I had just left my home on Saturday lunchtime to take the dog for a walk when I saw Terry, my neighbour’s son, mowing the small patch of lawn in front of his house. I’ve known him since he was knee high to a grasshopper so I stopped for a chat.
He’s a strapping young man now, as was clear for all to see. He wore no shirt and the physical work of cutting the grass emphasised the muscles in his arms and back. His jeans fitted snugly around his beefy buttocks and he needed no belt to keep them up.
“Hello Terry,” I said cheerfully. I don’t think he heard me at first. Perhaps the noise from the mower was too loud. I tried again. This time he acknowledged me. He seemed a little startled. I had heard from his mother he was doing very well at the university, so I thought I’d pay him a compliment. “Good exam results. Congratulations.”
His face flushed. He seemed embarrassed. He put his head down and continued pushing the mower. He was making a good job of it. When it was clear he wasn’t going to respond to my remark, I tried another tack. “Mowing the lawn.” I said, feeling foolish as it was obvious that’s what he was doing. “Helping your parents out. Good for you.”
Again, my pleasantry provoked no response. This was unlike Terry. Usually he was a very polite young man. Unlike so many youngsters these days, his manners were always so good. I’d always thought he was a credit to his parents. He took the mower into a corner of the lawn and then it was obvious he had completed the job.
“Nice, job,” I said. With his task finished he had no choice but the switch off the mower. “I said, you made a good job of it,” I repeated. He frowned and shrugged his shoulders. I couldn’t remember seeing him mow the lawn before. As I thought about it I realised this was something his father often did on a Sunday morning.
“Is this your job from now on?” my attempts at chatting were going nowhere. He looked over my shoulder towards his house; he seemed anxious. I supposed he wanted to get back inside and get on with his Saturday. I was about to give up on the conversation and take my dog to Widdicombe Wood when the front door of Terry’s house opened. Terry visibly shuddered. Beneath his suntan his face paled. His father stood in the doorway.
I pulled on the dog’s leash and was about to leave when I heard Terry’s Dad say fiercely, “Now, you’ve finished the lawn, get yourself into the garage.” The aggressive tone of his voice startled me. I turned to face him and got another shock. His dad was brandishing a heavy wooden spanking paddle. Terry almost died on the spot. Now, I could see why he hadn’t wanted me to hang around. His face now a deep cherry red, he sloped off to the garage. The door was already open.
His Dad watched his son trudge away. He looked at me and down at the paddle in his hand. He was entirely unself-conscious, but he did not say a word. I was silent too, but I nodded at the wood in his hand in the hope it would encourage him to explain.
“There was a whole gang of them partying at Widdicombe Wood,” he began. I needed no more detail. During the summer evenings some of the kids took their cars to the woods, which bordered The Avenue. They would play loud music from boom-boxes and drink beer. Sometimes it was so loud it disturbed the residents.
“I told him he couldn’t go, Frank,” he continued, addressing me by name. “He disobeyed me and came home well Brahms this morning,” he gripped the handle of the paddle, “What does he expect?” I didn’t answer. It was very clear to me precisely what Terry expected his Dad would do. I shrugged my shoulders and waved my arms making one of those what can you do? gestures.
“A damn good spanking,” he said, as if I hadn’t already received the message. He slapped the paddle into the palm of his left hand. I had never seen a spanking paddle close up, but I do know what they are. In so far as I’ve ever thought about it, I supposed they were something the Americans used. Can you even buy them here? He slapped some more and I could see this one looked like a miniature cricket bat – perhaps it was.
“Can’t stop chatting,” he grimaced, “Got work to do.” I watched him walk over to and then disappear inside the garage. I could hear his muffed voice from where I was standing. He was tearing Terry off a strip. I am not entirely proud of what I did next. I was fully aware what was about to happen. I could have left well alone. This should be an intimate moment between father and son.
Blow that! I thought. A garage with its door wide open into the street is hardly a private space. I edged a little closer. The Avenue is a very select street and many of the houses are hidden behind their own walls or high hedges, I don’t suppose many of my neighbours were aware what was happening. I had the spectacle to myself.
When I reached the garage the lecture was over. I arrived just in time to see Terry spread his legs wide and bend down to grab his ankles. He kept his knees straight and his head low. The muscles in his arms and back rippled. In this position his buttocks were huge, but firm and tight. I had a perfect view, rather like being behind the bowler’s arm (to continue the cricketing metaphor). Dad rubbed the paddle across his son’s bottom; he seemed ready to go. Unexpectedly, he stopped and gripped the waistband of Terry’s jeans. I thought they were tight enough but by pulling hard Dad dug the denim deep into the crack between the cheeks. It was like he had performed a wedgie; from where I stood I could see the outline of Terry’s briefs.
The young man waited submissively, his bottom raised for the swats of the paddle. He made no fuss. It was clear this little drama had been played out many times previously. Dad (I don’t know why I keep calling him that, he’s not my father, his name is Reg). So, Reg rubbed the paddle once more across the seat of Terry’s jeans, raised it high and then swung it down in an arc. The crack as wood met denim echoed around the small garage.
I saw the wood sink into the hard meat, the impact forcing Terry’s body forward a little, but he remained in position. Sweat soaked Reg’s shirt, while his son’s back seemed perfectly dry. Swat two was aimed lower so that it came from underneath and powered upwards. I imagine it left an imprint across the lower buttocks and thighs. It might make sitting down a little uncomfortable.
I don’t know what a paddling is supposed to look like. Until I saw Reg and Terry I had thought nobody spanked their kids these days. It has to be thirty years or more since the cane was banned in schools. I share my ignorance with you because I cannot “review” the spanking. I don’t know if Reg laid it on well or not. Is a spanking supposed to leave the punished boy (the spankee?) in tears? Is that how we measure a “darned good spanking”? I don’t know. I can tell you that Reg whacked what to me looked like a dozen pretty impressive stingers across Terry’s rear end before he let him stand.
The boy’s face was scarlet and I suppose his bum was too. He looked more embarrassed than distressed. I suppose his pride might have been hurt more than his backside; how can you tell?
I could see they were ready to leave, I didn’t want to embarrass Terry more than was necessary so I tugged my dog down the street towards Widdicombe Woods. As I watched it frolic around the trees a sudden realisation struck me, the penny had dropped: now I understood why Terry was always such a polite and well-mannered boy.
Picture credit: Unknown
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second