All is well in the world

new 5

Harry Clifton was in no hurry. He ambled across the quadrangle. It was a fine day in early summer. The sun shone. The sky was blue. It was all in all a beautiful day. Except is wasn’t a fine day. Not for Harry Clifton, the sixth-form pupil at St. Francis Independent Grammar School; the soon-to-be former pupil of said school. The final exams were only weeks away. Then freedom. The end of school. Whoever it was who said schooldays were the happiest days of your life was an ass. Surely, Harry Clifton supposed, things could only get better after St FIGS.

Harry Clifton was on to something there. He knew as sure as eggs was eggs that this present day could never count as one of the best of his life. Ha! He almost smiled the best. Not so much the best, but six-of-the-best. It was a weak joke, but it was the best that Harry Clifton could come up with. He passed through the entrance of Founder’s Building and into a short, dark passageway. He was answering the summons of his headmaster. Chaps were only called to the Beak for one reason and one reason alone. There could be no doubt about it. Harry Clifton was in for a bowing. A swishing. A caning. Six-of-the-best.

Harry Clifton knew this for certain because St FIGS was a traditional school: traditional curriculum, traditional uniform, traditional sports and, of course, traditional discipline. No matter how slowly he walked Harry Clifton would eventually reach the heavy oak door of the headmaster’s study. He might delay his ordeal by a few seconds, but he could not put it off forever. He paused outside the door and ran his hand through his unruly hair. He rubbed each shoe against the back of his trouser leg. They were far from shining, but they would have to do. He made sure all three buttons on his green-and-gold woollen blazer were correctly fastened. All was ship shape and Bristol fashion. He was under starter’s orders. Ready for the off. About to go over the top. He drew down a deep draught of air, formed a fist with his right hand, raised it, and with more confidence than he truly felt, he rapped on the door.

Silence. Nothing. He craned his neck and placed his ear closer to the door. Was the headmaster not at home? Had he been called away on an urgent mission? Did this spell a reprieve for Harry Clifton? No, the senior sixth-former considered. The Beak had probably not heard. He bunched his fist again and was about to have another go at the door when a clear, sonorous voice rang out from the other side, “Come!” The headmaster had heard all right, he was only playing his silly games.

Harry Clifton sucked in air once more, gripped the handle and pushed the heavy door open. He hesitated on the threshold of the study. “Come in boy, don’t dawdle,” the headmaster rasped. Harry Clifton jolted forward and landed in front of the headmaster’s vast walnut desk. “Pah! Close the door Clifton! Close the door,” the Beak thundered.

With that task completed Harry Clifton once more stood before the headmaster. The Beak presented an imposing character, drenched in ugliness. Standing, he made a tall, lank, almost skeletal figure. His gaunt face, was heavily lined. His aquiline nose and thin pointed chin made the appearance of a caricatured witch. He wheezed through his nose. His dark piercing eyes transfixed on the boy before him.

For his part Harry Clifton resolved not to meet that alarming gaze. He focused on a spot over the headmaster’s shoulder, at a hat stand in the corner of the room. It was an ancient beat-about piece of furniture, old enough to be steeped in the tradition of the school. It had served many headmasters at St FIGS over countless generations. The number of hats it had supported over the years was a matter lost to history. The present headmaster had an additional requirement for the furniture. Harry Clifton’s gaze transfixed on the three long, thin whippy rattan canes that dangled by their curved handles. Small and relatively unobtrusive though they were, to the boy standing awaiting punishment they dominated the study.

Harry Clifton swallowed hard. The canes were of differing thicknesses, densities and lengths but he knew with absolute certainty that in the hands of the headmaster any one of these rods would “take his backside off” as the schoolboy slang then circulating had it. Alongside the canes hung the headmaster’s black academic gown and the flat mortar-board cap, the official uniform of schoolmasters across the land. The badge of office. The seal of power.

Harry Clifton did not concentrate on his droning headmaster. The room was hot and airless and the monotonous voice was sleep-inducing. Suddenly there was silence. A long, pregnant pause. “Well boy!” the headmaster barked. Harry Clifton shook awake, the headmaster leaned from his chair forward over the large desk, his black piggy eyes blazed, “What have you to say for yourself?”

At a loss to the question he had been asked, Harry Clifton mumbled an all-purpose reply. Schoolboys up and down the land and throughout history when carpeted in the headmaster’s study were required to utter these words at some point in the proceedings, most often immediately before the real action began. “Sorry, Sir,” he coughed, his throat irritatingly dry.

“Bah!” the headmaster ejaculated and leaned back in his chair, his nose and chin quivering so that the points of each almost touched. “Not good enough, Clifton; not good enough.” Harry Clifton had never supposed it would be. He expected Six and he wished the headmaster would just get on with it. The school day was at an end and he was anxious to be away home. He had a date to meet the boys at The Three Fishers that evening and there was every chance to meet girls of a certain character.

The headmaster jawed on and on. Smoking. Smoking cigarettes, surely the biggest crime imaginable at a school. Why, the headmaster had only last week delivered another of his edicts. He cared little about the harmful effects of tobacco to one’s health. It is unlikely that he had ever read about the causes of cancer. Cigarettes were banned because he said so. It was an order. Orders were given by those on high and obeyed (unquestioned) by those below. The hierarchy of a school was beyond question. The headmaster’s word was law and if that law was broken there could be only one outcome. The punishment must fit the crime. If orders were not obeyed society would crumble; the country would go to the dogs. Anarchy would reign!

Harry Clifton had been smoking on and off since the age of eleven and by the age of eighteen had developed a ten cigarettes a day habit. No headmaster’s proclamation was going to alter that. The craving for nicotine far outweighed any danger of capture. It was just bad luck that Mr Hopkinson, the junior sports master, had carelessly left a gym sock behind after lessons that morning. Harry Clifton was caught cigarette in hand. Mr Hopkinson, whose contract of employment at the school had yet to be confirmed, was delighted at the opportunity to demonstrate his loyalty to the tradition of St FIGS.

The headmaster had finished his jawing. “Take off your blazer Clifton. Hang it there,” he curled his lips and cricked his neck in the general direction of the hat stand. Harry Clifton had not expected the palms of his hands to be sweating. He wiped them on his blazer and tackled the three buttons. As he lifted it onto the hat stand he observed the three whippy canes in close up. They really didn’t look so awesome. None was thicker than a pencil. Their dark yellow colouring made them look old and worn; they were warped through excessive use.

As he was doing this he was aware of noises behind him. Floorboards creaked; the headmaster was on the move. By the time Harry Clifton turned back to face into the study the Beak had moved an ancient, armless, straight-backed chair into the middle of the room. He sat down and wriggled his bony buttocks in an attempt to achieve comfort. He snapped his fingers and pointed to a spot on the worn rug close by himself. “Stand there boy,” he rasped. Harry Clifton stood for a moment enveloped in confusion. He had half-expected a chair to be placed in position, but then if the usual script was being played out he, Harry Clifton, would be bent across the thing; head low, bottom high, offering up his posterior to his tormentor’s cane.

But what was this? The headmaster glowered across the room. “Now!” he roared, since he was unable to ever speak with a natural voice. A bemused Harry Clifton shuffled forward until he stood a foot or two to the right of the headmaster. At this point, the Beak spread his legs offering the wretched sixth-former a bird’s-eye view of the Beak’s bony thighs and knees. Harry Clifton’s head swam with confusion, but things were about to get much worse.

The headmaster’s ugly, lined face looked up at the boy, his mouth cracked into a sneer, “Lower your trousers and bend over my knee,” he cackled. The sneer widened into a full-on smile, revealing a set of nicotine-stained teeth that many would describe as “tombstones.”

Harry Clifton’s own mouth gaped open. He uttered no words, for it was not his place to question his headmaster. His mouth opened and closed so he resembled a goldfish. This could not be happening. Trousers down. Bend over my knee. No, it should be, Bend over that chair. It’s six of the best for you m’lad. The world’s order was being turned upside down. What game did the headmaster think he was playing?

“I’m waiting,” the headmaster growled. “Bend over,” and he slapped the palm of his right hand against his knee in case there could be any doubt about his instruction. Harry Clifton knew his face had flushed bright red; sweat made the collar of his shirt stick to his neck. His palms were once again damp. What should he do? Lower your trousers and bend over my knee. The words pounded in his head. What should he do? What could he do?. A chap expected a caning at a time like this. Commit a felon, bend over, whack-whack-whack-whack-whack-whack. Stand up. Dismissed. All over. The punishment fits the crime. The world moves on.

But, Lower your trousers and bend over my knee. That was not cricket. That was a nursey spanking. Something a chap might have expected from Mother when aged six. What was the headmaster thinking?

A disinterested observer might say Harry Clifton should tell the headmaster all this. “I’ll take a caning Sir, even trousers down if you insist, but I’ll not be humiliated by going over your knee.” But could Harry Clifton, or indeed any schoolboy faced with a similar predicament, say this? Harry Clifton was a bright boy and he weighed up the consequences of disobedience in seconds. The headmaster had instructed him to take a punishment and no matter how bizarre that might be he had no choice – absolutely no choice – but to obey.

Failure to comply would lead to suspension, or possible expulsion from the school. He would not be allowed to take his exams. He hoped to attend college, or even university, but without qualifications that would be impossible. No university meant no career. A life of drudgery as a clerk in some accountant’s office would be the best he could look forward to. He had to take the right decision.

Harry Clifton bit down hard on his bottom lip. He avoided looking at his tormentor as he unbuckled his belt. His pale-grey trousers were loose fitting and once he had unbuttoned the fly they slipped down over his thighs and knees and travelled at speed to rest in a puddle over his black lace-up shoes. He stood before his headmaster in gleaming white cotton Y-front underpants. His equally bright white shirt was long enough to cover most of his buttocks. Harry Clifton stood modestly with his hands clasped across his private parts.

He was an enthusiastic rugby player and quite used to undressing in company. Of course, after a match the whole team would romp naked in the showers and changing room. But standing here like this, trousers at his ankles in front of his headmaster, prior to going across the Beak’s knees for a little-boy’s spanking was beyond humiliating. How the sixth-former hated the vile, ugly bully.

“Bend over.” The command was terse. Harry Clifton peered down at the headmaster’s knees. They were thin and bony and encased in smart, striped trousers with a crease sharp enough to cut through cheese. Harry sucked on his bottom lip and pondered for a moment. How exactly was this done? Was he expected to leap over the Beak’s body, as if flying over a vaulting horse in the gym, and then land face down? Should he ease himself down gently by resting the palms of his hands on the headmaster’s thighs to steady himself as he spread his body forward?

“Pah!” the headmaster misunderstanding Harry Clifton’s hesitation for reluctance gripped the eighteen-year-old by the left wrist and tugged him forward with such ferocity that the boy tumbled forward. He stretched his arms in front of himself to avoid crashing and dug his palms into the ground. His nose was inches from the rug. Like this his head was low and his bottom was raised high over the headmaster’s thigh. Harry Clifton’s legs dangled in mid-air.

