After 25 years as a sergeant in the US Marine Corps, one Hell Week begins to seem like all the rest. The faces of the new recruits as they arrive through the gates, duffel bags in hand, family members present to wish them tearful farewell, all begin to melt into the one same face, year after year, after goddamn year. I don't even hear the words anymore, they just come, bellowing from my mouth and into the terrified faces lined up in their neat rows before me. The script of curses and invectives (nothing like which you have ever before in your life heard until you've heard them from a 25-year Marine veteran) long ago memorized in some part of my brain which I'm no longer even aware of.
"You shit-faced, sorry excuses for momma's boys!" I bellow as I remind myself I'm out of dog food. Better stop by the commissary on the way home.
"Wipe that smirk off your face pussyboy," I shout. "Down and do a hundred!" Hmmm, better stock up on more gin while I'm at it.
Todd was just another face in the years of faces before him. His 6 foot 3 blond head stuck out above the rest as they trooped from gate to barracks where they would spend the next 6 weeks of their military careers. I wondered briefly who the chick was tagging along beside him, laughing and joking--nice tits, I thought--but Todd himself made no more impression on me than the sea of other faces that flowed through that gate.
In the barracks, loved ones and family members made their usual hopeless effort at cheerful farewells, lower lips trembling under pitiful smiling faces. I stood in my usual spot, legs apart, arms folded in front of me, watching. They had not yet learned who I was. They had not yet learned to fear me.
Nice Tits seemed genuinely delighted, her blond pony tail bouncing back and forth as she gleefully laughed at one thing or another Todd was saying. I was pretty sure she wasn't wear- ing a bra so I discretely moved closer to the bunk where she was helping to unpack. I'm going to miss you Toddy, I overheard. We're so proud of you, and things like that. Write me every single week, she was saying. And damn if that wasn't a nipple poking almost right through her thin T-shirt. I was moving closer when an odd thing happened.
"And absolutely NOBODY," she announced loudly to those present, "gets to tickle Toddy's belly button!" She grinned. "Except for his big sister!" she laughed and launched an index finger at his midriff. With a giggle, Todd doubled up, arms tucked into his sides, hands out fending off her attack.
"Aww Annie, didja have to say that??" he laughed, grabbing her hands before they had a chance to strike home. The blush on his face was deep red.
The barracks was awash in a chorus of OOOHs. "Oh Toddy!" one high pitched voice mocked, "can I tickle your belly button toooo?" General laughter erupted among the men as the last of the family members filed out the door. Todd, deeply embarassed, shot his sister one last baleful glare, met by her equally dazzling grin in return.
After the hoots and taunts died down, I introduced myself to the maggots, let them know who I was and what was what. This was their final night to settle in before their week of hell began. Tomorrow they were going to be sorry they were ever born. I left them to their unpacking and went home to have my supper.
Later that night, as I was walking back to the barracks to check in on the new recruits and announce lights out, I found myself vaguely distracted. What an odd thing, I thought to myself, and could not seem to get the entire incident out of my head. As I approached the barracks it seemed as if some sort of party was going on. This was an odd thing too. The men were usually fairly subdued their first night. It was not uncommon to see the unmistakable signs of tears, hastily wiped away, during a first evening inspection.
Nevertheless the sounds of the men laughing and carrying on became unmistakable as I drew nearer. Quietly opening the back door, I heard one laugh in particular stand out above the rest. While the others would occasionally quiet down, this laugh did not, but continued nonstop, a long drawn out laugh which now and then transformed into an insane cackle. I stepped into the room unseen and needed a moment to figure out exactly what I was seeing.
Todd was sitting upright on his bunk, two muscular privates had his arms pinned behind his back, while two others sat firmly on each leg. His T-shirt had been pulled up over his stomach, and two more ... well, two of the recruits were taking turns sticking their index fingers into Todd's navel and wiggling them back and forth.
"Kitchy kitchy koo, tickleboy," one of them laughed, "kitchy kitchy koo." His finger was deep inside Todd's navel, wiggling vigorously. Todd, head back, eyes squeezed shut, was roaring helpless laughter. "AAAH HAW HAW HAW HAW HAAA!" The private took his finger out and without pause the other inserted it into Todd's exposed navel once more, wriggling his index finger inside while twisting at the same time.
"Hey, it's our turn," two other privates cried. They moved down from the top bunk where they had been watching and, malicious grins on their faces, resumed tickling Todd's belly button. Todd had a chance for another gasp of air and, seeing their wiggling index fingers creep closer to his navel, let out another begging, pleading "NOOOOOOOOOOO! PLEEEEEEEASE! God NOOOOOOOOOO! Not My Belly Buttonnn!!! PLEEEEEEASEAAAAAAAHAHAHA HA HA" before he was lost in his hysterical tortured laughter as the next recruit in turn wormed his finger into Todd's ticklish, waiting navel.
I was rooted to the spot as if hypnotized. I could not quite believe what I was seeing and cannot understand why I didn't intervene immediately in this scene. Todd's torturers were laughing themselves as they took turns at his stomach, poking their fingers into his navel and tickling the shit out of him there, cooing phrases like "Cootchy cootchy coo," and "Awww, is you my tickle baby? Is you? Is you?" The only thing running through my mind was a fascination with the size of Todd's navel. But it was hard to see in the dim light, and with all of the fingers poking in and out. This queer thought at last brought me to my senses and I stepped into the light.
"Have we had quite enough fun for the evening gentlemen?" I demanded in a threatening voice. Shocked silence exploded in the room. The recruits pinning Todd leaped to their feet and stood at attention before their bunks. I stepped closer and took a quick look down at Todd but he had hurriedly pulled his shirt down over his stomach. Damn, I thought, and then was puzzled at my disappointment at not having seen. Todd, clearly exhausted almost to death from laughing struggled to get to his feet as well. "At ease, private," I told him gently. He collapsed back down onto his bunk. His T-shirt almost, but not quite, pulling up enough to reveal his belly button. I thought briefly of invoking sergeant's privilege and bending down beside him and examining him for "injury", but quickly discarded the idea.
I gave them a thorough chewing out, and reminded them of the rules concerning lights out and left them for the evening. I would have reminded them of the rules against tickling their fellow recruits to death in their belly buttons if there had been such a rule. Nothing in the rule books covered anything even remotely like this, so I decided I would let the matter drop.
Except I couldn't. Laying in bed that night, unable to fall asleep, I kept thinking of Todd's braying, helpless laughter. How long had they been tickling him before I showed up? Had they just started. Maybe they'd been tickling his navel for hours and hours, taking turns, two by two, first one sticking his finger in and worming about, then the other. Maybe they pinned him down again right after I left and were even now tickling him to death.
I dressed hurriedly and walked back to the barracks as quietly as I could. The lights were out and not a sound could be heard from within, except the inevitable snore or two. With a stealth developed from years of practice I crept into the barracks and over to Todd's bunk where he slept like the dead. Squatting down beside him I could see the covers of his bunk thrown aside, but Todd slept in a T shirt. Leaning down still closer I brought my face close to his stomach as it rose and fell peacefully in sleep. The T shirt was untucked. I could easily take a pinch of the fabric and pull it just slightly up, only half an inch would be needed.
Instead I left the barracks and returned home. Damn odd thing, I thought as I fell asleep in front of the TV.
By the end of the first week "Toddy" knew I had it in for him. I managed to suppress my strange curiosity for the first couple of days (no "watching over" my recruits in the shower like that pervert Atkins), but I simply could not resist taking advantage of Todd's horrible weakness whenever I could. The very first day of recruit training involved little more that teaching the babies to stand at attention, salute, drop down for a hundred ... and to fear me. Even something as simple as marching in unison was an invitation to a tripping, stumbling chaos for this pathetic bunch of pussies. That would have to wait for day two.
