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: 18 Feb 2018
Author’s note: A midquel to Truckle Helps Mr Tetley Out
It’s amazing, it really is. Life is certainly full of unexpected twists and turns. On that day I
was, as they say, full of the joys of spring, even though it was autumn. There I was crossing the Low
Field (written with capitals as that was its name and not because it was lower than High Field which it
was) when one of the hoi polloi (as Mr James would call them because he is a snob which is contrary to
reason) sneaks up behind me and whips off my cap. That was certainly unexpected, but I did not at that
exact moment regard it as a twist or turn in my life. More of a minor irritation. The village boys often
snatch our caps, have a bit of fun and give them back. This one though ran off. Obviously I ran after
him to see what he did with my cap. What he did was most vexatious. He threw my cap into the school pond.
It was particularly vexatious as I had read the label inside which said
Dry clean only and the
water in a pond is obviously wet. Also, even if the cap was not dry clean only, pond water is not suitable
for washing clothes.
Of course the cap could not be be left in the pond so I went and found a stoutish stick in the Spinney (written with a capital because that’s its name even though it’s just a copse). I climbed over the fence they had just put up round the pond and tried to get the cap out with the stick. Unfortunately the stick was just a bit too short and as I was thinking I needed to find a longer one I heard Mr Tetley behind me ask me what I was up to. Mr Tetley’s arrival was unexpected but I did not at that exact moment regard it as a twist or turn in my life. He was a little put out until I explained what I was doing and why after which he was able, what with his arm being longer than mine, to reach the cap. My immediate opinion when I saw the cap out of the water was that it had reached the end of its useful life bedraggled as it was and covered all over in pond weed. We left the cap on a fence post to dry.
Mr Tetley and I walked back to the school and there was nothing in my mind suggesting that anything out of the ordinary would, as they say, come to pass. As we neared the school building we passed a group of boys and one, I think it may have been Crouch, asked Mr Tetley if he was going to slipper me. It was at that exact moment that I thought a twist or turn in my life might be very much on the cards. I suddenly remembered, and wondered how I could have forgotten, that at the beginning of the week Mr Tetley had announced in assembly that without exception any boy getting over the fence round the pond would have his bare bottom slippered extra hard.
Mr Tetley did not answer the question which gave me hope that he might have forgotten he had said without exception. We walked to Mr Tetley’s study in silence and I was wondering whether it could possibly be that I who had never been in trouble in any way, shape or form whatsoever was about to get, as they say, a Head’s Whacking (written with capitals as it was said to formidable) and moreover bare (which it always was) and extra hard (which I don’t think it always was).
As soon as we were in the study I asked Mr Tetley very politely if he was going to slipper my bare bottom. He said he wasn’t sure which gave me hope. We then had a chat and sometime before the chat ended, I am not sure of the exact moment, there was a twist or turn in my life that I had not been expecting. Mr Tetley asked me what I thought. Well, as my grandfather had told me to be honest and I was pleased to be asked for advice, I said, and it’s now difficult to believe I said it, that I could see it was difficult for him to make an exception when he had clearly said there could be no exceptions. Moreover and furthermore, I can still cannot believe it, I pointed out that if he let me off a lot of boys would start throwing their caps into the pond saying a boy from the village had done it so they could cross the fence. I also admitted that I should have stopped to think and said, believe it or not, that I should not be let off if he would not have let off any other boy who had not stopped to think.
Now my grandmother once told me I sometimes say more than I need to. When Mr Tetley said that he hoped I would not grow up to be a defence lawyer was the exact moment I realised I might have talked Mr Tetley into slippering my bare bottom extra hard and I wished I had thought of what my grandmother had said rather than my grandfather. There was though still hope as Mr Tetley asked me if I could think of any reason why I should not have my bare bottom slippered extra hard. Well, I had, as they say, painted myself into a corner. I could not at that exact moment think of anything to say to undo what I had said.
It then came to Mr Tetley, and I can’t think why, that I could myself have thrown my cap into the pond to get my bare bottom slippered extra hard. I mean, what sensible boy would go out of his way to get his bare bottom slippered extra hard? I know I talked myself into it but that’s different because it just sort of happened. Anyway, I said I had not and at that exact moment Mr Fountain put his head round the door and said he had seen it all, which is my cap being snatched off by a village boy, which was very timely.
