Getting dressed for school is always a chore , especially as I was running late, as usual. Being all of thirteen years old and living with my aunty Charlotte wasn't all that bad, she is a kindly woman and took me in some ten years ago now. But her own harsh upbringing had taught her many things. How to keep a thirteen year old boy in line was one of them.
'Gary, are you dressed yet ?' Came the familiar tone from downstairs.
'Yes aunty, just coming' and I muttered under my breath sounds of ecstasy whilst making a hollow fist and shaking it up and down as I reached the top of the stairs.
'Have you got all your school books this time ?' aunty said as she made a beeline for my satchel hanging off the back of the kitchen chair. Too late to intercept her I quickly replied,
'Yes aunty' and 'is that the postman coming?' Pointing at the window. She didn't fall for it and proceeded to open my satchel. My heart started pounding.
The pause between discovery and reaction was palpable, a mere second maybe.
'What on earth ?' ...........
The previous day I had 'rented' a rather old and tatty copy of Penthouse from Charlie Greeves for the princely sum of two pounds, on the understanding it would be returned the next day, today !
Charlie is a sixth former and doesn't have a great sense of humour, well not with us third year pupils anyway. If he saw how aunty had screwed it up and threw it in the kitchen bin I doubt a smile would even have graced his lips. Aunty wasn't smiling either as she dragged me by the ear, sat down on the chair, yanked my trousers down and flung me across her thighs. I barely had time to take a breath before she pulled my underpants down and proceeded to spank my bum with all her might. It stung like crazy and tears were soon hitting the kitchen floor to form individual puddles.
School was a good ten minute walk away and it was now 08:55. I rubbed my sore bum as aunty gave my hearing a stern test. Thankfully she turned and bustled out the door to the parlour, giving me just enough time to retrieve Charlie's mag from the bin and stuff it down the back of my trousers as I pulled them up.
'Gotta go aunty, I'm late,' I shouted and fair ran out of the house, satchel swinging behind me.
Unbeknown to me, aunty had gone into the parlour to retrieve the leather strop with the intention of telling me what to expect when I got home. To find me gone must have perturbed her somewhat but not as much as when she peered into the bin to find only last nights plate scrapings.
'Little bugger !!!! I'll fix him,' was probably what she had said as she lifted the telephone and then dialled the number for my school.
Truth be told, my first port of call as I entered the school gates was to seek out Charlie and return the article of my downfall ( and reason for my sore posterior ), even if it did mean missing assembly. Sixth formers never had to attend anyway and I knew he was bound to be in the bike sheds smoking with his cronies. But before I could round the corner of the building I heard,
'Gary Bartwell ! come here please,'
Headmistress Blackburn was standing at the main entrance and her left hand was firmly implanted on her hip whilst the other was beckoning with one finger, straight at me.
'Shit,' I whispered as I pushed my satchel to my back, into which the mag had been returned whilst on the way to school.
'What time do you call this ?' Her rhetorical question very nearly getting a reply but for her next sentence.
'Follow me boy !'
Just why private Frazer popped into my head I don't know but I could hear his catchphrase 'we're doomed' and the smile it produced did nothing to improve Miss Blackburns mood.
'You can wipe that silly grin off your face for a start young man,' she said as I stood in front of her desk in the headmistress's study.
She then regaled the telephone conversation she'd had that morning with my aunty, in all it's embarrassing details and then pronounced my sentence, in a quite matter of fact fashion.
'Six of the best is the traditional punishment for such outrageous behaviour young man but as we have just gone metric in our coinage, I propose to give you ten.'
I hardly had time to take in this information as the knot in my stomach tightened when she added,
'On the bare.'
Private Frazer fucked off and was replaced by engineer Scottie of startrek, only this time it wasn't funny. I knew I would shortly be hearing, 'she canee take any more captain.'
The headmistress got up from her chair, slowly and purposefully walked to the corner of her study and retrieved a cane that hung on a hook from the front of a cupboard. My eyes followed her every step until she turned to face me, then I averted them to my feet, hoping upon hope that what was about to happen, wouldn't.
'I'll first like to see this magazine that your aunt says you have,' her voice quite steady and calm. I swung my satchel round my body and opened the flap. With shaking hand I carefully lifted it out as if it were a ticking time bomb and placed it into her outstretched hand. I could feel the blood rush to my face as headmistress looked down and flicked the pages through. With a sudden motion that made me jump she slammed it down on the table in front of me and said,
'Take those trousers down and place your nose precisely in the middle of this disgusting piece of garbage !'