You either love the first drill inspections or you hate 'em. Me, I think they're nothing more than an idiotic game of "Simon Says", trying to trick the men into speaking out of line or dropping their gaze or some other such stupidity. "Rogers! You been wallowing through shit boy??? I told you I wanted those boots to SHINE!!!!" I bellowed at the first recruit in line. Like clockwork he glanced down at his immaculate boots. "YOU LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU!!" I shrieked. "Down for a hundred, maggot!" I walked directly in front of the second recruit and just stared at him. Thirty seconds was all it took, just staring into his eyes, our noses almost touching. He couldn't hold in his brief smirk that long. "YOU THINK THIS IS SOME KIND OF FUCKING COMEDY CLUB????!!!! I'LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO LAUGH ABOUT PRIVATE! A HUNDRED FIFTY, NOW!!!!!" And so on, down the line. When I didn't loathe the sheer childishness of the whole exercise I occasionally had to admit to a bit of pride that I could have the first ten recruits down on the ground struggling through their pushups before the rest of the men caught on to the game.
When I stood in front of Todd I had to struggle to suppress my grin. "Well, I didn't know the Marines were recruiting bums off the street now," I said, looking down at his perfectly pressed and tucked uniform. "For god's sakes private, if you're gonna show up in a filthy uniform you should at least button your shirt." Todd's eyes twitched ever so slightly but he did not look down. This boy was smarter than he looked. "And do you even know what buttons are for?" I asked, casually reaching down to undo the bottom button on his shirt. "You're supposed to fasten ALL of your buttons private, not just the ones that are easy to reach." I spread the unbuttoned section of his shirt a bit, revealing the white T-shirt underneath. I gently pulled the fabric of his T-shirt up out if his pants, then up a bit further until his naked belly button was completely uncovered. Todd's eyes stared straight ahead, frozen. But a thin sheen of sweat began to form on his forehead.
His belly button, the only part of his stomach now exposed, was larger than most belly buttons I had seen. It definitely wasn't an "innie" but couldn't really qualify as an "outie" either. It was perfectly circular in shape and a pink, shiny "cap" of flesh was sunk just a bit below the rim. I stared for just a moment, some strange, deep curiosity within me momentarily satisfied. "And do you know what a bath is private? Because I don't think you do. I do believe I see lint in your navel. Good god, that's disgusting!" Out of the corner of my eye I could see some of the other men turn and look at us. I thought I saw a few grins too. Everyone knew at this point what was coming. "I can't stand this, I'm just going to clean it out a little." I raised a single index finger into the air and let my most sadistic grin shine through. Todd gulped but didn't look away. Even the poor privates struggling through their pushups paused to watch what was happening. I slowly brought my index finger closer and closer to his bare belly button, then after a long pause, began to lightly tickle the shiny pink cap. Todd erupted into a burst of laughter and, pushing my hand away, covered his belly button with his hands. "YOU WILL STAND AT ATTENTION PRIVATE!!!!" I screamed at him, inches from his giggling face. Todd clenched his teeth tightly and stared straight ahead. "Sir, Yes Sir!" he shouted.
"Now," I said in a deceptively calm voice. "You will stand at attention and you will not move a muscle, do you hear me?"
"Sir, Yes Sir!"
"Have you been in the Marines long enough to know what a Court Martial is boy?" I asked.
"Sir, Yes Sir!"
"Do you know what the worst crime in the military is, private? It's disobeying a direct order. I have never had to Court Martial a private on his very first day before. I don't believe it's ever happened anytime in the arm services. Do you want to be the first?"
"Sir, No Sir!" He was suddenly very pale.
"Then let me repeat, you will stand at perfect attention, not say or do anything, and remain absolutely still ... while I give your navel a very thorough cleaning. Do you understand me?" my voice was very quiet.
"Sir, Yes Sir!"
"In fact I want you to ask me to do it."
"Sir?" he mumbled, confused.
"I want you to ask me to make sure that your navel is perfectly clean. Ask me to clean it for you."
Todd gulped and stared straight ahead. He took a moment to compose his thoughts then squeaked out in a cracking voice, "Sir, Please clean out my navel Sir! Please make sure it is perfectly clean Sir!"
"It's a revolting thing for me to have to do, but since you want me too ..." I smiled, then reached down and continued tickling his belly button. He erupted into hysterical cackling once more, but kept his fists clenched rigidly at his sides. The rest of the men began laughing too as they watched their favorite torture-boy endure the agony of a belly button tickling. I was ruthless. For long minutes I did nothing but lightly stroke his belly button cap with the pad of my index finger. Never poking or pressing down, never using my fingernail, just horrible feather-light stroking back and forth over the flesh of his cap.
"There's some lint here I just can't seem to get," I said, then began prying under the rim of his belly button, working a fingernail lightly around and around the circle. Todd's knees buckled and he almost fell onto the ground at this. His laughing turned into a throaty, gurgling cackle and his fists were clenched so tightly I thought his fingernails must be digging into his palms. When I started to scritch his belly button cap with a fingernail he finally collapsed onto the ground, arms at his side, laughing hysterically. After a few more minutes I finally let up. He was still lying there on the ground, panting and gasping for breath as I continued my inspection.
After the inspection I dismissed the men, and then I did something I have never done before in my military career. As Todd followed the men back to the barracks I came up alongside him, put my hand on his shoulder and said, "You did good, private," then walked back alone to my own quarters as Todd stood there beaming with pride.
Maybe it was the onset of senility, but I found myself taking an uncharacteristic shine to young Todd. He worked very hard and excelled in everything. I didn't torture him that way for several days after that first incident, but I did keep my eye on him and challenged him constantly, both physically and mentally. He could go far in the military if he continued to apply himself, and I told him so on several occasions. But during the second week of training I decided it was time to once more test Todd's mettle.
I waited for him at the end of the obstacle course, another activity in which Todd excelled. At one point in the obstacle course the men had to manuever over a mud pit by using their hands to cross over a series of bars ("Jungle Jims", I remember from my elementary school days). As Todd neared the last few bars I stopped him "Just a minute private," I ordered. He stopped and hung motionless from the next-to-last bar. He was so goddamn lanky and tall his feet almost touched the mud underneath. His T-shirt was pulled up and his well-muscled, flat stomach was uncovered, leaving his belly button bare to the world.
"It's pretty simple to glide past these things like you do, but it's a helluva lot tougher to just hang on without letting go," I remarked.
"I can do it, Sarge," he said, obviously eager to demonstrate his physical prowess for me.
"Oh you can, can you? You can hang on until I tell you to let go, no matter how long?" I asked doubtfully.
"Sure, just tell me when." He and I had developed a comaraderie, unusual for drill sergeants and their charges. I almost hated to take advantage of him like this ... almost.
"You can hang on no matter what, eh?" I grinned, pulling a stiff feather out of my back pocket.
He looked at the feather with sudden alarm. "Aw no Sarge, please, no. Not that again!" he begged. "I can't stand it, really. I'd rather die."
"You said no matter what. You chickening out?" I let a deep disappointent show in my voice.
"Aw shit, Sarge." His eyes pleaded with me. "Aw shit," he said at last, "Go ahead. Aw shit."
His laughter was immediate as I poked the feather into his belly button and began twirling it around. "Kitchy kitchy koo," I laughed. "Kitchy koo, tickle boy," I continued spinning the feather around lightly over his belly button cap. The rest of the men had abandonded the obstacle course and had gathered in a circle around the laughing private, hanging helplessly from the bar while I continued my wicked feather twirling. They pointed and guffawed at Todd's gagging helpless cackle "AW SHIIT! HAW HAW HAW HAAAAAA!" he screamed. "Toddy, ain'tcha gonna let go??" they laughed. His laughter turned into a scream when I turned the feather around and began lightly scratching and poking his belly button with the tip of the quill. But he did not let go, I'll give him that. His scream finally transformed into fresh gales of laughter but he hung there and took it. After about five minutes of this I stopped and let him drop down into the mud. I sensed he had reached his absolute limit and I really did not want him to let go after all.
