The Choice is Yours

new story 2

z used drawing cane quelch (100)

Cuckfield stood feet slightly apart on the worn rug in front of the desk, arms clasped behind back, head bowed, trying not to notice the thick, long curve-handled cane being flexed in the hands of the headmaster.

Dr Fortescue leaned forward, his steely gaze burning a hole into the sixth-former before him. “Pah!” he excelled air through clenched teeth. “So, Cuckfield you think you are above the school. That the rules do not apply to you,” he growled. “You think you should not be treated like a child. That punishments are not for you.”

Cuckfield recoiled. Even at a distance of three paces he could smell the headmaster’s foul breath. “So, Cuckfield, you feel you should be treated like an adult.” The headmaster sneered at the word “adult.” Dr Fortescue flexed the cane some more creating a perfect arc. “Let me tell you Cuckfield adults are required to make decisions. Often harsh decisions. Often complicated decisions. Do you understand boy?”

Cuckfield breathed deeply, remained silent, unsure if he was really expected to answer the question. “Bah!” the headmaster exclaimed, his face reddening. “All right Cuckfield. Let me give you a choice. It is your decision to make. You shall choose,” the headmaster dripped sarcasm.

“Here is your choice. Look at me boy when I am speaking to you.”

Cuckfield forced his eyes from the ground and looked at the headmaster. He was a weasel of a man, his narrow eyes staring through round spectacles. His long nose and pointed chin were those of a witch. His body was gaunt, his skin grey. A tattered academic gown draped loosely from his body. His tweed suit was unbrushed. He gave off the faint aroma of coal tar soap.

His lips curled into a snarl. “Here is your choice Cuckfield. You can accept that you are a schoolboy at St Septimius and accept my authority – the school’s authority. So doing you will lower your trousers and bend across that chair.” He nodded towards an over-stuffed armchair. You will then submit yourself to a thrashing.”

The headmaster’s eyes blazed. Cuckfield’s heart thumped, he felt blood rushing to his face. “No wonder the boys call you the Tyrant Headmaster,” he thought silently. He stared at a photograph of the school rugby team on the wall a little to the left of the headmaster’s shoulder and waited for him to continue.

“You will then receive six swipes of this cane,” he pointed the rod at Cuckfield and snarled. “Six very hard cuts. Six-of-the-very-best Cuckfield.” He paused and observed the eighteen-year-old on the rug in front of him. “You will take your beating without fuss because you know you deserve to be punished. You know you have broken the rules and this is your just desserts.”

Cuckfield clenched his hands into fists. For tuppence he would sock the smug headmaster on the jaw.

“Then, Cuckfield,” Dr Fortescue intoned, once I consider you have been punished enough, you will thank me for correcting you.” He paused for effect and rather annoyed that Cuckfield remained outwardly impassive he continued. “You will shake me by the hand and thank me for beating you. I will make a note of your punishment in the book and it will be over. You will walk,” he paused again because he was about to make a little joke, “You will walk with some difficulty out of here and we shall both get on with our lives.” Another pause. “Do you understand, Cuckfield?” Still, no response from Cuckfield.

The headmaster was now visibly annoyed. “That is one choice you may make, Cuckfield. The second is that you refuse to accept just punishment. In that I case you shall be immediately suspended from school pending the next meeting of the governors when your suspension will be confirmed as expulsion. You will no longer be a member of the school. You will not be permitted to take your examinations.” He paused to allow the full import of his words to sink in, then continued. “Your records show you are an academically-gifted boy, destined for a place at university. Not any longer. You will not be qualified to go to university and thereby you will not be able to pursue the career of your choice. A life wasted, Cuckfield.”

The headmaster sighed as if he bore the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. “Think of your mother’s disappointment, the shame you will bring on your family.” He nodded his head gravely. “The shame when your fellow chaps learn you would not take your beating.”

He took a deep breath, his lecture had taken more out of him than he had expected. “Yes, Cuckfield, the choice is yours.” He growled, “But you have only thirty seconds in which to make it.”

Cuckfield’s eyes blazed – with indignation. Soon they would be aflame for an entirely different reason. The injustice of it. Why should this vile creature be allowed to treat him this way? What gave him and others like him the right to do this? His local vicar was just as bed. Was there a boy’s backside in the parish that had not been bruised at one time or another by his leather strap.

There was no argument to be had. Dr Fortescue held all the cards. He was quite right Cuckfield had no choice; no real choice. As the Americans were fond of saying it was his way or the highway. And, the highway led nowhere. Cuckfield spoke no words; he wouldn’t give the headmaster the satisfaction. He would not agree verbally that he had won once more.

Instead, he reached for the buckle of the belt that held his long pale-grey trousers aloft. They were typical of the time; tailored from heavy serge material, cut generously. Cuckfield’s fingers quivered, unable to grasp his belt buckle. His face reddened with frustration. He wanted to undo his belt with a flourish, pop the button on his waist rip open his flies and send the trousers sailing to his feet with a theatrical flourish. “There Fortescue!” was the message he desired to send, “Do your worst. See if I care!”

Instead, the prong in the buckle snagged and he pulled once, twice, three times before at last the belt was loosened. The top button was easy but the button flies resisted. How he wished the trousers had the new style zipper. Whoosh! he would be undone with the merest flick of the wrist. His theatrical intent was somewhat spoiled. At last the front of his trousers was open, the weight of the belt and the material sent them slithering down his thighs to snag at the knees. So much for his defiant flourish. He spread his legs a little and the trousers continued their journey and rested in a puddle on top of his black lace-up shoes.

His white cotton shirt was long and the tail covered his buttocks and continued half way down his thighs. Cuckfield stood, eyes still transfixed by the grimy rug beneath his trousers. He supposed it had once been coloured shades of blue, but the feet of generations of schoolboys shuffling had turned it to a dirty mush. A draft wafted across the study, originating from the unlit open fire. It breezed against his naked legs causing him an involuntarily shiver.

Dr Fortescue continued his antics with the cane. Headmasters can be ham actors and the head of St SIGS was one of the best. He flexed the whippy rattan cane. Then, he examined it carefully; with an index finger, caressing its tip and rubbing gently each of the notches that appeared every six or seven inches along its length. Finally, he peered closely at the curved handle; as if this was the first time he had set eyes on it. As school punishment canes went, this was a modest specimen. It was about thirty inches long and a little thicker than a pencil. It was a dark yellow Malacca rod, whippy and dense; eminently suitable for a senior boy, needing a lesson.

Satisfied in his mind that the cane was up to the job, Dr Fortescue swished it several times through the air. This action served no purpose at all, but it was one of those rituals beloved by schoolmasters up and down the land. One supposes it is intended to intimidate a boy. If that is the case, the little display was lost on Cuckfield. He was too angry for intimidation. His sense of injustice burned brightly. If he deemed to speak at all at that point he would probably only say, “Oh get on with it, do!”

Dr Fortescue was ready to do just that. He waved his cane towards an ugly armchair. Its leather was scuffed, the seat cushion deflated by untold numbers of visitors with heavy buttocks who had rested there. The leather on its back had been polished to a shine by cotton shirts. “Bend over.” It was a calm instruction, there was no need for histrionics, the headmaster was in charge and he knew this. The eighteen-year-old sixth-former would obey his every command.

Cuckfield was no stranger to this chair. Without further instruction he turned to face it, he was some distance off so he shuffled two paces forward. Still he would not look at the headmaster. He hesitated for a moment; behind him Dr Fortescue was pacing the room, the floorboards creaking with every step. “Come on boy,” he growled.

This was Cuckfield’s cue to reach down to the tail of his shirt and unceremoniously lift it high so that it cleared his buttocks and left a portion of his lower back naked. He left it hanging and with a single athletic movement he fell forward over the chair. He was a good height, his stomach rested comfortable on the apex of the chair’s back. He reached forward and gripped the front of the chair, his striped necktie dangled in front of his eyes but it did not obscure his close-up view of a large depression in the seat cushion.

The steady creaking of floorboards continued. Dr Fortescue was waiting for the boy to present his bottom submissively. Cuckfield’s white cotton Y-front underpants were a little too snug. The headmaster noticed this with his boys, often their blazers or trousers were a little too small; they grew so quickly. Of course, mothers compensated this by buying school uniforms that were too large so that their young ones would grow into them. So it was that schoolboys often wore clothes that did not fit them.

The smooth cotton of Cuckfield’s underpants dug into his crack and as he stretched forward they lifted and separated each cheek. He was a burly boy with square shoulders and a strong back. His waist hardly tapered into large meaty buttocks. They made a tremendous target. The headmaster ceased his pacing and slowly approached the boy, noting the fine downy hair on the teenager’s legs. His move served no practical purpose, but Dr Fortescue gently took hold of Cuckfield’s white cotton shirt and pushed it further up his back. The boy was naked from his waist to shoulders. In contrast with the legs, his torso appeared totally hairless.

He was nearly ready, but not quite. There was one last ritual. He puckered two fingers and took hold of the elasticated waist of Cuckfield’s underpants. The boy tensed, shut his eyes tight and held his breath. With three tugs they were over Cuckfield’s buttocks and down his thighs. The headmaster could have left them out of harm’s way at the knees, but instead he carefully transported them still lower until they bunched on top of his grey trousers.

The hairless buttocks twitched. Cuckfield had no control, a bottom about to be thrashed are apt to do such a thing. It is the anticipation of the agony about to come. “Legs further apart boy.” Another bluff command and again it served no practical purpose. Cuckfield eased his knees apart by an inch, conscious that Dr Fortescue could now see right into his crack. His hole winked a greeting.

