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Date: Sun, 20 Nov 1994 17:46:29 UTC
Subject: STORY - ANTON'S END - M/M - CP - Birching
Lines: 512


Which is what this story is chiefly concerned with Anton had set his heart on the little blue Citroen 2CV, which had been in the nearby showrooms of the former blacksmith for a week. At the price of 5,000 francs it could only have been a dream for him. His father had lived and died it the home which was theirs, and Anton's widowed mother had now to scrub floors and take in washing to raise the money to keep Anton at the Lycee. His father's last wish had been that Anton should complete his education and gain the full baccalaureate, and although he did his best to keep to his studies, he was madly jealous of the richer boys with their motor scooters and impending cars.

Pocket money was meagre, and Anton had tried to find a suitable job to get money for himself. Delivering papers did not pay well and he found the early morning rising difficult. market portering was well paid, but there was always a large throng of older boys after this work so that Anton was told, as often as not, 'No more today'. he had even tried running errands for the neighbours, but this work was unreliable and returns were not great. Wondering about his future and the 2CV, Anton was wandering down his street quite oblivious of anyone else when he dreams stopped very suddenly as a number of long parcels landed on his head and shoulders. As he stooped to pick them up, he found himself looking into the angry eyes of M. Dubois who lived four houses away. M. Dobois snarled;

"As you've made me drop them all, you had better help me carry them to the Post Office!"

As they entered the Post Office together, the Postmaster exclaimed "Good day, M. Dubois. You have a lot for me this week!"

"Yes," replied M. Dubois. "This fool of a boy walked into me, so I made him give me a hand." By now he was more good humoured and when all the parcels had been stamped said to Anton;

"If you've nothing better to do after school, you can carry these for me every day instead of my having to hump them once a week."

Anton knew better than to ask how much he would get and was pleasantly surprised to be given five francs for a week's work - almost a franc a day. He was intrigued by the size of the parcel, almost always long and narrow and he wondered what on Earth they could contain, but his enquiries were neatly parried whenever he asked.

He knew better than to be too inquisitive, and his patience was rewarded a few weeks later when M. Dubois said;

"My wife is not well today. If you can keep a secret you can help me with my work." Anton was delighted, but tried not to show it too much as he assured M. Dubois that he could indeed keep a secret. He was lead into the garden at the side of M. Dubois house. This garden always had been a source of wonder to him as nobody knew what it contained; but he now found it to be full of trees, with no fruit of any kind visible. M. Dubois led him on to the large garden shed, and before opening the door, said;

"Tell me have you ever been caned at school?"

Anton indeed had, and his father had also made free use of his martinet before he died. - the thing which had always puzzled Anton was that he never understood the cries and yells extracted from the other boys at school, and the impression that his father expected him to be in tears during a whipping. He felt a little embarrassed as he told M. Dubois,

"Yes Monsieur, frequently."

"Then you may know that there is a more powerful weapon called the birch," M. Dubois answered. "And that is what I make here."

As the door opened, Anton saw masses of twigs from the trees hanging round the walls - some still with their green leaves, and others stripped of leaves standing in a vat. M. Dubois explained that his birches travelled all over the world, but especially to England where they were still used in schools of correction. Then he got Anton to hold a bungle firmly while he applied rope round the end to hold it together. Anton proved to be a rapid learner, and after he had been shown a few times how to trim the ends and finish off with rubber tape M. Dubois would confidently leave this job to him while he answered the telephone in the house. Often on his return he would say;

"That's another dozen wanted for an English school, Court Lees this time. They wear them out quickly there."

Anton had been fascinated by the sight of the finished birchrods since he had first seen them, and as he found that M. Dubois left him alone for longer times, he began to take the rods ready for packing and swish them through the air - wondering what their effect would be on him. From these preliminary flourishes, he progressed to trying them with increasing force on his bared calf. One day he was so engrossed in this pursuit that he did not notice M. Dubois' return until he heard him say;

"Ah, you test them as well now! Good, but don't try too hard or they will break easily while they are so dry." He went on to say that the birches had to be soaked in water or brine before use to make the twigs supple, and that he could not get the full effect by using one on his calf.

Anton did not take much notice of this warning and whether by accident or design, the very next birch he tried proved to be very stiff and he was found by M. Dubois with the shattered rod and a multitude of twigs.

