♥ Site recommended story ♥
Please welcome another brand spanking new story by very special guest author JOELSTRAP. This story is exclusive to The Canery! All the characters are 18 or over. WARNING: ADULTS ONLY!
Dog Days by Joelstrap
I didn’t know where it came from. I was ambling along towards the school about three weeks before the end of the summer term of my final year. It was the day of my eighteenth birthday, the sun was shining, the skies were blue; and I really didn’t want to be stuck in a classroom. I had a sensation that I was being followed and when I looked round, there it was: a large, golden-haired dog, padding along steadily a couple of yards behind me. I stopped and crouched down and it came up to me and licked my hand. It had a leather collar but there was nothing on it but the word Cuddles, which I assumed was its name. I glanced underneath and ascertained that it was male.
“So what stupid twerp gave a gorgeous fellow like you a soppy name like Cuddles?” I asked him; but he just wagged his tail and then sat down.
I patted and stroked and admired him before explaining that he should go home as I had to get to school.
“I don’t want to be late,” I explained to him, “because they’re bloody strict at my school, and I’ll get the cane. You’d think at eighteen I was a bit too old for a beating, but I’ve still gotta bend over and get thrashed.”
Cuddles licked my face sympathetically and I could tell that he understood.
“Okay, mate, off you go,” I said as I stood up; but he just sat there, gazing adoringly at me.
I glanced at my watch and then realised that I’d have to hurry. I gave him a final pat and walked off quickly. It was only a minute off nine-o’clock when I entered the school-gates; and only then did I realise that Cuddles was still at my heels.
“Go home, you silly mutt,” I hissed. “You can’t come to school.”
I tried to turn him around so that he was facing out of the playground, but he suddenly stood up on his back legs and put his paws on my chest and licked my nose. I couldn’t resist hugging him and then telling him he had to go. I pushed him down and propelled him towards the gates; and he trotted off. I sighed with relief and made for the doors; only to find Buster Balls, the gym-master, taking the names of a couple of late-comers. That blasted hound had made me just late enough to be in trouble. Sulkily I gave my name and was told to report to the depute-head at the morning interval.
I was just heading off to my first class when Buster roared my name: “Mitchell!”
“How dare you bring your dog to school, boy?!” he shouted at me; and I noticed that the hairy beast seemed to have sneaked into the building behind me.
“But, sir, I didn’t. It’s not mine. It just followed me.”
“Don’t be silly. Get rid of it; NOW!”
I tried to chase the creature back down the corridor, but he evaded me and galloped off in the other direction. It was unfortunate that Miss Bliss, tottering on the high-heels which she wore to augment her five-feet nothing height, came round the corner at that moment and Cuddles slammed right into her legs. There was a scream and then she was lying on the floor, kicking wildly at a baffled Cuddles, who was only trying to be friendly.
Buster and I raced to the rescue and Miss Bliss went off, flustered and dishevelled, to tidy herself up. Cuddles sat down and watched her vanish round a turn in the passage.
“You will put this canine menace outside, Mitchell; and I will be reporting this incident to the depute-head. I think he may well feel that a good, hard dose of the cane is in order,” said Buster grimly.
I managed to get a hold of Cuddles’ collar, took him to the door, shoved him outside, and closed the door firmly. I went to my first class.
The depute-head was not in a good mood. I heard him meting out four strokes of the cane to each of the two boys who had been late when I arrived; and both looked distinctly uncomfortable as they emerged from his room. I swallowed and went in. Mr. Briars looked at the note on his desk and then looked at me.
“Late, Mitchell; and just for good measure you bring your dog with you, who attacks Miss Bliss. Is that right?”
“You deny being late?”
“No, sir. I mean yes, I was late, sir.”
“But you didn’t bring your dog?”
“So did you attack Miss Bliss?”
“No, sir! Of course not!”
“So who did, Mitchell?”
“The dog, sir.”
“The dog which wasn’t there?”
