A school-leaving present

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The beautiful grounds of St Francis Independent Grammar School basked in the cloudless July morning, but it was lost on Mr Price, the deputy headmaster. The dour Welshman, pushing sixty, tall and bony, had the usual grim expression on his gaunt face. It was now halfway through the last week of summer term and in just a couple of days another batch of what Mr Price regarded as his natural prey – the sixth-form boys – would be leaving forever and be beyond his gasp. Or more specifically beyond the reach of his cane. The thought made him grind his teeth.

He made a tour of the grounds but typically he did not pause to admire them. He was a master with a mission; on the lookout for any boy breaking a rule (and there were many at the school) so that then he could march him to his study and administer a stiff caning.

But all was quiet. No boy was out of bounds, slinking in part of the school where he had no business. No illicit cigarette had been smoked behind the gymnasium. No boy was out of class without permission. With shoulders slumped, tight-lipped and angry, Mr Price trudged through the entrance to the main school building, heading back to his study.

As he turned the corner from the entrance hall he saw three sixth formers, dashing down the passageway laughing merrily as they tossed a cricket ball between themselves. He saw them, but they did not see him. Mr Price took a short step to his right, ensuring all three bundled into him. He stumbled and toppled to the ground as if pole-axed. He sat on his backside, counted silently to a beat of three, and then roared, “You boys! What is the meaning of this? Rushing through the school like a group of hooligans. Playing cricket! Inside! How dare you!”

He hauled himself to his feet and with his hand brushed dust from his tattered academic gown. It gave him pleasure that the three boys had each turned pale with apprehension. “Outrageous! Disgraceful!” he glared at each boy in turn. “Ha!” he slowly licked his bottom lip, three senior boys, each would be leaving school at the end of the week. “Unbelievable behaviour,” he intoned. “You will all, of course, be punished.”

Oh yes, all three would definitely feel the swipe of his cane – and on their bare backsides. But what luck, one of the three just happened to be the sixth-former Mr Price most fancied in the whole school. Most fancied caning, that is. Tony Phillips: he would certainly be his first treat. He couldn’t wait.

“You two boys, I shall deal with you later. You may go now and I shall send for you when ready.” They dashed off, silently.

“Phillips, you will come with me. Now!”

Tony Phillips, aged eighteen, was indeed a choice victim for Mr Price: tall, handsome, slender but muscular with a mop of unruly fair hair. His pale-grey trousers fitted snugly around his flat stomach and firm rounded buttocks. His clear, open face was now clouded with dismay as Mr Price hurried him along the passageway.

The deputy headmaster’s study was small but functional. A desk dominated one half of it. Across the way were a couple of ‘easy’ chairs with wooden arms and low backs. Cupboards and shelves ran along one wall. The only window was wide open allowing a gentle breeze to waft into the otherwise airless room.

Inevitably, Tony Phillips had been in this study before. The last time had been just after Christmas when he and two pals had been caught throwing snowballs. His bottom twitched as he now recalled that last visit. It had been Six; with trousers down. God! he pondered, would it be bared-arsed this time?

Mr Price locked the door and sat down behind his desk. “There!” he snapped his fingers and pointed. With wide eyes, Phillips shuffled so that he stood the other side of the desk. Mr Price searched through a pile of exercise books, faking interest. This was part of his ritual, not caning immediately but taking his time, allowing a build-up of the handsome boy’s nervous tension, while Mr Price savoured his fear.

“Well, Phillips, what have you to say for yourself?”

“P…Please, Sir… I… I didn’t know. I mean…” the boy trailed off and stared down at his shoes.

“Pah! You behaved like hooligans. Really I should have thought at your age that you would know better. It’s quite appalling, in a senior boy.”

Phillips flushed. What could he say? He knew Mr Price well enough. Matters would have to take their course. He bit his lip. Mr Price concentrated again on the pile of books. At last he pulled open a drawer and dropped the lot inside.

“Well Phillips,” he growled, “this is not your first visit to my study. It is quite obvious that the canings you have had in the past have done nothing whatsoever for you. But I can tell you, boy, I intend to give you a thrashing which you will remember for a long, long time to come. And really I think it’s the best possible school-leaving present you could have.”

He struggled from his chair and stood. Across the study was a tall, thin cupboard. He nodded at it. “Phillips, go to the cupboard and select the cane I should use to beat you.” Phillips felt his ears burn. He hated this, what was a boy supposed to do? The cupboard was full of canes; some longer and thicker than others. All had the traditional crook handle. All were whippy and any one of them could leave his backside bruised for days – longer even if the brute caned him on the bare.

If he choose a smaller, thinner rod would he be telling the master he only deserved a mild punishment? What if he took the longest and thickest? Did that mean he thought Mr Price should whip his arse off?

“Don’t dither boy. I haven’t all day,” the deputy headmaster growled. Phillips closed his eyes, reached into the cupboard and grabbed the first cane he felt. He withdrew it and turned to face his tormentor. “Hand it here, boy,” Mr Price reached out and snatched it. It was a heavier cane, very suitable for the older boy. Mr Price flexed it between his hands and despite its thickness it curved easily. He swiped it through the air, testing its weight. “An admirable choice, Phillips. Splendid. This will do the job very well.”

Phillips stood rooted to the ground. “Take that chair, put it in the centre of the room,” Mr Price indicated one of the easy chairs. It was lightweight and the eighteen-year-old had no difficulty moving it into position.

“Take off your blazer, put it on my desk.” The instruction was clear and calm, Mr Price did not betray in his face that his heart was pounding and his mouth had suddenly dried. He watched interestedly as Phillips slipped the jacket from his shoulders and with unsteady hands folded it and dropped it on the desk. Not daring to look at Mr Price he returned to his place behind the chair.

The cane swished once more through empty air. “Trousers down, Phillips.” The sixth-former had expected this but even so his stomach lurched and through moistening eyes he glanced down at his own body. The pale-grey trousers fitted snugly and he had no need of a belt. All he had to do was pop a button on the waistband and pull the metal zipper. It wasn’t much to ask, but his hands still found the task nearly impossible. They would not stop shaking. A snorted, “Bah!” from the deputy head spurred him on. At last the front of his trousers gaped open and he encouraged them to slip down his thighs. A bunch of keys in his pocket and the force of gravity helped them hurtle onwards to the floor.

The tail of his bright-white shirt covered most of his equally gleaming Y-front underpants. Phillips stood, his heart thumping, terrified that the next instruction he heard would see his pants travelling south to meet his trousers.

Mr Price took a step backwards so he stood behind Phillips. “Bend over the chair boy,” he croaked. He did not see the look of relief light up the boy’s face for Mr Price was staring at the two firm cheeks pressing against the white cotton underpants. As Phillips fell forward his buttocks tightened further so they resembled two hard rubber balls. Mr Price swallowed hard and wiped the back of his hand across his sweaty brow.

Phillips got himself over so that his hands held the wooden arms tightly and his back was arched. “Head low, bottom high. Feet apart boy. You know how I like it,” Mr Price had recovered most of his voice and he watched until Phillips lowered his head, wriggled his hips and spread his feet until he had submitted himself to the deputy headmaster’s entire satisfaction.

“Right boy,” Mr Price was quiet, as if speaking only to himself. He tucked the cane under his right armpit and with his hands now free he took hold of the tail of Phillips’ shirt and carefully folded it so that it was away from the buttocks and the target area. He paused, to admire the two, hard buttocks displayed before him. He did not try to resist the temptation to  curve the palm of his right hand and gently cup the contours of the right buttock. Phillips’ back stiffened when the deputy headmaster’s fingers explored the crack between his cheeks before caressing the left buttock. Then, Mr Price rubbed the undercurves of Phillips’ bum before polishing the backs of his thighs. Finally, he gave the eighteen-year-old two almost playful slaps across the centre of each cheek.

“The last time you were here you were caned on your underpants,” Mr Price said carefully. “It did not seem to have the desired effect to moderate your poor behaviour,” he paused and took hold of the elasticated waist of the underpants. Phillips’ mouth formed the figure “O” but he spoke no word. “So,” Mr Price voice rose an octave, “we must get rid of these,” and he eagerly whipped the pants down in one swift movement, rather like a magician revealing the end of his trick. “They really don’t serve much purpose at a time like this, do they?” he gasped as Phillips winced and closed his eyes tight.

Mr Price guided the Y-fronts down the back of the teenager’s thighs and left them snagged at his knees. He swallowed hard, licked his lips and took a moment to drink in the delight of seeing Phillips’ naked buttocks for the first time. They were indeed splendid, twitching in all their glory. His full white, hairless bottom was waiting for his cane, crying out for discipline.

Mr Price slipped the cane from his armpit and held it tightly just under the curved handle. He flexed it thoughtfully all the time staring at the naked flesh that would soon be his target. “Keep the legs straight so that the bottom is high. Keep your head well down. Keep the bottom quite still. Departures from these simple rules will result in extra strokes. And I will just repeat that I do intend – today – to give you something special. To remember when you have left St Francis’ A special leaving present.”

