I am walking down Brocklehurst High Street heading for the Pound Shop. It is late summer and college restarts the next week and I need provisions like pens and paper and such like. Not, if I am going to be particularly honest about it, that I will put them to good use, since college for me is just an opportunity to skive. I know the Pound Shop is a good place to go; not because of the low cost of their products (the clue is in the store’s name) but it is an easy place to steal things from.
I am of the opinion that there is no reason to pay for something when you can take it for free and those of you who have visited such places as the Pound Shop know they have little use for security. I take what I want and simply hide it under my coat and make my leave.
I think this day is to be no exception. I choose Saturdays because; one) it is a little busier than during the week and two) because it is staffed by “Saturday workers” who by and large are school or college kids working for the day and they really couldn’t give a shit. About anything.
I am making my selection and heading to the sunlight uplands of the high street with a bulge under my coat when I hear a voice call out. It says, “Hey you there, stop!” I am not sure the voice – it is a gruff sound and is clearly a man and quite possibly an older guy at that – is directed at me so I just keep on going. I have a date with my girlfriend and don’t want to be late on account that her folks are visiting her gran this day and the house will be empty for some hours and as they say, “While the cat’s away …”
“You! Stop!” The old geezer shouts again and now people are looking at him and looking at me and some Good Citizen steps in front of me to block my path.
“You!” I turn around and see I was right. It is a man who will never see fifty again, he has a paunch the size of a football hanging over the waist of his cheap dark-blue polyester trousers. His matching jacket is a little too tight and he sweats like he has just run a marathon rather than walking maybe a hundred feet from the shop doorway.
He is a security guard and doesn’t he know it. Now, I know and you probably know too, that security guards are the scum of the earth. They get minimum wage, an ill-fitting suit, and the chance to beat up on ordinary citizens just going about their not-so lawful business.
“Would you please come with me sir,” he says, sneering the word “sir” because he doesn’t really mean it. What he wants to say is, “I’ve got you bang to rights sunny boy, let’s see you grovel out of this one.”
I am standing in the middle of the crowded street seeing my afternoon shag-fest melting in the hot sun. I think about running. I have no practice at athletics preferring to spend my waking hours at Tablet screens or in dark pubs. And, sometimes I do both these things at the same time. I am not fit but I can outrun the old security guard.
I get ready to leg it when the security guard speaks. He says, “I know you. You’re …” and he gives up my name. Both bits. The first name and the last. “You live at The Avenue,” he is triumphant. “I know your dad.”
Now, how old fattyboy here, who is a nobody on minimum wage and who has always been and always will be, knows my dad, who just happens to be the director of administrative affairs at the local borough council and a big cheese in town to boot, escapes me. The news makes me hesitate my flight and next thing I feel his hand on my shoulder and I am going nowhere. Nowhere, that is except back into the shop.
There is a small room close to the self-service checkouts that he takes me to. It looks like a store room, but there is a cheap plastic-looking table, so it might be an office. There is only one window high up in the wall. It is frosted glass and hardly any daylight gets in. Fatty flicks a switch and a dim bulb sparks into action.
Well, Fatty goes on at me a bit, asks me what I’ve got under my jacket, have I got receipts, the whole nine yards. I cough to it. Who cares? The total value of my swag is four pounds. It’s hardly worth the trouble calling the police. It’ll cost the store more money to prosecute people than they ever lose in theft. I know it and I pretty sure Fatty boy here knows it too.
I let him have his moment in the spotlight and I’m just getting ready to say, “Call the cops or let me go,” like we were in some two-bit drama show on cable TV, when he goes to his pocket, pulls out a dirty handkerchief and very deliberately mops his brow with it. I watch mesmerised. He is really a fat, ugly reptile of a specimen. His brownish eyes are dull and I can see he is thinking about something. He is trying out the words he is about to say out loud. It is like he is rehearsing them like an actor in that TV drama I just told you about.
Then he says, “I think I’ll call your dad, let’s see what he has to say about it.” Then he smiles and I see half his teeth are missing and those that aren’t are dirty yellow and decayed. “What do you think about that?” he says. It isn’t really a question because he damn well knows what I think about that. I don’t think much of that at all.
I wonder how he knows of my dad. But if he really knows him at all, he knows that my dad will have my hide when he finds out. Now, “have my hide” is a saying that has been about for decades and means many different things to many different people. But when I say dad will “have my hide”, I don’t mean, “no more movies for a week or two, no more running round with the usual crew”, I mean “have my hide”, as in “take the skin off my rear end”.
