Joey peered out the window through moist eyes. His bottom was very tender but most of the real pain had gone now. He gingerly caressed his cheeks with his thumbs and the tips of his fingers. It set the pain off again. Through his thin, cotton shorts he could feel the flesh was like leather. The room was spinning and he had to hold on to a chair to stop from fainting to the floor.
It started two weeks earlier when Joey was on a train going home. He had visited Museum of Philately alone. It was the afternoon and the carriage was empty except for one boy. He was about the same age as Joey (late teens / early twenties) and Joey thought he looked nice. He had short black hair and Joey reckoned he had to cut it that way because if it grew it would be curly and wild. The boy had a clear, bright open face that seemed to Joey to glow. He was conservatively dressed in black chino trousers and a dark blue top with a hood. He had a cheap, white T-shirt that emphasised his muscular chest.
The boy noticed Joey staring and Joey blushed. He was a shy boy and easily got tongue-tied when speaking to people. He spent a lot of time on his own and didn’t know how to talk to strangers. The boy smiled at Joey and straight away he relaxed. He couldn’t put his finger on it but there was something almost magical about the boy. It was that glow that he radiated. Before Joey knew it the boy had started a conversation.
They spoke easily, almost as if they had known each other for years. When they reached Brocklehurst the boy suggested they had a coffee at the station buffet. They did and the boy asked Joey lots of questions about himself: where did he work? where did he live? Did he have family? Joey really liked the boy and was beside himself with delight when he suggested they meet up for coffee again.
It was at their third meeting that Joey told the boy that he was troubled. He was so confident that the boy would understand. He had this problem, Joey said. He thought he didn’t like girls and that worried him. Joey said he was afraid that he liked boys instead. He said he sometimes had these weird dreams. Joey had never told a living soul about this but he was not surprised that he told the boy. The boy was special. Joey knew the boy would understand.
And he did. The boy told Joey so. “I understand,” he said. “I was a bit like that myself.” Joey was overwhelmed with relief. Here was a boy he really liked who felt just the same as he did. Suddenly, it felt as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
The boy smiled sympathetically and said, “I was like that until I started going to the House of the Sacred Light . They really helped me to get over it. You should come too,” the boy said, radiating a beatific smile, “I could take you.”
Joey was uncertain. House of the Sacred Light; he thought it sounded like one of those churches darkies attended to yell and holler and speak in tongues. “No,” the boy giggled when Joey told him this, “it’s nothing like that. Come, you’ll love it.”
By this time Joey trusted the boy. He was the only friend Joey had. If he thought about it (which he didn’t) Joey would say he was the only friend he had ever had. The boy was the only person who understood his problem.
The House of the Sacred Light sounded like it should be housed in a cathedral a hundred feet high and made of stained glass but it turned out to be a single-storey prefab-type building hidden away just off the town centre. And the people there were not at all happy-clappy, in fact they were mostly very serious (dour even) older folk. The boy told Joey not to be put off by this, “They really know,” he told Joey rather enigmatically. It was at his third visit to the House that Joey found out what he meant.
They were very careful not to call what Joey had a “sin” and they did not call themselves “therapists”, but they did say that the way Joey felt was wrong and they could “cure” him – but only if he wanted them to: “no pressure,” they said. The boy told Joey it really worked. “Trust me,” the boy said and he flashed his beatific smile which made Joey’s heart skip.
They set up a group of four men from the House (including the boy) and they listened to Joey. He told them everything and everybody listened quietly and politely. Then, one of the men, who seemed to be a leader, said what needed to happen next. It seemed to Joey that all of them except himself already knew what was coming.
When they told him, he was very confused. Then, the boy explained it again and Joey thought it must be okay then if the boy said so.
“So,” the leader said quietly. He hardly ever spoke above a whisper. He was an elderly man and Joey knew nothing about him but he thought he looked respectable like an old-fashioned schoolmaster or maybe a country parson. “So,” he said, “we should do it now, don’t you think?” he peered through thick-lensed glasses at Joey. He was saying, “It’s up to you son. Only if you want to.”
Joey felt his face flushing bright red. He had never been asked such a question before. He looked across at the boy for reassurance and when he received the beatific smile he knew everything was going to be fine. Even so he couldn’t quite get the words out of his mouth and so merely nodded his agreement.
“Let’s get on with it then shall we?” the leader said and immediately the boy got off his chair and walked across the rather bare room to a beat-up cupboard attached to a wall. While he was doing this the other three all moved their chairs so they were against the wall and then they sat down again. Joey who by now was very apprehensive watched the boy open the cupboard and reach in. He saw him take out a block of wood. It looked a bit like a bread board his mother had at home, but it was a lot smaller.
The boy saw Joey’s confused look and smiled. “It’s a paddle,” he said. He held it up so Joey could see more clearly. It was a rectangle of wood about the size of a paperback book and it had a handle at one end. The boy gripped the handle and gently tapped the blade end into the palm of his left hand. It was hot in the room but even so Joey shivered when he saw this. His heartrate sped up and at the same time all the saliva in his mouth seemed to dry.
