Shorts On Fire ( A Mrs Dwaine Story)
On that broiling Saturday afternoon – with the pavement almost cinder hot and uncomfortable to walk on – I was to report to Mrs. Patience Dwane for a caning. A punishment for inattentiveness with the formidable Xhosa matriarch assuring me that I would feel each and every stroke and would not be negligent for some time to come.Before the discipline itself I would need to face the ordeal of purchasing a school cane.The towering Patience Dwane had insisted upon Mr. Khan’s Bazaar. Pliant, quality canes capable of teaching me a proper lesson were stocked by this gentleman.I should mention Mrs. Dwane and Mr. Khan would handle everything else. My plan had been to cautiously survey Khan’s premises and select the right moment to make an appearance but the searing Eastern Cape heat put paid to that. I almost threw myself inside Khan’s Bazaar to escape the furnace.It was a place of shadows, mercifully cool and devoid of customers. I had only just got my bearings in the gloom when my shoulder was lightly tapped.
“Are you sure you are not wanting refreshment, your accent suggests you are from England and must be feeling this African weather.”
I stammered no thank you and then took a deep breath and stated my actual business.
Mr. Khan did not blink or raise an eyebrow and beckoned me further into his premis
A moment later I was confronted by a substantial wicker basket containing an array of canes – some with crook handles - and others finished with a leather grip.
The proprietor gave the basket some thought and then selected two with crook handles. He briefly looked me up and down and then studied the canes again.
“This one I think. Mrs. Dwane has requested a similar type many times before.”
“I know my customers well you see!”
A light laugh from Mr. Khan and then as if by magic he reached behind him and extracted a large brown paper bag from a shelf.
“We shall get it wrapped for you Sir. I think you do not wish folk to know you have misbehaved and require a caning.”
“You see Mrs. Dwane today I think for a most painful but useful lesson?”
I nodded my head and my already hot face burned some more.
Three minutes later I was out on the street. The cane had been expertly bent and wrapped and Khan had accepted a ten rand note without making any further comment.
Crossing over to the side of the street with some shade I plotted a route to Mrs. Dwane’s home which avoided going past the bookshop where I worked.
My uncle (and employer) was in the habit of standing outside his shop because in the hottest, driest months a display of books he was eager to be rid off lived outside.
He would no doubt been intrigued about the curious brown paper package and I had no intention of being cross-examined by my relative on the matter.
So I avoided Devon Street altogether and took a more roundabout route through the old part of town where the first English settlers had built their small, humble townhouses.
Much to my delight the heat had driven nearly everyone inside and I was able to use this solitary walk to reflect upon on my relationship with the imposing Patience Dwane.
Books lay at the heart of the matter.
Or rather my inability to order the correct editions for Mrs. Dwane and then having got the order right I had failed to diligently pursue our suppliers in faraway Cape Town.
After a third fruitless visit to my Uncle’s bookshop Mrs. Dwane had taken me to one side and without causing a scene had administered a prolonged scolding.
I was an idle young man!
No eye for detail!
Did I treat all my customers this way?
I had better pull my socks up and get her books!
Someone should give me a shake!
Patience Dwane in full flow had proved to be an overwhelming experience.
Glowering down at me, hands placed on her broad hips and listing my faults I found her to be intimidating and yet hugely intriguing.
She was magnificent, utterly commanding and by the time she had finished I felt humbled and then apologised for all I was worth.
There was a curt nod of her proud head and then a long, elegant finger had pointed in the direction of the telephone on the front desk.
I had some calls to make and next week there had better be some books!
And with that she had swept out of the bookshop.
A week later she strode back into my life looking even more majestic than ever in a grey trouser suit and some high heels adding to her considerable height.
A young black man – around my age – was trailing in Patience Dwane’s wake.
Once again I was skilfully steered to one side so she could interrogate me and assumed that commanding stance of hands planted on hips and looking down on me.
“Well young man, do you have my books?”
Mercifully I did and had even secured a small discount for the various delays. I was treated to a brief but dazzling smile from above.
“So you can be a good boy! I was beginning to believe you were idle and someone who had not been raised correctly. And where are my books?”
I pointed back to the counter and a carefully wrapped pile I had placed to one side. I made a move to fetch them but found a restraining hand placed on my shoulder.
