Colin and Mark returned to the Guest House in high spirits. Mark looked very smart in his new red t-shirt and bermuda shorts, with tidy short hair. Colin thought the boy was now quite presentable.
"I have drawn up a list of duties for you" said Colin as they reached the door. "Come into my office and I will explain"
"Yes Sir" the boy's bottom was still throbbing from his spanking.
"Breakfast for Guests is served from 8am to 9:30" Colin informed his employee. "You will have to be up, washed and dressed, by 7am in order to help me to prepare it"
"That's far to early" Mark looked surprised.
"Just pass me that large wooden spatula, please. "Colin asked quietly "The one hanging on the end of the rack"
Mark passed it, thinking Colin was going to start frying something for tea.
SMACK. The blow landed on Mark's left thigh.
SMACK. Another impact on the Boy's trouser leg. He raised the leg.
SMACK. A third swipe on the same spot. Mark twisted sideways.
"Please, Sir, don't"
"What was that for?"
"When I tell you do to something, it will be done"
"I only meant it was earlier than I normally get up"
"Well, now you know what to expect if you refuse an order"
"OK then" Colin continued "At 7am I will meet you in here for inspection, and to assign duties. If you're late, dirty, or untidy I will use the cane, is that clear?"
"Most mornings you will prepare the dining room, set out tables according to the number of guests, lay them for Breakfast, and arrange the cereals on the dresser. Guests will help themselves to cereals and juices."
"When do I get to eat?" Mark was hungry just at the thought of food.
"You eat in the alcove, with me, at 7:30am" he pointed to a small table at the rear of the kitchen on the far side of a partition. "Nobody ever eats in the kitchen for hygiene reasons."
Mark smiled, and carefully rubbed his thigh.
"When the guest arrive, you show them to their seat, invite them to take cereals, and hand them the menu for breakfast."
"After a few minutes, ask them what they want, and bring the order to me. I will deliver the hot food for a few weeks, until you have learned how to serve."
Mark was relieved. He had never waited at table before.
"When the guests have finished, you bring the dirty plates and stack the dishwasher. When it is done, call me and I will inspect it before switching it on"
"I can fill a dishwasher" Mark interrupted.
SMACK. Colin was still holding the spatula.
SMACK. He was hitting Mark's right leg.
SMACK. Mark didn't like it. "I want to check that you have scrapped all of the excess food into the bin, left sufficient gaps between plates, and put in the powder."
"OK, OK, I will call you over"
"Good. Then you clear the tables, polish them, and vacuum the dining room floor. I will clean the kitchen"
Mark looked round, it was spotless already. He just knew that Colin was not going to be satisfied with his polishing.
"After breakfast you can rest until 10am. The guests will have gone out by then and you can start on the stairs. They must be vacuumed, the handrails polished, any marks on the walls wiped down, and water the pot-plants."
Mark mentally counted the stairs. The house had five storeys, 12 steps on each, plus all those landings. What a task. Every day. Oh God.
"You should have them finished by 11am" said Colin "It usually takes me 40 minutes, but I will allow you an hour. At 11am you are to vacuum the lounge, games room, reception, and bar. Every table is to be polished, any marks on the wall or carpets scrubbed, and furniture put back to it's proper position. I will show you the places tomorrow, one room at a time."
"Where will yoube, if I need advice or something?"
"I will be scrubbing the bathrooms, or cleaning the vacated bedrooms"
"How long am I allowed?" Mark was getting used to Colin's system.
"Until 12 noon" he answered "Then I will inspect the house. Any errors will be corrected with the strap, and rectified after lunch"
"What time is lunch?"
"Between 12 and 1pm. I will teach you how to wait at table, by serving your lunch. You will then serve mine. We will do this every lunch-time until you are confident enough to serve in the dining room."
"If all is well, then after lunch you can go out to play, but must be home and ready for your lessons at 4pm. If things are not good, you stay in until all your chores are done properly"
"I'm too old to play" Mark thought, but decided not to say it. The bruises from the spatula were stinging.
"After your lesson, or homework session, you can relax until 7pm. Then we start to serve dinner."
"Isn't that rather late, for the Guests?" Mark asked as politely as he could, watching the spatula-hand for any sign of movement.
"The Guests like it, they prefer to have a full day out, and time to shower before dinner" The spatula never moved.
"You will eat with me, after the guests. When they are all done, I will open the bar. You will load the dishwasher and tidy the dining room as before. Call me to check it when you're ready"
"Is that all my duties?"
"Occasionally I might ask you to cover reception, but the answerphone generally takes care of most enquiries. We are fully booked for the next three months, so I don't have to worry about the phone. Any other jobs will be explained as they occur, but that's about it apart from Saturday"
"What happens on Saturday?" Mark was puzzled.
"The Guests leave. We have to vacuum and polish every bedroom, change the sheets, and welcome new guests"
"A busy day" Mark was beginning to understand.