Phillips heard none of this, his head was throbbing and the room appeared to be spinning. A strong breeze from the open window brushed his bare buttocks and legs. Nor did he feel the cane as Mr Price “sawed” it across the very centre of his buttocks and then gently tap-tap-tapped it across the fleshiest part of the mounds as he found his aim.

z used cane hold white pants down armchair school Hornet

And then. Swipe! Crack a jolt cut across the full meat of Phillips’ bum. “Ahhggghhh!” He shuddered and wriggled as the fearsome pain burnt into his flesh. The deputy headmaster had not been lying. Phillips had never been caned like this before.

“Keep the bottom still, boy!”

He couldn’t, he tried but his body continued to judder as the pain travelled from his bottom up and down his legs. His temples throbbed as savagely as his behind and his eyes were damp. He gripped hold of the wooden arms of the chair, trying manfully to offer up his bum for the next stroke.

CRACK! It was harder than the first and landed about a half inch below it. He let out a shriek and his bottom wriggled and writhed. His feet stomped up and down like a soldier on sentry duty. Mr Price stood back, admiring his handiwork. Two deep, dark-pink lines throbbed across the buttocks. The boy’s cries spurred him on. He tapped the cane across the juddering bottom, lower still. CRACK! CRACK! The cane rose and fell twice more.

After five lashes Phillips had no control and he jumped to his feet, hopping from foot to foot while simultaneously rubbing the palms of his hands across his scorching buttocks. Mr Price stood transfixed, eyes staring at Tony Phillips’ uncut cock as half-erect it bounced before his gaze.

“Phillips, how dare you! Get back over that chair at once. Immediately, I say!” he roared, feigning outrage. The teenager wailed, almost incoherently, “I can’t … it hurts so .. It’s too much … No more, please!”

“Silence boy,” Mr Price flexed the cane irritably between his hands and then to show his annoyance he swiped it against the back of the chair, “How dare you, What are you talking about! I have certainly no intention of halting a caning halfway through. I promised you something special as a leaving present. Now get back into position immediately.” He mopped his brow with the back of his hand. “Really it is unheard of that a member of the Upper Sixth cannot take a caning properly. Now get back and control yourself!”

Now, sobbing, Phillips forced himself to turn on his heels, face the chair and once again lower himself over. “Get that bottom high. Jut it out more boy,” Mr Price spoke sourly.

Trembling, Phillips stuck out his buttocks, showing his master his once-smooth, creamy cheeks, now decorated with five blistering stripes: three running perfectly parallel and the final two at angles where the wretched boy had jumped up squirming with agony.

“Keep still, I shall give you three more,” Mr Price brayed as he tapped the cane across the undercurves to get his aim. He was going to slash these with extra vim and when he was done, he would tell the worthless boy he was getting six extra for his improper behaviour in standing up.

Mr Price took a deep breath, raised the cane above shoulder height, twisted his body slightly and let fly three times. The cane bit deep into the softer flesh where the cheeks meet the thighs. Phillips hailed like a banshee. Surely, with the study window wide open, people could hear the screams as far away as the High Street.

The bottom shone red-hot, Phillips slumped across the chair, snivelling into the soft cushion. “Six more,” Mr Price announced the additional tally gravely, “A senior boy must learn how to take his punishment stoically.” The poor boy was too exhausted to react. The deputy headmaster lay the tip of his cane at the highest point of the cheeks, where they nearly meet the spine and landed one of the harshest stingers so far. Phillips bottom was so raw and his body ached so much his brain hardly registered the additional pain this caused.

Slowly, methodically, Mr Price swiped five more cuts across the raw cheeks, each one an inch lower than the earlier one. Of course, some landed on already throbbing welts and sliced deep into the meat of Phillips’ twisting, squirming rump. Then, like a nightmare it was finally over. Mr Price surveyed his work: the sobbing trembling boy, the scarlet-striped bottom… Yes, Phillips would remember this day all right.

Phillips stumbled to his feet when told to, and still shaking and crying, fumbled the white Y-fronts and pale-grey trousers back up. “’Now, Phillips: I trust that is something you will remember.”

“Y…Yes… S…Sir,” the boy could hardly gasp!

“Because I am very saddened to find these shortcomings in your behaviour just on the point of your leaving St Francis. You will be expected to carry the school’s standards with you, you know, after you have left here, as a living example of this great school.”

Tony Phillips’ mouth opened but nothing came out except for a panting gasp. Tears rolled down his cheeks.

“Very good. Well, I hope it has been a good lesson for you. You may go now.”

Mr Price unlocked the door. As Phillips went out past him, none too steadily, he repeated, “Remember now,”  and gave the boy’s throbbing bottom a final sharp slap.

Conscious of the heavy weight inside his underwear Mr Price slouched on the chair that moments before Phillips had been sprawled across. Oh, how he would love to sink a delightful gin and tonic. But this could not be. He smirked to himself, that would have to wait. In his mind he pictured Phillips’ scarred bottom. It had resembled a map of Clapham railway junction! Yes, it had been a very fine school-leaving present … for himself! And, he still had the prospect of those two other charming bottoms to enjoy. He fumbled with the buttons of his trousers and slipped his hand inside.

 

Picture credit: Hornet (Sting Pictures)

 

Other stories you might enjoy

Housemaster’s double caning  

Late up in the morning

Late at the office

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

Waiting …

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z used corner school study sting (1)

The Headmaster’s a sadistic old so-and-so. He makes you wait, standing, nose inches from the wall. He does it every time. Waiting. What for? I know it’ll be the cane. I’ve been here before. Many times. It’ll be on the bare for sure, this time.

I can’t see him, but I can sense that he’s there. Just sitting. Waiting. Letting me stew. The study is hot. I’ve never seen the window open. It’s muggy and smells a bit of stale cigarette smoke and old man’s sweat. Cigarette smoke. I wonder how many schoolboys’ backsides the Old Man has caned because they were caught smoking. So that makes him a hypocrite as well as a sadist.

I could be standing here for hours. All right, not for hours, but for a very long time. “Stand there and think about what you’ve done,” he growled when he pointed me towards the wall. That’s not what he really means. What he really means is, “Stand there and be scared about what I’m about to do to you.”

He doesn’t scare me. Honestly, he doesn’t. You can only be scared if you don’t know what’s coming next. The first time a boy is called to the study and put through this rigmarole, he might be frightened.  Frightened of the unknown. Will it be the cane? How many strikes? Will it hurt? Can I stop myself blubbing? But once you’ve been through it you know the answers. They are yes, yes, yes and no, not necessarily: in that order.

When he’s ready – and that might not be for some time yet – he will drag himself from behind his desk. He will sigh like he’s got all the world’s troubles on his shoulders. I have to keep my eyes glued  to the road map of Brocklehurst the Headmaster has on his wall. I look to find the street where I live – The Avenue – while the Head takes a gentle stroll across the study. I can’t see him (of course) but his heavy footsteps make the old floorboards creak.

When the footsteps stop there will be a pause of maybe twenty seconds while he rummages through his pockets. He is looking for the small brass key that opens a tall thin cupboard that stands in the corner. I won’t be able to hear the door open, but he’ll make certain I hear him as he puts his hand inside. He’ll rattle the canes around. They make a strange, unmistakable jangling as they knock into one another and against the wooden sides of the cupboard. I don’t know how many canes he keeps in there, but the echoing noise suggests there are plenty.

I suppose by this time the boy about to be beaten is supposed to be trembling with fear; counting down the moments until the Headmaster’s inevitable command: “Bend over!” It doesn’t work like that. Does he know? All I can think of is: “Can you get on with this please, I’m meeting Freddie and the gang at five o’clock.”

I read somewhere – don’t laugh, but it was in some newspaper article calling for the abolition of corporal punishment – that schools claim the cane is only used as a “last resort”. They meant that a boy is put through any number of punishments – writing lines, detentions, you name it – and if all that fails, only then  do they get a swishing. Ha! Not at this school. The cane is pretty much the First Resort. I couldn’t tell you how many rules there are here, there are so many, but it seems to me if you break just about any one of them you could find yourself touching your toes or bent across a desk or the back of a chair. Last Resort – my eye!

Can there be a single boy at this school who hasn’t had his backside battered at some time or another? It’s hard to believe. And it’s never ending. Here I am, eighteen years old, a sixth-former, with only a few weeks to go until I’m free of this place, and still I am forced to stand, contrite, hands-behind-back, waiting nervously for six-of-the-best.

After a great deal of rattling, the Headmaster finally chooses his weapon of choice. This is a farce, of course. He has caned so many boys over the years that he is intimately acquainted with each and every one of those rattans. He could pick one out blindfolded. But, it’s the little game the Headmaster likes to play and there’s nothing you or me can do about it.

The heavy footsteps start again. He is returning to his desk. I can smell his body odour. He is standing close behind me. I still can’t see him, but the swishing sound as the cane flies through empty air tells me all I need to know. He is getting himself ready, flexing the thin rod between his hands. Swiping it to demonstrate its power. It is a standard school cane. You’ve probably seen a few in your time, and if you went to a school like mine, felt the sting across your stretched backside. By now, a boy is supposed to be sweating with anxiety, shaking a little. Overcome with fear. Not me.