“But it was there, sir. It’s not my dog, sir. It just followed me in.”
“And why did it attack Miss Bliss?”
“It didn’t, sir.”
“Are you accusing Mr Balls and Miss Bliss of lying, boy?”
“Oh, no, sir. The dog didn’t attack Miss Bliss, sir. It just collided with her as she came round the corner.”
“And this dog just happened to follow you into the building, Mitchell? You don’t know whose it is? You’d never seen it before?”
“And yet Mr. Clarkson told me that he saw you talking to a large dog and patting it just along the road earlier this morning.”
“Well, yes, sir. It started to follow me not far from the school.”
“This all sounds highly unlikely, Mitchell. Anyway, you should have had the sense not to allow a dog which you knew was following to enter the school; nor to allow it to run down a corridor and trip up a teacher.”
“But, sir, it wasn’t……”
“Silence! Four strokes of the cane for being late; and another four for the disgraceful behaviour with the dog. Bend over, Mitchell!”
I realised there was no point in arguing and so removed my blazer and adopted the position, my hands on a chair. I’d been here several times before and knew the routine. Briars picked up a hefty-looking senior-cane and did a vicious practice-stroke, which made me wince as it scythed through the air. The next stroke made violent contact with my bottom and I flinched at the fierce sting. Three more followed, each a little below the previous one, so that it felt as if there was a narrow band of fire blazing across my behind. There was a pause and I waited nervously until he lashed the cane across the lowest part of my buttocks, forcing a gasp from me as the sting bit deep. The next felt as though it landed right on top of that one, ratcheting up the pain ferociously. He delivered the seventh at an angle and I clenched my glutes desperately as I fought the searing burn. I’d barely got myself steadied when he whipped in the eighth with a savage snap right along that sensitive area where my bottom merged into the tops of my legs. I only just managed to stifle a yelp.
“Get up, Mitchell; and in future, be on time; and don’t you dare ever let a dog into the building with you again.”
In the toilets a minute or two later, I examined my bottom in a mirror and was surprised how little protection my pants and school-trousers seemed to have given me. I could see eight clear marks; raised, angry red flesh, where the cane had hit me.
Happy birthday; and I don’t think, I muttered to myself as I pulled up my clothing.
I was walking out of the school-gates with my pal Richard at the end of the day, telling him about the caning I’d got that morning, when I stopped and pointed.
“Shit! It’s that mutt again!” I gasped, as I eyed Cuddles sitting by the wall.
As soon as he saw me, he got up and padded over and licked my hand.
“You,” I said as sternly as I could, “got me one hell of a caning. Eight fucking strokes; and the bugger meant every one of them. My arse is still tender because of you, mate.”
Cuddles put his head to one side; and then leapt up, paws on my chest, almost knocking me off balance. I gave him a hug and, “Oh, okay, I forgive you. But please don’t do it again, huh? That cane is a bloody brute.”
“Do you think he’s been sitting out here all day waiting for you, Ronan?” asked Richard.
“Oh, hell; I hope not. He must belong to somebody. Let’s just walk back towards home and see if maybe he goes into a house along the route. It must have been somewhere along here that he started to follow me.”
We both glanced back repeatedly; and every time Cuddles was still there, padding determinedly along in our wake.
“Now what?” I asked when we reached my garden-gate.
“Maybe he needs some food and water,” suggested Richard.
“We haven’t got any dog-food,” I said. “Do you think he’d eat cat-food?”
“One way to find out,” said Richard practically; and so I opened the gate and the dog followed us to the back-door and into the kitchen where I gave it some cat-food on a plate.
He gobbled it down, slurped noisily at the water I’d placed in a bowl beside him, and then lay at my feet as Richard and I sat at the kitchen-table. We were just discussing what to do next when I heard the sound of dad’s car arriving.
“Oh, blast! Dad’s allergic to dog-hair and if he sees Cuddles in the house he’ll skin me alive,” I muttered.