The headmaster sucked in a lung-full of air, wiped sweat from his eyes with the back of his hand, and gripped the cane in his right fist. He straightened his arm, his elbow locked. Tap-tap-tap. He brought the arm back, twisted his wrist and with a forearm smash brought it forward with maximum force. A dark pink line blazed across the centre of Cuckfield’s bottom. The boy muffled a groan, dug his hands deeper into the seat cushion, and shook his head from side to side (rather like a horse does when it neighs).

Dr Fortescue took his time. He was on a mission. He had a duty. He had to save this young man’s life. The stupid boy would thank him one day. When he had climbed his way to the top of his profession; when he was a High Court Judge or a captain of industry or what-not, Cuckfield would look back on days like this with gratitude. “Thank you, Dr Fortescue,” he would say. “I owe it all to you.”

Dr Fortescue laid twelve stingers across the bare white bottom. It looked like a map of Clapham Junction railway by the time he finished. Lines criss-crossed across Cuckfield’s bum. They ran from north to south; and left to right, often intersecting. The cheeks glowed red hot with a claret-coloured sheen. Even now bruises were forming, within the hour they would be a deep purple. By the time Cuckfield crawled into bed they would be mauve. A week later the final yellow traces would disappear.

The cuts were already welts. When gingerly he traced his buttocks with the tips of his fingers they felt like corrugated cardboard. No, not card, but leather. It was as if a crust had formed on his cheeks. The agony was intense, but even as Cuckfield rose from the chair and unsteadily reached down for his underpants and wriggled until they were back in their rightful place, it was easing. The ache was tremendous, like someone had assaulted him with a cheese grater. He found his trousers and abandoning any attempt to button his fly, he did up the waist and hands shaking buckled the belt.

His behind throbbed like crazy, he wouldn’t be able to sit for an hour. How could he travel home on the school bus? His head ached almost as much as his bottom. He didn’t see Dr Fortescue return the cane to its home. But he smelt the vile stench of his breath as he stood in front of him. “Something to say Cuckfield?” he jeered.

We all sometimes have that fantasy, that if we had a machinegun in our hands we would mow down all our enemies in a single sweep. Later that night in bed, bruised and battered Cuckfield would indulge himself with his version. For now, careful not to look at his tormentor, he took a deep breath. “Thank you for punishing me, sir. I deserved it,” spoken with a clear voice. He watched Dr Fortescue stumble to his desk, open a drawer and delve inside. He heard a dull thud as something rolled across the drawer. The headmaster growled, slammed the drawer shut and opened another. “Ha!” he exclaimed to nobody in particular. He took out a large hard-backed book, leafed through its pages until he found the right one. He took a pen from his pocket and wrote the date, noting that it already appeared five times. He wrote Cuckfield’s name and the details of the punishment.

He tossed the book onto the desk, turned it round so it faced Cuckfield. “Sign!” With a steady hand, he did so. “Dismissed Cuckfield. Send in the next boy!”

Picture credit: C H (Charles) Chapman – The Magnet

Other stories featuring The Tyrant Headmaster are here

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second


Portrait of an artist

new story 2

z used drawing quelch study boy (4) (2)

Oh Lor! Oh Crikey! Chris ‘Corker’ Corcoran was a schoolboy in trouble; but dashed if he knew why.

Anxiously, he made his way through school hall and out of the building. Turner Minor, one of the junior boys, had delivered the message. Well, it was not so much message as a summons. Attend at the headmaster’s study. At once. Brook no delay.

It could only mean one thing for the senior boy. The headmaster was not inclined to invite pupils to his study to partake in afternoon tea. There was no hot buttered toast awaiting Master Corcoran. But, undoubtedly the wretched boy would catch it hot when he finally arrived at Dr Wentworth’s oak-panelled study.

A sentimental onlooker might have misjudged the scene. Here was a boy dressed in his smart blue blazer with its red braiding around the collar, cuffs and pockets and dark grey flannel baggy trousers. He was extremely dapper in his grey waistcoat, orange and blue diagonally striped tie and a blue-and-white hooped school cap.

What could be more quintessentially English? The sun shines as Corker dawdles through the ivy-covered quadrangle and past the mullioned-windows of the library. Many a young boy might wish he were in Master Corcoran’s shoes. What a magnificent school! The privileged boys who attend here must have a wonderful time.

Crumbs! What was up? Corker was no angel. Indeed, at times he could be incorrigible and like most schoolboys he accepted the unwritten rule: if you are found out take your punishment like a man.

But, the boy was certain he had done nothing to warrant a summons from the head and the inevitable swishing that awaited him at Dr Wentworth’s study.

Was it the smoking? He and some of the other chaps had discovered cigarettes. Not that there was much that needed to be ‘discovered.’ All the chaps smoked even though it was strictly against the rules. The school playing field was the place to go. Corker and his chums had found a way into the old storage hut. It was the ideal venue to light up a Woodbine and share it with his fellow conspirators.

Corker did not much like cigarettes. It took only one puff to make him feel sick. Two or three draws on the obnoxious weed would make him choke. He tried to keep this secret from the other fellows and hoped in time he would get used to Woodbines.

But, he reasoned, as he continued his crawl to the execution block, this could not be about smoking. To be caught smoking was indeed a swishing offence. The tariff upon conviction was six on the bags, the boys accepted that: rules were rules and St Tom’s was a no-smoking zone for the schoolboys, even the seniors. He was guilty, but the whopping would be delivered by a chap’s form master, not the head. The head did not whop, he flogged. It was an awesome punishment and reserved for the most heinous of crimes.

Corker’s knowledge of such things was more in the abstract. He had been whopped many times, but not by his headmaster.  Dr Wentworth was not a tyrant, but boys at his school knew that the old man believed he had a duty to perform and when he was required to flog a boy, flog a boy he did.

Corker entered Founder’s Building, took the stairs at a pace that would be bettered by a snail, and reached the study door. Here he paused, took a deep breath and tapped his knuckles softly against an oak panel, so lightly that he hoped Dr Wentworth would not hear him.


What dashed bad luck, he had.

Corker fumbled with the knob, and meekly pushed open the door.

“You sent for me sir,” his voice faltered a little.

Dr Wentworth, sitting at his study table, turned his keen grey eyes on Corcoran as the sixth-former entered.

“Yes, Corcoran, I most certainly did.”

Dr Wentworth’s study was huge. Corker took up position in front of the old man’s desk. It was a modest size, but expensively made, with a dark green leather top. Dr Wentworth had a separate writing table with a small wooden chair with a red-and-white patterned seat cushion where he sat to prepare his Latin classes. It rested beneath a stained glass widow alongside a fireplace, still unlit for that day but with the traces of burnt wood from the night before. A dark wooden bookcase with open shelves stacked high with musty volumes in Latin and Greek ran alongside it.

The other wall had a number of cupboards, one of which was rather taller and narrower than the others: many visitors to Dr Wentworth’s study knew from painful experience what was contained within.

The room was large enough to house a number of chairs: two of them modest wooden numbers with curved backs and armrests, just the right height for junior boys in need of correction.

But, Corker would soon become more acquainted with one of the two expensively upholstered ‘comfortable’ armchairs that faced each other in front of a small table close to the bookcase.

Dr Wentworth had a red face with a heavy frown on his brow and his thin lips were set tightly. The boys could never be sure of the headmaster’s age; but to them he was as ancient as the mariner they were forced to learn about in English classes.

Dr Wentworth was an angular man with grey hair, balding on top with great tufts sticking out to left and right from his temples. He wore a traditional academic gown on top of a very heavy tweed jacket and a dark brown cardigan. His trousers were shiny, with black and grey stripes, and exceedingly crumpled.

He read out the case for the prosecution.

“I have here,” he waved a piece of paper torn from a school notebook, “a drawing.”

Oh, scissors! Corker didn’t need to be told, he knew exactly what it was:  a figure in a cap and gown brandishing a cane and the figure of a schoolboy bending bare-bottomed over a desk. He knew, because he had drawn it. And, the wretched boy knew also it had the words OLD DONKEY WENTWORTH GOES ABOUT HIS WORK written in his own hand upon it.

“What have you to say?” Wentworth thundered. Corker did as generations of schoolboys before him have done: he stared at his feet and mumbled.

“Pah! Speak up you impertinent boy!” Dr Wentworth’s face was puce with rage. He could hardly contain his anger. Never before in his thirty-five years as a schoolmaster had he encountered such insolence.

Corker knew the game was up. He had, as the boys in his form would say, been caught bang to rights. The thrashing of a lifetime was imminent. But, even in this moment of great travail, Corker wondered how the good doctor had discovered the drawing. Had one of his fellows snitched on him? Corker could not think such a thing possible. The boys at St Tom’s had a code of honour and at its head was, do not split to a master.

The eighteen-year-old had been very proud of his artwork and he was delighted to see it passed surreptitiously from fellow to fellow. Oh, how every one of them had enjoyed the little joke! They admired its great likeness to Wentworth. And the schoolboy: the boy bare-arsed awaiting the swish of the ashplant was a stroke of genius.

Dr Wentworth was the headmaster of a fine English public school and as such he did not possess a sense of humour. Nor, did he encourage such a trait in his boys. Schooling was a serious matter. Europe was heading for war; there was no place for satire.

What little patience Dr Wentworth had was exhausted. “Well boy, what have you to say for yourself?”