As I said, fear comes with the unknown. I know almost exactly what comes next. I’ve been here before. Many times. I have no fear. I think economists call it “diminishing returns”. The fear gets a little less with each visit to the study, until it gets to the point when all I want is for him to get on with it. I have broken the rules, the Headmaster is determined to punish me. He has already jawed me; told me why I am to be beaten. When he orders it so, I will submit to the cane. God is in his Heaven. The world moves on.

“Turn around,” the Headmaster intones. I face him. He is an ugly, old man. His nose is long and pointed and would not look out of place on the face of a witch. What hair he still possesses is grey and sticks out from his temples in untidy tufts. A pot belly strains against his tight waistcoat. He wears a tweed suit that might never have been fashionable, but almost certainly dates from before the war. Over this he has an old and rather tattered academic gown. Among schoolmasters an ancient gown is seen as some kind of status.  I says the wearer has been around for many years; has seen it all, and cannot be fooled.

The Headmaster wobbles his jowls and growls. His yellow, uneven teeth show. “Pick up that chair,” he swishes the cane towards and old, wooden straight backed chair. “Put it there,” he nods his head imperiously at a space in the middle of the study, just in front of his desk. The chair is surprisingly heavy. I have seen it at close up before, but that doesn’t stop me noticing how much of the varnish has worn away in two places: the apex of the back and the seat. Generations of schoolboys have submitted themselves across that chair and held on to the seat for dear life while the Headmaster went about his duty.

I let the chair down with a thump and take a step back. I stand, head bowed, hands once more clamped behind my back. It is a position of respect, but I don’t feel respect. I feel slightly annoyed that I should be going through this. Again, and at my age. The Headmaster swishes the cane again: does he really think this intimidates me? He really is a ham actor. “Take off your blazer. Put it there.” This time he wobbles the cane at his desk. I walk the two or three steps necessary and stand by the desk. I count up to ten in my head. This serves no purpose but I am feeling a bit bloody minded; two can play at amateur dramatics. Then, with a steady hand I unbutton the jacket and slip it from my shoulders. I take my time folding it neatly. I wait. The Headmaster has not told me what to do next.

“Pah!” he ejaculates. Obviously, he had expected me to return to the chair. I count that as a small victory. “Stand by the chair,” he barks. I make the return journey and wait patiently about two yards from the back of the chair. “Pah!” the Headmaster almost shouts, “Closer boy; closer!” Has he realised my little game?

Innocence itself, I shuffle forward. He swishes the cane again and snarls, “Lower your trousers.” I swear the tip of his tongue darts through his pursed lips when he says this. He looks like a lizard. My pale-grey trousers fit snugly and need no belt, so all I have to do is undo the button on my waistband and the fly and they are open. The Headmaster adjusts his position so that he is standing directly across the chair from me. He gets a perfect view of my white Y-fronts as the trousers slip down my thighs and snag at the knees. I part my legs slightly and they continue their journey down to my shins. I stand straight. By now a boy should be shaking like a leaf, anticipation with dread the next command. Not me. “Bring it on,” I say, but aloud.

The Headmaster clears his throat. “Underpants down.” It is almost a whisper. I put my thumbs under the elasticated waistband and with hardly a flick of the wrists I send them south. They stay at my knees and this time I leave them there. The Headmaster’s eyes glaze. He stares at the whippy, rattan cane in his hands as if only for the first time realising he is holding it. I feel a slight breeze across my bare legs, even though the window is closed.

“Lift up your shirt,” the Headmaster’s voice is dry and cracked. My white shirt has long tails and covers part of my buttocks and privates. I take it in my hands and raise it so that I am now fully naked around the Headmaster’s target area. “Bend over the chair,” the Headmaster unnecessarily taps the cane against the back of the wooden chair. The clunking sound it makes reverberates around the room.

I take a lung-full of air, release the shirt and lean forward. I am eighteen years old and quite tall so there is some distance between my stomach and the top of the chair. I arch my back and grip the two sides of the seat. I spread my legs. I know from experience this is how the Headmaster wants me. My head is low and my bottom high. My buttocks are a bit flabby when I am standing, but when presented in this way they stretch and become taut. I cannot see myself, but I am certain I am presenting a perfect target to my master.

I hear the floorboards creak as he moves and stands behind me and to my left. I am pretty certain that my buttocks are completely bared, but even so the Headmaster takes hold of the tail of my shirt and pushes it further up my back. I am naked from my shoulders to my knees. He slaps my left buttock with the palm of his hand. Next thing I feel is his cane resting across the very centre of my buttocks, then it is tapping across the fleshiest part of my bottom. My cheeks tense. They always do, I have no control over them. They harden as a way to protect me from the pain I am about to experience.

It isn’t long in coming. There is a definite swish, followed by a resounding thwack! and a second or so later I feel the searing pain. There is a deep cut forming across my stretched buttocks. It is agony and very soon it radiates from my bum and travels up and down my legs. My heart beats faster. Within seconds the pain is subsiding. That is when the Headmaster flogs me with the second stroke. This one lands a little lower. I rise up on my toes and grip the seat of the chair; already my knuckles are turning white and this is only the second stroke.

The Headmaster takes a pause. He likes to leave some time between each cut to allow the full force to register. He paces the study. It is not a large room and he reaches the far end in no time. He pauses, probably admiring his handiwork from a distance and then slowly returns to his mark. The cane taps across my buttocks, this time a little higher than the first stroke. He lets fly. Make no mistake, the Headmaster is an expert. He always hits his target. I now have three throbbing welts running parallel to each other in a band about two inches wide. My backside is on fire. It feels like he has taken a white-hot poker from his study fire and pressed it into my flesh.

The pain is intense. It always is. There are three more strokes to come. I steady myself. It helps to close your eyes and just wait. Let him get on with it. It will be over soon. There’s nothing you can do about it. You must just wait, submissively and let him get on with it. I am resilient. I know I cannot stop my body reacting to the pain at the moment the cane connects with naked flesh. My hips might wriggle, my knees buckle and my head rise and fall. These are perfectly natural reflex actions. I have no control.

I do not and I will not, yell. I will not beg for mercy. I will not cry. A boy might do any or all of these things the first time he presents his behind to the Headmaster’s cane. That is to be expected. The shock of the experience is too much for him. I am not that boy. I am not a novice. I am a veteran. I have been around the block. I have seen it all before. The fourth cut goes low, into the crease where the buttocks meet the thigh. This is the sensitive “sit-spot”. I will reignite the pain in that cut every time I sit on a hard surface for a long time to come. I do the hip wriggling and knee bending. Blood is rushing to my head and my face must be as bright red as my bottom surely is.

Four down; two to go. The floorboards creak. The Headmaster goes on another wander. I am in no hurry for him to return. I know what comes next. The Headmaster is a sadist. I’m sorry, but there’s no other word for it. In a school where corporal punishment is an everyday affair, he believes that a Headmaster’s caning should be something memorable; awesome even. It is something to be feared by each boy in the school. Once experienced he would never return for more.

I  feel the cane resting across my throbbing cheeks. The Headmaster has placed it so it runs from the bottom left, diagonally across to the top right. Tap-tap-tap. Just this small movement rekindles the burning flames. I brace myself. My temples pound, blood rushes to all corners of my body. Sweat soaks my shoulders and trickles down my spine. The cane is moved away. Swish! Swipe! Crack! I bite deeply into my tongue. My head shakes from side to side, I look like a horse neighing. My feet stamp up and down like a sentry on guard duty. My hips sway to left and right. It feels like blood might be seeping from the wounds where the cane has intersected the previous four cuts.

The Headmaster goes walkabouts. I hear him clearing his throat. I have lost all sense of time. It seems like hours. Every sinew of my body aches. My eyes are moist, but, I swear to God, I am not crying. At last, the footsteps start again. The cane taps across my naked buttocks for the last time. He is placing it across the opposite diagonal. When he has finished I’ll have a perfect “X” mark across four parallel strokes. I hold my breath and grit my teeth simultaneously. Whop! He swipes the cane with all his energy; he could be beating a carpet. My bum is already on fire, this final cut makes little difference. I couldn’t possibly hurt any more.

It is over. Six-of-the-best. On the bare. Again. The Headmaster leaves me still bent across the chair, I am wheezing like a dolphin out of water. The pain is excruciating, but I know that in remarkably little time, it will subside. Even before I am dismissed from the study, it will have downgraded to a searing, pulsating throb. In time it will become an irritating ache and then a warm glow. The marks of the cane might last days. The worst – where the diagonals cut – might not clear entirely for a week or two. My cherry-red bum will swiftly turn mauve and over the coming days turn to a variety of blues and yellows. It is over. I have survived. I will live.

“Stand. Get dressed.” The command comes from behind me. As I stand and retrieve my underpants and trousers, I hear the Headmaster return the cane to its home among its countless companions. Without waiting for instruction, I put on my blazer. My fingers tremble as I fasten the buttons.

“Dismissed,” the Headmaster intones. Nonchalantly, I open the door. I close it slowly. Then, I run through the empty passageway to the sixth-form bogs, howling.

