By Richard Manton from Janus 16
Only master story-teller Richard Manton could have come up with this brilliant labyrinthine character study of Alec, the disaffected ex-comprehensive school teacher turned successful antiquarian bookseller whose manipulations of power systems and seizing of fortuitous opportunities enable him to create intensive punishment dramas with pert, freckled Valerie, little blonde Linda, well-mannered, trusting and arousing Sandra, his sadistic, mysterious wife Monica and slender, beautiful, reckless and desperate Julie, the teenaged nymph who learns to love both the cane and him…
It was the discipline which had driven him from his job as a teacher. Or rather the lack of it. Alec smiled and turned out the lights of the antiquarian bookshop in the shadow of the cathedral close. At times like this, locking up the rows of leather volumes for the weekend, he was apt to think of the past.
Fifteen years before he had been an assistant master at St Anne’s — a handful of boys and 200 girls. There were uniforms and courtesy, which vanished when the school was merged in the comprehensive system. Alec took his pension contributions out and opened the antiquarian bookshop in the shadow of the cathedral spires. The learning which brought him a pittance as a schoolmaster soon produced profits beyond his dreams.
Linda! Valerie! Sandra! Whatever had happened to them by now? Alec walked slowly home past the pillared Corn Exchange and over the river bridge in the raw November evening. He smiled again, remembering how it all began.
The rooms in the old school building were numbered according to floor and position. Linda and Valerie had caused havoc among the boys of their own room, 3D. Linda! He recalled a softly shaped little blonde with a mane of fair hair worn forward on her lapel. How she would press the soft hair to her mouth and snigger as her sly blue-green eyes watched him! Valerie was a slender gamine with auburn crop and freckles, mocking blue eyes and nervous giggles.
It was when he became deputy head, under Miss Tindall, that the adventure began. Any teacher caning a pupil had to do so in the presence of the headmistress or the deputy. Jan Pelen, the games mistress, had confronted him with a demand to be allowed to cane Linda and Valerie for some misdemeanour. ‘See Miss Tindall about it,’ he told her. Then he realised that Miss Tindall would not be back from a headmistresses conference for four days.
When the building was almost empty after school and he unlocked the punishment room, Alec still had no idea of what he had let himself in for. He could laugh now at his own naivety. How shocked he must have looked as Jan made Valerie slide the uniform skirt down her slim, black-stockinged legs. The pert young freckled face under the auburn crop looked so woebegone. She was required to bend very tightly over a tall stool and then to wait. Valerie’s knickers were a pair of white stretch-briefs and Alec remembered staring at them in astonishment. The astonishment grew as the mistress took the waistband, stripped them down and laid bare the slender nymph-cheeks of Valerie’s bottom!
The cane was supple and lithe as a rapier. Hearing the mistress cut the air with it, the girl had twisted her auburn crop in a mute eye-watering appeal to Alec.
‘Take your hand away from your bottom, Valerie,’ he had said firmly. ‘And bend right over.’
It seemed that the mistress was reluctant to begin: so much touching and measuring of the bamboo across the slim cheeks of Valerie’s arse! Then it came down. Whip… whip! Such a wild cry and two angry cane-prints glowing across the girl’s buttocks.
‘Keep your bottom still, Valerie! At once!’ Whip! How those slim black-stockinged legs smoothed and squirmed together. Whip! The mistress was punctilious about the last stroke, touching and measuring, demanding a better target — knees tucked in and bottom thrust out. Whip! And then because Valerie had not presented her rear properly, an extra whip-smack! which brought shrillness and floods of tears.
Valerie, tears flowing and knickers hanging inverted round her stockinged knees, was made to stand in a corner. Linda, the little blonde with the look of a future Marilyn Monroe was required to kneel over the sofa scroll. With her stretch-briefs peeled down, her plump pearly young bottom-moons were framed by the white elastic arch of a suspender-belt and the black stocking-tops at mid-thigh.
There was a new tension in the room, as if the real drama might now begin. The mistress murmured to Alec, ‘I want to give Linda ten strokes with your consent. She deserves them. Perpetual sniggering in class, with one eye on the boys to see that they’re watching her!’