“Too late to get him out now,” said Richard. “Shove him right under the table and maybe your dad won’t notice him.”
Dad just popped his head into the kitchen, told me to see and do my homework before I went out again, said hello to Richard, and asked me to put the kettle on. He was just about to leave the room, and I was starting to heave a sigh of relief, when Cuddles farted. It was a long, loud, potent fart and if dad hadn’t heard it, he couldn’t miss the stink.
“What the hell?!” he demanded furiously. “Was that you, Ronan?”
“No!” I protested.
Dad glanced at Richard, who shook his head.
“Well it certainly wasn’t me,” declared dad, striding into the room.
It was unfortunate that Cuddles’ tail was protruding ever so slightly from beneath the table, because dad trod on it and an outraged Cuddles leapt to his feet and charged out with an offended squeal. He looked at dad with a mixture of anxiety and hostility and when dad took a step nearer to him, he growled warningly. Dad paused and eyed me menacingly before asking softly, “Would you explain, Ronan?”
“I think it was the cat-food,” I said. “It probably didn’t suit his digestive-system.”
“I didn’t mean explain the fart,” yelled dad, making Cuddles growl again. “Explain why the Hound of the Baskervilles is in my kitchen!”
I felt this description of Cuddles was somewhat exaggerated, but decided it might be politic to let it pass.
“He followed me home,” I said. “No owner’s name or number on his collar. I thought maybe I should feed him and all we’ve got is………..”
“I don’t care if you fed him on cabbage or Kitkats,” shouted dad, suddenly giving a massive sneeze. “Get the hairy brute out of here!”
Reluctantly, I escorted Cuddles to the back-door, shoved him outside and closed the door firmly.
“Get the trainer, Ronan,” ordered dad brusquely.
“What? Aw, dad, no!”
“I’ll teach you to fill the kitchen with farting dogs,” he snapped. “Get it!”
I resisted the temptation to point out that one dog and one fart was hardly filling the kitchen, and got the large, hefty old trainer from a kitchen drawer. My behind and that trainer were very familiar with each other and my heart sank as I viewed the imminent prospect of getting a hard spanking on top of the caning I’d taken earlier. Dad took the trainer and nodded at me to bend over the table; and then he slammed it brutally hard into each buttock in turn until he’d delivered twenty ferocious swats and I was writhing and bucking as my bottom blazed with searing heat. Happy Birthday indeed!
“And just be thankful that Richard’s here or I’d have made you drop your trousers and pants,” dad informed me grimly.
I was duly thankful and not just because it would have hurt even more; but because dad would have seen the clear evidence of my recent caning and I’d have had to explain the reason for it and would probably have got another dose of the trainer.
Dad tossed the shoe down on the table and stomped out. Richard gave a low whistle.
“Wow! That looked like it hurt even more than my dad’s belt,” he said in awed tones. “Your dad doesn’t half hit hard.”
“Tell me about it,” I retorted, rubbing my behind carefully. “Caned and spanked all in one day – and it’s my birthday,” I moaned self-pityingly.
Richard gave me a hug and asked about birthday celebrations, reminding me that when the term ended in three weeks’ time, there’d be a party with my mates down at the beach.
“Mum and dad are taking me out for dinner on Saturday,” I said. “I should be able to sit down by then,” I added, angling for another hug.
I’d known Richard for years, but recently had started to view him in a different light; and I’d caught him checking me out sometimes when we were at the swimming-pool or out running. I was fairly sure we both wanted to get on to more intimate terms, but were both unsure how to progress matters.
“Okay. You get your homework done and I’ll run off home and do mine, and then we’ll meet again after tea.”
“Right,” I replied, disappointed by the absence of further hugs. “Is Cuddles still there?”
Richard looked out of the window and said that he couldn’t see him, but he exited the house cautiously. The garden was, however, a dog-free zone.