As he walked back to the showers, exhausted and caked in mud, I followed him. "You are an excellent soldier, private," I said. "But we really need to do something about this whole belly button thing of yours." He turned beet red and wouldn't look me in the eye. The subject embarrassed him deeply. "It's undignified for a soldier." He continued to stare at the ground as we walked. "I want you to report to my quarters at 1500 hundred hours tomorrow," I said. "We're going to put a stop to this, you and I." Still embarrassed he could only reply with a glum "Yes sir," and trudged on to clean himself up.
He was still embarrassed when he showed up at my door the next afternoon. The whole subject of his ticklish belly button was obviously one he'd rather avoid the rest of his life. I told him to be at ease, offered him a drink, and introduced him to my dog, Gus, whom he took to immediately. He played fetch with Gus for a while in my small backyard, a game Gus lives for. That dog would hobble after a thrown ball when he's 90 in dog years, I was sure of that. I long ago gave up being annoyed when I found his slobbery dog-ball waiting for me on my favorite chair every evening after work. It was a shame to see Todd's brilliant smile disappear so suddenly when I told him it was time to get down to business. Gus seemed disappointed too.
"Now then private," I said as he sat himself down on the couch across from me. "We're going to tickle every bit of laughter out of that belly button of yours, no matter how long this takes." I could actually sympathize with the worried and fearful look on his face. My own closely held secret is that I have incredibly ticklish armpits. Something my older brothers took advantage of time after time when I was growing up. I could go weeks on end without cracking a smile, but let somebody come up behind me while I was reaching for something, give me couple of pokes in my pits, and I'm on the floor helpless with laughter. And weak as a kitten besides. On the base, only that perverted bastard Atkins knew of this (a fairly long story, that). The thought of Atkins made me feel guilty as I told Todd to take off his shirt and lie back on the couch. This was something he would be doing. But I banished that thought immediately.
After just two weeks, Todd was in noticeably better shape than when he had first arrived on camp. Hours of situps had transformed his tan, hairless stomach to a rocky washboard. I told him to reach back and grip the arm of the couch behind him. He did so, revealing soft, golden tufts of underarm hair, the only hair on his entire torso. His long legs lay hanging over the other arm of the couch. I pulled up a chair and looked closely at his belly button, not daring to touch it just yet.
"So just what is it about your belly button that it's so damned ticklish," I asked.
Todd was beet red once more but answered carefully. "I dunno Sarge, it must be ... psycho-logical," he stumbled over the word. "My sister Annie, I love her, but boy she used to give my belly button the works when I was younger. It was, you know, a threat when we were kids. 'Do this or I'll get your belly button,' she'd say. She'd call me a mutant freak cause it was so big, and that always made me feel ashamed. Hell, I'm even embarrassed with you here just lookin' at it. Then she used to call her girlfriends over to hold me down while she tickled and tickled me there. I almost always peed my pants," he said, turning an even brighter shade of red. I remembered his sister's free, jouncing jiggling tits but suppressed the urge to ask him when her next visit was.
"Okay now Todd, I want you to relax," I soothed. "I'm just going to touch your belly button, don't worry, I won't tickle," I said, reaching over to touch it. He giggled immediately and brought his hands down to protect it. I looked at him sternly, not saying a word. "Sorry Sarge, I couldn't help it," he blushed, reaching up to grab hold of the arm of the couch once more. I reached for his belly button again. Todd started giggling but didn't let go this time. I placed my finger lightly on the fleshy cap as Todd continued to giggle, his eyes never leaving my index finger. I held it there until Todd's giggling finally subsided, which took about a minute. He took a couple of deep breaths, "So far so good," he said. "Can we call it a day now?"
"Oh no, Todd. We need to go over this several times until you can control your giggles," I felt silly saying this for some reason, but I took my hand away and reached slowly once more to touch his belly button. We had to do this five times until I could do it without Todd's uttering a peep. Then we worked on a wiggling approach, I would approach Todd's belly button, this time with my index finger wriggling vigorously. He cracked up into immediate laughter each time, then had to squeeze his eyes shut so as not to watch my threatening approach. "This doesn't do any good if you don't watch it," I said, and made him watch the approaching finger until he felt comfortable that I truly wasn't going to start to tickle. It took ten tries of this before he could hold his laughter in, except for the last time when I whispered "cootchy cootchy," which cracked him up completely. But that was cheating.
We sat there for a moment, my index finger resting motionless on his belly button, Todd gripping the arm of the couch over his head. "Now comes the moment of truth, Todd. No putting it off any longer," I explained. Todd's eyes pleaded with me. "Aw no, Sarge, please don't." he begged. "Yes," I answered, "it's finally time for a quick tickle, just a little one." I grinned and gave him another whispered "cootchy cootchy" as I lightly stroked his belly button cap twice with my index finger. Todd cracked up of course and continued laughing until I pulled my index finger completely away. "Shit that was awful, Sarge," he giggled.
"Sorry. But ten more times, just a quick tickle each time." So there he lay, cackling up a storm as I repeatedly reached for his belly button, whispered "cootchy cootchy" and stroked him exactly twice. He gripped the arm of the couch tightly, tan biceps bulging, but did not let go. It was hopeless to expect that he could ever endure this without laughing, I saw that immediately. The most I could do was see how much he could endure before letting go of the arm of the couch to protect himself. That in mind, I got up from my chair, and sat down on top of Todd, straddling his thighs.
"Wha-what are you doing?" he asked me, terrified because he knew exactly what I was doing.
"This isn't getting us anywhere Todd. It's time I think for more serious measures. Don't let go now," I grinned, showing all of my teeth. "Cootchy cootchy coo. Cootchy cootchy," I laughed, reaching down to tickle his belly button continuously now. Todd squeezed his eyes shut, cackling insanely as his head rocked from side to side. Now I tickled without restraint, again brushing his belly button cap with my nail as well as my fingertip. When I again began to pry up around the edges, Todd screamed and could take no more. He let go of the arm of the couch and clamped his hands over his belly button.
"You held out for five minutes. Not bad for starters I guess," I said to him, pleased. Come back tomorrow at the same time and lets see if we can't increase it to six minutes."
"Please no Sarge. Pleeeeeease," he begged. "I can't stand it, I really can't. Can't we just forget about this, I'll do real good in everything else, I promise."
"I want to make something of you private," I said seriously. "You won't amount to a hill of beans though until we take care of this ... problem of yours. Tomorrow. 1500 hours."
And so, every afternoon for the next two weeks, the sounds of tortured, hysterical laughter poured from my quarters. I thought we were making progress at first. We seemed to be able to increase his endurance by about a minute every two days or so. But what I soon realized was that Todd would invariably break whenever I abandoned my light stroking technique and began either to poke his belly button or to explore under the rim of his belly button with a fingernail. I could make him let go after only a minute of this. When I explained this to Todd, he appeared dejected. "That's what I can't stand the most, sir. The light stuff, that's pretty horrible, but when you start jabbing like that or ... do that other thing, well, I just about wanna die then, sir. Can't we call it quits now? Admit I'm a washup?"
I wasn't about to call it quits and told Todd this. Then a question suddenly occurred to me. "Todd, do the other men, in your barracks, do they still tickle you when I'm not there?"
Todd flushed a deep scarlet and looked down at his shoes. "You ordered them not to sir, remember?"
"That's not an answer private." I waited.
"Well, yes sir. I guess they do. Just about every night when you're not around," he confessed. I was impressed with his loyalty to his bunkmates, however misguided. "I don't wanna get them in trouble, sir. They hold me down, and they ... they poke me there. I pissed myself last night, and they just laughed at me more," he admitted, deeply, deeply ashamed.
I was divided between abject fury at having my orders disobeyed, and a puzzling sense of propriety over Todd--ownership of him. He was mine to tickle, and the thought that I was sharing his belly button with the rest of my men enraged me even more. I calmly reminded Todd that disobeying orders was a Court Martial offense, but I thought a more fitting punishment was in order in this case. I briefly outlined my plan and was treated to another of Todd's brilliant, unabashed grins. He was eager to help me out with my plan to say the least.