There was nothing much Corker could say. So he coughed to it. Yes, he agreed he had drawn it. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it did not. In honesty, the fellows in the class had appreciated it highly.

Dr Wentworth respected the confession but was in no mood to hear how much the boys had relished the headmaster’s humiliation. Dr Wentworth’s voice was not loud, but it had gravitas. His face was inflamed with rage. Corker stood in front of him staring resolutely at the rug beneath his feet as the headmaster jawed and jawed him. He was “insolent,” “wretched,” a “cad” and “ugly.”

Dr Wentworth was in full flow, and Corker allowed his mind to wander a little so that he almost missed the command, “Bend over that chair.”

Corker hesitated, not sure he had heard what had been said.

“Bend over that chair!” Dr Wentworth rapped out the words. Oh lor! There was no mistaking his intentions. He pointed to the armchairs. He had not yet selected the cane he was going to use to whop the deviant artist, but waited to see that the boy had indeed taken up position before approaching the tall cupboard.

The armchairs had high backs, far too high for even the tallest, lankiest, schoolboy to put himself over and stretch out his arms to clutch the seat cushion for dear life.

Corker knew the routine in such cases was for a boy to drape himself over one of the upholstered arms, tuck his knees into the side of the chair and thereby raise his bottom high to meet the thwack of the ashplant.

The sixth-former took several deep breaths and then after one continuing movement he had his face in the seat cushion. It was dusty with a faint smell of sweat where visitors had previously sat in comfort to enjoy conversation, and who knows tea, with Dr Wentworth.

Corker could be assured that after what he was about to receive he would not be able to enjoy a comfortable sit-down for some time to come. That night he would be taking supper standing up, it was for certain.

With his face in the cushion he could not be sure of Dr Wentworth’s movements, but he heard the cupboard door open and the shuffle of canes being sorted as he selected the weapon to attack him with.

Evidently he had a prospect. Corker heard the sound of a cane being swished through the air. Was he testing it out? The boy moved his back slightly, intending to look round to see what was going on.

Dr Wentworth seldom flogged, but he had a sure and a strong hand when he did. He would make the young scoundrel wriggle for this.

“Keep perfectly still.” That’s all he said, but it was enough. Corker burrowed my head in the cushion and clenched his teeth shut.

Up went the cane with a whiz and down it came with a fearful slash.


Swipe! “Yow!”

Dr Wentworth’s ashplant cane came down across the seat of Corker’s bags as if he were beating a carpet. He might be an elderly man but he could still put a lot of beef into thrashing a boy.

Swipe! “Yarooooooh!”

This time the savage cane rang across his backside like a crack from a pistol. Corker compressed his lips to keep back a cry of pain.

Swipe! “Yow-ow-ow!”

He wriggled. He squirmed. Dr Wentworth did not care. He had a duty to perform and would have gladly cut the boy to pieces.

Swipe! “Hisssssssssssss!”

The cane bounced across Corker’s seat and dust blew off his trousers.

Swipe! “Yarooooooh!!”

He was breathing heavily, but he was taking it. A boy was allowed to howl during a whopping. How could he not do so, when the ashplant was laid on with such enthusiasm by a master. A boy could yell as much as he needed to, but he must not blub. That was out of the question. A boy must not weep tears. To do so would be a disgrace, a chap must never let the master see him cry. And if he did blub and the other chaps found out, he would never hear the end of it.

The execution was over. Corker hoped so at least. Nobody he knew had ever got more than six cuts.

Then, Dr Wentworth delivered two more fearful slashes.

Swipe! Swipe! “Oooooh!” Double crikey.

Dr Wentworth’s knuckles grew white with the hard grip he was putting on the cane.

Swipe! Swipe!

Corker let out howls of pain as the cane rose and fell without mercy.

Swipe! Swipe!

They were blows such as no master ought to ever have dealt, but Dr Wentworth was too furious to care how much he hurt the boy.

That was a dozen cuts. Corker lay limp and suffering trying his best not to blub, waiting for the headmaster to give the command to get up. He seemed to be taking an eternity.

“You may remove yourself.”

It was not merely six.  It was as thorough a licking as Corcoran had ever experienced before. He rose a little unsteadily; eyes shining, face pale and breathless, rubbing his bottom furiously. His bum was in shreds.

Dr Wentworth laid down the cane at last.  He looked quite tired with his exertions.  Corker was more than tired.

“Go!” he snapped.

And Corker went. He wriggled his way down the passage.  He squirmed out into the quad.


Picture credit: C H (Charles) Chapman – The Magnet

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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

The Private Tutor

school shorts touch toes (1)

I recently uploaded my 500th story to this website – thanks to everyone for your support.  I know it can sometimes be difficult to navigate your way around to find stories on the topics that interest you. To help you a little, back in 2016 I started to collect together stories on the same theme and upload them as free-of-charge e-books.

Here is one of the earliest: The Private Tutor

What can fathers do when their sons fail their school exams because they spend too much time out with girlfriends, clubbing and playing in a rock band?

 Call for The Private Tutor. Using traditional educational approaches, he will soon lick them into shape.

 The whippy rattan cane, the taws, the paddle and the gym slipper are some of methods he uses as he guides them towards their A-levels.

Click the link below for the book in a PDF file

 The Private Tutor by Charles Hamilton II


Picture credit: Unknown

A further episode involving The Private Tutor is here

The private tutor: 4


More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

You, the housemaster

new story 2

z used school pyjamas cane armchair London

You turn the pages of your newspaper. The world is going to Hell in a handcart. War, pestilence: everywhere. The bus drivers are on strike in Manchester. The Barbarians are at the gate. You lean back in your comfortable armchair and puff on your brier pipe. The aroma of sweet tobacco is somewhat consoling. You glance around the study: your terrain. It is a dominated by a dark, leather-topped desk. It might be a hundred years old. You know it is solid and enduring. It also weighs a ton. It has six drawers in two columns of three. There are two armchairs, each made of a wooden frame covered by a tough fabric coloured green. There are three equally heavy straight-backed wooden chairs arranged along one wall. Glass-fronted bookcases cover two sides. In one corner is the a coatstand with mortar-board cap and flowing academic gown dangling. In another is a tall, thin cupboard. A fireplace is unlit. Whatever might happen in the wider world nothing changes here. That is the way you like it.

The minute hand of the clock on the mantelpiece crawls to number twelve. You rustle the Daily Telegraph and turn the pages. Perhaps, there is better news in the sports section. No! England are failing miserably in the Test. The room is stuffy, only one window opens, the others have been stuck fast since long before you took over as housemaster. The bursar promised to get them fixed. That was two years ago. The muggy air makes you a little drowsy. You should like to abandon the study and return to your home, but you cannot. You have one more duty to perform before your day’s work is done.

All is silence. It is time for lights out. The school is preparing for bed. You hear the floorboards squeak in the passageway outside. You glance at the clock one more time. Your visitor is punctual. The squeaking stops. You imagine him standing outside your door, apprehensive. Not wanting to knock. Anxious, fearful even, about the fate that awaits him. Good, you allow yourself a half-smile, that is exactly how it should be.

At last there is a rap on the door. He has plucked up the courage. You wait counting time in your head. Let him sweat a little. Perhaps he will think you are not at home, that he has been given a reprieve. Ha!  “Come!” Your call is imperious. It is a command that must be obeyed. Your eyes are fixed on the door. Slowly it eases open. You see the top of his head first, the hair dishevelled. It is followed by a chubby face. It is the kind of face that loves to smile: but not this evening. It is etched in misery.

“Close the door, boy!” you bark.  He shudders, turns, looks at the door as if he had never seen it before. It is old and heavy and takes some of his strength to shut. You watch, puffing your pipe, as he moves further into your study. He stands, head bowed, feet slightly apart, a typical schoolboy pose. He is a large boy, a sixth-former, eighteen-years old, but in his dressing gown and bedroom slippers he appears much younger. He wipes his sweaty palms down the side of the thick woollen robe, then clasps his hands behind his back.

You are in no hurry. Your boys prefer you to “just get on with it”. They know why they are here; you know why they are here. But, you think, where’s the sport in that? You carefully fold your newspaper, shuffling the pages so they are carefully aligned. You put it down on a table then you lift yourself from your chair. The boy’s eyes burn into you as slowly you walk across the study and stand in front of the open, unlit fireplace. You turn and face him. He is sweating. Not for the first time he stealthily rubs his palms against the dressing gown. You place your hands behind your back, this is the posture you always adopt when delivering homilies.

You know there is little you can say in such situations. You summarise his misdoings. You demand his confession. This time it is breaking bounds. The young oaf has been at the Three Fishers, a notorious public house in the village. You know many of the senior boys frequent that den of iniquity. You have dealt with many of them in your study. But, you are certain, not all of them. You know that the schoolmaster and schoolboy play a “cat and mouse” game. The boys break the rules, often undetected. That is (if you will) fifteen-love to them. Of course, when they are caught they must accept their punishment (fifteen-all).

“Well, what have you to say for yourself?” you intone. You expect him to say, “Sorry, sir,” or some such banality. Then you can get on with the business at hand. But, the young fool stays silent. Suddenly, he frowns. Ha! He hasn’t been listening to you. “Pah!” you exclaim. (Is, you wonder, “Pah!” actually a word. You use it a lot but never in an adult context. That is, you only utter the word (sound?) when exasperated with silly boys.) “Do not add dumb insolence to your list of crimes,” you tell him.

