28 December, 2005

Better Not Pout

W. yanked open the door to the guest room and snapped, “Get into the bedroom!”

I looked at her blankly.

I had been stressed and tired, and by the end of the week, it had spiraled into a sharp bout of depression. Everything was going wrong. Christmas was going to be horrible, I was sure. Chanukah would be even worse. I didn’t have the energy to do anything, nothing I tried to do was working, and the house was a wreck. W. asked Friday afternoon if there was anything she could do to help me feel better.

I asked her to cancel with her mother for Christmas Eve and Day, because I wasn’t feeling up to it. This is more reasonable than it might seem on the face of it, since they’re Jewish, and Christmas isn’t really their holiday. Or so I told myself. And if Christmas is my holiday, and it wasn’t going to be good, then I didn’t want to bother.

To make it all worse, W. seemed to be mad at me, and she went off with her friends on Friday night, leaving me home alone. It was a sign, of course. She was angry, she didn’t really love me. The usual litany.

So logically enough, I went to hide in the guest room. I felt crummy, and all I really wanted was for W. to come in and make everything better. And instead, the first thing she asked when she saw Saturday morning was if I would do her a favor and stay out of the bedroom for about an hour. “Ah!” said my brain, “She really doesn’t care about how horrible I’m feeling.” And so on.

In my depressed state, the best way I could think to be open to conversation was to walk into whichever room she was in for long enough to get something (say, a book), in the hope that she would ask me to stay and talk. You know, giving her a 30 second chance; really helpful.

By late afternoon, I was feeling incredibly frustrated. She didn’t seem to be responding to my overtures. I couldn’t convey that I was angry and hurting. So I did one of the more stupid and petty things I have ever done. I gathered all of her stocking presents from my sock drawer, and dropped them in the kitchen, where she was baking cookies. “I didn’t feel like having Christmas, but here are your stocking presents,” I blurted, and went back into the bedroom. She just looked at me and sighed, and let me go off by myself.

Somehow, I had decided she wasn’t going to respond to me at all. So I stared at her, blank and numb, when she told me to get into the bedroom. “Now!” she snapped.

I followed her into the bedroom, trying to figure out her plans. Usually, when I’m depressed, she is incredibly gentle with me, and it drives me utterly insane. Usually she coaxes me to talk, and I struggle to do so, and we spend hours on it. But not that evening. She was sitting on the bed. The bathbrush, the blue flogger, the loopy thing, a belt, and some other toys were beside her.

I just stared. Was she really planning on spanking me? It was so out of character. I didn’t want a spanking. I wanted to be held and comforted, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to accept the comforting. W. had other plans.

“Come on, you know what to do.” But I just stood there.

“You know you need it.” Slowly, reluctantly, I climbed onto the bed. The depression still had hold of me, and I couldn’t force words out, couldn’t tell her that I didn’t want the spanking, couldn’t tell her why I was so unhappy. Honestly, I really didn’t know the answer myself.

When I had pulled down my pants, I nuzzled my head into her lap, trying to convey my need for comfort, my preference for cuddling over a spanking.

She rubbed my back for a few minutes, then arranged me for the spanking. She gave me a short warm up with the blue flogger, and then started the spanking in earnest. The strokes came hard and fast.

“Let it out,” she whispered. But the last thing I wanted to do was cry. My eyes were sore and my head ached because I had been sobbing off and on all day. She switched to the belt. “Come on, sweetie, let it out.” Her left arm held me tightly against her lap. I couldn’t let go.

She held me more firmly and switched to the bristle side of the bath brush. It hurts just as much as the flat side, but is far quieter. I tried to pull away, but she was holding me too tightly. My right hand went back to cover my bottom, but she put it back in front of me. There was no escaping.

She paused, rubbed my back, stroked my hair. And then she picked up the loopy thing. My bottom lit on fire, and I couldn’t escape. Finally, I relaxed, and let out some of the tension and frustration. She continued for what felt like a long time, but can’t have been more than a few minutes.

It was all over in less than fifteen minutes. Afterward, she held me, and I explained how I had been hurting and frustrated and overwhelmed, how I had felt like Christmas wouldn’t be nice, how I was discouraged and pre-emptively disappointed. I also explained my dismay at one of the gifts I had received that seemed to be a joint gift from W. and one of our friends. I had felt guilty at not wanting it, at the prospective expense to the people who had given it. And I had felt resentful at getting something that was both expensive and not something I wanted or could really use. W. explained that she hadn’t actually paid anything for the present yet, and we discussed how I could manage to avoid having the friend spend the money without giving offense.