I was loathe to ask Atkins for any kind of favor, and ironic that I should ask him to borrow this particular equipment which I was all too familiar with, but it was exactly what was called for. When faced with their crimes and with the very real possibility of a court martial for all of them, the twenty five men in Todd's barracks agreed to voluntarily submit to their punishment. The men waited in a terrified line, bare chested, for their turn in the three dreaded "Tickle Chairs" as Atkins gleefully liked to call them. For a brief moment I thought it a shame Atkins wasn't here for this. No one on Earth, I was sure, had more expertise at armpit tickling than that scumbag. This thought made me very uncomfortable for obvious reasons so I turned my attention to the scene unfolding before me.
The ringleader, as Todd called him, a hairy Turk called "Dodge", took his place in the tickle chair and allowed his wrists to be strapped to the mechanism above his head. His legs were strapped to each of the front legs of the chair, his waist by a belt that tightened from behind. Then Todd, the master of ceremonies for this event, as was only right, began turning the gear at the top of the high-backed chair that slowly stretched Dodge's arms higher and higher over his head, exposing his dark, hairy pits. For the moment, the other two chairs remained empty. Dodge was the star of the show.
"So Dodge," Todd grinned, taking his place on a stool facing the restrained Turk. "You like to make me laugh so much, you must like laughing a whole lot yourself. You want me to find out?" Dodge looked at me, his eyes wide with panic.
"Sarge, please. I'm sorry. I'll never do it again. Please Sarge," he begged. His muscular arms, stretched tightly above him, struggled to free themselves.
"Ahhh, what's this?" Todd remarked. "What's the matter Dodge, you got something to hide," Todd laughed. I couldn't believe the transformation. This was no longer the shy, tormented private who meekly submitted to his afternoon torture. The opportunity for revenge did that to people. "Maybe it's something hiding in all this underarm hair of yours, shall I check and see?" Todd beamed once again and inserted his hands into Dodge's thick, black armpit hair and began to tickle. Dodge screwed his eyes shut and burst out laughing. "Ha ha ha ha! Stop it!!!" he shrieked. His dark hairy chest and stomach heaved with each gale of screaming hysteria.
Todd stopped briefly and looked directly into Dodge's face. "The big hairy Turk is ticklish I'd say. That true Dodge." Dodge ignored him and looked at me again. I stepped forward. "Answer him Dodge," I said, walking slowly closer to his bare underarms.
"Yeah, yeah, okay. I'm ticklish, I'm ticklish. now cut it out." Despite knowing the same fate awaited them, the other men in line laughed at the unlikely fact.
"No Dodge," I said, taking my place behind him. I inserted my own fingers into his hairy pits. "We're not going to stop. We've only just started in fact." Dodge squirmed again, trying against hope to somehow "shake" my threatening hands out of his underarms. Together Todd and I began to tickle Dodge mercilessly. Todd started by goosing his bare sides and I dug into his armpit hair with fury, drilling my index fingers into his soft white flesh underneath. Dodge shrieked and began to laugh hysterically. Without leaving his ticklish armpits I bellowed at the line of men "What are you waiting for, take your places in the chairs!!" With a gulp, the first two shirtless men in line filed into the vacant chairs and allowed Todd to strap them in and crank their bonds until their arms too were stretched tightly straight above their heads.
I watched Todd as he gleefully moved back and forth between the restrained privates, boring his fingers into their hairy armpits. I inserted my own thumbs into Dodge's sweaty pit hair and screwed them in so tightly and began wiggling them that Dodge let out a blood curdling shriek that transformed into mindless hysterical laughter. Bennett and Lawson were his current victims. Bennett's armpit hair was sparse and light brown, while Lawson's were blonde and furry. Both pairs of pits were also quite ticklish I might add. Todd amused himself by poking their pits cruelly and repeatedly for the first ten minutes as they gagged out their own hysterical cackles. One index finger in each of their pits. Finally, like me, he came up behind them screwed his wriggling thumbs deeply into their pit flesh while they screamed for mercy.
Some few of the men proved to be quite totally unticklish, and after a few minutes of fruitless torture, Todd drafted them into his effort. Now each of his victims had a man dedicated fulltime to tickling their underarms, while Todd gleefully led up the front, poking into their ribs and digging deeply into their sides. Slowly the doomed privates filed into the two empty tickle chairs and submitted to twenty minutes of underarm torture. Dodge however, was my permanent "guest". From Todd's description of his cruelty, the muscle-bound Turk deserved an entire night of having his armpits tickled and I didn't let up for a moment. "Say uncle, Dodge," I teased. He screamed out "UNCLE UNCLE UNCLE, HAAAAAW HAW HAW HAHAHAHA!!!!"
"No sorry, changed my mind. How about 'I am the very model of a modern major general...'"
"I AM THE THE HAAAAAAAA HAA HAAA HAAA--MODEL HAAW..." By now, each private had filed through their turn at punishment and sat on the floor laughing at Dodge's horrible predicament. As Dodge's screaming laugh filled the night air of the base, I never felt closer to my men than I did at that point.
Todd told me the next day that he had "bonded" finally with the men in his barracks. The whole experience seemed to give them all a sense of comaraderie that had been lacking. Even Dodge, shame-faced and embarrassed all day long, shook Todd's hand and apologized for being so rough with him the first two weeks. All the men sported dark bruises on their sides, their rib cages and especially under their arms for the next few days.
Atkins brought a stop to Todd's daily "lessons". That scumbag seemed to find out everything that ever happened on the base. Just talking to the fairy gave me the screaming willies. How that man remained in the military for fifteen years I'll never know. Now, as he stood there, that gloating, smug smirk on his face, all I wanted to do was mop up the floor with him. I tolerated him, even made an occasional questionable deal, only because he could somehow get his hands on the goddamn best fucking underground porn money could buy. Not that he ever watched any of it, I was sure.
"So I decided to return to the base a little early from my dinner party last night," he hissed. "To see what use you were making of my equipment." Slime seemed to ooze from his every pore. "Imagine my surprise," he smiled. "You seemed to have learned a thing or two from our all-too-rare ... 'sessions', Frank."
I tried to turn back to the work on my desk. "Go to hell you faggot."
"Your gratitude for the loan is touching Frank, but that's not why I'm here." He sat down in the other chair in my office. "I've taken an interest in one of your charges, a certain private McGill."
My pen stopped in mid-sentence. I forced myself to continue writing. Nonsense. I'd lost my train of thought. "No trades this time Atkins."
"Really Frank, I have this young private who could really benefit from your stern ... Fatherly," he stressed the word although I was only 5 years older then him " ... influence. And really I think private McGill would do most well under my ..."
"I said no deal, Atkins. Get outta here before I throw you out." I'd stopped all pretense of working and stared at him, icy and threatening.
"You know, when I was in South America last month, I happened across a most unique video tape. Not anything you could ever find here, I guarantee it. Really up your alley if you know what I mean," he chuckled.
"I am not interested in your slimy ... sick video tapes Atkins ..."
"That's a change," he frowned. "You couldn't wait to get your hands on the last one. No matter. I'll be frank, Frank," he chuckled at his stupid joke. "I really think McGill would do better in my unit. We both know why."
"What are you getting at?"
"Well, it so happens I stopped by your quarters last week. In the afternoon. I knocked at your door, really I did, but I guess you couldn't hear me with all of that ... laughing," his grin was like a snake, fangs and all. "So I thought I'd just have a look through your window. Frank! I was shocked." He tsked. I hated when he did that, the priss. "And then later I find out he's a regular guest of yours. Hardly any way for you to be carrying on with the men in your unit."
"Oh jesus, that's the pot calling the kettle ..."
"I'll have to bring this up with the base commander. For the good of the lad, of course. I'm terribly sorry Frank."
We looked at each other a long, long time. I sighed, dropped my pen and leaned far back in my chair. "Alright Atkins, what do you want? You don't get McGill, I don't care what you threaten me with. I won't let that boy fall in with you. I mean it. I could tell the commander a few things of my own, you know I could."
