Naturally, being swatty doesn’t necessarily win you many friends. In the social structure of small school boys, popularity matters. And being popular sometimes means you just have to be part of the group, including being caned. Being swatty isn’t going to shield you from the whistling rattan cane.
The sun was shining and the noise in the playground was deafeningly raucous. Lunch break in glorious sun brought out the most spirited antics. Let’s roll down the grassy bank! Why not, indeed. We rolled and tumbled, separately and embraced; we laughed and cheered, limbs locked into each others’; we got dirt all over our white shirts and navy blue shorts, and we thought the world was one great big spinning machine. Even the usually dull, long rows of classrooms came alive. We gave ourselves up utterly to this complete chaos of tumbling anarchy when shapes, light and sounds all mixed into one carnage of ecstasy. Until….
All of a sudden, as if somebody unplugged our mixer of indulgence, all went quiet. We stood up, looked around, floundering and falling as we did so. There’s not a soul in sight. Panic dragged us back into reality. We had missed the bell! Dusting ourselves down was our futile attempt to regain some kind of control.
Our appearance at the door broke the nauseating trance of the hot afternoon. Everyone was looking at us; a few quick chuckles erupted from different corners of the classroom. We were in serious trouble.
The young lady teacher asked the expected question. Without even trying to make up an excuse, we readily confessed our crime. She signalled us to stand facing the black board. I began to read the writing on it, the white chalk dust in the grooves, the stuffed board rubbers – how it was a treat to be sent out of the classroom by the teacher to beat them clean with the teacher’s cane. The cloud of chalk dust, sometimes pink, sometimes yellow, sometimes blue, but mostly an Indescribable mixture of them all…. The whistles punctuated the silence in the room. The boy next to me grimaced….
Another whistle. Blood rushed into my eyeballs as if they were going to pop out to hit the blackboard like ping pong balls. My body stiffened. My knee caps locked. I sucked in the chalky air like an invisible long ribbon. My temples swelled. My ears were burning. But nothing could compare with the biting sting on the back of my knees. I was stung by ambushing vipers, springing from under the concrete floor.
The walk back to our seats were met with sympathetic glances under half-bowed heads. For the rest of the lesson, I traced the spots where the whistling rattan cane had kissed…. Slowly but surely, a pair of raised, lusty pink lips took shape.
Being swatty won me prizes. But it was a kind of weirdly nice kudos, too, when you had the most sexy-looking marks.