"Wretched boy," cried M. Doubois. "Will you pay for that one or will I take it out on your skin?"

Thinking of the 2CV, Anton sound found himself, minus his trousers, bending over the workbench while M. Dubois applied a fresh birch to his backside. He found it only a little more painful than the cane, and took the six firm strokes without a murmur. To his surprise, he heard M. Dubois say;

"That's just what I wanted to know. You can take it quite well!" Anton asked what he meant and M. Dubois replied that he must have noticed that many of the parcels did not go to schools, but to private citizens.

"These gentlemen love the birch, but most of all they like to birch - or see birched - a boy of 16 like you. They are prepared to pay dearly for the privilege - enough to buy that car you make sheeps eyes at down the road! Does the idea interest you? NO! Don't answer now, but sleep on it and let me know tomorrow."

Next lunch time, Anton went to the garage and asked M. Dupres if he would take his savings, 25 francs, as a deposit on the 2CV. He was surprised to find that the money was readily accepted with no comment on the small amount. When he entered the shed after school, again he was surprised to feel that M. Dubois seemed to know of his decision already.

"Would you like to see where 'La Fete de la Verge' will take place?" asked M. Doubois. And much to Anton's surprise they went to the large flat above M. Dupries' garage, where the owner welcomed them. After measuring Anton's height, then his body and legs separately, M. Dupres announced himself satisfied.

"How many will I have to take?" Anton asked.

"You and I, my boy, are going to enact a birching as was given to boy criminals in England some years ago. The devotees of the Birch will, I am sure, pay 20 francs a stroke and there are 10 of them, so if you take the full punishment of 24 strokes you will earn 4,800 francs."

"I don't know if I can take so many," Anton replied.

"Nor do I," M. Dubois said. "But if you remember that each stroke is worth 200 francs, I think you will survive. Anyway we shall have a doctor in attendance as part of the proceedings."

Anton didn't sleep to well during the next fortnight which was needed to make the arrangements, but kept the image of the car in his mind. He nearly backed out but found that M. Dupres could not keep the car much longer, and he knew no other way to get the money. Apart from his fear, he felt fascinated by the idea - in all rather confused He even asked M. Dubois is he would give him a more severe private birching, but he just laughed and said Anton would have to wait for 'La grande Fete de la Verge' to find out if he could take it.

At last the fateful Saturday arrived - Anton was glad it was Saturday, as Friday was his bath night and his mother would have been curious if he had wanted to bathe any other night. He had asked already if he should come dressed in any special way, but was not reassured when he was told he could come in any clothes he liked - it would not matter at all. M. Dubois had also told him he would be treated in every way like a criminal.

Soon after lunch M. Dubois announced it was time to go and they walked to M. Dupres' flat where Anton was shown a bedroom and told to undress completely. As he did so, he ran his hands over the smooth, firm skin of his buttocks, and wondered if they would ever feel the same again. The door opened and M. Dubois entered, carrying a white blouse, which he told Anton was an English 'Tee-shirt' and a pair of dark blue shorts, longer than Anton was accustomed to wearing.

"This is the English Approved School costume - you'll find a pair of boots under the bed, and they should fit well enough." As M. Dubois left again, Anton dressed, and found the shorts fitted tightly round his thighs and buttocks. The boots were enormous - highly polished in black leather. Waiting seemed an eternity, but the door opened at last revealing M. Dubois in a brief costume of black leather.

"Don't take what I say to heart - we want to make everything as realistic as is possible!" Then with one firm hand on Anton's shoulder, he propelled him into the room which was dimly lit - except for the centrepiece on which bright lights shone. And what a centrepiece! M. Dupres had called on all his blacksmith's skills to fashion an impressive Birching Block from iron girders and black leather.

Anton could see nothing of the observers except the glowing cigarette tips, and an occasional glimpse of features as they smoked; As in a dream, he heard M.Dubois say;

"Prisoner, you have been found guilty of robbery with violence and have been sentenced to the maximum - twenty-four strokes with the Birch. Have you anything to say why sentence should not be administered?" Anton tried to say something, anything, to get away from that terrible bench, but his tongue stuck to his mouth and no words came.

