingerprints, search for a weapon.”
Sgt. Lois looked on in admiration. What a terrific detective, she thought. It would never have occurred to her to do any of those things. “What will you be doing, sir?” she asked. “I’ll have another pint,” Morose said handing her his empty glass.
At Keynes College Jack stared from the window of his room onto the deserted quadrangle below. In his mind he visualised himself in Prof Blenkinsop’s room. “This essay is atrocious. You should spend more time in the library and less in the Student Guild,” the professor spoke through his bushy beard. He was a short rotund man, almost as wide as he was tall. Jack stood, feet slightly apart, head bowed. Memories flooded back of unpleasant visits to his housemaster at St. Tom’s. He watched slack-jawed as the professor waddled towards a cupboard. It was tall and thin and was part of a especially-designed glass-fronted bookcase that ran along the entire length of one wall. Prof Blenkinsop delved into his pocket and retrieved a bunch of keys. Slowly, almost as if he had never seen them before he searched for the one he needed. His breath was shallow as he unlocked the door, opened it an reached in.
Jack blinked in disbelief. Now, it really was a trip back to schooldays. The professor held a dark-yellow whippy cane. He turned and faced the student, flexing the rod as he did so. He swished it trough the air. It made a tremendous whoosh! as it went. It was thicker than the canes they used at St. Tom’s, but had the traditional crook handle.
“Bu ….” Jack began a protest but stopped himself. He wanted to say, “Sir, you can’t do this,” but he knew otherwise. The professor had all the power. He alone would decide what grade a student would get. He was the sole arbiter of success or failure. Prof Blenkinsop stopped his swishing and looked quizzically at Jack, as if only just remembering he was there. “That chair,” he nodded to a low-backed old leather armchair standing against a wall, “Turn it round.” It was heavier than it looked. “Bring it into the middle of the room.”
Jack was surprised how calm he felt. This should not be happening. But, it was, and Jack knew there was nothing he could do to stop it. He had been beaten at school; many times, it was that kind of place. It would hurt like hell, but he would live.
“Lower your trousers. Underpants too. Bend over the chair.” A thin line of spittle dribbled into the professor’s beard as he gave his instructions. A look of incredulity washed across Jack’s face. “Just do as you are told,” Professor Blenkinsop bent the cane again. It made a perfect arc.
Jack hesitated. This was new territory. They had always caned on the seat of the trousers at St. Tom’s. He watched the dreadful professor flexing his cane. The man’s eyes sparkled. He was enjoying himself. Jack’s heart skipped a beat as he fumbled with the buckle of his belt. He supposed it was adrenaline coursing to his brain that made him so light-headed. The belt successful undone, Jack unbuttoned the fly of his heavy twill trousers. Gravity took them slithering down his thighs, past his knees and shins and into a puddle at his brogues. His hands trembled, but he was unsure if this was fear.
Professor Blenkinsop squelched two or three paces across the room. Jack could not watch him as he moved. He still had to bare his bottom. Of course he had been naked in front of men before, but he was reluctant to let this old man see his cock and balls.
“Get on with it, you have nothing that I haven’t seen before,” the professor said truthfully. Jack placed his thumbs inside the elasticated waistband of his white Y-fronts and slid them down, careful that they bunched just below his buttocks. He took a deep breath, rubbed his palms together, and rather like a swimmer going into freezing water, dived over the chair. His trousers were at his feet and his underpants at his thighs. Jack was a little over five-six in height and hardly weighed a thing. His waist was narrow, stomach flat and his buttocks when stretched resembled not much more than two pips.
Jack stared down at the worn seat. The chair had seen better days and as his nose was close to the leather he could smell the faint sweat of the generations of students (himself included) who had sat there during tutorials with the professor.
“Head low, legs apart,” the professor ordered. There was no reason to do this, since Jack was already perfected positioned to receive the cane, but it made the professor feel totally in control of the situation. Jack closed his eyes, waiting. Jack felt Professor Blenkinsop take hold of the long tail of his shirt and pull it clear of the target area. The professor was almost ready. But not quite. “I am going to beat you,” he said, slowly, as if reading from a script. “It will hurt, it is supposed to. That is the point. Do not wriggle about too much and do not try to rise or in any other way obstruct me in my duty,” he continued. Then, after a pause for dramatic effect, he concluded, “Or you will receive extra strokes. Is that understood?”
Jack’s mouth was inches from the worn leather. He croaked a response that the professor quite probably could not hear, “Yes, sir.”
Professor Blenkinsop sawed his cane across the fleshiest part of Jack’s bum; taking his aim. The first swipe caught him on the lower part of the buttocks, just above the thigh. It felt like he had seared a red-hot poker across his bum. Jack’s entire body shuddered and his backside bounced up and down, he had had absolutely no control. It was all a reflex to the intense pain that started at the bottom and ran up and down his legs.
Professor Blenkinsop was in no hurry. To Jack it felt like an eternity, but only fifteen seconds elapsed before the second cut scorched the top end of his buttocks. He shuddered some more and his mouth opened and closed, but he successfully stifled the yelp his body wanted him to make.