Alec should have refused, as he thought later. Then with a shock he also realised that he had wanted to see Linda’s bottom caned long and hard. The mistress had obliged him. Ten ear-splitting smacks of bamboo across plump taut flesh. Linda’s shrillness outdid Valerie’s as the fiery bamboo brands appeared on her soft pale seat-cheeks and were criss-crossed in their turn. Alec played his part as the stern supervisor of the discipline: ‘Lie properly, bottom-upwards over the sofa scroll, Linda Jennings! Right forward! At once!’
When it was over, he could scarcely believe it had happened. He had no intention whatever of using the cane on any of the girls himself. Then Miss Tindall was away for several weeks with jaundice and Alec, quite unexpectedly, found himself in sole charge.
It was surely intuition rather than any question of discipline which brought Sandra to his attention? Sensible Sandra of 5A, as he thought of her, a girl on the brink of her O-levels. She was a polite, well-behaved lass, ever-helpful and with a ready smile. She had eager blue eyes, lank brown hair in a collar-length page-style and, at 16, a figure not yet quite emerged from its tomboyish stage.
There was audible amazement when Alec called Sandra out in a voice which meant only one thing. Pausing only to pull up a wayward white knee-sock, she came to him. He pretended to find fault — slack behaviour — and took her to his room. In the absence of Miss Tindall there was no-one to act as witness. Remembering this on the damp November evening, Alec thought how astonishing it was that such things were possible with girls who, under other circumstances, might have been wives and even mothers! Sandra was too well-mannered to dispute her fate. He watched her wriggle her skirt down and kneel over the sofa scroll. Down came the white stretch-briefs. For several minutes he contemplated the pale prospect — the round healthy cheeks of Sandra’s bottom framed by stocking-tops and white elastic suspender-arch.
He watched Sandra as she bowed her lank dark hair and braced herself. Alec was no hypocrite — the first to admit that the sight of Sandra’s bare fifth-form backside in this posture was rousing him irresistibly. Sandra’s arse-cheeks, he recalled, were at that slightly heavy adolescent stage where the goose has not quite turned into a swan. It seemed he could still hear his own voice addressing her: ‘Kneel more tightly over the scroll, Sandra! No, don’t put your hand over your behind there. You haven’t been caned before, have you? Right over, and show your bottom properly, Sandra. I shan’t begin the caning until you do. You’ll be here like this all afternoon, if necessary. If you’re shy about a teacher seeing your behind you should have behaved yourself.’
So the monologue had continued. At last he was satisfied and took aim with the switch. With wicked skill he spaced out four thrashing strokes of bamboo across Sandra’s bare bum-cheeks. He saw her biting her lip not to cry out. As a disciplinarian he wanted to hear Sandra cry out to know that the punishment was having its effect. He paused, and even then Sandra’s blazing arse-cheeks continued to squirm with the ferocious smart, her breath coming in gasps.
Alec had looked long and closely at the softer heavier undercurve of Sandra’s buttocks. He measured and caned four times in succession across that sensitive fullness. Sandra’s seat-cheeks contorted, she tossed back her lank brown hair and yelled wildly. She cried out her dismay when he told her there were still four more to come, right across the crowns of her bum-cheeks.
After that, he caned a number of girls for misbehaviour, quite expecting to be known as the ogre of St Anne’s. The truth was strangely different. It seemed that, with most of the girls he caned, a personal — almost paternal— bond was established. He was the one on whose shoulder they wept and to whom they came for advice. They were the ones who sent him Christmas cards for several years after leaving. By contrast, the new young members of staff who democratised the school by screwing the senior girls at weekends were regarded with general contempt as sexual exploiters.
Alec could never explain this: he merely knew that it was true. One day he overheard a scrap of conversation about himself. ‘If he cares about you enough to cane you, at least he cares!’
The problem was truly academic, Alec having made up his mind to leave. He was weary of the comprehensive ideal, the levelling process eagerly advocated by teachers who hoped their own lack of knowledge would be disguised if only the standards could be brought down sufficiently.
Sandra, transferring to another college at the end of her fifth year, came to say goodbye. Yet she was also in need of extra coaching and her parents had wondered if Alec, when the bookshop had closed for the night, might consent to undertake this once a fortnight or so. There was already a good deal of affection and intimacy between Alec and the girl. He agreed readily enough.
