Commander Reynolds’ boarding house

Commander Albert Reynolds, RN (retd.) turned the volume of his wireless down low and sat back in his comfortable chair. The boys had given him a strange proposition but he was not sure he should have turned them down. He pressed his fingers together, pursed his lips and closed his eyes, allowing the sound of … Continue reading Commander Reynolds’ boarding house

The banker and the three wretches

Charlie’s jaw dropped slack with astonishment as the whirlwind flew through the door. He watched the colossus stride through the banking hall, his walking cane held at his shoulder like an infantryman’s rifle. All around, cashiers and customers alike, stopped work to stare as the man – all six feet six inches of him – … Continue reading The banker and the three wretches

Birching in school hall

Adapted from stories in The Magnet   The hushed school hall was packed with boys. Every fellow of every form was there, from sixth-form seniors down to fags of the second form. The prefects were in their places, canes under their arms: the masters, with grave faces: the hapless culprit, quiet and subdued, but with … Continue reading Birching in school hall

Changed Times – the compilation

  Readers in the United Kingdom don’t need me to tell them that arguments about leaving the European Union have been raging for more than three years and don’t seem to be resolved yet. Many people who voted to leave the EU (it seemed to me) wanted to return to sometime in the past when … Continue reading Changed Times – the compilation

The escapee (or Blakey on the run)

The bars across the window had been sawn through weeks before. They hadn’t been fixed. Money was tight. There were more important things to worry about. Blakey pulled open the sash windows. It was almost dark. The rest of the “students” would be down in the recreation rooms in the hour before bedtime. Now, was … Continue reading The escapee (or Blakey on the run)

Speaking in support of the birch

Gentlemen, I speak this evening in support of the birch as a preferred method of chastisement in schools. As you will be aware there is a great deal of debate and correspondence in our great newspapers regarding the introduction of the supple cane to replace the age-old birch rod. I speak as the headmaster of … Continue reading Speaking in support of the birch

Summer spent staring at the carpet

I cannot begin to remember how often I had a close-up view of the carpet that summer. My nose hovering inches above the dusty, cheap flooring. Trousers at my ankles, underwear at the knees and Uncle Simon flogging a birch rod into my naked buttocks. Yowl! I can still feel the sting as I recall … Continue reading Summer spent staring at the carpet

The apprentices

Anders Schmidt’s heart raced, he re-entered the figures on the spreadsheet, double clicked the mouse and waited for it to update. Sweat was moistening his brow and it was not only because the air-conditioning in the room was not working. In a second the computer screen flickered. Schmidt did not have to look; he already … Continue reading The apprentices

Snuffy

We first met quite by accident in a crowded coffeeshop in town. I was seated at a table deep into my Guardian, he was at the other end of the room, searching with his eyes. Do you ever get that feeling someone’s watching you, even if you can’t see them? That’s how it was. I … Continue reading Snuffy

Fake News at New Year

Five louts birched after New Year’s brawl Brocklehurst Bugle Five louts each received 12 strokes of the birch on their bare buttocks for brawling in the street after a new law came into force at midnight on New Year’s Day. The five, aged between 19 and 21, appeared before Brocklehurst Magistrates on Tuesday. Police Inspector … Continue reading Fake News at New Year