Friday, 23 May 2014

Richard and the Cub Camp

Unlike most boys Richard was dreading the forthcoming summer holidays. Well, not the whole of the summer holidays exactly, just the two weeks when he was expected to join his mum on the annual Cub Camp. You see, Richard was fifteen years old and a member of his local Boy Scout Troop; his mum was Akela, leader of the local Cub Pack. Not that this mattered all that much, but every year since Richard had moved up to the scouts his mum had ‘volunteered’ his services to help at the annual Cub Camp. Of course Richard had no choice in the matter. His mum was a strong-willed woman and expected Richard to do what he was told, so every year it was the same… 

“Richard,” mum would announce in plenty of time so that her son had ample opportunity to dwell on his forthcoming ordeal, “Richard, you’ll be helping me with the cubs again this year won’t you…?” 

“Oh but, mum… do I have to…?” 

“Richard, it’s not much to ask…” 

“… but, mum, I’m fifteen now…”

“I’m perfectly well aware of how old you are Richard…” 

“… but, mum… it’s not fair…” 

Richard’s ill-considered words were like a red rag to a bull: “What’s not fair?” mum snapped, “I’ll tell you what’s not fair, Richard… It’s not fair of you to refuse to help me look after the young cubs; that’s not fair. You know the weaker Sixes need someone to help them. It’s not fair expecting those boys to compete in cub games without a stronger boy to help them along. Would you like to see these boys fail at everything they do? Would you like to see them disappointed because an older boy… a Boy Scout… refused to do his duty and help those weaker than himself? Is that the sort of boy I’ve raised? Is that the sort of boy you are, Richard?” 

Poor Richard could hardly bear it and almost immediately felt the pressure of tears building up behind his eyes. He hated being told off like this by his mum. He hated to see her upset; not in fear of her anger, but because he was so often the cause of her displeasure. So he would get upset that he had disappointed his mum; that he had once again let her down in some way. And it was just the same during this latest ‘lecture’ from mum. But on top of that Richard would get just as upset with himself for getting upset in the first place! He was fifteen year old for heaven’s sake! Boys of his age shouldn’t start to cry simply because of a few harsh words from their mums. 

Richard’s watery eyes and quivering lip said it all, but he managed to control himself enough not to actually burst into tears. He blurted out an apologetic, “Sorry, mum… I’m sorry… I’ll help with the cub camp again…” 

“And…?” mum demanded. 

Richard hung his head in shame: “I’m sorry for upsetting you, mummy…” 

“Yes, I should think so… and you’d better have an early bedtime tonight to help calm you down, Richard…” 

“Aw, but mum…” 

One look from mum was enough for Richard to know it would only make matters worse for him to say any more. Richard took himself off to his bedroom and reflected that he must be the only fifteen year old boy who had such a demanding mother. 

In this he’d be wrong, but that wouldn’t have been much consolation. There certainly weren’t any other boys of his age that Richard knew of who were still being bathed by their mums; still having to endure strict pyjama-times and bedtimes. It was only now that Richard had passed his fifteenth birthday that he was allowed the privilege of a 9 o’clock Sunday to Thursday ‘school’ bedtime which was extended to the previously unheard of 9.30 on Friday and Saturday evenings. However, pyjama-time on all days was the same… 8.30. Another privilege recently gained was that Richard was permitted to keep his bedside light on for an extra ten minutes after bedtime. These privileges were hard won, but could easily be suspended or withdrawn completely, as Richard knew only too well and so he tried his best to be a good boy for his mother. 

So now Richard was being dragooned into another Cub Camp by his mum. Richard couldn’t help but reflect on events last year’s camp when he was still fourteen and a full three years older than the oldest cub in his Six. What was he saying? It wasn’t his Six… he’d be horrified if his contemporaries, or anyone, thought he was a Sixer at his mum’s Cub Camp. But whatever way he looked at it, Richard knew he was de facto a Sixer. There could be no doubt in anyone’s mind about that. Richard had to lead the Six and share a tent with the young cubs and what was more… Richard had at all times to wear his cub shorts! 

Nervously Richard opened the drawer which contained his scout uniform, underneath which lay the dreaded cub shorts. Cub shorts which mum had bought for him when he was eleven and now hardly fitted him where it mattered to a boy of Richard’s age. Mum refused to buy him any more saying there was lots more wear left in them, which was probably true if Richard was still three or four years younger than he was, but the fact was that although Richard’s legs were still as perfectly smooth as they were when he was eleven, they were a now good deal longer. Richard’s smooth legs were disproportionately long compared to the rest of his body and this rather drew attention to the tiny cub shorts which hardly covered anything at all! 

Richard was self-conscious enough about wearing his cub shorts but that was only part of the problem… You see, although Richard was indeed a boy of fifteen summers, if you saw him you would be forgiven if you thought he was younger than that. Richard certainly had exceptionally long smooth legs in relation to his overall height, but you would have also noticed his smooth and unblemished face, made all the more noticeable by his short hair. Mum insisted her son made regular trips to the barber’s for a deeply unfashionable schoolboy short-back-and-sides which Richard absolutely hated. 

There really was no escaping the fact that Richard did look younger than his years and no one was more aware of this than Richard himself. When, as quite often happened, he was mistaken by a grown-up for a rather lanky boy of twelve, Richard would blush and be forced to tell the person his true age… usually at mum’s insistence. This would inevitably be met with amused disbelief and teasing which would cause Richard’s face to go bright red as he stammered his protestations that he was telling the truth about his age. 

Richard lifted the cub shorts from drawer and held them up. Gosh they looked even shorter than they were last year. The material was thinner, flimsier than he remembered. Surely he shouldn’t be forced to wear them?! He was not allowed to wear underpants with his cub shorts, although Richard doubted that he would be able to wear underpants and cub shorts at the same time any anyway! 

It was hardly worth his breath, but Richard did ask about his cub shorts, but mum was adamant that he wore them for the whole two weeks of the camp. Richard was not allowed to take any other shorts and longs, unsurprisingly, were strictly forbidden. There was one concession, however; Richard was allowed to wear his scout shirt. Richard wore this shirt for almost the entire time he was at the Cub Camp so that anyone seeing him would know that he wasn’t really a cub, but a proper Boy Scout! At least that’s what Richard thought. In truth it was a desperate attempt to distinguish himself as an older boy among the young cubs and to acquire some respect, or so he hoped. Unfortunately for Richard it didn’t always work out like that. 

As he looked at the tiny cub shorts, Richard thought back to the events of the last camp and the humiliations he’d had to endure under the watchful eyes of his mum, the cub pack’s Akela. 

Just to take one example, why did mum insist he study for a cub merit badge? He was a scout for heaven’s sake! What use was a silly cub badge to him? Besides, if anyone found out he was studying for a stupid cub badge he’d be a laughing-stock… correction, Richard was a laughing-stock already, because the cubs in his Six thought it was hugely funny that his mum/Akela made him work for a cub merit badge. The ten and eleven year old boys teased Richard mercilessly, to the point at which anyone who saw him  would think he was about to burst into tears. 

