Lined up in two rows I could just make out from the back a very smartly attired girl facing us. She dressed no differently to the rest of the girls in the queue except she had a shiny badge on her lapel. The word 'Prefect' written diagonally across it and a self confident look on her face made everyone, including myself, shuffle their feet and look anywhere except at her directly.
Uniform inspections always make me nervous anyway but as I had not yet got my new one I stuck out like a sore thumb.
Surely if your thumb is sore you'd keep it tucked in.
Anyway, the procession moved forward until only yours truely was left facing the dragon of st. justens.
Looking me up and down she did a circuit around me then made me jump with, 'WHAT do you call those',
Pointing down at my feet I surmised that she meant my shoes. 'They're clarks miss' I blurted out', then regaining a little more composure I added, 'he wants them back tomorrow'.
I couldn't rid the smirk from my face even as we neared the headmasters' study. It had been worth it just to see her speechless for a few seconds and the look of a cartoon kettle about to burst.
All I could make out from outside the door was a low mumble until, 'Gary, get in here!' was bellowed from within. That's when the swallowed a brick feeling appeared in my stomach and as I entered the dreaded room dragon brushed past me with more than a hint of a smile on her face.
Bitch, I thought as she closed the door behind me.
A good clue as to what you're going to get is if the headmaster is sitting at his desk or standing by the window. You see all his canes are kept in a cupboard by the window but his slipper and strap are in the drawer of his desk.
The brick dissolved a little as he looked up at me from his chair, his fingers forming an inverted V shape under his chin as he rested his elbows on the desk.
I only heard the first line of his sentence, 'First day back at school and here you are again Gary'. Then his voice petered out as my mind played a guessing game of, strap or slipper?, pants or bare?, six or twelve?
'Get your shorts down boy and get yourself over my desk'.
He had my full attention again.
My face not one foot from the far side of his desk, it was a relief to see his hand reach into a drawer until that is, it withdrew a brown leather strap about two foot in length that was split into three at one end. Holy crap! a tawse! Never had this before, I thought. The brick inside me now made of lead as I felt my pants being pulled down to just below my exposed bottom.
'You will count all six boy' he said, 'and thank me for each one'. Ah well, six, won't be too bad.....will it?
I never heard it coming, no sound, no swish, just a loud 'SSMACK'.
Holy mother of god that stings. Ow ow it won't subside.
'One sir' I managed after the breath I'd been holding was finally released.. 'Thank you sir' brought a second crack from behind me and a burst of scolding pain tracked across both cheeks. Only the pain intensified afterwards on my right cheek at the very end of the tawses' strike.
There used to be an advert for orange drink that said, 'You know when you've been tango'd'
Well, you know when you've been tawsed. By god it lingers. The fingers of it must fan out as it comes down then strikes your bum at near sound barrier speed.
Just after number three had been counted the remnants of the brick in my stomach must have tried to escape up my throat because as I blurted out thank you sir my voice croaked. The lump grew to a blockage as number four landed.
I couldn't help myself, an involuntary yelp shot out and as I opened my eyes again they were suddenly moistened with tears.
The blockage burst on number fives' arrival and a sound like a castrated wolf on a moonlit night filled the room. Probably filled the whole school block infact.
Six couldn't come soon enough for me then and I wanted only to rush to the boys toilets to try and dowse these flames on my arse.
As I pulled my shorts back up I hoped and prayed that dragon wasn't gloating outside the door, waiting to greet me.
Blame my I.D.