“I’ve laid out Robin’s shorty-pyjamas in the front-room for you, Olivia,” Aunty Daisy said as she popped her head round the door into the kitchen where Robin was being given his morning strip-wash by mummy.
“Thank you, Daisy… we’re nearly finished in here,” came the reply just as there was a knock on the back door. Whoever the visitor was they were clearly very good friends of Aunty Daisy since, without bothering to wait for anyone to answer the door, they simply barged straight into the kitchen.
Robin was shocked to see the girl who came in and he was even more shocked when he saw mummy calmly fold and put down on the kitchen table the towel with which she’d been drying him off only moments before. Robin hadn’t got a stitch on! He was completely nude in front of a girl he’d never met. Understandably his first instinct was to cover up and so he cupped his hands between his legs as the girl introduced herself as a neighbour of Aunty Daisy. Her name was Carol. She was seventeen years old and had a brother, Harold, who was the same age as Robin.
“... actually it was Harold I came to see you about,” Carol explained, “He said he’d meet with…”
“Robin… don’t do that!,” mum interrupted, “It’s not polite… put your hands by your side and stand up straight… I’m sure Carol’s seen boys without their clothes on before… I’m sorry, dear,” mummy continued, addressing Carol, “I don’t know what’s got into Robin… he never used to be like this, but in the last few months he’s become so…”
“Please, you don’t need to apologise,” Carol said, “I think it’s quite sweet when boys think they need to hide themselves like that. Harold’s just the same…”
“Oh, yes, you were going to say something about Harold…” mum prompted. Robin looked worried.
“Yes… you see Harold met Robin yesterday and the boys agreed to meet up to play some more again this morning, but Harold forgot he’d an appointment at the dentist, so he asked me to give this note to Robin…”
“You didn’t say anything about meeting another boy, Robin…” mummy said.
“I… I, er… forgot,” Robin mumbled unconvincingly.
“I forgot… What sort of answer is that?” mummy replied.
Robin blushed. He hated keeping secrets and he knew mummy knew when he was holding something back, but fortunately Carol thrust Harold’s note into his hand… while making a show of examining the nude Robin from top to toe. This made Robin blush even more, but he was fourteen years old after all.
Robin opened the note. The message, in Harold’s spidery, schoolboy handwriting, was as follows:
'Rob - Forgot about dentist! Let's meet up later… if I’m still alive! Don’t go into the field! Remember what I said!! Remember, Pyjama-boy!! Hal'
“What does Harold say?” mum asked.
“Oh, just something about meeting up a bit later…” Robin replied.
“I don’t think Harold will be too long,” Carol said, “Why don’t you boys meet up at the Rec?”
“Where’s that?” Robin asked.
Aunty Daisy walked into the kitchen and having heard Carol mentioning the Rec said to Robin: “It's just up the road… you can’t miss it... I’ll point you in the right direction when you've got some clothes on.”
“I'm sorry I can't stay," Carol said as she moved toward the back door, "I've a busy morning... things to do. I’ll tell Harold to meet you at the Rec, Robin… about ten o'clock, say...” and with that Carol was off leaving Robin to get dressed in his shorty play-pyjamas.
Mum and Aunty Daisy had some shopping to do in Lockton, so after Robin was given directions to the Rec where he was to meet Hal, he was left to his own devices and decided to do some more exploring outside the house.
Robin was sort of getting used to wearing the shorty-pyjamas. Although it still felt a bit odd since, like all pyjamas, the bottoms had an open fly, so that Robin had to be careful that his willy didn’t poke its head out of the gap in the thin material. The sleeveless pyjama-top was a bit tight across Robin’s chest, not like the sort of loose-fitting winceyette pyjamas he was used to wearing for bedtime. Robin could see that a couple of the buttons looked fit to pop off if he wasn’t very careful. But on the whole Robin didn’t mind wearing the shorty pyjamas too much around Aunty Daisy’s garden, but he wasn’t so sure about being seen by a wider public and so wasn’t too keen on meeting Hal at the Rec.
Robin turned his thoughts to Hal’s note. What had his friend meant when he reminded him not to go in the field. That was a bit odd, Robin thought. Then ‘remember what I said’. Robin was puzzled. Then he did remember Hal saying something about there being nothing more exciting than doing something when you’re told not to. Was Hal trying to throw down a gauntlet, or whatever the expression was? Was Hal challenging him? What if he did go into the field? How would he prove he’d been there, Robin pondered to himself. Then he thought of the thrill of seeing Hal’s face when they met at the Rec and Robin showed him proof of his adventure into the field. This was enough to convince Robin, cattle or no cattle, he would climb the gate into the field and bring back something.