“He’s definitely being fed,” observed Richard the next morning when Cuddles reappeared as we made our way to school, “but we’re still none the wiser about where he lives.”
“Well, he’s not coming into school with me,” I stated firmly. “My arse couldn’t stand it.”
For all that, Cuddles remained at my heels right up to the school-door where boys were beginning to line up to be admitted.
“Oh, shit! How are we gonna stop him sneaking in?” I demanded anxiously.
Richard spotted the janitor and ran over to him, explaining that the dog had followed us in and asked if maybe he could escort it out of the playground. Fortunately the janitor was a dog-lover and made a fuss of Cuddles before taking him to the gates, which he then closed. I glanced back as I entered the school and felt a pang of guilt as I saw Cuddles sitting forlornly on the pavement outside the playground watching me through the bars as if he was in prison.
He was waiting for me at the end of the day and the routine continued each school-day, with him following us to school and the kindly janitor ensuring that he didn’t enter the building. For all that he was a bit of a nuisance, I was getting increasingly attached to him and was a bit disappointed when I didn’t see him at all at the weekend; although he was back again on Monday morning. The next Saturday, however, as Richard and I were coming out of my garden to go and do some cricket-practice at the nets, Cuddles trotted up to me and put his nose on my bare knee. I hugged him and made a fuss of him and asked Richard if he’d mind forgoing cricket-practice and taking Cuddles for a walk instead.
“Sure,” he agreed at once.
We ambled down the road and through the park.
“You got your cricket-ball?” asked Richard; and when I nodded, he said, “Throw it and see if Cuddles has been trained to fetch it.”
I took the ball from my shorts-pocket and threw it far across the grass; and Cuddles took off like a streak of lightning in pursuit, catching it before it stopped rolling, and racing back to deposit it triumphantly at my feet. We had great fun with him and discovered that if we threw the ball high, he could even leap and catch it in the air. We made our way across the park and out at the far side before following a path along the river, where Cuddles even plunged into the water to retrieve the ball when one of my throws went astray. He dropped it happily at my feet and, as I bent to pick it up, he shook himself vigorously, soaking me in a dense spray of droplets. Richard thought it was hilarious and Cuddles wagged his tail enthusiastically. I scowled and wiped water from my face with my hanky.
As it was approaching time to be home for lunch, we turned down a road I’d never been on before, heading back to our side of town. On one side, it had a number of modern bungalows set back from the street; and a broad grassy area with shrubs along its edge in front of the houses. On the other was a line of large, old houses behind high hedges and wooden fences. Cuddles looked expectantly at me and I tossed the cricket-ball across the grass for him. He was back with it almost instantly and so I threw it further and it slammed loudly into a fence before bouncing across the road to land on the grass where Cuddles pounced on it. Richard nudged me.
“What?” I demanded as I picked up the ball which Cuddles had brought back and slipped it into my pocket.
He indicated a sign on a wooden-post. No Ball Games, it said.
“Fuck!” I ejaculated in mock frustration. “That means we can’t have sex!”
There was a sharp intake of breath and a gasp of outrage; and to my horror I saw, emerging from a gateway in the fence by one of the large houses, an elderly lady.
“How dare you!” she snapped, waving her walking-stick wildly and catching me a crack across my knee which made me yelp.
Cuddles barked loudly and tried to attack the stick; and at this moment a man emerged from the next driveway.
“What do you think you’re doing, you young hooligans? Setting your dog on an old lady? I’ll have the hide off you!”
We recognised him before he recognised us. It was Mr. Briars, the deputy-head from our school.
“No, no,” I pleaded quickly. “She hit me with her stick and the dog just got a fright and tried to defend me,” I said, grabbing Cuddles by the collar and keeping a tight hold of him as he continued to growl at the old lady.
Briars looked closely and nodded his head. “Aha! So it’s you again, Mitchell; and still causing mayhem with that out-of-control hound of yours.”
“But it’s not mine. It just follows me when I come out,” I explained.
