“Freeman. Hardy. Willis. Come here lads. Now. All three of you!” Sgt Trueform barked as he strode through the playground. Three hapless sixth-formers trailed in his wake. The sergeant was a typhoon. He never stopped. He had energy to burn. He may have been discharged from the Army at the end of the war but he never gave up military discipline. Even now since his appointment as senior sports master at St Francis Independent Grammar School.
The school suited him well. Tradition. What was the Army about if it wasn’t about Tradition? St FIGS, as the school was affectionately known, was no different. It believed in tradition: traditional curriculum, traditional uniform, traditional religion and, of course, traditional discipline.
“Follow me!” Sgt Trueform led the way into the changing room adjacent to the gymnasium. The three fellows straggled after him. None was anxious to arrive at their final destination. A cold wind blew across the open, asphalt playground. Ancient buildings stood on three sides, the fourth led onto a grass playing fields where at the far end stood the school’s latest proud possession, the gymnasium.
The wind bit through the boys’ thin singlets and white cotton physical training shorts. Hardy’s legs were already turning blue. Willis could feel a cold coming on. My how all three hated sports classes. Especially in the depth of winter, when the pitches froze and the old martinet Sgt Trueform sent the boys out on a cross country run, through the town and into Widdicombe Wood.
“Get a move on lads!” Sgt Trueform bellowed. He was incapable of speaking in a normal tone of voice. He had reached the changing room and by the time the wretched threesome arrived he was unlocking the door. The sergeant stood to one side, “Get in there now,” he barked. Freeman and Hardy ducked but the sergeant caught Willis with a hefty clip on the back of his head. He rubbed it ruefully as they stood in the large, empty changing room.
“Stand there. In a row,” Sgt Trueform roared. “Stand up straight Hardy. Don’t slump Freeman.” Sgt Trueform imagined he was back on the Army parade ground. In his mind he had never left it. For him the school was merely an extension of his military days.
“So,” he paced up and down in front of the three lads. “You thought you could skive off Games did you?” He paused as if he genuinely expected a reply. When none came he blustered on. “Not in my school you don’t. Freeman,” he leaned into the eighteen-year-old, “It’s not your first time,” he glared ominously. “I suppose you were the ring leader here. You led the others on,” he narrowed his eyes and leaned into the boy so that Freeman could smell his sour tobacco breath.
“Oh no Sergeant,” Freeman moaned, “That’s not fair. It wasn’t me. They did …”
Before he could finish his sentence, Sgt Trueform growled, “I should keep quiet of I were you lad, you are in enough trouble as it.” Freeman’s jaw dropped and his face sulked.
“Don’t think you’re getting away with this. I don’t care if you are sixth-formers. You think you’re so grown up. Well, let me tell you, you obey the rules just like everyone else. Or else,” he threatened. All three boys stared at their own feet. Willis’s spine shook but it wasn’t the cold that made him shiver.
“Why if this happened back in the Army …” Sgt Trueform let the thought drift in the icy air. He marched across the room to an old, rickety table. Three pairs of eyes followed him. Each boy had a jolly good idea what he was up to. The sergeant tugged open the drawer on the table and reached in. There was only one object inside. His face split into a grin as he picked it up and turned towards the boys. In his hand he brandished a size twelve rubber-soled plimsoll. It was old and well used, but had not seen the inside of a gymnasium or a sports field in many years.
Sgt Trueform gripped it by the heel in his right fist. Then, with his left hand he took hold of the toe end. Menacingly, he flexed the slipper between his hands. Three pairs of eyes turned away. Sgt Trueform grinned maniacally and thwacked the rubber sole against the palm of his hand, savouring the sting it made.
“Step forward Freeman,” he barked, wringing the plimsoll between his hands. Colour drained from Harry Freeman’s face. He had been here before. He knew exactly what to expect. There was nothing he could do about it. It was that kind of school. Sgt Trueform was the master; he was in charge. The boy took a pace forward.
“Stand in the middle of the room, lad,” Sgt Trueform waved the slipper in case Freeman did not understand the instruction. Sorrowfully, the boy shuffled forward. “Since you are a recidivist, Freeman,” Sgt Trueform sneered and then stopped. The blank look on Freeman’s face told him he did not understand, “Since this is not your first time,” the sergeant scoffed, “And since I believe you were the ringleader, we’ll have those shorts down.”
