In the latest free-of-charge book offering we revisit St Francis Independent Grammar School. St FIGS is a traditional school – traditional curriculum; traditional sports; traditional uniform and traditional discipline. We meet John Allison, eighteen years old and a new boy at school, as he discovers just what that means.
The thwack of the cane against stretched buttocks echoes through the passageways. No naughty sixth-former is spared a throbbing backside. As John himself will soon find out.
The book runs for more than 23,000 words and can be downloaded by clicking the link below. The PDF file can be read on computers, laptops and a variety of e-book readers.
Dr Henderson-Smith the headmaster was at his most self-important. Five hundred schoolboys sat in rapt attention.
The headmaster, dressed in a rather old-fashioned academic gown, berated his boys. He was a commanding figure, tall, grim, stiff as a ram-rod. His white moustache bristled and his knitted white brows frowned.
The headmaster had centre stage and the old ham actor was enjoying his moment. The topic of his sermon was snowballs; and the throwing thereof. The dangers of eyes poked out by shards of ice. Damp clothes and influenza.
He wrapped his academic gown around his body giving the appearance of a crow about to take flight. “I do not have to spell out the consequences to any boy found throwing snow.”
Undeniably he did not. St Francis Independent Grammar was a traditional school. It had traditional classes, traditional sports, traditional uniform and traditional discipline. An errant boy could expect a very sore backside indeed.
It was proving to be one of the worst winters on record. Brocklehurst had been carpeted with snow for most of December and January. It had stopped snowing for a while, but forecasters predicted more to come.
That evening George Baker, sixth-form pupil and prefect at St Francis, stared from his bedroom window. The snow was falling once more. He tucked a hot water bottle beneath his sheets and dived under the blankets. Shivering in bed, he went through a plan in his head. He had been thinking about it for months. Maybe, he thought, one day, he would put the plan into operation.
The next day Dr Henderson-Smith sat in his study. The school day was completed. The open fire roared, but there was still a chill in the air. He busied himself preparing a composition to inflict on his Upper VI Latin class. His concentration was disturbed by a dull thudding noise. He paused from his labours, uncertain what it was that he had heard.
Then, there it was again. Thud. Something had connected with the outside of the study window.
“What the Dickens?” the headmaster said aloud, even though he was alone in the room. When a third thud followed, he was certain he had solved the mystery.
A handful of snow was slithering down the outside of the window.
He rushed over and peered through the now-misty glass.
“What the …?” This time he failed to complete the sentence. Below his study window, in his clear view was a boy throwing snow. Dr Henderson-Smith watched dumbfounded as the boy crouched down, scooped snow into his hand, fashioned it into a ball, and then threw it, seemingly at random at passing pupils.
The boy was clearing disobeying the headmaster’s instruction. No snowballs. Dr Henderson-Smith stared with radioactive eyes. Then he threw open the window and roared, “Baker, my study. This instance!”
The boy dropped the snow he was fashioning for another missile and turned to face the noise.
“Yes, Sir,” he said meekly and moved to enter the building.
The headmaster closed the window and sat at his desk, dumbfounded. He had caught George Baker throwing snowballs in clear violation of the headmaster’s expressed instructions.
George Baker? Sixth-former and prefect. The boy was in the headmaster’s Latin class. He was among the brightest boys in the school and was destined to go up to one of the country’s top universities.
There was a timid knock on the heavy oak door of the study. Baker had arrived.
“Enter!” Dr Henderson-Smith bellowed. Slowly, the door inched open and a head appeared. It was a small head topped with short curly black hair. The face was flushed; possibly caused by freezing cold air; or possibly because its owner, one George Baker, knew he was in serious trouble. Very serious trouble indeed.
“Don’t dawdle boy!” Dr Henderson-Smith was incapable of speaking at a normal volume. “Close the door, you are letting the warmth escape.”
Baker edged his way into the room, closed the door behind him and halted, unsure what to do next.
He eyed the headmaster resplendent in his academic gown, seated behind a huge oak desk. The boy had never been in this room before. There had been no reason for him to visit. Particularly not for the purpose that had brought him today. Baker found the dense oak panelling intimidating. The room was gloomy even during bright sunny days, but now, in the bleak mid-winter, it felt like the inside of a cave.
“Stand there boy!” the headmaster pointed very deliberately to a point on a worn rug in front of his desk. Generations of schoolboys had shuffled their feet on this spot. It was the first phase of a ritual played out over possibly hundreds of years at St Francis. This was where every sorrowful boy stopped and stood, head bowed, to await his fate.
The second phase was the “jawing.” The headmaster berated the woeful boy for his misbehaviours. Dr Henderson-Smith had perfected his own style: pomposity. He aimed his steely eyes at Baker like a weapon.
“Were you not in att-end-ance at morn-ing ass-emb-er-ley yes-ter-day morn-er-ing?” the headmaster strung out every syllable for dramatic effect. This way, he believed, he struck terror into his boys.
Baker listened confused. When Dr Henderson-Smith spoke this way it could be difficult to follow what he was saying.
The eighteen-year-old sixth-former took a stab at a reply.
“Yes, Sir.” It was not a detailed response, but the boy hoped it would do in the circumstances.
“Pah!” It was an explosion. Air rushed through the headmaster’s lips. His snowy white moustache bristled; his eyebrows knotted. The outrage he felt was intense.
“And, yet!” Dr Henderson-Smith was barely in control. “And yet, you saw fit to disobey my clear instructions on the throwing of snowballs!” The headmaster was speaking more clearly now, but Baker was unsure if this was a rhetorical question. Was he supposed to answer?
He chose silence. He stared down at his feet and let his headmaster continue his denunciation.
“Never in my whole life as a headmaster,” he lied, “have I ever come across such wilful disobedience as this Baker. Never.”
Dr Henderson-Smith slapped the palm of his right hand on the desktop, startling young Baker who was intently studying the pattern on the rug.
“What do you have to say for yourself boy?”
Baker’s heart pounded. What could he say? He wished the headmaster would just get on with it.
“Well!” the headmaster screeched. He genuinely could not understand what Baker had been thinking.
“Sorry, Sir.” It was all he could think to say. He certainly couldn’t tell the truth.
“Pah!” It was another explosion of indignation. Sorry, the headmaster thought to himself. You soon will be.
“You leave me no choice, Baker.”
The boy raised his head. His grey-blue eyes shone as he watched the headmaster heave himself from his chair and pace the study. His destination was a corner cupboard. It was unlocked and within seconds the headmaster was rummaging round inside. His body blocked the teenager’s view, but he could hear a distinct rattling within.
Seconds later, Dr Henderson-Smith withdrew a curve-handled cane. Baker had seen many of these in the past; St Francis was that kind of school. But he had never before been on the receiving end of one. The headmaster looked attentively at the cane in his hands; as if seeing it for the first time. He murmured to himself and thoughtfully he flexed it between both hands. It was a little over three feet long and no thicker than a pencil.
Baker gawked from a distance. As school canes went it did not look especially vicious, he thought. He had seen longer and thicker ones. But, what this caning novice did not know was that in expert hands even a short thin cane could be made to deliver an excruciating sting. Dr Henderson-Smith was such an expert.
The headmaster turned to face the boy. He swished the cane through the air. If the swoosh! that it made was intended to intimidate the sixth-former it worked. For the first time that afternoon Baker wondered if disobedience had been such a good idea.
“Take you blazer off and hang it on the hook on the door.”
Baker wanted to comply with the order, but his fingers didn’t want to work. Was it the cold or his nerves, he wasn’t quite sure.
Eventually, the jacket was in place.
The headmaster swished the cane once more. “Stand in front of my desk.”
Baker had never been caned in his life, but he had heard enough tales from school friends to know that in a moment he would be bent across the desk, with his bum in the air to allow the headmaster to thwack six-of-the-best across the seat of his trousers. It would hurt like blazes. He expected that. That was after all the point of it all.
“Lower your trousers.”
Baker had not expected that and the pleading look in his eyes betrayed his feeling. He stood rooted.
“Lower your trousers boy!” the headmaster repeated, a little louder this time.
Still Baker could not move.
“If you do not submit yourself to corporal punishment, I shall contact your father and tell him you are suspended from school. Do you wish me to do that?” The headmaster spoke slowly and deliberately.
He hoped it would not come to that. What on Earth would Mr Baker make of the situation? His eighteen-year-old son in the headmaster’s study refusing to take a beating. His son who had never given a moment’s trouble before. He had never needed caning before; never been given detention; never been set lines. He had probably never been admonished for bad behaviour in his life.
“One last time Baker. Lower your trousers.”
Sweat from the boy’s palms transferred to the belt as with shaking hands he struggled to loosen it. He could feel blood racing through his body at great speed as he pulled the buttons of his trousers loose, exposing the white Y-front underpants beneath.
The mid-grey trousers slipped down to his knees. He waited for the next instruction. Dr Henderson-Smith had developed a cruel streak in his years as a headmaster. The youngster standing in front of him was terrified. Dear God, the boy would be thinking, please don’t make me take down my underpants. The headmaster waited a moment and then waited some more.
“Lift your pullover and shirt clear of your bottom and bend over the desk.” He tapped the cane gently across the hard oak desktop in case there was any doubt.