When Richard was awarded the cub badge (by mum/Akela of course), she insisted he stood holding up the badge and posed for a photo with the young boys of ‘his’ Six. Even now, a year later, Richard’s face flushed as he remembered how one of the boys had called out to his mum at the very moment the picture was taken: “Akela… Richard loves doing cub merit badges… why don’t you give him another one to work for…?” Richard grimaced as he remembered how he’d had to face the camera and smile even though he was embarrassed beyond belief at the boy’s taunting. 

Richard could have marmalised the little brat, but he was torn between conflicting emotions; the humiliation of holding up the cub badge; the desperate struggle he was having not to cry; the urge to strangle the cub who had taunted him so cruelly, but capping all these emotions was the fear his mum would slap the backs of his legs if he didn’t do as his was told. A leg-slapping, as Richard knew from bitter experience, was to be avoided at all costs. The thought of a leg-slapping in front of a group of boys at least three years his junior was unbearable; far better to hold his cub merit badge up and have the group picture taken. However humiliating it was, it would be far, far worse to have his bare legs slapped and to burst out into tears in front of the young cubs. 

So Richard stood and smiled as best he could as he held up his cub badge. The photograph was taken and Richard prayed that it wouldn’t find its way into the hands of his scout troop. However, it was almost as embarrassing when mum decided she liked the photograph so much she had it mounted and kept it on display on a shelf in the hallway. Every day Richard saw himself holding up the cub merit badge and every day he was reminded that his were the shortest of all the cub shorts in the picture. Whenever mum had a visitor Richard would try to position himself in front of the incriminating photograph; he wasn’t always successful and many were the times when he would be forced to stand red-faced and explain that, yes, he was entitled to wear a scout shirt because he was a boy scout. Then he would have to explain how old he was; that, yes, he really was fourteen at the time the photograph was taken. And then Richard would have to put up with more comments from mum’s friend about how he looked so much younger than fourteen, “Why… you look about the same age as that nice young boy at the other end of the line…” 

“Err… that was my, err I mean that was a Seconder, Paul… he is… was, err eleven,” Richard explained. 

“Paul was nearly twelve though wasn’t he, Richard?” 

“Yes, mum…” 

“Paul went on to join the scouts not long after Cub Camp, didn’t he Richard?” 

“Yes, mum…” 

Then mum dropped a bombshell. 

“You’ll be seeing Paul at this year’s camp I shouldn’t wonder…” 

Richard’s face fell. Why would he be seeing Paul? Paul’s in the scouts… 

“Yes,” mum continued, “Paul’s scout troop will be having a camp in the field next to the cubs this year. I’ve told his mum that Paul’s to make sure he comes over to say hello to his old Six…” 

This was all news to Richard. He thought he’d seen the last of Paul when he went off to join the scouts and was doubly relieved to hear that he’d joined a troop on the other side of town. It was Paul, Richard reminded himself, who called out to his mum that he loved doing cub merit badges. Richard also reminded himself that Paul had also seen him getting his legs slapped… 

It would be safe to say the fact that Paul would be close by during the forthcoming Cub Camp did not augur very well for Richard… not at all well!



Soon enough, but far too soon for Richard, the summer holidays came and he found himself leading a Six at the annual Cub Camp. As predicted the scouts did strike camp in the field next to the cubs. Richard spent a nervous couple of days anxiously waiting for the scouts to introduce themselves, but for whatever reason they were heard but not seen. 

On the third day after the scouts arrival Akela/mum announced that she was taking a group of cubs on a visit to see some birds of prey. Richard was to remain at the camp and look after four cubs that were not going on the outing. Richard was given a number of tasks to complete and told on no account was he to leave the cub camp. 

That was all very well, but unknown to Richard the scouts in the adjacent field had other plans… 

The patrol that Paul was in had planned a raid… a raid on the cub camp… a raid to capture and take a prisoner. No prizes for guessing the name of the intended prisoner! 

Paul had told two of the older boys in his scout patrol, Russell who was sixteen and Max fifteen (the same age as Richard), that there was a boy in the cub camp who wore a scout shirt all the time. He egged on Russell and Max to organise a raid to capture this boy and take him prisoner for ‘questioning’ and the older scouts agreed. As Russell explained, it was definitely a breech of uniform rules for a cub to wear a scout shirt and it would be their duty to investigate. 

As you might have gathered, Paul was a mischievous young boy and as he left Russell and Max to plan the assault, he grinned at the prospect of seeing his erstwhile Sixer forced to explain why he was wearing a scout shirt. 

Not for the first time Richard found himself ‘babysitting’ young cubs. He was sat cross-legged unenthusiastically relating some cub-lore to his charges when without warning he was rushed from behind by three stealthy scouts. Before he knew what was happening Richard was blindfolded, rolled over onto his front and had his hands expertly tied behind his back. Next he was gagged and then hoisted to his feet. To his astonishment he heard the little cubs cheer! 

“That’s not fair!” he thought, “They should be trying to help me… not cheering…” 

It didn’t take long for Richard to realise it was some scouts from the neighbouring camp who had trussed him up. As he was marched off, stumbling every now and then, he guessed he was being taken to the scout camp. Once there his hands were untied only to be retied in front of him and then for his arms to be hoisted upwards until Richard was forced almost onto tip-toe. Richard felt extremely vulnerable and very exposed. He knew his little cub shorts would have ridden up even further and could already feel them pressing tightly between his bottom cheeks, never mind what might be happening at the front of the shorts! His gag was removed. 

Sixteen year old Russell began the interrogation: “You have been brought to our camp to answer some questions…” 

Still blindfolded, Richard pleaded with the scout: “Please… I haven’t done anything… let me go… I haven’t done anything wrong… Please… It’s not fair…” 

Russell ignored Richard’s pleading and pressed on with the questioning: “What are you doing wearing a scout shirt?” 

“I’m a scout… I’m allowed to wear a scout shirt…” he said and tried to affect an air of defiance. 

“Then what’s a scout doing in a cub camp?” Russell continued. 

“I’m a boy scout I tell you… it’s my scout shirt… I can wear my scout shirt if I want…” 

“Take off his blindfold…” Russell said sharply, interrupting Richard. 

The blindfold was removed and Richard found himself surrounded by half-a-dozen young scouts, two of whom looked to be about his own age or perhaps a year older, these were Russell and Max, but when he twisted his head round he saw Paul grinning from ear-to-ear. 

Richard was about to say something when his interrogator, Russell snapped: “Why are you wearing cub shorts then?!” 

“I… my… I am a scout… but I have to wear them for cub camp. Mum… Akela… she’s my mum, lets me wear my scout shirt… honest… it’s the truth!” 

Richard was beginning to panic. He wasn’t sure, but he thought being caught wearing a uniform you weren’t entitled to wear was a serious business. How could he convince these scouts that he too was scout and therefore fully entitled to wear a scout shirt? 

Richard twisted himself round to try and look at Paul, but every time he managed to face the younger boy the rope would untwist itself and cause Richard to swing back again. This swinging to and fro caused much merriment, but Richard was frantic; he needed Paul to back him up and to help him out of this desperate situation. 

In the meantime Russell continued the grilling:  

“Well then… if, as you claim, you’re entitled to wear a scout shirt… you can’t be entitled to wear those cub shorts!” 

“But… but… mum, I mean Akela, doesn’t let me bring my scout shorts to camp,” Richard replied, not realising where this interrogation was heading. 