"Hardly. I'm much too careful. But barring my getting charge of the boy ... let's see, what would be an appropriate replacement ...?" He steepled his fingers under his chin, pretending to be deep in thought. I suddenly felt sick to my stomach, I knew all too well where this was leading. And as if on cue, "Frank, you know, we hardly see each other any more, it's been ... what ... 2 years since we last got together for some laughs," he chuckled again. "Far too long. You're such a dour man nowdays, Frank. I never see you smile anymore."
"Around you? Ha!"
"But I know what a nice smile you can have Frank. Oh yes, a very nice smile indeed. And laughter, I'd swear ... if I didn't know better, that is ... that you weren't capable of even a chuckle if your life depended on it. We both know better than that, don't we Frank?"
"God DAMN you're a slimy sonofabitch!"
"Be at my quarters tomorrow night at ten, Frank. I mean it." He stood up to leave but paused with the door open. "And Frank, bring the boy."
"Atkins, I don't want him to see this, be reasonable."
"I must insist Frank. If you show up alone I walk straight to the commander." When he left I sighed deeply. He really had me by the balls this time. So, at 2100 hours sharp, Todd and I stood on Atkins front door step.
And it was just as horrible as it was the last time.
There really wasn't any reason for the pride I felt, looking at the line of soldiers standing at stiff attention before the commanding officers. After all, only three soldiers from my own unit were represented in this year's POW endurance exercise, an all time low for me. I couldn't escape Atkins' galling smirk, reminding me of the ten soldiers from his own unit present in the line before us. "Well, well, Frank," he had gloated earlier in the day. "I see your shining leadership once again sets an example for us all." But even Atkins' sarcastic jabs at me couldn't quell the feelings of "fatherly" pride I had, seeing Todd standing proudly erect among my three men. Todd had grown into a real soldier during his six weeks of boot camp, The daily regimen of grueling training and exercise plainly showed in his massively muscled biceps and rock-hard stomach, plainly visible even under the camouflage fatigues all the men wore.
"Your only responsibilities for the next three days will be to avoid capture, not to provide the enemy with vital intelligence, and if captured to escape through any means necessary," Lieutenant Haskell continued. "For our part," he smiled, "We are your enemy. We will hunt you down, bring you in, and force you to tell us everything you know ..." he grinned sadistically ... "through any means necessary." The Lieutenant began to walk along the line of soldiers, looking each one in the eye. "Passing the POW endurance exercise will be one of the crowning achievements of your careers. It will be a mark of extraordinary prestige in your records, all but guaranteeing promotions and assignment to the most elite units in the military. There is good reason for this: this is the real thing folks. This exercise will duplicate exactly the conditions and treatment you can expect at the hands of the real enemy. We will force you to tell us everything you know by any means necessary. Don't think for a second I am not absolutely serious about this. Congress has authorized this exercise and its tactics, recognizing the military's need for men trained to endure conditions as prisoners of war. Men have died during these three days." We all struggled to keep a straight face at this little lie. "Don't deceive yourselves, we will extract the information we need from you. Most of you will confess everything you know during the very first day of captivity, many will hold out a second day, I guarantee you none will last out the third day."
The Lieutenant paused a moment to study the expressionless soldiers. "Outside this tent lies 400 square miles of the Megara Proving Grounds. You will be given exactly 30 minutes head start after which time we will hunt you down. Plenty of area to get lost in, right? Don't count on it. We count among our number the most experienced trackers from every branch of the US Armed Forces. We've seen every trick in the book so don't expect you'll come up with something new. Expect to be captured. Now," he turned to face me, "Sergeant Halloway will distribute your 'sensitive information'. This is in the form of a numeric 'password'. Repeating this password to us will end the exercise for you." Another small lie. "You will each confess this password eventually, rest assured on that count. But you must endure at least one day without confessing to pass the exercise, the longer you hold out, the higher your final score. Sergeant Halloway."
I readied my clipboard and went down the line, quietly telling each man the number which had been assigned to them. I paused when I reached Todd. '12169' was the number by his name on my list. "Private McGill, " I leaned very close to his ear, "your number is '12691'," then went to the next man down the line. I had never before done anything so unethical during this exercise. It most likely bordered on illegality, as I had made a rather substantial wager with Atkins before the exercise. Should I win the high score I would collect a large sum of money, a video tape of an extremely perverted nature, and a piece of highly specialized 'equipment' for my collection. Should Atkins win, well that didn't even bear thinking about. The consequences of that could only be described as horrific.
When each man had been given his number, Lieutenant Haskell faced the group, a solemn look on his face. "Good luck to each of you and godspeed. The exercise begins ... NOW!"
The line of men broke up and disappeared at a dead into the dense forest in moments. Almost immediately the officers converged on a small, heavily guarded tent at the perimeter of the camp. Once inside, the operations personnel produced a set of laptop computers, a complete layout of the prooving grounds displayed on their screen. I had only received security clearance to learn about this particular piece of military hardware within the last three years: three ATV-16 high resolution spy satellites with infrared tracking capabilities. Our exercise was granted only three hours access to the system so every man had to be rounded up before our time expired. This bit of high-tech cheating was deemed essential to the training. After all, it could hardly be called a prisoner of war exercise if the men failed to be taken prisoners of war. On the screen before me a series of 20 white dots spread slowly outward from the common center which was our campsite. Farther from the center several red dots were spread out about equidistantly from camp. These were our "observers", stationed high up in camouflaged blinds and hidden dugouts. Within a few minutes the first reports from the observers began to trickle in over the crackling radio:
"Turley sited, grid 261A. Tracking." "Dodge sited, grid 121F. Tracking" As each name was called out, the information was typed into a laptop computer and a name appeared above each of the scrambling white dots. I felt a nervous chill run through me as McGill was called and his name was assigned to a lone white dot, slowly tracking somewhat apart from the rest of our prey. When a name had been assigned to each dot, Lieutenant Haskell rounded up the hunters and sent them out into woods to begin tracking their fleeing prisoners. They were to locate and track their objectives but make no move toward capture until the 60 minutes had expired. Cheating should go only so far after all.
The minute hand on the wall clock seemed to freeze in place, advancing minutely after several eternities. I paid no attention to the other white dots scrambling for hiding places, I only kept my eyes riveted to that one dot labelled "McGill". After several minutes I felt a cold hand on my shoulder. "Such devotion to your young protogé, Frank. Quite touching. Really." Atkins leaned so close I could feel the heat from his cheek next to mine. "I've given my hunters some very special instructions regarding that one, I thought you should know." As I watched the laptop screen I could see four blue dots pursuing my lone white dot. All five targets were converging on the site of one of the red observer dots. Atkins was on his walkie talkie almost immediately. "Blue 6, target McGill approaching your position, 1.2 kilometers, closing. My hunters should have a visual within the next few minutes, Frank," he said, turning to me. "My men catch him, I get to interrogate him, that's the rule," he flashed his repulsive toothy smile at me.
"Satellite blackout, 11 minutes," operations notified us. At their low altitude, three ATV-16s could not provide continuous coverage of the proving grounds. Still, a six minute blackout every 50 minutes or so was considered insignificant while tracking targets on foot. I held my breath as the fleeing white dot converged on Blue 6's position, the four hunters close on his heels. When we lost satellite contact, McGill was on top of Blue 6. Each observer and hunter was equipped with a tracking device. The ATV's could easily distinguish between the infrared heat signature of the fleeing soldiers and the telemetry signal beamed continuously by their enemy. This was why when satellite tracking was restored a short six minutes later, there was no possible explanation for the fact that where there had been a blue dot next to a white dot before contact was lost, there was now only a single blue dot with four hunters rapidly approaching. Of the white dot labelled "McGill", there was no sign whatsoever. A physical impossibility.