Even though blood coursed through his body, it drained from Baker’s face, making him look ghoulish.
The boy adjusted his clothing exposing a flat hairless stomach and stretched his arms out ahead of him, gripping the desk top with both hands and thrusting his bottom out.
“Not like that,” the headmaster was easily irritated when a boy did not present himself properly for a caning. “Right over. Flat on your stomach.”
Baker eased forward. It was a huge desk and it was a stretch for him to reach the far edge with his hands. Unsure what to do with his arms, he folded them and tried to bury his head.
“Put your hands on your head and keep them there,” the headmaster barked. “Do not move them and at no point try to protect yourself with your hands.”
Baker did as instructed. Hands on head worked. It was a surprisingly comfortable stance to take. Comfortable for now, but what happened next would be far from that.
Thinking about it later, Baker tried to imagine the scene. He was stretched across a huge oak desk; his trousers now at his ankles, revealing long, slim, slightly hairy legs. His shirt and pullover was pushed up and his midriff was bare. It was a cold room but he could feel the heat from the roaring open fire against his naked flesh. His white cotton underpants fitted snugly once the headmaster had tugged them tight against his buttocks.
His face was pressed down into the old oak desk. There was a faint aroma that he couldn’t identify; probably some kind of polish.
He waited, heart racing, teeth clenched, eyes tightly shut, while Mr Henderson Smith a powerful upright man and as strong as an ox adjusted his academic gown so he could get a better swing. Then Baker imagined, the headmaster preparing himself, flexing the cane.
He did not have to imagine his shudder of anticipation as the headmaster laid the cane across the centre of his buttocks and pressed it hard into the meat. He was getting his aim. The boy felt the cane move off his bum; then there was an almighty swish and it came crashing down, hitting his buttocks and sinking deep into the flesh.
Baker’s mouth opened and closed. “Hisssssssss.” It wasn’t a yell, it was almost silent. The sound of air being exhaled. The boy tightened his grip on his entwined fingers and pressed down on the top of his head.
Swipe number two was equally as hard and landed almost exactly on top of the first. That got Baker yelping. The pain shot from the centre of his bum and sped up and down his legs. He wriggled his hips and waggled his buttocks.
Two down. The pain was excruciating; so much more than Baker had expected. How could anyone take six strokes like this? Then, he panicked. Six? It was to be six wasn’t it? The headmaster hadn’t announced a tariff. Would it be more? Please God, no.
The third stroke interrupted his thoughts. It landed lower, across the crease. Each swipe had been laid on with vigour. Dr Henderson-Smith was giving it some beef. Each stroke had been an almighty swipe; he could have been beating a carpet. This one had the boy’s feet marching up and down on the spot. His bum felt swollen. He desperately wanted to jump up and rub away.
“Oh, no!” Baker thought it but did not say it aloud. Dr Henderson-Smith had taken hold of the elasticated waist of his underpants. “Please, no, don’t pull them down.”
He bit down into his bottom lip, stifling his desire to beg for mercy. But, he need not worry. The headmaster pulled the waistband of the Y-fronts away from the boy’s back to get a full view of his bare buttocks. He was inspecting the damage done so far.
What he saw were three deep red marks, across both cheeks, almost parallel to one another. A thick welt had formed where two of the strokes had landed nearly in the same place. If he struck that area again, it would surely bleed, he thought.
The headmaster was not a sadist. He believed in corporal punishment; not in torture. A caning should be well laid on, especially if the body on the receiving end was a senior boy, or a recidivist, a repeat offender. Intense pain should be inflicted and there should be marks that would stay for days, a reminder of the penalty for bad behaviour.
Dr Henderson-Smith did not wish to leave Baker’s buttocks bloodied, so for number four he took aim lower down, away from the danger area. It struck at the sensitive “sit spot,” where the cheeks met the thighs. That one had Baker hollering. Tears flowed. He head-butted the desk; he marched his feet up and down and twisted his hips and bottom; but none of it helped. The agony was intense and it was not going away any time soon.
Four strokes had been delivered in a carefully timed sequence. Sufficient time was allowed to elapse so the full force of a stroke could be felt before the next was sent crashing home. The final two were delivered in quick succession, and at intense speed. Whack-whack. The whippy rattan bounced off the tight cotton-covered buttocks. It sounded like two pistol shots echoing around the ancient study.
George Baker thought he might faint. His scorched bottom felt like the headmaster had forced him to sit in the open fire. When the headmaster delivered the final cut to the boy he rested the cane on the desktop and waited for the final throaty scream to recede. For what seemed an age neither the headmaster nor the thrashed boy spoke or moved.
The only noise in the room was the continued quiet sobbing of George Baker, still bent across the desk.
Dr Henderson-Smith brushed his hand across the boy’s shoulder. “You may get up now,” he said softly.
Unsteadily, Baker lifted himself off the desk. His backside felt twice its normal size. He rubbed gently and even through the cotton underpants he could feel at least two distinct deep weals. The surface of his bum felt hard, like leather.
Tears still trickled from his eyes, but he was in control of himself now. Gingerly, he pulled up his trousers and tucked in his shirt. He could not bear to look at the headmaster. He wanted to get out of the study without delay.
While Baker struggled into his blazer, Dr Henderson-Smith reached into the drawer of his desk, extracted the punishment book and entered the details.
“Sign,” he pushed the book and a ball-point pen across the desk. The headmaster wanted this to end swiftly too.
“You are dismissed.”
Dr Henderson-Smith stood at the study window perplexed and watched Baker walk through the quadrangle and out of the school gates.
Twenty minutes later at home in his cold bedroom George Baker inspected the damage. The pain had gone, but his bottom was tender to touch. It might be a bit uncomfortable sitting on a hard dining room chair at tea time.
So, he thought, that’s what it felt like to get the cane. It would have been a pity to have gone through his whole school career at St FIGS without knowing. He picked up the Football Monthly, eased himself down on the bed and flicked through its pages.
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Brother Sebastian grew impatient. It was cold and starting to rain. Soon it would be dark. Where were those two boys? The others had returned ages ago.
Brother Sebastian paced around the carpark. He paused and looked at his watch. He would give it another five minutes before he informed the headmaster. Where were they? He hoped they had not come to harm. Would the police have to be informed? What would their parents say?
The seconds hand on his watch crawled. Three more minutes then he would give up.
Then he saw them turning a corner in the street: two sixth-formers dressed in physical training kit; white shorts and green-and-gold singlet, the colours of St Francis Independent Grammar School.
“Come on boys!” he barked angrily; although inside he felt intense relief: not that the boys were back safely, rather that he would not have any awkward explaining to do to Dr Henderson-Smith, the headmaster.
It had started as just a routine physical training class. Twenty-two boys had set off on a road run; two miles around the streets of town. There was nothing to it; even the most non-sporting of the boys, and there were many of them in the sixth-form, could cope with that.
“Allison, Howard! Where have you been!” Brother Sebastian shouted across the car park as the boys passed through the school gates. But before they could answer, he shouted, “Get in the changing room now, both of you. This instance.”
Sorrowfully, the two eighteen year olds lumbered into the building.
Moments later Brother Sebastian was pacing the room while two sheepish teenagers stood arms at their side in acute embarrassment.
“Why has it taken you so long to complete the route? Where have you been? What have you been up to?”
Alan Howard, the tallest of the pair, blushed. If Brother Sebastian discovered the truth they would be in the most frightful trouble.
“Well answer me. Allison? Howard?”
But both boys stared at their feet; not daring to catch the Brother’s eye.
“Doh!” Brother Sebastian was losing his temper. “Look at me when I’m talking to you. Where have you been?”
Then, John Allison made a fatal mistake. He raised his head, looked at Brother Sebastian, and simply said, “Sorry, Brother.”
That was enough. Brother Sebastian sniffed the air. What! Beer. He could smell alcohol on the boy’s breath.
He exploded, “Have you two been drinking!” Then he answered his own question, “You have! Beer! You’ve been drinking beer. I can’t believe this.”
Brother Sebastian was a young man himself, only twenty-five years old, but when he got into a paddy he could reprimand a boy like a schoolmaster twice his age.
His open, some might say cherubic, face turned puce as he bawled the boys out. What stupidity. What irresponsibility. What would their parents say?
John Allison’s eyes moistened as he desperately tried to stop the tears from flowing. It would be bad enough to blub in front of the Brother but if his friends got to hear about him crying like a six year old because the Brother scolded him, he would never hear the end of it.
“Darn it,” the Brother’s anger was intense. “Both of you go take a shower and then when I want you to dry off and return to me wearing only your towels.”
John began to mouth a protest, but catching sight of the Brother’s fiercely-burning eyes he thought better of it. He had only recently joined the sixth-form at St Francis, but in the short time he had been a pupil he had discovered a boy must never, repeat never, argue with a master.
Miserably the two boys stripped off their shorts and singlets and stepped into the showers.
No words were spoken between the two boys. They were great friends and had shared an adventure that afternoon; when word spread around the sixth-form they would become mini-heroes.
It had been a simple plan. For weeks the sixth-formers had been daring one another to do it. It was the kind of dare adolescent boys make all the time. Mostly, though sanity prevails and they come to their senses in time.