Paul watched as Richard twisted and turned, his arms stretched high above his head. Paul grinned from ear-to-ear as Richard tried to explain his position at the cub camp. 

“Paul…” Richard implored the young scout, “Paul… you were in the cubs last year… tell them I’m a scout… Paul, tell them, please tell them I’m a boy scout…!” 

Paul remained silent. Russell ignored Richard’s pleading and carried on: “So… let’s get this straight… you claim you’re a boy scout and therefore you’re entitled to wear that scout shirt…” 

“Yes… yes, I am, honest…” Richard was desperate, but still unaware of the implications of his insistent pleadings. 

“…If you’re a boy scout, then how old are you?” 

“Fifteen… I’m fifteen. Please… I’m a scout, that’s why I’m wearing my scout shirt. Please let me go… Mum, err I mean Akela left me to look after some cubs…” 

“The cubs are alright. One of the scouts from our patrol is looking after them,” Russell paused and then resumed Richard’s interrogation, “Okay… let’s agree that you have the right to wear your scout shirt…” 

To Richard’s astonishment all the scouts noisily agreed. 

“Yes… yes… Now will you let me down?” Richard said quickly. His arms were beginning to ache and he arched his back to try and relieve the stress of his ‘tie-up’ which had the effect of pushing Richard’s bottom out and drawing everyone’s attention ever more closely to the ridiculously brief cub shorts. 

“Then…” Russell smiled benignly, “you have to agree that you are in serious violation of uniform regulations…” 

The scouts surrounding him tittered, but still Richard remained unaware of his parlous situation. 

“What… what do you mean?” Richard asked, unsure of his ‘offence’. 

“By wearing cub shorts and a scout shirt… Surely that’s obvious?” Russell remarked casually. 

“I… I suppose so…” Richard replied as noncommittally as he could. 

“Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’… Are you or are you not in breach of uniform rules?” Russell asked bluntly.

There was more sniggering to be heard as Richard was forced to answer in the affirmative. 

“Yes,” he said. 

“Then it follows, does it not, that adjustments to your uniform are required in order to bring it into line with scout regulations… is that not so?” 

The penny was beginning to drop and Richard started to panic. But what could he do? With his hands secured in best scouting tradition and with his arms stretched right above his head, there was very little Richard could do. Russell stepped forward to lift Richard’s scout shirt clear of his ludicrously small cub shorts. Suddenly Richard realised what was about to happen: 

“No…! No… Please…!” he yelled and twisted himself violently in a vain attempt to thwart his tormentors. 

“Are you a scout or a cub?” Russell persisted. 

“I am a scout… but, please… no don’t… please!” 

Russell stepped back and looked Richard in the eyes: “I’m going to give you one last chance to explain yourself…” 

Richard hung his head. He knew what was going to happen. He was helpless. But even in extremis, he couldn’t but tell the truth. 

“I am a scout in 1st Homebridge Troop, Kestrel Patrol… Please, that’s the truth… only don’t…” 

“Then you leave me with no choice. As senior scout present I would be failing in my duty to my fellow scouts if I didn’t take action,” Russell spoke ominously as he prepared to pass sentence, “There’s only one thing I can do, since I cannot allow you to disgrace the good name of your scout troop by wearing your uniform incorrectly… you agree?” 

Richard had never felt quite so helpless as he nodded: “Yes…”

The scouts around him cheered. Had he bothered to look up he would have seen Paul was cheering loudest of all as he prepared to watch Richard’s humiliation. 

This time it was Max who stepped forward. He took hold of the tails of Richard’s scout shirt and hoisted the shirt all the way up over Richard’s chest until it was scrunched up around his noticeably hairless armpits… a fact that did not go unnoticed. The shirt was then pushed into Richard’s collar to keep it in place and the tiny cub shorts were completely revealed. This drew howls of derisive laughter from the boys who couldn’t understand why a boy, any boy, who claimed to be a scout would allow himself to be caught dead wearing a pair of cub shorts… never mind that this particular pair of cub shorts could be seen to be at least three sizes too small for the boy who was strung up by his wrists in front of them. 

Now the boys were getting really excited as boys do when there’s a debagging in the offing. To cheers and whistles of encouragement from the younger boys, the two older scouts, Russell and Max, placed themselves either side of Richard. Helpless, Richard knew it was pointless to plead with his tormentors: but put yourself in his position; imagine yourself strung up by your wrists, unable to do anything, wouldn’t you beg shamelessly, wouldn’t you plead to be spared a public debagging? Of course you would and that’s just what Richard did, and he watched in horror as the scouts started to pull at his cub shorts. 

Eager eyes watched as the flimsy little shorts were tugged and pulled down low enough to reveal the base of Richard’s penis. An almighty cheer went up as it became apparent that there was not a single hair to be seen… not a single boy-hair anywhere! The further down the cub shorts were pulled, the more Richard’s humiliation grew as everyone saw that he was completely smooth and utterly hairless where it matters so much to a growing boy. 

Now everyone saw why Richard looked so young with his velvet smooth face and hairless legs. The fact was, despite his growth spurt, Richard to his immense shame had yet to grow any pubic hair. He wasn’t going to win any prizes for the size of his penis either; although it was of reasonable length it was still noticeably slim for a boy of his age and waggled amusingly as he was debagged. Richard was never more conscious that whereas any other boy of his age would by now be proudly sporting a conspicuous tuft of boy-hair at the base of his penis… he, at fifteen years old, had nothing. 

The cub shorts were pulled right down to his ankles and left there. Richard was, for all intents and purposes, bare-nude; just his scout shirt rumpled up and pushed into its collar and his little cub shorts pushed down around his ankles where they formed a perfect restraint for his feet. The cheering and laughter continued with the boys teasing Richard over his lack of boy-hair, crying: “Baldy! Baldy!! Baldy-balls!! Baldy-balls!!” 

If he expected to be let down and untied after his ordeal, Richard was in for a surprise as the scouts hadn’t finished with his humiliation. Richard’s unexpected complete lack of pubic hair offered the chance for some more fun. Russell stepped forward to face Richard once more. 

“How old did you say you were?” he asked in clear reference to Richard’s bald pubes. 

“Fifteen… honest, I’m fifteen. Please untie me now.” 

“Not just yet,” the scout said dismissing Richard’s request, “You see, looking at you now… now we’ve taken down those cub shorts… well are you really fifteen?” 

Richard couldn’t believe it. He had been made a complete laughing-stock in front a group of boys most of whom were younger than he was. His feeling of disgrace was intense, but he knew that as a boy scout he had to show that he could stand up to all the jibes and teasing; that he could take it like a true boy scout should. He knew all the boys were looking at his hairless penis and he had no choice but to listen as they mocked it, but he told himself to be brave; that his ordeal would come to an end at some point. 

“Yes… I’m fifteen,” Richard answered and twisted round to face Paul, “Tell them Paul… you know I’m in the scouts… tell them how old I am, Paul… please…” 

At last Paul spoke up. He looked at Richard hanging almost bare-nude by his wrists and then he turned to Russell and Max: “He was my Sixer at cub camp last year, but I don’t know how old he is…” 

“Paul! You know I’m older than you…! You know I’m fifteen!” Richard was beside himself. Even though he knew Paul could be a little… so-and-so, Richard never expected this blatant betrayal. 