It took a second or two for him to recapture his breath. He was a trifle dizzy. Being prostrate across a man’s knees was an unusual posture and gave a boy a distorted view of the world. It had literally been turned upside down. How different it was to preparing to receive a caning. Then, a chap was required to “bend over” but whether he was across a chair or a desk or simply touching toes he always kept on his feet; he was vertical as it were, if he chose he could see what was going on around him. There was little disorientation.

Going over-the-knee was altogether different. Harry Clifton could see nothing but the old rug beneath his face; bent at this angle it was nearby impossible for him to turn his head. He was extremely vulnerable. He could see little but his other senses were unimpaired. His crotch ached as the weight of his body pressed against the headmaster’s thighs. He heard the Beak wheezing and felt the Old Man’s rough hand grip the tail of his shirt and tug it half way up his back. Then, a hand gently caressed the seat of his underpants as it smoothed away creases, even though the Y-fronts already fitted snugly. The hand patted and preened. Then it tapped gently across the fleshiest part of the left cheek.

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Suddenly. Spank! The hand swiped into the left buttock and then the right. Then it went high; then low. The headmaster smacked his rough hand with speed and force across Harry Clifton’s upturned buttocks. The boy stared down at the rug, his bemusement growing. He felt the hand strike his bottom again and again and again. The sound of hand hitting hard flesh resounded around the hot, airless study. It sounded like machinegun fire. The headmaster put all his beef into the spanking, delivering maybe eighty slaps in the first minute – and there were many more minutes to follow.

Harry Clifton lay face-down, head low, bottom high and let his headmaster get on with it. For he had quickly realised that a hand spanking did not hurt – even when delivered with vigour across the set of his tight, cotton underpants. Of course, he felt something. A tingling sensation. A slight warming of the flesh. But pain? No. A properly delivered six-of-the-best with any one of the three whippy, rattan canes that were at that moment still dangling from the hat stand could have had him howling. His bottom would feel like it had been beaten to become twice its natural size. Dark, vicious welts would throb beneath his underpants (even if he were allowed to keep his trousers up). The marks and associated bruises would last for days. He would display them proudly to the rugby boys in the showers.

But this? This over-the-knee spanking. Nothing. “My,” Harry Clifton pondered silently to himself, “I bet his hand is hurting more than my bum.” He almost smiled at the thought.

So, it went on. The headmaster spanked Harry Clifton on the seat of his underpants and the boy had to submissively allow him to do so. The headmaster was in control. There was peace in the nation. The Pound was sound. God was in his Heaven.

 

Picture credit: Sting Pictures

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Also writing school stories as Scholastic here

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Penalty for ‘Attitude’

new 5

z used study (73)

A cold wind whipped through the quadrangle of St Tom’s school. It was only just four in the afternoon but already the sun had disappeared below the far horizon. Coals blazed in the fireplace of Mr Stanley’s study. The housemaster himself rarely felt the cold. His heavy tweed suit and waistcoat protected him from the worst of the elements. An ancient academic gown, draped from his shoulders, acted like a shawl.

Mr Stanley sat in his heavy leather armchair, leafing through the pages of the Morning Post. The Socialists had been defeated in the recent elections, a new Tory Government was in power for another five years. All was well with the world at large.

Much, Mr Stanley mused, could also be said about the world at St Tom’s. Nothing much changed. God was in his Heaven. He folded the newspaper and hauled himself from the deep leather chair. He dropped the Post onto his desk and slowly took a gold pocket watch from his waistcoat. Any moment now …..

As if on cue there was a timid knock on his study door. He allowed a slight, almost unnoticed, smile to curve his mouth. He waited before responding. He knew who was standing outside. Mr Stanley had after all summoned the boy to his study. Let him suffer, he told himself.

Outside in the freezing passageway McAlpine, a recent arrival into the Sixth at St Tom’s, stood hopping from foot to foot. He was eighteen years old, but had only attended the school since the beginning of the term. In the few weeks he had been at St Tom’s he had developed, a reputation for precociousness, with a stubborn inability to remember to address Masters as “Sir.”

Mr Stanley was first to recognize that the good of the House would be best served if McAlpine spent a spell in the study touching his toes. It would improve his attitude somewhat.

Nothing could be more important than a boy’s “attitude”, at St Tom’s. Parents sent their sons to the school to have the attitude knocked out of them. Where would the country be if young people were permitted to display attitude? Obedience. That was what they had to learn. First, how to take orders. Later, how to give them. The British Empire was built on obedience.

“Come!” at last Mr Stanley acknowledged the wretched boy’s presence. He stared intently as the handle slowly turned and the heavy oak door creaked open. McAlpine was a slender youth with a mop of fair curly hair and finely chiseled features, with sensuous shining grey eyes.

He hesitated in the doorframe, uncertain of his next move. “Close the door, boy! Don’t let all the heat out!” Mr Stanley barked. “Right, boy,” he intoned once McAlpine had successfully done this. “Stand there,” he snapped his fingers and waved at a point in the middle of the study. He sat behind his desk and closely surveyed the sixth-former. McAlpine was clearly perplexed and very edgy. He chewed on his fat bottom lip. All bravado was gone.

“I have spoken to you before about your attitude,” Mr Stanley had prepared a short speech. “Now, it is time to deal with you.” The housemaster peered into McAlpine’s soul. The boy flinched as if an arrow had shot through him.

“Yes, Sir,” he murmured, his lips pressed tight in concentration and regret. McAlpine showed no signs that confirmed the reports of voluble dissent and disorderliness Mr Stanley had heard of him. He stood timid and fearful awaiting his fate, his eyes moistened. He shivered, although the fire was roaring. He fidgeted while Mr Stanley jawed him.

“And so, McAlpine,” the housemaster had finished his speech, “You deserve to be beaten.” The sixth-former sighed deeply, his pale face flushed. At last he forced out a whisper, “Yes, Sir.”

Mr Stanley hauled himself to his feet, steadied himself and then proceeded with a glide across his study. McAlpine’s eyes followed his master’s procession. It was a large room, made mostly gloomy by the heavy, dark furniture that dominated it. As well as the huge desk there were several heavy, straight-backed chairs. They had not been made for luxury. Towards one corner stood a much more comfortable armchair with a small, low table beside it. The walls were lined with shelves and cupboards.

It was towards one of these cupboards that the housemaster made his way. Reaching his destination, he stopped. His hand delved into a small pocket in his waistcoat. McAlpine stood, wide-eyed and uneasy. At last Mr Stanley found what he was seeking; a small gold key. He unlocked a tall thin cupboard and with his right hand reached in. The rattling sound he made was unmistakable.

Soon he had a light, whippy cane in his hand. It was perhaps three feet in length. He peered at it, tightened his lips and quickly replaced it. He cleared his dry throat with an almost unnoticeable cough and reached in again. He had a selection of canes to suit all bottoms; large, small, tough, and tender. “Aha,” he said, almost to himself. He had a thicker, longer, more dense cane in his hand.

He turned away from the cupboard and swished it through empty air. It made a tremendous swooshing sound as it flew. McAlpine’s eyes shone brightly. The housemaster held the cane close to its crook handle and flexed it between his hands. It bent easily. Mr Stanley straightened his back and peered cross the room at McAlpine. The housemaster swished the cane once more and with an air of finality said sternly, “Stand there, boy.” He pointed his cane to a point on a worn rug close to the middle of the study. “Bend over. Touch your toes.”

McAlpine might have been new to St. Tom’s but he had learned enough to know he had no say in the matter. A summons to the study was not a summit. It wasn’t a debate, a discussion. Mr Stanley was the master; he, McAlpine, was the submissive. If the housemaster ordered, “Touch your toes!” that was the end of the matter. His heartbeat raced and suddenly the palms of his hands felt very sticky as he shuffled across the rug. He reached his point of destination and hesitated.

“Bend over, boy!” Mr Stanley intoned. The cane swiped through the air once more. McAlpine took a deep breath and in one swift athletic movement bent his body double. He took it as Gospel that “toes” meant toes and not knees or shins. His fingertips brushed the caps of his shoes. It was a difficult position to attain, even for a slender, fit eighteen-year-old. There was a tremendous strain on the back of his calves.

Mr Stanley tucked the cane under his arm as he moved closer to the submissive boy. McAlpine presented a good shape, his school blazer flowed around his buttocks. The housemaster took a gentle hold of the tail end and pushed it away from the target area. Now, McAlpine presented two hard, round buttocks. The housemaster gripped the waistband of the boy’s pale-grey trousers and tugged hard. This smoothed creases from the folds of the flannels and lifted and separated each cheek.

“Touch your toes and keep those fingers there, if you move those fingertips, I shall award extra strokes,” Mr Stanley announced. He stared down at the sixth-former bent submissively before him. The back of his neck was glowing bright red. His bottom would be a similar colour very soon.

He stood about a cane’s length from McAlpine’s left and swished the cane through the air one more time. He sucked down a deep breath. His own heart raced equally as fast as the boy offering up his buttocks. The cane was about the thickness of a pencil and just under three feet long. He tapped its tip against the centre of McAlpine’s right cheek; finding his aim.

Tap, tap, tap. Mr Stanley derived satisfaction seeing McAlpine close his eyes and grit his teeth. He pulled the cane away, rose it high and brought it down with some beef across McAlpine’s buttocks. The boy flinched as the rattan cane bit deep. It had not been a tap, it was a swipe. The housemaster put his full force behind the stroke.

McAlpine’s his face reddened, his mouth opened and a gust of wind escaped through his lips. A thin white line formed along the boy’s tight trousers.

McAlpine’s eyes blaze, he had a close-up view of the faded red rug. He couldn’t make out the pattern. He examined it closely. Some kind of building? A farmhouse perhaps. He concentrated hard, anything to keep his thoughts from the ordeal he was experiencing.

Mr Stanley flexed his cane once more. He watched McAlpine, bent submissively, offering up his backside for punishment. “Yes,” he said to himself. “This will beat the ‘Attitude’ out of him.”

McAlpine felt the cane tap against his stretched trousers once more. The first slash had burnt a welt across the centre of his bottom. His trousers and underpants did not protect him. Mr Stanley had really laid it on. The tapping started again. Any moment now. McAlpine braced himself. His buttocks clenched, his eyes screwed up tight. He bit down on his bottom lip.

Swish! Crack! The cane swiped through the air and landed with even greater force, an inch lower than the first. McAlpine hissed like a steam engine settling down, his head nodded back and forth. He couldn’t help it. He was out of control, it was his body’s reflex action against the agonising pain.

Another swipe bit deep into his flesh. McAlpine’s buttocks blazed. Mr Stanley was an expert with the cane. He ought to be, he had twenty years and more of experience thrashing boys’ bottoms.

