I would be the first to tell you how proud I am of my son Tyler. He’s at university now, and I am certain he has a fine future ahead of him. Of course, like all nineteen-year-olds he is far from perfect. Often he thinks the world resolves around him. He can be self-centred and downright selfish. He’s a bit lazy and sometimes needs an “incentive” to do his chores about the house. He has been known to stay out late and when he does come home, it is obvious to me that he has been drinking alcohol.
As I said, I am proud of Tyler, but I also acknowledge that it is my duty to help him along that rocky road from childhood to adulthood. And, “duty” is not too strong a word for it. Afterall, what are fathers for?
I had to step up to the plate today. I should have spotted that trouble was looming. I could have headed it off at the pass. I took my eye off the ball. I blame myself. But, when duty called, I was not found wanting.
What happened was the mid-terms. These are the examinations students do half way through the semester to see that they have been studying hard and are on track for success. Tyler took four mid-terms. He flunked three. Three abject failures. You don’t have to be a statistician to see the pattern there. Too much time spent on the Internet and not enough with his nose in a book. Not to mention the time spent in the bar. Of course, I assume the nights he came home swaying and giggling his head off, it was drink – and not drugs. Note to self: search Tyler’s room.
I am paying a fortune for Tyler to study at university. Nothing is cheap these days. That’s one of the reasons I insisted he study at the local university. It saves on paying rent. We are lucky that the University of Brocklehurst has a fine reputation. Tyler could do a lot worst and attend one of those jumped-up technical colleges masquerading as a university.
I will not sit by idly and see Tyler fail. It is my duty to save him from himself. This is not new territory for me. In fact, it is déjà vu all over again. There is a reason why my grandfather’s old razor strop hangs from a nail in the cupboard under the stairs. From the moment the results appeared online Tyler knew what I would do. A very similar thing happened in his final year at school. You don’t want to hear about that but let me just say that the whipping bucked up his ideas. He passed the exams well enough to get a place at university.
So, here we were again. Tyler had the grace to look abashed and a little ashamed when he handed to me the printout of his grades. I frowned and shook my head gravely from side to side. It is important to express disapproval. I let him know how much he had disappointed me. “It is your fault,” I frowned, “You have nobody to blame but yourself.” Tyler, his head bowed and his face scarlet, agreed.
“Well,” I make sure I am in prefect control of myself at times such as this. There is no need for histrionics, “Well,” I repeated, “You know what must happen now son.” I shook my head as if I carried the troubles of the whole world on my shoulder. “Fetch the strap and meet me in your bedroom.” It was a clear, calm order. I knew Tyler would obey me. I am very proud of my son.
He trudged off to the cupboard under the stairs and I took up position in the bedroom. It is a small room and once the bed is in place there’s not much room for two people to move around. Tyler took his time fetching the strap (I knew he would, he always does). I didn’t allow this delay to affect my temper. At last my son appeared in the doorway. His was still blushing bright-red. Tyler has a clear open face and because he is quite thin and not very tall he looks a bit younger than he is. I joke that if he put on his old school blazer and wore a pair of short trousers he would be able to get away with paying the children’s fare on the buses. He never laughs when I say this.
I held out my hand and he passed me the strap. I held it in my hand, testing its weight. I always do this. I don’t know why, this thing had seen some action, I’d used in on my kids a few times over the years. My father used it on me and grandpa used it on him. Perhaps grandpa’s dad also used it; the strap is certainly a family heirloom.
It was a length of leather more than eighteen inches long and three inches or so wide. Back in the day men used it to sharpen their cut-throat razors. In many homes it had a secondary use. How many backsides had been blistered with one of these over the years?
I thwacked the strap into my palm. Yes, without this little incentive Tyler would never have made it to university. Now, if he doesn’t buck his ideas up and start studying hard, he’ll fail his university course and be put on the scrapheap, aged nineteen.
Tyler’s dark brown blue eyes gazed at me while I lectured him about how much money of mine he was wasting. I told him I was proud of him. I said he needed to make something of himself. I told him it was my duty to help him succeed.
All the time Tyler gawked at me, his eyes shining. I paused. Now, it was his time to speak. He croaked an apology. I couldn’t quite make out what he said. I think it was, “Sorry.” He gave no explanation for his failure. There wasn’t much he could say. He’s a bright boy – genuinely so. If he put in the effort he could ace his exams. He had demonstrated that at school. He just needed a helping hand.