"Let us proceed then," said M. Dubois. "Get those clothes off!" Anton soon found his hands unwilling to move, and shrunk away, but his tee-shirt was gripped by M. Dubois and pulled over his arms and away.

"Off with those shorts, boy or it will be the worse for you." As he undid the buttons, Anton felt a quickening of interest in the room, and felt himself gazed upon as he slid the garment down past his knees and over the heavy boots.

"First the doctor will examine the prisoner to see if he is fit for punishment," said M. Doubois. And Anton now recognised M. Lucas, who was the veterinary surgeon of the nearby town. M. Lucas was obviously greatly aroused to see a naked boy in front of him, and so far forgot himself as to look at Anton's teeth and gums until prompted by M.Dupres to produce a tattered stethoscope from his pocket. A nod of approval followed, and M. Dubois stepped forward with a broad leather belt which he buckled firmly round Anton's waist. then he snapped handcuffs on the boy's wrists, and Anton's manhood sprang to life at this. As he instinctively covered himself with his hands he found himself drawn towards that impressive bench and tried to pull away, but his other arm was now held and in spite of his struggles found himself placed across it with his hands pulled towards the top.

Now he felt other straps fastened to the leather belt, and an experimental wriggle told him he could not move very far - but worse was to come, as his thighs and ankles were firmly secured to the uprights of the bench. Finally his elbows were fixed, leaving only his head and hands free to move. He now saw that there were no less than six of the longest birchrods, 1.2 metres, soaking in two separate vats. Then he heard M. Dubois say;

"Strokes will be given at intervals of ten seconds - counted by M. L'inspecteur. A fresh birch will be used after each six strokes and the prisoner will be examined when a birch is changed or at any time felt necessary.

Anton saw one of the birches removed from the first vat and shaken to remove the surplus liquid. Then he heard M. Dupres start counting, and his muscles of their own accord tightened in fear. In fact the first stroke came as a relief, but he now found the slow counting of the seconds terrifying. The first two strokes were not too painful, but the swish of the third was louder, and he cried out as the buds lashed his flank. He noticed that drops of water from the birch were flying all around the room and landing on various cigarettes, and by concentrating on this sight was able to take the next three strokes without further noise although the pain was severe. Now a brief respite as a fresh birch was taken from the first vat, and M. Lucas solemnly put the stethoscope under his chest.

The next birch was heavier, and he yelled in pain at each stroke - after the fourth he felt something warm running down his thighs and heard a unified gasp of satisfaction from the avid audience. The next two seemed a little lighter, and then came the business of changing the birch again, but now a difference! He heard M. Dubois say, "Now that the skin has been broken, we must change to a birch soaked in brine to prevent infection." As the thirteenth stroke fell, he found it was no worse than before - though that was bad enough - but the time of waiting between strokes now became a time of agony as the strong brine solution seeped into his torn buttocks and set them on fire. Without knowing it, Anton found himself biting fiercely on the links of his handcuffs, which was some comfort, but still a cry was forced from his lips at each stroke, only the duller agony was assuaged by his biting on the metal. He waited in hope after the 18th stroke was given while the birch was change and while M. Lucas checked his heart. 'Bon dieu,' Anton thought. 'If only he will say I have had enough"' But he heard M. Lucas say;

"Although this boy has been making a fuss, his heartbeat is strong, and he is quite fit to take the full punishment."

As if to savour the opportunity, M. Dubois gave him the nineteenth stroke harder than ever before and without waiting for the count of ten. Now that his hope was gone, Anton burst into tears like a baby - tears which died down between strokes and rose to crescendo at each. By now he had lost count, and when the last savage stroke fell he did not realise that his sufferings were nearly over. Then, to his horror, he heard M. Dubois say;

"Finally it is necessary to make sure that any abrasions are fully salted to avoid infection. Who would like to help?" Within a moment Anton felt a number of hands on his buttocks, forcing salt into his wounds; and he fainted clean away.

He awoke to a feeling of contentment until the pain in his buttocks came strongly to remind him of his ordeal. As his eyes grew accustomed to the light he found he was still at M. Dupres' flat - in a warm bath. The faint smell of roses was strangely comforting. M. Dubois was bathing his brow and looking concerned.

