Myrtle Springs, Mississippi, was not the place to be for anyone with a puff of adventure in 1965. War and counter-culture left us alone in our self-satisfied particularity on the banks of the Tallahala. Fathers and mothers expected coaches to teach their sons values and the solid verities of our region. Mainly this involved a citified version of revival religion burned into athletic souls with coach's paddle. Dads were busy making livings in our region for the first time since the depression so they more or less left this instruction to coaches. Maybe the reason I think the way I think is that Dad and my visits to the bedroom with his strap came to be times I treasured because they were ours and all his attention was mine.
My friend Mike, a full grade ahead of me, got me ready for the grand world of high school. Ninth grade then meant the nearly-adult world where seniors left school for war or college, even if that just meant Laurel State. Mike explained all the mysteries of the world ahead that year as school started. Most importantly, he personally showed me what it was like to be paddled by coach. We used my older brother's frat paddle in the attic at home with me bent over a discard table up there. This was not Daddy's strap; and before Mike laid lick number ten on my bare ass, great gobbets of sweat were staining the shirt bunched up my back and under my arms. My eyes watered and I wanted to cry out. How would I hold up the first time Coach More needed to smack the wood to me.
Fear of the body drives southern religion and coach's paddle sought to inscribe its terrible message on boy's bottoms. Our job was to subdue the nastiness of body for higher ways. 1965 no one questioned the right of coach to paddle or preach; we got both. Coach More happened actually to be a preacher on weekends; weekdays he presided over PE classes and a football tean run by student assistants. I didn't really think he did more than take roll and paddle boys's butts. You knew the inevitable would happen with Coach; your older brothers and older friends warned you: Be Prepared! He'll get you first semester ninth grade. You see, I'd been more than warned.
High School Football in southern county towns is more ritual than game. Men talk it in the barbershop and courthouse. Women cook special football night meals and invite friends for after the game. Even families without players get excited; everyone goes to games. Pep assemblies the afternoon of a game always hit me as sixties renditions of Sunday morning mass -- only exciting. Players and cheer leaders and coaches ran into the big gym where all the students had gathered already and our nationally ranked band built its crescendo of emotion with Susa and Joplin. Team captains spoke and coaches reminded us that these boys couldn't do it without us. Cheerleaders and pep squads finished it all off with frantic pom poms and the flourish of crimson and gold. I got my first real look at grown-girl panties.
That October we did a dippy unit in archery for PE and those afternoons were dreadful: five boys shot, retrieved their arrows, handed bow and arrows to five more boys, and then you waited. The Fatal Afternoon summer-like heat made the whole affair miserable in the extreme. I couldn't wait to get home, have a bowl of ice cream, watch re-runs, and wait for the game. Coach ran us the perimeter of the grounds and sent us toward showers. Could I make it through one last class: history? Cool water felt great and I settled on the changing bench drying carefully enjoying the rambunctious air of ninth grade boys excited on a football afternoon. Snapping towels and more than a few lewd remarks punctuated that steamy air. Without much thought and no motive I smacked Jason Leyland on the ass as he walked back from the shower. Coach stood not five feet away; my time had come. "Shay, I want to see you in my office."
We knew the drill and where it led, but I was naked. What should I do. Did I put gym clothes back on. Did I dress, only to undress once I got there. A junior PE assistant came to my rescue. "Shay, get a jock on and get to Coach's office. You're really dead meat if you don't get moving." I got that Bike supporter untangled and on my naked body and hustled to the office across the other side of the vacant basketball practice court. Coach stood behind his desk waiting.
Coach More's paddle, legend had, was made by a swimmer who'd made an Olympic Squad in the fifties and claimed he owed everything to Coach. This paddle was a work of art, shiny from years of boy sweat and tailored just for coach. Black Moriah they called it. The wood was lignum vitae -- the hardest known boys said. Pitch black, twenty-two inches long with a carefully-molded handle, and a procession of twelve blister-raising holes down its blade. That blade tapered as it ran 3/8" at its head; 7/8" at its butt -- like a wedge of cheese. I'm told the taper made the thing the tool of righteousness it was meant to be.
Coach used these occasions to preach. "Shay, I can't believe you don't know better. Boys don't touch other boys like that. It's not decent; you're not the sort who does that. I know your people. You've got a brother defending our country. He'd be ashamed of you. We're not like that long-haired bunch in California here. Now get over the table and get ready."
Here was the big moment and I was terrified. This was my sure-enough entrance into high school and I didn't know whether I could take it or not. I stood back from the table and bent down cradling my arms the way we'd been told to do. Coach came up beside me and I felt Black Moriah between my legs. "Spread 'em a bit more." He rested the paddle against my naked ass as though positioning himself; I could feel where wood gave way to holes and thought for a second the smooth surface almost felt good. "OK"
It all happened as he said it. He must have raised his arm to strike even before he spoke. I clenched my eyes and teeth. My eyes kalidescoped red and blue, then flecks of light. True to his word, Coach let you breath after the first one. "It's got to hurt, Son, if you're going to be a man." Before the second one, I was aware of needle hits of pain, bright jabs across my ass. The holes I guessed. Guessing ended when he hit again and again quickly. By the fourth lick, I was in deadly pain and fearful I was going to embarrass myself but lick number five hit a somewhat deadened target and I opened my eyes and took stock of what was happening. There I was bent over Coach's table, wearing nothing but a jock, my little boy nipples hard as ten-penny nail points, Coach stood aside and back, paddle raised. I watched number six descend and felt my cheeks ride against one another with the gathering sweat. Number seven found me wondering whether Coach played tennis; his swing was good. Number eight seemed to break in mid strike.