 

Picture credit: Sting Pictures

 

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Double trouble – his first time

Jackson

The unexpected phone call

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

A right caning

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I was on the bus the other day and there were two young men sitting behind me and one said a little loudly, “He gave him a right caning!” Naturally, my ears pricked up at this. Intrigued, I very casually turned my head to see who had spoken. They were two students. I could tell because they had ID cards hanging round their necks. They got off at the next stop leaving me bemused. He gave him a right caning: did that mean what I hoped it meant?

Of course it couldn’t, I told myself. Right caning, it must be some slang the kids use. Perhaps it means doing something to excess; like, “He gave the whiskey bottle a right caning.” But that didn’t seem to be the right answer. He gave him a right caning. That was definitely one person doing something to another.

It continued to puzzle me and later in the day when I saw my grandson Richie who is also a student I asked him what it might have meant. He gave me that look he always gives when I have demonstrated how out of touch I am with the modern world. “Where have you been these last years?” he asked good humouredly and when I continued to look blank he told me that they had introduced corporal punishment in colleges and universities two years ago. This was after they brought back the cane in schools. Apparently, that solved a lot of the discipline problems that had been plaguing teachers for decades.

It didn’t seem to be a big deal to Richie. He told me that he and two pals had themselves been caned last semester. They got back to the halls of residence late after they had been to some club. They had to report to the office of the Dean of Discipline next morning. There were a few other students standing in line waiting their turn. He told me all about it. He wasn’t the least embarrassed.

He said the room wasn’t really an office. There was a table pushed up against one wall and some empty shelves along another, but mainly there was just an ordinary armchair stuck in the middle. It was one of those with a low back and wooden arms that you sometimes see in reception areas of big offices. The whole thing was done with little ceremony. Apparently, the Dean of Discipline reads out from a charge sheet; a bit like in the Army I imagine. So, it went something like, “You missed curfew and returned back inebriated.” Richie had to agree this was so and then sign a paper saying he consented to be punished. He’s over eighteen, so legally an adult so he can do this.

The Dean of Discipline is permitted to give up to twelve strokes of the cane. It has to be on the seat of the trousers, but apparently they are thinking of changing this so in future you could get it on the underpants or even on the bare. Blimey! Imagine that.

Once the legal document was signed, they just got on with it. Richie said, “There was a tall vase thing in the corner of the room with about six or seven canes standing in it. He’s a bit of a sod because he takes his time deciding which one to use. He took one out, studied it carefully and he swished it about a bit. Then he decided that wasn’t good enough and he took another one and did the same with that. I don’t know why he bothered,” Richie laughed, “He had used them all often enough, they were all his old friends.”

I didn’t tell him that the Dean of Discipline was trying to intimidate him; to make him fearful of what was about to happen. I have to say judging by the way Richie was opening up to me about his caning he wasn’t the least worried. But who knows, at the time he might have been bricking it.

It seems this Dean of Discipline is an older man, gone to seed a little with his belly hanging over his belt and his suit jacket straining over his shoulders. He was very formal. “In the end he got the stick he wanted. It was less than a metre long and looked quite stout, but when he flexed it between his hands it was very whippy. He swished it a couple of times and then he said, ‘Bend over that chair.’ I’d never been done before but plenty of others had so I had a good idea of what was going to happen.”

z used cane holding kernled

Richie told me went to the back of the chair, counted to three and “threw myself over.” I was trying not make my interest too obvious but I asked him, why he did it? Why did he let himself be beaten by this older man? He gave me that “What planet are you on?” look again. “I broke the rules. I got caught. I took my punishment,” he told me snootily. Well, I thought, back in my day if they tried that on we would have told them to go to hell and the entire student union body would’ve been on strike before the day had ended. My, how times have changed.

“I got six. Six strokes that is. They call it six-of-the-best,” he said as if speaking to a slightly backward child.

“Did it hurt?” I asked, feigning innocence. He laughed loudly, “What do you think! Of course, it bloody hurt. That’s the whole point!” I must say he seemed enormously relaxed about the whole thing. He certainly didn’t think he was the victim of some terrible outrage. I nodded sagely to encourage him to continue.

“I knew it would,” he said. “What you have to do,” he continued as if he were a veteran in such matters, “is try not to think about it. Just hold on tightly to the chair. Some students stare straight ahead and concentrate on the wall at the other end of the room. Me, I looked down at the seat cushion and studied the dent somebody’s arse had made in it.”

I wriggled in my chair imagining the scene in the Dean of Discipline’s office. Richie bent across the back of the chair. His head is low and his bottom is high. I suppose his legs are set apart and his knees held straight. He didn’t say but I wonder if the Dean of Discipline took some time smoothing the seat of Richie’s trousers; so there were no creases. He would have wanted them to be as tight as a drum. Did he move the tail of Richie’s jacket away from the target area? Was he wearing a jacket? Perhaps he only had on a shirt. Would it ride up away from the waist of his trousers, exposing a patch of bare flesh on his lower back.

Richie continued talking, he was almost evangelical, “You have to stay there and take it. Let him get on with it. Close your eyes and grit your teeth. Try not to jump about. Keep quiet, don’t scream and holler.”

I nodded agreement, perhaps a little too vigorously and he might have thought I was mocking him. “Of course, you’ve never been caned,” he said scathingly. I raised my hand to my mouth and covered a sly smile. “Six,” he reiterated, “Six strokes. He was a master. He got them all to land right next to each other. In a strip. It was like he pressed a red hot poker into my bum,” his eyes watered at the memory. “I didn’t yell. It was touch and go I tell you.” He was clearly inordinately proud of his fortitude.

“Couldn’t sit down for a week, I suppose,” I laughed. He was relaxed and shared in the joke. “I had these big welts right across my arse. Stayed about a week. The guys have got pictures of it somewhere.” That was the end of his story. There wasn’t much more that could be said. With my heart racing and short of breath, I made a pot of coffee and we drank in companionable silence.

Picture credit: Kernled

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Two naughty boys

The party’s over

Not too old to be spanked by grandad

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

 

St Francis Independent Grammar School: Snowballs

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.

z used drawing snowballs Mag (2)

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.

“Well, Baker?”

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.

Picture credit: The Magnet

 

This story was first uploaded in March 2016.

 

Other St Francis Grammar School stories you might like

New boy at school

Kevin revisits his old school

A punch in the face

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

 

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

The tenants and the headmaster

It was a big disadvantage if the landlord of your apartment was also a headmaster at a local school, as Dick and his pal Sam were to discover.

Mr Dunn was a kind-hearted and charitable man; he let out the apartment through a charity called Helping Hand which looked after kids once they became too old to stay at orphanages. Youngsters often found it difficult to get jobs or find places to live and were in danger of getting into trouble, so the charity helped them. Mr Dunn knew he could get more rent if he let out the apartment to a professional couple, but that didn’t bother him. He truly believed he was making a difference in Dick and Sam’s lives.

And, he was. The two guys had left the same orphanage a year ago when they were eighteen and drifted aimlessly for a while. Then, Helping Hand found them sleeping rough in the local park and stepped in.

Within weeks Dick and Sam had jobs and this apartment. The jobs were a bit crappy: Dick was at a burger bar and Sam filled shelves in a supermarket. Mr Dunn knew things weren’t easy for the boys so he let the charity charge an uneconomic rent.

Unfortunately, things had not worked out well in the six months since the boys moved in. Neighbours complained about the noise they made and there were nights when gangs of their “friends” stayed over, drinking booze and smoking dope.

Mr Dunn knew the organisers of Helping Hand and through them he arranged to meet the boys to discuss the problems.

Mr Dunn was a headmaster and he understood boys, he knew that even though they were now nineteen years old, Dick and Sam were pretty immature. They had lived most of their lives in institutions and were not used to taking responsibility for themselves. He reckoned they probably had the maturity level of a “normal” thirteen or fourteen-year-old schoolboy and Mr Dunn certainly had experience of dealing with those.

At his school, boys of that age would be subject to clear rules. If they broke the rules, especially if they did so wilfully, they would be punished. There was a hierarchy of punishments, ranging from rebuke and “telling off,” through to writing lines and detentions.

Only last week he had been forced to thrash an eighteen-year-old boy called Scanlon who had been making a nice little earner selling single cigarettes to junior boys to smoke behind the cricket pavilion. In a way, Mr Dunn admired the boy’s entrepreneurial spirit, but once discovered, there was no alternative but to beat his buttocks black and blue.

Scanlon was resigned to his fate. He probably knew that if he didn’t accept the caning, Mr Dunn would be forced to expel him from the school.

The headmaster did not stand on ceremony. Once Scanlon had confessed his crime, he was ordered to turn an armchair round so its back faced the room. On instruction, he bent over, offering his backside up for Mr Dunn’s attention. The headmaster obliged with six swift stingers that landed across the centre of Scanlon’s stretched buttocks. The boy gasped audibly as each one struck home. His face was pale and his eyes moist, when he was eventually allowed to stand and he left the headmaster’s study with a throbbing behind, scarred with six red welts.