Freeman’s face fell, he could not disguise his shock. “No, sergeant, no,” he protested, “I wasn’t the ring leader, honest, serge.”
Sgt Trueform’s eyes narrowed. He was a fair man (although the boys at the school might not agree) and he had no evidence for his accusation. He dismissed the case immediately, “This is your second time, Freeman. Take down those shorts.”
There was no arguing with that. It was true. It was a verifiable fact. Freeman had been done before. This was his second time. “Oh, serge,” he said piteously.
“Don’t, ‘Oh serge’ me lad. Get those shorts down,” Sgt Trueform glared, twisted the slipper in his hand and then with an almighty whack slammed it down into the palm of his hand, “Now lad!”
There was no more to be said. Nothing more to do. Freeman had skived off the cross-country run. Freeman had been caught red handed. Sgt Trueform had the authority to punish him. “But, serge,” Freeman tried to reason with the man. “We are seniors, serge. Seniors don’t get the slipper.” He started his plea with some confidence but the glare in Sgt Trueform’s eye silenced him.
“Ha!” the sergeant cackled. “What you expect a detention instead,” he sneered. “You think I’m going to sit with you lot in a room for an hour one evening watching you write out lines?” It wasn’t a question, for he carried on, “Shorts down. Bend over.”
Freeman sucked on his bottom lip. He had no choice. He had to do it. With no enthusiasm he took hold of the elasticated waist of his white cotton shorts. He wore no underpants. He would be naked from the waist down. He dismissed the thought of a further protest from his mind. He just had to get on with it.
He turned his back slightly so Sgt Trueform would not have a clear view of his cock and balls, put his thumbs inside the waistband and slowly pushed the tight shorts down until they had cleared his buttocks. He left them bunched up over his thighs.
“All the way Freeman. Let them fall to the floor,” Sgt Trueform slapped the slipper across his palm once more. He watched intently as, red-faced, the eighteen-year-old shoved them to his knees and let them slip down to his feet.
Sgt Trueform pretended not to notice Freeman’s long, thin cock, nestling in a hairy bush.
“Bend over, lad,” he snapped. “Touch toes lad. Not knees lad. Toes. All the way.”
It is not easy to take up the “touch toes” position, especially if like Freeman you were a dough boy, running to fat.
“Spread your legs, lad. Now touch toes.”
Freeman could not do it. He huffed and he puffed. He wheezed like a steam engine settling down. He could only get down as far as his knees. “Stay like that,” Sgt Trueform barked with exasperation. Freeman’s buttocks wobbled like jelly. If any boy would benefit from regular exercise it was him.
He was a tall boy when standing and bent like this he presented his bum at a perfect height to receive Sgt Trueform’s slipper. Freeman’s cock dangled in front of his upturned face emphasising to him his nakedness. Cold air wafted across his bare cheeks and suddenly he realised the sergeant and his two pals had a perfect view into his crack and hole. He shut his eyes tight.
Whap!!! The sergeant was delighted to see the sole of his size twelve plimsoll imprinted on Freeman’s left cheek. A deep pink pattern quickly emerged. The boy’s hands rose from his knees and in a panic he stopped himself just in time from jumping to his feet to rub away the sting.
“Steady lad. Stay down,” Sgt Trueform growled. He waited for Freeman to resume the position. Head down, bottom jutting out. Whap!! The rubber sole pounded into the right buttock. Now he had two identical footprints across his bum.
The next whack went higher on the left cheek. Then lower on the right. After twelve swats no square inch of Freeman’s buttocks were un-toasted. The pink was turning to red, and even mauve in some places. Sgt Trueform grinned. He rubbed the palm of his hand across Freeman’s left cheek. “I could warm my cold hands,” he said enigmatically. “Stand up lad.”
Freeman rose. He had never sat down on an open coal fire, but he imagined if he ever did, it would feel like this. His bum was blistered. “Shorts up. Stand by the wall,” Sgt Trueform ordered. As Freeman ruefully tugged up his shorts and gave his bum a couple of furtive rubs, the sergeant barked, “Hardy. Take his place.”