When they were next forced on the road run, someone should stop off at the pub for a pint of beer mid-way round. It was that simple; and anyone with an ounce of sense could see it was a pretty pointless thing to do. It was not as if they were getting one over on the schoolmasters; they were not gaining an advantage. It was not as if they were stealing the answers ahead of the examinations. Now, that would be something.
So, Alan and John decided that afternoon would be when they made their names. The King’s Head pub was only one street off the route, so no major detour was needed. It was the middle of the afternoon and the bar was almost deserted.
The barman, busy drying glasses, looked up in amusement as he heard the door swing open and saw two teenagers in sports kit daring one another to enter.
“Good afternoon gents. What’ll it be?”
Trevor the barman could not give a stuff. He saw straight away from the colours of their singlets they were from the local grammar school. They might be eighteen and legally entitled to drink and then again they might not.
“Two pints of bitter please,” the taller of the two boys said with a confidence he did not really feel.
Wordlessly, Trevor pulled the pints and set them down on the bar. He had a fair idea what was going on. It was some kind of dare by the schoolboys.
“Do you want me to sign a beer mat for you?”
The puzzlement on the boys’ faces gave Trevor much joy.
“There’s no point in doing this unless you can prove to the lads that you’ve been here, is there?”
Oh. The boys understood.
It took longer to drink a pint of beer than they expected and then with bellies full of gas they found they could not run without getting a terrible stitch.
Trevor smiled to himself. They would get found out for sure. Did they still whack the kid’s arses with a cane at the grammar school, he wondered.
Good job if they did: he hated them all.
Brother Sebastian paced the changing room waiting for the boys to finish their showers. What could he do with the pair? They deserved the most severe punishment. He had only been at St Francis’s since the beginning of term, but he knew it was a traditional school and that meant traditional discipline.
After five minutes, showered and dried, Allison and Howard emerged from the shower room. As instructed each boy had a large white bath towel tied around the waist.
“Stand there, both of you,” Brother Sebastian pointed to a spot in the middle of the changing room.
He paced in front of them. “You know what this means? I have to report you to the headmaster and he will flog you severely. He might even suspend you both. I can’t let this go.” He threw up his arms in exasperation.
“Please don’t do that Brother Sebastian. Our parents will find out. Please, we’re sorry!” Alan jabbered.
Brother Sebastian had some sympathy. The boys had behaved irresponsible and must be punished. But the final school examinations were not far away; did they deserve to be suspended? What could he do?
A heavy rubber plimsoll applied with great force across the backsides would be the solution.
“Ok, boys. You don’t want to be suspended?”
At last, a ray of hope. The boys brightened up. “What do we have to do, Brother Sebastian?” asked Alan.
The Brother moved a chair out into the middle of the room. Brother Sebastian had been no stranger to discipline himself when he had been younger. Even through his teen years wilful disobedience had been punished by a trip across his father’s knee for a stinging session with a flat backed hairbrush on his bared bottom. He recalled those sessions all too well. The hot sting of those spankings had taught him to behave.
“Boys; here’s the deal. You violated a very important rule. It is forbidden to visit pubs or drink alcohol. You deliberately broke the rule and you intended to make a fool of me and of the school.”
John Allison tried to interject, “Oh no Brother.” It was not true that they tried to make a fool of the Brother. That had never been the intention. They liked Brother Sebastian a lot; none of the boys would want to humiliate him.
“Quiet,” Brother Sebastian was getting into his stride. “But, if you accept my punishment, we’ll forget about this little escapade of yours.”
Brother Sebastian fell silent. Now, it was time for the boys to speak.
John went first, “How do you intend to punish us, Brother,” he asked, but he could see the chair in the middle of the floor was a clue to the answer.
Brother Sebastian felt himself begin to blush, “Both of you, right here, right now, take a good hard spanking. You drop those towels, bend over this chair and take your licking. Then we forget about this. Well, what will it be?”
Both sets of jaws dropped. Eyes grew big as saucers.
“A…a spanking, Brother Sebastian?” John Allison was shaking his head in disbelief.
“You heard me. Or, you can go to the headmaster, first thing in the morning. And then it’s a flogging and a suspension.”
For a minute they stood still, thinking it over. Alan Howard knew that if he was suspended his parents were sure to find out. They were a traditional Christian family and he would get a severe thrashing from his father. Whatever he chose: Brother Sebastian’s punishment slippering or the headmaster’s suspension, Alan would end up with a very sore backside. He knew from painful experiences the severity of his father’s beatings. However hard Brother Sebastian spanked him it would not be in the same league as a whipping from his father. And, if the Brother punished him there would be no reason for his father to know. The Brother’s offer was the best offer on the table.
Finally he spoke, “Our parents won’t find out, right?”
“That’s right. It ends here. So decide. I don’t have all night and you boys have to get home.”
The boys looked at each other. Alan turned toward Brother Sebastian and shrugged. “I’m in,” he said, lifting his chin in an act of teenage bravado. “How do you want me?”
“Alan!” John squealed.
“Oh, John, don’t be such a baby,” said Alan. “I’m ready, Brother.”
All colour drained from John’s face. It was all right for Alan, he thought, he was always getting his arse whacked at home; he was used to it. He had never been spanked in his life. Before he came to St Francis he had been at a progressive school; corporal punishment was unheard of. And, it would never occur to his father to spank him, no matter how much of a brat John could be sometimes.
It took the Brother only seconds to fetch the slipper from the cupboard. Alan’s eyes shone at the sight of the plimsoll. It must be size twelve at least. Did it belong to a giant? Did the brother intend to hit him with that? The heavy sole would smash his bare arse to pieces. Perhaps, this spanking was not going to be as easy to take as he had hope.
“Come over here stand facing the chair,” Brother Sebastian said, pointing at the chair’a wooden seat. Alan moved over with slow steps to stand at the Brother’s right. “Ok, Howard, drop the towel.”
Alan let the towel slip to the floor. Any doubts that this eighteen-year-old schoolboy was anything but a young adult were dispelled. He put both hands at his crotch. He was well-built and stood at nearly six feet tall. His chest was hairless and in the cold of the changing room his nipples hardened. He had long legs and a slender torso with slim hips, but a cute apple-cheeked bottom prominently set off from his long legs. Brother Sebastian aimed to thoroughly redden that pert bum to teach this young man a lesson.
“Over the chair,” he said.
Alan bent forward slightly and took a firm grip on both sides of the chair’s seat. “Further down, legs apart. Give me something to aim at,” Brother Sebastian seemed in a jovial mood as he pushed Alan’s shoulders lower so that the teenager’s bottom stuck out at an enticing angle to receive his spanking.
“Yes, Brother,” he squeaked, tensing his body.
“You’ll be getting fifty swats with this plimsoll. It would help if you counted.”
He raised his hand to shoulder height and brought it down with a loud smack! Alan hissed with an intake of breath. Smack! the Brother spanked the other cheek and the boy lifted a leg off the floor.
Brother Sebastian launched into a rhythmic smacking of Alan’s bouncing bottom, landing smacks on alternating cheeks at a rate of about one every two seconds or so. He carefully covered the full expanse of the teenager’s backside, working from the top of his bottom to the lush underside, not missing an inch. Sometimes he landed crisp smacks right across the divide, right on the sit spot.
John Allison stood, his eyes transfixed on his pal’s once creamy white buttocks, now rapidly turning a crimson red. He had a perfect view up the teenager’s crack and was surprised how hairy it was. Absurdly considering the circumstances, he wondered if his own bum-hole was as hairy.
Alan yipped softly but kept the count, bending his knees and stamping his feet on the ground, wincing, opening and closing his eyes, flexing his wriggling buttocks as the spanks landed. At the count of fifty, the Brother stopped. Alan’s bottom was beet red. It looked like two stoplights on a white background.
Brother Sebastian let him up.
Alan hastily grabbed his towel and covered himself, only to find he could not cover up and rub the agonising throbbing in his bottom at the same time.
“Ok, Allison. Your turn.”
Utterly humiliated in his nakedness, John took Alan’s place. He was shorter than his good friend. Where Alan Howard was tall and lean, John Allison was stockier. His legs were covered in light downy hair, but his buttocks were almost completely bare.
Brother Sebastian rested his plimsoll on the boy’s back and for a moment allowed his right palm to caress John’s cheeks: first the left and then the right. The touch was so gentle that the eighteen-year-old hardly realised it was happening.
John’s heart was racing; he could not be sure he could take fifty hard whacks with the giant’s slipper. Whatever happened, he must control himself. His pal Alan had taken his own spanking well. John must not let himself down.
In his nakedness, head down he had a perfect view of his own cock and balls dangling in front of his face. His face flushed in humiliation. Not only were his privates visible to his pal and his punisher, he knew they would also have a tremendous view up his crack
Brother Sebastian gripped the slipper tightly, raised it and brought it crashing down across the left globe. The teenager’s feet stamped on the floor, his legs fluttering. He did not have his friend’s experience of being beaten and could not take the whacking stoically.
The sharp spanks rang out, echoing off the concrete walls in the enclosed changing room. John yelped and had to be reminded several times to keep count. The Brother’s plimsoll rose and fell, splatting into the hairless mounds at a steady tempo.
