“He’s only gone and done it. I can’t believe it, Dougall’s only gone and done it.”
Geoff Arkwright’s face fell. Surely, not, he thought, he wouldn’t be so stupid.
“He said he would, and by jove he’s true to his word.” Terrence Aspel rushed through the cricket pavilion. His team mates stopped in their tracks.
“I never thought he would do it,” said one.
“I thought he was drunk when he said it,” offered another.
“He’s as daft as a brush,” chipped in a third.
Arkwright hunched his shoulders. He would get the blame, he just knew it. They would say it was his fault. He was captain of the Downshire County Cricket Club Colts, they would say he should maintain discipline.
Well, he thought, bitterly, it wasn’t like being House Captain at school. There wasn’t much he could do. He couldn’t very well order Dougall to touch his toes for six stingers from an ashplant.
“Come on lads, we’re missing all the fun,” Aspel called over his shoulder. He rushed from the pavilion, followed by seven of his team mates. Arkwright watched them go, before despondently following on. It would all end in tears he was certain of that.
Andy Dougall, the club’s opening batsman, had vowed he would strip off and wash himself in the horse trough if the county colts won the national championship. Well, the cup was safely in the trophy cabinet and now the twenty-year-old wunderkind was as good as his word. “Please God,” Arkwright prayed silently, “Don’t let him be totally naked.”
A small crowd had gathered, of course. Children, businessmen, ladies with shopping. All had stopped to enjoy the fun. It wasn’t every day a fit naked man had a bath in a horse trough.
Arkwright watched glumly. Everyone seemed to take the jape in good spirits. Just wait until a maiden aunt sauntered by, he thought. She’d have the rozzers on Dougall, that was for certain.
It didn’t need a sweet, sheltered old lady. The police found Dougall for themselves. “What the blinking blimey?” Police Constable Percy Perkings exclaimed to his Sergeant. “What’s ’appening at the ’orse trough?” He peered through the summer’s haze. A crowd of people were staring into the trough. Sgt Truscott saw Dougall first. His jaw dropped. A naked man. In broad daylight. It was a scandal.
“Hey you!” he cried as he broke into a run. What d’you think yer doing?” PC Perkins puffed behind him, a startled look on his face.
“Break this up. Move along please,” Sgt Truscott gasped. “There’s nothing to see here,” he added, quite erroneously. The people of Downshire, were by and large a law-abiding lot. The small crowd dispersed giggling and muttering. They wouldn’t have minded if the show had continued a little longer.
“You,” Sgt Truscott’s face was puce, in part from the run he had made on a hot afternoon, and also by his genuine disgust. “Nudity. In public,” he thundered. “It’s disgusting,” Truscott gulped. “It’s against the law.”
Dougall smiled ingratiatingly. He had attended an English public school with delusions of grandeur, he knew how to deal with the servant class. “I am not in the nude,” he sneered, He was about to add, “my man,” when the sergeant took the wind from his sails.
“You look pretty nude to me,” he roared. “It’s disgusting,” he repeated.
“I am wearing a swimming costume.” Dougall flapped his hands around his midriff to draw attention to his trunks. “Not nude at all.”
PC Perkins watched from a distance. The sergeant had a wicked temper. The young boy would do well not to rile him; the constable knew that from bitter personal experience.
“You,” the Sergeant barked at Aspel, “Fetch a raincoat; he can’t stay like this.”
Meekly, Aspel trudged into the pavilion.
Dougall had dried off by the time he had been frogmarched the mile or so to the police station. The duty officer at the front desk didn’t try to conceal his merriment. A half-naked man: they would have a lot of fun with that.
“The charge is lewd behaviour,” Sgt Truscott boomed. “Put him in a cell, we’ll take him before the magistrate in the morning.” He paused, waiting for Dougall’s predictable reaction.
“Magistrate?” his face flushed. In a whirl his future flashed before him. He was one of the top up-and-coming opening batsmen in the country. There was every possibility he’d get his first England cap soon. But, not with a criminal record. Lewd behaviour in a horse trough. The story would probably get in the Sunday papers. He would be a laughing-stock. Downshire would probably sack him.
“But,” Dougall’s voice quivered in protest. “It was only a bit of fun,” he implored. “A jape. A boyish prank.”
Sgt Truscott sneered, “You’re a bit too old for boyish pranks, aren’t you?”
It was a straw and Dougall was so desperate he would clutch at anything. “I’m twenty; I’m not legally an adult,” he pleaded.
“Pah! Do you want me to telephone your father? Tell him you’re at the police station and ask him to come down?” he glared at Dougall. “Shall I ask him to fetch his slipper?”
God no! His father must never know. Dougall would never hear the end of it.
“No, I didn’t think so,” Sgt Truscott turned to the duty officer. “What do you think Fred? What shall we do with the toe rag?”
The duty officer smiled. He had heard his sergeant talk like this before. He had a shrewd idea what was on his guv’nor’s mind. “Is he too old for a good hiding, do you think Sarge?” he stared intently at Dougall, delighted to see the menace blush to his roots.
“Maybe not,” Sgt Truscott turned his back on Dougall ensuring the twenty-year-old would not see the twinkle in his eye. “Shall we call his father then?”
“No, please,” even as the words escaped his lips, Dougall knew he had given the game away. He would do anything to leave his father out.
“What about the cricket club?” Truscott winked at the duty officer, “Is there someone we could call there? A coach perhaps? Maybe six-of-the-best across the backside with a cricket stump would do the trick?”
