Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 12 Feb 2018
It was not that often that Mr Oakenshaw had old boys telephone and ask to see him. If he did see old boys it was usually the fathers or older brothers of boys at the school. It was Sean Faber, an up-and-coming film director, who had called. He had sounded very keen, which rather puzzled Mr Oakenshaw. After the customary formalities were completed Mr Oakenshaw offered Sean a glass of sherry.
Somewhat different from what you gave me the last time I was in here, said Sean, looking round
and taking in the surroundings.
And what was that? asked Mr Oakenshaw.
A very sound thrashing! said Sean smiling broadly.
I seem to recall I gave you more than one or two of those, responded Mr Oakenshaw, also smiling,
but not as broadly as Sean.
It’s thrashing I’ve come to talk to you about.
Really? said Mr Oakenshaw, beginning to feel a trifle nervous. He hoped that Sean was not
one of those looking to relive their schooldays and wondering if he could assist. If that was the case
he would certainly decline.
I take it you still thrash boys on the bare?
Yes, confirmed Mr Oakenshaw, his disquiet increasing.
Excellent! It’s like this. I’m in the middle of directing a film about one of our national heroes.
We cover his schooldays and, to get to the point, he gets a good thrashing. Our technical chappies can
do some pretty good stuff when it comes to sound effects and syncing them with actions and all that, but
you can’t beat the real thing. And that is exactly what I want you to do – beat the real thing.
You mean take part in the film and thrash the young fellow playing the part for real?
Not quite. We did film our young hero getting it, but when we looked at the rushes it was found
to be most unsatisfactory. The thing is that we can’t very well shoot the scene again with the boy as
his bottom already bears the marks.
You can’t wait for them to disappear?
I fear not. In our industry time is money. We need to be off location by the end of next week.
Besides, the young fellow stated quite categorically that there was no way he was going to get it again.
In that case I’m not sure I see how I can help.
What we need is some unmarked bottoms. So I was wondering if you could round up a few of what
I am sure you still refer to as the usual suspects, bring them along to Gushing Manor – it’s
where we’re on location – and thrash their bare bottoms while we film the action.
Mr Oakenshaw opened his mouth to speak but Sean raised his hand and continued.
If you will allow me to finish. Both you and the boys will only be filmed from the back. There
is no question of faces being filmed as they will not match the actors’. I say boys in the plural –
shall we say six – as it will give us a choice. A small fee will of course be paid. I have
taken the liberty of jotting some figures down.
Sean reached into his inside jacket pocket and drew out a folded sheet of paper which he handed to Mr Oakenshaw. Mr Oakenshaw unfolded the paper and the smile which lit up his face was very broad. His fee was very satisfactory.
The boys will be paid in cash, explained Sean.
I trust you will accept a cheque.
My grandmother, who ran a boarding house, told me never to accept cheques from theatricals, but
I’ll ignore her advice. I feel confident I can find six regulars who will be willing to suffer a little
discomfort for the sake of art and a small remuneration. It’s a pity you aren’t still on the school roll
as you would be top of the list.
Just a few details, said Sean.
Our actor is an average sized twelve year old. So no boy
too short or too long, too wide or too narrow. They must have medium to dark brown hair. When I said the
bottoms needed to be unmarked, faint cane marks will be acceptable if none of your regulars have been
able to keep out of trouble recently. Just for the record, no one who hasn’t been caned.
As it happens, interrupted Mr Oakenshaw,
there is a boy due for his first thrashing at
half past four. If he is willing I can postpone it. That will ensure you have one completely unmarked
That sounds fine. So, are we all agreed then?
We are – subject of course to me coming up with some volunteers.
Naturally. If you only get one he will have to do. If you don’t get any I’ll have to try elsewhere.
Will it be convenient if I call this evening at around six to see if we are on?
Mr Oakenshaw confirmed it was. As soon as Sean had left he consulted his punishment book to discount any boy who had been caned recently and drew up a list of five average sized regulars who (as far as he could recall) had medium to dark brown hair. He sent word for them to report to his study at half past four.
The five were waiting outside his door at the appointed hour and so was Atkinson whose appointment had been arranged earlier. Atkinson was tense as he was expecting his first thrashing. Morris and Andrews assumed they had been summoned for swapping all the clothes round in the changing room even though they were sure they had been unobserved. King thought he must have had his name taken for being out of bounds after all. Upton’s conduct had been exemplary since he was last caned and was convinced that there had been a mistake. James just took it for granted that he was going to be caned without being troubled by what for because it could have been any number of things.
Mr Oakenshaw opened the door and looked up and down the line. Everyone was there he expected and all had medium to dark brown hair.
Everyone except Atkinson, step in.
That was a bit of a surprise to everyone except Atkinson, because if the cane was on the menu Mr Oakenshaw never caned boys in each other’s presence.
Without being told, the boys lined up in front of his desk. Mr Oakenshaw stayed behind the boys, which they found a bit puzzling.
You can all relax. You’re not in trouble.
The relief was plain to see.