Scanlon did not resent his thrashing. He knew he had deliberately broken the rules and he knew what the consequences would be if he were caught. That, Mr Dunn believed, was entirely as it should be.

When he met with Dick and Sam, Mr Dunn made it clear that their behaviour had become unacceptable, it was anti-social and they needed to be more considerate to their neighbours. The boys accepted that they had been thoughtless and promised to mend their ways.

Mr Dunn left it at that: he didn’t really have any choice. What could he do if the boys continued to misbehave, except throw them out of the apartment and if he did that they would probably end up back in the park and Mr Dunn genuinely did not want that to happen.

As far as Mr Dunn knew, the boys behaved themselves for a week or two, but then he heard they fell back into their old habits. The final straw came when they boys failed to pay their rent. A worker at the charity told him they had been skipping work, so, of course, they didn’t have rent money.

Mr Dunn was furious. It was bad enough they treated their neighbours badly, but now they were doing it free-of-charge. He seriously considered throwing them out on their ears. So what if they ended up sleeping rough, he knew there were many other youngsters just out of orphanages who would give their right arms for the chance to take over the apartment.

But, he decided to give them a final chance. Mr Dunn had many years of experience beating backsides and he knew that the cane, or the threat of it, worked.

He was certain Dick and Sam would respond to corporal punishment. Mr Dunn thought Dick and Sam already deserved a good hiding for skiving off work and not paying the rent, but in fairness he knew he should warn them first of the consequences of their misbehaviour.

He visited the boys and explained his plan. They took it surprisingly well, he thought, and the three of them discussed what poor conduct would merit corporal punishment. High on the list of transgressions was playing loud music, having unauthorised guests, missing work, and above all, not paying the rent.

I was shocked when Dunn said he would beat us if we broke any of his rules. I thought I had left the cane behind at the orphanage. When he explained to us that our behaviour upset the neighbours and how important it was that we went to work and made something of ourselves, I felt sorry. I would behave in future, I told him, and I meant it.

But, I couldn’t keep it up. Work was really boring, making burgers all day:  day after day after day. Most people working there were students or real no-hopers and the boss, Billy, was a bit creepy, if you ask me.

I cut work a few times and so I couldn’t make the rent again. Sam moaned at me, he had been to his job like a good little boy and he had the money. He didn’t see why he should get a whacking because of me.

I got word from the worker at Helping Hand that Dunn would be around to see me about the rent. Sam had paid his share and was in the clear. At least he was good enough to slope off to the pub when Dunn was due.

Not a minute too early, nor a minute too late, Dunn arrived. He rang the doorbell, even though he had a key and could’ve let himself in.

Nervously, I answered. He was carrying a snooker cue case.

“I didn’t know you played, Mr Dunn,” I said, trying to lighten the atmosphere. He just smirked and said nothing.

Dunn was the headmaster of one of the local schools and had an air of authority about him. I supposed he had a lot of practice telling kids they were naughty and putting them in their place, which I assumed, soon meant me over his knee or somewhere.

“Let’s go in the lounge.” I followed him in. He whistled through his teeth as he saw the mess. Dirty cups and saucers were on the table and the couch was covered in old magazines. I stared at the pile, hoping I hadn’t left my wank mags there.

“Don’t you boys ever tidy up?”

I made a move to tidy up the magazines.

“Leave them alone. Leave them alone.”

He pulled a dining room chair from its place by the table, put it in the middle of the room, and sat down.

“Stand there.” He pointed to a spot a few feet in front of him.

I did as I was directed. I had already decided I would do exactly as I was told. I didn’t want to get thrown out of the apartment, especially not if Sam was going to stay. I couldn’t face being out there on my own.

Very quietly and very carefully, Dunn explained what I had done wrong, what I needed to do in future to improve myself and why, now, he was going to cane my backside.

I had expected this, but, still it came as a shock. My legs turned a little to jelly, but I stayed upright. I assumed Dunn would expect me to present myself humbly for the beating. Would that be even more humiliating than the beating itself?

Dunn stood up and walked to the table where he had left his snooker cue. He opened the case and took out a straight cane, about three feet long and as thick as a pencil.

I felt such a fool, no wonder Dunn had sneered at me.

“Stand behind the chair.” I did as I was told. He held the cane between his two hands and flexed it backwards and forwards. It was very springy for a cane that thick.

I couldn’t take my eyes of it as he made a few practice swipes through the air.

“Bend over the chair boy and put your hands flat on the seat.” I almost smiled with relief. I was expecting to be told to take my trousers and pants down to take the caning on the bare bum.

Surely, it wouldn’t hurt too much with my trousers up. I wished I had known; I would’ve worn my new thick Levis.

I got into position. The chair was quite high and I had to stand on tip-toe and rest my stomach on the back to be able to lay my palms flat. I could tell my arse was really high and would make a tremendous target for Dunn’s cane.

He said nothing, but I could hear him getting ready. He swished the cane about some more making sure there was enough room for him to get a good swing and bring the cane thwacking down into the seat of my trousers.

z used cane hold (2)

I felt the cane go tap, tap, against my stretched bum and then Whooosh! I heard the crack of the cane hit my bum and then a split-second later I felt a terrifying pain across both cheeks. I moved my hands from the top of the seat and hung to the chair’s edge for dear life.

The second slice had me yowling! with agony. The pain shot from my backside through my entire body. I couldn’t take any more of this, but I knew I had to try to be brave. I realised Dunn had not told me how many strokes I was getting. I assumed six, as in six-of-the-best, but my God, maybe there would be more.

I cried bitterly as number three whacked into me. How could that little stick hurt so much? I could feel a welt forming across the lower end of my cheeks and the throbbing made my buttocks feel they were twice their normal size.

I danced up and down after the fourth stroke hit low and took me at the top of my thighs. I gripped on to the wooden seat of the chair to stop me jumping up and clutching my burning buttocks in both hands. The pain was searing and I had never before experienced anything like this.

I howled and howled as the fifth whack cut diagonally across the other four, sending renewed waves of pain through my buttocks. Tears and snot were running down my face

The sixth stroke landed on the top of my thigh like a white-hot poker.  I yelled some more, and my sobs came in heaves.

I heard Dunn return his cane to the snooker cue case. It was over.

“Stand up boy.” I got up and my hands shot straight to my roasting buttocks, rubbing away in a fruitless attempt to ease the pain.

“Stop that at once,” Dunn commanded. “Put your hands by your side.”

Reluctantly, I did as I was told, hopping from one foot to the other, still trying to deaden the pain. My poor arse felt like it had sat on a coal fire. Every part from the top of my globes to my thighs was raw flesh. How much more time would it take for the throbbing and the welts from this severe thrashing to go away?

I was regaining some composure, tears continued to flow, but I had stopped heaving.

I was so pleased Sam had gone to the pub so as not to witness my humiliation. Then, I heard the sound of footsteps above the ceiling. My neighbours, the ones who always complained about our loud music, must have heard me wailing. Had Dunn told them what he intended to do?

“Please understand, I have thrashed you for your own good. It is to emphasise that your behaviour until now has been unacceptable. I want you to know that you have been punished for your wrong-doing and the slate is now clean. However, be under no illusion, that if you continue to break my rules the consequences will be very severe indeed. Do you understand me?”

Yes, I told him, I understood.

And, I did, I never missed paying my rent again. Never, in my entire life.

 

This story was first uploaded in January 2016.

Picture credit Unknown

 

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Dad’s despair

The vicar delivers

The man across the hall

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

 

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

The Tyrant Headmaster 3. The prefects’ reckoning

The Tyrant Headmaster Dr Fortescue has set about taming his sixth-formers, Episode one is here. Episode two is here.

 

Bob Lender looked down at the seat cushion inches in front of his face. It was patterned in greens and browns. Autumnal colours.

He concentrated carefully. He needed to focus on something. Such as the large, round, greasy, indentation. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of posteriors had contributed to the dent. It was an old chair. It had seen much action.

He gripped the cushion edge tightly. Waiting.

His heavy grey trousers were at a puddle at his feet. His grubby off-white underpants hovered at his shins. His school shirt was bunched at his shoulders, neatly tucked away from the target area.

He couldn’t have felt more self-conscious. Embarrassed. Humiliated, even. His bare buttocks were on full view to the room.

He was not alone. Tony Brown and Keith Green stood facing the bookcase; hands on head. Waiting their turn.

A cool gust of wind brushed his naked haunches. The study window was slightly ajar.  The sounds of schoolchildren talking, some laughing, wafted in on the breeze.

He could feel the headmaster’s cane pressing into his flesh. Dr Fortescue was finding his spot. Taking his aim. Preparing himself. It would be any moment now.

The previous day

The prefects shuffled into the room. Dr Fortescue and his new regime had been the talk of the whole school, from the lowliest junior to the most senior School Captain. The headmaster was a “new broom” and they were to be his sweepings.

There were sixteen prefects in the school and each eighteen-year-old boy made it his business to arrive for the meeting with the Beak on time.

They rose respectfully from their seats when Dr Fortescue burst through the door, his gown flapping behind him.