Time and time again the slipper was applied to John’s seat. He wriggled, he whimpered, he yelled and finally he broke down and sobbed as he lay across his tormentor’s lap. The eighteen-year-old youth was soon reduced to a blubbering five year old.
Finally, Brother Sebastian stopped and gently patted the scorched buttocks.
“Both of you stand in front of me and turn around.”
Both boys had been duly punished, Brother Sebastian could see as he inspected his handiwork. Two sets of glowing red bottom cheeks attested to the fact that he had meted out very thorough spankings.
“Now face me,” he said. “Never do that again, do you understand? Next time it will be a visit to the headmaster’s study. Now get dressed and go home.”
The boys gathered the towels, dressed and left in a hurry.
Whew! thought Alan Howard. I need a drink.
Twenty minutes later at home Alan slipped into the bathroom and eased down his trousers and pants. It still hurt like crazy and his bottom glowed like a cigarette in the dark. Brother Sebastian had spanked him hard; he had practically been crying at the end. He looked over his shoulder, his buttocks were still red and it burned. Still, that was better than anyone finding out. He reached for some cold cream.
“Alan?” His mother burst in.
In the mirror Alan saw his mother staring in disbelief at his inflamed bottom.
“Alan! What have you been getting up to?” She did not wait for an answer; she knew it already. “Wait until your father gets home!”
The teenager confessed all to his father. He told him about the road run, the pub visit with John Allison; getting caught and then the incident with Brother Sebastian.
His father was insistent and wanted all the gory details and he got them; right down to the fifty whacks with the plimsoll while bent naked across the old wooden chair.
“Disgraceful! How could you behave like this? What have I said about drinking?” Alan made no reply; he knew his father’s questions were rhetorical. Nothing he said would change what was going to happen next.
His father blustered and lectured Alan for at least fifteen minutes, but the boy turned his mind off long before the diatribe was finished. Can we not just get on with this, he thought.
Eventually, his father dashed from the room, only to return moments later with a long stout, but very whippy, cane in his hand.
He swished it through the air as if testing its effectiveness. It was an unnecessary gesture; Mr Howard had whacked this very cane many times across the collective backsides of his five sons. He knew how to inflict the maximum pain possible with it.
“Up!” It was an imperious command and Alan knew better than to disobey his father. He sprung up from his seat and stood uncomfortably in front of his father while he wobbled the cane threateningly in front of his son’s face.
“Trousers, pants down!”
“But, dad, I’ve already been slippered,” Alan whimpered. But, he did not expect pity and none came.
“Over the back of the sofa and be quick about it.”
The boy obeyed and within seconds, his trousers and underpants at his knees, he was stretching his firm muscular buttocks tightly across the plush leather sofa and stretching down to grip the seat cushion on the far side.
His father eyed his son’s bared buttocks. The round cheeks were scarlet with dark crimson blotches of pain. Alan’s backside still throbbed from the earlier spanking, but he was too proud to beg his father for mercy.
The first stroke caught Alan unawares. The pain soon followed, it was excruciating! His flesh felt as if it had been blowtorched.
The second stroke followed rapidly and hurt his already scorched teenage flesh badly. The agony of the stroke reignited the pain from the fifty whacks with the plimsoll he had endured only an hour previously.
“No, Sir!! Oh God, noooooo, Sir!!”
Alan struggled to retain his composure and his submissive position. His head was spinning and he was feeling dizzy. He could not be certain he would not faint at any moment from the intense pain.
His father paused and sliced the cane through the air a few times before whipping it down with increased force across the very centre of his son’s bottom. The boy let out a scream and held on to the seat cushion as if his very life depended upon it. Never before, despite the numerous thrashings he had received from his father, had he experienced pain quite like this.
Four more sickening strokes lashed down hard across Alan’s bottom. Mr Howard was a hard, accurate caner. Although he was forty-one he had been in the military in his younger days and had kept up his physical fitness levels.
Alan yelled out in torment as each new cane stroke whipped into his agonised buttocks, now red raw and bleeding profusely from the relentless bombardment.
As soon as the last of twelve strokes had been given, Alan shot bolt upright and tried to grasp his bottom. His face was a mess, covered in snot and tears. But the mess of his face was nothing compared to his buttocks. Blood oozed from what appeared to be dozens of small cuts, giving his cheeks the appearance of raw hamburger meat.
His father stood and watched impassively as his son gingerly pulled up first his underpants and then his trousers. He struggled to get them over his throbbing buttocks. Had he imagined it, but his arse seemed to have swollen to at least twice its natural size.
Alan zipped and buttoned up as his father came back to life. The room was spinning rapidly, but Alan just about managed to stay upright as he endured another lecturer from his father. There was something about not drinking alcohol and another thing about disgracing the family, but Alan could not be sure.
At last his father dismissed him and sent him to his room. Every step was agony and he bounced out of the room and crawled up the stairs to the sanctuary of his bedroom.
Calmly, his father replaced the cane in its resting place in a drawer.
“I’m going to telephone John Allison’s father to tell him what happened at school today,” Mr Howard told his wife. “I know he’ll want to give his boy a sound thrashing.”
John’s dad had not expected the phone call. He listened impassively and made mental notes of the details of his son’s behaviour and the punishment he had received.
Struggling to control his anger, he stormed to the foot of the stairs. “John! Come down here please.”
John, was in his room. He could not stop himself crying. The pain had eased and as long as he did not press into the buttocks of his cheeks, he was all right. It was the humiliation of the naked spanking that upset him most.
John loved his father, but the evident anger in the man’s voice petrified him. What was he going to do? Alan had said he expected a thrashing from his father; was his own dad going to whip him too?
Tearfully, John descended the stairs to find his dad in the living room. He had never seen the man looking so distressed before.
“I’ve had a call from Alan’s dad. Is it true?
Uncontrollable gulps choked the boy and his father held out his arms to clutch the boy to his breast.
Yes, it was all true. Between sobs, Alan told the whole story of the pub visit and his encounter with Brother Sebastian.
The father and his almost-adult son stood together hugging. Eventually, the boy was calmed by the loving embrace of his father.
Mr Allison helped the boy settle down on the sofa, before taking a deep breath.
“Fucking pervert! Making teenage boys strip naked and then spanking their bare backsides!”
He strode into the hallway. “I’m phoning the police,” he said, picking up the telephone.
“No, dad, no!” John chased after his father. “Please dad. No! Please don’t do it!”
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Jack Wilks stood about two feet from the padded armchair. At any moment he would be bent across its back, face in the soft cushion with his bottom high for the schoolmaster to whack it with a heavy slipper.
He deserved it, of course. He knew that: he had no argument. The rule was simple and all the boys understood it. If you got less than sixty percent in a class test you got the slipper. It was as simple as that. It didn’t matter whether you were in the first form, or like Jack the Upper Sixth. He wasn’t alone. His friend Jenks had just been dealt with and Tony Wheeler was standing outside the room in the corridor waiting his turn.
Jack wasn’t a fool. In fact he was quite bright but he hated history and nothing Mr Hendry, the history master, did would change that. If he paid attention in class and read the text book he would pass his tests with ease.
But, he didn’t so here he was about to get a sore bum: again. It wasn’t the first time he had received corporal punishment and it wouldn’t be the last, it was that sort of school.
Jack looked across at Mr Hendry and only half listened to the lecture he was delivering. “Idle, blah blah; lazy. blah, blah.”
Mr Hendry wasn’t like most of the other masters at the school. He was only twenty-five and had a round open face that naturally liked to smile. Jack had seen Mr Hendry one weekend in town at a coffee shop. He was dressed in fashionable summer shorts with a flower-patterned shirt. He was with a young lady (was it his girlfriend, or wife even?) and they were laughing and joking and having fun. They seemed very relaxed in each other’s company. No one would have guessed he was a schoolmaster at crusty old St Francis Independent Grammar School.
Mr Hendry looked very different now. He was dressed in a dowdy checked sports jacket and big baggy dark grey trousers. And of course the traditional academic gown, the schoolmasters’ uniform at St Francis. Mr Hendry had learned a long time ago that masters did not smile, and he had perfected a sour expression that fell somewhere between a man who had both a pain in his stomach and a very unpleasant smell under his nose.
“Bend over the chair Wilks.”
Jack took a pace forward and eased himself into the soft padding of the chair. It was a huge leather chair with cushions at the back, the seat and even the arms. His body sank into the padding and his face rested on the seat. He put his hands forward and held on to the edge of the cushion and noticed there were two sweat stains in the shape of palms.
From his vantage point Wilks could watch Mr Hendry make his final preparation. The slipper he was to use was a size-ten white plimsoll, the type all the boys used in physical training classes. It was rare for schoolmasters to use the slipper at St Francis, the curved-handled rattan cane was the preferred weapon of chastisement.
Herr Mueller, the German PT instructor, was the only other master Jack could think of who used the slipper: and, he used it all the time. Only yesterday in gym class he had lined all the boys up to begin physical jerks and warned. “From now on, any boy who talks gets ten swats.”
Of course, the class joker Morrissey couldn’t resist saying, “Jawoll Mein Führer!” in a stage whisper.
Later that day when Morrissey showed off his marks (tight cotton PT shorts are no protection), he reckoned, “Do you know I think he enjoys whacking our arses.” It could be, and, one might suspect, Morrissey enjoys giving him the excuse.