The tension drained out of me. I was able to apologize for my rather snotty behavior. I gave W. the chance to explain that when she left me (sobbing over broken cookies) on Friday, she had been going out to finish her shopping for my presents. She had only been going away because she wanted to do things for me.

It was amazing—fifteen minutes of spanking, five minutes of talking, and I felt better. My eyes and head still ached from crying, but the depression was gone. I wasn’t so angry, I wasn’t so despairing, and I was ready to make a pleasant Christmas celebration. So we went to get the last supplies for the presents I was making, and drove around to look at Christmas lights, and came home to have a mellow and pleasant evening, just the two of us together.

And a note to myself in the future: if broken cookies make me break down sobbing, odds are I have PMS, even if I don’t think I do.

04 December, 2005

Story: Cheaters Never Prosper

I wrote this story several years ago, as a break from grading student papers. It's another of the "Janey and Michelle" stories. Hope you enjoy!

Cheaters Never Prosper

I stared at the paper. What was I supposed to do? Clearly, large chunks of it had been plagiarized. But I couldn't bear to face the facts. I put the paper down, and went back to checking my email. Maybe I could come up with a solution if I didn't think about it too hard.

"Hey, Michelle." Janey stuck her head in my study door. I looked up guiltily from the email. "All done with grading?"

"Well, no. I just needed a break."

"What's up? You said you were determined to get it finished with by tonight." Janey sounded peeved, but also concerned.

"Well...." I couldn't quite explain myself. Janey walked over and leaned on the desk.

"How many more?"

"About five. See, I got to this one right after I took my lunch break, and I haven't been able to read another one since. It just really bothers me."

"That bad, hunh? Or maybe it's so good, and you're dying of jealousy...."

"No. It's that it seems mostly lifted off the Web. And I can't decide what to do."

"Can't decide?! That's called plagiarism. The kid flunks."

"Well, but I called her, and she said she didn't mean to...."

"Didn't mean to... get caught," Janey snorted. Then she looked at me. "Wait! You're considering not flunking her?!"

"Well, I mean, it's a lot of pressure, and she might not have realized...." my words faltered off at the furious, disgusted look on Janey's face. "What?"

"It's people like you who allow cheating to go on. This kid was cheating, Michelle. It's not something you should let your students get away with."

"Well, I was going to have her write a new paper, and I'd drop the grade by two points."

"No. That's not acceptable. She cheated. She can't have the equivalent of an extension. Because I know perfectly well that students' grades get dropped by that much, if they were just two weeks late. You're going too easy on her."

"But Janey, I don't want her to hate me. If I flunk her, she'll hate me."

"And what about those other students? Is it really fair to them, if you let her get away with this? I know that most of them handed in rough drafts, and busted their butts to do well on this paper. I saw some of the kids in your class in the library until midnight last week. How about this one? She pops online, gets a few different sources, and thinks that will count? And now you're going to let her have a second chance? I don't think so."

"Well, if you put it like that.... But what if she is mean to me?"

"So what. Okay, let's go upstairs."

"What? I still need to do these papers."

"It's Wednesday, and you don't have to turn in grades until Monday. You're fine. Come upstairs. We need to have a.... talk."

My eyes bulged. We don't normally "play" on weeknights. Although, it wasn't a school night anymore. And it was earlier than usual, too. I logged off the computer and followed her upstairs. She motioned me ahead of her into my bedroom, and then shut the door firmly behind her.

"Now, we've got to talk about this whole cheating thing."

"What?! I didn't cheat!"

"But you were all set to think of a way to let someone else cheat. And that 's really worse, because you're in a position of authority. Look, Michelle, I know you feel guilty about flunking the student. So I'm going to let you have the punishment you want for doing it, and then you can do what you need to do in clear conscience."

"Okay." I still wasn't quite sure about it, but I was starting to feel less tense.

"Now, you know that cheating is wrong?" Janey took on her "teacher" persona, so I followed suit.

"Y-yes, ma'am." I hung my head, stared at my toes.

"And you know that cheating needs to be punished?" I nodded. "What was that?" she asked, sharply, "I didn't hear you."

"Yes, ma'am, it needs to be punished, but..."

"But nothing. This is a serious offense. You'll get a firm handspanking over your..." Janey broke character. "Hey, have you ever considered a school uniform?"