His fearful stare tells you he has no idea what question you have asked of him. You repeat it and as expected he has nothing pertinent to add. You say nothing, but, hands behind back, you saunter across the study. You cannot see him, but you know his eyes are following you. You stop at the tall, thin cupboard, straighten your back and plunge your hand into your right trouser pocket. You know it is empty save for a small silver-coloured key. It is so tiny and the pocket so deep that you cannot at first locate it. You fumble around looking to all the world that you are playing pocket billiards. Your ire rises. At last you find it and at the second attempt you get it in the lock of the cupboard.

You are certain the boy is now standing in a state of great anxiety. He knows what is located within the cupboard. You lean into it and delve around for a while before you withdraw a long, thin yellow cane. You peer at it intently and replace it. You pull out a second cane. This one is longer and thicker than the first. It is a darkish-yellow-almost-brown colour. It is a Malay cane. It is denser than your standard “senior” canes but still has the traditional crooked handle. You know it will pack a punch.

You hold the cane at the handle with one hand and its tip with the other and flex it. Then you swipe it through the air. It travels at a terrific whoosh! You always do this. You think it adds to the drama of the occasion. It is meant to intimidate a boy. You have no idea if this is successful, certainly the sixth-former standing before you is no stranger to your study, or your canes.

“Take off your dressing gown and place it on my desk,” you speak slowly and softly. You are in total command there is no need to bark orders as if you were a sergeant-major on a parade ground. You watch as he unwraps the robe from his body and carefully folds it. Now, he wears only pyjamas. You swish the cane through the air, enjoying the rushing noise it makes as it flies. Your pulse quickens.

“Put the chair into place,” you tell him. He knows exactly what you mean and takes a grip on the armchair you were not sitting at and turns it so that the back faces into the room. The task completed, he stands back and respectfully puts his hands behind his back. You stand behind him and swish the cane, you notice with satisfaction perspiration soaks the back of his head. You are ready to go. You thwack the arm of the chair with the cane – you know this is completely unnecessary but you like to add to the drama. “Bend over.” You intone the words dreaded by every schoolboy summoned to your study.

He pauses as if sizing up the chair. You know he is familiar with the process. He is tall and the chair low, he leans forward, rests his elbows on the arms and spreads his legs. His face hovers above the old, worn seat cushion. The boy’s bottom is angled across the apex of the chair, it is perfectly positioned for your purpose. You can best describe him as “chunky”; that is, he is not fat, but nor is he slim. His buttocks, loose when he is standing, tighten considerably when stretched for a caning. Now they are firm and round. The cotton material of the pyjamas fits snugly across the buttocks, each cheek is well defined. He has presented you with a terrific target.

He tenses as you “saw” the cane across the fleshiest part of his bum. You tap it three times to get your distance. You stand about three feet to his left (a cane’s distance) and make sure the tip of the cane reaches the far cheek. You lift it off and raise it to the height of your shoulder, then with a slight turn of the body you crack it down at some pace across the centre of his buttocks. It is a manoeuvre you adapted from the golf links. The crack is satisfying (to you, not the boy since he gasps with the shock.) The cane whistles and thuds as you deliver the second stroke. He grips the chair stifling a groan.

You take in a deep breath and hold it there while you lift the cane once more calling up every ounce of strength. You let fly. Bingo! It swipes him on the back of the thighs. Ha! He’ll feel that every time he sits down for the next week. His hips sashay, his head bounces up and down. His neck is scarlet and so (you know from experience) is his bottom.

You lick your arid lips. Your heart pounds. Your palms are sweating. This time you stand on your toes as you swipe the cane higher across the boy’s quivering rear end. He punches his fists into the seat cushion and emits a “sssssss!” through not-quite clenched teeth. The sound reminds you of a steam train settling down. He stamps his feet up and down.

You tap the cane across his bottom again, taking aim. This time higher on the crest of the mounds, closer to his back. The bottom quivers with anxiety. The cut slices his meaty bum with a downward motion. You take a step or two back to admire your handiwork. You are delighted to see thin white lines from the cane embossed across the seat of his pyjamas. There are welts throbbing underneath. The boy’s face and neck are crimson.

You can’t see your face crack into smile. You have a special treat for the boy this evening. You alter your position. Now you lay the cane across his bottom so it runs the bottom of the left buttock to the top of the right cheek – a diagonal shot. Quickly, you raise the cane and with tremendous force (you might be beating a carpet) slash it across the four welts already pulsating across his backside. He wails like a banshee. His feet stamp, he headbutts the seat cushion. He is in great distress. You know he will remember this thrashing for the rest of his life.

Calmly, you reposition yourself and set the cane along the opposite diagonal. Within a second you have imprinted a perfect “X” across his backside. He repeats the shrieking and the stamping and shakes his hips from left to right. You suddenly realise that your nose is dripping. You wipe it with the back of your hand. Slowly, you move to the cupboard and replace the cane.

That done, you turn and survey the scene. An eighteen-year-old schoolboy is draped across the back of the armchair. His bottom still quivers and his knees remain buckled. His face is contorted like a gargoyle. “You may remove yourself,” you quietly tell him. The punishment is over. He has atoned for his misdeed. You must both now get on with your lives.

You return to your armchair and stare down at the pipe in the ashtray. “Go,” you say and wave a hand at the door. He grabs his dressing gown and struggles with the handle and heavy door on his way out. You relight the pipe and pick up the Daily Telegraph. The world outside may be changing, you think, but in this study things will always remain the same.

Picture credit: CP Services London

 For a version of this story from the boy’s point of view, click here


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Charles Hamilton the Second

You, in the housemaster’s study

new story 2

z used cane pyjamas up armchair school london (2)

You walk slowly, pacing yourself. You are in no hurry. You turn the corner and enter a narrow, gloomy, dank passageway. Natural light never intrudes here. A whiff of damp walls, mildew possibly, hits you. That smell is everywhere. Ivy-covered walls and mullioned windows may speak to history and tradition but they fail to hide decay.

Trudge, trudge, trudge. Your bedroom slippers never did fit properly and you shuffle along like an old man. Your dressing-gown is loosely tied. Away from this cold passageway the sun is still awake and late spring saunters into summer. The evening is warm, you have no practical need for the gown. You wear it as a matter of modesty; your pyjamas are protection enough.

The passageway is not long. You walk at a snail’s pace but you reach your final destination soon enough. A dark panelled door. Heavy wood. Chipped and scratched. Like so much of this place, it has seen better days. You pause, your heart beats faster. Your palms sweat. You look closely at the familiar sign, noting not for the first time that one of the screws that attaches it to the door is missing. H. L. T. Haddock, Housemaster. You and your pals long ago exhausted all the jokes attached to that name. You run the back of your hand under your nose. It helps to curb your growing nervousness a little.

You crane your neck forward, almost, but not quite, placing your ear against the door. You don’t know what you expect to hear. Maybe you are not the only visitor this evening. The door is made of oak (you think); it is certainly thick and muffles sounds from inside the room. In your head you count slowly up to ten. One hippopotamus … two hippopotamus … You cannot put this off any longer. You rub your palms against the thick woollen dressing-gown once more, suck in a gulp of air, ball your right hand into a fist, raise it against the door and with more confidence than you truly feel, rap your knuckles against a panel.

Silence. It seems to last forever. You have doubts. Is Haddock at home? Do you have the right time? Was Rustington Minor ragging when he delivered the summons to you? Was this the fags’ idea of a joke. Was there to be a reprieve?

“Come!” The call is imperious. You hear it loud and clear despite the deadening thickness of the door. Your spine tingles as if caught by a draught. This is it, you think. Over the top. Time to go. You can’t put this off any longer. You wipe the palm of your hand again. You reach for the dull brass handle. Twist it. Put some weight against the door and slowly ease it open.

You are hit by the familiar aroma; pipe smoke and stale human sweat. You clear the threshold and stand for a moment transfixed. Nothing has changed since your last visit. Haddock sits in a worn armchair, the Daily Telegraph open on his lap. His pipe smoulders in an ashtray on a small table to his left. He is dressed in his civvies; baggy black trousers with bold white stripes, a shirt with soft collar attached, a cardigan buttoned to his chest. Bedroom slippers on his feet. You see his housemaster’s “uniform” of mortar-board cap and flowing academic gown hanging from a hat stand in one corner of the room.

The atmosphere is close and fuggy. You see wisps of pipe smoke reflected in a sunbeam that streams through the only window in the study that is capable of opening. “Close the door, boy!” Haddock barks at you. Like Pavlov’s dog you obey the command instinctively. That done, you stand submissively, hands clasped behind back. You wait. You are in no hurry. You know how this scenario will play out.

Haddock carefully folds his newspaper, ensuring that all the pages are carefully aligned. He puts it down on the table next to his pipe, safeguarding that it is not so close as to cause a fire. He lifts himself from the chair. You watch him as he moves across the room and stands with his back to the open, but on this sultry evening, unlit fireplace. Like you, he places his hands behind his back. You face one another: man to man. Haddock is a man in his later years (you suppose, but you boys believe that thirty is old). Despite his age he stands with a ramrod back. He is maybe five-eight tall at the most but his presence dominates the room. His chest is broad but his stomach soft. His forehead is high and his hair thin. His jowls sag and his once clear, blue eyes no longer penetrate as they used to.

