A prefect had left the Scroll Valley School for Boys in order to move abroad with his parents. A new prefect had to be appointed. The final decision was the headmaster`s, but he had first consulted the other teachers and the head boy, Arnold Thomson. Thomson was pleased that his recommendation, Mark Pea_c_o_c_k_, had been accepted by the headmaster, and it was now his, Thomson`s, job to show Pea_c_o_c_k_ the ropes.
Thomson had had a long chat with Pea_c_o_c_k_ that morning, mainly about routine duties such as supervising prep and checking lights out in the dormitories etcetera. They arranged to meet again just after four o`clock that afternoon.
"Ah! Mark" said Thomson when they met up again - the prefects used first names to each other except in front of the other boys - "I`ll take you somewhere you`ve never been before, - in the prefects` common room. You are now entitled to use it whenever you wish."
Thomson led him into the room. There were two other prefects in there.
"Hi Mark!" said one of them, "Welcome to the den!"
"You`ll find a lot of home comforts here." Thomson said, "Armchairs, television, video, radio, a real coal fire in the winter and you can make yourself a cup of tea or coffee whenever you want."
"We`ve just brewed up the tea." said one of the prefects, "You both want a cup?"
Thomson and Pea_c_o_c_k_ settled down with a cup of tea. "Now we come to the matter of corporal punishment." said the former, "You have to consider the circumstances carefully, such as how serious the offence is, whether the offender is normally of good behaviour or always in trouble, what age he is and so on. I`ve got Barlow reporting to my study at five o`clock. I caught him reading a book by flashlight under the bedclothes last night. I was thinking of giving him three with the slipper! I think I will let you do the the honours, Mark! It will be a nice little starter for you!"
Three whacks was Thomson`s genuine intention, but it was destined not to work out that way!
"Only three?" asked Pea_c_o_c_k_, "Will he feel it?"
"If you mean can twelve year olds take three easily the answer is yes! But it does hurt. They get up pretending it doesn`t but they are just longing to rub their backsides! Only pride stops them! You must make the punishment fit the crime. He has not stolen the Crown Jewels, has he?"
Just at that moment another prefect entered the room. He looked across to Thomson. "Arnold, did you know that Scrivens has been standing outside your study for a quarter of an hour?"
"Yes! I havn`t forgotten him. How`s he looking?"
"He looks as if he`s about to mess his trousers at any moment!" said the prefect, "What`s he been up to?"
"I caught him taking a short cut across that piece of re-seeded grass which we`ve all been ordered to keep off." replied Thomson. "I told him to go and wait outside my door for a spanking! I`m letting him stew for a while!"
"You`re going to spank a nine year old for walking on a piece of grass!" said Pea_c_o_c_k_, "That hardly fits in with what you were telling me about making the punishment fit the crime!"
Thomson did not answer directly. He smiled at Pea_c_o_c_k_ and winked. "I think he`s been shaking in his shoes long enough! Come along Mark! Let`s go and sort him out. I`ll show you how I deal with some of the younger boys!"
The two prefects went along the corridor to Thomson`s study. Scrivens was standing outside the door. To say that he was trembling would be an understatement! Vibrating would be a more apt description! With a fierce expression on his face, Thomson pointed a finger at the boy`s nose.
"Scrivens! You will put a foot on that grass again at your peril!" Then Thomson`s expression changed to a smile! He gave the boy a gentle slap on his bottom! "Now hop it, you little scallywag!"
Scrivens just stood there wondering if he had understood Thomson correctly!
"Well go on, before I change my mind and give you that spanking! Scoot!"
Sheer relief spread across the boy`s countenance!"Oh! Thank you Thomson! Thank you!" he said as he made a hasty retreat down the corridor.
"I don`t think he will go on the grass again!" chuckled Thomson as they went into the study. "He`s a nice little kid really, but he`s got to learn that rules are there to be obeyed. Now we wait for Barlow. He will be here in twenty minutes time. I will do the talking until I hand you the slipper, then if you feel it`s necessary to say anything to him I will leave it to you, but I will intervene if I have to."
Barlow arrived promptly at five o`clock. He seemed strangely unconcerned about what might be in store for him. Thomson smelt a rat right from the start!
"You know very well that it`s against the rules to read under the bedclothes after lights out, don`t you Barlow?"
"But Thomson," protested the boy, "next term I shall be in the forth form and lights out will be an hour later anyway!"
"Yes!" agreed Thomson, " Next term you will be thirteen, lights out will be at ten o`clock and you will be in long trousers! But that`s next term! This term you are a little boy in short trousers who has to go bye-byes at nine o`clock! Is that understood?"
"Yes Thomson." replied Barlow.