Mr Hendry gripped the slipper tightly in his right hand and gave it a few smacks down into his left palm, to get its measure. Then Jack saw the master disappear behind him. The teenager was still wearing his green school blazer and the master had to manoeuvre it up his back a little away from the area of immediate interest.
Satisfied that the target area was clear, the schoolmaster gripped Jack’s trousers at the waist and tugged them up tight so that they performed a ‘wedgie’ emphasising the shape of his buttocks and the outline of his underpants were clearly visible.
Jack took a deep breath and screwed his eyes tight and waited for the pain to begin.
The boys often discussed whether the cane hurt more than the slipper; Jack always voted for the cane. In truth, it depended on who was inflicting the punishment. The cane tapped lightly into fleshy buttocks is unlikely to hurt as much as a size-ten rubber-soled plimsoll whacked in at great force.
Mr Hendry believed in corporal punishment and knew for it to be effective it had to be painful. So he was of the ‘whack it in with great force’ school of disciplinarians. And, that’s exactly what he did to Jack.
Six swipes crashed into his upturned buttocks. He pushed his face down into the vast soft cushion to stifle any yelps he might need to make and gripped onto the front of the armchair for dear life.
Every whack hurt him, but he had to admit, it did not hurt so very much. He was sore, but very quickly the throbbing would turn into a warm glow. His buttocks would be tender for a while and he would have some bruises to show off to his classmates, but they would wear off pretty quickly.
“Stand up boy.”
Jack was red faced from being bent upside down over the chair, but there were no tears. Despite the number of times he had been beaten at school, the experience always embarrassed him and he kept his head down to avoid looking at his punisher. He even avoided eye contact when the master handed him the punishment book to sign.
Then, with his bottom tingling, Jack was dismissed with the words, “Send in the next boy.”
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Former pupil Kevin Smith returns to St Francis only to find there is painful unfinished business with the headmaster
This cannot really be happening; but here I am a twenty-one-year-old newspaper reporter standing in the headmaster’s oak-panelled study about to get six-of-the-best. The very best.
My name’s Kevin Smith and I work for the Brocklehurst Bugle, a weekly newspaper in a small town on the south coast of England. I’ve only just started as a cub reporter. I think I got the job because I was born and brought up in Brocklehurst and they wanted someone who knows the area. Also, I live with my mum and dad so that means the paper doesn’t have to pay me too much. Jobs in journalism are as hard to find as hens’ teeth so I was absolutely knocked-out when I got the job. I like it a lot and I hope in time I’ll be a really good journalist.
I used to be a pupil here at St Francis Independent Grammar and after I got my A-levels I went away to university. But, now I’m back. My editor knows I used to be a pupil here and that’s why he sent me on this job. The Grammar’s just had its annual speech day and I have to pick up the names of the pupils who got prizes and so on. Pretty boring actually, but you know local papers they love stuff like that.
I was really pleased to be asked by my editor to do this job because I thought it would give me a chance to go back to my old school and maybe show off a bit, about how important I’d become.
But, I had forgotten something very important. And, now my past was about to catch up with me.
“Well Smith,” Dr Henderson-Smith, the headmaster, looked at me stone-faced; his white moustache bristled and his knitted white brows frowned.
“Before we talk about speech day, I think there’s some unfinished business we must deal with.”
“Unfinished business.” What did he mean?
And, then in a rush, I remembered. Blast! How could I have forgotten?
The headmaster, dressed in a rather old-fashioned academic gown, was seated behind his huge desk, topped in green leather. I knew from experience that when he stood up he was commanding figure, tall, grim, stiff as a ram-rod. And, he was strong as an ox, as could be testified every time he swiped down a cane across a boy’s backside.
I was standing in front of him, every inch, in his eyes, the naughty schoolboy deserving of just such a sound thrashing.
“A matter of the decomposed frog in the science laboratory, I believe.” Dr Henderson-Smith was rather pompous in the way he talked. He always had been. He still was. He strung out the word “la-bor-a-torrry” to give it full dramatic force.
Now, I was absolutely certain what he was talking about. But, he wasn’t going to leave it alone. I couldn’t look him in the face and cast my eyes down to examine the red patterned rug that I was standing on. I noticed my shoes could do with polishing.
The headmaster had centre stage and like the old ham actor he was, he was going to have his moment. He intoned the details of my crime, making sure every last detail was recorded for posterity.
In truth, there wasn’t much to tell. Three years ago when I was in the sixth-form here, I played a prank on my final day as a pupil. It was silly and very unpleasant for Mr Wilkinson, the science master, but that’s all it was, a schoolboy prank.
None of the boys much liked Mr Wilkinson. He was very strict and he thought nothing of peppering our backsides with the cane. There can’t have been many boys he taught who didn’t get a whacking from him at least once. You could get it for anything. With other science masters, pupils used to love to lark about during lessons; science does that to you, all those Bunsen Burners and test tubes. But, you never larked around with Mr Wilkinson – or, at least if you did it once, you never did it again. His cane made sure of that.
Mostly, though we got the stick for poor work. God help any boy who didn’t do his homework or did badly in a test. And, I don’t mean fail a test, if you did that, it meant death. But, Wilkinson would beat you if you got less than seventy out of a hundred in one of his classroom exercises and as you might imagine that meant a lot of boys showed him their backside over the years.
So, you can see why I thought it would be jolly good fun to play a trick on him. Here’s what I did. I took one of the frogs that we had for dissecting so we could explore the gizzards inside. You know the sort of thing; you would have done it yourself at school. So, I took one of these frogs, mashed it up a bit and put the dead body in Mr Wilkinson’s desk.
Then we all set off for our summer holidays and for me it was the last time I set foot in the school until today.
So now here I am standing in front of the headmaster listening to him recount my misdeeds. How, six weeks later the by now fully decomposed frog had been discovered in the laboratory. He told me about the stench, the bluebottles and the maggots. The headmaster seemed to be enjoying himself.
“So, Smith, what do you have to say for yourself?” I wanted to ask how he knew it was me, but I think I know the answer to that. As every schoolboy knows there’s no point in playing a trick on a master and keeping it to yourself, where’s the fun in that? So, that summer hols I was full of it. It wouldn’t have taken anyone at Brocklehurst long to find out who did it.
There was no denying it. I had done it and now I was found out.
I really didn’t have anything to say, so I just stared at the rug. I could see it was a little bit threadbare (generations of naughty boys shuffling their feet before being ordered to bend over so they could get a close up view of the pattern?).
The headmaster mistook my silence for denial. “Do-you-deny-you-did-this-thing?” he tried to get dramatic effect with every word.
“No sir,” I blurted out the response. I think this took him a bit by surprise, I think he was expecting denial and then a big argument.
“So-you-do-not-de-ny-you-per-pet-rate-ted-this villle-cer-ime?” he seemed a bit disappointed he wasn’t going to get to play another dramatic scene.
So, I coughed to it. Yes, it was me, I did it, I’m sorry, it seemed like a good idea at the time, now I know it wasn’t a good thing to do, I’m sorry.
Actually, I am sorry. I’m not in agonies of guilt about it, but I can see that the frog must have been a pretty disgusting mess by the time Wilkinson discovered it at the end of the summer vac. I also know I was just trying to show off in front of my friends.
There was silence for a moment as the headmaster seemed to weigh up his options about what he would do next.
And, unsurprisingly perhaps, he decided to do what a headmaster would do in these circumstances.
“You committed this crime while a boy at this school and you should be dealt with accordingly,” he was speaking more naturally now.
Without another word, he stood up from his plush leather chair and walked the three or four paces to a set of cupboards running the length of one wall. My eyes followed him. He pulled his academic gown to one side so he could delve into a trouser pocket to withdraw a small bunch of keys. Selecting one, he unlocked one of the cupboards.
I should have guessed. Inside were an array of punishment canes, the headmaster was blocking my sight, but I could see at least four crook-handled rattans. Dr Henderson-Smith put his hand in the cupboard and as he did so he moved his body a little and I could see it contained many, many more. He seemed to be looking for a particular stick. In no time he found it, withdrew, locked the cupboard, and turned to face me.
I wasn’t terribly surprised. If I had been found out while I was still a pupil here I would have been beaten. Maybe, Wilkinson would have done it himself, or maybe he’d have sent me to the head. Who can be sure? But, either way my bum would be on fire.
The head placed the cane on his leather topped desk and walked to the far side of the study. There was a wooden-backed chair leaning against the wall. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. He picked it up and placed it on the rug in front of his desk, just as if he was putting it there for a visitor to sit on. But, I knew I wasn’t going to be sitting down, not on this chair, and probably not anywhere comfortably, for some hours to come.
“Stand by the chair,” it was a calm instruction, not barked as if an order. I walked over and as instructed stood facing the back of the chair. “Closer boy,” Of course, I was about three feet from the wooden back of the chair, there was no way I could bend over from there.
I shuffled a couple of paces forward. Dr Henderson-Smith stood to my right hand side, I turned my head slightly to see what he was doing and for the first time I saw close up the cane he was going to use to whip me. It wasn’t like any cane I’d seen before. I’d been caned a few times before, not just by Wilkinson, it was that kind of school, so I’d seen a few sticks in my time.
