It was a big disadvantage if the landlord of your apartment was also a headmaster at a local school, as Dick and his pal Sam were to discover.
Mr Dunn was a kind-hearted and charitable man; he let out the apartment through a charity called Helping Hand which looked after kids once they became too old to stay at orphanages. Youngsters often found it difficult to get jobs or find places to live and were in danger of getting into trouble, so the charity helped them. Mr Dunn knew he could get more rent if he let out the apartment to a professional couple, but that didn’t bother him. He truly believed he was making a difference in Dick and Sam’s lives.
And, he was. The two guys had left the same orphanage a year ago when they were eighteen and drifted aimlessly for a while. Then, Helping Hand found them sleeping rough in the local park and stepped in.
Within weeks Dick and Sam had jobs and this apartment. The jobs were a bit crappy: Dick was at a burger bar and Sam filled shelves in a supermarket. Mr Dunn knew things weren’t easy for the boys so he let the charity charge an uneconomic rent.
Unfortunately, things had not worked out well in the six months since the boys moved in. Neighbours complained about the noise they made and there were nights when gangs of their “friends” stayed over, drinking booze and smoking dope.
Mr Dunn knew the organisers of Helping Hand and through them he arranged to meet the boys to discuss the problems.
Mr Dunn was a headmaster and he understood boys, he knew that even though they were now nineteen years old, Dick and Sam were pretty immature. They had lived most of their lives in institutions and were not used to taking responsibility for themselves. He reckoned they probably had the maturity level of a “normal” thirteen or fourteen-year-old schoolboy and Mr Dunn certainly had experience of dealing with those.
At his school, boys of that age would be subject to clear rules. If they broke the rules, especially if they did so wilfully, they would be punished. There was a hierarchy of punishments, ranging from rebuke and “telling off,” through to writing lines and detentions.
Only last week he had been forced to thrash an eighteen-year-old boy called Scanlon who had been making a nice little earner selling single cigarettes to junior boys to smoke behind the cricket pavilion. In a way, Mr Dunn admired the boy’s entrepreneurial spirit, but once discovered, there was no alternative but to beat his buttocks black and blue.
Scanlon was resigned to his fate. He probably knew that if he didn’t accept the caning, Mr Dunn would be forced to expel him from the school.
The headmaster did not stand on ceremony. Once Scanlon had confessed his crime, he was ordered to turn an armchair round so its back faced the room. On instruction, he bent over, offering his backside up for Mr Dunn’s attention. The headmaster obliged with six swift stingers that landed across the centre of Scanlon’s stretched buttocks. The boy gasped audibly as each one struck home. His face was pale and his eyes moist, when he was eventually allowed to stand and he left the headmaster’s study with a throbbing behind, scarred with six red welts.
Scanlon did not resent his thrashing. He knew he had deliberately broken the rules and he knew what the consequences would be if he were caught. That, Mr Dunn believed, was entirely as it should be.
When he met with Dick and Sam, Mr Dunn made it clear that their behaviour had become unacceptable, it was anti-social and they needed to be more considerate to their neighbours. The boys accepted that they had been thoughtless and promised to mend their ways.
Mr Dunn left it at that: he didn’t really have any choice. What could he do if the boys continued to misbehave, except throw them out of the apartment and if he did that they would probably end up back in the park and Mr Dunn genuinely did not want that to happen.
As far as Mr Dunn knew, the boys behaved themselves for a week or two, but then he heard they fell back into their old habits. The final straw came when they boys failed to pay their rent. A worker at the charity told him they had been skipping work, so, of course, they didn’t have rent money.
Mr Dunn was furious. It was bad enough they treated their neighbours badly, but now they were doing it free-of-charge. He seriously considered throwing them out on their ears. So what if they ended up sleeping rough, he knew there were many other youngsters just out of orphanages who would give their right arms for the chance to take over the apartment.
But, he decided to give them a final chance. Mr Dunn had many years of experience beating backsides and he knew that the cane, or the threat of it, worked.
He was certain Dick and Sam would respond to corporal punishment. Mr Dunn thought Dick and Sam already deserved a good hiding for skiving off work and not paying the rent, but in fairness he knew he should warn them first of the consequences of their misbehaviour.
He visited the boys and explained his plan. They took it surprisingly well, he thought, and the three of them discussed what poor conduct would merit corporal punishment. High on the list of transgressions was playing loud music, having unauthorised guests, missing work, and above all, not paying the rent.
I was shocked when Dunn said he would beat us if we broke any of his rules. I thought I had left the cane behind at the orphanage. When he explained to us that our behaviour upset the neighbours and how important it was that we went to work and made something of ourselves, I felt sorry. I would behave in future, I told him, and I meant it.
But, I couldn’t keep it up. Work was really boring, making burgers all day: day after day after day. Most people working there were students or real no-hopers and the boss, Billy, was a bit creepy, if you ask me.
I cut work a few times and so I couldn’t make the rent again. Sam moaned at me, he had been to his job like a good little boy and he had the money. He didn’t see why he should get a whacking because of me.