"Tell me, boy, how do you feel? Do you think you can still walk? You have been unconscious a long time, but there are still a couple of hours before your mother will expect you home yet." Then M. Dupres entered the bathroom, looking very relieved as he realised that Anton was conscious. His enquiries were cut short as M. Dubois said "He seems to be all right, but we must get him on his feet and back to normal so that he can return home in good time - otherwise his mother will beat him and she might notice the damage."

Anton couldn't help smiling as he visualised his mother's horror and realisation that she could not add to his punishment, and his smile was noticed by M. Doubois with a cry of delight. "See he can smile now. Quick, show him the money and that should complete the cure."

M. Dupres took a large role of bank notes from his pocket and said;

"Here you are - it is all yours, and you have earned it well. The devotees were really delighted! Hold it as long as you want, but it will be safer in my strongbox. The car is all ready for next week when you are seventeen." Anton asked about the missing 175 francs, but M. Dupres said he always gave a cash discount to those customers he favoured, and there was enough to pay the tax and insurance and keep the tank filled for a while.

Much to Anton's delight, his scars healed rapidly, and you may see him sitting comfortably in his blue "CV as he drives around the streets of Brussels with a cargo of long parcels in the back. Occasionally he can't afford petrol but finds that M. Dupres is happy to take it out of his skin to cover the cost - M.Dupres hasn't yet acquired the skill of M. Dubois with the birch!

If the truth be known, Anton is wondering if he would dare to endure a few more 'Fetes de Verge' so that he could buy a D.S. 19 which would really make his friends at school feel jealous of him.

******************************************************** As with all fiction, no reference is intended to any actual person, living or dead. And after all, it couldn't really happen, could it? *********************************************************


M. Dubois comments:

I've just seen Anton Mouchet's version of the tale. It's true as far as it goes, but he doesn't know it all by any means.

My business had been falling off a little, due to the British Authorities ceasing to use the birch officially; and although the kinky types were increasing, they didn't usually order in dozens. One of these kinky types had given me the idea - he once wrote that he would give anything to see a judicial birching. I asked him how much of this he meant and it seemed he would go a very long way to get his wish.

One or two others I asked also showed great interest, so I started looking around for an adult who was boyish enough to pass as a schoolboy - but those I saw all looked too old and unconvincing. Then Anton walked into my arms! At the time it was a _d_a_m_n_ed nuisance, as I had about fifteen parcels - all different sizes and quantities of rods, so I couldn't tie them up very well. The whole lot went flying - it felt as if a brick wall had hit me! As he bent down to pick them up his brawny thighs impressed me as a suitable target, and it needed little imagination to realise that his buttocks were just as well developed. I knew the family wasn't well off, and wasn't surprised when Anton jumped at the chance of a job.

When he had been working for me for a while, the Postmaster rang up for a chat - I hadn't seen him so often of course; and he told me that Anton might need a firm hand occasionally. Apparently his mother's arm wasn't as strong as his father's. I had also heard from one of the school-masters that Anton was quite unaffected by any normal punishment.

Then Roger Dupres told me about the boy who came and looked at the little Citrone at least four times a day - to and from school. and it turned out to be Anton. He hadn't a hope of raising the money unless.....

Well, my wife near did want to help in my work, but I used her illness as an excuse to get Anton into the shed. He says he tried not to show his delight too much! In fact a smile started in his mouth, spread to his eyes and his whole face lit up including his ears. He really couldn't smile any more broadly when he got the car.

I used to swish the rods through the air - it wasn't long before he caught on. I also used to leave him alone longer than necessary, and it wasn't long either before I heard the birch land on something soft - he didn't roll his sock up quickly enough either, and the very next day I caught him in the act of birching his calf. After the warning I took care not to leave him alone that day, and took a rather old birch into the house when I locked up and baked it in the oven - it really was brittle.

He seized the first opportunity next day, and the rod splintered like glass! I didn't think he would want to pay for it as I quoted three times the normal price. His buttocks were just as I had imagined - smooth, firm, well nourished flesh which rippled as he bent over. As he says, he took the six I gave him then - quite hard, but I didn't want to frighten him off. I didn't expect him to say No, but hadn't thought I would know by lunchtime - roger Dupres rang up immediately! I told Anton later that the devotees had paid more than I had first quoted, but he never knew they paid 50 francs a stroke - the birches had to be paid for, after all! Roger also had a lot to pay out for the many photos we took, but Anton got his car and was quite satisfied.