They looked with interest and curiosity at the man who had taken the helm of the school and who had already started to make trouble.

He was an elderly, tall, grim man, but he stood erect. He looked to be as strong as a mule. He had shown as much when he whipped Rodriquez the day before.

He was not a man to be trifled with. He would not budge a single inch out of his way. He was not to be resisted.

His icy gaze was fixed on the prefects. “I am your new headmaster and the school governors have asked that I make changes,” he spoke in a steady monotone. The “ham actor” had been put on hold.

“I find there is a great amount of slacking and idleness in this school. I am going to make great changes in that respect.”

He stared hard at the boys. They were easily intimidated. None was brave enough to return the stare.

But there was an audible groan, from somewhere near the back of the room.

“What was that? Who made that noise?”

There was no reply.

“The boy who uttered that sound is commanded to step out. Show yourself!” he thundered.

Still no one stirred.

“Who was it!” Dr Fortescue could feel a panic rising. Was this a rebellion? Were the prefects about to turn on him?

“I order the boy to stand!”

The order was not obeyed.

Dr Fortescue could not lose this battle. If the sixth-form could not be controlled, his time at the school would be a failure.

“Very well,” he said menacingly, “I order the boy sitting next to that boy to point him out to me.”

The gasp was audible.

No boy could ever split on a fellow. It was impossible.

Dr Fortescue grew crimson with anger.

“This is obviously an organised conspiracy to show disrespect to your new headmaster. For this disrespect I shall punish you all.”

Sixteen teenagers could not disguise their astonishment. But, there was worse to follow.

He paused for dramatic effect. “The whole prefect body will attend at my study this afternoon at four o’clock and I shall cane every boy.”

He swept up his academic gown. “That is all for the present.”

And, he exited the room, leaving behind a room full of bewildered prefects.

Only when left alone could they express their indignation.

“Impossible.”

“Madness.”

“Can he do this?”

“We’re the Sixth-Form.”

“I don’t think we should stand for it,” Keith Green piped up.

“What can you do?” Bob Lender asked.

“Nothing much,” was the general consensus.

“We’ll see about that,” Tony Brown huffed indignantly.

“You’d better not let the Beak hear you,” a boy at the back said.

There was a great deal of angry talk about it, but when it came to the actual point of refusing to go to the headmaster’s study, most of the prefects caved in.

Four o’clock came around too quickly for the prefects.

“Come on,” Dave Axford, who had an eye on the vacant School Captain’s badge, said, “We’d better get on with it. We don’t want to keep the Beak waiting.”

“Yes, come on,” Bertie Price agreed. “But Axy, you’re going in first,” he smiled.

The prefects formed a crocodile and almost marched upon the headmaster’s study. But, this was no belligerent protest; the boys had acquiesced to meekly accept their canings.

Dave and Bertie led the way. The prefects settled themselves. But they were still indignant. A caning; at their age. It was unheard of. Many wished to God their parents, or worse, their brothers, never found out. It was humiliating enough to be beaten without the world and his wife knowing about it.

Axford wrapped his knuckles on the door and dragging Bertie with him, both boys fell into the headmaster’s study.

Dr Fortescue had prepared. He had several thin canes lying across his desk top in readiness; in case one split during the prolonged beating he intended.

His hard cold eyes fixed on Axford.

“I shall give you four strokes each. Hold out your hand.”

Axford hesitated. Only juniors were caned on hand. What was this blasted Beak trying to say? He and his fellows were expecting at least “six-of-the-best” across the backside. They had all talked about it and agreed it would be a “result” if they were allowed to keep their trousers on.

Gingerly, the prefect held out his hand.

Dr Fortescue rose to the occasion. He measured the distance with a keen eye and brought the cane down with a sharp slash.

Axford’s jaw set hard. He held back the cry of pain that rose to his lips. But only just.

The headmaster watched him with an unpleasant eye. Slash. The second landed. Axford’s ruddy face turned quite pale.

z used drawing sixth former caned on hand Hot (1)

“Other hand.”

The punishment was repeated. Axford bent double like a penknife as tingling pain shot from his palm up and down his arm.

He resisted the temptation to kick the headmaster in the shin as retaliation.

He didn’t. Instead, he quietly left the study.

Price raised his hand for the kiss of the cane. Swipe! The yowl that escaped from between Bertie’s lips was terrific. So were the three that followed.

“Go!” Dr Fortescue barked. “Send in the next boy.”

None of the prefects was keen to take his place. But, that afternoon the headmaster caned thirteen of them.

Dr Fortescue might be new to the school, but he knew how many prefects he had. Three were missing.

The next afternoon

The three eighteen-year-old prefects had intended arguing that sixth-formers could not be caned. It was unheard of. But the headmaster had already proved them wrong on that. Where else could they retreat?

“But we’ve done nothing wrong, Sir,” Keith Green protested. “You can’t punish us.”

The headmaster’s eyes blazed with fury. “You disobeyed the instructions of your headmaster. For that you deserve a caning.”

The three boys shuffled their feet nervously. This was not going as planned.

“Yesterday, I caned thirteen of your colleagues. They attended at my study as instructed. They took their punishment like men.” Dr Fortescue’s face coloured. “You three boys did not. And for that you will receive an exemplary beating.”

“B…” Tony Brown started to protest but the steely glare of Dr Fortescue silenced him immediately.

“I shall cane each of you severely. As both a punishment for your wrongdoing and also to serve as a warning to others. I will not tolerate such behaviour.”

Green blushed deeply. There were tears welling behind his eyes.

The headmaster waved his hand. “You will lower your trousers and underpants and bend over that chair.”

“What?”

“No.”

“Sir!”

All three prefects voiced their protest. The cane. On the bare.

“Silence!” Fortescue thundered. “I will brook no defiance.”

“Bbbbb…” the mumbling of dissent continued.

“You will obey my instruction. Or you will leave the school this minute.” He glared at each boy in turn, daring them to defy him.

“Then we’ll see what happens to you. Expelled pupils do not easily secure places at university.”

Dr Fortescue turned his back on the miserable prefects and strode the length of his study until he reached a tall thin cabinet in one corner. It was not locked. He pulled at the door and stood to one side, ensuring the three rebellious prefects had a perfect view of its contents.

Brown glanced at Lender and Green in horror. Green could only stare down at his feet. It was an awesome array of punishment canes. Some were thick and others thin. At least three were with curved handles and one had duct tape wrapped around one end to form a grip.

The good doctor delved inside the cabinet. He felt hot stares burn into the back of his neck. The headmaster always enjoyed the drama of such occasions. The canes rattled in the confined space of the cupboard.

He chose one. It was more than three feet in length, straight and as thick as his little finger. He showed it to the three boys he was about to thrash and flexed it between his hands. Despite its thickness, it made a perfect bow. He was delighted to watch Green’s face drain of all colour.

Seemingly believing that the cane would not deliver the appropriate severity of punishment, Dr Fortescue replaced it and after much rustling, he selected another.

This one was dark yellow in colour and was slightly longer than its discarded companion. It had the “traditional” crooked handle of the school cane. Dr Fortescue swished it through the air, testing its suppleness. The prefects could be under no illusion: it was a mightily whippy rod. It would deliver a very painful caning across trousers and underpants. On the naked buttocks it would be excruciating.

Satisfied with the ability of his choice to perform its task, Dr Fortescue closed the cabinet door and turned his full attention to the three prefects standing abjectly before him.

He was ready. There was no more to be said.

“You boys,” he barked at Brown and Green, “Face the bookcase.”

They did so in an instant

“You,” he roared at Lender. The wretched boy jumped. The headmaster wobbled the cane in front of Lender’s face. “You first. Trousers, pants down. Over the chair.”

Bob Lender stood his ground. Rooted like a tree. This could not possibly be happening. Not to him. A sixth-former. A prefect. He was eighteen years old. An adult.

Swish! The cane flew through empty air, creating an almighty swooshing sound as it went. “Please, don’t make me ask you twice,” Dr Fortescue growled menacingly.

Reluctantly, Lender shuffled a few paces forward toward the armchair. Dolefully, he turned to the headmaster, his eyes pleading. Dr Fortescue had a heart of stone. Nothing would deter him from his mission.

“Quickly boy. I haven’t got all day.”

Bob Lender tried to exchange glances with his two companions. Perhaps if they acted in unison they could do something. Could they overpower the tyrant of a headmaster? Neither boy could bear to look at him. In this moment he was on his own.

Bob stared into the middle distance. There was a photograph of the school rugby XV on the wall. He studied the faces of the boys in the front row as with fumbling fingers, he released his belt and unzipped his trousers. They fell to his knees.

Once again he stood rooted. One of the boys in the photograph had his eyes tightly closed. Another flashed an inane grin, from ear-to-ear.

“Underpants down, boy,” the headmaster’s command seemed faint. As if it had drifted in on the wind from hundreds of yards away.

As if on autopilot, Bob hitched his thumbs into the waistband of the pants and pushed them down; slowly. First over his hips, then down his buttocks. At last they slipped of their own accord down his thighs.