Swipe number four hit the top of his thigh. “Yarooh!” He wriggled his hips left and right. His fingers left the toecaps of his shoes. He nearly jumped to his feet, remembering just in time, the awful penalty for such an action. He most certainly did not want extra strokes. But, the cut was low, too low. The pain seared. He had never had a stroke of the cane hurt him so much. It felt like Mr Stanley had pressed a red-hot poker from the fire against the back of his thighs.

Mr Stanley’s own eyes glowered. He paused, allowing himself a moment of self-congratulation. McAlpine was suffering. Good! The boy needed to be taught some manners. He had to learn his place in society. He waited upwards of thirty seconds while McAlpine settled down. He took a careful aim. The previous swipe had struck low, the next would go high. McAlpine’s buttocks were hard and round. Mr Stanley bounced the cane off the top of the mounds and was pleased to be rewarded with a clear yelp. “Good,” he told himself, “the young scoundrel deserves it. That’ll knock some of the arrogance out of him.”

McAlpine breathed hard. His temples pounded. The back of his throat was raw. Waves of pain shot up and down his legs. Perspiration soaked the back of his shirt. Welts had risen under his tightly-stretched trousers in neat parallel lines leaving a strip about two inches wide blazing across his buttocks.

He heard footsteps on the floorboards. From the corner of his eye he saw Mr Stanley adjusting his position. Now he placed the cane at a diagonal across both of McAlpine’s cheeks, so it went bottom left to top right. Tap, tap, tap. The sixth-former tensed his whole body. His shoulders shook. Whop! The cane sailed at the speed of sound, crashing down into the boy’s bottom, intersecting the welts already weeping under the boy’s underwear. It set each of them ablaze once more.

McAlpine gripped his shins. He wanted to jump up and stamp his feet about, or march up and down like a sentry guard. But he stayed down. Like generations of schoolboys before him, he refused to reveal to his master how much he was hurt. He felt as if he had sat on a coal fire.

Mr Stanley slowly paced his office and opened the door to his cupboard. He replaced the cane before turning slowing to admire his handiwork. McAlpine was still bent double, touching toes submissively.

“Up you get,” Mr Stanley barked. Slowly, McAlpine unfolded himself. He stood unsteadily, feet apart, his moist eyes downcast. His bottom roared. His heartbeat was slowing, returning closer to normal. He desperately wanted to rub away at the pain. But, that would have to wait until he was dismissed from the housemaster’s study.

Slowly, the housemaster returned to his desk. He slumped into his chair, suddenly noticing his own tiredness. He leaned toward the inferior boy and growled. “I trust McAlpine you have learned your lesson?” He paused for dramatic effect rather than in expectation of an answer. The tip of his tongue darted through his almost closed lips. “If not and you are before me again, we shall see how much you like my cane with your trousers and underwear at your feet. Do I make myself clear?”

This time, he did expect a response. McAlpine croaked an almost inaudible: “Yes, Sir.”

“You are dismissed,” the housemaster waved his hand and watched with deep satisfaction as McAlpine hobbled to the door.

Picture credit: Charles H Chapman, The Magnet

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 More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Also writing school stories as Scholastic here

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

Porterhouse at St. Tom’s

new 5

z used study (21)

Please come in, sorry you caught me making some notes for a story I’m writing. It’s about something that happened last evening. As you know I’m the head boy here at St. Tom’s school and that means one of my duties is to keep discipline among the boys here. Usually, that means punishing the younger boys when they step out of line. I probably swipe my rattan cane across two or three backsides a day. The actual number can depend on how rowdy the juniors are in the dormitory at night. My record is twelve boys in twenty minutes.

But that’s not the story I want to tell you today. This one’s about a fellow in the sixth-form. A chap called Porterhouse. He’s eighteen – the same age as me – and he’s a right rum fellow. He’s been at St. Tom’s all his life, but he’s never learned to behave himself. Most of the time he’s  worse than the juniors. Of course, he was never made a prefect. How could you put a chap like Porterhouse in charge of the youngsters.

You see what happened was this. It was on Tuesday that I sat alone in my study. It was a warm evening and I had completed my Greek essay and my mind was so engaged with it that I found it difficult to rest. I decided to take a stroll. I am not in the habit of patrolling the house after lights out. It is my prefects’ duty is to keep good order in the house. To that end they are expected to account that each boy is safely tucked up in his bed before they too retire for the night.

All was quiet, as indeed it should be at that hour. For no particular reason that I can recall, I ventured down the passageway that led to the junior studies. I could tell at once something was amiss. A shaft of light gleamed beneath the door of number five. As I approached my nostrils were assailed by a familiar scent. An aroma that was unwelcome in the junior boys’ studies. It was the smell of cigarette smoke.

I gripped the handle and twisted it. The door would not budge. It was locked. There was some illegal activity afoot. I hammered the palm of my hand against the heavy wooden panel.

Inside the study a little poker party was suddenly startled. Tracey jumped up, his hand of cards slipping from his fingers. “What the …” he exclaimed.

Wright, Amber and Prior were all on their feet. That sound could mean only one thing: either a prefect or a master had discovered their game.

“What dashed bad luck,” breathed Wright. “Quick get the cards out of sight.”

I banged again, somewhat louder this time. “Open up in there! Open up I say!”

“The smoke; we can’t clear the smoke,” hissed Amber, waving his arms around like a demon.

“Keep the door locked Wright,” whispered Prior. “Tell him you’ve dropped the key to make us some time.”

I continued banging.

“All right Sir,” called out Wright in a shaky voice while his chums frantically hurried cards and cigarettes out of sight. “I … I’ve dropped the key.”

I called out, “You will open this door immediately Wright. At once, or the consequences for you all will be very grave indeed.”

I heard the scrapping of the key in the lock and slowly the door eased ajar; but only by an inch. I pushed it open and strode into the study.

Four ashen-faced fourteen-year-old boys stood before me. They were dressed in their regulation red-and-white-striped pyjamas. The evidence of their crimes lay all around them. A deck of playing cards and hastily extinguished cigarettes. And also, cowering in the far corner of the room hoping against hope that he would not be spotted was Porterhouse.

I sent the four youngsters away. I would deal with them next day. My concern now was Porterhouse.

“Go wait outside my study,” I ordered. He looked sheepish as well he might. It is one thing for senior boys to play cards amongst themselves, but to take part in an illegal game with junior boys present. And smoking cigarettes! Can there be a greater crime that can be committed at boarding school than smoking cigarettes? Certainly, I for one cannot imagine.

I gave it a few minutes before I followed him. He stood nonchalantly, shoulders stooped, hands in pockets, professing not to have a care in the world. He didn’t fool me. “Come into the study,” I snarled as I brushed past him, “And be quick about it.” I unlocked the door and left it ajar. I strode to my desk and took the seat behind it. From this position I could dominate the whole room. “Close the door,” I barked as Porterhouse entered, his casual air, now a little deflated. I snapped my fingers, “Stand there,” I pointed to a spot on the worn rug. He shuffled into position, his hands still firmly rooted in the pockets of his trousers.

I let a small smile curl around my lips. If the idiot thought I wouldn’t thrash his backside because he was a senior boy, he had another thought coming. “So, Porterhouse,” I spoke calmly, “Let me get this straight. You were playing cards and smoking cigarettes with the junior boys.” Porterhouse remained silent. I hadn’t made it clear enough that this statement was meant as a question. I swear I saw the slightest smirk on his face. “Take your hands out of your pockets,” I growled. His nostrils flared, but with great ceremony he did as I instructed. For a moment he couldn’t decide where to put his arms. He tried leaving them at is sides, almost as if standing to attention. I suspect he thought this made him look too much like a supplicant, because within seconds he decided to clasp his hands behind his back. He was now poised rather like a minor member of the Royal Family.

I tried again, “Do you admit that you were playing cards and smoking cigarettes with the juniors?” This time my question was clear; Porterhouse would have to answer. He shrugged his shoulders. It was a noncommittal answer. That got my goat. “C’mon, Porterhouse,” I flared, “You were caught red-handed.”

He grinned insolently, “Then, I suppose it must be true.”

“Don’t get fresh with me, Porterhouse,” I barked, fighting to retain my temper. “You are in enough trouble as it is.”

“Oh,” his eyebrows raised heavenwards, “really?”

He was trying to goad me and he succeeded. “Yes, really!” I retorted, “I am  going to beat you Porterhouse, how do you like that?”

His face coloured, but he was full of spunk. “I don’t think so. I am a senior. Senior boys aren’t caned.”

That was true up to a point, indeed no senior boy had been caned in living memory, but that did not meant that he couldn’t be. I did not intend to argue with Porterhouse, so I played my trump card. “No? Perhaps you’d like to tell that to the Headmaster?”

I had won: game, set and match. If Porterhouse refused to be disciplined by me and the Headmaster was informed, Porterhouse could look forward to a severe bare-bottomed birching, followed by expulsion. I had him by the short-and-curlies. It was what our American cousins might call a lose-lose situation for Porterhouse. Colour drained from his face and he went quite pale.

“Good,” I intoned. There was nothing more to say. I had won and Porterhouse had lost. “Let’s say, jacket off, trousers down and bend across my desk.” I rose to my feet and tapped the top of my desk to emphasise my superiority. He stood dumbfounded. “Now, Porterhouse, it is long past our bedtimes.”

I walked across the study to the far corner where dangling from a coat stand by their curved handles were two whippy, rattan canes; one a little thicker than the other and both capable of leaving severe welts across the backside of a miscreant schoolboy. I reached up and took hold of the thickest of the two. It was a little longer than three-feet and had notches every six inches or so along its length. It was dark-yellow in colour and as thick as a pencil. I flexed it thoughtfully between my hands. Porterhouse had not moved. “Jacket off. Put it on that armchair.” I swished the cane through the air to demonstrate my impatience. If looks could kill, the glance Porterhouse gave me at that moment would have slain me. I suspect that only at this moment did it sink in that he had absolutely no choice in the matter.

“Hurry along,” I tried not to grin. He turned his back on me so I could not see his look of bewilderment and he unbuttoned his jacket. He slipped it from his shoulders and tossed it on to the armchair, a half-empty packet of cigarettes poked out from a side pocket. I made a mental note to confiscate them before I allowed Porterhouse to hobble from my study. With the jacket now removed, Porterhouse hesitated. “Stand by the desk,” I jollied him along. “Trousers down. All the way. Bend over.” I confess that by now I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I had never liked Porterhouse and I resented the way he disregarded the school and all it stood for. He refused to be one of the chaps. I couldn’t understand him. Why attend St. Tom’s if you had no intention of fitting in? Fitting in, and learning your place in the order of things, was the school’s very ethos.

I swiped the cane through empty air several times as I watched Porterhouse prepare himself. His trousers were held in place by several buttons and it took some moments of fumbling before he was able to release them. Once that was done, the heavy flannel bags fell easily to his feet. His off-white woollen drawers hung loosely and I was unable to discern even the outline of his private parts beneath them.