When Sandra expressed her gratitude for this, and his kindness to her often in the past, she wished there were something she could do for him. Half-joking, he said that the one thing he would like most of all was something he could never have. Sandra asked no questions. She looked up at him.
‘You can cane me, if you want to,’ she said simply.
The joke had become a macabre reality. Alec, seeing that she was serious about it, felt horrified. He was talking about punishment, he explained. A caning of Sandra’s bare bottom much worse than anything permitted at school.
‘I know,’ she said, her blue eyes and the lank collar-length brown hair expressing her innocence.
It would hurt her, Alec insisted. There would probably be bruises, her bottom possibly wealed and swollen.
In the next few minutes, Sandra had taught him a lesson about women which he had never forgotten. Being hurt, she said, was not the important thing. Visits to the dentist were painful. A girl could get worse bruises playing hockey than from a caning. Losing her virginity or having a baby might both be painful. Having a baby, indeed, might damage her health for the rest of her life. Being hurt was not the most important thing, though it was important. What mattered more, Sandra explained, was a warm and trusting relationship with the man concerned, a man who would never do her real harm. That was what a girl wanted.
Even then, Alec had thought, it was mere bravado. Only when she came for the first of her fortnightly lessons did he realise that she was in earnest. Then, as she stood before him, he had made his decision. Very well, Sandra! Very well! He had made her bend over the rail at the foot of the bed, forehead touching the counterpane, lank brown collar-length hair spilling forward. Then he had unhooked her skirt fastenings and peeled down her white stretch-briefs. Edged by the white elastic arch of her suspender-belt, the pale rounds of Sandra’s bottom-cheeks were so appealingly innocent and extremely provoking. ‘A real caning this time, Sandra,’ he had murmured. ‘A bamboo pattern you won’t be able to sit for a week!’
Despite her determination, there had been tears and even pleading. Yet the state of the full-cheeked spread of Sandra’s young arse only spurred him to greater things. Afterwards, she knelt at his chair, head pillowed in his lap. The last tears were dried and she thanked him for all he had done for her.
She came every fortnight for her coaching. In the lowest long drawer of his desk, Alec kept several slim bamboos and a birch rod of three supple switches bound at the handle. There were two pairs of white stretch-briefs which Sandra had not been able to put on again after a couple of canings. And there were filmy nylon glamour-pants in which, with skirt removed, she appeared for coaching. He called this level of his desk Sandra’s Bottom Drawer.
When Sandra’s mother was called away urgently for several days, the girl was left to look after herself. She announced her intention of spending the nights with Alec. He jokingly advised against it. If she arrived, he promised, he would cane Sandra’s backside that evening. He would probably wake her in the night again and cane her bruises. When the bell rang at nine o’clock on the first evening, he knew she would be on the doorstep, dressed as the polite eager tomboy of 5A.
After each of her canings that week, she dried her eyes, kissed his hand, and waited on him or curled up at his knee, her behind still bare and flaming. The end came quite suddenly, six months later, when Sandra and her mother moved away. There were several letters, in which Sandra confessed that she had loved him long before he noticed her. The bamboo seemed to her a small price for being the woman in his life. After all, it was the whipping of Heloise by her tutor Abelard which had started the greatest romance of all time.
The letters grew less frequent and then stopped. Alec accepted this with mixed feelings. Common sense told him that the excitement he had enjoyed with Sandra was too good to last, too precarious a basis for a permanent relationship. At the same time, he knew that she had offered him something which comes only once in a lifetime. And he had let the opportunity slip…
So Alec, the successful small businessman, climbed the steps of the high pavement in the raw November evening. Wrought-iron verandas and brass carriage-lamps at the doors ran the length of the smart Georgian terrace. His own house, at the far end, was the smartest of all. He had married several years ago. Not Sandra, but Monica, a soft and shy brunette. Never so much as left a playful smack-print on her bum.
Yet Monica seemed intuitively to recognise that trait in his character. As a former social worker, she knew of girls in their late teens or early twenties who were on probation, saved from the detention centre on condition of completing a period of employment satisfactorily. As Monica was never tired of saying, a Georgian terrace house was hard work. And there was a spare room. One after another, wayward young ladies had passed their period of probationary employment there.