Atkins stood staring at the screen a full 30 seconds, his mouth hanging open in outrage as he studied the map and tried to make sense of what he was seeing. "This is impossible!" he roared. He grabbed the walkie talkie and screamed into the mouthpiece "Blue 6, target lost. Repeat target McGill lost. Report!!" There was a moment of static before Blue 6's reply, barely almost unintelligible due to excessive static interference. "Blue .... sited ....CRACKLE ... six ... CRACKLE ... south southwe .... CRACKLE." Lieutenant Haskell, clearly alarmed by this unexpected failure of the military's multibillion dollar secret satellite hardware was conferring rapidly with operations personnel. "He must be hiding underwater," he asked hopefully. No streams or rivers were within 6 minutes of Blue 6's position he was told. No other standing water in the area. "Red Group 14. Proceed south southwest," Atkins instructed his men, trying desperately to retain control of himself.
Lieutentant Haskell conferred quietly with operations a moment, then a visual image of the area surrounding Blue 6's position appeared on the laptop monitors, hazy and out of focus. "Zoom in," he ordered. Moments later the view centered on the tall oak in which the observer was hidden and zoomed in to a grainy picture. "Enhance," the Lieutenant ordered. I was surely not meant to see what appeared on the screen next. My mouth dropped open in awe as the view of Blue 6 in his hideout focused into absolute crystal clarity. His branch-bedecked camouflage helmet clearly visible, even down to a stray wisp of blond hair peeking out at one side. I could almost read the serial number of the walkie talkie he held in one hand. On his left, the green cooler each observation station was equipped with just visible beneath the thick canopy of the tree. The satellite view began to move out from the central point of the tree, spiralling around a larger and larger circle, hunting for our missing white dot. As the view moved outward, Atkins' Red Group 14 came into view, rushing quickly through the thick underbrush, no longer attempting to conceal their pursuit. Atkins, meanwhile, had commandeered a helicopter and was ruching to rendezvous with his group of hunters. I stared at the spiralling view a while. Another laptop display showed groups of red dots meeting groups of white dots as each prisoner was hunted down and taken prisoner. Lietenant Haskell was conferring quietly with operations about the possibility of a tunnel or cave, but was assured that the area was mapped down to the last centimeter. Nor could their target have possibly burrowed deeply enough to escape detection in the time he had available.
Call it intuition or maybe my mind had unconsciously seen a pattern in clues nobody else had noticed, but I suddenly knew what Todd had done. I didn't know how he did it yet, but I knew how to locate him, and his ruse wouldn't last long. Leaping out of my chair I managed to just commandeer the very last available helicopter and ordered it directly to Blue 6's position. The last moments of the flight were a race as I spotted Atkins' helicopter appearing over a ridge racing at top speed to converge at the camouflaged tree top observation post. It was a close thing but my men reached the area first and quickly overpowered Todd from his perch atop the tall oak. He was led handcuffed back to our helicopter just as Atkins' team was touching down, clad in Blue 6's treetop camouflage gear, the stolen telemetry beacon still strapped to his upper arm, as I had guessed. A bound, shivering Blue 6 and an empty ice cooler told the rest of the story.
Todd was the last of the prisoners to be captured. In fact many of the prisoners were already beginning their primary interrogation as we marched back into camp. After being stripped, deloused, and subjected to an extremely thorough cavity search, Todd was led to primary interrogation.
From elsewhere in the large tent devoted to this, the first few screams of the interrogated prisoners began, signifying the start of secondary interrogation: questioning under torture. Lieutenant Haskell took a very personal interest in Todd's interrogation. "Let's forget about this shit with the numbers," he told his immobilized captive. "This exercise is over for you, soldier. I want to know exactly how you knew to hide from our heat detectors. That information was supposed to be classified." The lieutenant was quite serious about this. For him the exercise was truly over and his number one priority was to locate and close a possible security breach in highly classified military intelligence. Todd didn't see it that way of course, merely answering with his name and serial number. During this increasingly loud and hostile line of questioning a new type of scream erupted from the area of the tent adjacent to our own. I left a red-faced, enraged lieutenant to his questioning and moved to the canvas wall of our "room", pulling it back to witness the scene on the other side.
Atkins' men had captured Dodge and had begun a new phase in their interrogation. The hairy turk was strapped in tight to a rack-like metal table, his arms stretched almost to their breaking point over his head. The surface of the table was tilted back at an angle so that the prisoner's head pointed toward the floor at something like a 45 degree angle. This had the effect of bending Dodge's torso so that his massive ribcage protruded to an extreme degree. Meanwhile Atkins had begun to poke Dodge's ribcage repeatedly, over and over. As Dodge laughed helplessly, Atkins poked his ribs, the short ribs, just above his flattened, hairy stomach, then moving up, alternately poking his ribs on the right with one hand, then his ribs on the left with the other, moving up his ribs until he reached the top, then making his poking, torturous way back down again, only to start the journey back to the top once more. Dodge was stretched so tightly on this tickle rack he couldn't move or struggle even an inch. He could only manage to lift his head, his eyes riveted to each index finger as it poked his ribcage, his mouth a wide O of laughing helplessness. Finally, he let his head drop and buried his helplessly smiling, laughing face into his large bicep, perhaps as one must look away when faced with an injection in the doctor's office or maybe to hide his great shame at being forced to publicly laugh and smile against his will.
"You'll tell me your secret number, you know, or you'll die laughing," Atkins giggled as he increased the speed of his rib-poking. Behind him his two henchmen watched this scene with huge, sadistic smiles and an unnatural glee shining in their eyes. The convulsions of his ribcage and hairy stomach were strangely fascinating to watch, rising and falling in synch with Dodge's helpless gales of tickled laughter. I left Dodge to his tickle torture and turned my attention once more to Todd's interrogation. Lieutenant Haskell had slapped him a few times but so far nothing had proceeded to serious questioning stage. Todd kept repeating his name, rank and serial number like a mantra, refusing to be "taken in" by Haskell's claim that the exercise, for him, was over. The interrogation proceeded for some time, with Todd remaining as incalcitrant as ever and Lieutenant Haskell becoming more furious by the moment, all the while Dodge's helpless, unstoppable laughter providing a hellish musical background. Todd's interrogation had gone nowhere so I took Haskell aside and managed to convince him that Todd's formal debriefing should best be left until we returned to the base in three days and that the exercise should continue. Besides, Todd had his own "appointment" with the tickle table and I was strangely eager to see that he kept it.
While Todd was escorted back to his small, dank prison cell and fed a malodorous, rotting gruel, I made my rounds to check on the status of the various interrogations. So far nobody had spilled their secret number. I watched as private Kaplin was strapped down naked onto an old-fashioned caning stool. Bent over the wooden the saddle, head facing the ground, naked ankles spread wide and fastened to wooden dowels on either side, Sergeant Meyer began poking his spread ass-pucker with a rather large nightstick. Either the hard poking was very painful, or the indignity was too much to bear, because Kaplin began howling loudly. Each sharp prod elicited a new howl of pain. When Kaplin began screaming in earnest as Meyer spread his ass lips with his fingers and sent the nightstick on a much worse, deeper, unlubricated probing journey, I went on to check on poor ticklish private Dodge.
I could tell something new was up even before I entered the tent. Dodge's helpless laughter had turned hysterical. Huge gusts of uncontrolled laughter were punctuated by periodic high-pitched screams which then degenerated into more laughter. As I turned the tent flap aside I now saw Atkins had abandoned the steady, measured rib-poking in favor of an all out assault on his rib cage with all ten of his wriggling, tickling fingers. He now straddled Dodge about the waist, his finger digging into his captive's ribs savagely, squeezing hysteria from each and every protruding rib. To make matters worse Atkins' two henchmen had now joined the party. One had positioned himself over Dodge's wriggling torso and was continuously "massaging" his smooth, white sides. Such a rock-hard body, with such tender, soft sides I thought. The crony had a hold of each side in a deadly claw-like pincer grip and was squeezing savagely and nonstop. Atkins' other "helper" hovered over Dodge's head, his fingertips boring deeply and mercilessly into the bound captive's, exposed armpits. His fingertips drilled down through the hair, finding soft, ticklish white flesh underneath, then prodded and drilled still more deeply into the muscle tissues. This non-stop death tickling soon had Dodge screaming continuous, helpless tickle laughter.
