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2 April, 2009

by The Wandering Wastrel

Days at boarding school were spent trying to avoid being beaten by larger kids, or to avoid getting caught and then beaten by the housemaster.*
for beating younger kids.
Do not think for a moment that threat and actual eventuation of vicious beatings deterred me from doing weird and naughty things. It made me much more covert and cunning.
My first introduction to the real importance of not advertising ones insanity was only two weeks into my stay.
It was Saturday night and the whole school of boys aged 10-12 were allowed to sprawl on cushions and watch some G rated movie on the small TV. You were also allowed to use two dollars of your allowance to purchase a small amount of lollies* which had to be eaten by the time the movie was over. If you were caught with lollies when it wasn’t Saturday night you were beaten.
I had been naughty, but not naughty enough to warrant a beating ( I was still warming up). So I had to sit outside the housemasters office and read a book with other bad kids, instead of watching the movie and eating lollies.
A whole dorm of kids had been banned from the movie too but they were allowed to stay up in their dorm as there were too many of them to crowd around the office.
I saw a few kids come down from the dorm and then go into the office. Then they went back to the dorm, running with excitement ! Then the entire dorm but for the two kids came down and lined up outside the door looking kinda caved in and fearful.
What had happened was, a few kids in the dorm had lollies and they shared them with the others . Two kids diddnt get any so they told on the rest. Now all those kids who ate the lollies were getting a beating.
They would go into the room and the close the door behind them and then there would be a loud and sharp smacking sound and the kid would come bolting out – red faced and usually go straight to the bathrooms to cry tears of deeply alone hopelessness.
I had to find out more. So I LISTENED at the door ! I heard the gruff voice say ” Stand on that spot and touch your toes”. Then I would hear the WHACK!!.
I would jump back to my seat and a teary kid would come out.
I managed to hear three before some kid told on me. I heard him telling on me and as he told, I detachedly realized I was listening at the door.
I felt weak and sick. I just staggered back and stood in the middle of the hallway staring at the door. The room took on a goldfish bowl effect and things became dreamlike and unreal. I thought about fainting.
The door opened and the kid looked and me and smiled a teary eyed evil smile. Behind him was the stern housemaster.
“Mr Prestwich, come in here” he announced.
The room was in the classic New Zealand post war style. Floral patterned carpet, thick brown curtains. Leather covered chairs and the smell of dust and fear droplets. He was entering my name into a ledger.
Name, amount and reason for the punishment. Under the reason section he wrote: Idiocy.
I stood on the spot I was told too ( a large red flower in the carpet ) , touched my toes and received THE WHACK.
I diddnt cry. I just went out side and sat down. Thinking how I better lift my game and become much more covert as an operating basis.
It was called THE WHACK.
Kids would say ” I just got THE WHACK” or “James got THE WHACK last night and cried for ages” or “I heard the whole class is going to get THE WHACK”. It was so terrifying and encompassing it was afforded full caps. When you said it you said it with respect. When you said it you stopped what you were doing opened your eyes wide and said it slowly.
It was never laughed about unless you were taunting an enemy as in ” Ha Ha your going to get THE WHHHAAAACCKK and its gunna hurt like a bastard and your gunna cry for mummy like a little baby !” We often would pretend that we knew that someone was going to get THE WHACK for something they had done, that they did not think the housemaster knew about. We would tease the person to the point of terror, convincing the guy that he had been told on and soon the call would come. Once a guy got so scared and overwhelmed with dread he went and handed himself in to the housemaster, telling the housemaster that he was there to get THE WHACK for stealing a granola bar from another kid. He got THE WHACK sure enough. Too this day that poor bastard doesn’t know that we never told on him.
THE WHACK came in three forms. There was Sloppy Joe. He was a well worn old slipper and was used for first timers, small kids or minor offenses, he was a friend you could trust, he diddnt make you cry unless it was with relief or unless you were one of the frail weak children who were crying most of the time anyway.
There was Claudius. He was a large, old and dangerous looking Roman sandal filled with golf balls which were wrapped in a stocking . This gave him a lot of weight. He was an uncaring disciplinary menace that you couldn’t predict and it was he who was used the majority of the time. From his efforts, hard crying and sometimes little screams were assured unless you were really hardened. When he hit you it sounded like a pistol going off behind your head and he sometimes would knock you to the ground. He was experienced. According to legend he had been delivering THE WHACK since the school opened in 1936.
Then there was THE CANE.
THE CANE was so scary that just the mention of it could cause a kid to cry and shake. I know one kid who ran away because someone told him he was going to get THE CANE.
THE CANE was a brutal cane made of rattan and was used only for the worst of crimes.
I once saw the toughest kid in our part of the school crawling on his hands and knees along the hallway, white and ghost-faced, dribbling and gasping like something from a horror movie. He crawled along about 20 meters of hallway into the bathroom where he vomited on the floor and then lay in it screaming, for about 2 minutes. All because of “three of THE BEST”.
THE BEST referred to the hardest most punishing hits that the housemaster could deal.
The housemaster once told us that any kid caught wandering around after lights out would receive two of THE BEST.
THE BEST was only delivered with THE CANE. The above kid had received three of THE BEST for mooning the housemasters daughter.
I could see why the housemaster delivered this only late at night or when the school was empty.
Everyone else was at the chapel while this happened and I was the only one who saw him in his sorry state.
He told me later that if I told anyone he would “Crush my balls like grapes”.

