I had the dubious distinction of being the last boy caned at my school. The year was 1989. Our government had signed an international protocol prohibiting corporal punishment, effective from January 1, 1990.
It was the final day of the third term and also my last at school. I was 15 years old. It was all Thwaites' fault. The junior boy had refused to hand over his school lunch money. I was obliged to reason with Thwaites by holding him up by his legs so his head was almost inside the bowl of a blocked toilet.
"Wretched boy!" The booming voice of the headmaster was such a surprise I almost dropped Thwaites. The man quickly grabbed the little lad by his waist, turned him upright and set him down. He turned to face me, white with anger.
"Go to the changing room. Remove your uniform shorts and underpants and put on your P. T. kit. Then wait outside my study".
I did as I was told. My P. T gear was at home so I rifled through the other lockers until I found a pair of thin cotton shorts. They were far too big for me but I hitched them up around my waist. How strange! I, who had diligently managed to avoid beatings, was about to get my first biffing on my last day of school.
I waited in the corridor. I was no stranger to corporal punishment at home. Mum was un-married but there was always an 'uncle' or two on hand. Those low-lifes were more than happy to dish out frequent hidings. Mum thought boys needed a man's firm hand.
The headmaster rounded the corner in full flight, his black gown billowing out behind him. He swept me into his study and slammed the door.
"I will not tolerate bullying. You are a disgrace to the school". He picked up a senior cane. "Bend over!"
As I reached to touch my toes, I felt the shorts slip enough to expose the top half of my bum. I flushed with embarassment.
A bar of flame scorched my rump. He waited for ten seconds until the hurt was at its peak.
I let out a yelp. He was aiming at the exposed flesh.
My eyes flooded with tears.
My bum was on fire.
The cane painfully whacked a fresh welt and I yelled like a little kid.
Somehow I'd managed to keep count. He'd biffed me six times, the usual maximum. I stood up.
"Get back down! My arthritis prevents me from giving you the thrashing you deserve. Two more strokes to compensate for it".
'Arthrits' did not prevent the headmaster from horse riding and playing golf. My moving had caused those very loose shorts to fall further, completely baring my flogged buttocks. I was beyond caring.
"Aaaaghhhhhhh!!" . T-H-W-I-P!!!!!!!
That last stroke cut a vicious new path through the forest of welts. Surely that was the end of it? The headmaster who had never had the satisfaction of caning a boy on his bare buttocks before, thought otherwise.
"Stay down!" he warned. He waited a full minute before unleashing another four strokes. Pleased to be able to see the canvas he was working on, the headmaster aimed the stick with such force and accuracy that each fresh whack was devastatingly effective.
"Get up!" If I hadn't been hurting so much I'd have noticed the tinge of remorse in his voice. The savage beating he'd given me had broken Education Department rules. I had never been biffed before but realised in my misery that he had gone too far.
Slowly I stood upright. The shorts were now around my ankles. The headmaster gently pulled them up over my tortured bum. I stood there sobbing my heart out. The man cleared his throat and gave me a linen hankerchief. I dried my eyes while the headmaster sat at his desk, busy writing. After some minutes he looked up at me. I handed him the handkerchief. He threw it into his wastepaper basket.
The headmaster was a decent man. The thrashing had been long overdue. I had enough insight to realise that. Quietly I said: "I deserved them, sir. Every one". The headmaster looked relieved. He pulled a pad of school note paper towards him and wrote some more.
"You still keen on cars?" The headmaster was referring to a happier occasion when his Mazda had broken down. I looked under the bonnet and noticed a lead was off a spark-plug. He had been impressed when the motor roared to life again.
"Good. I've written a letter of introduction to Mr Saunders. He owns that service station on the High Street. He might be looking for an apprentice mechanic". He folded the note and handed it to me. I stuffed it into a pocket and was dismissed.
Slowly, I made my way along the corridor to the changing rooms, thankful the other lads were in class. I gingerly touched my bum which felt red hot. While I was changing back into my uniform I touched it again. The painful ridges were like corrugations in my flesh. I emptied my locker and walked home.