Once again, he could not move. The dreamlike quality of the moment troubled him. Was this really he, Bob Lender, standing in the middle of the headmaster’s study with his naked bum and his private parts on display?

Thwack! Dr Fortescue brought the cane crashing down across the back of the armchair. “Stop this nonsense. Bend over. Now!” Fortescue’s fury was not faked. “Or you will get extra strokes.”

Bob Lender took an almighty swallow of air, fell forward and clutched the seat cushion for all he was worth.

“Legs further apart. Bottom higher.”

Bob wriggled his hips.

Fortescue gripped the tail of the boy’s shirt and folded it up his back.

He stood back, cane in hand. He tapped it across the centre of Bob Lender’s naked buttocks.

Dr Fortescue had caned many backsides. Sixth-form buttocks were a speciality with him. As eighteen-year-old bums went, Bob’s was typical. He was no athlete; he never played games. He didn’t run or swim. His buttocks were not made firm and muscular from exercise. Nor were they yet much affected by a diet of beer and pub pies. That would happen sooner rather than later.

Bob’s buttocks tightened somewhat when he was in a bending position. Dr Fortescue pressed his cane into the flesh testing its “give” and noted carefully how far it sank. Then, without warning, he raised the stick to about shoulder height and whacked it at speed into the boy’s bare bum.

Bob’s eyes popped and his mouth gaped open and quickly closed. The pain sank into his haunches, but he made no sound.

Thwip! Number two followed, twenty seconds later. The teenager closed his eyes tightly and shook his head. His face was scarlet. His bum was turning a deep shade of pink.

Number three fell lower. Bob bunched his fingers into fists and punched them into the hard seat cushion. “Sssssss!” air escaped through his lips. The pain was increasing. It started on the crown of his bum and travelled up and down his legs. It hurt like crazy, but so far he made no sound.

His resolve not to let the foul Fortescue know he had been hurt was broken by the fifth cut. The headmaster made no concession to the lack of clothing on the boy’s behind. Each stroke had been a swipe. It was as if the headmaster was beating a carpet.

Bob Lender let out a yelp, so shrill that his two companions swivelled on their heels to see what had happened.

Green’s jaw gaped open. He had a perfect view of his friend’s scarred backside. The once creamy-white cheeks had been slashed by five cuts of the cane. Distinct marks ran in almost perfect parallel from left to right. Two cuts looked particularly deep. Blood was starting to weep.

Bob Lender stamped his feet up and down and wriggled his hips. It made no difference. The agony was overwhelming. He was spent. He couldn’t take any more of this bare-bottomed thrashing.

Keith Green watched in awe as the headmaster changed his stance slightly. The headmaster’s stare troubled Keith. He couldn’t quite make it out. It wasn’t blank and distant. It might have been the look of anger, but the boy was certain the headmaster was beyond that. This whipping was cold and calculated. It wasn’t in the heat of rage.

Then he got it. The look in Dr Fortescue’s eyes. He was enjoying himself.

The headmaster tapped the cane diagonally across Bob Lender’s cheeks and brought it down with considerable force across the five welts already embedded in the boy’s rear.

Lender shrieked as each of the previous cuts was brought back to life. Tears flowed down his cheeks. The tempo of the military marching doubled. Keith banged his head up and down against the seat cushion, but nothing, nothing at all, could ease the agony.

Fortescue took a pace or two back and from that distance he admired his handiwork. Before him he saw a pair of lacerated buttocks. The cuts would be painful for some time to come. The sixth-former would find it unpleasant to sit on a hard surface for the rest of the day. The bleeding would stop within minutes, but the welts and bruises would be with him for many days.

Bob’s sobbing had eased, but tears still drenched his face.

It was, Fortescue concluded silently, a job well done.

“Stand up.”

Bob didn’t need telling twice. He shot to his feet and within seconds he was once again dressed.

Solemnly, Dr Fortescue swished the cane.

“You,” he pointed at Keith Green. “Take his place.”

Right or wrong, the headmaster of the school had to be obeyed.  But there was rebellion in Green’s dogged look.  But he realised the futility of such a contest, Dr Fortescue would always win.

Slowly, Keith Green released his trousers, slipped down his pants and bent over the chair.

Swish, swish, swish!  Fortescue laid it on. He put plenty of beef into those swishes. They rang around the study. Keith had to clench his teeth hard back a yell. Unlike his pal Bob, he had greater success. Swish, swish, swish!

It was a tremendous “six” and every one of them a swipe.

Keith’s face was as scarlet as his buttocks when Fortescue had finished.

Then it was Brown’s turn to show humility. With a dismal face he bared his backside and offered it up to the headmaster.

The cane rose and fell in a succession of cuts that sounded like pistol-shots. It was as thorough a licking as Fortescue had administered to Brown’s companions. And such a licking as Brown had never experienced before.

He yelled and he howled and he squirmed and he roared, and still the cane swiped and swiped.

Dr Fortescue laid down the cane at last.  He was quite tired with his exertions.

With the prefects dismissed, the new headmaster settled down in the armchair that had just held their prostrate bodies. What a start it had been to his new school career. Every prefect had felt the sting of his cane. They knew he meant business.

Next, he would make a start on the rest of the sixth-form. But that could wait until tomorrow.

On his way back to the hotel he stopped off to buy a half-bottle of “Teachers” whisky. The name on the label always made him smile ruefully. Back in his lonely room, its contents induced a fitful and fretful sleep.

Picture credit: The Hotspur

 

This story was first uploaded in March 2016.

 

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Unfinished business

Mr Percival Audrey the headmaster sipped thoughtfully on his tea and nibbled at a Rich Tea biscuit. A small story in the local newspaper had caught his attention.

Anthony Hastings, aged 27, had joined a firm of solicitors in Brocklehurst. He was returning to his home town.

Hastings had been a pupil at St Francis. He had left nine years before and gone on to university.

Headmasters and elephants never forget. Audrey had some unfinished business with Hastings.

“Mrs Green,” he called out to his secretary in the next room. She bustled into the study, eager as always to please. He showed her the newspaper.

“Please make an appointment for Anthony Hastings to report to my study.”

Anthony Hastings had hardly given St Francis Independent Grammar School a second thought from the day he had left. Why should he? He had studied at a university at the other end of the country and started a new life. His parents had retired and moved to France and he had never expected to see Brocklehurst again. Now a qualified solicitor, he had been offered a tremendous job at Lloyd, Lloyd and Straightmeister, so here he was back in town.

He walked through the main gate. Across the quadrangle was the entrance to the building. The headmaster’s study was above that. From this vantage point the “beak” as he was known to generations of boys could survey his school.

People who knew Anthony at school would have called him a rather timid child. He studied hard and was a member of both the chess and the stamp collecting clubs. He behaved himself and was never in trouble.

This was the first time he had been summoned to the headmaster’s study. He was twenty-seven years old, a successful professional man, but the call from Audrey had not felt like an “invitation:” it was a “summons.”

“Please arrive at five o’clock,” Mrs Green had instructed. “The school will be finished for the day and Mr Audrey will be able to deal with you then.”

She had actually said, “Deal with you.” That puzzled Anthony. It was probably a slip of the tongue. She had meant to say, “Meet with you.”

He had been so flummoxed by the unexpected call he had forgotten to ask the purpose of the meeting.

He would soon find out.

Anthony was not surprised that he felt no emotion as he walked through the school quadrangle and into the building. He had been reasonably happy at the school, but he had moved on with his life. Unlike some of his fellow pupils a revisit to the school did not ignite painful memories of visits to the headmaster’s study. In fact, Anthony supposed he had never once had cause to visit the headmaster during his whole school career.

The school seemed deserted. Certainly, Mrs Green had departed for the day. So Anthony tapped lightly on the door marked “Headmaster” and waited for the call from within.

“Enter!”

Anthony opened the door. Mr Audrey was sat at his desk, framed by the mullioned window. He wore a flowing academic gown over a light grey business suit. On his head sat a mortar-board. The headmaster scowled at the sight of the young solicitor.

Anthony stood at the doorway, unsure how to proceed. Usually at the start of meetings the host would offer some form of greeting. Not so Mr Audrey. He sat steely-eyed.

Anthony took the initiative. He walked further into the room and sat down on the straight-backed chair in front of the desk that was clearly intended for guests.

“How dare you! You insolent boy!” Mr Audrey’ complexion turned purple as blood vessels across his face bulged.

“Stand up This instance!”

Anthony shot to his feet, his own face blushing bright red.

“Stand there boy!” Audrey pointed to a spot ahead of him. Like all headmasters he was suffused with self-importance.

Anthony shuffled his feet. His hands were trembling so he clasped them behind his back.

“You know why I have sent for you!” It was meant to be a question, but in the headmaster’s pomposity it sounded like a statement.

Anthony truly did not know why; but he was so intimidated by Audrey, he could not reply.

The headmaster mistook this as further insolence.

“The tuck shop. Embezzlement.” He roared. “You are nothing but a thief!”

The tuck shop. Anthony gaped. He had genuinely forgotten. He hadn’t thought about the school in years.

“You thought you had escaped detection!” Again a question was delivered as a statement.