"Sorry, Son, I normally give first-timers just seven. There's a lesson for ya."
There was no command to leave, no further communication. By walking away and tossing his paddle dramatically to the desk Coach signaled the end of this session. Me, in nothing but a jockstrap, I made my way somewhat uneasily to the locker room where sixth period PE students were busily transforming themselves into gym whites. Well, I was late to history anyway. What could I do? I dressed and headed to the TastiFreez on the corner.
Fate had a plan here that I didn't see just that particular second. There stood Mike. "Hey! Sorry to hear you and Coach tangled. Was it awful?"
I was mortified. "Yeah, ass-biting awful. Who told."
"Patrick, your PE assistant; we're both cutting a pop quiz in biology. Anyone home at your house?"
"Mike, I don't feel like playing."
"No, man, not that. But I might be able to make things feel better."
"Come on, Let's go."
My house would be empty until 6:30; Friday nights kept Mom and Dad at his office late to close out the books. Mike interrogated me as we walked. Inside, Mike detoured through the dining room where he took two candles from the holders on the sideboard. What funky, hippie thing is he up to I thought. We stopped at the fridge to get cokes and Mike reached a stick of margarine. I had no idea. Our spot was the attic room, semi-finished and a retreat for kids. Even if they did come home they'd never invade the attic. This is where our strip poker marathons of summer were held, and Mike and I had kept some of that up together since school started in September.
"Well, let me see," Mike near demanded as we reached the playroom. I dropped my trousers and shorts revealing a semi-hard _c_o_c_k_. "Bend over the table."
"No, I don't want any more of that," I said, "I've had enough for one day."
"Silly, I just want to see." As I leaned over the table, in a frightening mime of the position I'd just suffered in, he gasped. "That's one hell of a hematoma." Mike's medical aspirations seemed more than a little forced at times but here I knew he was right. "There are rings and blotches where the holes must have hit." (Years later, my spanking research would tell me a paddle with holes sucks at the flesh, abrading it contusively.) "Wow, that's worse than anything I've ever done to you. Here, let me spread some margarine on it."
Yes, the humor of buttering my buns struck home but Mike's hands felt cool and gentle against my throbbing flesh. Coach would have a stroke if he could see us now. Mike massaged for a time then said, "Okay, go over and get on all fours on the bed with your head down."
"Mike, I don't want any more ass-beating I said; this isn't the time. It's all yours when it heals."
"No, stupid, I know a way to make you feel great." I read about it in a magazine Harrison keeps in his footlocker. These people write letters to something called Forum; it's all about things to do in bed.
I crouched on the bed, kneeling with my head down. "Spread your knees some more." I'd heard that before today. Call me clueless; I had no idea what he planned but I trusted myself to this older boy.
Mike's left thumb and middle finger delicately spread my cheeks and before I could utter much by way of protest, the socket-end of a candle was invading my ass. "Are you crazy man?"
"Shut up! You're going to love this. The letters say a man's prostate is more sensitive than his _d_i_c_k_. You won't believe anything can be like it is when I hit your gland."
For one shooting moment, I wondered if Mike's secret magazine reading had somehow become fatally intertwined with his medical aspirations but then the sensations began to drown out all else. I knew that candle's wide end was all the way inside because I'd quite resisting. Mike's left hand seemed to pulse assuringly and I felt something vague, half-remembered from childhood, as his right hand guided the candle and spread somewhat against my livid bottom. He seemed to aim downward, pushing then pulling back some. My _d_i_c_k_ went ramrod hard. Then something solid. Turd, must be a turd, I was embarrassed. No, no turd ever felt like that. He turned the candle and bumped up against this solid place. When the body goes all electric and everything contracts to a center of groin-demanding desire, that's _s_e_x_. Each thrust against that solid spot twisted and tightened my springs; I was going to shoot without even touching my _d_i_c_k_. This was fantastic. And I rocked back, then forward. And shoot I did. Shot unlike anything I'd ever shot.
Mike pulled the candle out slowly and said, "Well . . . cat got your tongue."
"Man, that was great; coolest thing we've ever done. Let me do you now. Get the other candle."
All of a sudden Mike hesitated. His eagerness in these matters always seemed greater than mine but now he held back. "Naw, I think I'm not interested. I've got to get home and change for the game."
"Man, what's your problem? Get a load off's the best way I know to get ready for the game. I may be able to sit for it now." By then I'd kicked off my trousers and shorts, standing with a school shirt partially concealing my purpled bottom and _s_e_x_-shriveled _d_i_c_k_.
"No, I just need to go home."
"Mike, you girl, you afraid I'll hurt that little WASP ass of yours. Get down there on the bed."
Reluctantly he undid his belt and unzipped. "Come on," I said, "What's wrong."
As he lowered his trousers and shorts and turned, I saw what was wrong. A dozen or more perfect belt stripes criss-crossed his fifteen-year-old butt. This boy'd had a whipping at home last night.
I was due an explanation before the procedure went any further.