He begins to speak. Your brain switches off. You know why you are here. You know what is going to happen. You understand there are rituals to this. He talks of your “breaking bounds”. You have been warned before. Disobedience. Intolerable behaviour. You have been to the Three Fishers. Again. It is a disreputable pub. You go there to beat the oiks from the village at billiards. It is an easy task. Billiards, like chess, is a game of intellect. They are no match for you. You despise the working classes. What is it that Cameron calls them? “Thick as two short planks” (whatever that means).

Suddenly there is a silence in the room. You realise with a start Haddock has finished jawing. He is glaring at you. Oh scissors! he must have asked you a question. You see Haddock’s face redden. Soon it will be puce. “Pah!” he ejaculates. “Do not add dumb insolence to your list of crimes.”

You wait for him to repeat the question. No, you have nothing to say for yourself. You are guilty as charged. You do not tell him that you made several visits undetected to the Three Fishers this term. You know it was bad luck this time. Seagrass, the new junior mathematics master, was in the “snug” bar? You are pragmatic: you win some, you lose some.

Your eyes follow Haddock as he walks across the study. It is a medium-sized room mark dark by mahogany wall panels. It is dominated by a huge, leather-topped desk. You guess it weighs a ton. It has six drawers in two columns of three and would need several men to move it. There are two armchairs, each with a wooden frame covered by a tough fabric coloured green. Like so much at the school they are not in the full flush of youth. There are three equally heavy straight-backed wooden chairs arranged along one wall. Glass-fronted bookcases cover two walls. In one corner is the aforementioned hat stand, in another is a tall, thin cupboard.

You know where Haddock is headed. You see him pause at the cupboard, straighten his back and with his right hand delve into a pocket in his trousers. You see it is deep and his hand rummages around. To you the pocket seems to be empty. You see his impatience as he fishes around. At last he withdraws his fist. You see between his fingers he holds a small silver-coloured key. You suck down on your bottom lip, rub sweaty palms against the dressing-gown. You watch as he fumbles to get the key in the lock, his irritation growing. Success. The key turns, the door squeaks open. From where you are standing you cannot see inside the cupboard. You watch Haddock lean into the cupboard. It is not large. A rattling sound confirms what you already know. You see him withdraw a long, thin yellow cane. He peers at it intently and replaces it. You wipe your palms one more time.

You watch Haddock pull out a second cane. It is longer and thicker than the first. Your throat tightens as he turns to face you. It is a darkish-yellow-almost-brown colour. You recognise it. It is his Malay cane. It is denser than Haddock’s standard “senior” canes but has the traditional crooked handle. You know it will pack a punch. You are not impressed as Haddock holds the cane at the handle with one hand and its tip with the other and flexes it. Then he swipes it through the air. It travels at a terrific whoosh! You know schoolmasters always do this with their canes. It is another part of the ceremony. You know this is designed to intimidate a boy. Not you. You have seen it all before.

You know Haddock is nearly ready, but there are more formalities to come. Your hand is steady as you undo the belt on your dressing-gown and shake it off your body. You fold it lengthways and then widthways and place it carefully on his desk. You are now dressed only in your pyjamas. You know Haddock only beats a boy at lights out. You think this is supposed to add to the tension. You have spent the entire day anticipating this moment. You know housemasters have their own formalities; Forester always canes at lunchtime. With Corbin it is immediately after school. Haddock does it at the end of the day.

Haddock swishes the cane through the empty air as you manoeuvre the armchair into position. You swivel it around so that its back now faces into the room. The task completed, you stand back and respectfully put your hands behind your back. Waiting. The room is stuffy, the pipe continues to smoulder in the ashtray. The only window that opens provides no air. You feel sweat trickle down your spine, your scalp inches. Your heartbeat quickens. You can no longer see Haddock but you hear him swishing the cane. You sense his movement. He is standing directly behind you. Then he steps forward. You see him from the corner of your eye. He grips the cane in his right hand. His arm stretches. He whacks the tip of the cane across the back of the armchair. “Bend over,” he intones.

You look down at the familiar armchair. The fabric is faded in places and the material has worn through along the seams. You know as armchairs go it is modest in size and ambition. This is not a plush leather Chesterfield couch. Such furniture befits the headmaster’s study. Haddock has to make do with something that would not be out of place in a suburban sitting room. You have the measure of this chair. You know that when you bend across it and rest your elbows on the wooden arms your stomach will clear the chair’s apex by some inches. In this position your bottom should be perfectly positioned for Haddock’s purposes.

You rub your palms one last time, take a deep breath, and lean forward. You part your feet by about twelve inches and your back is arched. “Head a little lower boy. Bottom out.” You wriggle around to Haddock’s satisfaction. You feel the cotton material of your pyjamas tighten around your buttocks. You know you pack a lot of meat back there. They are firm and round and much admired by the fellows in the baths after rugby.

You don’t consider the incongruity of your situation. Here you are eighteen years old offering up your bottom for an older man to beat with a whippy cane. To you it is just how things are. It doesn’t occur to you that none of the oiks from the Three Fishers are submitting to similar punishment. You stare down at the squashed seat cushion. It is stained with the sweat of countless backsides. How many hundreds of visitors have sat in that chair? And, how many generations of schoolboys have bent over its back?

These are not questions that concern you much. You sense Haddock moving again. Then, you feel him touch your buttocks with the cane. He is sawing it across the fleshiest parts. He is taking his aim. You know this is going to hurt. A very great deal. A caning from Haddock across trousers and underpants would be awesome, when delivered with only thin cotton pyjamas for protection it will be tremendous. You know some chaps have tried to sneak underpants under their pyjama bottoms. Barchester was busted for this. He failed to realise that once a chap is stretched over the armchair their outline becomes clearly visible. Barchester’s backside resembled a map of Clapham Junction railway once Haddock had delivered a bare-arsed flogging as retribution.

You feel the cane tapping. Your buttocks tense. They always do this. It is a natural reflex. You grind your teeth. Swipe! Crack! Pyjamas are a poor protection against a cane well laid on. The Malay cane struck just on your undercurve, where the bum meets the thigh. You gasp with shock as an intense line of pain bites deep. It feels like Haddock has pressed a red-hot poker into your flesh.

You can’t see the ghost of a smile as Haddock’s jowls wobble in satisfaction. You might not know it but many believe your bottom cries out to be beaten. It has certainly been caned many times before and might be again before you leave school in July.

If the bottom cries out, you do not. You feel the intense pain subside a little. The cane rises and falls whistling as it goes. You grip the chair and stifle a yelp. Now you have two lines of pain throbbing across the bum, a quarter of an inch apart. The pain sears from your buttocks and runs up and down your legs. Your knees buckle, but you keep in position. Waiting for Number Three.

You hear a grunt behind you. Haddock puts all his beef into it. The cut takes you on the back of the thighs. It is a deliberate act by the housemaster; he has had enough practice with the cane. You struggle to stay calm. It sucks the breath from your body. Your hips sway and your head bounces up and down. This is a natural thing to do. It is how a boy’s body reacts when under attack.

The next slashes higher. You bunch your fingers into fists and punch them into the seat cushion. “Sssssss!” air escapes through your lips. The pain is beyond belief. Much harder than anything you have endured before. It starts on the crown of your bum and travels north-south-east-west through your body. Each stroke has been a swipe. It’s as if Haddock is beating a carpet.

Beneath the stretched pyjamas you feel weals forming. You know each is raised off the surface of the bum and as thick as a pencil. They run in almost perfect parallel from left to right. You stamp your feet up and down like a soldier on sentry duty. The agony is overwhelming. You can’t take much more of this.

Haddock does the tapping thing again. Taking aim. This time higher on the crest of the mounds, closer to your back. Your bottom quivers. Behind your master takes a step or two back and admires his handiwork. He sees your face and neck are scarlet. He knows your bum is just as red. He can see lines embossed in your pyjama trousers showing exactly where the cane landed.

You tell yourself, “Four down, only two more to go.” It is nearly over. You regain more control of your breathing but your temples throb and blood is cascading through your arteries. Then your heart almost literally stops. Haddock has changed position again. This time he lays the cane across your bottom not from left to right as before but from the bottom of the left buttock to the top of the right. You realise at once what this means: it is to be diagonal shot. Before you can prepare, a crack like a pistol shot resounds around the room. Haddock slashes the cane down with considerable force across the four welts already emblazoned across your rear end. You shriek as each of the previous cuts are brought back to life. The tempo of your military marching doubles. You bang your head up and down against the seat cushion, but nothing, nothing at all, eases the agony.

Your buttocks are ripped to shreds. They might even be bleeding. Your eyes blaze as much as your bum but you do not cry. You will not cry. A chap under the cane is allowed to holler. It can be mightily difficult not to. But you know you must not blub. Even the junior chaps know that. You must take it like a man.

You fear the very worst. Haddock moves to your right and places the cane along the opposite diagonal. Within a second you have a perfect “X” imprinted across your bum. It seems to have swollen to twice its normal size. But it also feels numb as if you have reached some threshold of pain that cannot be surpassed. You hear Haddock step across the study and open the door to the cupboard. You continue to stare at the seat cushion. You bum is raw but even now, only seconds after the final cut flogged you, the pain is easing down. Soon it will be a constant throb. The worst is over. You have survived. The cuts will still be painful for some time to come. You know you will be sleeping in on your side tonight. Tomorrow you will not be able to sit comfortably on a hard surface. You will have welts and bruises for many days.

“You may remove yourself,” the instruction seems to come from a far distance. You take a deep breath and using your elbows as levers you resume a standing position. The seat of your pyjama trousers are stuck to your bum. You worry that you might be bleeding. You desperately want to caress your cheeks to discover the truth but you know this must wait. You know Haddock doesn’t like a fuss after he beats a boy and soon he will dismiss you.