"No! Absolutely not!"

"Okay," Janey sighed, and got back into character. "A firm handspanking over your pants. Then we'll pull down the pants, and it will be the ruler over your underpants. And then those will come down, and you'll get the strap on your bare bottom." I nodded, back in character myself. "Okay, assume the position." I leaned over the edge of the bed. Janey didn't walk over.

"What now?" I asked.

"Let's go downstairs. I've got a good idea for how this can play out."

"Where downstairs?" I asked, suspiciously.

"Your study. It'll be nice and private. Besides, it's what I have in mind. You wait up here for five minutes, and then come on down."

"Geeze, Janey, get me all set up, and then call it off? This isn't funny."

"Just you wait, Missy, this is going to be better this way."
I sat down on the bed. Four minutes later, I went downstairs, and jotted a note to the housemates on the white board: Playing in study, all is well, don't interrupt, -Michelle.

I opened the study door slowly, to find that Janey had tidied things away enough to give a semblance of order near the desk. She had twisted her hair up in a severe bun, and had found some bizarre reading glasses. It took me a few seconds to catch on that she meant to make this like a principal's office. Or, knowing Janey, like a headmistress's office.

"Well, young lady," she said sternly, and picked up a piece of paper from the desk. "This says that you were caught helping another student cheat."
All of a sudden, I started to get into the scene, and felt both nervous and aroused. "I wasn't really going to help her, ma'am," I protested.

"But you didn't stop her. This is a serious offense, don't you think?"

"Y-yes, ma'am."

"The official policy requires suspension."

"But, but, I can't be suspended." My voice cracked just like there were a real danger.

"Okay. But you need to find out how serious this is. I think that corporal punishment would be in order."

I hung my head. "I've never been spanked. What will happen?"

Janey snorted, as herself, but quickly became the headmistress again. "You will lean over the desk. I will spank you firmly with the paddle until I feel like your bottom is warm enough. Then you will pull down your pants, and get a thorough spanking over your underpants, with the ruler. Then, just to make sure you're never going to allow this to happen again, you will get an even more thorough spanking with a strap, on your bare bottom. Do you understand?"

"Y-y-y-yes, ma'am. And I won't be suspended?"

"Not if you take your punishment well. Lean over the desk."

I walked over, wondering what she meant by "the paddle." Then I realized that she'd made a detour into the kitchen on her way to the study, and had a particular wooden spatula she's had her eye on since we last went to the kitchen store. It came in the package of wooden spoons, and, so far as I could figure out, was good for little but spanking. But I'd insisted that she buy her own spanking implements, and left the spatula in the utensil drawer. Clearly, Janey was getting bold.

Janey smacked my bottom with it repeatedly. It didn't do much, because it was too light, so she gave up on that pretty quickly. I had a suspicion she 'd use it the next time we started out playing in the kitchen, and I had nothing on but a bathrobe, though. Well, presuming the curtains were drawn, and my housemates were out! Hopefully..

"That's enough of that. Take down your pants."

I complied. SMACK!! The ruler crashed down on my bottom. We played with the ruler often enough that both of us were familiar with its impact. SMACK!!! Janey was making up for the failure of the paddle. My bottom started to get warmed up. "What happens to cheaters, miss?"

SMACK!! SMACK!! SMACKK!!! "Well?" Janey panted.

"They get punished," I responded. She gave five more smacks with the ruler, then put it down on the desk.

"Let that be a lesson. Pull down your underpants."

I found myself getting very much in character. I held on to my underpants, and started to beg. "Please, ma'am, I'm sorry. I've learned my lesson. I promise. Please, don't spank me. Please. I'll be good. I promise."

"Begging won't get you out of this. Pull down your underpants, or I'll give you five more with the ruler, and we'll try again."

I pulled down my underpants. Janey stood to my side, and doubled the strap that usually serves as the shoulder strap on her satchel. I knew from experience that it hurt, but it wasn't unbearable. The leather thudded into my bare bottom. I wiggled, but Janey wasn't even bothering to lecture. She balanced one hand firmly in the center of my back and continued spanking me.

She put down the strap, and said, "Pull up your pants. I want you to go sit on that chair while I write a note for your parent or guardian to sign when you get home." I looked at her, trying to figure out what she was up to. I sat gingerly on the chair she'd indicated.

She handed me the note, and whispered, "Kitchen, in about a minute."

