When I was younger so much younger than today I had a lot of different jobs. It was my choice. You could in those days. I might spend the summer at the seaside and Christmas in a department store or lugging mailsacks for the post office. I loved it. Moving around, never in the same place for long. I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea but I was young. I was free.
One summer when I was close to twenty I fetched up at Brusque-on-Sea a resort on the south coast. It wasn’t exactly California, but we had a very sunny season which was unusual for England. I met a girl who was also moving around and … But that’s not what my story’s about.
I got a job in a large fish-and-chip shop. Chip shops, as they were known were all the rage at the time. Fish and chips was a very popular traditional meal at the time. Not so nowadays; there are so many different takeaways now. I blame McDonald’s.
Like I said it was very busy and most of the time we had queues running from the counter out into the street and across to the promenade. Hustle, bustle. Everyone was on their holiday, out to have a good time and money to spend. It was all cash, of course. Long before credit cards really took off and naturally none of this contactless payment lark.
Of course I wasn’t paid much. There was enough to pay for this sweaty room I rented in a run-down part of town. It was well away from the holidaymakers and where a lot of us itinerant workers stayed. I had enough for food and pleasures but not much more. Not, that I cared. I had simple pleasures and one of them was called Carol (if I remember correctly, there were so many in those days).
So, I was paid alright, but of course I wanted more. I am absolutely certain I wasn’t the only one in the chip shop on the fiddle. You know, pocketing the occasional coin. Not too much that would be noticed. But the five and ten pences soon added up.
I didn’t tell any of the other guys at the shop what I was up to. But one night back at the rooming house I let on to Roger. Roger was like me, a wanderer, going from town to town. He was much older than me, well into his thirties at least. A right old man. I don’t know why I told him, bravado, I suppose. I wanted someone to know how clever I was. I couldn’t tell Carol, she was a good girl, she wouldn’t want to go out with a thief.
Roger was a weird sort. I should have realised that by just looking at him. He was tall and broad-shouldered with unruly thick brown hair down past his shoulders and a shaggy beard that hadn’t seen scissors for years. You might have said he looked like an Old Testament prophet, but back in those days there were still a lot of hippies about. A lot of people, especially down on the coast that summer, were wearing flowers in their hair.
So I told him, quite calmly. I wasn’t especially boasting, just talking. Shooting the breeze. I don’t know what happened. It was like throwing a switch. Suddenly, his grey eyes blazed, his sun-burnt face went a deep shade of puce and he was on his feet waving his arms around. You know those fellers you sometimes see on the High Street on Saturdays bashing their bibles and proclaiming the wrath of god. Telling us all sinners are going to hell. Well, to Roger I was that sinner. He ranted. Real, proper ranting. Yelling. Screaming almost. I couldn’t follow what he was saying but there were a few numbers tucked away in there so I reckon he was quoting the Bible at me; chapter and verse.
He had me shaking I can tell you. It wasn’t a large room and with him waving those arms and me quaking on the bed there wasn’t much space for much else. At last – at very long last – he seemed to calm. He was still talking ten to the dozen but at least by now I could understand what he was saying.
“You must give the money back. Confess. Tell your boss. Repent.”
When I could get a word in edgeways I scoffed. “Tell him! No way. Why? He’ll only sack me.” It was true I suppose. I don’t think he would’ve bothered with the police. For all I knew there was probably pilfering going on all the time. I would be out of a job though. No doubt about that. “No,” I confirmed to Roger, “I’m not giving it back.”
That set him off again. “Criminal!, outlaw!” and much beside he raged before settling on, “Sinner!” I let him let of steam for a while (I didn’t have much choice). I hoped he would run out of puff and hop it back to his own room. Carol got off work in a hour and we were going to find a quiet bush somewhere for a little R&R.
Then Roger dropped the bombshell, “I’ll tell him myself. I’ll go in the morning, first thing. You can’t get away with it. Sinner!” That took the wind out of my sails, but obviously not his, because he ranted on about wickedness and he threw a few more verses at me.
In time I managed to tell him that grassing on me would not be a good thing. I would lose my job, no rent, no room, destitute. I must say I ladled it on thick. I reckoned Roger was so crazy that he would go and do it. His steely grey eyes gazed at me. His stare burned. I shuddered. He had at least shut up but now I found the silence more terrifying than the ranting. I could see his mind ticking over. He was thinking. A dangerous thing with Roger. He was coming up with a plan.
