Torn clothes - part 1 by thadeusz
This story is of course fictional ! But it is based on true facts : in a very select school, some boys (no girls) decided to wear only rags contrarily to the school rules. They were very seriously punished. This story is based on their unacceptable behavior.
As far as I can remember, I have always been at school with my friend and neighbor Paul Boger. The friendship between Paul and me, Matt Rylant, started when we were in Kindergarten and was still very strong when we started to think about our 9th grade. In those days, we were in a small school. We lived according to the fashion of the time and both had long hair: Paul had brown long straight hair while I had blond very long curls. Both of us had piercings and earrings.
Just before we entered high school, our two families moved from the suburbs to the center of the town. Our parents decided to send us, the nearly twins, to a big private all boys school in the same town. In fact, they had good reasons for that: the school had a good reputation and I was not a very good student. Neither was Paul.
My parents easily convinced Paul’s parents to send their son to the same school, despite the fact that we were no longer neighbors. It would have been sheer cruelty to separate these "nearly twins".
We visited our new school a few days before the official end of the holidays. It was very impressive : the building was very big, there were many 9th grade classes and we were both, luckily, assigned to the same one: 9th B. There was also a dress code: always clean clothes and no torn clothes. We were told that it would be good if we came with a clean jean (blue of course) and a clean t-shirt, white, without any mark or text on it. Our hair would have to be well kept. Long hair was tolerated, provided it was clean and neat, but the length should not be excessive ! It was a very long time since Paul and I had been to the hairdresser (not a barber, a hairdresser we had carefully chosen) and we both only needed to have a small "tidy up". We both had hair floating down to our shoulders. Piercings and earrings were strictly forbidden. We were also told about the discipline code, which was strict "in order to help us learn" and especially about the respect we had to show to all the teaching staff.
Our parents were pleased with that, but Paul and I were rather anxious. We decided to keep our hair very long, but well combed ! As far as the clothes were concerned, we had no choice, our parents imposed them upon us.
On the first day of school, we met a few blocks from our respective houses and we walked together, full of apprehension, towards our new school. The atmosphere there was very different from the joyful atmosphere we had known in our small previous school. Everything looked much more organized, much more tidy. Neither of us really liked that, but we had to live with it, and we did it but very badly.
There was a sort of gang in that school, boys who had decided to break the rules imposed by the school authorities. They wore very long hair, very untidy hair ! Their jeans and t-shirts were always torn, they had piercings and earrings. Moreover they took pleasure to challenge the teachers in a way which was as rude as can be imagined, if not worse, while respecting an appearance of respect. They did not learn their lessons, saying that this was useless to get a job. After a few days they tried to recruit new 9th graders. Paul and I were the only ones to accept the offer. After that we behaved like they did and wore torn clothes exactly as they wanted it. We liked that and were happier than before ! There 11 boys in our “club” and we had called our gang the “disrespectful rags club”. There were two 12-graders and one of them, Robert Crafter, called “Bob”, was our leader and he was the only one who said he had sex with a girl his age. The other one, Sam Portil, was only a follower of Bob as paul was my follower ! There were also four 11-graders, three 10-graders and two 9-graders, Paul and I.
After a few days each member of the club received a closed letter to bring back home. Paul and I did it. The letter said that we did not behave according to the rules and that our clothes were not what they were supposed to be because they were dirty and torn. The letter required also our parents to sign the letter so that we could bring it back to school, and also it told them they “should take action” or that we would be expelled.
Our parents did everything that was required, and my father gave me, for the first time, a solid physical correction. He added to the famous letter, before signing it, an authorization for the headmaster to administer me any “physical correction he deemed fit”. The next day my mother did what she had stopped doing since years: she checked the clothes I put on. She also made sure that I had no longer any piercing or earring. Paul’s mother did the same.
When we arrived at school we were the only ones from the club to have non torn clothes. The leader explained that he had put on correct clothes at home but that he had exchanged them for his old torn ones when his parents could no longer see him. We both thought that it would be a good joke and the next day we also changed clothes underway. This lasted about two weeks.
On a Friday afternoon, we were both called to the headmaster's office. There, a man in battledress was waiting silently. The head told us:
"Borger and Rylant, my boys, your clothes, piercings and behavior are a disgrace for this school. Your parents were advised of your bad conduct and of a possible exclusion from this school. They decided to take very serious steps. This man is your new educational supervisor. You will address him as 'Corporal' and he will take the necessary steps to help you stopping being a disgrace".
