Tuesday, March 13, 2018

From the Top Shelf - Privatised Punishment, part 1

Here is a rather tongue-in-cheek short story—a political satire as much as a very tasty spanking tale—by Tim Starfield, published in Februs back in 1995. You might think it's a bit extreme, but then, it's the product of a spanking writer's imagination. I say 'short' story but it's long enough to be split in two. Anyway, enjoy part one.

For the first time in her twenty seven years Caroline Devereaux felt what it must be like to be on the verge of fainting in public. She had always felt a certain scorn for those heroines of Victorian novels who swooned clean away at the slightest provocation. But here she was, her head spinning and throbbing, her legs turning to jelly. A searing wave of heat was fighting its way up her body, battling against the massed ranks of icy infantry tramping down her back and stomping their frozen hobnail boots into her spine. Her ears were rushing with the sound of a dozen oceans, her mouth seemed to be full of cotton wool, but still she could hear herself shrieking:

"You can't be serious! I don't believe this!"

Mr. Stephens, the magistrate, was a kindly man, fair-minded enough to ignore this unseemly outburst in his otherwise well-ordered courtroom. Re-settling his glasses on the end of his nose, which he fancied (quite rightly) gave him an air of some distinction, he waited patiently for the onslaught to subside. Then he coughed.

"Mrs. Devereaux, I am perfectly serious. You have pleaded guilty to a very serious contravention of the Road Traffic Act 1997, paragraph forty seven, sub section one thousand and nine, to wit, the parking illegally of a motor vehicle on a stretch of the public highway designated banned for that purpose by the indication of a double yellow line. I have no option. I repeat, the sentence of this court is that you pay a fine of thirty six thousand pounds. Or you accept the alternative punishment of eighteen strokes of the cane. There, there now, please don't cry. The case is now concluded. See the clerk outside the court please, my dear, he'll sort out the paperwork for you. And - look here - take my hanky."

Outside the courtroom, a tight-lipped, white faced Caroline, incandescent with rage, was confronting her solicitor.

"Now look here, Michael, you told me to plead guilty."

"I thought it best, Mrs. Devereaux. After all, you were parked illegally, you told me so yourself, and anyway the video cameras don't often lie."

"Y-yes but-"

"I must confess, I expected him to be more lenient for a first offence. But he's quite within the law."

Caroline was even more angry with her lawyer for taking the whole thing so calmly.

"But can't you DO something? Can't we appeal?"

"I would advise strongly against an appeal, Mrs. Devereaux. Strictly speaking, there are no grounds, no new evidence, unless you changed your plea. But in that case the Attorney-General would be more than likely to declare the appeal frivolous, and then he's quite within his rights to double the sentence. I don't have to remind you, that would mean a £72K fine, or a thirty six stroke caning which, as you know, has to be carried out in public when the award is that high."

"It doesn't matter how much they fine me. I just can't pay it. Robert and I just don't have that sort of money."

"No, of course not. Nobody ever pays the fine, that's one of the beauties of the system and why the tariff is set so high....But I really couldn't advise you to appeal. I'd hate to see you spending a wet weekend completely naked and locked in the pillory on Market Square."

Oh really? thought Caroline, her eyes narrowing. Then why does something in your expression suggest you'd enjoy nothing better? Bloody slimeball!

"Really," he was saying. "A public flogging is not a pretty sight these days. Now I'll just have a few words with the clerk of the court and arrange the whole thing for you. We just pack you off to a private clinic for a couple of days and everything's taken care of. You have to pay for the 'treatment' yourself, of course, but it's not too expensive and won't break the bank. It's best to go private, the government facilities are..well..a bit sordid. I'll try to get you in Monday or Tuesday, then you can take the rest of the week off work, and you'll also have the weekend to recover. Oh and I think you said you're with the National Automobile Club, aren't you?"

"My husband is, yes," said Caroline

"Ah well, you'll be on his membership then. That means you're insured for the first £2,500 in cases like this."

Caroline brightened.

"Which should just about cover my bill." The solicitor smiled cheerily and ducked off to find the clerk of the court.

Caroline slumped into a lime-green plastic chair. She reached into her handbag for a cigarette and was about to light it when she saw the notice: NO SMOKING. BY ORDER. PENALTY: £50,000 or SIX OF THE BEST.

I hate this bloody country, thought Caroline. I wish we'd never come back.