Ten years ago Anthony had been considered such a responsible young man he had been put in charge of the school’s tuck shop. It was his job to collect the money and keep accounts.

“Two pounds, three shillings and six pence!” The headmaster roared. He seemed incapable of speaking in a normal tone.

“You stole it. All of it!” The headmaster’s fury knew know bounds.

It was true. Anthony had stolen the money. He took small amounts, now and again. It wasn’t a planned embezzlement.  It just happened. He did it once. He found he got away with it, so he did it again. And again.

He hadn’t counted but twelve pounds and change seemed about the right amount. He hadn’t needed the money. He came from a wealthy family. There wasn’t a starving widowed mother at home. He wanted the money, so he took it. He bought football magazines and other teenager things.

“Did you think we wouldn’t find out?” That time it was a clear question. It required an answer. But Anthony’s body was in turmoil. His heartbeat raced and his breathing was heavy. He couldn’t get his eyelids to stop blinking. Only by holding his hands together behind his back could he stop them from shaking.

Mr Audrey rose from behind his desk to confront the young solicitor head on. The headmaster was a tall angular man. His hair stuck out wildly from beneath his mortar-board cap. His lined face was partially obscured by a greying moustache and thick bushy side whiskers. Spectacles balanced precariously half way down his nose.

“And, now!” he roared, his face inches from Anthony’s. “You return to this town as a respectable solicitor.”

“My God!” Anthony thought as the dire consequences of his adolescent action sank home. He was a thief. If this knowledge became public his career would be over.

Mr Audrey paced the length of his study. “You realise boy that I could inform the police. Or your employers. Or the local newspaper, even …” He left the sentence half finished; silenced by the look of sheer horror on the face of the young man standing before him.

Anthony mouthed silently, “Please, don’t …”His vocal chords had deserted him.

“Pah!” Mr Audrey might be a pompous headmaster, but he was neither cruel nor vindictive. He had a solution.

“The crime was committed while you were a pupil at this school,” he intoned. “I can deal with it as if you were still a pupil.”

Anthony made no response, he was only half listening, his critical faculties dulled by the seriousness of his situation.

“Until this regrettable incident, you were an exemplary pupil. You deserve a second chance. But you must be punished.”

Anthony’s pitiful look spurred the headmaster on.

“Punished severely. Do you accept that?”

“Punished?” Anthony whispered. He had regained some control of his voice. “How?”

“Twelve strokes of the cane,” the headmaster responded briskly. “Trousers lowered.”

“Twelve …” Anthony mouthed the word silently. His head was whirling. His legal mind was working hard. Twelve strokes. Trousers down. Was that even legal? Weren’t there regulations?

“It is entirely up to you, Hastings,” the headmaster paced the room. “It is entirely your choice.”

Choice? What choice? Anthony had no choice. It had to be the beating. Much later that day at his rented flat as he rubbed antiseptic ointment into his wounds, the young solicitor realised for the first time what a generous offer the headmaster had made.

Anthony was guilty as charged. He was a recidivist; he had stolen many times during his final year at school. He deserved to be punished. Anthony always thought of himself as an honourable man: and an honest one. His thieving had been a youthful indiscretion. It was the lapse of judgement of an eighteen-year-old boy.

Undoubtedly, if he had been discovered at the time he would have been thrashed severely by the headmaster. He would have deserved it too. He would have been given the chance to atone for his sin. His bottom would have been blistered and his slate wiped clean.

Now, nine years after the event, the headmaster had offered him the same chance. Take a punishment, apologise and move on.

“Well, boy! Is it to be the cane?” It was getting late in the day and the headmaster wanted to go home.

Pitifully, Anthony nodded his head. He assented.

Mr Audrey was not one of those headmasters who had an array of canes of all lengths and thicknesses bundled together in a cupboard. He had only one rod. Headmaster’s canings were meant to be something special. Unlike his colleagues who punished backsides with standard rattans, Mr Audrey possessed a single “dragon” cane. It was lighter and denser than the rattan and it packed considerably more punch.

He took the cane from a cupboard and flexed it between his hands. “Please take off your jacket and hang it on the door.”

Anthony was dressed in a smart dark-grey business suit with a gleaming white shirt and striped tie. When he removed the jacket, he looked exactly like a schoolboy; albeit an older version of those who usually visited the headmaster’s study.

Audrey moved the straight-backed chair away from his desk.

z used drawing cane SFIGS (63a)

“Please lower your trousers and bend over my desk.”

Although Anthony had “consented” to the beating, his body still refused cooperation. His hands continued to tremble and his eyes to blink ferociously. After much fumbling his belt was undone and his fly zipper lowered. The trousers slid down his legs aided only by gravity.

It was a large desk. Anthony had never been required to prostrate himself like this before, nor had he seen anyone caned so he was unsure how to position himself.

“Flat on your stomach. You might find it useful to fold your arms and bury your face in them.” Anthony found the headmaster’s words comforting. No longer was he barking at him.

He did as instructed. As he lay his head down he felt a cool breeze pass over him. The study window was open. Suddenly, he heard voices. At least two small boys had stopped in the quadrangle below the study window. He could hear their conversation.

No! They would hear his beating. It was humiliating enough to be forced to lower his trousers, bend across the desk and offer up his bottom for a thrashing, but to also have strangers listening-in was too much.

The headmaster was making his preparations. Up came the young man’s shirt and it was moved away from his underpants. Then the creases were smoothed from the white cotton briefs.

“Try to keep as still as you can,” the headmaster’s words were well meant. He knew that if the young man flashed about the cane might miss its target. Twelve strokes across the buttocks was the tariff; not across the backs of the legs.

The headmaster found his spot. The buttocks were clenching and unclenching. They twitched uncontrollably. He raised the cane and thwacked it down, drawing a straight line across the cotton briefs.

As headmaster’s canings went, it was not a severe cut. Mr Audrey had delivered harder. Anthony did not know that. It felt like the head had placed a white hot wire across his flesh. He raised his head from his arms and yelped.

The conversation beneath the window stopped abruptly.

Anthony stamped his feet up and down in a futile attempt to ease the pain.

“Keep still, Hastings.” Thwip number two landed close to the first cut.

Twenty-seven years is an unusual age at which to receive a first caning. The recipient is a full-grown adult and presumably has quite a high pain threshold. The headmaster rather admired Anthony’s resilience. Mr Audrey administered what he considered an exemplary thrashing. His whippy dragon cane bounced up and down across Anthony’s buttocks. The young solicitor chewed down on his own arms and managed to stifle most of the yells he desperately wanted to make.

Headmaster Audrey thought this was Anthony’s stoicism, his determination to take his justified punishment. But, Anthony’s motivation lay outside the headmaster’s study, below the window in the quadrangle. The young man did not want to embarrass himself in front of the two strangers.

Nothing Anthony had ever experienced prepared him for the pain of a caning. It was agony, especially as each successive stroke landed on his already swollen bottom. He muffled screams by chomping hard into the cloth of his shirtsleeves. He kicked his legs as Audrey administered swipe after swipe. The fire in his buttocks defied description.

Nine strokes were delivered in carefully timed sequence. Anthony’s backside was blazing. Already, deep welts had formed under his briefs. He would discover later that several wept blood.

The headmaster adjusted his position. The final three strokes were going to be special. They were vicious strokes. He raised the cane high above shoulder height and with a swivel of his hips he brought it crashing down diagonally across both cheeks.

Then he did the same again; from the opposite diagonal. Anthony’s bum now had a perfect “X” branded deep into the flesh. The young man’s shirt sleeve was drenched in saliva, but still he curbed the shriek he truly wanted to let loose.

For the last swipe, Audrey positioned himself rather life a golfer about to tee-off. His whole body strength went into that shot. It landed across the centre of Anthony’s bum. It was the final stroke and it was the one that destroyed his resolve.

A banshee could not have wailed louder. Anthony’s whine echoed around the study, bouncing off the three walls and escaping through the partly opened window. Involuntary tears flowed down the twenty-seven-year-old’s face. He gulped great sobs as he lay across the desk. His long, slim, slightly hairy legs embraced each other.

Audrey did not consider himself to be a brute. He had administered a sound thrashing to a young man who thoroughly deserved it. Anthony would be in severe pain. That was the point of a headmaster’s caning. There would be marks across his buttocks for a considerable time to come. That too was the point. They would be a reminder of the consequences of thieving.

Anthony was regaining some composure. His breathing had eased and his heartrate was closer to normal.

“Get up and get dressed.” It was a stern command.

Anthony hauled himself to his feet. The agony in his backside was terrific. It set off shudders of more pain when he pulled up his trousers and fastened them up. He retrieved his jacket from the hook on the study door.

He stood in front of the headmaster waiting to be dismissed.

“I trust the lesson has been learned,” Audrey was back to being the aging, pompous headmaster. “We shall never speak of this again.”

He held out his hand and Anthony shook it.

“Thank you, Sir,” he gulped and left the study.

A few moments later he hobbled across the quadrangle, conscious of the stares of two incredulous eleven-year-old boys burning into the back of his neck.

This story was first uploaded in January 2016.

Picture credit: Unknown

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Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com