He quoted more Bible at me. Wrath of God stuff again. Retribution, and all that. I had sinned, I must repent. I must be punished. He let the word punished hang in the air. You could cut the atmosphere with a butter knife. He towered over me, as a reflex I slouched back on the bed so I was almost on my bed.
“Punishment!” he bellowed. He stuck his thumbs under a heavy, wide leather belt that kept his dirty serge trousers aloft. Suddenly, an icicle ran along my spine. He wanted to whip me. “Now hang on,” I wriggled across the bed on my bum to get as much distance between us as I could. It wasn’t much. He could easily reach over and grab me. I was a pretty fit guy in those days but Roger had height and strength; I wouldn’t bet on me if it came to a fight. He was about to do me serious damage.
“Spare the rod and spoil the child,” he wheezed. I had not been near a Bible since I was eight and mum and dad used to send me to Sunday school to get rid of me for a couple of hours but I recognised those words. Roger gripped the clasp of the silver buckle of his belt and with hands as huge as shovels he fumbled with it. In a second his belt was undone then with vast dramatic sweep he pulled the belt free of his hands. It was easily three feet long and a couple of inches wide. It was a terrific weapon. He folded it in half and brandished it at me. Instinctively I backed away but the wall prevented my escape. Terrified, I raised my arms in defence and buried my head in them, bracing myself for the first lash. I even think I was whimpering.
But the belt did not fly. “No,” Roger spoke gently. “Not like that,” I peered through my arms at him. His face was set like granite. He was a man on a mission. A man with a duty to perform. A duty to perform for God. “You must be punished,” he exclaimed, “You will be punished,” he emphasised. “But,” he reached over me and pulled my arm away from my face, “you will submit to punishment.”
I shuddered. I had never felt so overpowered in my life. He had personality and brute strength, a lethal combination at a time like that. I wasn’t being rational, but if I had been I would have realised that if he attacked me wildly with that belt he could cause me severe injury. It might be better to submit to his will. I wasn’t being rational, I didn’t think it through. I didn’t weigh up the pros and cons. I made no balance sheet; there was no profit and loss account. I lost my head and sobbed uncontrollably.
It was almost like an out-of-body experience. People had them in those days but they were usually chemically induced. I wasn’t on drugs, but I might well have been, I seemed to lose all control. “I want you,” Roger snarled, “to stand up.” I did as I was told. “Now,” he snapped, “do exactly as I tell you.” I may have nodded my agreement but I certainly did not speak. “Take down your jeans.” As he ordered this he lent forward and put two pillows one on top of the other in the middle of the bed. It was an old, creaky narrow bed and the they reached almost across the entire width. Once he completed that task he paused, perhaps for effect. Maybe he was a drama queen, I don’t know.
I had already twigged his game so I wasn’t surprised at all when he commanded, “Lay across the pillows. Stretch out. Lift your bottom high.” I am not making this up. This Old Testament geezer wanted me, a twenty-year-old man to lay across the pillows so he would whip me on the arse with his belt. Can you believe it?
Can you also believe what I did next. Don’t ask me why. I should have smacked him on the jaw. I should have fought him and taken my chances. There was a half full bottle of milk on the side I could have crashed it over his skull. There are so many things I could have done. I did none of them. No, meekly, I popped the button on the top of my jeans and pulled the zipper. My jeans fitted me much better than Roger’s trousers fitted him so I needed no belt. The weight of keys and the stolen coins in my pocket and the law of gravity sent the jeans hurtling down my legs.
“Bend over the pillows,” he growled and snapped the leather belt between his hands sending a resounding crack! echoing off the walls of the small room. I did it. I submitted myself to Roger. I climbed on the bed and stretched my arms ahead of me. Like this, my face was pressed into the mattress. I almost gagged on the smell of stale sweat and mouldy cum. I couldn’t see Roger but I heard his feet scrape on the broken floorboards. He was moving closer to the bed.