Dougall’s temples throbbed. He was wretched. His silly prank had backfired terrifically. He needed to keep out of the magistrates’ court at all costs. But, a beating from the cricket coach was out of the question.
“Or,” Sgt Truscott turned on his heels to face Dougall, “What about the club captain. He’s ex-public school isn’t he? I bet he knows how to swing a cane. Eh, what d’you think?” The sergeant could barely suppress his delight as blood drained from Dougall’s face.
“No, please,” Dougall mumbled.
“We’ll who else can there be?” Sgt Truscott stretched his arms and waited. The boy was about to break.
Corporal punishment was the solution, Dougall knew that. He was ex-public school. St. Tom’s was a traditional school: traditional lessons, traditional games and traditional discipline. A stiff caning solved most problems. It hurt like billy-o. But it was soon over and everybody moved on with their lives. He would accept a beating for his foolishness, but not from his father. And, it would be too humiliating to have Arkwright or the club coach administer his caning.
“Well …?” Sgt Truscott asked the duty officer. “What are we to do?”
“Dunno Sarge, what does the young lad have to say?”
The stares from the police officers burned into Dougall. The young man’s heart raced. He felt so foolish. But, he had to speak up. He had to say what was on his mind. He might regret it for the rest of his life if he remained silent.
He gulped air into his lungs. “Could you do it?”
“Do what sonny?” Sgt Truscott’s face was immobile. The duty officer licked his lips.
Dougall stared intently at the worn lino beneath his feet. “You know, could you …?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The silence was intense. It was now or never.
“Would you beat me,” he whispered.
“Speak up sonny.”
Dougall had never before thought much about the police. He had no opinion about them one way or the other. Until now. Now, he hated them with a passion. He gulped in more air and curled his fingers into fists. “Would you beat me,” he enunciated clearly.
Dougall’s fingernails bit deeply into the palms of his hands. “Per-lease.”
“I think that could be arranged, don’t you officer?” Sgt Truscott strode towards the back of the police station. “Follow me, lad. Come this way.” Sorrowfully, Dougall skipped down the corridor after the quickly disappearing policeman.
The room was usually used for interviews. There wasn’t much furniture. There didn’t need to be. There was a small wooden table in the centre surrounded by four chairs; and not much else. Sgt Truscott silently moved the chairs to the edge of the room; they would be of no use for what he had in mind.
Slowly, he unbuttoned his jacket and slid it off his shoulders. Seconds later it was in a heap on one of the chairs.
“Take off your raincoat and put it over there,” Sgt Truscott nodded to his own jacket. Dougall thought he was calm, but he couldn’t get his fingers to obey him. At last the buttons were undone and the coat removed. Sgt Truscott drew in breath. He couldn’t remember the last time he stood so close to a nearly naked man. The swimming trunks fitted Dougall snugly and the outline of his cock and balls was visible. It took an effort, but Sgt Truscott didn’t stare.
Instead, his own hands shook as he unbuckled the belt that held up his baggy serge trousers. Dougal stared intently. It was a long, thick, wide strip of leather. It looked terrifically heavy as the sergeant folded it once and then again until he had a punishment strap about a foot long.
Truscott ran the tip of his tongue across his top lip. “Shall we get this over with then?”
Dougall answered with an almost imperceptible nod.
“Climb up onto the table. Lay flat out.” The sergeant watched intently as Dougall stretched himself across the worn wooden table top.
“It helps if you fold your arms and rest your face in them,” the sergeant spoke kindly. He saw Dougall’s muscles in his back ripple as he manoeuvred to get into place. The twenty-year-old was some athlete. There wasn’t an ounce of spare fat on his body; his legs were like tree trunks and his bottom was firm and round. Almost absent-mindedly, Sgt Truscott reached to the waist of the swimming trunks and tugged slightly. Now, they fitted like a second skin. The crack between Dougall’s cheeks was clearly defined. The young man made a terrific target.
The crack of leather on stretched cotton bounced off the walls of the tiny room echoing two or three times before petering out. Dougall shut his teeth. It hurt. More than he might have imagined, but he was no stranger to corporal punishment. He screwed up his eyes to absorb the pain and settled himself for whack number two. It wasn’t long in coming. The sergeant twisted his own body and sent the leather scorching into the underside of Dougall’s buttocks. With his prey lying flat in front of him, the punisher was able to choose his target with great accuracy. Had the boy been bent across the table or over the back of a chair, a great deal of his flesh would have been hidden away from the direct line of the lashing leather.
Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat! It was a long, thorough whipping, deep and cleansing. It was slow but steady with each stroke precisely placed. Dougall silently counted them all and when Truscott reached thirty the sergeant stopped.
The young man’s eyes shone. His rear end throbbed. His heart raced, blood flew through his arteries. His ears felt like they would burst. His lungs were raw. His body was thoroughly beaten; but he had lived.
“Stand up. Get back into your raincoat. Get out.” Sgt Truscott could not get rid of the boy too quickly. Dougall had no desire to stay. It was over. There would be no appearance before the magistrate. No scandal in the Sunday newspapers. His chances of an England cap remained strong. Gingerly, he hobbled from the room and limped down the passageway to the front door.
It was still sunny. Summer was not yet quite over. His bum felt raw. It was a scorching sensation very unlike the pain from six with the cane. It would take some time for the burning to fade.
He must at all costs resist the temptation to sit in the cool water of the horse trough to relieve his suffering, he smiled to himself as he set off back to the cricket club to collect his clothes.
Picture credit: The Champion
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second