I didn't hesitate for a moment, not wanting to anger her further, and was quickly in position with both arms outstretched across the width of her desk, my nose pressed lightly on the cool front cover of the magazine.
Her pace was slow and deliberate as she rounded to my left side, her fingers taking a grip on the side of my pants. Then I felt a cold touch of something right at the top of my crease and with a sudden jerk the crook of the cane helped my underpants go south. My ears were pounding with the sound of heartbeat and my stomach had shrunk to the size of a walnut, the cane was now lightly touching the middle of my bare and shaking bottom. It left.....then a ghostly swish and a crack and then.......nothing.....a pause of what seemed like an age, surely that must have hurt, then oh my god, a burn like a branding mark rushed across my cheeks. I couldn't stop it if I had tried my hardest for a yelp escaped that surprised and shocked me. I had no time to take all this in when the second searing stroke struck just below the first, forcing my nose to leave the page and a second howl of anguish to fill the room.
The front cover was now slightly magnified by the pool of tears that lay on it, my fists ached and my heart bursting from the pain in my bottom. Headmistress slowly walked back to the corner, rehung her cane and turned to walk back. Ten red and prominent stripes now adorned my once smooth and pale bum and I flinched as she snatched the magazine from the table.
'I will destroy this filth young man and I hope this has been a lesson to you, do you hear me ?'
I somehow managed between sobs to reply,
'You can stand in the corner facing my cane while I fill out the punishment book but don't you dare to touch your bottom boy.'
This was turning out to be a very bad day I mused whilst standing in the corner, not least because Charlie would not be best pleased at losing one of his money makers. But looking on the bright side at least aunty would be pleased now that the slate was wiped clean. Never one to hold a grudge, aunty always forgave and forgot once a punishment had been dished out..........
Surprising how wrong a thirteenth year old boy can be of such things. I was still blissfully unaware of the strop and my impending appointment with it when I got home.
It may be a ten minute walk under normal circumstances but the way home took much longer as my bruised stomach and arms were giving me gyp after my little 'discussion' with Charlie.
It was official, he has no sense of humour. But at least I had a nice tea with aunty to look forward to, but I wouldn't be telling her of my injuries. A snitch I am not. The tear in my trouser knee might prove a little trickier though. I know, the idea popped into my head and seemed quite feasible, I'll say I fell while running to school that morning. Good plan I thought as I walked up the path to the front door.
'How was your day my little angel ?' aunty asked as I closed the door behind me.
Now that's odd, I thought, she never calls me that. Something's up. As I entered the kitchen aunty was standing in front of the sink but in her hand was no washing up utensil. The strop was slowly and very gently tapping her left hand, her eyes slightly narrow and very menacing, bore into me. Victor Meldrew made an appearance and shouted in my brain, 'I don't BELIEVED IT!'
'You can get up them stairs and wash ready for bed,' said aunty,
'Then I will see you in the parlour in your pyjamas in fifteen minutes my man.' The strop smacking slightly harder on her hand as she spoke the last two words.
I can empathize with the condemned man I thought as I descended the stairs, my pyjama bottoms pressing painfully on my bottom with every step. I was already tearful as I opened the parlour door to be greeted by the sight of aunty sat on the Ottoman in front of the window.
'Now, now,' she said in an almost sympathetic tone.
'I know you have already had your punishment at school, but this must be done.'
At least it would be over her knee and not bent over the chair. Small comfort, but when you're in the shit, small comforts count.
'Get over my knee young man and let's get this sorry business over with.'
Compliant to the end I spread myself across her lap and closed my eyes in anticipation of the stinging slaps of her strop....I didn't have to wait long.
Aunty most carefully peeled my bottoms down to my knees and then quite surprisingly, stroked my bum with a gentle, parental touch.
'My my......Headmistress certainly knows how to cane you naughty boys doesn't she ?'
I gave no answer but kept my eyes shut and just nodded slightly. Her hand moved to the small of my back and I knew it was coming........SMACK !!!
The strop struck home on my right bum cheek and stung like a hundred bee stings. A full two seconds later my left cheek received the same painful slap. I could contain my anguish no longer as the third stroke again landed on the right one and I bawled my eyes out.
As I lay on my stomach in bed a mere ten minutes later, hungry, tired and still getting those strange inward sobs that come at intervals, I reflected on the six strokes aunty gave me with the strop. She is most certainly a kindly soul as I knew in my heart of hearts that I deserved more. But then.............I had,
Had a bad day.