“Didn’t you set the beast on Miss Bliss in the school a week or two ago?”
“No! It followed me in and accidentally tripped Miss Bliss.”
“And why was it attacking Mrs. Cholmondeley?”
“I told you, sir. She hit me with her stick.”
“And why would she do that? Mrs. Cholmondeley isn’t in the habit of hitting strange boys with her stick; even when they’re as strange as you,” he added with a nasty little smile.
“Er, well, I’m afraid we were joking with each other and she overheard me say something a bit….crude. I’d never have said it if I’d known anyone was within earshot.”
“He used a very rude four-letter word and said something about having….er….sex with his friend,” interjected Mrs. Cholmondeley. “Disgusting boy!” she added, raising her walking-stick and making me step back hastily out of range.
“You said WHAT!?” demanded Briars.
“I’m sorry,” I replied, feeling my face turning red with embarrassment.
I addressed Mrs. Cholmondeley and said, “I’m really and truly very sorry. I should never have said that and you should never have had to hear it. Honestly, I’m sorry.”
I turned on my most winning smile and I saw her melt a little.
“Well, don’t do it again,” she said. “I’m sure your mother wouldn’t want to hear you using language like that, would she?”
“No,” I admitted. “My dad would skin me if mum ever heard me saying things like that. I’m really, really sorry; and thanks for being understanding.”
She smiled and I knew I’d won. With a little nod to Briars, she set off along the road towards town. Richard and I made to leave too.
“Not so fast, boys,” said Briars. “The reason I came out was because I was in my garden when something hard and hefty slammed into my fence; a ball perhaps?”
“Sir?” I said, all innocence.
“You can read?” I assume.
“Yes, sir,” we replied in unison.
“And what does that sign say?”
“No Ball Games,” Richard replied.
A motorbike came swiftly and noisily along the road behind us and Briars turned to scowl at the rider. While his attention was momentarily off us, Richard hissed: “Get rid of the bloody ball! If he tells you to empty your pockets, we’re done for! I’ll make a diversion.”
“And you weren’t throwing a ball for that ill-trained mutt?”
“He’s not ill-trained,” I protested. “He’s actually very…………”
“Aaaaagh!” yelled Richard and Briars turned to stare at him as he leapt about wildly, slapping at his jeans. “Ants, sir! They’re in my pants, sir,” he gasped.
“Don’t be ridiculous, boy!” shouted Briars; and while his attention was on Richard, I threw the ball over the hedge of the nearest garden.
“Oh! Well, maybe it’s just an itch,” said Richard, looking crestfallen.
“Stupid boy,” muttered Briars. “Mitchell! Turn out your pockets.”
I duly did so, showing that I had no ball; and Richard did the same.
“Hmm,” said Briars. “Well take that dangerous brute and get out of here. Where is it anyway? I hope you didn’t send it after Mrs. Cholmondeley?”
We both rolled our eyes; and at that moment Cuddles reappeared, tail wagging eagerly, and deposited the cricket-ball at my feet.
Briars smiled. I didn’t like it.
“Care to explain, Mitchell?”
“No, sir,” I replied, deciding that silence was probably less likely to get me into more trouble than any attempt at speech.
“So, let’s see, eh boys? Using obscene language in front of an elderly lady; scaring her with your dog; throwing a ball in a road where a sign clearly states that it’s forbidden; and lying to me and attempting to get rid of the evidence. Just as well that I was wrong about one thing though. That hairy mutt isn’t as untrained as I thought; and thanks to its training, you have been found out.”
Richard and I glanced helplessly at each other.
“So,” continued Briars, “I think a really good, long, hard thrashing is in order for the pair of you. I’ll give you a choice. You can either be beaten right now; or I could of course inform your fathers and the local Constabulary……..?” he ended on a faintly interrogative note.
Richard and I turned away for a few seconds and had a whispered conversation during which we were unanimous in our determination that neither our dads nor the police should be involved.