“Bend over Porterhouse,” I called and without further hesitation my eighteen-year-old school fellow swivelled on the heels of his leather shoes, faced the desk and slowly lowered himself forward. I had not instructed him to do so, but he chose to lay flat on his stomach and stretch his arms ahead of him and grip the far end with his fingers. At first he rested his chin on the cold wooden desktop, but realising this was an uncomfortable position to hold, he turned his head so that his left cheek rested on the desk and he gazed towards a picture of the King that was on the wall.

I tucked the cane under my arm and approached him. I took hold of the end of his shirt and tugged it up his back and away from my target area. Porterhouse’s body shivered, but he soon recovered. In this prone position the loose wool of his drawers had tightened a little against his beefy buttocks. I gripped hold of the waistband and Porterhouse let out an audible gasp. The sucker must have thought I was about to rip down his drawers so I could thrash him on the bared bottom. This was not my intention and instead I pulled the drawers tight so that the smooth material showed the outline of his cheeks and dug into his crack. Porterhouse closed his eyes.

I took up a position slightly behind Porterhouse and a little to his left – a cane’s length. I placed the tip of my cane against the centre of his right buttock and tapped. I was getting my aim. Although only eighteen years old myself, I have a great deal of experience with the cane. I knew that once I took my aim and then raised my cane in an arc away from the quivering buttocks I would be able to bring it down with as much force as I wished and strike both cheeks equally, leaving behind a deep, red throbbing welt. And that is precisely what I did. The crack of rattan against wool-covered flesh resounded around my small study. Porterhouse winced, but otherwise made no movement. Just as I am an experienced giver, it is certain that Porterhouse is an experienced receiver.

I landed the second stroke an inch higher across his bottom. The third went an inch lower than the first cut. His bottom now had three heavy cuts running along his backside in parallel. They would give Porterhouse something to play with under the blanket that night. I took a breather after three strokes to allow their full significance to be felt. Of course, as a younger boy I had been caned on several occasions myself – what boy at St. Tom’s could go through his entire school life untouched? – so I knew that the full agony of a cane stroke was not felt immediately the rod fell. The pain built and travelled from the posterior and through the body. Because of that I waited a full minute after I delivered the third stroke before I laid on the fourth.

This one struck into the soft undercurve. Porterhouse wriggled his hips when that one cut him. His knees buckled and his eyes opened wide, before immediately clamming shut again. I am no sadist. I am aware that some masters like to lay fresh strokes over ones that had previously landed. I am not that man. I sent the final two: one high, the other low, parallel to the others. Porterhouse had a well-welted bottom. He would not sleep comfortably and in the morning there would be marks; not that he would wish the other fellows to know he had been caned by me.

Porterhouse knew the rules of the house and remained bent across the desk until I gave him permission to rise and dress. This he did without fuss. He was unable to look at me while he did this and (kind heart that I am) I turned my back on him and took some time replacing my cane on the stand. This would give Porterhouse the opportunity to furtively rub his aching buttocks without my seeing.

“You are dismissed,” I said curtly and he strode from the study. Only after the door had closed and Porterhouse had scurried up the passageway did I remember about the cigarettes in his pocket. Oh, well, I consoled myself I had still not smoked the three packers I had confiscated from members of the junior rugby team earlier in the day.

 

Picture credit: The Magnet

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

My caning history

new 5

z used cane longs sting (15)

I was interviewed the other week by two delightful sixth-form schoolboys. They were doing a history project about the town and since I had lived in Brocklehurst for all my 76 years a local vicar I know pointed them in my direction. I had never thought of myself as a “historical figure” but they seemed like nice boys so I decided to oblige them.

They visited me at my home in The Avenue and because it was such nice weather we sat in my extensive garden. They complimented me on this and that row of plants and the small clump of trees that run along the far boundary. I accepted their praise, although I did not reveal that I have never in my life lifted a spade or a pair of secateurs and that I pay (quite handsomely I must say) a father and his son to visit twice a week during the season to keep it in tip-top condition.

But I digress, the boys who were called Clem and Jake recorded my voice on their phones, and because they were not writing notes it was very easy for us to chat along merrily. We sipped home-made lemonade (not, of course, made in my home) and ate small sticky cakes. It was a delightful occasion and we talked a lot about how Brocklehurst had changed over the years. I told them that I had attended their school sixty years ago. It had been a grammar school back then and things had changed greatly.

Naturally, we quickly got onto the subject of corporal punishment (as you do). Clem rolled his eyes in astonishment when I told him about the cane and how we boys regularly presented ourselves at the housemaster’s study for six-of-the-best across the seat of our trousers. His colleague Jake had a much deeper interest and asked me all sorts of questions and many of them were very detailed. Schoolboys today know nothing about corporal punishment, it was banned in schools sometime in the nineteen-eighties. Even Clem and Jake’s fathers wouldn’t have felt the swish of the rattan.

I told Jake and Clem they didn’t know they were born. Jake wanted to know more. When I was a boy we took corporal punishment for granted. It was everywhere; it was natural. Fathers routinely took a belt or a slipper to the backside of their errant sons. The plimsoll and the cane were in regular use in schools across the land. In Brocklehurst the parkkeepers would take off their belts to boys who fired their catapults at birds or squirrels. You could expect a clip round the ear (at the very least) from the local “bobby” – the police constable who patrolled the streets. When was the last time you saw a bobby on the beat?

But it was my experience at the school that interested Jake the most. The rule was that only housemasters and the head himself were permitted to cane a boy. The school was divided into various houses (the one I was in was called Wilson’s) and we would compete against other houses for sporting and academic awards. We were all encouraged to work hard for and be proud of our houses. It was a form of team-spirit, I suppose. Woe betide us If we let down the house.

Discipline was strict. There were all kinds of rules. Jake who was interviewing me had hair way over his ears. That wouldn’t be allowed in my day. Short back and side haircuts were the rule. If you tried to grow your hair a master would order you to the barbershop. If you didn’t go pronto you’d find yourself bent over in the housemaster’s study. Jake thought this was fascinating.

Discipline was strict and so was punishment. People who supported corporal punishment against critics who wanted to see it banned always said it was used as “a last resort”. They meant other punishments were tried and if they didn’t work only then would the cane be taken out of the cupboard. Not in my school: the cane was pretty much the first resort. We boys took it for granted. Break a rule, get found out, attend the housemaster’s study, bend over, whack-whack-whack-whack-whack-whack; six strokes of the cane and on your way. The problem sorted. There were hardly any detentions, writing lines was unheard of and there was no need for “exclusions” like they have these days.

I told Jake I got the cane so many times I couldn’t remember how many. He asked what was it like? Well, it was just part of the school day. I wasn’t an especially rebellious boy who took on the school; if I had been I wouldn’t have accepted the cane. I should have refused to be beaten. There were some who did. No one at my school but I heard an interview on radio a while back with a disc jockey who was famous in the nineteen-seventies. I forget his name. He was in the sixth-form and they took some beer into the common room. They got found out and the headmaster wielded his cane. The DJ chap refused to bend over and had to leave the school. Who knows if he had taken his punishment like a good fellow and stayed on at school to take his exams he might have had a better job than playing records.

No, I was no rebel. I just couldn’t stick to all the rules. So, I got the cane. That’s how it was. I had to explain to Jake what “the cane” actually was. There were rules about what you could and could not use to pepper a boy’s backside. At my school the cane was made out of very flexible rattan. It had a curved handle and was maybe three feet long (or a little shorter). We called our housemaster Hector because he had the hang down look of a well-known children’s cartoon character of the time. Hector had a big collection of canes: some thin and some a bit thicker. They were all very pliable and he liked to flex his cane between his hands and swish it through the air before he set about your rear end with it.

Jake wanted to know if the cane hurt. That made me smile. Of course a caning hurt, otherwise what’s the point of it? But, I had to admit it was something a boy got used to with each successive visit to the study. I was terrified on my first visit to Hector; we all were. What would happen? Would it hurt? Would we cry? Would we have to take down out trousers? Would we get it on the bare bottom?

There were a lot of stories going around the school that you could get the cane on your underpants. Nobody ever did, but it didn’t stop rumours flying. It did happen in some schools. I vaguely remember reading a report in a newspaper at the time about a court case. A housemaster from some elite boarding school was prosecuted for caning boys on the bare. They called it “sexual assault”. The magistrate or judge, or whoever it was, dismissed the case saying if this was sexual assault, then half the housemasters in the country would be in the dock. So, obviously a lot of boys were being caned on the bare bum back then; or at least they were when the magistrate was at school.

So, I never got in trousers down. Except for the first time, it was always six strokes. People often call it six-of-the-best, but that isn’t strictly true. The housemaster – should he so choose – could deliver no more than a flick of the wrist. That would hardly even raise the dust from the seat of the trousers. On another occasion he might flog the boy with all his energy and leave severe welts throbbing beneath his underpants. I suppose it depended on the mood of the housemaster, or the severity of the offense caused.

Jake was agog when I said that the last time I had been caned I was the same age as him. It was late in my final year. I had turned eighteen a few months earlier. It was so typical of my school. They had a rule that you couldn’t leave the premises during lesson time. The headmaster for some reason I cannot now recall had made a special mention of this rule at morning assembly. By this time classes for senior boys had halted and we were revising for exams. Bored one afternoon me and a couple of pals slipped away and idled around the town for an hour. We were spotted and reported.

Hector hit the roof. There was no point telling him that we hadn’t actually skipped any lessons. He said we had deliberately disobeyed the headmaster’s expressed rule. Such behaviour was intolerable. It could not be allowed. We had to be caned. Unlike that DJ I mentioned, it didn’t occur to any of us to refuse. Hector had a point. I don’t think we even considered the headmaster’s edict when we went AWOL, but we had broken the rules. If it had been a boy in any of the junior years he would be showing Hector his arse.

I had been caned so many times previously this final visit to the study held no terrors. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I said this to Jake and he insisted I tell him exactly what happened. He wanted on all the details. I joked that he was after a blow-by-blow account.

Hector’s study was in fact a very modern office. It was nothing like the ornately-furnished studies that were pictured in the classic stories about public school life, or you sometimes saw in old films on TV. There was a desk made of light wood and some ordinary wooden chairs. There was no open fire or glass-fronted bookcases. Hector didn’t wear a heavy academic gown or one of those crazy mortar-board caps with the tassel hanging down the back. He was dressed in an ordinary suit and wouldn’t have been out of place working in an office for the local council.

When it was my turn to be done, he made me stand in the middle of the room. One of the straight-backed chairs had already been strategically placed in space in front of his desk. He didn’t interrogate me, we had already established my guilt. I waited patiently for the inevitable command. If I was anxious at all it was just that I was anxious for it to be over, so I could go home and carry on revising for an exam I had to take the next day.

The cane was on his desk. I saw immediately that it was one of his stouter and thicker specimens. I had no doubt that Hector intended to lay it on hard. This was going to hurt. I watched as he reached across his desk and took up the cane. He swiped it through the air and then walked towards me, flexing it all the while in his hands. Such action might have intimidated a younger, less experienced, boy. Hector was demonstrating the power of that cane. His showboating was wasted on me: I already knew.