A crisp volley of Xhosa was directed at the young man who headed for the counter and rather elegantly took up a carrying position. Mrs. Dwane returned her attention to me.
“My godson Albert. A nice young man but often forgetful, lazy and clumsy. But I have a proven remedy for such shortcomings.”
Still reviewing me from-on-high Mrs. Dwane smiled again.
“Every so often I set the seat of his shorts on fire.”
I had gulped at this point and my face had coloured some more. My reaction both amused and encouraged Mrs. Dwane.
“A good caning and a mighty sore bottom!”
There was a moment of silence and I was being studied very intently.
“I think that maybe you and Albert are much alike and perhaps you have also benefitted from some cane strokes in the past?”
“In fact I am sure of it; I can read your face!”
Mrs. Dwane stepped even closer to me and lowered her voice to a whisper.
“And what Patience Dwane is thinking now is that a certain young Englishman would very much like to apologise for disappointing Madam so much.”
“And that the same young Englishman can either offer some contrite words and we conclude matters. Or perhaps he opts to make amends like Albert does?”
Mrs. Dwane stepped back and folded her arms.
Approximately three minutes later I had made my choice and been given instructions.
Saturday afternoon, visit Mr. Khan first and then the cane from Patience Dwane.
Mrs. Dwane’s neighbourhood highlighted the fact that she had been successful.
It was a new district of the town which the Xhosa professionals and entrepreneurs had moved out to and there were driveways with BMWs and glimpses of swimming pools. South Africa was changing fast and for the better!
I clutched my package - praying it would remain intact – and reviewed the business card I had been given containing Mrs. Dwane’s details.
After a frustrating wrong turn I finally found Accra Street and walked to the very end of the road and noted that this was the very edge of town where the scrubland began.
Taking the deepest of breaths I approached an imposing front door and rang the bell.
The door was opened by a truly beautiful and lithe Xhosa girl and I quickly realised that Patience Dwane could afford a maid.
“Madam is busy with work but you are to come in and wait for her.”
“I shall take the parcel for Madam, follow me.”
Mrs. Dwane’s employee quickly led the way and to my surprise I found myself standing on a large expanse of terrace at the back of her home.
We finally came to a halt at the far end of the terrace where there was a table with a jug of water and a glass.
More ominously a low, sturdy stool which I knew would play a part in upcoming events. The young woman gave me a brief smile.
“Madam says you may have a glass of water. But then you must stand by the stool and be quiet and perfectly still. You are to wait like this.”
A demonstration was given; the maid placing her hands on top of her head and standing directly behind the stool.
“Drink the water, you look hot. But you must be ready for Madam.”
Some twenty minutes passed before Mrs. Dwane appeared on the terrace.
Another trouser suit and this time completed with a stylish and colourful African turban.
She approached me slowly and with an almost regal elegance and bade me good afternoon. The cane from Khan’s bazaar was tucked beneath her arm.
“You will go across this stool in a minute or so and I will deliver a sound punishment. A good beating on your bottom for being a lazy boy and wasting Madam’s time.”
“Mr Khan’s canes – as you will discover – get fine results.”
She stepped closer to me – as was her wont – and then effortlessly spun me round.
“A good backside I think. When did this bottom last receive some correction?”
I was turned again.
“Speak up boy, Mrs. Dwane requires an answer!”
My answer came in a stutter. Not since prep school many years before.
There was a loud tut-tut from Patience Dwane.
“Too long, far too long for an idle boy like you!”
“England must be becoming a very soft place indeed.”
“Albert and his brother Peter go over my stool once a month. More if they need it.”
“I think it is good we have met. This cane has plenty of work to do and I shall keep it here and just for you.”
My wrist was then grasped and together we approached the stool.
I could feel Mrs. Dwane’s considerable might as she positioned me to her liking.
And it is pointless to deny that submitting to a strong, implacably determined and mature woman like this was not exciting.
She could seemingly move me as she wished and with her considerable ease due to her physical strength and experience.
Finally, I was placed in a tipped over position with my head down by the terrace and bottom proffered for what I knew was going to be a proper hiding.
Mrs. Dwane knelt down close to my head.
“Three wasted journeys. So three sets of six from Madam.”
“You may cry and shout. My maid is quite used to the songs young men sing when their bottoms are being caned.”