“Okay; so we take the cane?” asked Richard; and I nodded and told Briars of our decision.
He led us into his driveway and up to the door of a large house which he opened and ushered us inside. Cuddles followed and to my surprise Briars made no objection. He took us to a study lined with books.
“Right,” he said, taking a nasty-looking cane from a cupboard. “You first, Mitchell. Shorts and pants down and bend over the desk.”
“Bare, sir?” I queried, my stomach taking a sickening lurch.
“Of course. You’re eighteen and this isn’t school. Hurry up!”
Reluctantly, I complied and bent across the large desk. Cuddles padded forward and sniffed at my arse-hole for a moment before Briars pushed him away. I winced as the cane was whipped viciously through the air; and then he rapped it several times on my bare bottom before lashing it hard across the centre. A slash of fiery pain excoriated my rump and I flinched, squeezing my glutes tightly. He hit me again, a little lower and I gasped aloud as a savage streak of agony ripped into my flesh. I heard a growl and then Cuddles had snatched at the cane and he and Briars were wrestling with it. Next moment, Richard was hauling Cuddles back and a panting and furious Briars was examining his cane.
“Teeth-marks on my good cane,” he raged. “You’d better hold that dog tightly, or I’ll give it a good thrashing,” he warned Richard.
“I don’t think that would be a good idea, sir,” said Richard. “He wouldn’t like it and he might attack.”
“Then keep the creature under control,” said Briars; and he returned his attention to me. “All that business with the dog has made me forget where we were,” he remarked in a conversational tone. “I’ll just start again. Keep still.”
You sadistic bastard! You’re scared to beat Cuddles in case he attacks you; so you’re gonna beat me even more. Maybe I won’t like it and I’ll attack you; but that would just get me into a lot more trouble.
My thoughts were interrupted by the cane being driven hard into my crease, forcing a violent buck and a desperate yelp out of me as a searing line of pain scored my tender flesh. Scarcely had I come to terms with the stroke when he delivered another in almost exactly the same place, making me writhe and squeal in agony.
“Am I getting through to you, Mitchell?” Briars enquired.
“Yes, sir,” I panted as I fought to process the vicious sting.
“That’s good,” he replied complacently. “Now, that pair dealt with the obscene language. Next two are for scaring Mrs. Cholmondeley with that hound of yours. Keep still.”
I tensed myself, ready for more pain; and he didn’t disappoint. One stroke whipped across the centre of my buttocks and was followed almost immediately by another barely half an inch lower down. I stifled a yelp and clenched my bottom as hard as I could while I rode the burn.
“Third pair is for playing with a ball where it’s forbidden,” Briars informed me.
Once again, I tried to steady myself in readiness. He hit hard and accurately, his cane feeling as if it was slicing deep into my flesh and excising a blazing furrow there. So intense was the heat that I squirmed and kicked out as I wrestled with my torment; and even as I brought my foot back to the floor, he lashed his cane at an angle across three earlier welts and forced a howl of agony from me as I sprang upright, scrubbing desperately at my fire-blasted bottom.
“Yes; I think you felt that one,” Briars observed, “but all the same you’re getting it again to teach you that you remain in position until the caning is complete. Bend over, Mitchell.”
I gave him a furious glare and resumed my position over the desk. The savage brute didn’t even give me time to grasp the far edge before he drove his cane in once more, low on my rump, driving the breath from my lungs in an audible gasp, and making me writhe from the waist.
“And the final pair for lying and attempting to get rid of the evidence,” he went on remorselessly.
I’d already taken nine excruciating strokes and my behind was pulsing steadily with fierce pain. I took a deep breath, took hold of the edge of the desk so hard that my knuckles showed white, and waited for further torture. The stroke landed just where the tender skin of my bottom merged into the tops of my legs and I squealed as a lightning-blast of searing agony lacerated my flesh. Quivering and panting, tears trickling down my face, I awaited the last stroke. The brute made me wait, sliding his infernal cane across my bottom before at last driving it in with a ferocious lash, cross-cutting several of the weals he’d put on my crease. I yelled and kicked and writhed, clenching and un-clenching my gluteal-muscles as I struggled to master the pain.
