On a little island in the Bristol Channel a very overweight student was finishing his fourth heap bowl of mashed potato. He nearly gagged.
“You know that feeling when you’ve eaten too much but you just keep going?” Pat asked his equally-overweight friend.
“Yeah? Oh, have you just had one of them?” asked Poppy.
“Yeah, I was nearly SICK then.”
He burped out the word “SICK”.
They both laughed at the joke.
“Oy, pull my finger,” said Poppy to her friend.
“Go on, just do it. See what it does to me.”
Dutifully Pat pulled on his friend’s finger and she let out the loudest fart that the student canteen at Sharp Holme University had probably ever heard.
They both rocked about laughing at this latest bit of comedy before Pat suddenly stopped.
“Ugh, that absolutely stinks! I think I’m going to throw up!”
“Yeah, well don’t do it all over me, will you?”
They were promptly ejected from the canteen by the staff for the fourth time that term and went back to his room, clutching the rail on their way up, partly because they were laughing so much and partly because they were so fat that the act of climbing the stairs was physically difficult for them.
When they arrived there they found a card on their floor. It showed a woman in a long black dress with ridiculously baggy sleeves with a hand melodramatically over her eyes and ghostly shapes all around her.
“Give us that,” said Poppy.
“Crap,” she said and flung it on the floor.
Pat bent to pick it up.
“Look, I’m bending over – you could give me a smack,” he said.
“Fuck off!” said Poppy.
“Why won’t you even try it?”
“’Cause it’s fucking stupid. I’m not touching your arse. We watching that DVD or what?”
And Pat put on the latest addition to his collection of DVDs about trams. Poppy’s eyes were transfixed.
Ever since he and Poppy had burst in on Kedrick having his bottom spanked by Kelly in the swimming pool changing room he’d really wanted to try it but Poppy wasn’t playing ball on this one.
Sulkily he looked at the card. Apparently there’d be a ghost investigation in the East Bay caves on Wednesday.
“You going to this ghost thing?” he asked his friend.
“No. It’s fucking crap – I’m trying to watch this.”
“Wouldn’t it be funny if you were trying to watch that and all of a sudden the thought police turned up and nailed your shoes into the ground with an ice pick?”
“Shut up,” said Poppy without looking away from the screen.
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Pat stood outside the caves with Charles and Kedrick. There were storm clouds above and it was all a bit spooky. Pat let out a long, lingering belch and chuckled to himself to lighten the atmosphere.
Presently Pat saw the woman from the card turning up in fully creepy black gear but with a glass of wine in her hand. That didn’t go at all. He recognised who she was now: she was Mrs. Josso, the wife of the owner of the island.
“Welcome, my children,” she said dramatically, brushing her hand over their heads.
“We are about to experience something which may change our lives. Something which may be very difficult to… explain. Before we enter we must make sure that we are sober and ready to imbibe the world that exists on the other side of the vale. Therefore no more than three or four glasses at the most are to be consumed as this could affect the result. Cheers.”
And she took a sip of her glass of wine.
Pat burped and then laughed about it.
“Wouldn’t it be funny if we were standing here and all of a sudden there was a great big volcano and we all had to run for our lives?” he asked and laughed at his own joke.
“Might I enquire, young man, if you are expecting any more of your…” Manda placed her hand dramatically on her forehead…, “acquaintances?”
“No, everyone thinks it’s bullshit,” said Pat.
Manda dropped her act.
“So much fucking panache! What’s your name?”
“I’m Manda. Want a drink?”
“Oh, yes, please,” said the overweight youth.
“Charles?” asked Manda, proffering a glass.
“Erm, no? Don’t drink?” said Charles in his usual "I-spend-all-day-on-the-Internet-and-have-lost-the-art-of-conversation" way.
“No, of course. Kedrick?” asked Manda.
“I wouldn’t mind a drink old girl. Thanks awfully,” said Kedrick.
Manda gave the two bored students something to drink and they disappeared into the caves together.
Manda tried to put her act on again once they were within.
“I shall call to the spirits. If they will speak to us, then so much the better; if we receive no message, then… what was that? For I felt a cold blast upon my back.”
“Wouldn’t it be funny if a Tesco delivery lorry turned up and the bloke gave us £10 worth of gift vouchers each and then drove off and crashed into a green smelly jelly?” pointed out Pat helpfully.
Manda ignored him.
“I feel,” she said, “that if we were to seat ourselves upon this rock and meditate, something may happen."
“Er – OK,” said Charles.
“Righto,” said Kedrick.
They all sat for a bit in silence and listened to the eerie sound of the sea and the raging storm against the rocks.
Pat spoilt it by farting loudly on the rock so that it echoed around the cave.
“Oh, Good Lord! Can’t you put a cork in it, old chap?” complained Kedrick.
“I feel the spirits are suggesting that we separate into two parties. You and I will go left while the two of you…” she paused and closed her eyes as if receiving instructions from on high, ”shall go that way. Peace to all here.”
The “you” she’d pointed to was Kedrick. She and he made their way deeper into the cave structure.
Manda dropped her act again once she and Kedrick were alone.
“Who was that vile little twerp with the fat gut?”
“I do apologise, old girl. That’s Pat. He's on my History course. Once you get to know him, he isn’t as bad as all that but he does take a little getting to know.”
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Pat and Charles were walking down a passageway.
“Wouldn’t it be strange if a London ’bus turned up here and the man said, ‘If anybody fare dodges the only prosecution we have is that big stick in the front of the cab!'?” asked Pat.
“Erm, yes?” answered Charles truthfully.
A woman turned the corner from another part of the caves. She was dressed in a very severe-looking dark green outfit. She made them both jump.
“It seems to me you’re playing that darned tune again and after I told you not to!” she said in an accent that whispered of the Carolinas or possibly Tennessee.