All colour had drained from Joe Hardy. He watched awestruck as Freeman shuffled across the room and stood by the wall. Hardy had been given a perfect view of his pal’s torment. His own legs shook as he tried to move forward. He didn’t think he could take such a slippering.
Sgt Trueform read the eighteen-year-old’s mind. “Bend over. You can keep your shorts up. But if you ever come back here again, you’ll know what to expect.” Hardy almost gasped with relief. He took a deep breath and stretched down. He was slimmer than Freeman and had little difficulty touching his toes.
Sgt Trueform watched him go. The cotton shorts were truly short – not much longer than undershorts older men wore – they clung to the contours of Hardy’s bottom. The white shorts gleamed. Evidence, if any were needed, that Hardy had not been on a muddy cross-country run that afternoon.
Hardy clenched his buttocks tightly, now his bum was as hard as a rubber ball, it was protecting itself from the expected onslaught. Hardy sucked down a mouthful of saliva, his heart pounded through his thin vest. He felt a slight tap-tap of the rubber sole across his stretched bottom, the sergeant was finding his aim. Hardy’s shoulders tensed. The slipper was lifted away, Hardy bit down on his lower lip. There was a pause, but not much of one and then WHACK! the sound of plimsoll against tight flesh resounded around the room. The shock pushed the teenager forward, his fingers flew from his toes, his knees buckled and he almost toppled over.
Sgt Trueform hadn’t said but Hardy knew instinctively the punishment for standing up would be extra whacks. With something akin to a superhuman effort he forced his fingers back to the toecaps of his own plimsolls. His bum burned, his head throbbed and blood raced through his arteries.
Sgt Trueform was taking no prisoners that afternoon. He laid the second whack harder and tried not to show the enthusiasm he felt. The victim bent over submissively before him gasped with the shock of the impact. The lad’s hips twisted and his knees creased. The sergeant took aim for the third stroke.
Joe Hardy felt a certain pride after the twelfth stroke landed on the underside of his left cheek. It missed most of the thin cotton shorts and fell on naked flesh. The pain was excruciating; he would have difficulties sitting for the rest of the day, his bum was roaring hot, but it was over now. He had survived. His head was close to exploding, his face and neck were as scarlet as his backside. The back of his singlet was drenched with perspiration. His throat was parched and his temples pulsated. He was a wreck, but he had come through. His grey eyes blazed but no tear had trickled down his face.
“Stand up!” Sgt Trueform bellowed. “Back to the wall. Willis, take his place.” Hardy stretched his back and staggered to the upright position, he shocked himself when he stumbled with his first step and almost went tumbling to the ground. He was so concerned about getting himself safely to the edge of the room that he didn’t notice his pal John Willis was rooted. Tears washed all colour from his face.
“Willis!” Sgt Trueform jeered, “I’m waiting lad! Get yourself over here!”
“No sergeant, no sergeant, no. Please,” Willis begged. “No, please.”
“Now boy!” the master snorted.
Joe Hardy and Harry Freeman exchanged glances. Willis was a funk. He couldn’t take it. He was pleading to be let off.
“Couldn’t I do lines sir. Detention. Anything,” panic was rising in his voice and Willis wrung his hands pleading.
“Bend over lad!” Sgt Trueform squeezed the size twelve plimsoll in his hands. His muscles tensed and his face snarled. “Don’t test me boy!”
John Willis had lost it. Tears flowed down his face and his shoulders heaved. “No. No. No,” was all he could sob.
“Lads,” Sgt Trueform addressed Freeman and Hardy. “Grab him. Hold him down over the bench.” He nodded across the room to a low wooden structure.
Joe Hardy and Harry Freeman did not utter a word to each other. But they communicated nonetheless. Both were nursing sore backsides. They had taken their whackings. Freeman’s was on the bare. They had all skived the cross-country run, they had all been caught, they all deserved punishment, why should John Willis get away with it?HardyH
Without hesitation, Hardy moved forward and gripped Willis by the left elbow. Freeman took his cue from his pal and grabbed the right. Together they dragged a howling Willis across the floor. The boy’s feet slipped against the cold ground as he failed to get traction to resist.