The boy went back to his chair and sat down. He looked over at Joey and said, “What you need to do now is take down your trousers.” He didn’t smile now but Joey knew he could trust the boy. The boy was his friend. Joey was a bit confused but he did as he was asked. It was a warm day and he wore polyester leisure trousers which had elastic at the waist. All he had to do was to pinch them at the hips and guide them down. He didn’t notice the three men lean forwards in their chairs when he did this.
Now, he was standing in front of the boy wearing only a white t-shirt and very short boxer shorts that weren’t really much bigger than ordinary briefs. “Bend over my lap,” the boy said and he separated his legs to make a platform. Joey’s eyes blinked uncontrollably as the boy’s knees parted. He felt sweat pour through his long hair. He was so moist he had to wipe his forehead with the back of his hand. The boy tapped his knee to encourage Joey to bend over. Joey had never done anything like this before and he wasn’t too certain what to do. The boy must have read his mind because he smiled and reached out and took Joey’s left wrist. “Here, like this,” the boy said as both gently and firmly he pulled Joey forward. Joey had quickly to put out his hands in front of him because he thought he was going to crash into the floor but the boy had a good hold of him and he landed gently.
“Move a bit more forward,” the boy said and he continued to give instructions until Joey had his palms flat out on cheap, plastic tiles. His legs dangled behind him so his feet were off the ground. In this position his head was low and his bottom high over the boy’s right thigh. Joey felt a movement in the boy’s body. He flinched when he realised what was happening. The boy took the end of his t-shirt and gently pushed it up Joey’s back so there was now a lot of bare flesh. Then (and this made Joey shudder) the boy ever so gently rubbed the palm of his hand across Joey’s buttocks. Joey hardly felt a thing but out of the corner of his eye he noticed the man who was the group’s leader had almost toppled from his chair because he was leaning too far forward.
The boy was smoothing wrinkles out of Joey’s shorts. They were really tiny and they fitted Joey’s buttocks snugly. The boy left it so the shorts actually lifted and separated each cheek. He had given himself a beautiful target. The next thing the boy did was to put his left arm across Joey’s body around the middle so he had a firm hold of his waist. Like this Joey was pinned down. He was over the boy’s knee at such an angle that he couldn’t wriggle free and escape – even if he wanted to.
The boy didn’t say anything, he just tapped the wooden paddle against Joey’s left buttock and then against the right one. Then there was a terrific crack as the wood pounded Joey’s cotton-covered bottom. It landed dead centre of the left cheek and the noise it made echoed around the small room. It was a moment or two later that Joey felt the burn. It was like the boy had tried to iron Joey’s shorts with him still inside. The pain was like nothing he had felt before. He opened his mouth and let out a long hiss. Ssssssssssss! He wriggled his waist but of course the boy had a firm grip and Joey was trapped. All he could do was keep looking down at the dirty, grey tiles and wait for the next swat.
It wasn’t long in coming. This one landed in the middle of the right cheek. Now it seemed to Joey that his whole bum was on fire. The boy went back to the left cheek and walloped it a little lower then he went to the right one. He kept up a steady rhythm, one cheek, then the other, and in no time at all every inch of Joey’s buttocks was scorched. Because Joey’s shorts were so small and the cotton so thin the boy could see exactly where each swat was landing. This helped him make sure first of all that he got Joey everywhere; from the top of the globes, over the crests and into the underside where the cheeks meet the thighs. The second thing the boy could do was to decide where he would swat Joey to create maximum pain. This meant he could choose to land a new swat on an area that was already throbbing.
Joey did not know what had hit him. His legs flailed, his hips and waist wriggled, he lifted his head and shook it up and down and from side to side. He gasped and then he yelped and before long he was crying full-throated yells. All this just seemed to spur the boy on. Joey wasn’t counting the number of whacks and it wasn’t sure whether the boy was either; it seemed to go on forever.
At last the boy let up and Joey was left gasping for breath. The boy still held him tightly so he had to keep staring down at the floor while his body started to recover. His buttocks pulsated and his temples throbbed, he had no spit in his mouth and he seemed to be making gentle mewing sounds, like a little lamb who had lost its mother.
After a while the boy let go of Joey and said he could stand up. As he was doing this the three men who had been watching hurriedly left the room. When Joey and the boy were left together the boy smiled that smile and told Joey this was just the start. It would take a while, but it would be worth it in the end. Then, he too left the room.
Joey bent double so his head was almost between his knees, the pain was dreadful. He rubbed his bum for a bit and then bent down again. The room seemed to be spinning and he couldn’t work out what was going on. He was very light-headed and he remembered that one time when he was drunk and he felt a bit like that, except this time was somehow better. But, he didn’t know how.
He needed air, so he staggered across the room to the window.
Picture credit: Unknown
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second