“Did he wear this scout shirt?” Max asked as he pulled at Richard’s crumpled shirt. 

“Oh yes… but he never said if he was a scout or not…” Paul answered with a look of innocence that left Richard speechless. 

“What about these cub shorts… did he wear cub shorts?” Russell asked as he pointed to the cub shorts around Richard’s ankles. 

“Oh, yes all the time,” Paul replied and then unprompted added, “He wore them when he was awarded a cub merit badge. I never saw him wear scout shorts…” 

“Paul!” Richard was shocked and tried to lunge towards the young scout, but was hobbled by the tiny cub shorts that clung tightly to his ankles as much as being strung up by his hands tied above his head. To the immense amusement of the scouts, Richard’s penis jerked, waggled and slapped his legs as he struggled in front of them. “Paul…” he pleaded, “you know my mum… I mean Akela, made me study for the badge…” 

“But you liked doing cub badges… you said so… you told Akela…” 

“Only because you told her I liked doing them…” 

“If you didn’t want to study for a cub merit badge, why didn’t you say something to Akela?” Max asked “I’m sure Paul wouldn’t have told her you liked doing cub badges if you didn’t…”

Richard hung limply from the rope. You don’t know Paul, he thought… and you don’t know my mum either… 

“I… I…” Richard couldn’t think of what to say and this seemed to confirm his questionable status in the eyes of Russell and Max. Would a boy scout really allow himself to get himself into a situation like Richard had done? Was he even old enough to be a boy scout? 

Paul laughed. Seeing his former Sixer helpless, strung up by his wrists and with his cub shorts pulled down in front of all the scouts in his patrol, was more than he could have ever hoped for. Paul had long suspected Richard had something to hide and now he knew what it was and as he looked at Richard’s hairless penis he laughed even louder. This was priceless! He knew very well how old Richard was and now he knew the fifteen year old didn’t have one single boy-hair to his name… priceless! 

But of course all good things must come to an end… 

“Richard! Richard!” It was the unmistakable voice of Akela who was attempting to find out what had happened to her son. 

“Richard… If I find you’ve been playing with the scouts when I told you to stay with the cubs…” Akela’s voice drew closer. 

Richard was beside himself: “Let me down… please let me down… don’t let Akela find me like this…” he pleaded in desperation, but to his horror the scouts thought discretion the better part of valour. “Oh, please… no… don’t leave me like this!” 

“Come on,” Russell said to Max, “Let’s hide. We’ll keep a watch and listen… this should be fun…!” 

Richard’s eyes were out on stalks as he watched the scouts slip away into some nearby bushes. He twisted this way and that, but it was no use and he hung there with his scout shirt pushed right up and his tiny cub shorts at his feet, bare from chest to ankles. 

One last forlorn word escaped Richard’s lips: “Please…” before he turned to see his mum, Akela standing a few feet away. She had placed her hands on her hips and did not look at all happy to find her son tied up and virtually bare-nude with  his cub shorts pulled down to his feet. 

“Richard!! What do you think you’re doing?! I thought I told you to stay in the camp and look after the cubs. Have you been playing with the scouts?” 

That mum was not pleased was obvious. 

“You’ve been playing silly games haven’t you? And why have you pulled down your shorts?” 

“It wasn’t me, mum… honest… I was captured… and… and… please let me down, mum…” 

If being practically bare-nude and revealing all had been bad enough in front of the scouts, being in the same position if front of his mum was totally mortifying for Richard. He knew the scouts were secretly watching him and he also knew they would soon put two and two together and realise that mum was quite used to seeing her son in the bare. 

“Showing off in front of the young cubs in your Six…” mum continued, ignoring Richard’s protests. “It’s just as well one of the more responsible scouts saw they had been left unattended and stayed to look after them…” 

Richard swung and twisted from the rope. He had the distinct feeling things could easily get a lot worse. Then, from behind him, he heard a voice: 

“Can I help, Akela?” 

It was Paul who had stepped out to offer his assistance. Richard twisted round in an attempt to face the young scout, but it was no use and he ended up swinging back on the rope to face his mum whose face had lit up at the sight of her former cub. 

“Why, if it isn’t Paul…” she said, “Hello Paul… perhaps you can explain why Richard has got himself all undressed and tied up?” 

Paul stood his ground so that Richard couldn’t see him easily. “Please, Akela… Richard wanted to play with us… wasn’t he supposed to?” 

Richard was livid. Of course he didn’t want to play with the scouts… and certainly not if it meant being tied up, stripped of his cub shorts and publicly humiliated! 

“But mum… I didn’t… want to…” he pleaded as he swung suspended, as good as bare-nude in front of mum, from the rope above his head. 

“Be quiet, Richard… I’m sure Paul can explain why you are hanging there on display like a silly boy with your shorts pulled down. I suppose you think you’re being clever…” Clearly there was going to be no sympathy from mum. 

“Please Akela, Richard was always telling us about tie-up games when I was in his Six at cub camp last year. Telling us about when boys got debagged and stripped bare… Maybe he just wanted to show-off in front of this year’s Six, seeing as there was a scout camp in the next field…” 

“… but that’s not true!” Richard yelled, “That’s not true! The scouts captured me… you know they did…” 

“That’s what you say… maybe you arranged it to look like that…” Paul insisted. 

“But, I didn’t… I didn’t… Mum, honest I didn’t… the scouts jumped me and tied me up…” 

“… so you could show off in front of the young cubs,” Richard’s mum finished her son’s sentence. 

“It’s not true…” Richard whimpered, “It’s not true…” 

Paul moved round to face Richard: “Then how come you made the scouts pull down your cub shorts?” 

Richard was incandescent: “Me!! I didn’t want my shorts pulled down!! Why would I want my shorts pulled down?!!” he raged, but all this did was to make him even more aware that his cub shorts had indeed been pulled right the way down to his ankles… where they remained! 

Paul turned to Richard’s mum and explained: “Richard wouldn’t tell them why he was wearing cub shorts and a scout shirt. The scout said Richard was… something to do with uniform regulations or something. So the scout didn’t have any choice, ‘cos Richard refused to give them a proper explanation…” 

“But it’s not true… I didn’t… I couldn’t… please… mum… please let me down…” Richard didn’t know what to say. What Paul said was true… in a way. However, Richard’s view of what had transpired was, unsurprisingly, at odds with Paul’s interpretation of events. But Richard could hardly call the young scout a liar. It was all so unfair! 

Akela turned to Paul: “Do you know how to let Richard down?” she asked and Paul nodded. “Richard,” she addressed her son, “If you’re sure you’ve finished playing your silly game, then I think you’d better ask Paul politely if he would be kind enough to let you down.” 

Richard couldn’t believe what he heard his mum say. Why should he have to abase himself to Paul? Paul was three years younger than he was. It was so unfair! But what choice did he have? None at all really, since he was still swinging helplessly from the rope, his hands tied above his head, and with his cub shorts at his feet he was still bare and feeling very vulnerable. No he didn’t have any choice, so he stuttered… 

“Please, Paul… Please will you let me down?” 

Paul couldn’t resist dragging things out for a bit longer: “Are you sure? Akela says I’m only to let you down if you’re positive you’ve finished playing your game…” 

“Yes, Paul…” 

“Yes… what?” 