I wore a summer, open necked shirt and I felt Roger’s large, rough hand grip the end of it and pull it up towards my shoulders. I felt a breeze from the open window brush against my naked flesh. But it wasn’t that that sent the shiver up my spine. That came when Roger took hold of the waistband of my underpants and without a word tugged them over my hips. I was lying flat on the pillows and the weight of my body obstructed any future movement. I felt a sharp sting on my right buttock, it was the palm of Roger’s hand. “Up,” he growled. I raised my midriff an inch or so and he tugged the pants all the way down to meet the jeans at my shins. I made no protest.
I heard but could make no sense of Roger’s mumblings. Was he talking to me, giving me instructions? His final “Amen,” suggested he had been on the hotline to his God.
I heard the crack of the leather smacking into my naked buttocks a second or so before I felt the intense burn. He got me squarely across both cheeks right on the peaks of the mounds. I was like he had taken a stick out of a fire and pressed it into me. I yelled. Oh, how I yelled; to bring the house down. What must the other tenants have thought? Not that I was thinking about them at the moment, all I was concerned about was the blaze in my bum.
Roger sent two more cracks in quick succession: bang!-bang! One higher than the first, the other lower. I buckled under the pain. My knees bent, my arms flailed, my head butted up and down. I couldn’t yell. I had no breath, every last gasp had been squeezed out of my body. Roger pressed against my back, pinning me face down. Was he using his arm, or his knee? It felt so tough it might well have been his knee. Either way I was going nowhere.
Needless to say I had never been spanked in my life. I wasn’t that sort of kid. I was quite happy go lucky. I was resourceful and never asked much from people. I left school at the first opportunity and had been on the road ever since. I did not deserve to be treated like this. Except, of course, I did. I was a thief, an habitual thief. I stole money again and again. Without remorse. I did it because I could. I did it because I got away with it. Until now.
I’d never thought about it but my bum was hard and meaty. It could absorb a lot of heat. In a sense it was built for spanking; well padded with lots of nerve ends. I don’t suppose I took my spanking well, I was a novice after all. A virgin if you will. I was sobbing from the moment Roger took off his belt and I didn’t let up until he looped it back on his trousers. My mouth was so close to the mattress that soon I was gagging on my own spit. My coughs and splutters did not deter Roger, a man on a mission. I didn’t even have the resources to plead for mercy. Not that he would have granted any.
I wriggled and writhed, I must have looked like I was trying to swim off the bed. Somehow, my inner self must have told me I would take this thrashing as best I could. At one point I buried my face in my arms and resolved to let him get on with it. It will be over before too long, I told myself. The fire in my bum will be extinguished soon.
I have no idea how many lashes Roger gave me. Later when I was left alone I saw the whole of my buttocks, right from the base of my spine to the backs of my thighs was a mass of cuts. When gingerly I traced my fingertips across the apex of the mounds they felt like badly bruised peaches. The outline of the belt was embossed across my bum and was most visible on the outer edges, especially on my thighs. The agony was intense while he was whipping me with each additional swipe increasing the level of pain. But, astonishingly, the moment he stopped the pain started to subside. It was as if someone had brought a bucket of water and thrown it on the fire. It quickly became an intense throb and I discovered I could reignite the flames by pressing my fingers into the wounds. For hours later I had the same experience whenever I tried to sit on a hard surface. The throbbing eventually evaporated into a warm glow.
Roger had the strength of an ox; a team of oxen, even. He could have beaten me senseless. Would I have let him? I truly cannot be sure. At last he judged that I had had enough. I was certainly spent. I was ready to repent. Anything to stop the whipping.
Eventually – it felt to me like hours, but later I realised it was about ten minutes – Roger stopped. There was hardly a bead of sweat on his forehead, although it was a warm summer’s evening. “Will you confess to your boss?” it was phrased as a question, but he meant it as an order. “Yes, yes, sorry, sorry,” I gasped, eager to give him anything he wanted. That seemed to satisfy him and he stormed from the room like a man on a mission. For all I knew there was another tenant in the rooming house he wanted to screw up.
I didn’t confess, of course. I carried on in the same old way. You might say that the severe belting didn’t change a thing. But the bruises stayed with me for days and so curtailed my love life. How could I explain it to Carol? (I let her think I had a social disease). I suppose all I learned from the experience was never to confide in Roger again.
Picture credit: Unknown
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Also writing school stories as Scholastic here
Charles Hamilton the Second