Slowly the appalling fires in my rear began to die down and I eased my fingers from the desk-edge and tried to still the trembling of my beaten body.
“Get up, Mitchell,” ordered Briars. “Stand over there and hold that dog while I cane your friend.”
I hobbled unsteadily over to the wall and took Cuddles’ collar from Richard, who duly bared his bottom and adopted the required position over the desk. He was beaten no less ferociously than I had been and I watched sympathetically as he twisted and yelped, squirmed and kicked, panted and clenched under the relentless assault of that hellish cane. Cuddles growled almost continuously and I could feel him straining at his collar as he tried to go for Briars. I held on tightly though, and kept him under control so that he couldn’t interfere and maybe get Richard extra strokes. Richard had also learnt, from watching me, not to get out of position, and so he only got eight strokes in total; but Briars made sure he felt every single one of them.
“Right, boys. Get yourselves dressed and get out; and if I ever catch you playing with a ball here again, or assaulting my neighbours, I swear I’ll beat you until you can’t even think about sitting down.”
As we shuffled out, Cuddles lunged at Briars with a fierce snarl and I had to wrench him back and shove him bodily out of the front-door.
We made our way slowly to the park and lay down on our fronts, heads resting on our forearms, behind some bushes. Cuddles appeared to understand that we were in pain and he lay and licked our hands in a consoling way.
“You,” I said at length to Cuddles, “have a lot to answer for. That was the most savage caning I’ve ever had and it was mainly because of you. What have you got against me, eh? You already got me a caning at school and then a slippering from dad; and now this.”
“It wasn’t really his fault,” said Richard. “I mean, he was just defending you when the old bitch hit you with her walking-stick; and when Briars started to cane you. And he was just bringing the ball back when you tried to get rid of it. He didn’t know you didn’t want him to retrieve it that time.”
“I know, I know. It’s just that he seems to get me into so much trouble.”
Cuddles whined gently, wagged his tail enthusiastically and licked my face.
“Oh, shit! I can’t stay annoyed with you, you great silly lump of dog-meat,” I told him; and I gave him a hug.
“A boy could get jealous,” observed Richard.
“Why’s he the only one who gets hugged?” he enquired.
I stared cautiously at him before asking tentatively, “Do you……do you want me to hug you?”
“Yeh. Cuddles seems to like it; and I think I’d like it too.”
I got up on to my knees and pulled Richard up too so that we were face-to-face; and then I hugged him fiercely before pulling back a little and looking into his eyes. He gazed back steadily at me and I decided to go for it. I moved my head forward and kissed him gently on the mouth. Next moment we were kissing with a passion which, when at length we drew apart, left us breathless. Cuddles was sitting up watching us closely and he now inched forward and then suddenly launched himself between us, forcing us to topple over backwards.
“Huh! Now Cuddles is jealous,” giggled Richard as he sat up. “Come here, you hairy lump,” he added and proceeded to hug Cuddles tightly.
“Well, I guess I’ve got to forgive Cuddles now,” I said, “because he seems to have got us to move forward; and that kiss was worth any amount of beating from Briars’ fucking cane!”
We spent a long time cuddling and kissing and then realised we’d missed lunch. We decided to go to the park-cafe and get something to eat, throwing the ball for Cuddles on the way. We bought a cold pork-pie and a couple of cans of coke and made for a bench by the pond; but then decided that it would be pleasanter to lie on a grassy slope instead. We split the pie into three and Cuddles, having sniffed at his portion suspiciously, suddenly wolfed it down and eyed our thirds speculatively.
“You gotta learn to share,” Richard informed him. “You didn’t share our caning; but you’ll have to share our pie.”