"You are going to get three of the slipper!" Thomson told him, "That`s little more than a warning! Woe betide you if you are caught at it again! I presume you have seen on the notice board that Pea_c_o_c_k_ is now a prefect. He will give you your punishment!"
Thomson refrained from telling him that he was Pea_c_o_c_k_`s first guinea pig! He put a cushion on the table about two feet from the edge. "Climb up onto the table and kneel on the cushion." ordered Thomson. Barlow did as he was bid. "Now bend forward and bury your face in your hands on the table." Again harlow complied. Thomson handed Pea_c_o_c_k_ the slipper. Pea_c_o_c_k_ raised the slipper to deliver the first blow.
"Wait!" cried Thomson, "Dose something seem wrong to you, Pea_c_o_c_k_?"
Pea_c_o_c_k_ looked mystified. "Er. What?" he asked.
"I know what a bottom should look like when the trousers are stretched tightly around it!" said Thomson "There should be two distinct cheeks with a concavity down the middle. Barlow`s bottom is one continuous curve! I assume Barlow has got a crack in his bum! He`s a most unusual boy if he hasn`t!"
Thomson patted the boy`s backside. "O. K. Barlow, what have you got it padded with?"
A frightened little voice came from behind the hands! "A newspaper, Thomson!"
"I thought so! Kneel upright and remove it!"
Barlow raised his trunk to an upright position and put his hand down the back of his trousers to remove the newspaper. He certainly was not looking unconcerned now!
"Now get your head down again!" Thomson was genuinely annoyed that the boy had tried to cheat the slipper. "That looks better! Two separate cheeks and......." Thomson ran a finger all the way down the seam of the boy`s trousers ".......a crack down the middle!"
"Shouldn`t he have extra punishment for this?" asked Pea_c_o_c_k_.
"Oh! Yes indeed! An extra five for the newspaper making eight strokes altogether! And what`s more he`s going to have no padding at all! We`re going to have these down" said Thomson, patting him on the bottom again. "Kneel up again Barlow and drop your trousers and briefs to your knees!"
It was a very nervous and distraught Barlow who obeyed the order. "Get down again!" Thomson lifted the shirt tail and tucked it under the boy`s vest. He signaled to Pea_c_o_c_k_ to begin.
Crack! The first whack landed on it`s target. Pea_c_o_c_k_ raised the slipper ready for the second stroke.
"Not too fast!" said Thomson, "Give it a few seconds for the sting to reach it`s full height!" After about ten seconds he gave Pea_c_o_c_k_ a nod.
Crack! Another pause and then - Crack!
"That`s three, Barlow. That would have been the lot if you handn`t tried that newspaper lark!" Thomson told him.
"You will notice," said Thomson addressing Pea_c_o_c_k_, "That he is trying to twist his bottom to the left. This is quite usual! The left cheek is getting the worst of it and he is trying to give it a rest and let the right cheek take more of the punishment! Make sure that the slipper keeps landing on the same spot as before!"
"You crying yet, Barlow?" asked Thomson
"You could have fooled me!" said Thomson "The next one should make sure of it!"
"Aowl! Aowl! Aowl! Aowl!"
The tears flowed as soon as the sixth blow landed, and Barlow`s right hand shot out to try to protect his bottom!
"Take your hand away!" shouted Pea_c_o_c_k_. Thomson nodded approvingly. The hand returned to the tearful face.
"Aowl! Aowl! Aowl! Aowl! Aowl!"
The hand returned to shield his bottom! "Take your hand away!" This time the hand did not move! Pea_c_o_c_k_ put on a really angry voice. "I said take your hand away, Barlow!"
Once again Thomson nodded his approval. The hand was reluctantly removed!
"Aowl! Aowl! Aowl! Aowl!
Barlow had obviously been able to keep count. He started to get up.
"Have I told you to get up? Keep down until I tell you to get up!" shouted Pea_c_o_c_k_.
Thomson looked pleased! Pea_c_o_c_k_ was getting the idea! "Quite right!" said Thomson, "He wants to get up and rub his stinging little bum! Well, he`s not going to yet!"
After a couple of minutes Thomson indicated with his hands to Pea_c_o_c_k_ to let the boy get up.
"All right! Up you get Barlow and get your trousers up."
Barlow lifted himself up to the upright kneeling position. He no longer wanted to rub his backside, the worst of the sting had passed. He pulled up his briefs and trousers and climbed off the table. Thomson let him go. Barlow left the study still crying profusely.
"Not a bad start, Mark! You`re coming along nicely!"
"Arnold," said Pea_c_o_c_k_ looking a little embarrassed, "I`ve got a hard on!"
Thomson laughed. "If you handn`t I would have thought there was something wrong with you! We don`t get paid for being prefects, but it does have it`s compensations!"