This one was different, it was amber in colour and no longer than any others and no thicker, if anything it might be a bit thinner than the one Wilkinson used on me the last time. Dr Henderson-Smith held the cane at the crooked-handle end with one hand and he ran the other over the length of the rod, bending it ever so slightly as he did so. Then he let go and swished the stick through the air. That’s when I realised this cane had more power than any I had suffered before. It might be thin, but it was whippy and it was going to pack one heck of a punch.
I looked down at the trousers I was wearing thankful that they were rather fashionable and expensive. They were made of a very dense material and would provide some protection, I was sure.
The headmaster pointed the stick at the lower half of my body. “Take down your trousers and bend over the chair.”
“What the hell, no way!” I didn’t say it out loud, of course. Up to this point I wasn’t too worried about getting the cane. I’d had it a few times, I knew it would hurt, but I also knew I could take it. I’d take my Six and that would be it.
But having seen the implement he intended to use on me and now being told it’s “trousers down,” I was far from sure.
What could I do? There was a simple answer: walk out. He had no right to thrash me, even though I had been a naughty boy while at school. That was in the past and he had no jurisdiction over me now. But, I knew, or thought I knew, that if I did that Henderson-Smith would tell my editor about it and I’d be in trouble at work.
I’ve only just started at the paper and I’m on what they call ‘probation’ for six months, that means if I don’t fit in I get sacked. I didn’t want that. Jobs in journalism were hard to come by and I might not be lucky enough to get another one. I really didn’t have any choice.
“Quickly boy, do as I say,” the headmaster swished that fierce rod once again.
This is it. Deep breath. Let’s get this over with. Although in my mind I had decided to take my punishment trousers down, I couldn’t get my body to agree. My hands fumbled at the buckle of the thick black leather belt I was wearing. I couldn’t quite get that prong thing out of the hole in the belt.
“Come on, I haven’t got all day.”
There, I’ve managed it, the belt’s undone. Getting the trousers undone was just as bad. I’d never noticed before just how many buttons there are on trousers. My fumbling fingers got the two at the waistband undone.
I couldn’t see him, but I felt the eyes of the headmaster burning into the back of my head, Swish! He was practicing his strokes.
At last the waist was loose and I pulled at the fly. All undone. I let go of my trousers and the weight of the thick leather belt and the force of gravity sent them crashing to my ankles with no help from me. I felt a breeze as the thick cloth passed by my knees.
And, that I think is where you came in. I’m standing here in the headmaster’s study my trousers around my ankles in my blue-and-white striped Boxer shorts about to bend over the chair for Six.
The headmaster is still behind me. I can feel his cane tapping my behind. “Not exactly school uniform are they?” he says, almost absent-mindedly. I want to say “No they’re not and that’s because I am not one of your schoolboys, I’m a grown man.” But, I don’t. The tapping continues. Christ! Please don’t tell me to pull down my pants.
Before he can say anything else I bend over the chair. It’s quite an ordinary chair really. The back isn’t so high so I can go over it without my stomach touching it. I am putting my hands out in front of me clutching the far corners off the seat, one with each hand.
I am as ready as I am ever going to be. And, so is the headmaster.
Swipe! Jesus H. Christ! That hurt. It got me right in the centre of my bum. I can feel a welt rising and I’m pretty certain it runs across both cheeks from left to right.
Swipe! Crack. I can’t breathe. I’m clutching onto the chair for dear life. Gasping.
Swipe! No! Please no more! I’ve got three stripes, all on the fleshy part of the buttocks. I can feel where each one has landed; they’re running parallel about a quarter of an inch apart.
Swipe! Swipe! God in Heaven! I will not cry. I will not cry. These two are lower than the others. One has hit me on the crease where the fleshy bum connects with the thighs.
Swipe! Ouch! One cut lower than all the others. I can’t help it I yell out and my legs kick out behind me. I want to stand up and rub and rub at my bottom. I have gripped the chair so tightly that as I move to stand I find myself lifting the front two legs clean off the ground.
That’s it. Six-of-the best. It’s over. I’m waiting for permission to stand. I just want to get the Hell out of here. I want to run down the street clutching my bum and howling. Please let me up.
Swipe! Swipe! Yowll! No! No! No! Stop I cannot take any more. My whole body is writhing in pain. I can hear the headmaster speaking, it sounds as if he is miles away. He is instructing me to keep still.
Swipe! Swipe! Ouch! Arrrrh! I’m bleeding. I’m sure I can feel blood seeping under my Boxers. I move my lower torso from left to right and back again. Has the blood made my underwear stick to my bum?
Swipe! Yow-yow-yow!! The bastard! I can’t breathe, I’m truly gasping. He’s deliberately laid the cane diagonally across both buttocks so it landed across all the other fresh welts. I cannot, I cannot, take any more of this. There is a pause. I can feel the headmaster moving from my left hand side to my right. Oh, no, he isn’t?
Swipe! Yesss He Is!! He whipped the cane across my wounds from the other side. I can feel criss-cross cuts right the way across my buttocks, running from the top to the bottom and from left to right and back again. I am bleeding and I am beaten.
“Get up.” I stay still across the chair breathing heavily. I can stand but I cannot be sure that I will be able to walk. The throbbing pain is so severe; I have no words to describe it.
“Up boy.” I can feel his hand on my shoulder helping me to rise. He lets go of me as I stand unsteadily. Tears are flowing and sobs are coming in great big gulps. I watch as the headmaster returns to his cupboard, unlocks the door and replaces the cane that has just ripped me apart.
“Get dressed boy.” I hadn’t realised I was still standing trousers at ankles. I desperately want to touch both buttocks, to explore the extent of the damage, but I don’t want the headmaster to see.
Oh my God, how will I explain this to Cindy, my girlfriend? It will take weeks, no months, to heal.
I am bending down to grab the waist of my trousers. The pain sears as my buttocks stretch with the effort. I grab the trousers, pull them up and repeat the fumbling with buttons and belt.
I am not quite sure what will happen next.
“Tuck your shirt in boy,” the headmaster is smiling as he returns to his desk, sits down, opens a drawer and pulls out a sheaf of papers, which he is handing to me.
The speech day results.
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John Allison walked through the gates of St Francis Independent Grammar School for the first time as a pupil.
All around him boys were hurrying along, anxious not to be late.
“Hurry along you tykes,” a senior boy, obviously a prefect, called to a group of eight or nine young boys, who were some way off from the gate. “Gates are closing. You don’t want to be up for a bowing.”
The boys ran at fall pace and as the last one made it through the ornate gates, the prefect slammed them shut. Any boy who arrived now would have his name taken and could find himself up before his housemaster for a caning.
John stood unsure where he was supposed to go. For a moment he paused to take in the splendour. St Francis Grammar School, Brocklehurst, reputedly could trace its roots back to the 1700s. It certainly was a splendid old building, but not ancient. John had never seen anything quite like it. His previous school had been modern in all respects: the buildings, the curriculum, the attitude of teachers to their charges.
Seemingly hundreds of boys streamed into the building. They certainly didn’t look too modern in John’s eyes. All the boys in the first, second and third forms wore grey short trousers. John didn’t know any eleven- to fourteen-year-old boys in the real world who wore short trousers to school. If it had been said that the boys should wear short trousers at Calmbury, his previous school, the boys – and the teachers too – would have mocked the suggestion.
John surveyed his new schoolmates. He didn’t feel quite so absurd now wearing his green-and-gold-hooped school cap: everyone as far as the eye could see wore the strange headgear. His mother had laughed out loud when she read the school’s regulations and teased him unmercifully: school cap; white Y-front underpants (how would they know?); short-back-and-sides haircuts and Ha! Ha! Ha! six-of-the-best-for-you-young-man if you are naughty. And, no girls!
His father did not join in the fun. Even now, more than twenty-five years after he had left behind St Tom’s forever, he still resented the canings he and his fellow pupils had endured.
John hated the school uniform. His green school blazer with gold braiding around the edges shrieked of self-importance. At least, aged eighteen, he would not be forced to wear the short trousers.
St Francis had a fine academic record. It was a traditional school: traditional teaching methods, traditional sports, traditional school uniform and traditional discipline. It was a boys-only independent fee-paying grammar school with delusions that it was an elite public school. This was such be a contrast to Calmbury, also an independent school, but it had girls as well as boys and attitudes were so informal the pupils were not expected to wear school uniform and corporal punishment was unheard of.
“Excuse me.” John was approached by a short, stocky boy, about his own age. “Are you by any chance Allison?” He seemed friendly and John was happy to confess his identity.
“I’ve been told to take you along to meet your form master. My name’s Anderson.”
And, with that he led John into the ancient building and his new life at St Francis.
His form master Mr Tatler gave him a lot of information about his lessons timetable and where the classrooms were. But, John couldn’t take it in. Tatler (the boys, John later discovered, called him ‘Tatters’) was dressed in a formal academic gown and resting nearby on a desk was his mortar board cap.
John didn’t know how to react; it was as if he had stepped into a time machine and travelled back; how many years? He had never seen a schoolmaster dressed like this. He assumed all the teachers, or ‘masters’ as he had better get used to calling them, wore something similar. He had never seen anything remotely like this in his life, except perhaps once when he had been a small boy and he went exploring in the attic at his granddad’s home. He had found a pile of old comics; the Magnet and the Gem he thought they were called. They weren’t very good, they were full of words with few pictures, but the drawings he did see were of schoolmasters dressed like Tatters.