“You’re making your cousin about as welcome as a fruit bat at a cranberry convention! Get over here, son! I reckon a good Southern licking’s what you need!”
She pointed at Pat. She brought him forwards, pulled his pants and trousers down, put him over her knees and started to spank him. He couldn’t believe his luck! It was every bit as wonderful as he’d thought it was going to be when someone finally spanked him! There was that harsh, unforgiving “whack” and that lovely warm sexy glowing feeling afterwards. And she kept doing it! And each time he was hit he could feel his dick moving. It was as though he’d died and gone to Heaven, he decided. When she had evidently felt that enough was enough she disappeared. Pat got up. He couldn’t see where she’d gone. Never mind. Oh, this was such fun! He was glad he’d come down here.
For some reason Charles had fainted. Maybe it was the excitement of seeing a spanking?
Pat started to run towards the section of the caves where Manda and Kedrick were.
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“Would you care for a drink?” asked Manda as she produced another bottle from her voluminous dress.
“Oh, rather – I must say this is absolutely capital!” said Kedrick. "I say, where's that music coming from?"
Manda instantly recognised it: it was "Alone Again (Naturally)", which had been a hit many years before Kedrick had been born. But it meant something to Manda.
“Hello, Manda,” said a voice.
They both turned. Manda dropped the bottle, which smashed into a thousand pieces.
The man standing there was in his early twenties and wore a shirt with pictures of plants in dark brown on a pale brown background. Kedrick thought that his collars were the biggest ones he’d ever seen. He had messy longish blond hair. He had a cigarette in one hand which he kept placing to his lips and had a glass in his other hand. It looked just like one of Manda’s glasses.
“Darcy!” she said shakily as she helped herself to sit on the ground.
“Miss me?” he asked.
“Every day. Darcy, I… is it really you?”
“Oh, yes. These caves are a vale between your world and the next. Very deep, man. Your friend Pat’s being spanked by the spirit of your Aunt Nuta as we speak, you know?”
“I can’t believe it’s happening! Kedrick, can you see anyone standing there?”
Kedrick assured her that, yes, there was someone there. He described precisely what he looked like and what he’d heard him saying.
“Has Manda ever told you about me, man?” asked Darcy.
“Sorry, old thing – I’ve only recently met the lady. I don’t know anything about her.”
“Ah. So she didn’t mention that on the day of her wedding I jumped off a bridge and all that, you know?”
“Sorry old chap. I really didn’t know about any of this. I’m.. sorry you did that.”
“You really should stop smoking. I was always telling you that. I’m always telling Josso that… oh, sorry!”
Manda suddenly checked herself.
“Yes, Josso. Good old Josso, man! He owns this island and all that, doesn’t he?” asked Darcy Ross.
“Yes,” answered Manda.
“He can keep all smoking and stuff if he wants. In fact I think he should. The more the better. Then maybe he’ll be stuck down these yagalistic caves waiting for some sort of escape just like me, you know? It helps while away the time down here, you know – all the smoking and drinking and stuff. And it won’t mess up my liver and arteries and stuff because I haven’t got any. Not physically.”
“Darcy, I’m so sorry,” said Manda.
“Do you know what this lady’s husband did on the day of my funeral, man?” asked Darcy.
“Well, I’ll tell you. He paid for all the most expensive wreath he could, you know? Beautiful thing it was. He wouldn’t come himself, though. He said Manda could, of course, come but that she’d have to be back by two thirty at the latest because he had all tickets to go to Spain the next day and stuff and she’d need to help him pack and all that. He asked her how it had gone when she came home but he didn’t really want to know, man. I mean I was his competition. Still am. Cheers!”
He drained his glass of wine which magically refilled itself.
“Quite a guy, though, Josso, isn’t he?” continued Darcy. “Constantly playing the Lottery with so many lines that he keeps winning and then you and he keep turning up in all different places with all different accents and your disguises and stuff and you claim your winnings and all that. Funny stuff, man. Funny stuff. And inviting all those pensioners over to play bowls on April Fool’s Day and then saying, ‘Hey, everybody – guess what, guys? It was all a joke. We don’t have bowls facilities on this island. This joke has been brought to you by Barkilphedro.’”
“Darcy, this means so much to me – just being able to speak to you.”
“You know what Josso needs? He needs some competition again. You’ve never tried a fat one before, have you? Their bottoms wobble when you spank them. Rather a nice feeling from what I hear. Not unlike jelly… jelly… jelly…”
And his face morphed into that of a breathless Pat.
“Jelly! Seriously,” he was saying, “Charles has fainted and his legs have gone to jelly.”
Manda looked at Kedrick. Clearly none of that had just happened.
They rushed to get Charles, who was just coming to.
“Erm, Pat got spanked by a ghost?” he said to Manda.
So it had all happened!
She took them all back to her Wheego, a car that Josso had bought her from California whilst waiting for the delivery of another Merc to replace the one which she had recently smashed up.
She drove everyone back home, leaving Pat until last. She invited herself up his stairs and in through his front door. He certainly wasn’t complaining.
“What would you do if one of my lecturers came in now and said, ‘I keep eating porridge and just can’t stop’?” asked Pat, laughing.
Manda just stared at him.
Pat burped and then laughed.
Manda carried on staring.
“Do you know,” she said at last, “you are the single most irritating person I have ever – and I mean ever - met?”
He laughed, delighted with the attention he had got.
“What you badly, badly need is a spanking.”
“Ooh, how exciting!” he said.
“You’re also grossly overweight. I imagine if anyone were to spank you, your bottom would wobble like a jelly.”
“There’s only one way to find out,” said Pat as he unzipped his trousers and bent over her knees. She could feel the erection there before she’d even got started. She pulled down the back of his pants and raised her hand and…