Now, continued Mr Oakenshaw,
the instruction I am about to give you is usually followed
by the cane, but I can assure you that today it will not be. Please take down your trousers and pants
and pull up your shirts.
Mystified, the boys obeyed. Mr Oakenshaw surveyed the row of bare bottoms.
Just as I had hoped, he said approvingly.
Trousers and pants up. All will be explained
As the boys adjusted their clothing Mr Oakenshaw went and sat at his desk.
I have a proposition which may interest you all.
He set out what Sean required. He explained that their faces would not be seen on screen, only their backs, and that the camera would be focusing on their bare bottoms. It would not be like in the study where no one else was present. All the crew would be watching. Realism was required and he would cane them just as hard as if he were caning them in the study. He explained that he had made the inspection because bottoms with clearly visible cane marks would not do. He emphasised that only one bottom would make it to the film.
So, are you up for it? The chance to be in pictures, even if fleetingly?
The boys shuffled their feet and looked down at the floor.
Did I tell you a fee is payable?
The boys stopped shuffling, looked up and shook their heads. Mr Oakenshaw mentioned the amount. The boys suddenly saw the opportunity in a different light. Each concluded that he had been swished a good few times and was more than likely to be swished a good few more. An unearned swishing was neither here nor there if it commanded a handsome fee. They all agreed to be extras.
Don’t any of you go thinking that if he gets into trouble before the filming that the caning on
location will cover it.
The boys confirmed they understood and Mr Oakenshaw ushered them out and beckoned Atkinson in. He explained everything to Atkinson. There was only one decision Atkinson could make given the choice between being caned there and then and leaving with an empty pocket and being caned in a day or two and having more cash in his pocket than he had ever thought possible.
There is just one thing, Atkinson. You have struck it lucky because it’s your first caning and
ideally they are looking for a bottom with no sign of any cane marks. Some may think you are being paid
to be punished. If anyone says that then say to them that I have told you that it is only fair that you
get caned again a week after the filming. Of course just because it’s fair doesn’t mean it will happen.
I am sure you understand my meaning.
A smiling Atkinson confirmed he understood perfectly.
Now. Since you’ve never been caned, I think we need to run through one or two things. You wouldn’t
want to let yourself or the school down would you?
I’ll get my cane. Don’t worry, I won’t be using it on you. It’s just so you get used to seeing
me hold it
Mr Oakenshaw fetched his cane. Despite Mr Oakenshaw’s assurance Atkinson could not help feeling uneasy when he saw the cane. Mr Oakenshaw pulled out the visitor’s chair and motioned to Atkinson to come and stand at its side. Atkinson moved to where indicated.
A boy often finds it a bit difficult to get his bottom properly bare when it’s his first time.
In your case it’s going to be a bit unusual because you’ll be on a film set with a lot of strangers watching.
We’ll take it in stages. At your own speed, but without taking too long please, undo your trousers and
take them down as far as they can go.
Atkinson took his trousers down and, if he did not exactly get them down smartly, he did not take that long.
Now your pants, please.
Atkinson eased his pants down a little more slowly than his trousers.
Right. Now hitch your shirt up above your waist.
Atkinson pulled his shirt up slowly and steadily.
Are you agreed that your bottom is quite bare and that I can see it?
Good. Pull your trousers and pants up.
Atkinson did as requested.
You agreed I could see your bare bottom so you don’t need to be shy about me seeing it again,
No, sir, said Atkinson in a way which suggested that he meant he supposed so.
In that case when I tell you to bare your bottom you won’t have any problem getting your trousers
and pants down very sharply and as soon as you’ve bobbed up catching your shirt up swiftly well clear
of your bottom?
Off you go then and bare your bottom.
Atkinson made no move to do anything.
You’re not baring your bottom.
Sorry, sir. I was a bit taken by surprise. I was thinking you were talking about when they do
We’ll try again. Bare your bottom.
Atkinson bared his bottom as instructed and double quick.
Pull up again.
Atkinson did as he was told.
This time I want you to imagine that lots of people you don’t know are watching. Are you imagining
Off you go then and bare your bottom again.
Atkinson repeated the procedure as efficiently as the previous time.
Do you think you’ll have a problem baring your bottom on the set?
Good. Now you need to practise getting your bottom in the correct position. Bend over the seat
of the chair.
Atkinson got over the chair.
Not too bad, but could be improved. Think I must present my bottom properly for the cane.
Atkinson stayed still for a moment or two and then shifted his position.
That’s a lot better. In fact it’s near perfection so we’ll leave well alone. Try and remember
the position. In case it suddenly comes to you on the day, I now want you to think that all eyes are fixed
on your bottom waiting for it to be caned.
Mr Oakenshaw allowed Atkinson a moment or two.
Have you imagined that?
And it won’t be a problem?
I don’t think so, sir.
We’ll round things off by my laying the cane across your bottom.
Mr Oakenshaw rested the cane across the middle of Atkinson’s bottom, which quivered just a little at the touch.
Up you get. Things up.