Anderson was a good sort and he soon took John under his wing. At lunchtime he was given the ‘grand tour.’ And, ‘grand’ the school certainly was: ivy-covered walls; mullioned-windows in the library; a ‘clock tower’ with narrow stone steps leading to the headmaster’s study.
“You don’t ever want to go up there,” Anderson said cheerfully. “It can mean only one thing.”
He laughed at John’s puzzled expression. “A bowing from Dr Henderson-Smith,” he laughed as merrily he swiped his right arm through the air in parody.
John blanched. He was silent, unsure what he was expected to say in response. His mother had mocked the corporal punishment regime at St Francis, but John was not so offhand. This school gave him the creeps. Anyhow, he knew he was only nine months away from taking his final examinations and leaving school for good. He would just keep his head down. Besides, he was eighteen and far too old to be summoned to the doctor’s study for a ‘bowing.’
The tour continued through the passageways (as ‘corridors’ were called at St Francis) of the three main buildings.
“And around here is where the housemasters’ studies are.” They turned a corner into a long passageway, almost bumping into four boys standing in a line, facing the wall.
“Ha!” Anderson, chuckled and called over to the miserable looking youngsters. “Hello there! What’s this, the ‘lunchtime line-up’?”
Suddenly, behind him, he heard footsteps. It was Mr Durrant, the housemaster of Treacher’s.
“Quick!” Anderson grabbed John by the sleeve of his blazer. “Let’s go, we don’t want to get caught here.”
But, Mr Durrant was in no hurry; he had enjoyed a satisfying meal and was on his way to his study for what had become known among the boys as the ‘lunchtime line-up.’
Every day, almost without fail, one or more boys would be sent to him for a caning. St Francis Grammar was a traditional school and corporal punishment was regularly used. There were rules and if a boy got caught breaking them, he was punished, and very often that meant a beating.
One of Mr Durrant’s duties, and he took it very seriously, was to be impose discipline. That day he expected to find four boys waiting nervously outside his study and as he turned the corner he was not disappointed. They were an assorted bunch; two eleven-year-old juniors dressed in short trousers; most unusually, a prefect; and then Anthony Brewer, a fifth-form rebel who was becoming a regular visitor.
“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” he always called the boys he was about to thrash, “gentlemen.”
“Stand up straight all of you. Keep facing the wall.” The boys did as instructed, but the housemaster detected some resentment from James Axford, the prefect. Well, if he did misbehave and break rules he shouldn’t be surprised that he was treated the same way as the first-form boys; in every respect.
Mr Durrant unlocked the door of the study and beckoning to the prefect, said, “Come with me Axford.”
Showing no enthusiasm, the eighteen-year-old prefect followed behind the gowned master. James Axford entered the study, splendid in his smart green blazer with gold braiding. He looked a little apprehensive as well he might; senior boys, particularly prefects, were expected to set an example to the younger pupils, not to break the rules themselves.
“Stand there, in front of my desk.”
It was a large room, gloomy, with dark oak bookshelves around three walls. A large desk, also made from oak, dominated the room and there were a number of small wooden chairs. Two large padded armchairs were arranged around a small coffee table. The chairs were called ‘comfortable chairs,’ but to the boys who bent across their backs routinely during the lunchtime visits they were far from comfortable. In the corner was a tall, thin, cupboard that housed the implements that were responsible for that discomfort: Mr Durrant’s vast collection of canes.
He sat behind his desk and surveyed the boy. Mr Durrant knew he should have sent the boy to the headmaster, but he was certain Dr Henderson-Smith would have given Axford a special thrashing because he was a senior boy and also withdrawn his prefect status. Mr Durrant thought that punishment was too harsh for Axford’s crime.
He had been spotted in town during school hours: the school uniform was very conspicuous. Mr Durrant suspected prefects sometimes left the school premises during their free periods: the only thing Axford did differently was to get caught.
He selected a longer, thicker whippy rattan cane from his cupboard.
James had been expecting this and had a speech rehearsed, “You can’t cane a prefect, Sir; it’s not allowed.”
The barrack-room lawyer! Mr Durrant was more amused than angry, but tried not to show it.
“Prefects aren’t allowed to be beaten. No prefect has ever been beaten, that is,” he trailed off a bit as he realised his housemaster was in no mood for this.
Mr Durrant knew Axford was both right and wrong; no prefect had been caned in recent memory, the boy would have the privilege to be the first in a very long time; but there was no rule that said he could not be beaten.
The housemaster was beginning to wish he had sent the brat to Dr Henderson-Smith. All he wanted was for Axford to bend over and take his Six and they could both move on.
Then he had an idea. “Take off your tie, Axford.”
The boy was genuinely puzzled by this order. “Tie, Sir?”
“Yes Axford, take off your prefect’s tie.”
The boy hesitated, trying to work out in his mind what was going on.
“Please do it now Axford, I have others waiting outside to visit me.”
Still unsure what this meant, the boy loosened his tie and pulled it from under his shirt collar.
He held it in his hand, wondering what he was meant to do now. He didn’t have to wait long to find out.
“Hand me the tie, please.”
The housemaster took the tie and put it on his desk.
“Now, Axford, you are no longer a prefect. Please bend over that chair.”
James was indignant; he was to be beaten and lose his prefect’s status; just for being out of the school. The other guys did it all the time.
The housemaster swished his cane impatiently.
“The chair, Axford, the chair.”
James took a deep breath and stood close to the back of the armchair. He had been in this position before, but not for at least three years, when he had been caught smoking; it had been the first time he tried cigarettes and after the whacking he got then from Mr Durrant, it was also the last.
“Bend over please.”
James leaned forward and reached out to grasp the front of the seat cushion.
“Let’s have your bottom a little higher please.”
James had to stretch on tip toe before he satisfied his housemaster.
“Legs further apart.”
James screwed his eyes tight and gripped the cushion for dear life.
Mr Durrant whipped six stingers into the boy’s submissive buttocks: rat-tat-tat- rat-tat- tat. The strokes were a little more vigorous than he had originally intended and the cracks of his rattan cane against the tightly-stretched grey Terylene trousers rang around the room like machinegun fire.
James groaned as the whacks pounded into his buttocks, but stifled his desire to yelp out loud. He could feel moisture behind his eyes and prayed he would not cry; not at least until he was far away from the housemaster’s study and the boy standing outside waiting his turn.
Mr Durrant had not yet allowed Axford to stand. He put the cane away and watched the boy from a distance; Axford was breathing heavily and his head was so low he was almost kissing the seat cushion. The caning had hurt; Mr Durrant knew it but he also understood the importance the boys placed on their dignity, it would not matter how much agony the caning caused them, they would not want to let their punisher know.
The housemaster saw the boy wanted to get out of the study without delay, so he put him out of his misery.
“You can remove yourself Axford. You took that well.”
James stood and despite himself, his hands shot to the seat of his trousers to hold his throbbing buttocks tightly.
Mr Durrant pretended not to notice and turned to his desk and picked up the tie.
“Take this Axford, you are now reinstated as a prefect.”
Despite the agony in his buttocks and his original resentment, James was genuinely pleased to be restored to the prefecthood.
“Thank you very much, Sir.”
He signed the punishment book and Mr Durrant offered his right hand and they shook; like gentlemen do.
As he painfully shuffled towards the door, Mr Durrant called after him, “Ask the next boy to come in please.”
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Christopher could feel a searing pain in his knuckle as he crushed it into the face of the opposing team’s centre-half.
Blood poured from the schoolboy’s nose as in agony he sank to his knees. His piercing scream drowned the shrill blast of the referee’s whistle. His nose could quite possibly be broken, Christopher didn’t care. It served him right.
It only took seconds for the referee to point to the dressing room. Sent off! For violent conduct.
Grim faced and unrepentant, the eighteen-year-old trudged off the pitch. As he passed his livid sports master, he heard the instruction, “Go to the changing room and wait for me there.”
Rain began falling as Christopher walked the hundred yards or so to the shower block. His heart was thumping; adrenalin rushed through his body and his anger would not abate. Their centre half had been kicking lumps out of him all through the match; was he really surprised that he had retaliated?
Once in the changing room Cristopher plonked himself down on a hard wooden bench; head lowered, almost to between his knees. Slowly, his breathing became more even as he regained some composure. Now, he had to contemplate his fate.
Five minutes later, the match over, his fellow schoolboy footballers filed into the room. Each in turn looked over at their disgraced colleague, but none had a word of support or comfort for him. To a man they had been genuinely shocked at the savagery of the attack. The poor boy was now on his way to hospital with a suspected broken cheekbone.
Christopher raised his head to acknowledge his friends but they would not meet his eye. Instead, hurriedly they stripped off their kits, grabbed towels and dashed to the showers, leaving Christopher to his fate.
The boy could not summon the will to follow the other players into the shower; instead he sat still, head in his hands, waiting for Mr Richardson, the sports master.