Fatty grins at me and my stomach turns over. It turns over; one) because Fatty is repulsive to look at and more so when he shows the inside of his mouth, and two) because I do not want to be bent across the end of my bed at home with my trousers at my ankles and underpants at the knees while dad whips me with a thick, whippy, old-fashioned school-type cane he purchased off e-Bay especially for the purpose. I’ve been there and done that and no thank you I don’t need the t-shirt.
Fatty grins at me some more and I swear licks his lips, like he is sizing me up as his next meal. I am silent. What can I say? What exactly does he want?
I find out soon enough, when he wipes that snotty handkerchief over his face again and then he speaks. He says, “I have a little something in that drawer I keep for people like you,” and he nods towards a long drawer that is part of the table as if I can’t work out for myself what it is he is talking about.
He opens the drawer and pulls out a piece of wood. I know right away what it is because I see lots of these last time I’m at the TK Maxx store. It is a chopping block like you use in a kitchen for cutting carrots and onions and what-not. Fatty holds the board by the handle and waves it at me. I realise for the first time the chopping block has another use. The chopping end is maybe thirty-five centimetres long and fifteen wide and not at all thick. He licks those lips again and his dull eyes blaze now.
He says nothing, but I know he wants to spank me with the chopping board. I am in a jam. I can leg it out of there and go screw my girlfriend, but I know when I get home later dad will be waiting, flexing his curved-handled cane between his hands. I can do that or I can stay and let Fatty do his worst. I know that Fatty’s worst will be nothing like dad’s. I see the blade of the chopping block could pack a punch and might blister my bum, but dad’s cane will rip me to shreds and I’ll still know about it in two weeks’ time.
Fatty might be a mind reader because he says to me, “It’s me or your dad,” and he leaves it at that. He doesn’t say more. He knows that I know what he means. Either way, I cop it. It’s him or dad. If you were in my shoes, what would you do?
“You need to take down those trousers and bend over the table,” Fatty says as if it’s the most natural thing in the world to have a nineteen-year-old kid with his jeans down bending across a table in an airless room on a Saturday lunchtime while he wallops his backside with a chopping board.
“And, you need to do it now,” he goes on, like this is something he does all the time. He licks those frigging lips again.
I close my eyes and see the sight of my bare arse when I look at it in the mirror after dad finished with me last time. Think about Clapham Junction railway lines. I open the peepers again and reach down to my belt and tug it open. Soon my zipper is lowered and my jeans slip down my thigh. Fatty has the chopping board by the handle and is thumping it into the palm of his left hand. He is trying to frighten me, but I say to myself there is nothing to worry about because no way is that piece of wood going to hurt me one little bit when I think of what dad’s cane will do.
So, I shuffles forward like a penguin until I reach the table. I am a tall guy and the table is quite low. I stop and think. How do I do this? Do I spread my legs and lean forward and grab the table and stick my bum out? That would do it. Or do I lay on the table spread-eagled with my legs splayed.
“Put your elbows on the table and stick yer arse out,” Fatty is breathing heavily, but I get what he is trying to tell me. I do as he says. I don’t see myself, but I can tell this puts me in a mightily good position. My head is low, my back arched, my legs are apart and my bum juts out at a perfect angle for Fatty to spank me.
I still have my jacket on so Fatty takes hold of the tail end and moves it away from his target area. I wear mini briefs (my girl’s favourite) and they stick to my cheeks like a second skin. Still, Fatty rubs his hand over my arse to smooth the cotton down some more. It feels like the briefs have ridden up my crack.
The table top is old and stained. It has seen much action. I think I recognise one of the stains and it has no connection to tea, coffee or other beverage. I feel Fatty move away and then I feel a kiss of wood against my stretched flesh, then Wham! The wood cracks into my arse. I get a burning sensation where it lands. Bam! Another hits, just below the first blow. Crack! and so on.
My buttocks are sizzling. The sound of the crack of wood on cotton underwear bounces off the walls of the small room and I think surely the store staff on the other side of the door can hear what is going on. Any moment someone is coming in to see what the commotion is. I bite my bottom lip as the pain intensifies. It starts at my bum and travels up and down my legs. I keep my position well. I can stand it. Fatty spanks the chopping board across every square centimetre of my bum and wallops the back of my thighs for good measure. I hear him wheezing. Soon it becomes full out coughing.
He stops spanking me before he suffers a stroke. I stand and without looking at the fat old man who is now struggling for breath, I pull up and fasten my jeans. My bum is sore, but even now it is turning from pain to only a throb. I rub the seat of my jeans and can’t find any trace of welts, but my bum will be bruised for sure.
I pick up my pens and writing paper and without a backward glance at Fatty I leave the office. I am walking down the High Street and I think, how do I explain the bruises to my girlfriend? I think I could just tell her the truth, but honestly who would believe me?
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second