He returns to his armchair and peers down at his pipe in the ashtray. “Go,” he says absent-mindedly and waves a hand at the door. As you struggle with the handle and heavy door you see him pick up a box of matches. It rattles as he shakes it. He clenches the pipe between his teeth then opens the box, takes a match, strikes it and shielding the flame he sets light to the tobacco in the bowl.

You leave and run along the passageway towards the bogs.


Picture credit: CP Services London

Coming soon: The story from the housemaster’s point-of-view.


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Charles Hamilton the Second

Your last chance

new story 2

z used drawing face schoolboy Hot (1)

You sit alone in the sixth-form common room. Sun beams shine in your eyes magnified by the glass in the closed window but you can’t be bothered to move. The cushion on your “easy chair” is misshapen, one of the elasticated slates holding it in place is broken. You slump down in it and survey the room. At least half of the chairs are in some state of disrepair. A Formica-topped table is worn and chipped. A folded up page of the Daily Mirror, wedged under one leg keeps it from wobbling. The battered tea urn stands by a sink full of unwashed mugs. The rubbish bin overflows. Nothing changes in that room.

You stare at the clock on the wall. You have seen it many times. You know like a pub clock it is set a few minutes fast, an failed confidence trick to induce pupils to get to lessons on time. The words “London County Council” are engraved in large black letters across the white face. A successful deterrent against theft. It is almost four o’clock; nearly time for your appointment.

You hold a copy of George in your hand. Twenty-four pages of A4 Roneo’d paper held together by two staples. There is still a faint whiff of methylated spirits on it. The illegal school magazine; published this morning. One hundred and twenty copies distributed – free of charge. You know it will cost you three weeks wages from your Saturday job at Freeman, Hardy and Willis. You think it is worth it.

You flick through the pages; past the jokes and cartoons, through the short stories and “investigative journalism” to land at the poems. Your poem. Three verses, twenty-four lines. You don’t read it again, there is no need as you know the words off by heart. A poem? It is not poetry, more like doggerel. You don’t care. It has your initials on it; people know who wrote it. That is the point.

You think of Miss Lowenstein, the fearsome old battle-axe. You know she has been in Mr Henderson’s ear the whole day. “Something must be done. He cannot be allowed to get away with this,” she has been saying. Or something quite similar. No one at the school likes Miss Lowenstein. She really is an old crone. One of the ugliest women you’ve ever seen; hair pulled back tightly in a bun, buck teeth, blotted skin and a gammy leg, courtesy of childhood polio.

You had her for English since the fourth year. In her first class she says she is a tough disciplinarian and calls herself a “martinet” and when no one can tell her what that word means she makes you look it up in the dictionary. She sets herself apart from the other women teachers; no way can you call her “miss”; it’s “ma’am.” She has a mean streak and is a bully and vindictive. You are counting on that. Your verse doesn’t name her, but everyone knows who you mean by the “Old Crow.”

You have to go see Mr Henderson in his office at four. He’s head of Upper School. You don’t see much of him usually; your comprehensive school has about 1,600 pupils, it’s like a factory. Mr Henderson is in charge of discipline. You think the Old Crow wants him to cane you for your insolence. You wring your copy of George in your hands, twisting it into a cylinder. Yes, you think to yourself. You, eighteen years old, a prefect, just about to leave school for ever about to get the cane. God! You hope so!

You don’t know when you first started dreaming of corporal punishment. You think you have been fascinated by this forever. Sometimes you go over someone’s knee (you’re not sure whose but preferably someone big and strong). Mostly, you are in the headmaster’s study for six-of-the-best from a whippy, curve handled rattan cane. You are in an elite public boarding school which is a world away from the inner city comprehensive you go to. In real life, you have never been caned, not even spanked, in your life. It is, you reckon, now or never. Your last chance.

The hand on the clock is moving too slowly. You climb out of the broken chair and pace the room. You pause by the door, your ears prick up, you listen for sounds in the corridor outside. You hear none, but to be safe you inch open the door and peek outside. You confirm you are alone. You walk back into the room, your heart beats fast. You approach the chair you were sitting on, then stand behind it. You close your eyes, a headmaster with an aged academic gown across his shoulders and a battered mortar-board cap on his head is swishing a cane through the air. He leans forward, taps the back of the chair with the tip of the cane. “Bend over, Crosby!” he intones. In the sixth-form common room you lean forward and stretch over the chair. You grasp the cheap foam filled cushion and spread your legs. You keep your bottom high and your head low. The headmaster lays the first swipe across your meaty buttocks.

When the six-of-the-best is over, you rise to your feet. You are breathless and your cock is twitching. The fantasy is great and you hope Mr Henderson has a big armchair waiting for you. It is hot but you don’t open the window; you find your blazer and climb into it. It is an ordinary black jacket with the school crest on the pocket; it’s nothing like the green and yellow ones the boys at the grammar school wear. You do up all three buttons and then pull at your necktie. Boys at the school ever do up their ties, but you want to look the part. The submissive schoolboy summoned to the headmaster’s study. Something exciting is happening to you but you can’t find the words to describe it.

The minute-hand on the clock judders to twelve. It is time. Mr Henderson’s room is along the corridor outside the sixth-form common room. In your dreams there is always a long walk to the study and you go through a cobbled quadrangle into a building with ivy-covered walls and mullioned windows. The passageway is lined with oak doors. Your real school is a concrete-and-glass monstrosity. The corridor has grey, scratched plastic floor tiles. Each door is constructed with some new-fangled artificial material. You could be at the offices of the municipal council.

You stop outside Mr Henderson’s door. You read his name typewritten on a card stuck on with Sellotape. You check your tie, pull at the hems of your blazer and check the shine on your shoes. You are wearing fashionable wet-look slip-ons with a faux silver buckles. You bought them at a discount at the shop where you work. In your mind you are at St, Alphonso’s, a fine public school for the sons of gentlemen. The time is about sixty years ago. You knock on the door. There is a faint noise from within that sounds like, “Come in,” so you press down on the door handle and push.

You are surprised to see Miss Lowenstein there. It heartens you. She is determined to make sure you get your caning and she is personally going to witness it. You have never been in the room before. It is very small. You stand as best you can in front of his tiny desk. Unlike those in your imagination it is small, functional and clearly not built from walnut. It is in a mess and piled high with files and official documents. He sits in a wooden armchair and there are two plastic chairs, purloined at some time from a classroom, in front of the desk. You see a metal filing cabinet in a corner and there are some metal shelves screwed to walls. And that is it. You see no stuffed armchairs, no ancient Chesterfield couch, no open fire, no cabinet of sports trophies, no packed bookcases with leather-bound volumes and most disappointingly of all, no umbrella stand in the corner with three or four crook-handled canes of varying thicknesses dangling from it.

You see this is not a headmaster’s study, it is the office of a middle manager. Miss Lowenstein moves to one side of you and is now out of your eyeline. Your disappointment grows when you look at Mr Henderson. You see no academic gown or cap only a middle-aged man with a beer gut man in a scruffy shirt and plain tie. His beige trousers were purchased at a cheap chain store many years ago.

You know your school has not abolished corporal punishment, but no one can remember the last time a boy was caned. That has always been a disappointment to you. You hear at the grammar the cane is swished through the air every day by enthusiastic schoolmasters. If you were a boy there you could be caned as often as you wished – you know smoking cigarettes is a caning offence. You would be on forty a day.

Now you realise your cunning plan is about to come to nothing. Mr Henderson probably doesn’t believe in the cane. He has only summoned you for a ticking off. You think maybe he will make you write a letter of apology to the Old Crow.

Mr Henderson doesn’t quite know what to say. He calls you “Crombie,” which isn’t quite your name. He mumbles something about how awful you have been. He says your behaviour is “ugly” and you suppress a laugh, thinking that word perfectly describes Miss Lowenstein. You tune out, no longer listening. You want to get out of there and go home. You know you can make this into a fantasy when you are in your bedroom. You hear words but they seem to be coming from a long way off as if drifting on the wind. You realise he has stopped speaking. He is waiting for you to say something. You are unsure if he has asked you a question. You mumble, “Sorry sir”, just to say something.

Then you hear him say, “I am going to cane you.” You wake up at that. You stare at Mr Henderson seeking confirmation that you heard correctly. He is on his feet now and your eyes follow him as he takes the short distance across his office. He reaches the filing cabinet. You have not noticed until now on top of it lies a short stick. You see it is no crook-handled whippy cane beloved of public schoolmasters. It is a  piece of bamboo, a little over two feet long. You watch him pick it up and you see it is rigid and impossible to bend. It looks like a garden cane but you are not sure as there are no gardens anywhere near where you live.

You see Mr Henderson is uncomfortable with the stick in his hand. He looks embarrassed. He does not swish the cane through the air and it is too stiff for him to flex into an arc. You hear him speak the wonderful words you have waited to hear all your life, “Bend over.” Your throat dries. You take another look around the room and you confirm there is nothing to bend over. The desk is piled high with files; the plastic chairs are too low. You look at Mr Henderson for guidance. His face is flushed. The heat in the airless office and the stress of the moment disturbs him. He points the cane at a space in between his desk and the door.