“Yes, Paul… I’ve finished. I don’t want to play anymore…” Richard replied, sounding for all the world like moody twelve year old, “I want… please, Paul… please let me down…” 

“Okay… if you’re sure that’s what you want,” Paul said and walked over to where the rope holding Richard up had been expertly lashed to a tree. Paul soon had the knot untied and Richard’s arms fell forward. Richard’s hands remained tied together. 

It was such a relief to let his arms down that for a moment Richard forgot that he was hobbled very effectively by his cub shorts which were of course still crumpled, pushed down around his ankles. He stumbled forward and nearly fell in front of his mum. 

“I think we’d better have those shorts off before you fall and hurt yourself, Richard…” 

“No, mum… please…” 

“Stop this at once, Richard…! Now hold still… Richard, I’m warning you! If you don’t hold still…” 

Paul was mesmerised and his mouth fell open as he watched Akela’s hand move upwards. In rapid succession she gave three sharp smacks to the back of Richard’s bare upper left thigh that must have really stung. Richard’s hips pushed forward instinctively, but he was trapped by the cub shorts around his ankles. Each time mum’s hand slapped his legs Richard’s whole body jerked and his slim penis bounced and jiggled between his legs. 

Paul stood rooted to the spot as mum gave Richard another three smacks on the backs of his legs. Richard bit his lip, determined not to give way and cry, but he couldn’t help but let out some loud squeals as mum’s hand stung his legs. Gosh mum knew how to give a boy a good leg-slapping and no mistake and Paul was glad just to be an observer of the older boy’s chastisement. He could see clearly the red marks on Richard’s thighs as the smacks continued. It was a leg-slapping such that he’d never seen before and it suddenly occurred to him that his fellow scouts must also be watching as Richard had his legs smacked. 

“Now… are you going to let me get your feet out of your shorts, Richard?” 

“Yes mum…” Richard replied, well aware, like Paul, that his smacking had been seen not just by the erstwhile cub, but also by the scouts hiding in the nearby bushes. 

“Paul…!” mum called over, “Paul… come over here and help me take off Richard’s shorts. You hold him steady while I untangle them from his feet…” 

“But…” Richard was about to complain at the further indignity of having the youngster help when he thought better of it, besides he still had his wrists tied and so had no choice but to stand still. Paul reached out and held Richard’s shoulders firmly as mum crouched down and pulled Richard’s cub shorts from his feet. Standing as close to Richard as he was, Paul was afforded the opportunity of having a really good look at the red marks left by mum’s hand on Richard’s legs. Paul would later swear that he could feel the heat given off by the red-hot hand-smacks! 

Paul continued to hold Richard’s shoulders tightly as mum got back to her feet holding the cub shorts. There was a pause. Richard looked at his cub shorts being held by his mum; then at his mum; then turned to face Paul. It seemed as if mum was waiting for something, but it was Paul who broke the silence: 

“Isn’t there something you want to say to Akela… to your mum?” 

Richard stared at the former cub. He couldn’t believe what the youngster was suggesting. 

“I think your mum’s waiting…” Paul persisted. 

Richard, his legs still stinging from his very public leg-slapping, looked at his mum and his little cub shorts. To his abject shame he heard himself say the words: 

“Thank you for helping me off with my… my… cub shorts, mum…” He looked back quickly at Paul and knew that he would never be able to live down what had just happened. He knew it wouldn’t be long before boys in his own scout troop found out. For now Richard could see that Paul wasn’t entirely happy with his response; Paul was expecting him to say something more. 

“I’m sorry I left the cubs… I… I…” Oh, how Richard how hated himself for saying it, “I shouldn’t have played with the scouts, mum… I’m sorry.” 

“That’s better,” Paul said quietly, “Let’s get you back to the cub camp where you belong. Those little cubs will be wondering where you’ve been and they’ll want to know all about your adventure with the scouts.” 

Akela smiled at Paul. It was clear that she thought of him as a far more responsible boy scout than her son Richard. So still with his hands tied and bare from his shoulders down to his feet, Richard was led off back to join the cubs.



Thursday, 8 May 2014

Freddie and the Milk Pudding

It is often said that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Well, even if it's not exactly dangerous, the result can still be downright unpleasant, especially for a young boy like Freddie. 

You see the trouble was that Freddie’s mum was one of life’s worriers and her latest concern was that her son, who was almost thirteen, wasn’t getting enough calcium in his diet. She'd got it into her head that what Freddie needed was a big daily bowlful of a nutritious milk pudding and had read somewhere that tapioca was an ideal choice for a growing boy like her son Freddie. The problem was that like a lot of boys Freddie simply hated milk puddings… and tapioca most of all! 

When he was first introduced to this new, nourishing food, Freddie took one look at it and exclaimed: “Yuk! That’s frogs spawn! I’m not eating that… no way! That's slimy snot-puke…! It’s horrid!” 

Mum rolled her eyes towards the ceiling and in her all too familiar exasperated tones told Freddie that it was good for him and that he would eat it even if she had to... well, the less said about that the better. But what Freddie failed to understand was that mum did know better than he did what was good for him. She sat down next to Freddie at the table but the naughty boy stubbornly refused to eat his milk pudding and resisted when mum picked up the spoon and tried to feed him a small amount of the tapioca. Freddie twisted his head and the milk pudding ended up spilt all down the front of his school shirt. Mum tried again and this time the tapioca ended up in Freddie's lap. Mum persisted and tried her best to spoon the freshly made tapioca into her son’s resisting mouth, but without success. It was a tall order to expect any mum to single-handedly feed a nourishing tapioca pudding to a reluctant twelve year old boy.  

I’m afraid to say tantrums became the order of the day whenever it was time for Freddie’s ‘medicine’. Clearly something had to be done. Freddie created such a fuss and made such a mess that mum decided to seek the assistance of her Aunty Jean. Mum sighed, but seeking the help of her aunt was the only way she could see herself making progress with Freddie's new regime. 

So mum went to see her Aunty Jean and together they had a long talk about Freddie’s behaviour. Mum told Aunty Jean that she had had quite enough of Freddie’s fuss and silly behaviour when it came time for his wholesome tapioca medicine. Aunty Jean listened carefully, asked some questions and made a few suggestions. When mum told her aunt about all the mess Freddie was making it was decided that when it was time for his nutritious pudding Freddie was to be taken to his bedroom to be changed into clothes more suitable to be worn for his teatime treat. 

“Honestly Carol,” Aunty Jean said to her niece, “I sometimes wonder how you manage to put up with that naughty boy of yours… fancy making a deliberate mess of his clothes… well, you can’t be expected to wash Freddie’s clothes every time he deliberately spills tapioca over himself. What Freddie needs is something special to wear…” 

Mum was only too happy to agree with her aunt’s suggestion. 

It was further agreed between the two ladies that Freddie would be expected to eat a big bowlful of nourishing tapioca pudding every day from now on and afterwards he would be given an extra large spoonful of castor oil "to settle his tummy".

