Francis Quayle took a fairly hefty sip of the large pink gin he was holding. His hand trembled slightly; the ice tinkled. ‘I must say, I was just a little bit surprised,’ he murmured.
‘Were you now?’ The man who faced him on the bar stool opposite smiled. ‘Then you must be out of touch with today’s thinking.’
‘Really? It all seemed rather old-fashioned to me.’ Francis took another hefty sip and realised he had nearly finished his glass. He put it down.
‘Lucky you dropped in then, wasn’t it?’ said Basil Branston. He grinned. ‘Don’t often get such an opportunity, eh?’
Francis consumed the rest of his drink at one go. He was still shaking inwardly; terribly steamed up. He could still see that delicious young bottom twisting and bouncing in torment. Quite… quite… remarkable! ‘What I don’t understand is… well… to be frank… how you get away with it?’
‘Get away with what?’ Basil was positively brusque.
‘Get away with smacking a teenage girl’s bottom. And more than that.’
‘No problem,’ answered Basil, his face blank. ‘Family connections.’
‘But you’re not related. I know that… I’ve lived around her some time.’
‘Been watching her grow up, eh?’ Basil winked rather too lecherously.
‘I don’t know what you mean. What are these family connections then?’
‘Confidential, really. Won’t go any further will it?’
‘Of course not,’ replied Francis a shade too hurriedly. He knew he was getting himself involved, but he didn’t mind a bit. Maybe he could make another call before long. When that delicious young blonde was around.
‘Who do you think paid her school fees? Mother and father couldn’t afford Mayfield. So I took over the responsibility.’
‘That was very decent of you.’
‘Well, yes, I suppose so. But there were certain provisos. Wanted to see that the girl was well brought up… well behaved… in every sense. Life is not purely academic, as you will realise.’
‘Quite… oh quite…’ Francis paused, not sure how much he could ask. ‘So… he said at last, ‘she comes to you regularly?’
‘That’s right. Once a month. Her parents send her. With reports. From school and from themselves.’
‘I see…’ Francis sucked in his breath. ‘And they approve?’
Basil looked scornful. ‘If they didn’t approve they wouldn’t send her, would they?’
‘No… I suppose not.’ Another pause. ‘But you must admit it is all a bit unusual.’
‘Not as unusual as you might think. Not these days. Parents are getting fed up with what is laughingly called the ‘Permissive Society’. They’re taking action.’
‘Yes that’s understandable…’
‘I mean… who wants a daughter sleeping around? Smoking pot? Or worse?’
‘No… I see that… indeed I do understand… yes… yes…’
‘As a new young curate in this parish, you should.’ Basil lit a very dark cheroot, without offering one to his guest, then puffed hugely. ‘The church used to be very strong on discipline at one time. Now they seem to be milk and water.’ Basil leant forward. ‘You don’t disapprove of what happened this afternoon, do you?’
Francis coughed to hide his embarrassment. Those bouncing breasts, that bare, wriggling bottom was still in his mind’s eye. ‘No… no… I can’t say I do.’ He tried a half smile. ‘It… is… well… it just seemed rather unconventional.’
Basil Branston humphed, leaning forward. ‘Let me tell you, young man,’ he said, ‘Lucy will not be the only one coming to me over the next few months. Parents around here are getting organised. Taking action. If the schools won’t do their duty… well… it’s up to what you might call private enterprise, eh?’
A weak smile came from Francis. ‘I suppose Mrs Thatcher would approve, then?’
‘I’m sure she would,’ answered Basil, perfectly serious.
‘I’ve never been faced with this sort of thing before,’ said Francis truthfully. ‘But I’m beginning to believe you’re on the right track.’
‘I know I am,’ said Basil, blowing out an enormous cloud of pungent smoke. He leaned closer once more. ‘Any trouble in the choir… girls or boys… just send them along to me. I’ll straighten them out for you.’
‘Mmm… yes… I’m sure you would,’ nodded Francis. He felt a sudden stab of guilt, as he suddenly realised there were a number of those young choirgirls he wouldn’t mind ‘straightening out’ himself! I must pray for forgiveness on that account, he thought. Also for his thoughts during that quite remarkable afternoon.
He had come to Major Branston’s place to collect for the Church Clock Fund. The Major was known to be quite generous in such matters, especially when approached personally. But, when he had arrived, the Major had been dozing in the garden, lips bubbling. Perhaps I should come back later, thought Francis. Always one for putting things off.
Then he suddenly spotted this delicious young creature drifting across the lawn. Fair-haired, so slimly-shapeful, so young. What on earth could she be doing there?
The Major opened one eye. ‘That you, Lucy?’ he enquired thickly.
‘Yes… yes… Uncle…’
Uncle? This was strange. Lucy Campbell was not this man’s niece. He knew that. Still, he remained silent, stepping into the background.
‘Not before time,’ said the Major, heaving himself up a shade gruffly. ‘Brought your reports?’
‘Yes, Uncle…’ So meek, so demure, Francis had thought. What a delicious child! Well… not a child at all any more, really. More like 18. Goodness, how quickly schoolgirls became young women. She was wearing a prettily patterned blue and white dress. An outfit decidedly designed to outline her burgeoning figure. Francis had tried not to think too much about that. But, to be honest, he couldn’t help thinking. He might be a curate but he was still a virile young man.
An envelope was handed across to Basil. The girl looked nervous; then startled as she turned to see him in the background. ‘Ooo… er… whatever are you doing here, Mr Quayle?’ Her cheeks went pink.
‘Collecting, Lucy,’ he answered.
‘Might as well stay now you’re here,’ said the Major, glancing at the papers in the envelope. ‘And see how we treat some of our youngsters nowadays.’