Hector tapped the tip of the cane on the seat of the chair and intoned those words that must have instilled dread in generations of schoolboys: “Bend over the chair.” It was an ordinary chair, but the back was quite high and my stomach rested comfortably on its highest point. I took hold of either side of the seat. It was summer so I wasn’t wearing a blazer and my striped school tie fell in front of my face. I spread my legs a little and lifted my head so I could stare across the study at a photograph of last year’s house rugby XV.

A less experienced boy than myself might have felt foolish or even humiliated submitting his backside to the attention of a much older man in the knowledge that at any moment he intended to inflict the greatest pain possible. I had no such feeling; it was what it was. This was a ritual that had taken place in that study, perhaps every day for countless years. Back then we had no reason to believe that such things would ever change.

I couldn’t see Hector because I was concentrating on the rugby photograph, but I could hear his body moving. Then, I felt the tap-tap-tap of the cane against my right buttock. He was taking his aim. I clenched my hands and held the chair seat tighter. Hector raised the cane away from the seat of my trousers and a second later there was an almighty whacking noise as it connected with the fleshiest part of my bum. It remained numb for maybe another second and then I felt the familiar deep burning pain. It hurt! A lot! It was by far the hardest stroke of the cane I had received in my considerable career. I didn’t yell out. I didn’t stomp and wriggle. I let the pain sink in.

There was another series of taps as Hector got his mark to deliver Number Two a little lower than the first. This was a typical caning method. You put a strip along the dead centre of the buttocks and then land subsequent cuts above and below that first marker. Hector always made sure to land at least one in the undercurve on the “sit-spot” just where the bum connects with the back of the thighs. You need to be an expert marksman to get it right. Many lesser caners than Hector would strike the back of the thighs themselves and that would be agony. It helps also if the boy being beaten has the fortitude to keep still and not move about and distract the master. I had that fortitude and Hector duly put a cut there. It was a deep stripe and I felt it every time I sat on a hard surface for days to come.

In our school we had what was called by the boys a “headmaster’s caning”. He would deliver the first four strokes as I have described but for the final two he would lay the cane along one diagonal so it went from the bottom of one cheek to the top of the other and then he would reverse the diagonal for the last stoke. It meant the cane twice intersected the already throbbing and possibly weeping strokes he had already administered. This was a particularly awesome punishment. I never experienced it personally, but one friend of mine who did sportingly showed us his bared bottom. We admired the perfect “X” mark that decorated his buttocks.

The six stokes Hector gave me were definitely his “best”. My bum was alight. Each successive stroke added to the pain until my arse felt like it had swollen to twice its natural size. Hector left me bent across the chair while he returned the cane to his desk. He had not finished yet, there was still one more boy to beat after me. Even in the few seconds he left me waiting the pain was subsiding. That is one of the attributes of a severe caning. The pain as the rod strikes is intense. It burns like the fires of Hell and quickly radiates from the point of impact. That initial pain is doubled by the second stroke and is added to until the whole punishment has been administered. Then, almost immediately the caning is over, the pain diminishes. Even then as I lay across the chair waiting to be dismissed the pain had eased. It was still an intense throbbing but I knew that very soon that would become an ache and then only an irritable discomfort.

Hector told me to stand. I did so and he quickly sent me on my way, telling me to send in the next boy as I went.

I could tell Jake was transfixed by my story and he probably wanted more detail, but some innate sensibility cautioned him not to display too much interest. We spoke of other things; school sports, the Officers’ Training Corps and so on. Clem and Jake politely thanked me for my time and went on their way. I took the lemonade and poured what was left of it in the sink. I took an opened bottle of white wine from the fridge and poured myself a generous helping. I sat in my favourite chair and replayed the past hour in my mind.

I took a big slug of wine and castigated myself for one oversight in my story. I had not told Jake that I myself possessed a couple of school-type canes that I keep in the wardrobe in my spare bedroom. I am sure he would have liked to see them.

Picture credit; Sting Pictures

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

John’s jam jar

new 5

z used jar money drawing

John Hepplewhite was a modest man, he didn’t ask for much in life and he didn’t get it. He lived on a small pension from the Post Office and what he got from the state. He lived alone in two rented rooms and because he was trying to save money he would spend a lot of time at the House of the Sacred Light pensioners’ club where he could sit in the warm, read the newspapers and drink countless cups of tea without having to pay. And, what if from time to time he had to listen to some ruddy-faced fellow wittering on about the Bible.

He did his shopping at the shops and the market where they sold off perishable food cheaply late in the day. At home he never lit more than one bar on the electric fire. John Hepplewhite didn’t think of himself as poor. He was careful with his money. Hidden away at the back of the larder was an old jam jar. Into this he put every spare copper coin he had. Sometimes, when he had been especially careful, or he skipped a meal and made up for it with even more cups of tea at the House of the Sacred Light, he added silver. John Hepplewhite was saving for his special treat.

When the jar was about half full – for that was all he needed – he took it along to the post office where he used to work, and where he still collected his pension, and Mavis, a jolly old type, would patiently count out the coins and change them to banknotes. John Hepplewhite could scarcely contain his excitement and even though Mavis had known him for years she could never get him to tell him what he was saving for.

John Hepplewhite, now greatly excited and with the banknotes tucked securely in the inside pocket of his heavy coat, he trudged down the High Street to the public phone box. Of course, he wouldn’t dream of paying to have a phone at home, not even with the special rates they gave pensioners. His hands didn’t usually tremble, but they did as he lifted the receiver and dialled the number. He knew it by heart, he had rung it before many times. The phone at the other end rang and rang and John Hepplewhite was about to throw down the handset when there was a click and man with a smooth voice answered. John Hepplewhite beamed like a small boy with a new toy. The call concluded, John Hepplewhite returned to his rooms, not now trudging but walking on air, or walking on air as much as a man his age could.

Two days later John Hepplewhite took a bus into the suburbs. He had a pensioners’ pass so he didn’t have to pay the fare. He had already put its equivalent into his jam jar for the next treat. He got off near Widdicombe Wood and had to walk half a mile to get to his destination. It was late spring, the sun was shining but it was still a little cold. John Hepplewhite was as happy as any man could be. He lived for days like this.

He turned into a street called The Avenue, it was a long thoroughfare but entirely deserted of people. The large houses were mostly hidden behind walls or fences and sometimes high hedges. The house he wanted was half way down. He liked that no one was about, it made him feel safe. He didn’t like prying eyes. He saw a large figure on a bicycle ride towards him; as it got closer he saw he was dressed in a bright red school blazer. Instinctively, John Hepplewhite looked at his watch; it was not yet noon. As the bicycle approached and then passed him, John Hepplewhite noticed the boy also wore pale-grey short trousers. John Hepplewhite turned and watched him cycle off into the distance. He smiled broadly, the “boy” was at least forty if he were a day.

John Hepplewhite paused at the gate to number 42. The house itself was set back from the road with a wide shingle path leading to it. John Hepplewhite’s heartrate quickened and his mouth dried. He checked his watch again to make sure he was not early (he had never once been late for this appointment) and satisfied all was well he set off up the path. He rang the doorbell and since he was expected he was not surprised the door was opened instantly. An older women, dressed austerely in a long shapeless black skirt and a white blouse buttoned to her throat welcomed him in.

“Wait in the hallway,” she said abruptly and certain that he would comply with her instruction, she immediately waddled away and entered a room at the far end. John Hepplewhite knew the house well. There were five identical doors leading from the hallway, each made of heavy oak. A coat stand stood in the corner close to the door and there were two small tables along a wall. A grandfather clock that John Hepplewhite had never seen working leaned forlornly in another corner. There were no pictures on the wall but there was a full-length mirror that John Hepplewhite always avoided on his visits. He had no wish to see the reflection of a flabby old man staring back at him.

The woman was gone for five minutes and then she returned and briskly said, “Go into that room and change.” John Hepplewhite had been expecting this and without even a murmur he took the few paces needed to reach the door, he turned the handle and went in. The room was a library of sorts. In some houses it would be called a living room or a drawing room. This was a “library” because there were shelves of books. In the centre was a large oak table with matching chairs. Two leather armchairs were placed either side of a low coffee table. It took John Hepplewhite only seconds to survey the room. He was familiar with its layout and soon found what he was seeking.

Without hesitation, he began to strip off his clothes. He was nearly seventy and he was proud that he was still sprightly, unlike some of the others at the pensioners’ club who could no longer put on their own socks. He was soon completely naked. He stood admiring the collection of goods displayed on the oak table. He took hold of the white cotton briefs with Y-shaped front and elasticated waist band. He steadied himself against the table as he stepped into them. They fitted snuggly against his buttocks.

Then, he pulled the white singlet over his head and the snugness of the cotton against his flesh emphasised his flabby belly. In the correct fashion, he tucked the singlet into the waistband of his underpants. John Hepplewhite ran his eye across the oak table, his tongue darted through his pursed lips as he chose the grey shirt from a paper wrapper. It felt recently ironed and as he climbed into it he caught the distinct aroma of the starch that had stiffened the collar.

Next came his favourite; he lovingly fingered the grey short trousers, they were made of flannel and immaculately laundered and pressed and if he didn’t take care he might have cut his finger on the crease down the front. He felt his withered penis stir. He had no idea why, but short trousers always did this to him. He unfastened the button at the waist, and then the three on the fly, opened the top of the trousers and stepped in. Within seconds he had pulled them up and was tucking in the shirt and vest. The short trousers were especially tailored and fitted him snuggly.

He buttoned the shirt and found his school tie. It was of red and green diagonal stripes. There was no mirror and John Hepplewhite made several attempts to knot the tie neatly. His previous reservation about the mirror was gone. He so wanted to admire his appearance. He walked to the window and failing to see his reflection he sat in an armchair and pulled up his woollen stockings. They were so long they reached up his thighs and there was hardly an inch of flesh left uncovered between sock and trousers. He folded over the tops of the stockings until they were tucked just below the knees.

Soon he was in his shiny black lace-up shoes. He was not quite ready. His school blazer was on a heavy wooden coat-hanger. John Hepplewhite caressed the lapel between his finger and thumb. The quality of the cloth was superb; he picked it up and smelled its freshness. It fitted him well, as always. Finally, he took hold of the woollen cap and carefully placed it squarely on his head. It completely covered his recently cut short-back-and-sides haircut, as it was intended to. He was ready. At that moment the door edged open slowly and the old lady appeared. She appraised the situation and happy that John Hepplewhite was dressed she said, “The headmaster is waiting for you boy! Do not keep him waiting.”

John Hepplewhite rubbed his sweaty palms on his blazer and with a mixed feeling of anxiety and excitement he left the room and crossed the hallway. The old woman had left, her job completed for the moment. He stopped, peered at a sign displaying the word “Headmaster” in worn lettering, took a deep breath and rapped his knuckles on the door. His heart raced in anticipation of the response. It was some time coming. At last a voice boomed, “Come!” John Hepplewhite slowly turned the handle, it was a heavy door and he almost had to put his shoulder to it to get it to budge. He stood in the threshold. “Ah Hepplewhite, come in. Close the door. Stand there boy.”