You take his hint. You shuffle a pace and a half. “Face that way,” he says, so that you have your back to the desk. You see Miss Lowenstein hobble away and flop down into Mr Henderson’s chair. She is giving herself the perfect view. Mr Henderson has not given the time-honoured command “touch your toes”. Many times at home you pretend you are one of the boys sent for “six on the bags” as the old school stories have it. Often you  dress in black blazer and grey trousers and pose in front of the full-length mirror in the hall of your council flat. You bend over touching toes and admire the tight contours of your bum. Your uniform is ordinary and so are you: standing at about five-foot-seven, a little over eight-stone in weight, and properly proportioned.

You take a deep breath and bend from the trunk. You keep your knees straight and by parting your feet a little you are able to brush your fingertips against your shiny black shoes. You feel your tight cotton briefs dig into the crack between your cheeks. You know that your buttocks are filling out the back of your trousers and presenting a marvellous target. You wait staring down at the worn industrial-strength carpet. You recall all those times in front of the mirror. You don’t mind how much this hurts, you will shut your teeth and bear it; like the boys in the stories you love so much.

There is no swish as the Head of Upper School makes his preparation. Suddenly there is a dull thud and you realise the cane has landed on your bum. You feel it but there is no agony, no intense pain, not even a throbbing ache. The second and third stoke land. What a disappointment. You hardly feel a thing. You realise Mr Henderson’s heart is not in this. You feel terribly let down.

He gives you six strokes. You have not been caned before and know of no other boy who has. You have nothing to compare it to, except your fantasies. You know that this was not “six-of-the best.” It couldn’t be. You should be howling with pain, jumping up and down from foot to foot and furiously rubbing away at your savaged backside. Instead you remain bending over, hoping that this is not all. Somehow you have learnt the etiquette is for a boy to stay in position, fingertips on toecaps until the master gives permission to stand up. In the stories failure in this respect leads to additional strokes. You would be quite content to get extras, nonetheless you continue to admire the faded blue carpet.

You hear Mr Henderson moving behind you and there is a rattling sound as he replaces the cane on the top of the filing cabinet. Then you hear him say rather absent-mindedly, “You should stand up now.” You do so. Your head feels funny but you think that is because you have been upside down and blood has rushed into your brain. You feel deep disappointment and wonder if your face shows it. If you are nonchalant and make it clear the caning did not hurt would Mr Henderson fly into a rage, sweep the files from the desk, grip you by the neck, hurl you facedown across the desk and proceed to thrash the living daylights out of you?

Clearly not, as Mr Henderson simply says, “You should go now.” You look towards Miss Lowenstein. She has a face like thunder. She too is not impressed by Mr Henderson’s lack of prowess with the cane. She wants to see you clutching your bum in agony and choking back sobs. For the first time in your life, you sympathise with her.

You turn away, open the door and you are in the corridor. In some of the stories you know at this point a boy is rubbing his backside furiously as he rushes back to his study. You do have a sneaky feel of the seat of your trousers, a quick rub with your thumb, but there is no sensation. You can go to the lavs to inspect the damage but you know you will find none. So, you return to the sixth-form common room and collect your vinyl holdall before going home seeing yourself as another victim of the failing comprehensive school system.


Picture credit: Hotspur

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The Executive Assistant

new story 2

z used cane longs desk office or school sting adult (71)

Kingsley Brocas-Burrows stared down glumly at the desk. His buttocks ached on the hard chair. He spent most of his working day at a desk such as this. It was empty at the moment. The sun was rapidly disappearing and soon the office would be so gloomy he would need to switch the lights on. He sat, almost motionless. He didn’t care. Let it go dark.

Kinglsey was not a young man who spent much time in reflection; and certainly not self-reflection. But on this day he might make an exception. Why did he do this? Why was he wasting his life at this job?

He sighed inwardly, shuffled his buttocks some more before standing. The office was empty, everyone had left. The working day was over. People had gone home – to their real lives. He stretched his arms, wriggled his shoulders, snaked his hips. Slowly – simply to kill some time – he ambled to the window. He was on the second floor, there was not much of a view. The High Street below; Robinson’s Department Store opposite. He let out a long weary sigh. How had it come to this?

Executive Assistant at a marketing company. What was marketing anyhow? Damned if he knew. Executive Assistant: general dogsbody more like. Office boy really. His housemaster had warned him this would happen. “Slacking again Brocas-Burrows,” the old coot would intone as Kingsley submitted himself patiently; stretched across an ancient cracked leather armchair in the study. His trousers at the ankles, underwear at the knees. Head low, bottom high, while old Mr Plumptre lashed six stripes across his naked buttocks.

Plum had warned him he would fail his examinations. Kingsley duly did. In spectacular fashion. If there were prizes for failure he would have taken all the silver cups that year. “If you fail your examinations, you cannot go up to the university,” Plum had berated him. “Then where will you be?” Where indeed?

The eccentric “crammer” college his father then arranged for him to attend so Kingsley might resit his exams was useless. He and a further ten bone-idle duffers spent four months cooped up at some backwater called Brocklehurst. The college principal made them dress in school uniform with neat grey short trousers and knee socks. Eighteen-year-old men dressed as preparatory school boys. Kingsley idleness never abated. Mr Burlington, the principal, would often order Kingsley across his knee. The size twelve gym plimsoll he crashed into the seat of the teenager’s short trousers made no impact on his studies.

So now. Kingsley peered through the dirty window pane at people in the street below. Rain was spitting. Umbrellas were raised, shop girls wrapped their coats around themselves and dashed toward bus stops. How he wished he could join them. He glanced at his wrist watch. Almost time for his appointment with Mr Wilson-Smith.

Wilson-Smith was a contemporary of his father. Like Kingsley they were all old boys of St. Tom’s. The old school tie. It was that informal network that had landed him the job. All boys together. Wilson-Smith had “found him a position” at his company. It was the least a chap could do for a fellow from St. Tom’s. Anyhow, Wilson-Smith needed a skivvy, and it might as well be somebody with a bit of breeding. God forbid he should take a lout from a council estate.

The seconds hand on Kingsley’s watch moved too quickly. Any moment now he must face Mr Wilson-Smith. “Damn and blast it!” Kingsley’s inner voice cried. “When will this ever end?” Nineteen years old, getting on for twenty and still going through this.

Across the office a door opened. Miss Winchester, a lady of at least fifty years and two hundred and fifty pounds, waddled through, clutching her handbag tightly to her bosom. “Mr. Wilson-Smith will see you now,” she said to no one in particular as she headed for the stairs and her own real life. Kingsley looked once more at his watch, willing it to allow him one more minute before the appointment. No such luck.

He stretched his arms and back once more, as if limbering up for a track event. His one success at school had been in sports. He still retained his athleticism. He sighed (yet again) and slowly moved toward Mr Wilson-Smith’s office. He paused outside. Momentarily, he had a vision of Mr Plumptre’s worn study door. He shook his head with bewilderment, balled his fingers into a fist and rapped his knuckles against a pine panel.

“Come!” Mr Wilson-Smith even sounded like Plum. Haughty, pompous; in charge. Kingsley fumbled with the door handle, it stuck in his grip. At first it would not turn. He tried once more. Still it would not budge . With his hand shaking he gripped harder, put his shoulder to the door and stumbled into the office.

Mr Wilson-Smith gaped then a frown crossed his florid, flabby face. “Stupid boy,” he muttered, almost to himself. Kingsley straightened himself, conscious of the heat in his own face. Without waiting for instruction, he turned and without difficulty closed the door.

Mr Wilson-Smith was seated behind his desk, his jacket behind him on the chair. His shirtsleeves were rolled to the elbow; the top button was undone, his necktie was loosened. He looked every inch the “marketing” man that he was.

Kingsley stood some distance away. The office had not changed since his last visit. It was furnished in the modern style. Whereas his housemaster’s study had been constructed of dark wood panels and oak furniture, Mr Wilson-Smith’s room consisted of light-coloured walls and pine. His message to the world, “I am the future.”

Kingsley waited. He knew the part he had to play in this little drama. Mr Wilson-Smith was in charge. He would commence when he was good and ready. Wilson-Smith picked a folder from his desk, opened it and leafed through the sheaf of papers inside. He pretended to read the top two and then threw the folder down. In his “real life” he very much enjoyed amateur theatricals.

He breathed a sigh that said, “Why must I take the burdens of all the world on my shoulders?” He glanced down at the folder and then peered across the room at Kingsley. “Well, Brocas-Burrows,” he said. A very pregnant pause followed. Kingsley blanched, his redden face draining. The silence deafened him. Was he supposed to say something? Had his boss asked him a question? He sucked on his bottom lip, playing for time.

If it had been a contest, then Mr Wilson-Smith blinked first. “Your quarterly report,” he growled, again nodding at the folder. You know what it says?” Again, Kingsley was dumbfounded. Was it a rhetorical question? Was he expected to answer? Should he say truthfully, “Actually no sir I haven’t read it myself, but I have a jolly good idea what it contains.”

Would that reply be a bit too bumptious; cocky even? Indeed, the nineteen-year-old had not seen the report but he knew darn well it was not good news. “Poor timekeeping, bad attitude to authority, generally an idle sort,” would be the gist of it.

He closed his ears while Mr Wilson-Smith berated him. Kingsley had been spot on about the report, but he had left out the bit about his uselessness at adding up a column of figures. After some length Kingsley heard the words, “I gave you a position at this company because of your father. You have let him down; you have let me down and most of all you have let yourself down.” The resemblance to one of Plum’s sermons in the housemaster’s study was uncanny. Kingsley found himself murmuring, “Yes sir, sorry sir.”