I sat and counted out the minute. When I went into the kitchen, Janey had changed her hair back closer to its usual style, and was mucking about with dishes. "Hi," I said, trying to figure out what was going on.

"Hi, sweetie. How was school?"

I blushed. "Well...." She raised an eyebrow. I handed her the note.

She read it. "Oh. I see. Go upstairs to your room."

I turned to go up, and she was right behind me.

"What have I told you about school?" she asked, sounding play-furious.

"Um, to be a good student?" I guessed.

"I have told you, over and over, that if you ever get punished at school, you can expect more of the same as soon as you get home. I guess you'd forgotten all about that, hadn't you, Michelle?"

"Well, no, but..."

"No buts about it." Janey sat down on the chair I usually use to pile my clothes on. She patted her lap. I went to lay across it. "Bare bottom," she snapped. I stood again, and pulled down my pants and underwear. Or I started to. All of a sudden, I was a little reluctant to get yet another smacking. "NOW!" she snapped.
I decided I didn't want to use my safe word, and pulled them down. "You may as well take them all the way off." I complied, and lay down over her lap. Janey began to smack my bottom. Her hand got harder and harder. I started to squirm. "Hold still!" I tried. The smacking went on. I wiggled. "Okay, you're nice and warm. Go get the hairbrush."

My stomach clenched. My bottom was burning already. She glared at me. I walked over to the nightstand. I walked back with the heavy, solid hairbrush. Then I stood in front of her. "Please, I'm really sorry. I really am. Please, don't spank me!"

"You should have thought of that sooner. Lean over. If you weren't smart enough to not stop cheating, well, I guess I'll have to teach you." She began to whack my bottom with the hairbrush. It really started to hurt.

"Cheating is serious. You need a serious punishment to teach you to never do it again," she said, and "Now I'll give you five more hard ones, just to remind you."
It wasn't the hardest she'd ever spanked me, but it did hurt a lot. She let me up. I stood in front of her, pants on the floor, bottom burning. "Okay," she said calmly, "Now, I want you to go downstairs and email that student. Let her know that she's failing." I couldn't tell whether this was Janey, or my "mother" speaking. I looked at her quizically.

"Look, Michelle, the sooner you do it, the better. I'll wait for you up here." I reached for my pants. "Don't bother with those. Just put on your robe. I'm sure you'll want the kind of comfort only your girlfriend can give you when you're done," she smirked.

I slipped on my bathrobe and went down to write the email. It was still uncomfortable. I sympathized with the student. I wondered how she'd cope with the failing grade. I wished I didn't have to do it. But then, I remembered Janey's comment about the other students. It certainly wasn't fair to them for this one student to get away with cheating. I sent her a firm email, including the number of lines in the first couple of pages that I'd easily found online. More than two thirds. I started to get ticked off. I hit send. Then I went back upstairs.

"You did it?" Janey asked lazily, sprawled across my bed.

"Yeah. Thanks. I guess I just needed a reminder."

"Uhm-hm. Take off that robe." I complied. "Turn around." She had that girlfriend-commanding tone in her voice. I complied. "Oooh. You're going to have a few little bruises. I hope you don't mind."

"Well, gosh, Janey, now is a great time to ask, isn't it? No, I don't mind." Amazingly, I no longer felt the slightest bit guilty about having to fail the student. So I curled up in bed, to get the kind of comfort any good girl deserves when she's had to do something hard.

03 December, 2005

Story: Collective Bargaining

I was inspired to post this story because Pink of Pink Bottomed Girls requested some ideas. I wrote this story several years ago, and posted it to the SSS newsgroup. It's fiction--sorry to those of you who might want to transfer!

Collective Bargaining
or, A Voice in the University Community

The latest membership meeting of the incipient graduate students’ union was nearly finished, when Marjorie stood up. “Okay, everybody, it seems like we’ve got a credibility problem. We’re telling the university that we need a union because it will enhance our status as professionals. The problem is, apparently, a lot of you have incompletes. If we’re not getting our work done, then how can we convince people we’re professionals?”

The room erupted in irritated whispering. Marjorie continued, “I know, I know, everyone’s got a very good reason for all of their incompletes. But the fact remains: we’re acting like kids, and waiting for someone to make us get our work in. The administration is never going to take us seriously if we can’t even manage our time well enough to do our own work!”

The buzz continued, as people thought about this, and continued to voice their excuses.