In no time at all the new rules were introduced and Freddie was dressed properly for his routine daily ‘medicine’. Aunty Jean made sure she was always on hand to help, as it needed two pairs of hands to help Freddie with his milk pudding… 

Each day when Freddie got home from school the first thing he saw was a big fresh bowlful of steaming hot tapioca waiting for him on the table. Then he would look round and see Aunty Jean sat talking to his mum. He knew it wouldn't be long before he heard the dreaded words:

“Would you mind taking Freddie upstairs and getting him changed, Aunty Jean…?  It’s almost time for his tapioca.” 

Aunty Jean took hold of Freddie’s hand and led him out of the room. It wasn’t long before they returned with Freddie dressed for his medicine. Well, ‘dressed’ probably isn’t the first word you’d think of if you saw Freddie, since Aunty had completely undressed him. Now, as she brought him into the room, Freddie wore a fancy bonnet tied with a bow underneath his chin, a small towelling bib tied around his neck (in case anyone had any doubts, Aunty had embroidered the bib with the words ‘Freddie’s Bib’), on his hands he wore special shiny, plastic-coated mittens and in his mouth was a large dummy. On his feet he wore white ankle socks and a pair of red Mary-Janes. Around his waist Aunty Jean had tied a tiny white lace-trimmed apron, such as might have been worn by a waitress in an old-fashioned tea shop. The apron didn’t quite reach Freddie’s lower abdomen and left the red-faced youngster embarrassingly exposed, but that didn’t seem to bother either mum or Aunty Jean. 

In order to keep young Freddie under control, and after much deliberation, it had been decided to put Freddie into a child’s harness and reins. 

“We don’t want him running off,” Aunty Jean observed, though quite where Freddie would want to run of to was open to question, dressed as he was. The last thing Freddie wanted was for anyone to see him wearing the few scanty items of clothing that he was allowed when it was time for his tapioca pudding. 

The light-blue leather harness was buckled at the back and the front was decorated with tiny dancing bunny-rabbits and pretty little flowers. The reins were clipped securely to the harness at the back and enabled Aunty Jean to keep Freddie properly under control as she led him downstairs and into the dining-room where the bowl of tapioca sat waiting on the table. And when Freddie didn’t behave himself he quickly found out that Aunty Jean was extremely adept at flicking his bare bottom with the leather reins. 

It hardly needs me to tell you how twelve year old Freddie felt as he was lead into the room to face his mum. He was for all intents and purposes bare-nude; he felt like a complete sissy in his bonnet… and yes, he was very self-conscious! 

Of all the things that made up his feeding-time costume; the bib, the bonnet, the harness, the tiny apron, the sissy shoes; the one thing Freddie just couldn’t get used to was having the big dummy inserted firmly into his mouth. Already he had started to dribble copiously; the glistening drool was trickling down over his chin. As he stood next to Aunty Jean with a worried look on his face, a big glob of saliva swung from his chin… just as well Freddie was wearing his bib. 

“Freddie’s ready for his nice tapioca pudding now, aren’t you Freddie,” Aunty Jean said as she placed her hand on the boy’s bare shoulder. Freddie nodded his head, since with the large dummy in his mouth he was unable to speak. The string of saliva swung and stuck to Freddie’s bib. 

“Oh, what a messy little boy you are, Freddie,” Aunty admonished, “You’ve not even started your delicious treat and here you are already dribbling all over yourself…!” 

Mum presented her son with a big bowl of tapioca. In his turn Freddie presented her with a defiant scowl, but all he could mange was a muffled, “Harrmmph… mumph!” with the big dummy in his mouth. 

“Are we going to need to put you in your chair today?” mum asked as she pushed a spoon into the thick, glutinous ‘medicine’. 

Freddie glanced over to the special high-chair which was reserved for days when he was particularly naughty, or ‘difficult’, as Aunty Jean called his uncooperative behaviour. The threat of humiliation in the high-chair was enough to make Freddie shake his head to signal to his mum and Aunty Jean the chair would not be needed. 

More than anything Freddie hated his special high-chair. Once he had been sat in it, his harness was attached to clips on the chair making escape impossible. The chair had been constructed in such a way as to leave him feeling completely trapped once the hinged feeding tray had been lowered into position. His legs were pushed down each side of the chair-legs which meant his thighs were kept wide apart, making Freddie feel extremely vulnerable. He knew that if any of mum’s friends decided to visit at that moment, he would be completely exposed and quite unable to do anything about it! 

“That’s good… I am pleased,” mum said as she continued to stir the bowl of gloop in front of a nervous Freddie. “Remember… when Aunty Jean takes out your dummy keep your mouth wide open Freddie… do you understand? And if we have anymore trouble like the other day, you’ll go straight into your special chair.” 

Freddie nodded frantically, he was that afraid of being put into the chair. Another glob of drool escaped from his mouth and trickled down his chin. 

“Are you going to be a good boy today and eat up all your lovely tapioca pudding, Freddie?” Aunty Jean asked. 

Freddie twisted his head to look up at his aunt. It was very awkward because having to wear the stupid bonnet was like having to look at the world with a pair of blinkers stuck on his head. Freddie could only see what was directly in front of him. It was one of Aunty Jean’s ideas to make Freddie concentrate on eating his nourishing food. 

“The bonnet will prevent Freddie from being troubled by any distractions…” she had explained to his mum. 

Freddie saw his aunty smiling down at him. He nodded, “Harrmmph… mumph!” which this time Aunty Jean took to mean, “Yes, aunty, I’ll be a good boy and eat up all my lovely tapioca…” 

“That’s a good little boy… I don’t want to see you making any mess today… You won’t make any mess for aunty will you Freddie?” 

Once more Freddie replied, “Harrmmph… mumph!” and Aunty Jean took this to mean, “No, Aunty Jean… I’ll be a good boy and not make any mess.” 

By now Freddie’s neck was beginning to ache and he was slightly relieved to be told by his aunt to turn and face the table: “Now hold still while I take out your dummy. I don’t want any fuss. Mummy is going to give you some nice tapioca…” 

Freddie gave one final nod to indicate that he understood. Aunty Jean reached up, hooked her index finger into the ring attached to the dummy and pulled it out. The dummy was quite large; bigger than might have been expected. Freddie gasped with relief at its removal, but only for a second before mum pushed an overflowing spoonful of fresh tapioca between his lips. 

“Harrmmph… mumph!” Freddie spluttered as mum pushed the plastic feeding-spoon into his open mouth. Some of the slimy tapioca stuck to Freddie’s chin, but most of the first spoonful stayed in his mouth. It was still in his mouth as mum withdrew the feeding-spoon. Freddie’s cheeks were puffed out as he held the milk pudding in his mouth. Freddie loathed tapioca and squeezed his eyes closed; steeling himself before swallowing the detested, vile milk pudding. 

“Come along now Freddie,” his Aunty Jean encouraged him, “swallow the lovely tapioca… that’s it… all the way down…” 

Aunty lifted up the little white apron that Freddie was wearing and began to rub the boy’s tummy as he puffed his cheeks and gulped the tapioca mixture down. 

“Good boy, Freddie… that’s a good boy…” Auntie moved her hand up to Freddie’s chest and as she said encouraging words, she stroked her hand down Freddie’s front… all the way down to his abdomen. “Good boy, Freddie… there, that’s better… swallow it all down…” 

Freddie had barely disposed of the first spoonful of tapioca before mum pushed the plastic feeding-spoon, laden with another portion of the pudding ‘medicine’, between Freddie’s lips. The spoon was still in his mouth when Freddie suddenly burped and almost half the milk pudding came back out of his mouth, over the spoon and dribbled down his chin, dripping onto his bib and bare chest. 