And they wouldn't have had to come back, she reflected bitterly, if Robert had an ounce of business sense. They had married in '93, and he, a big, soft-hearted Canadian Air Force pilot, had taken her, and his service leaving bonus, back to Vancouver to make a new start. At first the business had gone well. He bought a natural sponge farm on the Taseko Lakes, and for a time, while natural sponges were the thing in every yuppie bathroom worldwide, they prospered. Then some stupid animal rights woman had gone on prime-time TV in America to announce her discovery that natural sponges still felt agony when dunked in hot, soapy water and, indeed, if you listened carefully, you could hear them screaming.

Within eighteen months, with their order books empty and the farm under 24 hour picket by assorted nut-cases in duffle coats, the business had collapsed, and very nearly taken their marriage with it. But Caroline was a strong character - her flaming red hair, retrousse nose and flashing green eyes might have told you that - and she had kept Robert going for five years, bullying him, cajoling him into a bunch of badly paid jobs for which he seemed to have little aptitude and even less enthusiasm. So when her father had thrown him a lifeline, insisting on their return to England and Robert's joining him as a junior partner at Fowler's Fudge Factory, it had seemed like a sign from heaven. A return to the Promised Land.

But it wasn't. Sure, Robert seemed happy enough going off to work each day as a salesman for her father's 'traditional home made sweets' (manufactured by the kilo-tonne from the waste products of crude oil in evil-smelling robot-controlled vats in a vast factory north of Letchworth.

"Start him at the bottom, love, he'll soon work his way up. Talent will out, lad, and anyway blood is thicker than toffee." But for Caroline, England seemed grey, dank and drab after the breath taking wilderness of British Columbia. It seemed always to be raining. She missed the clear skies, the endless fir trees, the ever changing play of light over the pure water of the lakes. The vast empty skies. Even the snow, which surprised her.

And England had changed so much. In 1996 with a desperate government rapidly running out of ideas, confidence and votes, a new young Home Secretary was appointed and at the Party Conference he finally gave the great British public what they had been baying for all along. He announced a complete shake-up of the criminal justice system. Put simply, after a trip to the middle east to see how the law worked there, he brought back hanging and flogging....

And the government's popularity went through the roof, re-elected in a snap General Election with a massive landslide. 'Its barbaric,' moaned 'The Guardian' leader column,'A return to the Roman days of bread and circuses'. 'AND WOT'S WRONG WIV BREAD AND CIRCUSES?' screamed 'The Sun' headline next day.

And now, in the year 2001, newly embarking on a record sixth term in office, the Government was privatising the last remnants of every public service. With income tax at two pence in the pound, Ministers congratulated themselves on a well-run country and a booming economy, thanks to all the extra investment they now received from places like Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

Caroline told Robert that night the whole story of her grisly day in court and what horrors now awaited her. He seemed to take it all in his stride as always.

"Won't be too bad, darling. I got tanned myself a couple of times at school. I mean you squeal a bit but there's no lasting harm done."

"It's vicious, for God's sake! And I'm a grown woman."

"Well what other choice do you have?" He shrugged. "We can't pay the fine, not with Thomas's school fees as high as they are."

Thomas was Robert's son from his first marriage, aged thirteen, carefree and amiable like his father, now at an ivy clad institution in the Cotswolds, learning Latin, Greek, rifle drill and cricket. Every child went to a fee paying school nowadays as State schools had been abolished.

"Anyway, " he said languidly, "it gets the offence over and paid for and then you can forget all about it."

She gritted her teeth and thought, when I was nineteen I used to love him for being so laid back. Right now I could kill him!. She said:

"You won't tell Daddy, will you? He'd be heartbroken ..and outraged, and determined to pay my fine. And I know he hasn't got the money because Mommy's last private operation nearly bankrupted him. Even thought they bungled it. I think he can barely afford to sue them."

"Won't breathe a word, my love. By the way, I'm playing golf with him tomorrow. He wants me to become a Mason."

Caroline took herself off to bed, and was crying herself to sleep when Robert came in, put his arms around her and whispered, soothingly:

"Don't worry, darling. It will be all right. I'll think of something."

But he didn't - because there was absolutely nothing he could do.

Three days later, as they were making love, he started to smack her bottom in a playful manner, murmuring something about getting her into training. Caroline threw a screaming fit, pushed him out of the bed, and locked him in the bathroom. Which he didn't seem to mind, since, when she relented the next morning and opened the door, he was lying in the bath, snoring quite contentedly, with his large round head jammed between the taps.