Which brought him to Julie, Alec thought, as he slipped the key into the lock of the handsome front-door. Julie had three months down and fifteen still to go. At 19 years old she was an obvious subject for discipline. Her golden blonde hair fell in a sweep from her high crown to her shoulder-blades, a setting for such a sulky petulant little face with its mascara’d eyelashes, sharp young nose and wilful chin.
She was, he supposed, petite, though her spike-heeled shoes increased her height. It was the tight, faded blue jeans which showed off her best features. Her legs and thighs had the slimness of adolescence still, rather than the softer fullness of a young woman. She had the flat belly and the backward jut of the hips characteristic of a teenage nymph. The tightness of the jeans caused little sheaves of creases behind her knees and across the backs of her thighs. All of which brought his eyes up to the seat of beauty.
Julie’s bottom, carried high and taut above her slender thighs, was undoubtedly her roundest and softest feature, for the breasts under her white blouse were pert and neat but not very large. Of course, Julie’s bum-cheeks still had the taut elasticity of the nymph. Anyone could see that, since the drumskin tightness of the jeans left little to the imagination. There was a clear outline of Julie’s knickers as well. At the seat, they appeared as a pair of the skimpiest panties rising high and tight over her saucy rump, leaving much of her bum-cheeks bare under the jeans themselves.
With this erotically-exciting vision in his mind, Alec stood in the handsome high-ceilinged hall and took off his coat. How had it begun? Well that was the most extraordinary thing of all. It was Monica, not he, who had given the little minx the choice of a tanning or a return to the detention centre for some misdemeanour. Poor innocent Alec had not even realised what was going on.
From the drawing-room door he had seen Monica, with a face like thunder, rummage under the stairs and snatch up a gym-shoe with a hard rubber heel. From the basement kitchen there came sounds of someone tenderising meat or perhaps hammering, accompanied by a high compressed keening. Then agile young feet pounded on the basement steps and Julie teetered into the hall, mascara running and face a little flushed. Unaware of Alec’s presence, she ran into the cloakroom without bothering to close the door. In the long mirror, he saw Julie wrench down her jeans and look in consternation over her shoulder at her rear view.
She still wore her brief tight panties of lilac nylon with a white lace edging. Yet someone had gathered these and twisted the seat into Julie’s bottom-crack to bare her buttocks. Her two pert seat-cheeks bore a strawberry-coloured blush and the repeated characteristic imprint of a gym-shoe heel! Alec felt the front of his trousers grow uncomfortably tight. This was in part the sight of the slim bare thighs and the impudent little cheeks of Julie’s bottom. It was also the realisation that she had been given somewhere between six and eight stingers on each buttock.
Monica came back up the stairs, flinging the gym-shoe back under the stairs.
‘I should have thought that was a job you could do!’ she said crossly to Alec. ‘You’re the one who was the schoolmaster!’
He could scarcely believe his ears. If only she had asked him beforehand! In bed that night he referred to her suggestion and teased her about it. Wasn’t she afraid that he might do something else to Julie while he had the girl’s panties down? She’d have to be insane to imagine he wouldn’t like to — and she wasn’t.
‘If you were going to do that to her,’ said Monica softly, ‘you wouldn’t need excuses. It would happen anyway.’
Even then he held back. A fortnight later there was a crisis involving Monica’s mother who lived 80 miles off. If the old woman was not to move in with them, said Monica, then she must go over for a fortnight to clear the garden, clean the house and take care of the old dear. After all, she said, Julie could surely look after Alec for a couple of days.
It was, in a way, like being temporary headmaster again while Miss Tindall was away with jaundice. On the very first weekend he had found fault with Julie’s conduct during the week and had threatened a complaint to the probation officer. That scared her. Right back to the beginning of a three year sentence, she could go.
‘My mum says that when you were a teacher at that snobby school, you used to cane girls,’ she said softly.