Mr Wilson-Smith had not finished. “In other circumstances you should be dismissed. I have spoken to your father on the telephone and I must tell you he is not best pleased.” Kingsley confined his response to, “Oh.” There would be a price to pay the next time he returned to the family pile for the weekend.

“He and I are in complete agreement,” Mr Wilson-Smith had not finished. “On the action that I should take.” Kingsley’s eyes sparkled. He bit his lip once more. With no further word, Mr Wilson-Smith hauled himself to his feet and wheezing slightly he trundled across the office. Kingsley stood, hands clasped behind his back. He did not turn to watch as Mr Wilson-Smith disappeared from his sight. He heard his boss open a drawer (it stuck at first just as the door had done). Kingsley heard his wheezing increase in volume and then there was a distinct rattle from within the drawer. The teenager’s heart thumped. He knew that sound; he whirled around in time to see Mr Wilson-Smith straighten himself. His boss stared malevolently across the office; he stood aggressively and took the whippy rattan school cane between his hands and flexed it so that it made a perfect bow.

Kingsley’s eyes widened. It was just like the weapons the masters at St. Tom’s had used. It was a little under three feet long with a notch every four inches or so along its length. It was as thick as a pencil and had the authentic crook handle at one end.

Mr Wilson-Smith swiped the whippy cane through the air. The swoosh! as it flew was terrific. Then, Mr Wilson-Smith let it dangle in his hand before gently tap-tap-tapping it against his right leg. “I was head boy in my time at St. Tom’s,” he said, as if this was a perfect explanation.

It was good enough for Kingsley. Prefects at the school were permitted to beat other pupils. Mr Wilson-Smith’s present intention was obvious.

“I beat many slackers,” Mr Wilson-Smith said, almost wistfully. “There was no more serious crime. Chaps who would not play the game.” He leaned forward, craning his neck like a toad. “I good thrashing …..” he let the sentence tail off. His meaning was clear.

Kingsley sniffed. It was a reflect action; he meant nothing by it; Mr Wilson-Smith thought otherwise. “How dare you!” he bellowed, furious at the teenager’s insolence, “Get yourself across that desk.” He waved the cane towards his own desk as if there was any doubt about his instruction, “NOW!”

“B .. .” Kingsley cut short his protest. His boss’s eyes burned into him. The older man swished the cane aggressively. “Get on with it. I don’t have all night.” He tapped the cane across the edge of the desk.

Kingsley hesitated. He would comply, he would do as he was ordered. His upbringing had taught him enough to know one thing: he had no choice. None at all. But how to do it? At school the housemaster always made a chap go over an armchair. It was the right size. Little ones spread themselves across one of the padded arms; the older boys reached across the back. In either case they made the perfect fit.

But the desk? Even from a step or two’s distance Kingsley could see it was low. Should he lay with his stomach flat across the top and hang on to the far edge for dear life? Was he supposed to simply lean forward and grip the desk’s side? Where exactly did Mr Wilson-Smith want his bum to be?

“Pah!” Mr Wilson-Smith was a man on a short fuse. He swiped the cane hard against the pine desk’s top. “Stand there, feet apart, bend forward. Stick your bottom out.” The instruction was clear. Careful not to make another visible sigh that would annoy his master, Kingsley took two steps forward and in one athletic movement he positioned himself to Mr Wilson-Smith’s satisfaction. He gazed down at the pine desk, his necktie dangled in front of his face. He concentrated hard on its intricate pattern. He had never before really noticed it.

Kingsley heard his boss wheezing as he shuffled himself into position. The old man paused momentarily, admiring the full buttocks submitted before him. They were firm and meaty and stretched the material of Kingsley’s suit trousers. Each cheek was lifted and separated. They made a terrific target.

He stood about three feet to the teenager’s left – a cane’s length – and slowly took aim. Caning a boy’s backside was a bit like riding a bike, he thought. Once one had learned the technique, it was never forgotten. He laid the tip of the cane so that it reached to the furthest cheek, aiming for the crest of Kingsley’s mounds. Satisfied that he had his eye, he brought the cane away in a perfect arc until it was about his shoulder’s height. Then he returned the cane with tremendous force so that it whacked into the meat sending a resounding sound echoing off the walls of the office. A thin white line immediately appeared across the stretched grey trousers.

Kingsley gasped, his head rose slightly and his hips swayed. He held on to the edge of the desk with all his might. A sharp pain scorched across his bum. Already a hard line was forming where the cane bit deep.

Mr Wilson-Smith paused, admiring his own prowess with the cane. The stroke had landed precisely where he intended. He awarded himself ten marks out of ten. He aimed the cane lower next time, into that part where Kingsley’s beautifully round bottom nearly met the back of his thighs. Swipe! Crack! Another perfect shot. Kingsley’s knees buckled, but he stopped his feet from marching up and down on the spot. His heart pounded and blood crashed through his arteries; his temples throbbed.

Mr Wilson-Smith’s own heart was in overdrive. He was not a fit man and his doctor had warned him he needed to take more exercise. Well, what better way than this? He tapped the cane across the top of Kingsley’s buttocks, so that he could deliver a downward swipe just below the boy’s spine. It was a difficult stroke to get right. If his aim was out he might even miss the backside entirely. Swish! Swipe! Crack! Bullseye.

Kingsley just about stifled the yelp his body demanded he make. It would be a natural reaction to the searing agony he was feeling. His bum felt like Mr Wilson-Smith had taken a white-hot poker and pressed it into his flesh. There was a strip of burning fire about four inches wide running from left to right across his bum.

Now, Mr Wilson-Smith set himself another challenge. The next stroke should connect in the space between the line at the top and the one across the mound. If he got it wrong, if he was just a fraction of an inch out in his aim, the heavy, whippy cane might land right on top of one of the three welts already throbbing across Kingsley’s rear end. Mr Wilson-Smith was not a man to duck a challenge; and heck if he got it wrong, it was no skin off his backside.

Crack!. Bingo! Mr Wilson-Smith was on fire! And so too was Kingsley’s lazy arse. The stroke whipped in right on target. Sweat poured through the nineteen-year-old’s hair. It ran from his neck in a rivulet down his spine. His body was fighting back against the pain. Kingsley shut his teeth hard, he had long ago ceased studying the pattern on his necktie; now his eyes were tightly shut.

Mr Wilson-Smith aimed low; there was still the gap between the cuts on the mounds and the thighs to find. “Hold still boy,” he said by way of encouragement, as with a little difficultly for his heart was so loud and his blood pressure so high he feared he might have a different type of stroke before the evening was out, he took his measure.

Of course, it was a perfect hit. When later, Kingsley inspected the damage in the mirror of the bathroom at his rooming house he would see five parallel lines perfectly placed. By that time the agony would have dissolved through a mere pain and then an irritating throbbing. It would then have disappeared altogether, except for when he sat on a hard surface. The cut on the under cheek was perfectly placed and could be reignited for days to come.

In the mirror Kingsley would see five stripes, but that was not all. Mr Wilson-Smith had a special finale. In some schools a “headmaster’s caning” was deemed especially awesome; a boy would be summoned to the beak for only the most serious offence (or perhaps the constant repeating of more minor infractions) and the visit to his study had to be momentous.

Mr Wilson-Smith had himself been on the receiving end of such a beating. Now, for the first time in his (extensive) history as a caner he would administer a headmaster’s caning. He bent his legs slightly so as to get proper aim. He tapped the tip of the cane at the top of Kingsley’s right buttock, then he laid it so that the other end reached the bottom of the left. It was a perfect diagonal. Kingsley froze. Oh no! he realised at once Mr Wilson-Smith’s little game. His entire body tensed, his shoulders braced, his knees locked, the knuckles on his hands turned white so hard was his grip on the desk.

Thwip! It wasn’t an especially savage cut. It didn’t need to be. Mr Wilson-Smith whipped the cane hard so that it thudded across Kingsley’s bum. He leapt to his feet, both hands clutching his savaged buttocks. The cane had bitten into each of the previous five cuts, making all blaze with such a ferocity that it felt that Kingsley had been forced to sit in a bath of boiling hot water.

He yelled fit to wake the dead. For the first time that evening Mr Wilson-Smith realised how fortuitous it was that all the staff had gone home. Kingsley howled as he danced; tears flooding down his face. It made not a jot of difference to that pain. He bent double, huffing and puffing as he did so. He gasped for air, somewhere in the back of his throat vomit was forming; desperately he swallowed the bile back.

Mr Wilson-Smith stepped back, perching his ample buttocks on the desk that had moments earlier been Kingsley’s punishment block. He watched intently as the boy rubbed the seat of his trousers so hard the boss wondered if he might leave a permanent shine on his behind.

At last Kingsley regained a semblance of control. The tears had not completely stopped, his eyes were drenched, his face flooded. He could not bring himself to look at his tormentor. Not so Mr Wilson-Smith; his self-satisfaction was undisguised. Later he would telephone his school pal “Bronco” Brocas-Burrows and share with him his triumph. But, now he must dismiss the distressed teenager.

“Go,” he growled, “That was for your own good,” he mouthed a platitude spoken by generations of schoolmasters. “Don’t make me have to do that again. If you do we’ll see how you like it with your trousers at your ankles.”

Kingsley ran from the room, glad that the door had opened first time. He flew through the outer office and down the stairs, not stopping until he was at street level. The rain was heavy and he was glad that nobody would see his tears as he hurried to his digs back to his real life.


Picture credit: Sting Pictures

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