The words were intoned by an imposing figure seated at a large mahogany desk. He wore a dark suit enclosed in a heavy, black academic gown. On his head balanced a mortarboard cap. The figure steepled his fingers and leaned back in a large leather chair. “You again, Hepplewhite,” he peered down his beaked nose. “This is becoming something of a habit, boy.”

Hepplewhite nodded meekly, but said nothing. He clasped his hands behind his back and stood, feet slightly apart. He looked intently at the headmaster who continued his lecture. “Your geography master informs me that you have failed on two separate occasions to complete your prep. You failed to present an imposition he duly set and you were insolent when he questioned you about it,” saliva dribbled from  his mouth. “Well boy! What have you to say for yourself?” he snapped.

The ferocity of the headmaster’s questioning rocked Hepplewhite. He burbled something unintelligible. The headmaster leaned forward, placed the palms of his hands on the desk and roared, “Hepplewhite I trust you are not trying to be insolent now!” Hepplewhite found his voice, “Oh no sir, truly sir, no sir, sorry sir,” but he was almost as incoherent as before.

The headmaster steepled his fingers once more. “Pah! I’m going to thrash you Hepplewhite. Thrash you. You deserve nothing less.” Hepplewhite’s faced flushed, “Crikey,” he said. “No please sir, don’t cane me sir. I shall be good.”

The headmaster grimaced, “Quiet! Stand in the corner. Hands on head. Contemplate your sins. Think about what’s coming to you.” He watched with satisfaction as the wretched boy before him, his face a picture of misery, turned and shuffled away. “Right in the corner,” the headmaster called after him, “I want to see your nose touching the wall.” He leaned back in his chair, then opened and closed drawers to his desk. He was not looking for anything, this was part of his ritual. He would give Hepplewhite ample time to anticipate what was to come.

After five minutes, the headmaster rose from the desk. “Let’s get on with this shall we,” he stated abruptly. “Turn around boy,” and when Hepplewhite did so and took his hands from his head, the headmaster who was incapable of speaking in a normal voice, roared, “I did not give you permission! Hands on head, boy!”

“Sorry sir,” Hepplewhite croaked. His eyes followed the headmaster as he walked across the study. He stopped when he reached a tall, thin cupboard. With great deliberation he reached into his pocket and after fumbling around he withdrew a small key. Hepplewhite watched with increasing anticipation as the headmaster opened the cupboard door and reached inside. The rattle as several thin, whippy canes were moved around seemed to fill the room. Hepplewhite licked his bottom lip and gulped; his mouth was now completely dry.

He watched as the headmaster withdrew a cane. It was a typical school punishment cane, about three feet long and as thick as a pencil with the traditional curved handle. The headmaster showed it to Hepplewhite whose eyes widened. He recognised it. The headmaster had thrashed him with that very stick on his last visit to the study. The headmaster flexed it between his hands and studied it closely as if he had never seen it before. He frowned, and replaced it in the cupboard. “I have acquired a new cane,” he said as he reached inside again. “It is especially suitable for senior boys. For recidivists. For boys who return to my study time after time. It is a Malacca!”

He showed the cane to Hepplewhite. It was much the same size and shape as the previous cane but as the headmaster bent it between his hands and then swished it through the air, Hepplewhite saw it was extremely dense, but whippy. It looked an awesome weapon. “Yes,” the headmaster spoke as if to himself only, “This will be very suitable.” He looked over at Hepplewhite who was still standing submissively, hands on head. “Go there,” the headmaster swished the cane in the general direction of a low leather armchair. “Bend over. You know what to do Hepplewhite.”

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Indeed he did. He was no stranger to the headmaster’s study. Still with his hands on his head he took the three paces necessary to get into position. He looked at the chair in front of him. He was easily tall enough to clear its back. “Bend over Hepplewhite,” the headmaster growled, “He haven’t all afternoon.” He swished the cane to emphasise his impatience.

Hepplewhite took his hands from his head, rubbed them together and then fell forward. He stretched his arms out ahead of him and gripped the front of the seat cover. In this position his school cap remained firmly on his head. He spread his feet and jutted out his bottom, submissively. He heard footsteps behind him and a terrific swishing noise as the headmaster took practice swipes with his heavy cane. Then, in quick succession he felt a hand gripped the tail of his blazer and pushed it up his back and away from the target area; followed by the cane “sawing” across the centre of his bottom. Suddenly, it was lifted away and returned with great force so that it cut across both cheeks equally.

It hurt Hepplewhite, but not much. He had received harsher strokes in the past. He waited patiently; this time the headmaster tap-tapped the cane into the softer undercurve of his buttocks. The cane rose and fell. It was a harsher stroke but Hepplewhite was not deceived, he knew the headmaster was just warming up. He took four more strokes so that now his bottom sported six lines running parallel to each other. The headmaster was an expert with the cane, each had fallen precisely where he intended.

“Stand up Hepplewhite,” the headmaster placed the cane under his arm and paced the study. When Hepplewhite was on his feet, the headmaster glared, “Shorts down Hepplewhite, bend back over.” Still facing the chair, Hepplewhite fumbled with the waistband of his grey short trousers and then the fly buttons. It would have been difficult enough for him to perform this task even if his fingers had not been trembling. At last the immaculate short trousers were open. They fell easily down his thighs and snagged at the knees. He opened them and they continued to the floor. Without hesitation, Hepplewhite threw himself back over the chair. This time his cap fell from his head and slipped to the floor.

The headmaster tidied Hepplewhite’s blazer once more and was presented with an expanse of white cotton underpants. He “sawed” the cane once more taking note of how it sank deep into Hepplewhite’s fleshy buttocks. This swipe was the hardest yet and the headmaster was rewarded with the sight of Hepplewhite’s knees buckling. Hepplewhite gripped the cushion harder, but before he could settle himself properly the second and third strokes bounced off his bum.

“Ouch!” it was a genuine cry of pain. The headmaster knew this for certain because Hepplewhite like several of his pupils usually reacted with the somewhat overstated yell of “Yarrooo!” during a caning.

The next three were harder still. Hepplewhite wriggled his hips and stamped his feet. This was genuine. His heart raced and his breath came in shallow pants. “Up Hepplewhite,” the headmaster strolled the study once more. Hepplewhite rubbed his rubbery buttocks ruefully. “Leave it alone boy! You know the rules,” the headmaster growled. Hepplewhite’s hand immediately sprang to his sides. “Pants down. Back over.” It was a simple command, given without histrionics for the headmaster had no doubt Hepplewhite would obey. The headmaster was in control.

Indeed Hepplewhite did not argue, he simply slipped his thumbs inside the waistband of the white cotton Y-fronts and with not much more than a flick of the wrist he sent them sliding to his knees. Not waiting to ensure they reached his feet he dived over the back of the chair. As the headmaster for the third time moved the blazer out of the way he took careful note of the dozen lines that now emblazoned Hepplewhite’s hairy bum. He congratulated himself on a job well done. “Brace yourself boy,” he called with some good humour as he sent the first of six absolute stingers across Hepplewhite’s bared bottom. Air whistled through his clenched teeth, he writhed and his shoulders rose a little.

Swipe! This one had Hepplewhite crossing one foot over the other to stop himself jumping up. His temples pulsated just as quickly as his bottom. This caning was proving hard to take. The headmaster never liked to draw blood during a caning so he aimed his cane at one of the few places that had not yet been touched. Thankfully, Hepplewhite’s bum was large so this gave him the opportunity to lay one high on the apex of the mounds. He was rewarded by the sight of a deep red line and a hissing boy.

At last the final of the six was delivered. It had been quite an ordeal: six-six-and-six; it wasn’t a punishment for a novice. The headmaster ambled leisurely toward the cupboard and then taking his time he found the key, unlocked the door and returned the cane to rest alongside its companions. All the while Hepplewhite stared down at the seat cushion. His bum was on fire; a caning on the bare, even if lightly delivered – and this one had not been – is always a severe punishment. The intense agony was quickly dissolving into a sore ache. It had been a harsh punishment, but he had survived.

At last the headmaster called across the study, “You may stand now, Hepplewhite.” He watched as he hauled himself to his feet. The short trousers and Y-fronts were in a puddle at his feet. Hepplewhite leaned down to retrieve them but was cut short, “Leave them be!” the headmaster snarled, “I have not finished with you! Stand back in the corner. Hands on head.”

Meekly, Hepplewhite waddled like a penguin until he resumed his place, nose pressed against the wall. The headmaster returned to his desk and sat back in his hair. From this position he had a superb view of Hepplewhite’s battered bottom. He watched the clock on the mantelpiece, keeping a close eye on the time and when he was ready he reached down to the bottom drawer of his desk. In it was the book where an official record of corporal punishment was kept. He drew this out and put it on the desktop and then returned to the drawer.

He stood up and walked in front of the desk, there he picked up a straight backed chair and manoeuvred it into the centre of the room. He sat down and with a little difficulty adjusted his academic gown so he became comfortable. Once satisfied he spoke with a haughty air. “Turn around Hepplewhite and face me.”

Hepplewhite did so and his jaw dropped open. He had not expected this. Seated in the straight-backed wooden chair was the headmaster and in his fist he gripped an off-white rubber-soled plimsoll, the type of slipper generations of schoolboys had worn for physical education classes.

The headmaster released his grip on the plimsoll and let it rest on his lap. He snapped his fingers, “Stand there boy,” he pointed to a spot close to his right thigh. As Hepplewhite waddled across the study, the headmaster took up the plimsoll again. He waited for the full import of the situation was clear to Hepplewhite and then intoned, “Bend over my knee.”

Without instruction, Hepplewhite slipped the blazer from his shoulders and tossed it to the floor. Then he dropped forward so quickly that he hurt his shoulder because he had to push his arms ahead of himself to break his fall against the hard ground. He pressed his palms firmly into the floor and bent his knees so that his bare bottom pointed at an angle over the headmaster’s thigh. He waited impatiently as the headmaster carefully folded his shirttail so that it bared his lower back. The headmaster took a firm hold of him around the waist and thwacked the hard slipper into his already-sore backside. The burning sensation was terrific.

And so it went on like that until the clock on the mantlepiece confirmed the hour was over. Hepplewhite dressed himself in his school uniform once more and the headmaster divested himself of gown and cap. And like that John Hepplewhite and the headmaster repaired to the kitchen and enjoyed a nice cup of tea, while the old woman discreetly counted the banknotes.