Alec’s blood-pressure rose and then fell again. Her mum? Could it possibly be that one of the buxom sixth-formers, just leaving when he arrived as a student-teacher, had produced this little trollop? He never found out, though it intrigued him to think that there were respectable ladies in their thirties walking about the city, whose bare bottoms had been so pleadingly and reluctantly offered to him so long ago. In any event, it became the established practice for Julie to pay the penalty for any misdemeanours during the week on Saturday evening. Alec would first phone Monica to make sure that all was well with her and her poor old mum. After that, from 11pm onwards, there were unlikely to be any interruptions.
On that November evening — a Saturday, of course — he uncorked a bottle of St Emilion for dinner. Sitting in his armchair under the standard lamp, he sipped his sherry and watched Julie lay the table for him alone.
The mascara’d lashes fluttered and the fair-skinned little face looked sullen with irritation as she realised he was assessing her for punishment. He thought that those slender thighs in the tight jeans seemed scarcely thicker than a man’s upper arm. It was the modern fad for slimness. The narrow waist, the flat belly, the rearward jut of hips all led his gaze to Julie’s bottom, her fattest feature still. She was wearing the minimum underneath, those panties which were little more than a skimpy nylon twist between her rear cheeks. And the net effect was just incredibly sexy.
Alec smiled. Did she really not know that the briefness of her knickers was shown by the tight jeans? Was it deliberate? Did she want to show any man with eyes in his head what a little tart she was? Just then she dropped the serviette ring, which rolled under the table. Alec watched appreciatively as she bent to pick it up. He was something of an expert on the anatomy of the female backside. Julie with her slim thighs and taut buttocks presented a different contour to that of Sandra or Linda. Her rear cheeks, however feminine, formed two tight and distinctively separated rounds with an open valley between them when she bent over like this. He could not prevent his body’s faint tremblings of excitement.
‘You’ll get ready for the cane after dinner, Julie,’ he said quietly.
‘No!’ She straightened up with a squall of outrage rather than fear. Her resentment came as a whine.
‘A long session this time, I’m afraid,’ he went on in the same quiet voice. ‘I hope being screwed by your boyfriend in the shrubbery until 2 am on Wednesday was worth it!’
‘It’s not fair!’
‘Then you may choose the alternative, if you think that’s fairer.’
‘No-o-o!’ It was not even an answer, merely the same sullen resentment.
When eleven o’clock came, he summoned her to the well-lit drawing-room with its elegant ceiling frieze and centre rose. By a happy chance the previous owner had been a hi-fi addict. Out of consideration for the neighbours he had installed soundproof tiling and double glazing in the room.
‘You know the rules, Julie,’ he said calmly, ‘Take off your jeans.’
With a final squeal of indignation, she undid the waistbelt and pushed down the tight jeans, wriggling free of them, until she was able to step clear of the untidy tangle. Alec made her turn round and walk with her slender thighs bare to the heavy sofa.
‘Kneeling on the sofa, Julie! I want your bottom thrust up over the scroll at the end!’
‘Not the cane, then! It hurts!’
‘I hope it does, Julie. If not there’s something wrong with it!’
She clambered on to the sofa, the springs moving audibly under her knees, and knelt forward over the padded leather scroll. The wayward blonde hair spilt forward, the sulky young face twisted round to watch her disciplinarian. From the rear the nymph-cheeks of Julie’s behind, the slim thighs, seemed strangely vulnerable, And really very erotic.
‘You know what comes next, Julie.’
‘No!’ There was indignation in her voice, ‘Not that!’
‘Don’t be silly, Julie!’ said Alec sharply. ‘You’re here to learn self-discipline. That means the marbles!’
Marbles? With Julie arse-upwards over the sofa scroll, a fly on the wall might wonder exactly how Alec was going to employ those marbles. Alas, the fly might have been disappointed.
From what he now thought of as Julie’s Bottom-Drawer, where the birch, canes, pairs of panties and a crumpled tear-stained handkerchief or two lay, Alec took ten small glass marbles. As Julie knelt over the scroll arms at full stretch down the other side, he inserted one marble under each finger and thumb. They were held in place against the sofa-leather by the pressure of the girl’s hands.
‘Fifteen strokes of the cane, Julie!’ said Alec sternly. ‘Whether you get any more is up to you. Each time you let one of those marbles drop, I shall know that you want me to give you an extra cut of the cane. If they all drop…’
‘No! It’s not fair!’ The mascara’d eyelashes fluttered in anger but there was something in the sulky young voice which suggested that she knew it was entirely fair.