Our supervisor was called "Krenick" according to his nametag. He took us immediately through a small passage which seemed to be new. He took a key to open a door to enter this passage which led us to another door leading us to an office where another man with the same uniform was obviously waiting for us. This man had "Mulroy" on his nametag and many stripes on his sleeves. Mulroy told us that he was a former Staff Sergeant, a SSGT, in the US Marine Corps and that he was from now on our Chief Supervisor. We were thus told to address his as 'Chief'. In the same office, there was another man with a similar military like uniform. He was standing silently next to 'Chief Mulroy'. This man had less stripes on his sleeves and the Chief told us he was 'Sergeant Louring' and we had to call him from now on 'SGT'.
Chief Mulroy told us then:
"Which one of you is Boger Paul ?"
Paul raised timidly his hand and said : "I am Boger".
The Chief continued: "First, here you say 'Chief' before and after speaking to me. Second, your number will be 9.01 since you are the first 9th grader in alphabetical order". He then turned towards me and said: "You must be Rylant Matt ?"
I replied politely because I was impressed: "Chief, yes, Chief".
"Good, that is a first progress. Nevertheless, Boger and Rylant, you have been sent here because your attire is a disgrace. We are going to solve that little problem. Corporal Krenick will help you to be decent," and so we knew that Krenick was an ex CPL of the US Marines. "We are going to start with you Boger. Follow the CPL, go inside this room and" the Chief started to shout "OBEY". The chief showed Paul a door in his office leading to a place I did not know. I remained there, silent and slightly afraid, waiting.
Paul went there and did not reappear. After several long minutes, about 15 minutes, CPL Krenick came back and said:
"Ready for the other one".
I followed him to this other room which was empty: Paul had left it through another door. There Krenick booming voice told me:
"Get rid of all your clothes, socks and shoes included".
I was so surprised that I asked:
"Do I really have to stand naked in front of you ?"
"Cadet, when you address me, you must start and end with 'CPL'. This is the last warning, after that you will be punished for such a behavior. The punishment here is caning. And the answer to your question is 'YES'. I have been ordered to see you naked and to inspect you for piercings !"
I was afraid and did quickly what I had been told to do.
CPL Krenick made a quick search while I was naked. He used a small pair of pliers to cut all the piercings I had. He appeared then to be satisfied and went on.
The CPL gave me undies, a top and a brief, both marked '9.02' and explained:
"It is your size, according to your parents, and 9.02 is now your number because you are in 9th grade and the number 2 in alphabetical order. Hurry up and put them on".
Instead of my usual colored boxers, I had received white briefs but I did not try to resist because I was really frightened and I put these new style (for me) undies on.
CPL Krenick gave me a white shirt with long sleeves but no collar, again with my number but in black figures placed above the breast pocket. In fact it was not a real shirt: simply something in cotton that I had to pull above my head, like a t-shirt, but with 3 buttons near the place where the collar should have been and buttons on the cuffs. The CPL gave me also blue pants. These pants were in fact cut just about 1 inch above the knee, which seemed awkward, in fact they were short pants going down just above the knees like those you see in British boys uniforms. These pants were made in a thick, heavy and solid cloth. They were also marked with my number, '9.02' in big white figures, above the hip pocket. The pants had an elastic in the back and pleats in the front, but not any fly. They were also provided with braces, something I hated. There were also 3 buttons on each side which apparently served no purpose. Finally the CPL gave me a blue jacket, looking like a WW2 flight jacket. This jacket was made of the same material as my short and of course was marked in white, on the right of my chest and in the back with 'my number'. The jacket had no buttons in the front but a big zipper. There were three buttons at the end of each sleeve, to mark the wrists, so the jacket could have puffed-out sleeves. There were also shoulder pads which the CPL called 'epaulets'.
Then came the order:
"Cadet 9.02, get dressed. Put on your shirt and button it completely, keeping the top button, near your neck, permanently well closed. Then put on your short and your jacket. The zipper of your jacket must remain completely closed at all times, up to the collar. Your sleeves must also remain well buttoned. You will also use the buttons on your short to attach it to your jacket. I will help you to adapt the braces to your size. Proceed and get dressed quickly", and he shouted, "HURRY UP OR I’LL GET ANGRY".