“Oh, Freddie!” Aunty Jean exclaimed, “What a naughty little boy? Look at the mess! You promised me you wouldn’t make a mess… you are a very naughty boy, Freddie… What are mummy and Aunty Jean going to do with you?” 

It was only the second spoonful of ‘medicine’ and Freddie was beginning to look very messy indeed. Not only was his mouth coated with cold tapioca, but some of it had splashed up onto his nose when he burped, to say nothing of what had dribbled down his chin. 

Mum used the spoon to scrape some of the nourishing mixture from Freddie’s face and pushed it back into his mouth. Freddie struggled to swallow. He screwed his face up in disgust as he gulped down the pudding. His eyes watered with the effort and just as he opened his mouth again to gulp down some fresh air, he found mum was ready with the next big spoonful. Aunty Jean held the back of Freddie’s head as he lurched back in a futile effort to avoid the feeding-spoon. Stubbornly Freddie clamped his mouth shut, but Aunty Jean knew just how to deal with this sort of truculent behaviour and pinched the naughty boy’s nose. After a few seconds Freddie was forced to open his mouth again and aunty released her fingers from his nose as mum pushed the feeding-spoon straight into his mouth. 

This time Aunty Jean held Freddie’s mouth closed as mum pulled the empty spoon from between her son’s messy lips. Freddie gagged and groaned, but eventually swallowed the hated tapioca pudding. 

“Dear me… what a silly fuss!” Aunty Jean said as she used Freddie’s bib to wipe his chin. “What a lot of silly fuss over a delicious milk pudding. You know it’s very good for you Freddie… you want to grow up big and strong, don’t you?” 

Auntie’s platitudes didn’t impress the young boy… not in the least. Freddie thought tapioca was disgusting. He hated it and didn’t understand why he had to eat so much of the revolting stuff. 

One thing was clear though… anyone could see why Freddie wore so little when it was time for his tapioca. By the fourth spoonful Freddie’s face was smeared with the stuff and globs of tapioca seemed to be everywhere on his body. The little bib around his neck was caked in it where Aunty Jean had used it to wipe Freddie’s face, but there were smears of tapioca down his chest and his tummy and even a few flecks on his legs when Freddie had spluttered before swallowing yet another mouthful of the horrid milk pudding. 

There was still half the bowl left. Although from the sight of Freddie it looked as though most of the milk-pudding had ended up on the boy rather than in his tummy where it belonged, to Freddie it felt as if he’d eaten more than enough. Each further spoonful became more and more of a struggle as mum and Aunty Jean did their best to make Freddie swallow the now cooling glutinous tapioca and the longer it took the messier it was. Finally a clearly exasperated Aunty Jean spoke: 

“Carol, I think we both need a rest… Let's put Freddie in his chair for a few minutes then I'll make us both a nice cup of tea…” 

“Oh please, mum… please, no… please, mum, don’t put me in the chair…” a distraught Freddie pleaded, “Please mum, I’ll finish… I’ll finish it all up… honest I will…” 

But at that point mum picked up the dummy and before Freddie knew what was happening she had it straight into his mouth. 

“Yes, Aunty Jean,” she said, “we both need a break and Freddie is getting fractious, so half-an-hour in his chair will help to calm him down…” 

“I’m afraid his tapioca is going to get cold…” Aunty Jean observed. 

“Well, that’s as maybe… Freddie’s only himself to blame if it does go cold. He should have eaten it up properly in the first place,” mum said, showing no sympathy. 

““Harrmmph… mumph!” Freddie was distraught as aunty led him over to the dreaded high-chair with its plastic coated seat. “Harrmmph… mumph!” was all he could manage, but what he was trying to say was, “Please! I’ll be good! Please, don’t put me in the high-chair!” 

“Calm down, Freddie… calm down,” Aunty Jean said, “Once we get you into your high-chair you can have a little rest while mummy and I have a nice cup of tea… and then you can finish your nice tapioca pudding.” 

“Harrmmph… mumph! Harrmmph… mumph!” which roughly translated meant, “I don’t want to go in the high-chair! Don’t put me in the high-chair! I’ll be a good boy…” But it was really no use and Freddie started to cry as mummy and Aunty Jean prepared him for the high-chair. 

It took the two of them to get Freddie securely seated in the chair. As mummy held Freddie tightly, Aunty Jean clipped Freddie’s harness to the rear of the chair. The hinged feeding-tray was lowered. Now there was no getting out of the high-chair and Freddie would have to stay seated in it for just as long as was needed. The half-eaten bowl of tapioca pudding, which was rapidly getting cold, along with the feeding-spoon, was placed on tray right in front of Freddie. Finally a big bottle of castor oil and a large spoon were put down on the tray as a reminder of what Freddie had to look forward to once he had finished his milk pudding. Freddie scowled and twisted his head, as much as he could under the circumstances, away from the objects on his feeding-tray. 

Both mum and Aunty Jean believed the proper preparation of tea could not be rushed, so Freddie was kept in his high-chair for quite a bit longer than half-an-hour while the grown-ups had their tea. Of course all Freddie could do was sit in his chair and dribble as he sucked on the big dummy which just about filled his mouth. In his frustration he thought of all the things he could be doing. Like any healthy young boy Freddie had lots of hobbies and interests; he thought of how he could be playing outside with his football, or swimming, or sorting his stamp collection… but that just made it worse for him and he felt even more frustrated. 

Mum followed Aunty Jean’s advice: “It’s best to just ignore him for a while. Boys are always attention seeking… it’s his own fault for making such a fuss. You try and do your best for them and they never cooperate…” 

Mum agreed. So while they chatted of this and that, Freddie sat and dribbled. His eyes were wet with tears and his face splashed with the lumpy cold tapioca. He did look a mess. Imprisoned in his high-chair, Freddie’s legs were splayed wide apart. His thighs were splashed with flecks of milk pudding too and Freddie was very aware that anyone who saw him in his chair could see his ‘boy-bits’ fully displayed, since the little apron aunty made him wear covered nothing. 

Yes, it’s fair to say that Freddie had never felt as miserable in his young life as he was at that moment sat in his high-chair watching mum and Aunty Jean as they sipped their tea. Then there was that horrible feeling of the tapioca pudding that he had managed to swallow making glooping noises in his tummy. That’s why he had to have a dose of castor oil afterwards, mum said. But why, Freddie reasoned, if he didn’t have to eat the vile milk pudding, then he wouldn’t need the horrid castor oil, would he? 

Freddie was made to wait… and wait… and wait while mum and Aunty Jean took their time. As the long minutes dragged on Freddie dribbled as he sucked on his dummy. As he was wearing his mittens Freddie was unable to blow his nose, so snotty goo oozed out and glistened on his top lip before trickling over his lips to join the milky mess hanging from his chin. Every so often Freddie would attempt to wipe himself, but the plastic-coated mittens simply smeared the revolting mess across his face and made it worse. 

“Stop that at once!” Aunty Jean said, reprimanding the wriggling boy, “Can’t we leave you alone for two minutes without you fidgeting?!” 