Robin leaned on the gate that opened onto the field at the bottom of Aunty Daisy’s garden. He couldn’t see cattle, or for that matter anything, moving. The gate had been padlocked, so Robin carefully climbed over and he was in the field. He looked around and decided to skirt the field around to his right. This took Robin along a hedge that led him away from Aunty Daisy’s house. The ground rose slightly and soon he looked back and found he was almost level with the roof of the house. From the other side of the hedge he heard noises and he stopped. It was the stock Hal had warned him about and not having had any experience of cattle, Robin was pleased there was a thick hedge between him and them.
In the distance Robin could see a curious-looking brick structure that appeared to be rising from the ground, it’s roof no more than a few feet above the level of the field. It was sited in the middle of the field where the ground sloped downwards away from the structure. But between the building, or whatever it was, and to the right of Robin there was a gate. The gate was open and already Robin could see the heads of curious cattle turned towards him as they looked through the gap. Robin’s heart thumped. He was not a country boy and had an urbanite’s natural aversion to all things that went on cloven hooves. How was Robin to know that bullocks are by nature curious and Robin certainly presented them with a curious sight. How also was Robin expected to know that it would be most unwise to break into a run… but this is precisely what he did.
In a state of near panic, Robin made a dash for the brick building across the field, thinking he could at least find refuge by clambering up on top. The cattle followed and cut off any possible means of retreat for Robin as they started to rush towards him. As Robin approached the building he saw to his consternation that not only was the roof higher than it had at first looked, but that thick brambles and nettles were growing along the walls.
With the cattle getting ever closer, Robin found what he reckoned to be his best chance of getting up onto the roof... but it meant scrambling through the nettles and avoiding some particularly nasty looking thorns of a bramble. Robin’s fear of what might happen if the cattle got too close decided him and as he turned to face the building and attempt his escape from them, the bullocks moved in and formed a semicircle around the terrified boy.
With his feet Robin stamped down on the nettles and managed to get close enough to the brickwork to try and find a way to climb up onto the roof. It was hard work, but Robin managed to find hand- and footholds in the weathered brickwork. With the use of muscles he never knew he had, Robin at last found safety. He ached, he was scratched, he had been stung by the nettles, he was filthy dirty, but Robin was safe.
He had not given a thought to what his next move should be, but for the moment Robin was more concerned about the state of his shorty-pyjamas… or what was left of them! In his hectic scramble to save himself from the advancing cattle, Robin had snagged his shorty pyjama-jacket on a bramble, but he’d not been able to do anything about it and a long strip of material now hung limply from the unforgiving thorns below. Bad as this was, Robin soon discovered something worse. As he’d stretched upwards, Robin had pressed himself against the bricks, but hadn’t seen a rusty spike which was sticking out from the mortar. The spike had caught on his shorty pyjama-shorts and all but ripped them apart as Robin climbed onto the roof. One bottom cheek was completely bare, but worse still was the material at the front of the play-pyjamas had been left quite loose and Robin’s boy-bits were in plain view.
The cattle were the least of Robin’s worries as he stood half-naked on top of the brick building. Frantically he grabbed at what was left of his shorty-pyjamas and tried to cover himself as best he could, but it was of little use, since the moment Robin let go of the material everything was back ‘on show’ again. He had managed to elude the cattle, but now Robin faced another pressing question… how was he to get down off the building? This assumed the cattle would at some point lose interest in him and wander off to another part of the field. When and if that happened, Robin still had to find his way to the Rec and meet up with Hal. Robin hadn’t much liked the idea of meeting Hal at the Rec in the first place, but now, with his shorty-pyjamas ripped in all the wrong places, it was going to take nerves of steel to walk into the Rec clutching the tattered remnants of his play-pyjamas.
The thought of going back to Aunty Daisy’s did cross Robin’s mind until he remembered that she and his mum had gone into Lockton shopping. Besides, Robin didn’t fancy turning up with his borrowed shorty-pyjamas in shreds… he knew he’d have to face mum at some point, but he’s cross that bridge when he came to it.
The cattle did move away eventually and Robin looked for the best way of getting down from the building. He walked all the way round the flat roof, peering over the side to see if there was any better way to get down other than the place where he’d managed to struggle up. At one point there was what to Robin looked like an entrance of some sort below where he stood. It was difficult to tell from his viewpoint, but Robin could see a sort of ramp leading down into the building and on each side were sloping concrete supports that stuck out from the building each side of the entrance ramp. The supports were wide enough for Robin to clamber down... if he could reach one of them. Like everything else about the building, this part looked to Robin to be just as overgrown as the rest, but he reckoned that if he could manage to drop down onto one of the supports, he could get clear of the worst brambles and onto the field.