I did not know why the CPL called me 'Cadet' nor why he called me by 'my number', but I was afraid and I did as I had been told: suddenly I had become very obedient. The clothes were not very nice, nor very comfortable, but I thought:
"The head wants to give me a lesson and he wants me to wear this to go home. I'll do it but as soon as I am home, I'll put my jeans and tee shirt on, it is more comfortable. But I will avoid torn clothes or other rags in the future".
In fact the clothes I had received were heavy and rather hot, but since it was only for the end of the day, I did not care.
Then came blue woolen socks, rather high, nearly up to the knee followed by heavy high black leather boots. These boots looked like the military boots worn by CPL Krenick and were really heavy. This was no more fun since I did not believe that the head would give me shoes just for one day. So I started being anxious and having premonitions about my future life, but I continued to obey the orders of the CPL by fear of what might happen if I did not obey him.
As soon as I was completely dressed, the CPL shouted:
"Now, out through the other door, with the others".
I left the room where I had changed clothes through a door opposite to the door I had passed to enter it. The CPL had to unlock it to let me go through it and he carefully locked it after I had passed. I discovered that I was in a new courtyard with all the other members of our "rags club". All of them were dressed exactly like me: we were wearing a sort of uniform. I joined their group, in silence. Chief Mulroy, CPL Krenick and another man in military uniform were also there. I later learned that the third man was a certain CPL Belrose.
Chief Mulroy gave a little speech:
"You chose to behave in an unacceptable way. You did not respect your school dress code and you did not show the required respect to your teachers. You have all been warned. Despite that, you kept your bad habits. So it has been decided that from now on you are going to wear this uniform". He started to shout and continued: "You are from now on Cadets of this institution created by your parents especially for you. You are no longer in the school. This means that the rules I am about to give you will be enforced using corporal punishments".
Robert Crafter, who was our leader, interrupted the Chief saying:
"You cannot force us to wear this ridicule uniform in the streets".
But the Chief replied:
"Cadet 12.01" (that was Robert’s number), "you did not use the proper form to address your Chief and you did not ask the permission to speak. Normally, you should be severely punished for that and get 5 of the cane, but since this is your first day, I will be lenient. I’ll choose another form of punishment. In any case don't be anxious about walking on the streets: you are going to stay here"., he then turned to the rest of us and continued. "Now all of you, LISTEN. First, we are going to complete your uniform by giving you a beret and since your hair is not adapted to wearing a beret, we are going to adapt your hair. Cadet 9.01", the chief made a sign towards Paul and CPL Krenick gave him a little push, "move one step forward and be ready to get what's needed to give you a complete uniform".
Paul moved one step forward, not knowing what was going to happen to him.
"Now", continued the Chief, "move to the chair placed in the center of the courtyard and sit in silence".
Paul went to the chair placed in the center of the courtyard and sat, not knowing what would happen next. Neither did the other members of the club. CPL Belrose came behind him with clippers, scissors, combs and other tools. Without saying a word, he started his work. Paul had very long dark hair which he kept in the most fantastic disorder, but that was the end of it. The CPL got hold of Paul's head and started by combing gently Paul's hair, making a dome of it so that it could easily be cut. He then took scissors and cut the hair above ear level. It is only when that was done that he took his clippers and shaved completely Paul's hair on the sides and back of the head. Paul's pale skin became visible. The CPL went on and parted the hair on the top of my friend's head in two parts, and shaved it, leaving the hair long enough so that what was left was short hair which could easily be combed, but it was hair which at least were still there. It would not have been bad for an old man or for a boy 100 years ago, but it did no longer look like my friend Paul. In fact it was an awful short back and sides and the top was just long enough to be combed. When the CPL was done with his criminal shaving, the Chief told Paul to come near him and said:
"Cadet 9.01, I give you now a beret which CPL Krenick is going to help you adjust to your new haircut. Remember that outside, you must always wear this beret".