Mr Tetley then asked if I would be sure to show off my slippered bottom if he slippered it. I said I would because it would be a deterrent. Mr Tetley did not seem to be so sure it would deter everyone. I know I would have been deterred. Seeing a well-slippered bottom would have made me stop and think before getting over the fence.
Mr Tetley never actually said he was going to slipper me, but when he invited to the Slippering Chair (written with capitals because that was what the boys who had been slippered on it called it) I knew, as they say, that my fate was sealed.
When we got to the Slippering Chair Mr Tetley reached under the seat cushion and pulled out his slipper. It was squashed and looked quite old. I saw it had a leather sole which no one had ever mentioned. I may have thought it would be rubber like mine. I expected leather would be worse than rubber though I wasn’t sure.
Mr Tetley told me to take my shoes off which I wasn’t expecting and then told me to take my trousers down which I was expecting what with the slipper being always bare. I was ready to pull my pants down when he told me to pull up my vest, shirt and pullover and bend over the cushion he had put on the arm of the Slippering Chair. I did all that thinking Mr Tetley had forgotten to tell me to take down my pants. I was expecting him to tell me to stand up and take my pants down when he pulled my trousers off which I wasn’t expecting though I should have been what with having to take my shoes off. Before I knew what was happening, though I may have been expecting it, Mr Tetley pulled my pants off. He told me to be sure to tell everyone that my trousers and pants had come off as that would tell them I had been slippered extra hard.
What with my vest, shirt and pullover being right up out of the way that meant that Mr Tetley could see my bottom and if he was not seeing it at that exact moment he would be seeing it soon because he had to see it to slipper it. If I had thought about it which I hadn’t I think I might have minded Mr Tetley seeing my bare bottom. Anyway I didn’t mind at all even though he was going to slipper it extra hard.
I thought Mr Tetley was going to start but he told me to get my bottom up so that he could slipper it properly. I wondered how getting my bottom up would help him slipper it properly. I wasn’t quite sure what to do so wriggled forward a bit and he said that was fine and told me to tell everyone that he had asked me to get my bottom up properly. He explained that that would let them know he meant business.
Mr Tetley said he would count and give me the first whack on three. When he counted one it was the exact moment that it came to me that I was, as they say, in actual fact and no word of a lie, about to have my bare bottom whacked extra hard with a wicked leather slipper. On two I held my breath and on three came a twist or turn in my life which was certainly more than a minor irritation and even more than vexatious. I had expected that a wicked slipper brought down extra hard on my bare bottom would be frightful, but I had not expected it to be amazingly frightful. Just as I was realising just how amazingly frightful the first whack was the second landed and was more amazingly frightful. The third was not quite as bad as the second but the fourth was. It was the same with the fifth and sixth.
I thought six would be it but they were not. I had to turn one way for the next two and then the other for the two after that. They were all highly frightful. Mr Tetley then said to move into the chair a bit more. I did and expected, though I’m not sure why, that it was going to be more frightful. The two last were extremely frightful.
Mr Tetley asked me if I felt that my bare bottom had been slippered extra hard and I could only say I definitely did. He told me to be sure to mention I had had four low down. He also said I took it all very well and that I had not jiggled about and moaned like some did. I was pleased to hear that. We both agreed that we had never imagined he would have to slipper my bare bottom extra hard.
As I walked away from the study I could hardly believe I had just had my bare bottom slippered extra hard. When I got to the recreation room they were ready for me and asked if I had had the slipper, though I think some were sure I could not have had it seeing it was me who never got into trouble. Of course everyone believed it when they saw my red bottom. I made sure I mentioned everything Mr Tetley told me to. It was said by many that they had never seen a better slippered bottom. I did not of course like getting the slipper but that was nice to know.
As I thought about it all later I told myself that it was my own fault twice. First I crossed the fence without thinking and then, when I could have escaped the slipper, talked Mr Tetley into giving it to me which was, as they say, the height of folly. It was strange how it all happened. It’s a good job we don’t know what life has in store for us.