 

Picture credit: Unknown /  Charles Chapman (The Magnet)

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Late home from school

A Fragment of a Memory

The Fare Dodger

 

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

 

Colonel Blincoe’s folly

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The tower in Colonel Blincoe’s garden had originally been built as one those architectural follies by an eccentric gentlemen back in the midst of history. Or, about 1920, as local folklore had it. It was built of brick in the shape of a cone and consisted of two small rooms one on top of the other, with a small balcony attached to the outside. You reached the upper floor by a staircase that ran around the outside making it look a little like an old-fashioned fairground helter-skelter. From the upper floor and the balcony it was just possible to see over high garden walls and hedges into neighbouring gardens. To facilitate his enjoyment of this facility, the colonel had purchased a pair of high-powered ex-military field glasses.

None of his neighbours was aware that the colonel would pass away lonely days peering through the binoculars, investigating nearby houses. He rarely saw anything of interest. After all, what was there to see? This was The Avenue, one of the most highly-desirable residential streets in Brocklehurst, one hardly expected to see an opium den in operation. Nor, was there ever likely to be a murder committed. The colonel had hoped he might get a small thrill catching a couple “at it” in their beds, but his near neighbours had reached the age where that sort of thing had become very rare indeed.

So, it was with no great expectation that one afternoon late in the summer he removed his field glasses from their leather box and polished the lenses. The Braithwaites in the house next door were not at home, or so he expected. He had seen suitcases being piled into a taxi the previous Saturday and Mrs Braithwaite had climbed inside. His neighbours were, the colonel supposed, off on holidays. He thought no more of it until he noticed a movement inside the house. It was from an upper window. Burglars! The colonel’s aged heart beat faster. He had caught them red-handed. Damn! he cussed himself mildly, there was no telephone in his tower and he had never felt the need to acquire one of those new-fangled portable phone things. He couldn’t call the police. Instead, he resolved to use his binoculars and observe as much as he could. He would make notes, of the criminals’ descriptions and such like and hand them over to the authorities in due course.

He only had a partial view of the room. In fact, most of it was obscured and all he could see clearly was that space directly in front of the smallish sash window. He cursed once more and settled himself as close to his own window as was possible. He focussed the glasses and waited. There was definitely a figure in the room; a man, and quite elderly too, he thought. The colonel saw him from the back. He wore a weighty tweed jacket and dark-grey flannel trousers. The colonel was puzzled: that didn’t seem to be the correct attire for burglary. He hardly expected the man to wear a striped vest and be carrying a bag marked “swag” but a warm summer’s day required something a little less formal.

There seemed to be another man in the room. He was speaking to a companion. Two of them! The colonel’s heart beat faster. He was a keen reader of crime fiction of the more traditional variety. For a moment he imagined himself as the village sleuth, the “amateur” who captures the criminal that the local detectives cannot find. He licked his lips in anticipation of the excitement ahead. Then, the man turned and his face was fully visible. The colonel’s balloon popped. It was Mr Braithwaite himself. In his own home. Not a burglar at all. What of the holiday trip, the colonel wondered.

His disappointment was short-lived. No robbery was in place but something queer was afoot. Now, he saw the other man. He was younger and perhaps not a man at all. He wore a green school blazer and as the boy moved across the window the colonel clearly saw he was dressed in pale-grey short trousers. He disappeared from view leaving the colonel once again perplexed. The school uniform looked remarkably like that worn by boys at St Francis Independent Grammar School, the most upscale school in the district, but to his uncertain knowledge the boys did not wear short trousers. And, wasn’t the boy too old for such trousers? He adjusted the focus and peered intently at the window.

Seconds later he was rewarded by a clear view. It wasn’t a small boy at all. He wasn’t any kind of boy. The colonel recognised him at once. He knew him reasonably well. Without a doubt it was Bobby, the barman at The Three Fishers, the unsavoury hostelry the colonel himself frequented. What the hell was going on? He was definitely dressed in school uniform, the colonel could see the blazer, striped tie and grey shirt as clear as day.

Mr Braithwaite said something to Bobby and the boy turned. He said something back and then disappeared from view, only to return two seconds later carrying a wooden chair. The colonel recognised the chair, he had some quite like it in his own house. A straight-backed armless thing, the kind that went with a dining table. Bobby placed it on the floor with its back directly in front of the window. The colonel couldn’t hear anything as the house was too far away but he sensed Bobby was listening to something Mr Braithwaite said. Then Mr Braithwaite came into view. The colonel’s heart stopped for a second. His mouth dried of all saliva. Perspiration moistened his bald dome.

Mr Braithwaite carried a thin, whippy school-type cane. The colonel recognised it at once. It had a curved handle just like the ones masters used at St. Tom’s, the elite boarding school he had attended more than fifty years earlier. The colonel’s jaw tightened. The tip of his tongue poked out his mouth and ran along his bottom lip. Then his jaw dropped. It literally fell. He gaped. Bobby unfastened the snake-shaped buckle of his belt. Then, staring right out of the window and not looking at his hands, Bobby popped the button at the top of his short trousers and when the waistband hung open by an inch, he gripped the metal fly zipper and tugged. The short trousers slithered down his thighs, past his knees, and the colonel supposed (because this was out of his sight) fell in a puddle at his feet. Bobby stood straight ahead, hands behind his back, offering the colonel a perfect view of his gleaming white Y-front underpants. They fitted snugly, confirming to the colonel that this was no boy.

Mr Braithwaite must have given Bobby an instruction because his face flushed and still intent on staring out of the window he put both thumbs inside the waistband of the pants and slowly helped them down so they passed over his buttocks and travelled south to meet the short trousers. Then, Bobby stood once more hands behind his back, presumably to await further orders. The colonel’s hands shook slightly as he adjusted the focus on the glasses. He honed in on Bobby’s naked cock and balls, cursing all the while: the back of the wooden chair obscured them from his view.

Mr Braithwaite passed into the frame. He held the thin, swishy cane between his hands, flexing it thoughtfully. In a trice the colonel was transported back fifty years. He is in the housemaster’s study. It is early summer, no window is open and the room is airless. Mr Corlett is jawing him. “Attitude,” he intones. “Lazy,” he adds. “A disgrace,” he concludes. “You will never pass your examinations and go up to university.” Corlett flexes the cane, just as Mr Braithwaite was doing in the house across the garden. “Good God boy!” Corlett rages, “If you don’t get to university, you’ll have to join the Army!” The housemaster swishes the cane through the air. “Trousers, underwear down. Bend over the chair,” and at the age of eighteen the not-yet colonel submitted his bared bottom to the savage Mr Corlett.

The memory passed through the colonel’s mind at the speed of light. It had been a comfortable leather armchair in his case but the principle was much the same as the scenario being played out in front of him. “Bend over. Brace yourself. This is going to hurt. It is meant to. Otherwise, we should both be wasting our time.” Bobby held onto the chair, his head bowed and face hovering above the wooden seat. His back was arched and his legs spread. Mr Braithwaite stood behind him, he took hold of the end of the blazer and pushed it up the boy’s back. He did the same with the tail of his shirt. The colonel cussed that Bobby was not positioned the other way round; bare bottom facing the window. He saw the boy close his eyes and shut his teeth tight. Mr Braithwaite tapped the cane across the centre of Bobby’s bum. He took aim, raised the cane, held it in mid-air for a couple of seconds and then with forearm thrust he swiped it across Bobby’s naked haunches. The look of anguish on the boy’s face as the cane bit deep into his flesh was priceless. The colonel saw his mouth open and close but the boy’s yell and obvious distress did not travel. The colonel might have been watching a silent movie.

Mr Braithwaite took two steps back, examined Bobby’s backside with a malevolent eye, raised the cane high and rushed forward while simultaneously whipping the cane home. Hard! Bobby leapt to his feet; still the colonel couldn’t hear the boy’s shrieks but it was beyond doubt that he was in some distress. The colonel’s own backside twitched in sympathy. Had, his own housemaster at school beaten him as hard? The years had dulled his memory and he could not say for certain. It had been excruciatingly painful to sit down after that final thrashing. He had eaten his tea that afternoon standing at the mantlepiece in the study; he couldn’t use a chair for some considerable time.

He watched Bobby resume his position. What a trooper he was, the colonel decided, but why did he do it? Why let Mr Braithwaite cane his bare backside so viciously? Did the man have some “hold” over the barman. Perhaps, he had caught him stealing bar takings. “It’s a thrashing from me or I go to the police!” It was possible, the colonel supposed, but unlikely. What would the police or the law courts do about it? Bobby would end up with a slapped wrist at worst, not a blisteringly sore bum. Such was the state of the nation these days.

z used cane bare chair seen through window school

No, the colonel saw it all now and he did not approve. What was it they called young men like Bobby? Rent boys? Bah! Disgusting. The colonel watched Mr Braithwaite flog twelve stingers across Bobby’s backside. He could only imagine what the once creamy-white flesh looked like. Certainly there were deep red lines all across his cheeks. Welts would be weeping. Bobby himself was beyond weeping, tears washed his face as unashamedly he howled and howled.

Mr Braithwaite gave some instruction and the boy let go of the chair and straightened himself up. He hopped up and down like some demented Red Indian in a bad Western movie and rubbed away at his throbbing rear end. He hobbled away from the window and out of the colonel’s view. Mr Braithwaite had already vanished. The colonel waited disappointed. His own heartbeat was racing off the scale. He had once suffered a mild cardiac arrest and he didn’t want another. He put the field glasses on a chair nearby and bent double to suck in great gasps of air; soon he was calming down.

He shuffled across the room, opened a small refrigerator and took out a bottle. Within moments he was sipping on a reviving gin-and-tonic. “Well, well, well,” he said aloud although he lived alone and there was no one to hear him. “Who would have thought it? The things that go on behind closed doors in respectable suburbia.” He would see Bobby the barman at The Three Fishers in a new, harsher light from now on. He went back to the window in the vain hope he would see more action. The room was empty; he had to concede it was over.

“Perverts,” he snorted, as he rubbed his sweaty palms against his thighs, rearranging the gypsy-style dress that he wore over pale-cream gossamer-light knickers.

Picture credits: The Folly Fellowship / Unknown

 

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The boy in the tree

Coffee shop memory

Be Home by Eleven, Not Half-Past Twelve

 

More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com

Smoking on the bus

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I don’t often travel on the bus in the afternoon, but this day I had to leave work early for an urgent dental appointment. How is it that one small tooth can cause a grown man so much pain?

The bus was crowded – the schools had just let out – and I was obliged to take my throbbing jaw up to the top deck. The bus jolted throwing me along the gangway. I kept my balance, if not my dignity, and slumped into an empty seat. I rubbed my cheek hoping that by some miracle the ache would go away.

My head was pounding and my general mood wasn’t helped by the raucous noise echoing across the top deck. I must have been the only ‘civilian’ passenger among a sea of schoolboys. They wore green-and-gold blazers so I knew they must be from some posh school. The local grammar perhaps. Suddenly, from somewhere close behind me I smelt a familiar aroma. Someone was puffing a cigarette and the smoke was billowing across my face. Greatly irritated, I turned, intending to have an argument.