If you had pre warning of an imminent WHACK you could take precautions to reduce the intensity of the blow. You could create a WHACK PAD. This was layer of cushioning toilet tissue, sandwiched between two thin sheets of card. This was worn over the right buttocks cheek, and would absorb some of the vicious, stinging impact. It must not be noticeable! If the Housemaster saw or suspected you were wearing a WHACK PAD, you would be forced to remove your pants for a BARE ARSED WHACK. A BARE ARSED WHACK would always hurt like the Devil himself had just donkey kicked you with his fiery black hoof. Screaming was assured. So it was very risky, but worth the risk if you were a good WHACK PAD craftsman (as I was).

Some of the kids in the high WHACK risk band would take to wearing their whack pads all the time, if you were suddenly called to the office for your punishment, faking a sudden need to go to the bathroom – to install or create a WHACK PAD often did not work, and even if you did get to the bathroom, the WHACK PAD crafted in the time of terror and mental dispersal would sometimes be slipshod – being made too hastily it would be easily visible by the Housemaster and would precipitate a BARE ARSED WHACK.

Another way to reduce the power of the whack was to act REALLY terrified and shake, scream and cry as he was writing your name in the book. The theory was that the Housemaster would take pity upon you and not deal you a full forced WHACK.
This was a flawed theory. There was no pity in the Housemasters black heart.
The one time I tried this he said to me “Oh stop it!”. Forcing me to end my pantomime and receive a brutal “I’ll give you something to cry about WHACK”.
I received THE WHACK three times a term*, for a total of 24 WHACKS in all.
The majority of my WHACKS were administered for hurting other kids.
I had to punish the guilty as I will detail later.
I had a friend who would wait outside the office when I was getting THE WHACK. He would taunt me with “Your gunna cry, your gunna cry – your crying I can see it! Your crying! ” When I wasn’t crying. This taunting would kick the loneliness of an uncaring world in on me and more often than not I would head to the bathrooms to cool my hot burning ass cheek in the sink with the cold tap on full blast, then crawl into my locker and shut the door after me so I could be alone in a dark little misery hole.
One day the time came for my taunting friend to get THE WHACK and I saw him looking round to make sure I diddnt see him going into the office to receive it. When he came out I was standing RIGHT THERE. With a big evil and satisfied smile on my face. He said “SHUT UP !” and burst into tears of loneliness and pain.
That made me feel good.
At some point, not long after getting THE WHACK for the first time I bent my mind to activities of cunning and evil.
The first really bad thing I did was an act of such betrayal and trickery that I hold it as one of my greatest achievements.
I was up in Crows Nest with a friend called King ( we were all referred to by our last names). No one else was about and King opened up the bottom drawer of a Prefects bunk. Revealing a huge bag of lollies and chippies !
He Said ” Lets take these!”.
I put forward that we take most of them but also take some down to the housemaster saying we heard the prefect eating them at night. That way one of our enemies would get THE WHACK and we would get lollies AND the smug satisfaction of bringing doom to an oppressor. So we did that and the prefect got two of THE WHACK, that made him lie on his bed for about an hour crying.
Then I made sure that King kept all the lollies hidden in his drawer and I ate none.
The next day I went to Kings drawer and stole most of the lollies and hid them in a hollowed out section of my mattress where no one would find them. I then told the Prefect that King had stolen his lollies and then told on him precipitating him getting THE WHACK.
I showed the Prefect to where King had hidden the lollies. In a rage, he ate the small amount of lollies I had left in Kings drawer and then when King came up to the dorm he hit him in the head with a tennis racket. King tried to fight but the Prefect was stronger. King went down after a few nasty uppercuts to the chest and then the prefect body slammed him with both knees to the back. When King could breathe again he started screaming so loudly a tutor came in and took them both down to the housemaster. Where they both got one of THE BEST.
I hid under my bed eating the lollies while this happened.
That made me feel good.
I fell in with a couple of guys whos situation was the same as mine. Sent to Boarding school for becoming too tricky and evil.
We took being naughty to a new level. We only talked about what we did to each other. We weren’t cruel to those who diddnt deserve it and we weren’t random in our mayhem. What we did was done for personal thrills or carefully calculated to punish the guilty.
Any den of rouges needs a hideout and we had one. Underneath one of the school buildings there was a room. A small dank smelling concrete basement that had been walled up and forgotten. No one had been down there for decades when we found it. We entered through a tiny boarded over window that was near the ground behind a small hedge.
We had found this secret window when hiding behind the hedge one day.
We stashed candles in there and stole a cushion each from the common room to sit on.