* * *

When she went downstairs the envelope was on the mat. It bore the inscription 'THE LUDGATE CLINIC - PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL'. She hid it in the fridge until Robert had had his breakfast and left for work, then she rescued it, opened it, and, wrapping her dressing gown tighter around her as if to ward off the sudden chill, read the letter inside.

'Dear,' (it said typed), Mrs Devereaux (name hand written). Thank you for choosing the Ludgate Clinic for your legally prescribed Corrective Therapy. We are sure we can render your stay, if not painless, at least as pleasant as possible under the circumstances.

'We are delighted to accept your reservation for the (hand written) 29th. Please arrive at 4pm. You will be free to leave at 4pm on the (hand written) 31st.

'We must advise that during your 48 hours with us you are permitted neither visitors nor telephone calls. Please do not bring mobile phones, computers or hand-held video games. Please do not bring soft toys, pets or children. Please do not bring alcohol, tobacco, or drugs of any kind onto the premises. If you are taking any medication you must inform us. If you have special dietary requirements (kosher, halal, vegan etc) please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you, although this may not always be possible. Please bring as small a travelling case as you can as bulky suitcases can be a problem.

'You will not need any more clothes than those you are wearing. You will NOT need pyjamas, nightdresses, housecoats, dressing gowns, slippers, toiletries, hair-curlers, hair-dryers, hair-nets or bed linen. Please do not bring books, magazines, newspapers or periodicals into the clinic. Please do not bring portable televisions, radios or personal stereos. Do not bring jewellery, large amounts in cash or other valuables.

'You will, however, be required to have with you the following items:-

1) Certificate CP1221, which can be obtained from your family General Practitioner and must be signed by him or her. Please make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible to facilitate this. He/she will carry out the necessary medical examination and furnish you with the form. Please note that failure to present this certificate will result in your appointment being cancelled. Penalties for this are severe.

2) Your Home Office ID card. Please note that failure to present this card will result in your appointment being cancelled. Penalties for this are severe.

3) We ask that you bring with you, your cheque book, credit or debit cards, so that our bill can be settled before you leave our premises. We find this makes things easier.

Ha! I bet you do, thought Caroline.

'N.B. Do not plan to drive home on leaving the clinic. Arrange to have someone pick you up. Or take a taxi, but please book this in advance of your arrival. It is a good idea to ask whoever is collecting you to bring a supply of soft cushions.'

Caroline flinched.

'Finally, thank you again for choosing the Ludgate Clinic'.

And that was that. Enclosed with the letter was an A5 sized glossy leaflet showing on the front a picture of a low-slung red brick building which announced itself to be 'Ludgate Clinic - Centre for Corrective Therapy', and on the back a sketch map showing how to get there, and on the inside two tiny passport sized photographs of smiling young women in nurses uniform and a larger portrait of a silver-haired man in his early forties with startling steel-blue eyes, posing in a blue chalk-stripe suit and polka-dot bow-tie behind a large desk and in front of an elaborate old-fashioned bookcase. This photograph bore the legend, 'Founder and Chief Consultant Dr. Charles H. Ludgate FRCCP'

Also in the envelope were three adverts from credit-card companies, two from private health insurance schemes and two invitations, one for a football pools company and one asking her to join the Conservative Party. Caroline threw all these in the bin and re-hid the letter, this time behind the dining room clock.

Every time she passed that clock in the next three weeks, or heard its cheerful faux-Westminster chime, she found herself shuddering involuntarily, and her buttock muscles tensing.

* * *

The medical examination was a nightmare. Old Dr. Gillespie had been the family doctor for as long as Caroline could remember, and he gave an outward show of concern.

"Dear, dear, oh that is terrible. A nice young girl like you too, Caroline Fowler."

"Er, it's Mrs. Devereaux now."

"Yes, yes of course it is. Still a terrible thing for a young lady such as yourself. But it's a sound idea. Short, sharp shock. Lesson learned. I voted for it myself, yanno. Oh yes, much better than the old way."

And then not only did he listen to her heart with a painfully cold stethoscope, take her blood pressure, make her say 'ninety-nine' and 'aaah' with a spatula clamped across her tongue, make her cough, and shine his micro-torch into her ears and eyes but he also made her undress completely and spent a full fifteen minutes running his cold, old, papery hands over every inch of her ivory skin. After a while, Caroline ceased to feel stupid, humiliated and goose-pimply, and just felt angry. She bridled.

"Are you quite sure all this is completely necessary?"

"Oh totally, my dear. Got to check that you're fully fit to take your medicine."