Consider Alec’s problem. He wanted Julie bottom-upwards right over the sofa scroll. How to prevent her pulling back, sitting on her heels, twisting her arse aside? The method he had devised taught self-discipline. The marbles could only be held if she remained tightly over the scroll, arms at full stretch down the far side. She could tense and twist her seat only a very little.
Julie’s knickers on this occasion were of pale green glossy nylon, translucent as well as skimpy. They covered little more than her rear cleavage but, perfectionist that he was, Alec drew them down to her knees. He chose a slim, supple bamboo about a yard long.
‘Fifteen strokes, Julie! A proper reformatory caning this time!’
‘But I can’t!’ The sullen little face showed something like panic.
He touched the cane across the milk-white smoothness of the tight and saucily rounded cheeks of Julie’s bottom. For several minutes he touched and aimed until he could hear her knees and thighs squirming together in desperate anticipation.
Whip! Down came the bamboo across her cheeky nymph-seat. And then smack! A real beauty right across both cheeks. Such a yowling from 19-year-old Julie. Whack! Three swelling bamboo-prints burned across Julie’s behind like some strange interconnected symbol.
‘Get that backside of yours right over the scroll, Julie!’
Whip!… Whip-smack! A wild shrillness made him thankful for the sound insulation of the room.
‘Stick your bottom out properly, Julie! Come on, now! Right out! Want me to change the 15 to 18? No? Right out, then! That’s better!’
Swish-whackkk! Right across the rest of them. The mascara was running now and the sulky little face looked distinctly woebegone.
Two more strokes and not a marble dropped. Alec decided to put the little minx’s self-discipline to the test. He chose the path across the crowns of Julie’s bum-cheeks, where his handiwork was already in evidence.
Thrash! went the cane across the chosen stripe, and thrash! again, extremely hard. The first marble hit the polished floor and rolled away as a wild cry rose to the ceiling. Remorselessly, Alec returned again to that tender path and visited it twice more. Hysterically, it seemed, Julie let two more marbles drop.
‘Six to come, Julie. And then two, of course.’
He measured the next, wondering if Julie’s boyfriend would be outraged at what was going on — or secretly envious. The cane sang out again.
‘I’m afraid the stroke doesn’t count when you twist your bottom aside like that, Julie!’
This would be one punishment-lesson Julie would never forget, he decided. A diagonal stroke fell in a whip-like connection of the smarting bamboo-prints glowing across Julie’s bum. The widest yell of all was followed by a drumming on the polished floor as all the marbles clattered down.
Alec was not the least angry with her. He lodged the marbles one by one under the tips of her fingers and thumbs again. As he did so he saw her face, the gulping and sniffing, the shoulders trembling a little. Strangely she did not ask to be spared. Perhaps she knew it was a futile plea. He retrieved the cane and took up his stance once more.
‘Very well, Julie. You’ve made your decision, it seems. Now, settle down. You’ll find that a punishment-lesson can last a very long time. So long that you think it’s never going to end. By the time it’s over, the cane is going to be very intimately acquainted with your bottom indeed!’
With his resolve stiffened, and his manhood fully erect, he took Julie all the way, sparing her no penalty incurred by the falling marbles. Only once before, with Sandra, had he been as strict as this. When it was over, he made Julie remain in position. It was almost one o’clock in the morning in the smoke-filled room when he stubbed out his cigar and went across. She flinched a little as his hands examined the imprints of discipline.
‘Now go to bed, Julie. You needn’t put your knickers and jeans on, just to go upstairs. I’m sure you’d rather not wear anything over your bottom just now.’
It was poetic justice, he thought, that Julie would serve Sunday lunch in a plain black dress, unable to bear the tight pressure of jeans on her smarting buttocks.
A little while later he went up to his room. At about three in the morning he woke to hear a stirring in the shrubbery outside which was more than a mere breeze. It seemed that signals had been exchanged, no doubt to admit Julie’s boyfriend to her bed. Alec thought that for a servant to smuggle an intruder into the house in this manner was probably a criminal offence, but he was not sure. In any case, his thoughts were soon overtaken by events.