Mr Richardson was with his counterpart from St Anthony’s School. His own school, St Francis Independent Grammar School were the school’s guest that afternoon. Mr Richardson was both embarrassed and angry. Never in his twenty years as a schoolmaster had he witnessed such a spectacle. Yes, sometimes a boy would overstep the mark and tackle too heavily. Or a player would mistime a tackle and bring an opponent crashing down; cut off at the knees. But, never before had he seen such premeditated violence. If his pupil had punched a boy like that away from the playing field, he would certainly be facing a police charge and an appearance in the magistrates’ court.
Mr Richardson apologised profusely to Mr Stringer of St Anthony’s, but he recognised it would not be enough.
“We need to take severe action,” Mr Richardson told him. “And, we should do it right away.”
He knew that when his headmaster heard about the incident he would expect to also be told the boy had received an exemplary punishment: the thrashing of his life, at the very least.
“Can you lend me a cane, the heaviest that you have? I should beat the boy before we leave.”
Mr Stringer was taken aback by the request. Not that he didn’t expect Christopher to be punished, he did. But, he wanted the boy to be suspended or expelled from school at the very least for such an attack. A beating with a cane did not match the severity of the offence, and Mr Stringer said as much.
As the words came from his mouth his own headmaster, Dr Shorter appeared. “A cane?” he pondered when Mr Richardson asked again for a loan. Dr Shorter was uncertain. “A cane,” he repeated, as if weighing up options.
“No,” at this school a boy is beaten with a rattan if he misbehaves, breaks the rules, that kind of thing. But, this violent attack goes so much further than that.” He let the words sink in. Mr Richardson was confused by the ensuing silence, but Mr Stringer thought he knew where this was going.
“A birching then, headmaster?” he asked.
“Quite possibly. If it is to be corporal punishment, then it must be the birch.”
Mr Richardson’s mouth gaped open a little. He wasn’t sure what to say. The birch? Such an implement had never been used at St Francis, at least not to his knowledge. Was it even permitted?
The headmaster was in his stride. “It just so happens, that I already have a birch rod prepared that would be suitable for the purpose. Jenkins, one of our fifth-formers is due a birching after chapel tomorrow.”
He read Mr Richardson’s blank expression. “For bullying. He is to be birched for bullying. If you consent, we can use the birch on your boy and have another one made up for Jenkins.”
“Headmaster, I am really not sure,” Mr Richardson began, but his sentence trailed off.
The headmaster could be stern when the occasion demanded. “It is your decision to make. But, I must say, I do not think a caning sufficient punishment. If we decide not to birch the boy, I would expect the police to be informed and they can take up the case. Alderson is in the hospital, he would expect us to give your boy the harshest-possible punishment. So, too would his parents.”
The police? God no. Think of the bad publicity. Mr Richardson knew the headmaster would blame him for it. Dr Henderson-Smith already had his doubts about the sports master’s ability to keep order when he took teams away from the school.
The headmaster’s mind was already made up. “We can do it now, without delay. We can go to the gymnasium. I am sure any one of Alderson’s team mates would oblige in holding your boy down over the vaulting horse.”
Mr Richardson blanched. Would he be expected to deliver the birching? He was not experience in administering corporal punishment. The most he ever gave was a whack or two on the seat of a boy’s shorts, touching toes.
The headmaster seemed to read the man’s mind. “If you wish, Sir, I would be willing to wield the birch rod on your behalf.”
Mr Richardson meekly nodded his assent. And, in those few moments, Christopher’s fate was sealed.
Christopher took the news of his impending birching impassively. He had expected a beating; this was school after all and that’s what they did to you at school. A birching, however, would be a new experience.
Mr Richardson felt obliged to give the boy a lecture on his behaviour and how violence was not the answer. The irony that Christopher was to be birched was lost on him.
Minutes later, Christopher and his sports master were into the gymnasium. Mr Richardson was surprised and a little angry to see the entire St Anthony’s School football team lined against one wall. He had not agreed to a public birching, but it was too late to argue now. At least Christopher would be spared the humiliation of having his own team mates witness his flogging.
The boys who had been standing easily straightened up in readiness for the evening’s entertainment. How absurd they looked, Mr Richardson thought, in their blue and yellow striped blazers and grey short trousers and knee socks. Fully grown men forced to dress like little boys.
A vaulting horse had been placed in the centre of the floor and nearby, soaking in an enamel bucket, was a birch rod.
Mr Richardson had never seen a birch before, and, he supposed neither had Christopher. This one was a cluster of seven or eight leafless branches three feet long, tightly bound near the base with sticking plaster.
“Come boy, stand here,” the headmaster pointed to a spot in front of the horse. Christopher affected no emotion as he complied with the order, inwardly he was in turmoil. The birch looked fearsome. He was used to the cane, he had been thrashed many times before: St Francis was that kind of school. It hurt like hell, but he knew he could stand the pain of six-of-the-best on the trousers. But, today he was going to get eight sticks across the backside with only his thin football shorts between his flesh and the rods.
“When I instruct you,” the headmaster intoned, “You will lower your shorts and bend over the horse.” Mr Richardson saw Christopher blanch: on the bare. Bare arsed: and in front of all these people.
The headmaster continued, “You will hold on to the handles of the horse and you will remain in position. You will take your beating like a man.”
The headmaster droned on for a while, but Christopher was deaf. All he had heard was “lower your shorts” and after that it was a blank. All the headmaster’s threats of the consequences of moving or screaming were lost on him.
By now Mr Richardson was having grave doubts. Was there still time to stop this? A public bare-bottomed birching was unheard of at St Francis. Would his own headmaster support him when he learned what happened here this evening?
“Take down your shorts and bend over,” the headmaster ordered as he himself lent forward to retrieve the bundle of birch twigs from the bucket.
Defiantly, Mr Richardson thought, Christopher placed his thumbs in the waistband of his football shorts and with the merest flick of the wrist sent them down to his knees. The shorts fell to his feet as he moved towards the horse so he stepped out of them. Now, naked from the waist down, the eighteen-year-old hooligan leaned forward and placing his stomach on the leather top, bent over the horse, offering up his bared buttocks to the headmaster and his birch rods.
He clutched at the pieces of rope that served as carrying handles and wrapped them around his wrists, in effect tying himself down in readiness for the thrashing.
The watching schoolboys were impassive, save for one, who Mr Richardson observed had a slight smile playing around his lips. Another folded his hands in front of his crotch in an attempt to hide the growing erection inside his tight grey shorts.
The headmaster was in no hurry. He swished the birch rods through space spraying droplets of water across the dusty floor of the gymnasium. Christopher stared down at the wooden floorboards, intently studying the many scratch marks: anything to distract him from his present predicament.
Mr Richardson stared too: at Christopher’s smooth hairless bottom; soon to be pounded into raw meat.
The headmaster was ready and without ceremony, he drew his arm back and swished the birch across the proffered buttocks. The merest gasp, escaped from the boy’s clenched lips. A second stroke quickly followed, met with an audible, “ouch” from Christopher.
It hurt, it hurt a great deal, but it was a different pain to the cane Christopher was used to. The rattan would slice into the bum, cutting a single welt with each rise and fall, creating intense agony where the rod landed. The birch was different; his bottom was on fire, but it felt as if a white-hot egg-whisk had been pressed into his flesh.
The headmaster paused to admire his handiwork. The hairless buttocks were scared with dozens of thin white lines, narrow welts were rising where the birch twigs connected with the boy’s fleshy globes. As yet, no bruises had formed, and there was no sign of blood.
The birch swished again; Christopher screwed his eyes tight and stifled the yell, he so desperately wanted to make. The eyes of the schoolboy footballers seared into his neck, feeling almost as hot as his burning backside. He would not let himself down: he wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of seeing him in pain.
Swish! Swish! The birch rose and fell: sweat poured from the boy’s back, soaking through his football shirt. Christopher’s gasps were louder, but he was still in control. Swish! the hardest cut yet and the boy’s response was to beat his legs up and down against the wooden horse. Tears were forming behind his eyes.
Nobody in the gymnasium, Mr Richardson included, doubted that Christopher deserved all he was getting. But, many of the boys were dissatisfied with the punishment: they wanted blood, literally.
Perhaps the headmaster could read the thoughts of his pupils: he lashed down two more strokes with full force. That did it: the skin opened and blood seeped through. Christopher’s yelp echoing around the gymnasium was greeted with smiles of satisfaction from many of the boys.
“Right boy, stand up,” It was over: Christopher had survived. Slowly, he relaxed his grip on the rope handles and raised himself from the horse. Instinctively, his hands shot to his buttocks to gently rub against the dozens of raised stripes that decorated them.
Unsteadily, he retrieved his football shorts and gingerly stepped into them, all the time avoiding looking at the headmaster or the schoolboys who lined the walls. How he hated them; all of them. Given a chance he would gladly smack each and every one of their smug mouths.
“Take him away,” the headmaster’s order was directed at Mr Richardson. Christopher violently shrugged off the sports master’s offer of his arm, determined to leave the scene of his humiliation under his own stream.
They returned to an empty changing room; his team mates too embarrassed to await his return. The warm water from the shower washed away the blood but did little to relive the intense throbbing in Christopher’s backside. Mr Richardson had enough sensitivity to leave the boy to his own devices.
Fifteen minutes later the motor coach left to return the boys to their own school; a journey made in total silence.
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