I slapped the strap into my left palm. It was my way of saying, “I’m ready to go.” Colour drained from Tyler’s face. His eyes moistened. I thought he was about to burst into tears. He didn’t. He doesn’t. He never has. Well, not in a very long time.
I tightened my grip on the strap and looked around. There was almost literally no room to swing a cat. There was a small plastic chair that he could drape over, but I wouldn’t have space to swing back the leather.
We both knew the solution to the problem; we had done this before.
“Straighten that duvet on the bed. Then lay face down.” Tyler made no protest. He pulled the duvet until all the creases had disappeared. He placed a pillow at the top of the bed. I was proud of his fortitude. And, I admired his foresight. I knew the pillow would have an important part to play as our little drama unfolded.
I was calm, and so was Tyler. “Now, lower your jeans and underpants and lay across the bed.”
With steady hands he unbuckled his belt, popped the rivet on his jeans and tugged at the zipper. Then he put his thumbs under the waist of his underpants and pulled down his jeans and pants together so they just reached below his buttocks. Then, he knelt onto the bed and stretched out
He wriggled a bit until his face was resting on the pillow. His buttocks and the backs of his thighs were hairless, which just emphasised how young he looked. I tested the strap by holding it over my shoulder so that it tapped against the small of my back. Then I arced it up and forward, making sure it would not hit the ceiling when I tried to lash it down. I knew from past experience it would just about clear.
Satisfied on my height, I then tested my distance. I stood three feet, then two feet from the edge of the bed. My intention was that the strap should lash Tyler in the very centre of his two mounds. It look a little practice, but I soon got my eye in.
By now my son was biting down on the pillow. His arms were stretched ahead of him. It looked all the world like he was posed to dive into a swimming pool.
I don’t believe in prolonging the agony. We were here for a purpose; it was best to get on with it. I raised the leather strap across my shoulder and brought it crashing down into Tyler’s bum. The crack! sounded like pistol fire in the small room. Tyler’s body buckled under the lash and he bit deep into the pillow. A tiny trickle of spit ran from the corner of his mouth.
With the second lash the strap curled itself viciously over the exposed buttocks and unfurled into Tyler’s backside. His body shuddered. Two scarlet stripes ran in parallel across his cheeks. He clasped his hands together, but he kept them well away from my target area. He was submitting himself to the punishment.
It took another three lashes of the razor strop to cover the entire area of his now raw buttocks. After another three purplish bruises started to form. Tyler bit deep into the pillow as I continued in my duty and snapped another six hard stingers – one after the other in quick succession – across his rock-hard bottom.
His legs flapped and his back arched and I knew this was a reflex action made by his body. It was nature’s way of dealing with the severe pain that scorched Tyler. The back of his head was soaked with perspiration and the pillow was damp with spittle.
I stopped and rested the leather on the very apex of the boy’s naked curves. It lingered long enough to give me a chance to get my breath. I am no slouch, but physical exercise like this takes it out of me. Tyler knew I had not finished my discipline. He tensed, bracing himself for a further onslaught.
I got into a rhythm and spanked him harder and harder, satisfied that the lashes left imprints into bare flesh. Stepping back I snapped the leather down again as hard as I could. I was clear in my mind that I was whipping my son, whom I loved dearly. I channeled my thoughts on how I was saving Tyler from himself. After this he would return to his studies with renewed enthusiasm. He would work hard and pass those examinations.
This gave me the energy to apply the leather with as much strength as I could muster. As the thrashing continued I realized I was drenched in sweat. My breathing was heavy, but it was nowhere as bad as Tyler’s. He wheezed and gulped in great mouthfuls of air as his body flailed from left to right. His face was almost as red as his backside as he struggled to retain control of himself. He buried his face into the pillow.
I dropped the strap onto the bed. “Put it back in the cupboard when you are finished,” I said softly. I quietly left the room. I don’t think I imagined it when I heard doleful sobbing from behind the door after I closed it. I went to the kitchen and made myself tea. I was in the living room reading the morning newspaper when maybe an hour later Tyler appeared. His face glowed. He had obviously been scrubbing it with a cloth. “Thanks, Dad,” he said quietly, and gave me a thumbs-up. I gulped back a sob. Before I could tell Tyler how proud I was of him, he had gone through the front door and was hurrying up the driveway.
Picture credit: Unknown
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