Cuddles didn’t look convinced, but we both kept a good hold of our portions until we’d scoffed them; and we ignored the pleading looks from Cuddles’ big, liquid eyes.
Heading home along a road we didn’t often use, Cuddles suddenly turned in at the gate of a small bungalow and then looked back at us for a moment before going up to the door and giving a single bark. A few moments later the door opened and a bent, very elderly-looking man looked out. Cuddles licked his hand and trotted inside and the man was about to close the door when I called out, “Hey! Could we speak to you for a minute, please?”
He came out slowly on to the doorstep, Cuddles at his side, as we walked up the path.
I explained how Cuddles had started following me and how he’d been spending a lot of time with us over the past few weeks; but I made no mention of the hide-tannings I’d received as a result. The old guy nodded.
“I’m just getting too old,” he admitted with a sigh. “I’ve got terrible arthritis, and I can’t walk him like I used to. He’s got very good road-sense, so I just let him out in the morning and he wanders around and comes back for lunch and then at teatime. I’m sorry if he’s been a nuisance,” he went on. “I know it’s not really the right thing to do with a dog, but I’m not able to exercise him any more; and I like him. I really don’t want to give him up. I hope he’s not been any trouble?”
“Course not,” I lied valiantly. “We’ve enjoyed playing with him in the park and walking around with him.”
“He’s a great retriever,” said the old guy. “Throw a ball and he always brings it back.”
“We know,” Richard concurred, absent-mindedly rubbing at his bottom.
“Look, I’ve got an idea,” I said. “We leave school next week and we’re working in a shop for the summer and then start at college here in the autumn. We could come round and give Cuddles a quick walk in the morning and then take him out for a run in the park after work; and we could take him for much longer walks at the weekends. We’ve really got to like him; and it would be safer than just letting him wander the streets.”
“That would be great; but I’ll have to pay you something for….”
“Definitely not,” I insisted. “Like I said, we like Cuddles and it’ll be fun to take him out.”
“Well, come in and tell me about yourselves and I’ll give you some coffee and chocolate-cake,” he offered; and we accepted with alacrity.
He took us into the kitchen and nodded to us to sit at the table. Unthinkingly, we both plumped down on to the wooden chairs and both winced noticeably. The old guy grinned.
“Got yourselves caned, did you boys?” he enquired. “I used to be a teacher and I recognise that look on a boy’s face when he sits down too hard after six of the best.”
I glanced at Richard and then said, “I think if we’re gonna take Cuddles out regularly, we can maybe tell you the bits of the story I left out.”
I proceeded to recount the tale of Cuddles at school, Cuddles and the fart, and Cuddles and the retrieved ball. The old guy listened with a growing expression of delight on his face.
“And you still want to take the troublemaking mutt out for his daily exercise?”
“Of course we do,” said Richard. “None of it was his fault; not really. We both adore Cuddles.”
I glanced sharply at him, aware of a double-meaning here of which the old guy was blissfully ignorant; and Richard winked at me.
“Tell me,” I asked. “Why do you call him Cuddles? I mean I don’t want to be rude, but it’s a bit of a soppy name for a big dog who’s very definitely male.”
“Ah; it was my late wife who named him; and I’ve just stuck with Cuddles. You’re right though. I was always embarrassed calling him in the park and meant to change his name; but I never got round to it. What would you like to call him? I’m sure an intelligent dog like him could learn to respond to a new name.”
Richard and I made various suggestions, but none felt quite right; and then inspiration struck.
“I think,” I said, “that I’d like to call him Rod.”
Richard and the old guy both looked questioningly at me.
“Because I seem to have been under the rod ever since I met him,” I elucidated.
The old guy snorted and raised his coffee-mug.
“To Rod,” he said. “How do you like your new name, Cuddles?”
Rod wagged his tail vigorously and I gave him a huge hug. This time, Richard would have to wait.
D I S C L A I M E R
All characters and businesses appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.