“So, what should we do about it? We shouldn’t expect the faculty to nag us to get things finished on time. So, I’ve got a proposal: the union should have a discipline committee. And the discipline should be…” she paused, and then went on, “I think the punishment should be a sound paddling, and then five strokes of the cane for every incomplete. It would certainly inspire us to get our work done, but it wouldn’t cost us any money.”

The air in the room electrified. Eyes widened, and graduate students looked around the room. A hand went up in the back. “Ummm, who would administer the discipline?”

“I think there should be four members of the committee, freely elected by the membership of the union. If someone has an incomplete, the committee member of their choice could administer the discipline after the next meeting.”

People considered the suggestion. I wasn’t sure what I thought. On the one hand, I thought, it would encourage people to get their work finished. On the other hand, I had three incompletes, and I certainly didn’t want a paddling or a caning. But, after discussion, we decided it was the best move. Most people thought it would provide us with incentive to finish our work, and any incentive seemed like a good idea. The graduate students voted overwhelmingly in favor of Marjorie’s idea.

Just as everyone began to stand up, a guy in the front row raised his hand. “Marjorie, since this was your idea, I think you should be the first to go.”

Marjorie blushed. “But, um, I thought we agreed there would be a grace period until the meeting next month. And, well, we don’t have a discipline committee set up yet.”

But the woman sitting next to him said, “I think you should go first, just so people can get an idea of the consequences for not getting their work done.”

Marjorie stalled, but she finally acquiesced. The meeting officially ended, and we agreed to take a break while Marjorie selected someone to give her the punishment, and while the guy in the front row went to his car to get a cane and paddle he “just happened” to have in the trunk.

Very few people moved from their seats. Five minutes later, when everyone was back in the room, and the pamphlets and empty coffee cups had been moved off the table in the front of the room, Marjorie and another woman stood at the front of the room.

“Ummm, this is Helen,” Marjorie offered, and then stared very firmly at her feet.

“Hello.” Helen spoke calmly, with great assurance. “I think this will help to set the tone for the rest of you. Depending on how this works out, I may decide to run for the discipline committee.” She smiled at us, and added, “I haven’t had a single incomplete since coming here, and I’m well on my way to finishing my dissertation. I am very much in favor of discipline.” She motioned to Marjorie, and Marjorie leaned across the table.

I was in an excellent position, in the front row, well over to the side. I could see both Marjorie’s red face and her bottom, in profile.

Helen placed the paddle and cane on the table. She pulled Marjorie’s pants and underpants to her knees. “In my experience, discipline is most effective when applied directly to the skin.” She lifted the paddle, and (to my great relief) she stood on Marjorie’s other side. I watched people on that side of the room shifting into the few empty seats, and even standing up, for a better view.

SMACK!! I think everyone in the room gasped. Helen caught my eye, and I shivered. The paddling continued. Even though I could see her bottom turning bright red, Marjorie took the paddling well. She only squirmed a little bit. Helen continued the paddling, and Marjorie began to grunt and sniffle.

No one else in the room moved as we watched. I know I wasn’t the only person planning on a more rigorous work schedule. Finally, Helen put the paddle back on the table.

“Marjorie let me know she’s got two incompletes,” Helen announced, “so she will be getting ten strokes.” If it’s possible, the room became even more still.

Helen held the cane, and flexed it. She turned slightly towards the audience, and waved it briskly in the air. I flinched as I heard it whistle. Helen turned back to her task, catching my eye again. I felt an unpleasant electric shock in my chest. Somehow, I suspected Helen would easily win a position on the discipline committee.

Without warning, the cane lashed through the air, and landed on Marjorie’s bottom. “OWWWwww.” The next four strokes came almost without warning. Marjorie’s knuckles turned white, grasping the far end of the table, and she cried out with each stroke.

“Oh, no more, I’m sorry, I’ll get it in, I promise, I promise.” Marjorie’s voice was barely more than a whisper, but I could hear her desperation. Helen ended the respite, and the cane was a blur as she delivered the next five strokes. Marjorie didn’t cry during this set. Instead, she desperately repeated, “Nomorenomorenomore,” almost as a mantra.

And then it was over. Helen lay the cane on the table, rearranged Marjorie’s clothes, and then led her gently towards the bathroom, shutting the door behind them.

The rest of us regarded each other nervously. I know I wasn’t the only one squirming. But, gradually, we returned to normal. Except, instead of our usual post-meeting drinks, most of us either went to the library or home to our computers. And I don’t think we were checking email….