Atkinson sorted himself out.
Are you free tomorrow at a quarter past four?
Then drop in at that time for a little Latin tuition.
Yes, sir, said a puzzled Atkinson.
When Sean called at six o’clock Mr Oakenshaw confirmed that he had found six volunteers.
Atkinson arrived at the appointed time the next day. Mr Oakenshaw had him sit at one end of his desk and placed in front of him a copy of Virgil’s Georgics, which was way above Atkinson’s standard. Atkinson was perplexed and even more so when Mr Oakenshaw engaged him in conversation which had nothing at all to do with Latin. At a little before half past four there was a knock on the door.
That should be Fothergill, said Mr Oakenshaw.
When the action starts be sure to give it
your full attention. Until then, keep your nose in the book.
Atkinson suddenly had a good idea why he was in Mr Oakenshaw’s study.
Come in! called Mr Oakenshaw in a loud voice which made Atkinson jump.
Fothergill entered and was surprised to see Atkinson.
Don’t mind Atkinson, said Mr Oakenshaw.
He’s just having a little extra Latin.
Fothergill frowned but said nothing. Atkinson stared at the book. Mr Oakenshaw walked round to the front of his desk and pulled out the visitor’s chair. He ordered Fothergill to stand at its side so that he had his back to Atkinson.
You can be taking your trousers and pants down while I get the cane.
Atkinson considered that the action had probably started and tentatively looked up. Fothergill undid his trousers and took them down with his pants. He then pulled up his shirt, bent over the chair and wriggled forward. Atkinson wondered if when he was practising the day before he had presented the same picture as Fothergill did.
Mr Oakenshaw stood at the side of Fothergill and laid his cane across his bottom. He glanced at Atkinson to make sure he was watching and turned his attention back to Fothergill. He raised the cane and swept it down on Fothergill’s bottom. Fothergill’s body tautened.
It was when Atkinson heard the snap of the cane as it met Fothergills’s bottom that it came to him that he was actually watching Fothergill have his bare bottom caned. He wondered why he had been invited to watch. It had to be because he had never been caned and Mr Oakenshaw wanted him to know what it was like before the filming. As the cane worked its way down Fothergill’s bottom half of Atkinson wished he did not know what was in store while the other half relished watching.
When Fothergill had left Atkinson expected to be dismissed, but to his surprise Mr Oakenshaw sat down again and carried on the conversation. After a few minutes there was another knock on the door.
That’ll be Sanderson. Same procedure as before.
Atkinson was ready for Mr Oakenshaw and did not jump when he called Sanderson in.
Sanderson entered looking more apprehensive than Fothergill.
Pay no attention to Atkinson, said Mr Oakenshaw.
He’s just having some tuition. First time
for the cane, I think.
Yes, sir, said Sanderson.
That explained why Sanderson looked apprehensive.
Mr Oakenshaw talked Sanderson through the procedure to get ready for the cane. Atkinson noted that Sanderson’s moved rather more slowly than Fothergill. That confirmed that Mr Oakenshaw had been right when he said that some boys had difficulty getting their bottoms bare when it was their first time. Mr Oakenshaw caned Sanderson just as he had caned Fothergill. Sanderson did though react more by rolling from side to side and letting out some some expressions of surprise. Atkinson could not help wondering how much he would move and what noises he would make when he got the cane.
When Sanderson had been dismissed Mr Oakenshaw put his cane away which Atkinson took as a sign that no more visitors were expected.
There you are Atkinson. I don’t normally cane boys in front of anyone, but as I am scheduled to
be doing it very soon, I saw no harm in changing my practice so that you could get an idea of what the
cane is like, both for a first-timer and a regular. Short of actually caning you, which is not what is
wanted at all, I don’t think there’s anything more I can do to prepare you, so you can run along.
As Atkinson reached the door, Mr Oakenshaw added,
I nearly forgot. We’re being filmed next Tuesday
afternoon. It’s been arranged for then so you only miss games. I’m sure you won’t mind. Tell the others
that you’re all to be waiting at the main door at two o’clock. I want you all looking as smart as you
do for Sunday service.
Needless to say, Atkinson, Morris, Andrews, King, Upton and James were in the limelight well before any cameras started rolling. There was not a boy who did not say he wished he had been lucky enough to have been selected, though in one or two cases it was said with an air of confidence only because they knew they would never have been chosen.
Two smart cars arrived at the appointed time to take Mr Oakenshaw (caned tucked under his arm) and the boys to Gushing Manor. All were nervous, Atkinson more than the rest as he was about to get his first swishing. Sean was waiting for them in the portico of the manor house. He suggested that Mr Oakenshaw take a wander round the grounds while he briefed the boys. Mr Oakenshaw was more than happy to do so and asked for directions to the rhododendron walk.
Sean took the boys to a quiet spot.
I suppose you all know that you are about to get your bare bums swished and have it captured on
Sean use of the word
bums put the boys at ease and they all nodded and murmured agreement.
There mustn’t be any speaking during the filming.