Two of the devotees came from England, and I wondered whether to leave Anton in his usual shorts - very attractive for the English, but thought it better that we used the Approved School kit for the benefit of the others.

Roger made a grand job of the birching block - the straps came just where they should have done and the boy couldn't move a millimetre. The rods were the british size of 48" - 1.2 metres was about the right conversion - they don't teach boys the old system any more. I always did use British measurements for rods - surprised Anton didn't follow suit. The first three strokes were merely 'tasters' as he says, but then an urge came over me to lay them on as hard as I could. I managed to resist it then, but he certainly got the rest of that six pretty hard - all 'stopper' strokes of course.

Of course, that idiot Lucas nearly wrecked the whole illusion. Anton always is good to look at, but the fool needn't have stood there and goggled when the boy was naked. Even when he did find his stethoscope, it was about as much use as a smashed rod - but I digress.

In fact the next birch was lighter, about 60% the weight of the first, but the difference was in the stroke - now the cutting stroke. I reckon if a bloke has come 800km and paid a lot of money into the bargain to see some results, he wants blood! Well, Anton's skin split in one place after the second of that six, but he doubtless didn't feel the blood until it was really welling down. Once the blood has started to come, it doesn't feel quite so bad until the brine takes effect.

I started using the drag strokes for the third birch - not dragging too much - just enough to open the cuts to let the salt in. Although Anton did cry out at each stroke, he still needed to be in full control of himself.

When Lucas was fumbling about with his tatty earpiece, I looked at Anton's face and found he could still manage a grin at me although his eyes were bright with unshed tears. As it was just possible that Lucas would stop the punishment, I wasted a bit of time by squeezing Anton's shoulder and quoting an English poet to him. @If you have tears, prepare to shed them now,' just so that he would know the last six would be the worst.

I don't know what came over me for the last six, but I wanted him to cry, and cry he did. First two were cutting stokes, then finished off with drag, but he was in such a state that it didn't matter which stroke I used.

I shall never know why I asked for volunteers to rub salt in - it nearly caused a riot, and perhaps it's just as well that Anton did faint. One of the customers had to be restrained from putting something other than salt into Anton - glad to see that two of the others dealt with him! One of the Englishmen went to Anton's head while the other was looking at his buttocks. He called me over to tell me that Anton was out cold - Lucas had joined the merry throng! Much to my surprise, M. Bonnet (not his real name of course) produced a stethoscope from his pocket. Although it was old it was well used and he knew how to use it. You can't work with a boy like Anton without getting to like him and my feelings must have shown on my face as the Englishman said;

"You didn't know I was a doctor, M. Dubois? Well, the boy is as strong as an ox, and his heart is beating like a bongo drum! But I think we might get him out of here and into a warm bath to get rid of that vicious salt."

The two of us got Anton free while Roger ran a bath for him, Luckily we had taken the money before we started, and told customers the show was over. He was a man, that doctor! He examined Anton's cuts and said they should heal up without any trouble, and waited until the boy had come to - an hour and a half!

Let's face it, Roger and I were both worried, and we were very grateful to that man - even offered him his money back as a fee, but he wouldn't take it. So Roger went downstairs and filled his petrol tank to the brim as a thanks-offering - the rolls took 80 litres, which must have saved him a good many visitor's coupons.

Lucas was wandering around with that blasted stethoscope round his neck, and Dr Bonnet looked at the end once, swore in English, and blew down it! Just as well that Lucas snatched the earpiece out of the way - the amount of fluff and rubbish which came out was incredible. Then Doctor Bonnet rounded on Roger and me and told us that if we ever had another 'Fete' we must call on him as Doctor. Apparently he was quite used to it before 1948!

Anton hasn't told you the Doctor gave him a holiday in England for a month. I can't imagine what a fashionable Doctor in Eastbourne does with a dozen 24" birchrods a month, but he didn't use them on Anton while he was there.

Must have a word with Roger about these private sessions. If Anton gets too used to the birch we won't get any reactions if it ever does come to another 'Fete', and that would never do!