Although he hadn’t got a watch, Robin realised that it must be nearing the time he was due to meet Hal. He peered over at the sloping supports again and then sat down, dangling his feet over the edge. It wasn’t more than a few feet, but Robin was very nervous. If he slipped he would likely as not end up falling head first into a patch of brambles on one side or a big clump of nettles on the other. So Robin took his time before pushing himself forwards until his bottom was perched right on the edge of the roof. His feet in their bright red play-sandals dangled tantalizingly close to the concrete and Robin pushed himself away from the roof. He had to twist himself sideways, but Robin managed to land with both feet on the concrete. In order to keep his balance Robin waved his outstretched arms and in doing so had to let go of his shorty-pyjamas. The little pyjama-shorts dropped to his ankles and got tangled up around his feet.
Robin swayed alarmingly as he tried desperately to keep his balance. His arms, outstretched, swung wild semaphore signals that were unmistakable in their meaning…
A voice behind Robin called out. Robin turned a perilous pirouette and just had time to glimpse Hal at the gate before he fell backwards from the wall to land spread-eagled in the stinging-nettles.
Robin’s bare legs had already been scratched and were covered in itchy red bumps from where he’d scrambled up onto the roof. Now he was pretty well covered from head to toe with results of falling into the nettle patch. It was all he could do not to cry in his misfortune.
Hal raced across from the gate to find Robin. Luckily for Hal he was wearing sturdier clothes than Robin and was able to stamp down the nettle and the few brambles between him and his friend.
“What on earth are you doing?!” Hal exclaimed, relieved that Robin’s accident wasn’t worse. “I waited at the Rec, but when you didn’t show…” he took hold of Robin’s arms and pulled him up, “How’d you find my hideout anyway?”
Robin looked at Hal. He was puzzled. “What hideout?”
“This hideout…” Hal said and nodded to what Robin could now see was an entrance into the brick building on whose roof he’d sought refuge from the cattle. “Gosh!” added Hal when he’d had chance to look his friend over, “You are in a mess, Rob… What’s happened to your shorties?”
Robin looked down at himself and nearly wept. He legs were badly scratched and where he’d been stung by the nettles, which was pretty well everywhere, it itched like mad. He was filthy dirty and his shorty-pyjamas were virtually non-existent. Oddly enough Robin felt embarrassed to be almost nude in front of Hal when shyness should have been the least of his concerns.
“Dock leaves…” Hal said suddenly, “That’s what you need… dock leaves. They’ll help ease the stinging…” Robin looked puzzled and Hal had to explain that you rubbed the leaves on the place you were stung and it neutralised the sting. “... don’t they teach you anything where you come from?” he said, “Stay there and I’ll get some leaves, then I’ll show you my hideout.”
Robin was more than ever impressed by Hal. He couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have come to Lockton and to run into a boy like Hal. There was no one like Hal at home that Robin knew; no one who knew about dock leaves, or who had a hideout in the middle of a field protect by wild beasts, which is how Robin viewed the cattle that had chased him.
Hal returned with an armful of dock leaves. Then he showed Robin the way into his hideout.
“It’s an old World War Two pillbox,” Hal explained as Robin looked around the gloomy space, “The last line of defence against Jerry,” he said proudly, as if German Paratroopers had already landed in Lockton. He retrieved a torch from its hiding-place.
“What do you mean?” Robin asked.
“If Jerry had invaded the idea was to slow down his armoured columns from places like this… There’s a whole network of them and other pillboxes at what they call ‘strategic locations’… bridges, canals, railways and so forth. But the invasion never came… turns out it was never going to happen after Operation Barbarossa failed. After the war pillboxes like this were abandoned...”
Hal’s talk quite took Robin’s mind off his wounds: “I’ve never seen a pillbox before,” he said.
“That’s because they’re mostly hidden or camouflaged… they’re all over the place if you know what to look for, but lots of them are overgrown now… and that’s why they make great hideouts,” Hal added with a smile.
Hal shined his torch onto Robin’s legs: “You really have made a mess of yourself… can’t see anything serious though… bloody lucky, I should say,” Hal said as he started to rub some of the fresh dock leaves on Robin’s legs. “What made you…” the penny dropped and Hal added, “Oh, don’t tell me... you were afraid of the bullocks?”
The dock leaves worked their magic as Hal said they would. Robin, stung, scratched and bruised as he was, felt safe in Hal’s hideout.
“Does anyone else know about your hideout?” Robin asked.
“Only a couple of friends… we, er meet up here to, um… well, you know…” Hal said, suddenly tongue-tied. Robin must have looked puzzled, so Hal thought he’d better spell it out and if Robin didn’t like what he heard, that was just too bad, “We, er… well it’s a sort of club… a wanking club…”
Robin wasn’t sure he heard correctly. He wanted Hal to have said what he was sure he did just say…
“You know how to wank… don’t you?” Hal mistook Robin’s silence for ignorance.