I have no idea how many hours I spent in that dark hole whispering to my friends but we all took on the smell of the place after a while.
We would get dry grass from the mowed lawn. We would roll joints of this with small rectangles of paper we tore from a bible that we stole from the chapel.
We would blaze these down in our den. Sometimes we would blaze up to ten in an hour and emerge from our den reeking and red eyed. Giddy from smoke inhalation, we would get rid of the smell by running across the field or we would time our blazing to before sports or swimming so we would be able to change. If told we smelled like smoke by a quizzical student we would say we had been playing by the incinerator, but we were pretty careful.
We would get the day students ( they are kids who don’t board at the school) to buy us lollies and powdered drink mix. More often we diddnt have money so we would do school work for them. I would write stories for them or the poetry which was sometimes required as homework. Working down in our den by stolen candlelight. They could then copy my work into their book before school. This would be worth at least a big packet of drink mix or a good round lolly bag, or maybe if we were lucky, a lighter.
We wouldn’t eat the powdered drink mix or drink it. We would create lines of it on our books and snort it up our noses with a hand made, nicely decorated paper tube. This would give your brain a shock and after a while yummy lemon-lime tasting snot would be running down the back of your throat.
One lunchtime I crawled down into the den to meet my friends to do some lines and blaze, and I heard a girlish giggling!
“What’s this?!” I thought, as my eyes became accustomed to the gloom. There was a girl standing in the middle of the room looking at me.
She was 12 and was kind of pretty with long black curly hair. I knew her because the other kids said she was insane.
She knew me because the other kids said I was insane.
One friend was lying on the floor with his head on a cushion, giggling like a lunatic and my other friend was standing to the side looking fully crazed.
He said ” Were doing… this thing….”
They showed me. She would lift up her skirt and squat on my friends face, with her panties covered pussy right over his mouth and then she would drop her skirt and kneeling down with one knee on each side of his head, ride his face.
She would make all sorts of strange noises as she did this and we would glance quizzically at each other wondering what this was all about.
She unsmothered my friend after a bit and he was grinning with a weird redfaced look as he got up.
I said “Ill have a go.”
I was as I expected. Dark, hot, wet …. a bit pissy smelling.
I started to feel really weird and spaced out and I was scared she was making too much noised and we would be caught and all given SIX OF THE BEST.
She got up and pulled something out of her shirt pocket. It looked like a round lolly in a foil packet.
“What’s that?” I asked?
“It’s a Joey. You put it on your doodle.” She said.
I got it and opened it. Taking out the rubbery thing. It smelt weird and felt ever weirder. I unrolled it. How the hell? It was really long! We all started laughing. I turned away from them and got my pecker out put the Joey on. It hung down like a bizarre pink sleeping cap.
All the wet undies to the face action had made me feel crazy and now I needed to do a wee. Finally I could wee down in our den. We had once thought of getting a big juice container for weeing in as it was such a hassle getting in and out of the place.
I began to wee. The others saw the yellow bulb growing at the end of the Joey as it hung between my legs. They started doubling over with laughter and I myself was laughing so hard that I had to hold it on tightly. Finally I was done and I tied the end like a water bomb. That’s what it looked like. A large pinkish water bomb filled with piss.
I said “Im going to throw this off the school !”
I gave the full Joey to her to hand to me once I climbed out.
She said ” Gross its warm!”
“Well be careful you don’t pop it!” I warned.
She squeezed it and it bulged.
We were all very exited.
She handed me the pinky piss bomb through the window and I stashed it under my shirt.
I missioned round to the front of the school with these guys following.
We went up and up the stairs into Crows nest, the top Dormitory and all snuck to the window peeking out at the courtyard, four stories down.
Some of my enemies played hand ball far below. Utterly unaware of the urine missile that was soon coming down to meet them with a golden shower of retribution.
We discussed who should get it to the dome but in the end decided on the option of hitting the center of the courtyard, with great force so as to maximize the splash effect and hopefully splash as many as possible.
Leaning out and rasing the wobbly yellow bomb above my head, I let it fly with all my might . With it flew a large amount of pent- up rage and loathing.
As soon as I saw it explode in a yellow flash, the setting sunlight hitting each bouncing droplet and turning it into a sphere of molten iridescent honey, we fled down the stairs and off to dinner – our faces bug eyed and wide mouthed with the secret joy of all we had done in that insane hour.


*Lollies – Candy.
*Housemaster- is a member of staff in charge of the boarders of a boarding school.
*Term- A period of a few months that you spend at school before you get a major holiday.
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