You sit on the edge of your bed and wait. You are very calm, you know exactly what’s about to happen. You are wearing your blue-and-white-striped pyjamas. Usually, you sleep naked, but this time the jim-jams are not for sleeping in. The room is cool although it is the middle of summer. Minutes pass; you don’t mind, you are in no hurry.
There is a knock on the door, you call out “Yeah!” it opens slightly and you see the face of your twenty-year-old brother. It is flushed and you see perspiration along his hairline. “Your turn, good luck,” he says without emotion and disappears to his own room. You take a deep breath and rise from the bed. As you take the few steps towards the door your pyjama bottoms slip down over your hips. You grab them and take a few seconds to retie the drawstring. Satisfied they won’t plunge to your feet you cross the landing and pad down the stairs.
You know your father will be waiting in the lounge room. You live in a large house and there are any number of other rooms, but without being told you know where to go. Father is waiting. He sits on a wooden chair that he has placed in the centre of the room. He nods his head slightly as a kind of greeting as you enter the room. Even today a lifetime after the event you always picture father the same way. He wears dark grey trousers (part of a business suit). They are held up by both a leather belt and braces. He has a white shirt and a tightly fastened necktie. The shirt is buttoned to the top. That’s your father: buttoned up. You cannot recall ever seeing him dressed for leisure.
He speaks to you and you listen. You don’t expect him to interrogate you, he simply states the facts. They are that you, your brother and two pals were spotted drinking in the Three Fishers pub. You know father forbids you to drink alcohol. It is one of his many rules: there is, of course, no smoking and also no going with girls into Widdicombe Woods. In those days no fathers thought about drugs. There are also rules about attendance at church and doing chores about the house.
The Three Fishers is a dive of a pub, tucked away off the main street of town. It is notorious for serving under-aged drinkers and for much else. Bohemians hang out there, and so do prostitutes both male and female. A neighbour spotted you and told your father.
You are unconcerned. You break father’s rules all the time. Sometimes you get caught; often you don’t. You know the penalty. It is what it is. Once father finishes his speech, the ritual begins in earnest. It is always the same, nothing changes. That’s what makes it a ritual. This is not the first time you have been here and in all probability it won’t be the last, even though you are fast approaching your nineteenth birthday.
“Stand there,” father points to a spot on the carpet a little to his right. You do as you are told. “Lower your pyjama bottoms,” father speaks slowly and clearly pronounces each word. There is no need for him to show anger or any other emotion, he knows you will obey his instructions. Without question. Your hands are steady and you untie the drawstring on your pyjama bottoms. They fall with a swoosh to your feet (rather like clown’s trousers). You feel no embarrassment standing half-naked in front of your father; he has seen it all before.
You look down at your father’s lap. He spreads his legs slightly to give you a platform to lower yourself across. You know the ritual is that you bend over his knees and place the palms of your hands flat against the floor. You bend your knees behind you so that your toes hover above the ground. Your bared bottom is raised at an angle over your father’s thigh. It is perfectly positioned for the spanking you are about to receive.
You wait patiently for the next stage of the ritual. You don’t think it unusual that an eighteen-year-old is bent across his father’s knee for a spanking. It is just the way things are. Father always punishes you like this. Not all fathers are the same. Your pal across the road will be bending over the back of an armchair, trousers at his feet, underpants at the knees while his father lashes a dozen hard strokes of a whippy, curved-handled rattan school cane into his naked buttocks. That’s his way. Your friend down the street will be holding onto the seat of a wooden dining room chair his arse also bare to the wind while his father whips him with a leather riding crop. That’s a small hard whip people use to encourage horses along. Horses. His father knows nothing about horses, he hasn’t even seen one since the coal merchant started using lorries.
Your own father has taken the tail of your pyjama jacket and pulled it half way up your back. This ensures that it is well away from the target area. You wait patiently. You stare down at the ugly copper-coloured pattern in the carpet inches from your face. Now father is running the palm of his right hand over your left buttock. He gently traces its outline, patting and preening. He pauses when he reaches the highest point of the globe and gives it a gentle slap. Then he does the same with the other cheek. You know that by now he is ready to go.
The spanks rain down. They are hard and rapid. The sound of the slap of his hand on your bare bum echoes around the room. Inside a minute he has delivered forty or fifty whacks; he goes that fast. It stings, but you are not in great pain. No matter how hard or how quickly father spanks you with the palm of his hand it hardly hurts. You are after all eighteen and strong. Does father realise this? You feel obliged to give some reaction. It’s what your brother calls, “Making show.” You gasp as the harder slaps connect across the peaks of your mounds. You wriggle your neck in mock pain when father’s hand connects with the backs of your thighs. That actually does hurt, but really not much.
You feel your bottom warming up. The buttocks tingle and the thighs sting. You settle down and wait patiently. You cannot see it but you know your bum is now deep pink; father will spank on until it’s the colour of a tomato.
At last he achieves his aim. There is one final part of the ritual. He stops spanking and intones, “Stand up.” You rest your hands on his left knee and haul yourself to your feet. You turn your back on father and rub the palms of your hands ruefully across your buttocks and hop from one foot to the other. Your brother will be impressed by your playacting. Now, you bend down and retrieve the pyjama bottoms from your ankles, pull them up and tie the drawstring.
Father sends you back to your bedroom with words designed to encourage you in your future behaviour. Your brother is waiting for you on the landing, you both going into his bedroom and examine each other’s marks, such as they are. Already, in your mind you are planning your next visit to the Three Fishers.
Picture credit: Sting Pictures
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second