I have to hand it to Atkins, the sadistic pervert. He really knew his stuff. He kept up the three-way tickle torture for nearly an hour, bringing Dodge beyond what any human could sanely endure, before he demonstrated to Dodge just how bad bad could be. Dodge could not possibly have any conception that living could be any more horrific than what he was currently forced to endure (at least in that small part of his mind still capable of rational thought). I don't think any other human being could have convinced him how wrong he was, but Atkins pulled it off. Allowing Dodge to rest for a while, providing him with a trickle of water to moisten his raw throat, Atkins gave Dodge another chance to spill his secret passcode. I could see the tortured prisoner fight with himself, obviously willing to do anything to avoid more tickle torture. Pulling on some superhuman reserve of willpower, Dodge spit in the leering Atkins' face, registering a direct loogie hit to the nose. Startled for only a moment, a wide leering grin spread across Atkins' face. His two henchmen began to giggle gleefully.
"Well, I think those tender ribs of yours could do with a great deal more tickling then. A great deal. But perhaps a slight change in method is called for." Smiling even more widely, Atkins reached down into a black knapsack below the table and out of sight. From my vantage point peering out from behind the thin canvas wall I couldn't quite make out what it was he pulled from the sack. His two henchmen clearly saw, as they began to laugh more loudly, more sadistically. He handed an heavy duty electrical cord to one of them who promptly plugged it into a power outlet running from the camp's central generator. When he raised his hell device to where Dodge and I could see, I couldn't understand at first what it was I was looking at. It was a white, plastic device, flat and roughly rectangular with two sturdy handles at either side. It bowed inward somewhat at the middle and the surface on the bottom sprouted two clusters of four protruding plastic knobs at either side. A single power switch was located on the top surface. "I'm betting you'll find this little baby a real scream!" Atkins' laughed, then flicked on the power switch. The device began vibrating powerfully with a loud, whining hum. As it became instantly clear to me, so it became horribly clear to the stretched out Dodge as we saw how the curved surface would just fit around his protruding rib cage. "NOOOOOO!" he screamed desperately as the hard plastic knobs made contact with his ribs and began to slowly press in. "AWW SHIIIIIIIT!!! NOOOOO! AHAAAAAA HAAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAA!!" Applying very little pressure at first, the laughing Atkins once again straddled his victim's pelvis, and moved the rib vibrator in a small circular motion, reaching the most devilishly ticklish short ribs and making sure not to neglect vibrating Dodge's upper ribcage as well.
Atkins raised the vibrator after only a short ten minutes and looked intently at his still-laughing victim. "Ready to tell me your number yet? We'll just keep this up for the next three days until you do." Dodge had once again buried his laughing face in his bicep. Something seemed to have snapped in him, he couldn't stop laughing. "I want to diiiiiie, "Dodge croaked out between breaths. "Pleeeeeease, I want to die, a haaaaaaaaa ..."
Motioning his two servants with a quick flick of the fingers, Atkins leered once more at his laughing victim. "Very well," he sighed. "I think we can accomodate you there, although I doubt death by tickling is quite what you had in mind." He switched on the rib massager once more slowly brought it into contact with Dodge's heaving ribcage. As he pressed the vibrating knobs down harder onto his ribs, Atkins' two helpers again took their places at Dodge's sides and armpits, and began digging and boring into the tender flesh with new gusto. Dodge's tortured, screaming shrieks of laughing agony filled the entire compound.
He broke a mere five minutes later and babbled out his passcode over and over. He was still babbling it as they took him back to his cell.
Todd's own appointment with the tickle table didn't occur until early the next morning. This was an interrogation Atkins insisted on participating in. Atkins felt I couldn't be impartial with one of my own men (my "protogé" as he put it). Todd remained calm and stoic as he was stripped down to his shorts and socks and strapped to the table. Atkins however was brutal, giving the rack-like device an extra turn after I had stretched Todd's muscular body as far as I thought wise. I couldn't get anything past the fiend. As I began pulling off my prisoner's white socks to begin the merciless technique of stroking his bare soles for hours on end--a technique which had already broken several other prisoners--Atkins would have none of it. "Let's not waste time, shall we Frank!" he hissed impatiently. "You and I both know what needs to be done, don't we?" With that, he once more lowered the top half of the table causing Todd's ribcage to protrude then lowered the other half until his feet nearly touched the floor. This put that particularly ticklish part of Todd's anatomy front and center, horribly, terribly accessible to any fiend cruel enough to torture it. Todd's magnificent belly button, centered in the bright surgical spotlight, was ready to be tickled.
At this point Atkins seemed to suddenly take on an air of infinite patience. I too was resigned to the fact that I would have to play this one by the book. Whatever it took to make Todd spill his passcode, it was my duty now to use it. I noticed Atkins arm casually draped on the bulge under Todd's short as he leaned closer to Todd's stomach and began scrutinizing the exposed belly button before us. "Ahhh, such a magnificent specimen, lad," he smiled as he examined the shiny pink cap. I had bent closer as well to study Todd's ultimate achilles heal. Todd had lost some of his stoicism at this point, gulping nervously as he stared at the ceiling of the tent, but tried to stifle an involuntary grin as Atkins began blowing softly on his belly button. Atkins sent delicate little puffs of warm breath, tickling lightly across the pink cap buried there. He shifted his arm slowly, bringing his hand to rest directly on Todd's crotch. What the hell, I thought to myself, then began lightly blowing myself onto his belly button.
Todd let his control slip for a moment as a bubbly giggle rose from his smiling lips before he could clamp his mouth shut once more. "Oh pleeeease sir. Pleeeease, not that. You can't do that," he pleaded.
"Aha, he speaks!" Atkins looked up at me. He shifted his hand more firmly on Todd's crotch then continued the blowing. Under the loose boxers, Todd's manhood had begun to stiffen ever so slightly, as if it had a mind of its own.
"I wonder what we can make him say," I grinned right back. "Perhaps a certain number, eh Todd?" As Atkins moved away to look Todd closely in the eye, I took his place at Todd's stomach. I layed my arm casually on his crotch, feeling the stiffness under the thin fabric. I rested my fingertips ever so gently just beneath his belly button. "Something you want to tell us, Todd? Hmmm?" Atkins asked, now inches from Todd's grimacing face. I casually moved my hand, ever so slowly, letting the finger tips brush lightly over the soft belly flesh beneath his navel. Todd whimpered out another giggle before biting his lip. "Well let's just see if we can't convince you to be a little more cooperative," Atkins said, moving down once more to continue blowing on Todd's exposed navel. I began casually moving my hand, letting my fingertips brush ever so lightly past the navel, a light caress of the skin, moving down his stomach to the thick bush of blond pubic hair just peeking above the waistband of his thin boxers, slowly tracing the hairy line, first to one bare hip bone, then slowly across to the other before returning once again to caress the soft, pale skin around his navel.
Todd's escaped giggle lasted a bit longer this time, managing to laugh out a pleading "Noooooo" before he bit his lip and regained control once more. Atkins began moving his blowing stream of breath slowly around Todd's bare stomach, making a several circles around his navel, then moving down to let his breath tickle the peeking blond pubic hairs. Todd burst out giggling once again, only this time he seemed unable to bring it under control as I switched from my featherlight fingertip caress to a gentle index finger, barely brushing the surface of his skin as it made a long, skitcha skitcha journey around his navel. My arm slowly moved back and forth over the thin fabric of his boxers. Beneath I could feel Todd's huge cock coming to life completely against his will.
Atkins and I continued this gentle torture for nearly an hour. By this time he had added the skills of his own gently wriggling index finger to my own as we explored the full surface of Todd's taut, sensitive belly. Todd's giggling had turned to outright laughter long before. He seemed to be able to bring it under control for a moment before it bubbled out again from his smiling face. The gentle insistent rubbing of my arm had made Todd's monster cock fully hard by this time. A wet stain had appeared on his boxer shorts just beneath the waste band where the hard cock head nearly poked out. With a gleeful laugh, Atkins pulled Todd's boxers far enough down so I could spend several minutes tickling his thick, blond pubic bush with all ten wriggling fingers, before continuing, skitcha skitcha, my lightly tickling journey over his bare tummy flesh.