Number three hit half way between the previous two. Professor Blenkinsop was an expert; he should be, he had enough practice. Jack now had a red stripe about four inches wide across both cheeks. Tears itched his eyes, he snuffled them back. Number four landed on top of a previous cut. How could it not? The professor had already burned most of Jack’s backside. The agony was intense. Jack’s legs marched up and down like a soldier on sentry duty. His hips swayed from side to side. An long, low whistle escaped through Jack’s clenched lips.
The fifth hurt just as badly. Jack’s temples throbbed almost as much as his backside. His right foot wrapped around his left ankle and his buttocks rose and fell, humping the back of the chair. Jack quivered under a series of dry hacking coughs.
Professor Blenkinsop left the worst to last. Jack sensed it coming before he felt it. The professor moved the position of his cane so that it rested in a diagonal from the bottom left to the top right of Jack’s entire arse, then he lifted it away and brought it down with a magnificent crash so that it landed across five previous scars, igniting the agony in all of them. Jack yelled. He jumped up from the chair, but half way to his feet, some schoolboy instinct kicked in and he resumed my position. He remembered the professor’s earlier threat; he didn’t want extra strokes.
Jack lay, bottom on fire, sobbing into the chair. His head ached and his throat was sore from coughing, but his head was as clear as anything he had felt before in his life. The professor waited a moment before he intoned, “Stand up.”
Jack crawled off the back of the chair and stumbled, grabbing hold of the edge of a desk to steady himself. He doubled up to restore his trousers and pants to their rightful place, all the time gulping in lungs full of air.
At the police station Lois recapped the plot so far, “The professor was killed in his study sometime between two and four. He was hit on the head by a heavy object. A granite paperweight is missing so that’s the most likely weapon. We’ve searched the room. We found a couple of canes in a cupboard.”
Morose winced, he hated it when people used Americanisms. “Canes, you mean walking sticks, of course,” he scowled.
Lois let a slight smile curl her lips. “No, canes, as in bend over, touch your toes, it’s six-of-the-best for you m’lad,” she flexed an imaginary school punishment cane between her hands. She was delighted to see Morose flush, embarrassed. Morose wriggled in his chair, suddenly a vision of the buxom Sgt. Lois swishing a cane across Morose’s backside as he bent touching toes came to him. He coughed to hide his nervousness.
“We’ve interviewed colleagues, he had no enemies; he was loved by all,” Lois said.
“Clearly not everyone,” Morose growled. He hesitated, trying to make the next question seem insignificant, “What did you do with the canes?”
“They’re in the property store, logged as evidence,” she answered.
In the basement of the building Police Constable First held a long, thin crook-handled rattan cane in both hands, holding it up for close examination. It was thinner and lighter than the ones he had at home, he thought. But still mightily effective. They would do the job. PC First was four months off retirement, hauled into County Headquarters to see his off his last days hidden away after the rumours of his methods of policing in the sleepy villages of Oxfordshire had reached the ears of the Chief Constable.
“Eh lad,” he called across to Police Cadet Barnaby Wordsworth. “Wordsworth,” he growled. Bloody silly name. Whoever heard of a copper with a poet’s name? The eighteen year old fresh-faced youngster looked up from his Football Monthly “Get these labelled and logged.” Wordsworth continued reading. Preston North End were in with a chance of winning the league. “Now lad,” First blustered.
“All right Jock, keep your hair on.” The joke was wearing thin. Jock First was as bald as a billiard ball. Bloody kids, PC First thought. No respect for their elders and betters. He didn’t say Constable or even Mister First. He placed the cane down on the wooden top of the table. How he would like to put this across the cheeky sod’s backside. And no mistake. Teach him some manners. Just wait, he thought, once he was safely retired he would invite him out to the house. The cadet continued reading his magazine.
Two days later Cadet Wordsworth was reading the local newspaper. “Hey Jock,” he said with the mildest of interest, “It says here they’ve taken in a suspect in the professor’s murder.”
First smiled enigmatically, “Of course they have, laddie. He’ll be confessing even as we speak.”
“Why would he confess?”
“They always do laddie. It’s the only way we ever solve a crime.”
“What do you mean?”
“It stands to reason. It saves time. When you’ve seen as many shows – I mean as many cases – as I have you’ll understand.”
Two floors above in Interview Room 2 Inspector Morse and Sgt Lois sat opposite the murder suspect. No solicitor was in sight. “Let me understand this,” Lois said moving the plot along at a tremendous pace. “You say that after he beat you with a cane, he turned around and put it back in a cupboard. Then you picked up a heavy granite paperweight and you hit him on the back of the head.”
Morose studied the young student before him. His dark brown hair was unkempt and his hazel eyes were dull, but Morose knew in happier times they would sparkle. His skin was smooth, he had barely started shaving; it would be twice a week maximum, Morose knew the type. He was shorter than average and clean limbed. Quiet thin, a scholar perhaps, not a sportsman, he imagined. Although Morose couldn’t see because he was sitting on it he just knew he had the most spankable bum.
The student was becoming agitated. “I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t mean to do it.”
“You hit him three times,” Morose coughed. God, his throat was dry, he could kill a pint of Theakston’s Old n Filthy. “Once is manslaughter, self-defence, or an accident. Three times is murder.”
The student convulsed into fits of sobs. Morose licked his lips and stared away into the middle distance. “Well pretty boy, you’re going to jail for a long stretch. Getting six-of-the-best will be the least of your troubles,” he thought as a rather annoying bleeping noise sounded in his ears.
Picture credit: Unknown
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