I stood up and then I sat down again. I fidgeted for a few moments and then I stood up. I paced across the tiny room. It took no more then five steps. I turned, looked at the clock on the mantlepiece. He was late. I peered out of the window. The sun hadn’t yet gone down. It was a little after seven. It was early summer. It wouldn’t get dark for three more hours at least. I wanted him to hurry up. I promised to meet my mates in the pub at eight.
I paced back to the armchair and sat down. I looked at my watch. It was hardly a minute since I had last checked the time. I fidgeted some more. I picked up the Brocklehurst Bugle. With intense irritation I turned the pages. There was nothing worth reading. There never was. Nothing ever happened in Brocklehurst. I couldn’t wait to get away. I wouldn’t have too long to wait; I had an escape route planned.
Uncle Dwight was supposed to be here at seven. He was late. Damn him! Why couldn’t he be on time. It was his idea to meet. I would rather not, but I had no choice. He wanted to have “a little word” – just the two of us. Sometime when we could be alone. Well Friday night was the only time I had the house to myself. Mum was at her Bingo! and my younger sister at Brownies. It was the only time all week I could be sure of being alone. Not that I ever stayed in. Friday night was pub night with the guys from school. Well to be honest that wasn’t entirely true. Friday night was Have A Wank Night; then a shower and then out to the Dog and Biscuit pub.
But not this time. I wasn’t in the mood to pull one off. I did try but even the “hard core” magazine we lads had been swopping was no use. Uncle Dwight was coming to have his “little word”; and that put all other thoughts out of my head.
I paced the room again and pulled the net curtains to one side to see through the window. I had a reasonable view of the street. No sight of Uncle yet. I looked at the clock. Ten past: what was keeping him. Of course, when Uncle said he wanted “a little word” he didn’t really mean a little word he meant something else. I didn’t expect there to me much talking.
Uncle Dwight was my mum’s brother. He worked mostly on the oil rigs and was only in town for a few weeks every year. During that time he liked to “catch up” on family events. I called it poking his nose in where it wasn’t wanted, but, of course, I had no say in the matter. Things were tense at home. I was eighteen and hated it there. I couldn’t wait to get out of that dreadful house and the stinking town. My school examinations were due in a few weeks’ time. I intended to pass and go off to university; then I’d never have to return to Brocklehurst ever again.
I knew I’d get to the university. I had passed my eleven-plus exam at the end of primary school and went to the grammar, where I excelled. Mum was a cleaning-lady and had left school aged fourteen. She had no use for book-learning. I don’t suppose she had read a book in her whole life. She was so ignorant she used to call the romance magazines she bought “books”. When I was much younger I made excuses for her ignorance. There had been a war on when she was a child and she went to work on the land. She didn’t have a chance. During my left-wing political phase (when I was about thirteen) I saw her as a martyr of “the system”, but then I discovered parents of my schoolfriends with similar histories had made decent lives for themselves. In truth, I thought, she wallowed in her ignorance.
I couldn’t stand to be in the same house as her. I spent a lot of time in the public library and when I was at home I hardly ever left my bedroom. After the age of about sixteen I don’t suppose I spoke a civil word to her. It’s a cliché, but in my case it was true, that I treated the house like a hotel. If I had the money I would’ve gladly lived in a hotel.
On his latest visit Mum unburdened herself to Uncle Dwight. He told me I was “rude, insolent, uncouth and offensive.” At least his vocabulary was wider than Mum’s. That wasn’t the end of it. Uncle Dwight said I had no respect for all the work she put in keeping me clothed and fed. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have been able to stay on at school after I was sixteen. “Not true,” I barked back at him and told him of the scholarships I had won. “Me, alone,” I told him, “By using my brains.” I didn’t say it in so many words but I was letting Uncle Dwight know that I had no respect for him either. He was a manual worker although on more than one occasion I had heard him refer to himself as “semi-skilled”. I tried not to laugh.
By the time I had made my little speech, a “rant” Uncle Dwight called it, he had probably made up his mind. “You need taking down a peg or two. You’re getting too big for your britches,” he said. Britches! Where did he dig that one up, the sad old ignorant man? So, that was why I was pacing the tiny front room at the house waiting for hm to come for his “little word”.
Uncle Dwight eventually arrived close to half-past-seven. I suppose the bus was late. He had no car and couldn’t afford a taxi. Loser! He had his own door key so could let himself into the house. I stayed seated sinking into the armchair. Let him come find me. Why should I make an effort. Uncle Dwight was a large man, he was easily six or seven inches taller than me and probably had as many extra inches around his waist. He wore baggy jeans; cheap ones, bought at a supermarket and a collarless shirt that stretched against his vast belly and what people today call his “man boobs”. He sweated copiously; the summer weather is no friend to obese people. I looked him up and down in distain. How I loathed that man. I stayed seated and he came and stood over me; he blocked out the sun. I knew why he had come and he knew why he was there so there was no reason to go through all my supposed misdeeds again. No reason, but that didn’t stop Uncle Dwight from listing all my so-called faults. He finished his speech by saying that thing about being, “Too big for my britches” again. I managed not to sneer.