I got word from the worker at Helping Hand that Dunn would be around to see me about the rent. Sam had paid his share and was in the clear. At least he was good enough to slope off to the pub when Dunn was due.
Not a minute too early, nor a minute too late, Dunn arrived. He rang the doorbell, even though he had a key and could’ve let himself in.
Nervously, I answered. He was carrying a snooker cue case.
“I didn’t know you played, Mr Dunn,” I said, trying to lighten the atmosphere. He just smirked and said nothing.
Dunn was the headmaster of one of the local schools and had an air of authority about him. I supposed he had a lot of practice telling kids they were naughty and putting them in their place, which I assumed, soon meant me over his knee or somewhere.
“Let’s go in the lounge.” I followed him in. He whistled through his teeth as he saw the mess. Dirty cups and saucers were on the table and the couch was covered in old magazines. I stared at the pile, hoping I hadn’t left my wank mags there.
“Don’t you boys ever tidy up?”
I made a move to tidy up the magazines.
“Leave them alone. Leave them alone.”
He pulled a dining room chair from its place by the table, put it in the middle of the room, and sat down.
“Stand there.” He pointed to a spot a few feet in front of him.
I did as I was directed. I had already decided I would do exactly as I was told. I didn’t want to get thrown out of the apartment, especially not if Sam was going to stay. I couldn’t face being out there on my own.
Very quietly and very carefully, Dunn explained what I had done wrong, what I needed to do in future to improve myself and why, now, he was going to cane my backside.
I had expected this, but, still it came as a shock. My legs turned a little to jelly, but I stayed upright. I assumed Dunn would expect me to present myself humbly for the beating. Would that be even more humiliating than the beating itself?
Dunn stood up and walked to the table where he had left his snooker cue. He opened the case and took out a straight cane, about three feet long and as thick as a pencil.
I felt such a fool, no wonder Dunn had sneered at me.
“Stand behind the chair.” I did as I was told. He held the cane between his two hands and flexed it backwards and forwards. It was very springy for a cane that thick.
I couldn’t take my eyes of it as he made a few practice swipes through the air.
“Bend over the chair boy and put your hands flat on the seat.” I almost smiled with relief. I was expecting to be told to take my trousers and pants down to take the caning on the bare bum.
Surely, it wouldn’t hurt too much with my trousers up. I wished I had known; I would’ve worn my new thick Levis.
I got into position. The chair was quite high and I had to stand on tip-toe and rest my stomach on the back to be able to lay my palms flat. I could tell my arse was really high and would make a tremendous target for Dunn’s cane.
He said nothing, but I could hear him getting ready. He swished the cane about some more making sure there was enough room for him to get a good swing and bring the cane thwacking down into the seat of my trousers.
I felt the cane go tap, tap, against my stretched bum and then Whooosh! I heard the crack of the cane hit my bum and then a split-second later I felt a terrifying pain across both cheeks. I moved my hands from the top of the seat and hung to the chair’s edge for dear life.
The second slice had me yowling! with agony. The pain shot from my backside through my entire body. I couldn’t take any more of this, but I knew I had to try to be brave. I realised Dunn had not told me how many strokes I was getting. I assumed six, as in six-of-the-best, but my God, maybe there would be more.
I cried bitterly as number three whacked into me. How could that little stick hurt so much? I could feel a welt forming across the lower end of my cheeks and the throbbing made my buttocks feel they were twice their normal size.
I danced up and down after the fourth stroke hit low and took me at the top of my thighs. I gripped on to the wooden seat of the chair to stop me jumping up and clutching my burning buttocks in both hands. The pain was searing and I had never before experienced anything like this.
I howled and howled as the fifth whack cut diagonally across the other four, sending renewed waves of pain through my buttocks. Tears and snot were running down my face
The sixth stroke landed on the top of my thigh like a white-hot poker. I yelled some more, and my sobs came in heaves.
I heard Dunn return his cane to the snooker cue case. It was over.
“Stand up boy.” I got up and my hands shot straight to my roasting buttocks, rubbing away in a fruitless attempt to ease the pain.
“Stop that at once,” Dunn commanded. “Put your hands by your side.”
Reluctantly, I did as I was told, hopping from one foot to the other, still trying to deaden the pain. My poor arse felt like it had sat on a coal fire. Every part from the top of my globes to my thighs was raw flesh. How much more time would it take for the throbbing and the welts from this severe thrashing to go away?
I was regaining some composure, tears continued to flow, but I had stopped heaving.
I was so pleased Sam had gone to the pub so as not to witness my humiliation. Then, I heard the sound of footsteps above the ceiling. My neighbours, the ones who always complained about our loud music, must have heard me wailing. Had Dunn told them what he intended to do?
“Please understand, I have thrashed you for your own good. It is to emphasise that your behaviour until now has been unacceptable. I want you to know that you have been punished for your wrong-doing and the slate is now clean. However, be under no illusion, that if you continue to break my rules the consequences will be very severe indeed. Do you understand me?”
Yes, I told him, I understood.
And, I did, I never missed paying my rent again. Never, in my entire life.
This story was first uploaded in January 2016.
Picture credit Unknown
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