My mouth opened, but my aching jaw dropped. Sitting behind me was a schoolboy and between his fingers he held a lighted cigarette. His hand was held high and it seemed to me that he was waving it round for all to see. He showed little inclination to actually put it between his lips and suck. At first he didn’t notice me. That gave me time to notice the small badge pinned to the lapel of his blazer: Prefect. My head buzzed. A senior boy, a prefect no less. Smoking in public. On the bus. In his school uniform. In front of so many junior boys.

Suddenly, he noticed I had turned in my seat to face him. He didn’t speak at first, but the look of distain on his face spoke volumes. “Who do you think you’re looking at?” it said. I answered his unspoken question. “You shouldn’t be smoking,” I said. He glared at me in silence and made me continue, “You’re too young.” I trailed off. I couldn’t think what else to say.

What did I expect him to do? Apologise profusely? Stub out the cigarette? Promise never to smoke again? He did none of these things. His stare of contempt sent a shiver through my body. “I am eighteen,” he said haughtily. “I am old enough to smoke.” Then with great emphasis, he continued. “It. Is. Not. Against. The. Law.”

I am not a man who welcomes confrontation. The boy’s arrogant smirk unnerved me. I had wanted to say something like, “No, but it is against the rules of your school,” but I was too timid. The boy looked closely at the cigarette in his hands and slowly placed it between his lips. He drew smoke into his mouth, held it there for a moment and then quite deliberately exhaled it so that it blew across my face.

I told myself later that if the bus had not at that moment reached my stop I should have remonstrated with him. As it was I had to leave our skirmish unfinished. I am certain the boy smirked openly and encouraged his pals to do likewise as I bounced down the aisle towards the stairs. The meeting with the conceited schoolboy did nothing to calm me. I found it hard to contain the humiliation I felt and the raging pain in my mouth. By the time I presented myself to the dentist’s receptionist I had determined I would track down the boy’s school and report the incident to his headmaster.

Yes, I congratulated myself. I would not be intimidated by some snotty eighteen-year-old schoolboy. My mood had improved considerably by the time the dentist placed a mask over my mouth and asked me to count down from ten and I drifted off.

The next thing I remember was pacing an enormous room. A huge desk stood in the middle and there was a large armchair off to its right. The room was surrounded by book-lined shelves. An unlit fireplace dominated one wall. I was wearing a suit and over it hung a heavy black academic gown. On my head, slipping a little, I sported a mortar-board cap with its tassel dangling against my neck. In my hands I flexed a stout, yellow-coloured, rattan cane. It was more than three feet long and as thick as a pencil, yet also as light as a feather. At one end was a curved handle. The cane had notches along its length and the tip – the business end if you will – was frayed. This little beauty had seen some action in its time.

I swished the cane through the air. Butler, the arrogant boy from the bus, stood before me, hands clasped firmly behind his back. His head was bowed contritely. “An absolute disgrace, Butler,” I intoned. “You have let the school down. I won’t have it Butler. I simply won’t have it.” Butler’s neck reddened, but his face remained deathly pale. “To begin with, you will hand over your prefect’s badge. You are not fit for high office in this school.”

Butler said nothing. His forehead glistened with perspiration. Not daring to look at me, he fumbled with the pin of the badge and unclasped it from his blazer. “Put it there. On the desk,” I growled. Sorrowfully, Butler did as instructed. “Now, remove your blazer.” Butler unbuttoned the front and slipped the jacket from his shoulders. “Place it on my desk.” He did this, all the time ensuring that I could not see his face. “Right,” I swished the cane through the air one more time. “Let’s proceed shall we.”

It wasn’t a question, it was a statement of my intent. “Stand by that chair.” I pointed the cane at the armchair in case there was any doubt. The whippy rattan cane wobbled violently as I did this. Butler, his head still bowed, shuffled the four or five paces necessary to cross the study. He stopped some distance from the chair. “Stand behind the chair,” I stressed the word, as if talking to a boy of low intelligence. He shuffled some more and stood feet slightly apart. “Pah!” I ejaculated. “Closer boy. Closer.” I could not be sure if Butler was an idiot or if he was deliberately trying to be difficult. He took a step closer to the chair.

Butler was eighteen years old and on the cusp of manhood. He stood about an inch taller than myself but he was much thinner and lighter. He wore a regulation white, long-sleeved shirt and pale-grey trousers. They were a big snug across the backside and fell to an inch above his shoes. He was clearly a growing lad and I supposed his mother had decided it wasn’t worth the expense of buying him new trousers so close to the end of his school career.

“Right Butler,” I spoke slowly and clearly. I do not believe in histrionics. I am the headmaster and he is the schoolboy. I give him orders and he obeys them. That is the nature of the universe. “Lower your trousers, Butler,” I instructed. A slight shudder of his shoulders informed me that Butler had not anticipated such a development. Clearly, he expected to be beaten. That had been clear from the moment he received the summons to attend at my study. Butler was a senior boy – a prefect no less – and his crime had been so public that nothing but the most exemplary punishment would suffice.

z used cane armchair white pants CP-L (6)

I flexed the cane between my hands as I watched Butler unbuckle his belt, pop the buttons of his fly and encourage the trousers to slip down his thighs, over his knees and land at his feet. A moustache of perspiration now glowed over his top lip. His hands shook slightly as he straightened up. Once again, he clasped them behind his back. I wobbled the cane and touched the tip against the apex of the armchair. “Bend over Butler,” I intoned. He screwed his eyes tightly shut, then opened them. He sucked in a deep breath and rubbed the palms of his hands together. He was obviously preparing himself for the ordeal to come. Once prepared, he leaned forward and in a very athletic movement he was over the back of the armchair. He stretched his arms out front and gripped the furthest edge of the seat cushion. His stomach cleared the chair by an inch or two.

I flexed the cane and moved so I stood slightly to Butler’s left. “Head low. Bottom high. Legs further apart.” Butler wriggled his position until I was satisfied. Now, his stomach rested on the chair and he had to reach almost on tiptoe so that his face was so close to the cushion that he could probably smell the dust. When Butler was standing his bottom was a little flabby, but the flesh tightened when he was prostrated across the chair. It was round and hard. I tapped my cane across the fleshiest part of his bottom. I wasn’t yet satisfied.

I tucked the cane under my arm and approached Butler. His white Y-front underpants hung loosely. His entire body tensed when I gripped the elasticated waistband. The stupid boy had supposed I was about to rip down his pants and thrash him on the bare. I had no such intention. At least not unless and until he was found smoking again. Instead, I pulled the underpants tight so that all creases were smoothed out of the cotton material. The Y-fronts now fitted like a second skin and dug a little way up the crack that separated the buttocks. I cupped my right palm and gently caressed each cheek, ensuring that the last of the wrinkles was gone. I was now ready.

I slipped the cane back into my hand and took up position about three feet from Butler. I tapped the cane so that the tip bounced off the very centre of his right buttock. His bottom tensed. Bottoms always do under such circumstances, it is a natural reflex reaction. I withdrew the cane, raised it above my shoulder and through an arc returned it with some vigour so that it struck Butler across the centre of both cheeks. I was rewarded with a lovely line across the taut cotton pants and a very long and loud hissing sound escaping between the boy’s pursed lips. His bottom rose an inch or so from the chair but he gripped the seat cushion for dear life and stopped himself making further movement.

I hadn’t announced such, but there is an unspoken rule between headmaster and naughty boy that said boy should remain submissively in position and take his beating like a man. Anything else will be rewarded with extra stokes. I put the second stroke a little lower, into the more sensitive “sit-spot”. Butler hissed some more and stomped his feet up and down rather like a guard on sentry duty. His face was now as red as I supposed his backside to be at that moment.

I let the boy settle. A caning is more effective if you allow the initial shock of the stroke to sink into the boy’s bottom. The pain will them travel up and down his legs and if it has been severe enough also to other parts of the body. The initial agony will be intense. Very quickly that will settle into a roaring pain. That is the point when the next stroke should be delivered. In that way the pain of the punishment grows with each successive stroke.

I waited about twenty seconds and swiped in the third stroke. This one went higher on the crest of the mounds. Now there were three pulsating cuts running across his bottom in parallel lines. There would be a strip about two inches wide throbbing under his underpants. Butler’s head was bobbing up and down and his face was butting the cushion. His fingers continued to grip the cushion and even from some distance I could see his knuckles were white.

I flexed the cane once more, enjoying the power I had over the obnoxious boy. I would teach him a lesson. No more would he smoke in public. No more would he be rude to his elders and betters. I tapped the cane across the highest point of his stretched bottom and let fly. The crack of rattan against tight flesh resounded around the room. He yelped, just like a little whipped puppy. His back arched and he threw his head from left to right and then up and down. He reminded me of a neighing horse. His knees buckled and his bottom slipped off the top of the chair, but still he hadn’t jumped to his feet howling, clutching his posterior with both hands in a fruitless attempt to rub the pain away.

“Back in position boy. Bottom high. Head low. Legs apart,” I paced the study observing Butler as he struggled to present himself for the final two strokes. His face was scarlet, his hair was soaked with sweat. His eyes were hollow. I had no doubt he was in intense pain. I did not care. That was the point of the exercise. What was the point of a caning, if it did not hurt. Butler would never dare smoke again. He would never cheek fine upstanding members of the community.

He offered me his bottom. I adjusted my position slightly and laid the cane so it rested in a diagonal running from the bottom of the left cheek to the top of the right. Boys at the school knew this to be my signature punishment. It was what made a “headmaster’s caning” so feared. I whopped the cane across his backside with all my might. It was like I was beating a carpet. Of course, it struck across the four welts already throbbing across his bottom, reigniting the pain in them all and adding a new layer of agony.

I am not sure how in practical terms a “shriek” differs from a “yell” so I might not be able to adequately describe the racket Butler made at that point. I can attest that tears flooded down his face as if a dam had burst. Rasping guttural noises filled the study. Butler humped the back of the chair. His feet marched up and down. He did the head shaking thing again. But, through all of that, he continued to grip tightly the seat cushion. He did not stand up. I rather admired the boy’s fortitude.

I probably don’t have to tell you that for the final stroke I laid the cane on the opposite diagonal. By the time I had finished Butler had a perfect “X” marked across his buttocks. Snot poured from his nose and mixed with the tears. His entire body convulsed with sobs.

Slowly, I paced the study until I reached the far corner. There, I hung the cane on the umbrella stand. I turned and admired my handiwork. The boy was still bent across the chair, unable to stand until I gave permission. That was another of the unspoken rules. To do so would incur extra stokes and I had no doubt Butler was in no state to take those.

I waited a minute and then another, just watching the boy bellowing into the seat cushion. I was engulfed by a feeling of deep accomplishment. My heart was racing and my temples throbbed a little. I shook my head. Suddenly, from a long way away I heard a voice.

“Welcome back,” it was my dentist. He smiled, “So, how does that feel?”

The light in my eyes was strong. I blinked. “That feels very good indeed,” I told him, not thinking for a moment about the tooth he had just extracted.

Picture credit: CP Services, London

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

charleshamiltonthesecond@gmail.com