Then, he was ready to get down to business. “Stand up,” he ordered and when I didn’t he gripped hold of my forearm and hauled me to my feet. He may have been carrying about ten more stone in weight than me but he still had a lot of strength. I pouted and he pushed me away from the chair. He snarled and then took hold of the chair and turned it on its axis so that it pointed in a different direction. I watched, my heart racing (I admit it). This confirmed to me his intention. I had expected this. I was a bright boy after all. I was prepared for what I would do. “You need a darn good spanking!” he said. Darn! That, I was sure, was not a word they used on the oil rigs. “And that’s what you’re going to get,” he added unnecessarily since by now he was unbuckling his belt and trying to loosen it through the loops of his copious jeans. I watched in wonderment as he tried to perform this task: before then I hadn’t realised just how fat he really was.
In time he got the belt free. It was so long that he had to fold it three times before he could get it to a length that it might be used to whip me. I watched patiently and a little perplexed. He intended to spank me. Me, an eighteen-year-old man. An adult; a person who had the vote. He waved the belt around a bit; I supposed it was to intimidate me. Truthfully, it didn’t work. Oh how I hated him. I hated him because he was pig-ignorant; thick as two short planks (or, if you prefer, pig shit). I hated him because even though he was a moron, at this moment in time he had power over me. He had decided I should be spanked and what could I do about it? The obvious answer to that was refuse. Tell him: No, I wouldn’t let him. Then what? There would be an unseemly fight. He might over-power me, but I doubted it. The best would be he’d pin me down for a bit and whack at me indiscriminately with his belt. Some of the blows would certainly land.
I could walk out and go down the pub. How would that help? I’d have to come home sometime and we’d have the fight then. I knew Uncle Dwight was trying to keep our meeting secret from Mum so maybe the second round of the contest would be postponed for a week. But it would have to take place and there was a great chance Mum would find out. I didn’t want that to happen. Not because I wanted to spare her feeling, I just could stand all that huffing and sighing I would have to endure from her.
No! I had already decided. I hated all of them and in a couple of months (a few weeks!) I would have passed my examinations and be set to go away to university. My escape route. There was light at the end of the tunnel. Soon I would be free. Even at aged eighteen I understood the value of pragmatism. I would let the bastard belt me. So what! Who cared! Let him get on with it.
I didn’t say any of this to Uncle Dwight, I simply stood passively waiting for him to make his next move. This development might have thrown him somewhat. I remember he blustered, “Bend over the chair,” as he tapped his limp belt against the chair’s arm. I shrugged my shoulders in defiance. It was my way of saying, “Yeah! Whatever!” The chair was quite low and I could tell that a better bet would have been for me to go across its back as this way I would have presented a better target to Uncle Dwight. He couldn’t even get that right.
I eased myself down across the arm of the chair. I was too tall for that position and had to tuck my arms into the side and bend my knees a lot so my bum could rest over the arm. A person needed to be a contortionist to do this right. I was as ready as I would ever be.
Like this my jeans stretched tightly across my buttocks and it felt like my cheeks had been lifted and separated. Uncle Dwight was silent. He shuffled behind me and although I couldn’t see him I knew he was trying to work out where he could stand so he could take aim at my bum. See, I knew I should have been over the back of the chair. He was wheezing mightily already and he hadn’t started yet. I had never been spanked, nor caned before but I had enough imagination to know what was likely to happen next. After much shuffling Uncle Dwight seemed to have worked out where he should stand.
I waited patiently, determined that I would not feel humiliated to be there, aged eighteen, offering up my bottom to be spanked by a fat middle-aged man. I could count the weeks before I would be free. Darn him! Let him do his worst. He whacked the belt across my backside. There was a loud crack as leather struck tight denim. I suddenly realised the window was wide open and feared any passer-by could hear. The last thing I wanted was the nosey neighbours knowing I had my bottom spanked. I buried my head in my arms and let Uncle Dwight get on with it.
He whacked the belt down about six or seven times before I realised I couldn’t feel a thing. The belt made a terrific noise there was no doubt about that, but as an instrument of punishment it was useless. Thinking about it later it was obvious why. The strap was thin and narrow and had no weight to speak of. My jeans were nearly new and made of thick denim. I was also wearing underpants. Add to that the fact that I was eighteen and not eight and was tough enough to withstand much more pain that Uncle Dwight could ever hope to inflict with his belt.
I lay passively, my head down and raised my bum as best as I could. “Come on then,” I was saying with my body, “Give it your best shot. You loser.” I can’t remember how many strokes (you couldn’t honestly call them “lashes”) he gave me but he could have gone on all night for all the effect it had on me. Before too long the effort was too much for him. He was not a man given to taking exercise and his body was about to remind him of that. If he continued he might have fallen down dead with a heart attack.
At last he wised up to the fact that it was time to stop. He was bent double (as far as his waist would allow) gasping for breath when I got to my feet. I stood watching him with utter contempt. I had not felt a thing during his so-called punishment. I knew that once he had left and I checked my bum for damage it would be unblemished. What a loser! He couldn’t even spank me properly.
I didn’t wait for his permission before I headed upstairs. If I didn’t get a move on I’d be late meeting my pals. By the time I came down five minutes later Uncle Dwight had left the house. I gathered my wallet and keys and headed for the pub.
That happened to me in 1973. I went to university and subsequently gained a masters degree and a doctorate. I travelled all over the world with my work. Mum and Uncle Dwight are both long since dead. I never returned to Brocklehurst; not even for their funerals.
Picture credit: Unknown
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second