‘Well… I don’t know if I should.’ Francis was puzzled but also intrigued. The situation certainly seemed unusual. What did he mean by ‘treat’?
‘Nothing too serious Lucy,’ said Basil. The girl looked most relieved. ‘Nothing more than a good spanking.’ He grinned rather lecherously. ‘Better than the cane, eh?’
Francis could scarcely believe his ears. An 18-year-old being spanked? And what was this talk of the cane? It was positively Victorian. ‘Yes, Uncle,’ said the girl demurely. She seemed to accept the situation as perfectly natural.
‘And, of course, you won’t mind our new curate being present? He is, after all, a man of the cloth.’
Francis saw two pairs of eyes on himself. Wicked, ageing eyes… and young, frightened eyes. I… I’m not sure…’ he began.
‘Come, come, Mr Quayle, it’s no more than your duty to learn how we deal with social problems in our community.’
‘No… no… I suppose so…’ He looked at the girl again. She did seem awfully grown up. Was she really going to be spanked?
‘Well, let’s go into the woods,’ said Basil. He turned to Francis and gave him another of those lecherous winks. Francis didn’t quite like that; it made him feel too conspiratorial. ‘More private… just in case we have any more visitors.’
Into the woods the trio trooped, Lucy in the middle. The sun shone, the birds sang. All so natural yet what was happening was most unusual. They stopped by a thick, tall pine tree. Basil nodded. ‘OK, young lady, strip off,’ he said in an off-hand way. Francis was shocked. This was a development he hadn’t expected. A spanking was one thing but was this necessary?
Lucy, however, did not seemed too upset. She gave him a quick nervous glance. Perhaps I really should retire, Francis said to himself. Instead, he seated himself on a fallen tree trunk. For, at that moment, Lucy was pulling up her dress to expose a delicious, lithe young body. Suddenly Francis realised she had no bra on! There were the girl’s naked breasts! Delicious breasts. Francis gulped, rooted to the tree trunk. He ought to go, but he couldn’t make himself do it. Now she only wore tiny white briefs.
‘Get them off,’ he heard Basil order. Oh no… surely not! That really wasn’t necessary, was it? I mean to say… what difference would they make? Yet Francis could not deny the pounding of his pulses as the girl shyly pushed down those briefs to reveal a neatly trimmed bush. It really was indecent; yet it was quite riveting! Oh, I will have to pray hard for forgiveness tonight, Francis told himself. Yet hadn’t Major Branston told him it was his duty to stay? To see how social problems were dealt with?
Then Basil seated himself on the pine-strewn ground and patted his thighs. ‘Over you go,’ he said sharply. Since the girl was facing towards him, Francis had a lovely view of those young breasts quivering as Lucy fell down over Basil’s thighs. He saw the girl’s hands clawing into the earth as her waist was tightly gripped. ‘A couple of dozen will suffice, I think,’ said Basil. Again Francis was shocked; he had been expecting something far less severe. The girl groaned and clenched her teeth.
Then the spanking began. The sound of Basil’s palm on the bare flesh was loud. So were Lucy’s gasping cries as her head jerked up. Every time it did. Francis saw those dancing breasts. He suddenly realised he was holding his breath and his nails were digging into his hands.
‘Yeeeoooowwww… ooowww not so hard!’ Lucy was kicking now, twisting and turning over Basil’s thighs, her fingers digging deeper into the dirt.
Far from being affected by this plea, it seemed to Francis that Basil was now slapping even harder. His cheeks were flushed, his eyes bulging. Oh yes he was truly giving this girl something to remember!
‘Stooo… opppp… oooohhh…’
‘Eighteen… nineteen… twenty…’
‘Nooo… oooo… eeeenough!’
Francis, perspiring, riddled with guilt at his own illicit pleasure, was beginning to feel sorry for the girl.
‘Twenty-three… twenty-four…’ Basil sat back, panting heavily, mouth slack. Lucy slumped forward, sobbing her heart out. Francis felt his heart pounding. How incredible! Yet, doubtless, she had been very naughty and did deserve it. Also, it seemed, her parents fully approved. He must get adjusted to this new way of going on. Going on the hamlet of Truston Magna, anyway.
Slowly the sobs subsided. ‘Try and do better next month,’ said Basil. He looked as if he really meant it. But did he? Surely he would like a further opportunity to smack that young bottom? Francis gave himself a mental slap on the wrist. The Major was a man of honour, was he not, with a sense of duty?
The girl was eased off Basil’s thighs and he stood up. Lucy sat naked on the ground, wiping away her tears. Basil began to walk back towards the house; then suddenly remembered his uninvited guest.
‘Oh… you’d better come up for your collection, Mr Quayle. And a little chat.’
Francis, whose eyes had still been on the girl’s nakedness, rose in haste, feeling guilty again. ‘Yes, yes, Major… of course…’ He hurried off after Basil. The girl he presumed, would dress and make her way home in her own good time. When she had recovered a little of her composure.
The Major handed over a far larger cheque towards the Church Clock Fund than Francis had expected. He was profuse in his thanks. And should he say how much he had appreciated what he had seen that afternoon? Perhaps better not.
‘I’ve learnt a lot,’ he contented himself with.
‘Good,’ nodded the Major. Then came another of those awful winks. ‘And don’t forget what I said — if you have any trouble in the choir, I mean. I’ll sort it out with parents, never you fear.’
‘Thank you… yes… Major… I’ll certainly bear that in mind.’
And Francis Quayle certainly meant what he said. There were quite a number of trouble-makers, especially amongst the young ladies. Of course, if and when the occasion arose, it would be no more than his duty to be present…