"Aaaa ha ha ha, I can't take anymore, ha ha ha ha, please, I can't stand it, Aaah ha ha ha, stop it pleeeease!" he begged, eyes screwed shut, tears beginning to appear at the corners. Atkins and I merely smiled at one another and continued the belly tickling.
"He seems to like this a lot," Atkins said, grabbing Todd's rock-hard cock through the thin fabric of his boxer shorts. "If you ask me, I don't think he wants us stop."
"No ... don't ... aaah ha ha ha .. don't do that ... ha ha ha ha ha," Todd pleaded, whether referring to Atkins handling of his stiff manhood or the slowly tightening spiral my index finger was making about his belly button, I couldn't be sure. His laughter intensified as Atkins began blowing directly and forcefully into Todd's belly button while my own index finger zeroed in on this same, sensitive target. "AAAAAH NOOOOOO! AAAAHAHAHA HA HA HA!!!!" he shrieked as my finger finally entered his navel, skritching lightly over his soft, pink belly button cap. Atkins had pulled Todd's rockhard cock from his boxer shorts and began stroking it lightly as I continued my merciless exploration of his belly button, spending several minutes with feather light strokes before digging into the tender button flesh a bit more forcefully.
I had never seen Todd laugh so hysterically before while enduring belly button tickling. Clearly the previous two hours of constant feather-light fingertip stroking had worn him down completely, breaking totally the last remnants of his control. I could not imagine what effect Atkins ministrations to his cock might have had, to be so cruelly tortured, yet forced to endure a brutal pleasure at the same time. Leave it to Atkins to be so intimately familiar with that aspect of torture interrogation. Through his hysterical laughter, Todd was no doubt aware of what was happening to his genitals, his torso twitched and writhed as Atkins continuously rubbed his thumb back and forth across Todd's precum-dripping cock head.
"I wonder what a belly button tastes like?" Atkins wondered, then to Todd's horror bent down to jab his tongue in and out of Todd's belly button to fresh new peals of screaming laughter. While Atkins' tongued slurped around, exploring the smooth contours of Todd's soft, pink belly button cap, I continued my tickling journey, round and round and round his navel. "SHIIIIT! NOOOOOOO!! AHAAAAAA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAA!!!" Todd screamed. "Mmmmm, that's soooo tasty," Atkins laughed, licking his lips before returning to his tickle feast.
We felt it wise to bring our session to a brief pause some four hours later. Todd's limp body, drenched in sweat, was dragged from the table and thrown back in his cell for a chance to rest and eat more of the foul, thin prison gruel. I was proud and surprised to realize Todd had lasted even longer than the testosterone monster Dodge under tickle torture. He hadn't revealed his secret number, or at least what he thought was his secret number.
This all changed when the afternoon session began. As Todd was stripped to his boxers, still damp with precum and stretched out on the tickle rack once more, Atkins and I merely stood there watching him, big silly grins on our faces, and our hands kept menacingly hidden behind our backs. "I think we've just about tickled every bit of laughter we can out of that belly button of yours, Todd my boy," Atkins said.
"Thank God, Oh thank God," Todd breathed.
"There won't be anymore belly button tickling today, don't you worry about that," he continued.
I turned to Atkins in mock dismay. "But four hours of tickling must have wreaked absolute havoc on his navel," I exclaimed. "The thing must really be a mess!"
Todd did not like this new development. He didn't know what was coming exactly, but he could feel that it would not be good. Oh no, it wasn't going to be good at all. He swallowed nervously as Atkins replied. "Why I never thought about that, Frank. You're absolutely right. What kind of guests would we be ...." he smiled his most fiendish sadistic smile and turned to look Todd straight in the eye " ... if we didn't clean up after ourselves," he finished, pulling the electric tooth polisher from behind his back and giving it a couple of menacing revs of its motor. Todd didn't realize exactly what was happening for a moment, until Atkins began slowly bringing the spinning brush of the tooth polisher closer and closer to his navel. "OOOOOH, OH, OHHHH NOOO!! PLEEEEASE EEASE HEEEEE HEE HEE HA HA HAAAA," he laughed. Todd laughed helplessly as Atkins cruelly toyed with him, bringing the spinning brush within milimeters of his shiny belly button cap, then slowly circling the cruel tickle device about the depression. When the spinning brush finally touched the surface of the cap, Todd stiffened convulsively then began a long, long drawn out shrill scream that evolved slowly into a howl of horrific laughter. "GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT!!!! AAAAAAAAH HAAAAA HAAAA HAAAA HAAAAA HAAAA!!!!!" he shrieked. Todd endured less than a minute of this before managing to cough out a number between gales of screams. "12691, 12691!!! AHHHHHH STOOOOOOOP!!! 12691!!!!!"
Atkins paused in his ticklish probing of Todd's belly button long enough to gloat triumphantly. I however took a cursory look at the number next to Todd's name on my clipboard, then grinned back at the gasping boy. "Heh, heh, nice try, boy. Let's have the REAL number now." Atkins frowned and checked the number himself. "Deception!" he hissed. "Trying to buy yourself a few precious seconds of mercy were you? Well, you'll regret that," he promised, revving up the spinning brush once more.
"NOOOO!" Todd shrieked. "Liars!! You liars!!! That's my number, you know it!! 12691, 12691!! NOOOOOOOO!! AAAAAAAAH HA HA HA HAAAAAAA" he screamed as the whirling brush violated the depths of his belly button once more.
"Frank," Atkins turned to me as the vicious cleaning continued. "There are some stains here I just can't seem to get out."
"Hmmmm," I bent closer to the belly button, whirled to tickle death by the evil, spinning brush. The bristles of the brush flattened slightly as they spinned over the pink cap. "I see what you mean. I don't believe any ordinary belly button polisher is going to do the trick," I said, bringing my own hand out from behind my back at last. "This ultrasonic tooth cleaner should do the trick," I declared, enjoying its high-pitched whining hum as I switched the device on. I never thought such insane, screaming laughter could come from any human mouth as I wedged the blunt whining tip into the fold of skin enveloping the shining pink cap and began to move it in deeper and deeper, intruding into Todd's most tender, hidden depths of flesh. Frank continued to polish Todd's belly button cap while I wedged the vibrating tip of my own torture device into the crevice which surrounded it, and Todd's helpless, hysterical screaming laughter continued well past sunset.
Todd and I shared a look as the medal was pinned to the lapel of his US Marine Corps dress uniform. Not everybody who entered the POW training exercise got a medal, just the ones who endured all three days, only a handful since the training had first taken place many years ago. I think it was that precise moment, as he received his medal, that his anger at me finally subsided, transforming somewhat into gratitude. Maybe. I had waited a judicious period of time during his recuperation before telling him, privately, about the fake number I gave him. I figured that since he went through all of that we should at least get our stories straight. He almost punched me, right then and there, and I was prepared to let him get away with it.
We still keep in touch, he at his new post, and I, here, at my same one. All of the color seems to have faded from my life since Todd left, as I stand here watching my latest batch of worthless, pustulant, dingleberries on the ass of humanity file in to the barracks which will be their homes for the next six weeks. Family members follow, lips quivering, making lame jokes or whispering secret "I love you's" to their darling babies. Maybe it's finally time to retire, I think to myself.
"Why don't we give your knees one last squeeze for old times sake, eh little brother?" I look over toward the corner of the barracks where two young men have begun a friendly tussle, ended when the older grabs the knees of the younger and begins squeezing viciously. "AAAAH!!!! NOOOOOO!!" shrieks the younger, collapsing on the bed in a helpless fit of laughter. I find myself joining in the general laughter of the men in the barracks, watching with delight this ages-old example of sibling torture.
"Oooh, sexy knees, Kevin! Can I have a sqeeeze?" one of my new recruits hoots out to the accompanied laughter of everyone present. My own smile lingers a while, and will not go away. I leave the barracks still grinning like a fool. Maybe retirement can wait a few more years.