Inside our dilapidated rented dwelling I could hear voices coming from Mum's bedroom. She had an 'uncle' with her. I lay face down on the bed in the squalid little room I shared with Bruce my young brother. The pain of the beating had been unreal and my bum still hurt like hell. I eased my shorts down and let the breeze from the open window cool my scorched rear. I drifted off to sleep.
"Wow!" 12 year old Bruce, home from school, surveyed the 'damage'. "Can I feel your bum?"
"Don't you dare" I warned him, pulling my pants back up. Bruce looked at me with shining eyes. I was very fond of my kid brother. He had the brains of our family and someday might even go to university.
"Must have hurt an awful lot" he said, "Worse than dopey Derek?" He was the 'uncle' who had tendersied Bruce's small bum with the buckle-end of a belt until I pulled the leather out of his hands.
I nodded. "You won't have to worry because schools aren't allowed to biff boys any more". Bruce looked a bit disappointed at the thought of missing out on an age-old rite of passage.
The next morning I walked to the service station in the High Street. Mr Saunders wiped his hands with a rag before reading the headmaster's note. He decided to put me on probation: cleaning the place and working the pumps on the forecourt.
The weeks turned to months as Mr Saunders taught me new skills. I was a quick learner and good with my hands. At home, Bruce was thrust headlong into puberty with all the changes in mood that adolescence brings. Mum was between 'uncles' so asked me to sort Bruce out. I was very reluctant but the boy badly needed correction. I decided a 'short sharp shock' might be easier on both of us. I was already as big as a man so able to enter our town's coyly named 'Cupid Shop' and make a purchase.
That night Mum went to visit a friend. I found Bruce bouncing a ball against a wall and took him into our bedroom. He looked a bit scared: "Mum said you're going to give me a hiding".
"Well, someone has to make you see sense". I catalogued his most recent offences. It was a long list.
"You going to belt me on the bum?" Bruce asked.
"No". Bruce looked relieved. "You're too big for that". I reached under my bed and pulled out the wicked looking cane purchased earlier. I scythed it through the air. My kid brother went very pale. "Turn around. Pull down your pants and bend over that chair". He did as he was told. I peeled off his underpants, baring his bum. The sight of his tender boy-orbs threatened to scuttle my plan but I hardened my heart. His crease closed over a tiny pink bud which I decided to use as my target because it was surrounded by the most flesh.
Slowly I administered six firm strokes to Bruce's quivering bottom. Vivid red weals sprang up across the white skin. After the second stroke had landed, Bruce let out an odd noise of distress, a cross between a groan and a scream. By the time I had finished with him Bruce was yelling his head off. How I wanted to keep on whacking that little bare bum! The dynamic of dominance and submission is a very powerful one. I was little more than a boy myself but able to exercise more self-control than my headmaster had.
"It's over. Next time you'll get seven" I warned, putting down the stick. Bruce's bottom was criss-crossed with livid ridges. He flung himself on top of his bed and sobbed as if his heart would break. I had to tear myself away from the sight of that very sore bum.
Bruce was fast asleep when it was time for me to go to bed. I pulled the duvet over him. Sleep did not come easily to me that night. I hated myself for hurting Bruce. When I did sleep I dreamed I was a schoolboy again, bending over for the headmaster,
The next morning Bruce was back to his usual self again. Mum remarked on the improvement in his behaviour. There were to be other times when I was required to correct my brother. Fortunately for both of us they were few and far between. Each time I raised the penalty by one stroke. The last time I had to beat him he took twelve strokes as hard as I could lay them on. After he'd recovered Bruce gave me a hug and whispered 'sorry'. Believe me, so was I.
My brother did go on to become the only member of our family to go to university. He studied hard and is now a lawyer - as if the world needed another one! I'm dead proud of him. Mr Saunders opened a new branch and made me Manager. Mum has another no-hoper sponging off her. Some things NEVER change.