Within seconds they were at the bench.
“Face down,” Sgt Trueform ordered. “Hold him steady.”
Two boys were always going to be stronger than one. John Willis had no chance. He was upended and dumped unceremoniously along the bench. It was about ten feet long and two wide, there was ample room to take the eighteen-year-old schoolboy.
“Shorts down?” Freeman asked a little too eagerly.
Sgt Trueform glared at the writhing Willis. What a coward the lad was. Couldn’t even take a spanking. His two pals had followed his orders and accepted their punishment. They were fine men. Fine English men. But what about this other snivelling wretch? He had known men like Willis in the Army. Weaklings, quitters, defeatists, deserters. How he hated them all. They would always let you down.
“Shorts down, serge?” Hardy was ready to rip them from the teenager’s backside. Sgt Trueform’s heart sped. Bare-arsed. Yes, he would love to whip the boy bare-arsed. That would show him. Show him who was the boss. Who was the master and who was the subordinate.
Willis wriggled and writhed, he hollered and screamed. The yells were so intense the sergeant feared he would be heard all across the playing fields and back in the main school buildings. Any moment someone might burst into the changing room attracted by the racket wondering whether a murder was being committed.
Sgt Trueform wanted dearly to beat Willis’s bare bum black and blue but he was a realist. The school allowed him a great freedom when dealing with the boys. It was a traditional school, health sports and healthy discipline were high in its priorities, but even St FIGS might baulk at the sight of two senior boys holding a third over a bench while the sports master spanked his naked buttocks with a heavy plimsoll.
“Better leave them up lads,” he sighed and then with more gusto, he added, “This time.”
Freeman took the shoulders and Hardy the legs. That way they were clear of Willis’s torso and bottom. The sergeant had clear access to his prey. He stood towering over the prostrate boy. Willis was a smallish lad with narrow shoulders and slender hips but his bottom was round and ample. When he stood it jutted out behind him and some people said it looked like the tail of a bird. Now, with Willis flat on his stomach, the buttocks were presented as two hillocks, full and fleshy.
The sergeant took a deep breath, tensed the muscles in his forearm, laid the slipper across Willis’s left cheek, then he raised the rubber-soled plimsoll high and hammered it home. The boy’s wail outperformed a banshee. It sent a cold shiver up Harry Freeman’s spine but he pressed down harder onto Willis’s shoulder; he wasn’t letting the coward free.
“Keep him pinned down,” Sgt Trueform encouraged. Harry Freeman was so strong and Willis so weak there was no chance of escape. Harry felt the bones in the shoulder of the boy beneath him. From his vantage point he had a perfect bird’s-eye view of Willis’s buttocks.
Harry’s eyes swivelled from sports master to prostrate boy; from the hand holding the slipper, to the plump backside about to receive it. The next whack cut across the boy’s bottom raising dust from the stretched cotton of his shorts. Willis tried to kick his legs up and down and to summon the strength to lift himself free of the bench, but Hardy had a firm grip of his ankles.
Harry Freeman swallowed hard as he caught sight of the stern, impassive look on Sgt Trueform’s face, and the icy coldness of his blue eyes, as the sports master assessed the impact of each whack and took time to determine which part of Willis’s bottom would be the target of the next smack.
Willis’s entire body was quaking; his backside was quivering and wobbling; even spasmodically jerking.
The twelve whacks that Sgt Trueform pounded across Willis’s backside were no more severe that those Freeman and Hardy had received, but by the eighth stroke the boy was hollering to be let off. Screaming, and writhing and twisting as much as Harry Freeman’s heavy hands would allow.
Then, the beating over John Willis gradually ceased his screaming. Freeman and Hardy released their grips and embarrassed shuffled across to the other side of the room. They stood unsure what to do next. Had they been dismissed? Should they get dressed and go home?
Willis was crying. Quietly. Tears rolling down his cheeks. Trying to suppress any sound and unable to stop the sobbing. Neither could he stop the sniffing nor the noise in the back of his throat as his body tried to gulp in the air his lungs needed between sobs. He was trying to keep as quiet as possible but the noise was deafening.
Picture credits: Both Sting Pictures
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Charles Hamilton the Second