‘Two teas and a ham roll.’
The girl at the counter slides two saucers off a pile and clunks two cups onto them. She pours in milk, then tea, then passes them to the customer.
‘Sugar’s on the table, sir,’ she says.
‘Yes sir.’ She takes the roll from a display cabinet with chromium tongs. ‘Anything else sir?’
‘No.’ Coins ring on the plate-glass counter. The man takes his teas and comes back for the roll. As he turns his back the girl pokes out her tongue, a small gesture, then she darts a glance sideways at a white-coated figure in the kitchen who has been watching the interchange between customer and employee.
The girl’s cheeks are pink, probably from the heat of the hot water running behind the counter, which enhances the look of guilt that comes over her pretty face as she realises that her little demonstration has not passed unnoticed. She looks away, eyes downcast, and neatens a pile of plates so that she doesn’t have to look up again.
The man comes from the kitchen and along the narrow space behind the counter. He sidles slowly past the girl, behind her, having to turn sideways and put his hands on her hips to get through the gap. Her plump bottom brushes across his trouser front, each cheek in turn making its separate, soft-firm contact.
‘No manners, some people,’ he whispers in her ear, en passant; one hand trails, palm against the swell of her buttocks, as he squeezes it through the space and goes to the till.
Not being sure whether he means her or the customer, the girl stares down at the teapot, a sulky look on her face, as he comes back, brushing past again, a hand stroking across the crowns of her firm bum-cheeks. ‘Smacked bottom’s a good cure for lack of manners,’ he whispers again, meaning her, this time, without a shadow of a doubt, hand lingering where the line of her knickers curving diagonally up across a bum-cheek can be felt under the cotton of her thin waitress’ skirt. Smacked bottom’s a cure for most things in his book! The girl stacks cups and saucers and he comes back again, hands warm around her waist, the contact unseen by the three customers in the café.
‘Better stay behind a bit, my girl, after we close.’ His breath is warm in her ear. Have to teach you a bit about “customer relations”, before we lose ‘em all, eh?’ His palm finds the place where the feel of her knickers rising across spankable bum excites a pleasurable anticipation in his loins. The girl pouts resentfully and pretends not to have noticed the evidence of this anticipation as he re-passes her on his way back to the kitchen, trousers inevitably brushing bum-cheeks again.
Her pale face appears in the hatch between café and kitchen.
‘I’ve locked up,’ she says, lip not quite resisting the hint of a childish pout when the words are out.
‘Pulled the blinds?’
‘Er — no,’ she bites her pouty lips guiltily.
‘Want the whole High Street to see you with your knickers down, do you?’
‘No,’ she says awkwardly, embarrassed and beginning to blush.
‘Better pull ‘em then.’
Her heels click on black and white diamond tiles, the blinds clatter down, her heels click again, she peeps through the hatch.
‘Right then. You know what’s next. I’ll be out when I’ve finished with this till roll.’
Her flushed face disappears. He gives her a few minutes, hearing cups being moved aside and even the rustle of clothes despite the rumble of traffic outside. He calls out in a patronising voice.
‘And we won’t forget the cane, will we, Linda —’
The cane is at the back of the shop: Linda appears a few minutes later, eyes averted, fingers fiddling as she pulls her knickers up the last little bit from outside her skirt then smoothes it down automatically. She comes back with the cane dangling from one hand and the tip click-clacking across the floor tiles behind her. Tears sparkle on her cheeks, though she weeps silently. He hears the cane rattle on the counter glass, catches the sound of a stifled sob, he puts the till roll into a drawer and goes out into the dining area. Linda looks at him miserably, wet-eyed and sniffly, hands up under her skirt, groping for her knickers.
‘Please —’ she pleads, voice barely audible, and he chooses deliberately to misinterpret her repeated ‘oh — please.’
‘There you are, you see, you’re learning already. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ — all part of good manners.’ He smiles condescendingly. ‘Now, just get yourself across that table and I’ll do the undressing.’
Linda’s bare helpless bum trembles chubbily, cocked up behind her with an impudent look to it which simply invites the firm smack of a briskly administered cane stroke. The girl blubs snottily, gagging on sobs, disobediently letting her legs dip in towards each other at the knees when she knows that her legs are supposed to be straight, and wide-spread. Her employer’s patient voice insists that she should say the word, crying or not, sore-bottomed or not, wanting-to-go-home or not. Linda gasps deep breaths and makes the word whimper from her lips.
‘Th-th-thank you — oooh-ooo-hooo —’
‘That’s right, Linda.’ The cane flicks waspishly across the backs of her thighs. ‘Legs straight, please — nice and straight.’
Linda’s legs snap straight; she clutches two-handed at the separate place on each thigh where the gingering-up stroke caught her and pants tearfully.
‘And now stick this bottom up —’ Another teasing, playful but stinging stroke across the under-curves of the plump buttocks. Linda thrusts her shivery bum up; a despairing wail escapes her.
‘And now, Linda, let me hear you say “Please sir.” Understand? “Please, sir —"’
It takes her half a minute to quieten her gasps and stumble out her ‘P-p-please, sir —’ the “sir” is hardly complete before the cane smacks solidly across her up-thrust buttocks —