Then came my turn. I sat on that dreadful chair. CPL Belrose did first comb my hair the way he had done it for Paul. He then delicately took a first lock of my very long blond hair and he cut it more or less above the ear level. He kept doing this, lock of hair after lock of hair. He explained that it was more difficult with me than with Paul because Paul had straight hair and I had what he called girlish curls. When CPL Belrose had cut all the hair around my head, he started to equalize the level using first his scissors only. He then took his clippers and started to mark a clear line at the ear level and to clean, as he said, everything below. I could not see what he was doing, but I could feel it. He even added kindly: "Considering the quality of your hair, I chose for my clippers a #2 so that it would not be too pale, with only blond stubbles left".
I thought that it would be similar to what he had done for Paul, which was awful enough. But, when I thought that it was done, the CPL went on and finally told me that he had was done with the cutting part. He then added that due to my curls, it was not yet similar to what he had done for Paul, not yet "up to standards". He then started to give me a special treatment which, according to him, "would uncurl my female looking hair". That's when I started to object:
"Please don't destroy my curls. You have no right to do that. And my mother likes them as they are".
Chief Mulroy replied:
"Cadet 9.02, you have heard what I said to Cadet 12.02: you did not respect the proper way to address me or CPL Belrose and you did not not ask permission to speak. You will be punished for that and get 5 of the cane. On top of this, you objected to a direct order, for that you just earned 5 more of the cane. Go NOW to this bar placed along the wall of the courtyard and take the position", and turning to all the others he shouted "that's where you will all get your canings from now on".
CPL Krenick lead me, trembling, to a small bar sealed in the wall of the courtyard, he told me to take my short and brief off and then to lean over the bar, holding firmly this instrument of torture. When I was ready and really frightened, the booming voice of the Chief could again be heard in my back:
"Since it is your first day here, I reduce your punishment to 5 strokes. CPL, proceed and do it efficiently".
The CPL flexed the cane in the air, making an awful noise that made me shiver even more because I was frightened. He then started to hit my thighs while the Chief was counting loudly but slowly: 1, 2, 3 etc until he reached five blows of the cane ! Chief Mulroy then said:
"It will be enough for this first day. Cadet 9.02, get dressed, but I will remember that you owe me five of the cane. GO AND SIT BACK ON THAT CHAIR. CPL Belrose, since this Cadet is so attached to his curls, your will continue your haircut and give him a special one. AND YOU, CADET 9.02, be assured that your mother does not care anymore: you are no longer a little boy, you are a CADET. UNDERSTOOD ?”
I did not know what would happen to me and I was very anxious but I replied obediently: "Chief, YES, Chief" just in order to avoid more caning.
CPL Krenick told me to get dressed, which took a certain time because it really hurt and because my new clothes were rather rough on my cuts. Moreover, I had to button again my short pants to my jacket. The CPL led me then to the chair where I sat very prudently. My bottom was really aching. CPL Belrose came from behind and got again hold of my head, saying:
"Don't move, it will be sooner finished and you will be at ease with your bruised bottom".
So I did not move. But then the CPL changed his approach. He placed one hand above my head my held it very firmly, taking complete control of it. He thus forced me to let him pull my head backwards and simply let his shaver take a large strip of hair from my forehead to the back of my head. I could feel the metal since he was doing it with clippers with no guard. The CPL then pushed my head to the left and started to take a large strip of hair crossing the previous one. After that he said jokingly:
"You are now marked with the cross, do you like it ?"
But I had no time to answer, Chief Mulroy’s booming voice fell on us like thunder while he said:
"CPL, proceed with this Cadet without any joke and give him a complete #1".
The CPL adapted his clippers and then turned my head to the left, then the right, he pushed it forward, he pulled it and he did all that very fast, passing each time with his clippers. He was no longer kind since I was a punished Cadet. He slightly bent my head to the left and went on with his damned clippers, then again to the right. At the end of this process I was left with hair of exactly the same length all over my head: only stubbles. The CPL made me pass my hand on my head to feel "how free I now was" and I started to cry until Chief Mulroy shouted:
"A cadet of this institution does not cry over lost hair, unless you want more of the cane Cadet 9.02 ? Reply quickly !"
I had learned my lesson and between my tears I said:
"Chief, no thank you."
"Cadet 9.02, the proper way to say this was: 'Chief, NO, Chief' as you said before. And stop immediately this girlish crying. Come here and receive your beret".
In fact, the air was fresh and I felt some cold on my now nearly bald head. A beret might be a good thing, especially for the moment I would have to pass on the street to go home.