I’ve mentioned Mrs. Dwane’s uncommon strength and on that afternoon it was used to considerable and dramatic effect.
Before commencing she applied a vice like grip to the waistband of my summer shorts both to tighten the target area and hold me in place.
The grasp was inescapable and raised my bottom for the cane even more.
Six vigorous, excruciating strokes then ensued that had me gasping and I was astonished by her ability to wield the cane and keep me pinned over the stool.
Mrs. Dwane released her hold and I found myself writhing over the seat and throwing my hands back to try and massage my scalding rear.
That earned me a sharp tap of the cane.
“Hands away! I want that bottom to smart and those shorts pulled up good and tight.”
Thirty seconds later she seized my shorts again and I felt both excited and terrified as the material was pulled even tauter and by this demonstration of power.
“More cane strokes for you, head right down.”
A further six – delivered every ten seconds or so – had me yelping and after the fifth stroke I made a futile attempt to wriggle my thrashed bottom out of the way.
This was easily dealt with by my disciplinarian who simply hauled me back onto the middle of her punishment stool and delivered the next stroke with some extra heft.
I squealed as the cane bit into my hauled-up shorts and smacked my palms on the terrace to cope with the considerable pain.
Sore, sorry and panting I was held in place across the stool for a further minute before I heard the rattle of the cane on the nearby table.
I was ordered to rise and could not help performing a ridiculous jig. Just as she had promised, Khan’s cane did indeed get some fine results.
Patience Dwane – not even remotely out of breath despite her exertions - reviewed this dance with some amusement.
“A bit of dancing is good! Shows me a bottom is stinging and a boy is learning.”
The cane was reached for again but this time held halfway down the shaft and Mrs. Dwane purposefully planted her right foot on the centre of the stool.
A high platform was being created consisting of Mrs. Dwane’s shapely and mighty thigh. I was beckoned to come closer.
“Get up and over. The last six will be over my knee.”
“Don’t worry my leg is more than strong enough.”
I made a very poor effort of mounting this glorious stand and Mrs. Dwane’s notable might was required to hoist me up.
Eventually I was tipped right over and was treated to a dizzying view of the terrace from my perch and the delicious experience of being in contact with a sturdy, warm thigh.
“More beating for this bottom, now hold still.”
I kicked and yelped my way through the last six which came in rapid succession – the strokes whipping home - and was then left dangling across Mrs. Dwane’s raised thigh.
She was in no hurry to let me down from this compliant posture and assuredly had the stamina and know-how to keep me up there for as long as she saw fit.
A hand was placed gently on my bottom and began to explore the just-caned area.
“Shorts on fire – yes, good and hot – but next time no shorts and I pull down the underpants as well. You will receive correction on a bare bottom.”
I was left hanging there a tad longer before Mrs. Dwane applied a mild smack (which still made me flinch) to signal I was to be lowered.
She skilfully returned me to terra firma and instructed me to adjust my shorts.
As I performed this task – which made me wince as the material had been pulled tight and my bottom was striped - she flexed the cane thoughtfully and then bade me to move closer to her.
To my surprise and delight I was totally enveloped in a tender hug and she rocked me gently from side to side as she whispered in my ear.
“More punishment for you in the weeks to come, more visits to Mrs. Dwane’s house.”
When I was released there was a final dazzling smile and Patience Dwane turned sharply and strode across the terrace.
Both conquered and chastised, I drank in the sight of her superbly rounded, trouser-clad bottom and long, powerful legs and savoured the scent of her perfume.
Much to my astonishment I found myself needing to adjust the front of my shorts.
A fortnight later.
The weather had somewhat relented and I was engrossed in rearranging a troublesome shelf of books for my uncle.
There was a polite cough from behind me designed to gain my attention.
A smiling Mr. Khan was standing there.
“Good morning Sir. During your lunch hour please come to the Bazaar. There is a gift waiting for you from Mrs. Dwane.”
Two hours later I slipped into Khan’s shop and was once again steered towards the back of his rambling premises.
A black, hard-backed book was then presented to me.
“There is no charge Sir. Mrs. Dwane has purchased the item and you are to keep it safe and read the contents at your leisure.”
I gave Mr. Khan a somewhat perplexed look.
“I believe it is a Punishment Book Sir, your Punishment Book.”