“Sure… sure, of course I know how to wank… I didn’t think… WOW!” Robin gasped as the full implication of Hal’s revelation hit home. A wanking club! After all the seemingly petty restrictions of his life at home under the ever watchful eye of mummy, the idea of a wanking club was almost too much for Robin to absorb.
Egged on by Robin, Hal told him more about the club and how they played “the usual wanking games…”
“See those chalk marks on the wall?” Hal explained how these recorded the highest point each of the club members could squirt their spunk. “That’s mine there, see…?” Hal said as he pointed to one of the marks.
“WOW!!” Robin said, clearly impressed by Hal’s ability to shoot spunk.
“Ever played the biscuit game?” Hal asked as he warmed to his subject.
Robin shook his head: “No… what’s that?”
“It only really works if you’ve enough boys willing to play… not all boys want to play, see...”
Robin was even more intrigued to know what the biscuit game involved.
“What! You eat it!!” Robin exclaimed when Hal told him how the biscuit game was played, sparing no details of what happened if you lost. “You mean you have to... with spunk on it and all?!” Robin added barely able to believe what Hal had said was really true.
Hal laughed, teased Robin and dared him to join in when the wanking club next played the biscuit game. Although Robin felt honoured to be invited to join the club, he was less sure about joining in the biscuit game.
“How are you feeling now?” Hal asked, “Still itchy?”
“Does rather... “ Robin replied as he went to scratch his shoulder.
Hal stopped him: “Better not… you might end up scarring yourself… Anyhow, what are we going to do with you? I mean hadn’t I ought to help get you back to Mrs Greer’s… if you’re up to it?”
Robin wondered what he should do. He didn’t relish the thought of turning up at Aunty Daisy’s house like he was… and wouldn’t Hal get into trouble? They were bound to think he had something to do with Robin’s accident.
“I can’t go back like this,” Robin said finally.
“What do you want to do then? You can come back to my place… mum’s out, but my sister’s in…”
Robin gave Hal a look.
“Carol’s alright,” Hal said, “Bit bossy at times, but she’s okay… besides you’ve met her, haven’t you?” Then Hal smiled, “... and she’s definitely seen you!”
“She tell you?”
“Yeah… she told me you were bare-nude when she called round to leave my message… actually she insisted she take the message… wanted to see you, but got to see more than she expected!”
“You told her about me?”
“Course I did… why wouldn’t I tell her?”
“Let’s go back to my house then,” Hal said, “It’s not far…”
“... but I… my pyjamas… I mean, they’re all torn,” Robin objected, “What if anyone sees me?”
“If anyone does see you it won’t be your shorty-pyjamas they’ll look at…” Hal said and took a playful swipe at Robin’s penis, which was displaying the signs of an obvious arousal from all the boys’ talk about the wanking club.
“HEY!!” Robin yelled as he lurched backwards and clutched at the tattered remnants of his shorty-pyjama shorts, “That’s not fair!”
Hal laughed as he watched Robin try to cover his wayward penis. He offered to help, but was rebuffed since Robin knew that if he let Hal anywhere near his nob he’d, likely as not end up with a full erection which would be impossible to conceal.
Hal waited while Robin did the best he could with the torn shorty-pyjamas and after a few minutes Robin told Hall that he was as ready as he was ever going to be.
“You sure it’s not far?” Robin asked. Understandably he was worried for how long he’d have to clutch the rags to himself.
“No… it’s not that far,” Hal replied.
The boys made their way out of out of the pillbox. Now they were out of the gloom the full extent of Robin’s misfortune was plain to see. Robin’s red play-sandals were a bit scuffed, but nonetheless undamaged. His shorty-pyjamas, however, were a different matter altogether.What remained of Robin’s sleeveless pyjama-jacket was torn to shreds and hung in tatters from his shoulders. The buttons were for the most part missing and the one left hung from a single thread of cotton. Of course this meant Robin’s front was uncovered, but so too was his back as he’d managed to rip and tear off a fair piece of the flimsy fabric that now hung on the bramble bush. That left Robin’s pyjama-shorts. These too had been damaged beyond repair and what little remained of them, Robin clutched to himself in a desperate attempt to conceal his penis. It wasn’t a nice feeling knowing that his bottom was pretty well totally bare, but Robin would rather have that than be exposed at the front. And on top of all that, parts of Robin, in spite of the dock leaves administered by Hal, were still itching from his tumble in the nettles. Understandably Robin wanted to scratch himself, but daren’t let go of what remained of his pyjama-shorts.
“Never mind,” Hal said cheerily, “It could be worse…”
Robin, who was bent down clutching a few fragments of material between his legs as he tried to cover himself, looked up at this friend. He was incredulous... how could it possibly be worse than it already was?!