I went next to the chief, received my beret which CPL Krenick adjusted to my new haircut by pulling on a sort of string placed in the rim of the beret. He then made a knot and let the remaining part of the string float in the air behind my head. He then told me:
"Go to your place next to Cadet 9.01" (that was Paul and I carefully obeyed his order). "Now stand still, don't move before you are told to do so. Next week, CPL Belrose will continue to work and to uncurl your hair and make it look more masculine. This beret will help you flattening your hair".
I started to realize what would happen in the future.
Then came, one after the other, all the other members of our club. They were all in uniform and received the same haircut as Paul. After receiving his haircut and his beret, each boy was told to join our line and to wait there without moving and without saying a word. In fact we were all stunned and did not even think of moving or speaking. I expected Robert, who was so vain of his long black mane, to protest one more time. Apparently Robert had realized that in that case he would also be caned and he kept quiet. We all expected his haircut to be similar to the others, except mine: Robert should have gotten a short back and sides like Paul.
This was not the case. When Robert reached the chair, Chief Mulroy said:
"CPL Belrose, this Cadet must learn how to speak properly. He claims he is their leader and is very proud of his mane. Give him the same haircut as the one you gave to Cadet 9.02". Robert said nothing and sat silently. He told me later that he did not want to be caned !
When Robert's shaving was done, and he was left with stubbles, like me, Chief Mulroy addressed him directly:
"Cadet 12.01, this is what you get for trying to defy me. It is what you get for speaking badly on your first day. You will keep this haircut as long as it is now as long as I want it". The Chief then turned towards me and added: "The same holds for you, Cadet 9.02".
Robert received then his beret, which was also tightly adapted by CPL Krenick, and joined our line to observe the last of us, Sam Portil, now Cadet 12.02, receive his Paul’s type haircut and finally join our line. The only “souvenir” of our numerous manes was now a heap of cut hair on the floor of the courtyard.
The Chief gave me then the order to get a broom and "clean this mess since you are most responsible for it". He then told Robert to bet a brush and a bucket full of water to finalize the cleaning of the courtyard. The chief explained that Robert was also responsible and my poor friend had to clean everything with a small brush.
When this cleaning process was finished and Robert and I were back in the line, Chief Mulroy moved in order to face all of us. He then started to explain what was going to happen:
"Cadets, you are now all wearing a uniform inspired of the uniform of a British Military Junior Academy. You are now Cadets of the Military Institute for Boys, the MIB created by your parent. Your parents have decided that you are going to stay here as long as needed. From now on, you will only be addressed as 'Cadet' followed by your number. As Cadets, you have to take care of yourself and of the place where you stay: the CPLs will tell you what are the required chores since you must clean the place, but also help CPL Belrose to prepare the food. You are not allowed to speak, except during very precise moments. You will walk in step, on the drum if needed. And you will salute the CPLs, the SGT and me using only a military salute. You will do that every time you meet one of us, and in any case before starting to speak to one of us. CPL Krenick will explain you the details of these rules. He will show you your study and your bed room. Later, you will learn to study under the guidance of SGT Louring, who will be your chief coach and tutor. You will only leave the MIB to attend classes and that will last until you get your diploma".
Robert, who had not yet understood the complete situation, suddenly shouted, interrupting the Chief:
"But that means that you want to keep us here. You cannot do that. I have appointments on Sunday".
The Chief replied:
"Cadet 12.01, this is an acceptable form of disobedience. You will get 5 of the cane immediately. And this reminds me that you owe me 5 more for addressing your superior badly. Go and take the position, CPL Krenick will execute the sentence. 10 good ones for you!"
Robert refused to move and CPL Belrose forcibly brought him to the bar in the wall. The CPL told Robert:
"Cadet, if you don't take your clothes off by yourself, I will do it by brute force".
So Robert obeyed, took the position as I had done it earlier. CPL Krenick gave him 10 very solid strokes and told him to get dressed and take his place in the line, which Robert did.
That's when I realized that my intuition when I got my boots was correct. I was in this damned MIB for good and for long. I would have to wear that unpleasant uniform during a long period of time, maybe years and worst of all, my hair would remain ultra short during all that time : I had the impression to have a round ball on top of my neck and no longer a real head.