“Harrmmph… mumph!” Freddie’s indignant, but wholly unintelligible reply achieved nothing save making him feel even more helpless and frustrated as he felt the pull of his harness every time he moved. And every time he moved his bare bottom made a silly squeaking noise as it rubbed on the plastic coated seat. It was very uncomfortable. 

“Honestly, Carol, can’t we have five minutes peace without that naughty boy wriggling about in his chair… What a little fuss-pot…” 

Eventually the ladies finished their tea and it was time to help Freddie with his delicious, but by now very cold tapioca. 

“Dear me, it doesn’t look very appetising,” mum said… as if it had looked at all appetising in the first place! thought Freddie with some feeling as he braced himself for more of the horrid pudding. 

“Well if he’d have eaten it all up in the first place…” Aunty Jean said as she pulled out the big dummy from Freddie’s mouth, “…such an ungrateful little boy. Mummy and Aunty Jean go through all this trouble to give you a healthy, nourishing bowl of pudding to make sure you grow up big and strong…” 

“We can’t have it going to waste…” mum said and Freddie barely had time to draw breath before a big spoonful of tapioca was squeezed between his lips. “Now eat it all up… it’s your own fault it’s gone cold… I don’t want any more fuss.” 

The pudding, as mummy had observed, didn’t look or taste very appetising and Freddie had real difficultly trying to swallow the mixture. The tapioca had congealed to such an extent that in his mouth it stuck to Freddie’s teeth and no matter how much he tried to wipe them with his tongue he couldn’t get rid of the ghastly stuff. 

Slowly, and with a great deal of patience mummy and Aunty Jean fed the remaining cold tapioca pudding to Freddie. Freddie’s face was screwed up into a permanent grimace as he was encouraged to swallow each mouthful until finally all that was left in the bowl was a few lumps of congealed milk pudding. Even this had to been consumed it was decided and, to loud protests from the messy boy, Freddie was encouraged to lick the bowl clean. Of course even more of the lumpy mixture ended up on his face, but Freddie had at last finished his nutritious milk pudding! 

Now it was time for Freddie’s dose of castor-oil. Poor Freddie threw a temper tantrum worthy of a six year old as he squirmed and wriggled in the tight confines of his high-chair. 

“I don’t want it!!” he screamed as he kicked his legs about and thumped his mitten clad fists on the side of the chair. Tears streamed down his tapioca smeared face as he twisted his head this way and that. What Freddie had overlooked was that his legs, tapped as they were either side of the wooden posts which supported the arms of the chair, meant his bare thighs were supremely vulnerable, a fact that was all too obvious to mummy and Aunty Jean. 

“Stop this behaviour… at once!” mummy said and without warning gave Freddie three sharp smacks on his bare left leg, high up on his inner thigh. The stinging slaps came as quite a shock to the boy and his face screwed up, just as Aunty Jean gave him another three smacks high up on the inner thigh of his exposed right leg. 

There was now little excuse for Freddie’s childish howls. Four more stinging smacks on each thigh and Freddie’s legs were fire-engine red; as bright red as the Mary-Janes he was wearing on feet that swung so helplessly to-and-fro. 

Aunty Jean was once more forced to hold Freddie’s head and to squeeze his nose until, gasping for air, his mouth opened and mummy quickly gave the naughty boy a big spoonful of castor-oil. They made sure Freddie swallowed all his medicine and then it was time to get him cleaned up. 

Freddie was such a mess that mummy and Aunty Jean decided it would be best to deal with the boy in the kitchen. They left Freddie in his high-chair and replaced his dummy. Tears were still rolling down his face mixing with globs of tapioca, mucus from his nose and just a slight dribble of castor-oil from between his lips which were squeezed around the big dummy. His bonnet was all askew and his bib had been pushed to one side as he struggled in his high-chair. The little apron that he was wearing was stained and crumpled. Only his Mary-Janes seemed to have escaped without mishap and shone brightly on his feet. 

Mummy and Aunty Jean prepared themselves to give Freddie the scrubbing he so desperately needed, so they each put on plastic aprons that crinkled as they knotted the ties behind their backs. An old tin bath was brought in and placed in front of the kitchen sink for Freddie to stand in while he was being washed. Aunty Jean placed the kitchen stool by the side of the bath so she could sit down while she attended to the boy’s lower half. Mum would wash Freddie’s face, chest, back, arms and hands. Towels, bars of soap and rough flannels were placed on the kitchen table in readiness. 

“I think we’ll have Freddie straight into his pyjamas after he’s been washed,” mum remarked. It was five o’clock. 

“Yes, an early bedtime will do him good,” Aunty Jean agreed. 

Before Freddie was let down from his chair mummy and Aunty Jean ‘undressed’ him, which of course meant nothing more than removing Freddie’s bonnet, bib, little apron, his Mary-Janes and white lacy ankle socks. He was kept in his harness and his mittens were left on for the time being so that Freddie couldn’t meddle with his dummy. 

“Down you come…” mummy said in a cheerful voice quite at odds with how Freddie felt after his being fed his nutritious bowl of milk pudding. “Down you come my little man and let’s get you nice and clean for mummy and aunty…” 

The two ladies led Freddie by his arms into the kitchen. 

“What a messy little boy you are… still we’ll soon have you cleaned up and ready for your jimmy-jams, won’t we Aunty Jean?” 

Aunty Jean agreed and together they lifted Freddie up and stood him in the tin bath. Mummy and Aunty Jean were soon hard at work with the bars of soap, working up a nice lather, ready to give Freddie a jolly good scrub. Freddie was pulled and pushed and twisted this way and that as the two women soaped him up and down, and from side to side. The mittens were at last removed so that Freddie’s hands could be washed. His face was soaped and rinsed while Freddie stood with his eyes tight shut. His dummy was drawn out of his mouth and a soapy flannel rubbed across his mouth. Then mummy pushed the flannel into Freddie’s mouth to wipe the last traces of the mess from his lips. Freddie hated that, because he always ended up with some of the soapy lather right inside his mouth and it tasted horrible… but, as Freddie knew only too well, it wasn’t nearly as bad as a proper mouth-soaping! 

Finally Freddie was rinsed off and dried. 

“Would you mind fetching Freddie’s clean pyjamas?” mummy asked Aunty Jean and then turned to ask Freddie who stood bare-nude in the middle of the kitchen, “Bunny rabbits or teddy-bears…?” 

Freddie pouted at the thought of wearing such childish pyjamas and would rather have worn his favourite pair, the ones with the space-ships and flying saucer design… at least they were proper boy’s pyjamas. However, Freddie knew that he was only allowed to wear these pyjamas as a special treat if he had been well behaved and by no stretch of the imagination could Freddie’s behaviour that afternoon have been considered to be anything other than troublesome. 

Aunty Jean looked down at Freddie waiting for an answer. 

“Come along Freddie, make up you mind or do you want to be left in the bare…?” she said. 

“Please may I have my teddy-bear pyjamas Aunty Jean?”

And so mummy finished drying Freddie while Aunty Jean fetched his pyjamas from the airing-cupboard. Before long a nice clean boy was dressed in his cosy winceyette jim-jams. The pyjama top was buttoned right up to the top of the jacket and it wouldn’t be long before Freddie was taken up the wooden hill to bedfordshire.