Men, huh? Can't live with 'em. Can't strip 'em and spank 'em. Well actually, you CAN, in this little corner of cyberspace. Around here, fully grown males are at constant risk of humiliating bare bottomed correction - hence the 'humblings' of the title.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Another Country - Part Two

Way back in August, we left a guy called Richard standing naked in the African hotel room to which a young maid had just delivered the instrument of his correction. Now, even for a spoiled bigot like him five months is probably too long to be stood in the corner - so it's high time we found out What Richard and Emily and Dupé Did Next.

Before diving unprepared into this month's thrilling episode - actually, on re-reading it, it's something of a slow burner! - you might like to catch up on what happened in Part One.

Part Two

Dupé's mouth opened wide, but all that came out was a small, quiet "Oh." She glanced down at the limply held brush before relinquishing it to the woman, who turned it over and slapped its polished walnut back against her own palm with a satisfied smile.

"This is perfect, my dear - Dupé, isn't it?"

The maid turned her head slightly to acknowledge the question; but her eyes were already back on the shockingly naked figure in the corner, and now she found she could not look anywhere else.

"Of course you've met my husband, Richard," chuckled the Englishwoman, "although you may not recognise him from his bare backside."

The man said nothing, but stiffened visibly and seemed to press himself even further into the corner. "And I'm Emily Wallace," said the woman.

"Ma'am," was all Dupé could manage in response. She knew she was staring. But how could she not? In the nineteen summers of her sheltered upbringing, she could not remember having seen any man naked, even within her own village; and yet here was a pink-skinned Englishman stripped of all his clothes and deposited in a corner as though he were no more remarkable than a hat stand. Dupé stood transfixed.

"In or out, dear," Mrs Wallace was saying with a good-natured smile; and Dupé realised that, wavering on the threshold, she was blocking the door.

"If it helps," prompted the older woman, "and if you'd be so kind - I believe the bed needs to be remade."

Dupé knew without looking that the bed did not need remaking, that she had no reason to linger, that this was not her business. Two floors down - and yet a world away - the lobby mirror was still half covered in polish. Mr Mbulu, the housekeeper, was probably frowning at it now and wondering where Dupé was. She should get back to her duties. She should make an excuse. She should offer to come back later.

She took two steps forward into the bedroom, and Mrs Wallace closed the door behind her.

The room felt suddenly very small and very hot, and Dupé herself no longer an observer but an actress in a bizarre play that she had not rehearsed. As if in a dream, she made her way over to the couple's king-sized bed and began tugging ineffectually at the covers until Emily Wallace put a hand on her arm. "Don't worry about that, dear," she said, turning to lift a bag of market purchases from the chair next to the bed. "Please just make yourself comfortable for a few minutes. This won't take long, and then you can return the brush without the need for a second trip."

Dupé lowered herself uncertainly onto the chair - she was forbidden to sit down in the guest rooms - and waited with nervous anticipation while Emily Wallace, who was smiling and softly humming, busied herself removing more items from the bed and placing them out of the way on the floor. Dupé could only watch and wonder at the scene unfolding around her. The window was open, and she could hear one of the staff - probably William, the new boy - raking the gravel in the courtyard below while a dog barked in the distance. Just a normal afternoon, she said to herself: the staff doing their chores, the dog, and in here a man stripped and shamed in front of a servant. And made to stand just so: his outstretched elbows lifting his shoulder blades; his broad, muscular back giving way to a trim waist and then to the swell of smooth, pale buttocks untouched by the sun. His bare backside, Dupé repeated to herself giddily.

How could he just stand there, posed like a mannequin, with a strange girl in the room? His thighs were pressed tightly together as if trying to salvage some modesty, and Dupé had a startling and unbidden vision of herself stepping up behind him, delving between them and guiding them apart. If she did that, what would he do? If she... my God, if she were to turn him to face her... would he cover himself? Would he resist? The young maid pushed the thought from her mind. What had got into her? She felt a tense giggle building in her throat and bit down on her lip to stifle it.

Finally Mrs Wallace sat upon the bed, smoothed her skirt across her lap, peeled off her white silk gloves and picked up the brush once more. "Alright, Richard," she said briskly. "Let's have you."

The man flinched slightly at the sound of his name, but did not otherwise move. "With the maid here?" he said, into the corner.

"Certainly, with the maid here," replied his wife. "And if that notion embarrasses you, perhaps it will help you to think about how Dupé felt this morning when you belittled her in front of the whole restaurant."

"I'm sorry about that," mumbled Richard with obvious difficulty.

"What's that? Dupé can't hear you."

Louder this time: "I said, I'm sorry."

Emily Wallace looked sceptical. She studied her dim reflection in the varnished back of the clothes brush. "What do you think, Dupé? Do you think he's learned his lesson? Do you think after his behaviour this morning we ought to spare him the brush?" Dupé looked at the hard wood of the brush and then again at the soft white skin of the man's bottom. She remembered his explosion of rage at breakfast, how he had actually caught and held her by the wrist while he berated her over the spilled juice. Called her a little black bitch, in front of all those people. When she spoke it was as if she were listening to someone else reciting the words. "No, ma'am," she said; and then, having found her courage and unable to stop herself, "I think he should get the brush. I think he should have it hard."

The English woman laughed in delight. "Well, now. You're not such a timid little thing after all, are you? Did you hear that, Richard? Our sweet young maid believes you ought to have your behind blistered. And I'm not going to disappoint her. In fact, if you're still skulking in that corner by the time I count to ten, I'm going to invite her to come over and escort you from it."

Dupé's head swam at the very idea of fetching the man for his punishment. Her fingers gripped the arms of the chair, and she felt herself squeezing her thighs together beneath the prim uniform. Even as she told herself that she could never dare - that it was a ridiculous fantasy - she was already in her mind's eye standing next to the man, smiling at his embarrassment. She would take him by the wrist, yes, just as he had done to her not six hours ago; and he would meekly follow her to where his wife sat with the brush. And the other woman - so beautiful, so self-assured - would smile her approval.

Dupé held her breath as Emily Wallace began to count.

"One," she said. The man's knees flexed a little, but that was all.

"Two," said Mrs Wallace. "Three."

Dupé sat and bit her lip; wanting to look at the man, not wanting to look at the man. Suddenly willing the count to reach its conclusion before he gave in.

For his part, Richard Wallace's eyes were screwed tightly shut - so even had he turned his head he would have not seen the young girl's expression, somewhere between desire and disbelief, her mouth silently forming the same word over and over.