"Yes, and you must be here to work all day"
"I will be, Sir" Mark was actually looking forward to his first job.
"OK, we start tomorrow, now I have got to prepare the evening meal. You can dine with the guests for tonight, and can relax until bedtime"
"When is bedtime?" Mark had not had a bedtime for five years, he just went to bed when he felt tired, or there were no decent films on TV. "10pm is lights out. You will have to be showered and ready before then, start getting ready at 9:30pm"
"Half past nine, you are joking!" he almost shouted.
The spatula was quicker than the boy.
SMACK. SMACK. SMACK. Left leg.
"Don't raise your voice to me, Mark"
SMACK, SMACK, SMACK. Right leg.
"And don't question my orders."
"I'm sorry Sir, it was just a bit of a surprise. I will be in bed by 10"
"I know," Colin agreed. "If you're not, then the cane will be used"
"Can we go out tonight, Sir" Mark remembered the girls outside the hairdressers.
"I will have to be back by 9:30 to open the bar, but we can spare an hour or so after dinner, if you help me to clean up."
"Yes, I will, Sir"
"Good. Off you go, then."
Mark went up to the playroom, rubbing his smacked legs as he climbed the stairs.
At the door of the playroom a plump woman was roughly holding a nine-year-old boy by the left arm. The boy wore a white t-shirt and very short blue shorts. He had sandals on, but no socks.
"I have told you before" She said as she slapped his left thigh "Don't use that word."
SLAP. SLAP. SLAP.
"Sorry Mummy" the boy was in tears.
"You've said it three times this week"
SLAP. SLAP. SLAP.
"I'm so sorry"
SLAP. SLAP. SLAP.
"Mummy my leg hurts" the boy was twisting to try to avoid the smacks.
"I don't want to hear it again"
SLAP. SLAP. SLAP.
"Promise, I promise, I promise" The boy's left leg was almost purple, large clear imprints of his mother's fingers, and her rings could be seen.
"Next time, I WILL use that cane, on your BARE bottom"
"OK OK OK, I won't say again" The boy was braced for another barrage, but it didn't arrive.
Mark waited patiently until the large lady released the boy, and moved out of the doorway. The boy raced into a corner of the playroom, sat with his back to the corner, and brought his knees up to his chin. He sat crying with his head down, and his left hand gently rubbing the scorched left thigh.
About six other children stood frozen in the playroom. They ranged from six to thirteen, all wearing bright casual summer clothes, all open-mouthed. Mark walked over to the tallest, a boy of about thirteen.
"His mum spanked him, right there" the boy announced.
"Yes, I saw that. Why?"
"He called his sister a rude name"
"What did he say?" Mark was beginning to lose patience with this slow-coach.
"I'm not repeating it, she might spank me" the boy looked genuinely scared.
"Is she your mum?"
"Then she won't touch you" Mark seemed confident.
"How long have you been staying here?"
"Then you have much to learn, pal"
"The parents had a meeting on Saturday night" the boy said "they all decided that any adult could and would spank any kid in this house for the rest of the week"
"No, it's murder. They're everywhere. You just – like – make a little mistake and some stranger pulls your pants down, then whips your bum with a belt or paddle."
"I got it last night from his mum, just for not flushing the toilet" piped up a boy of about 10. "She smacked me on the bare and used a paddle – 20 whacks"
"And I got caned this morning by his dad" a girl of twelve admitted. "Two strokes for taking toast out of the dining room."
"F**k me!" Mark exclaimed.
"Who said that?" A man instantly appeared at the door, with a cane in his hand.
"He did" every child pointed to Mark.
"How dare you, in front of all these little ones?" the man pushed Mark onto the pool table, holding him down by the back of his neck.
"Wait, Wait, I'm not ....."
SWISH The cane sliced into Mark's brand new shorts.
SWISH Another wicked cut across the boy's buttocks. So fast.
"Ouch, I'm an em......" The pain was so intense, Mark could hardly get his breath.
SWISH This was lower, catching the back of mark's legs.
"Arggh" Mark was crying to much to speak
"Let that be a lesson to you" the stranger said as he walked out.
"Told you" the thirteen year old said.
Mark was too upset to answer. He limped slowly up to his room, crying pitifully and clutching his tender bum.
Mark collapsed onto the bed. Tears flowed. Mark fell asleep in pain, in total confusion, in complete shock, and exhausted from the crying.
Colin woke the boy at 7pm. "Dinner is being served, come and meet the other guests."
Mark sat up on his bed, the pain of the caning was still fresh.
"Mr Hyde told me about the incident in the games room. You got off lightly, I would have pulled your pants down."
"I am sorry, honestly. It just popped out, I won't swear again"
"It's OK, lad. You've had your punishment, now we forget about it"
"It hurt so much"
"You'll get used to it"
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