He gave her bottom an unexpected and none-too-gentle slap.

"I expect you'll be back to see me after you've been whipped. I'll be able to prescribe an analgesic cream for this very healthy young arse!" Then he pinched that part of her anatomy, relishing Caroline's shock at his sudden crudeness, "and some extra strong painkillers. Oh yes, you'll need them."

Caroline had a sudden brainwave.

"Couldn't you give me something beforehand, to stop it hurting so much?"

"Good Lord, my dear, that would never do. The law is the law after all. What's the point of being punished if you don't feel the pain? Besides you're not the first to have that idea and they always find you out. Then you'd regret it - and I'd be struck off. And don't go getting any daft ideas about walking into a pharmacy and trying to dose yourself up. They test you in there and you'll be in real trouble. Where are you having your treatment, by the way?"

"The Ludgate Clinic," said Caroline, now crestfallen.

"Oh right. Young Charlie Ludgate, eh? Knew him when he was a junior houseman at Barts. When it was still a proper hospital not a private hotel, mind. Damn good chap. Done well for himself there."

He gave her bare behind another sharp slap.

"I wish I'd gone into that line myself," he said sadly, watching Caroline rub her bottom. "Oh well, I suppose you ought to get dressed, and I'll do your certificate."

He sighed, as though he would rather have Caroline, nude, in his surgery for the rest of the day, and pulled a pink form from his drawer. By the time Caroline had finished buttoning her coat, he was handing the completed form to her.

"There you go, my dear. A1 standard of health. Fit for some of the hardest stingers Charlie Ludgate can dish out. Bloody lucky bastard!"

"Thanks very much," said Caroline, icily. "I'll see myself out."

"That'll be a hundred and seventy five pounds for the consultation," said Dr. Gillespie. "You can settle up with the receptionist."

As Caroline closed the door she heard him chuckling to himself and was sure she caught the words, "That'll take her down a peg or two. Love to be there for that!"

* * *

On the night of the 28th, Caroline could not sleep. It was raining, and she could never relax with the rain battering the bedroom window pane. Robert was away at a Mint Cake Convention somewhere in the Lake District. She had been depressed and moody for a fortnight. Robert had put that down to PMT, but her period had come and gone and she was still tense and irritable. Now she sat up late into the night on the sofa, drinking endless cups of cocoa and watching an interminable succession of crappy American game shows on TV. Questions kept gnawing at her mind.

'What will it be like? What will they do to me? How will they do it? Will I be able to bear it? Will I cry? Will I scream? Will I pass out?' But the only question she could definitely answer was 'Will it hurt?' and the answer was always a definite 'yes'.

When the Breakfast Show came on, she got up from the sofa and took a long hot bath with gallons of exotic oils in it. This had the desired effect of brightening her outlook considerably and, as an extra bonus, the rain had finally stopped. The condemned woman ate a hearty breakfast, she thought, as she ate a far from hearty breakfast, barely forcing down one slice of toast and half a cup of coffee. Then she tidied the house from top to bottom, leaving a thousand and one notes for Robert so he'd know exactly where in the freezer his dinner would be when he got home tomorrow and which buttons to press on the washing machine, and one extra large one which she left propped on his pillow, absolutely imploring him not to forget which train he had to catch in order to be at the clinic on time to drive her home in her car.

'AND PLEASE DON'T FORGET THE SOFT CUSHIONS!' she wrote in an over-large hand, and then added three exclamation marks so it would seem more light-hearted than it actually was.

Then, before she knew it, it was one o' clock and time to be thinking about leaving. Time to go into the bedroom and do her make up, slowly and thoughtfully, as though getting ready for the Vienna Opera ball. To sweep up her long red hair and pin it. To check fingernails and toenails as perfectly painted. To put on her best ear-rings.

Then she donned a brand new ultra-sheer pantyhose, a cream blouse and her best charcoal grey cashmere suit, smoothing the skirt over her bottom and buttoning the jacket. She chose black court shoes, with not too much of a heel - don't want them thinking I'm a bimbo. She checked herself in the mirror. Not bad. Looking good, feeling great. Well almost.

Then, almost as an afterthought, she phoned her boss - sorry couldn't ring earlier - sick all morning - temperature, yes I'm seeing the doctor at 4pm (Oh God why did I say that?) - no probably won't be back until Monday -thank you.

It took her an hour and a half to drive to the Ludgate Clinic. Thank God the traffic wasn't too bad, though she did spend rather a long time utterly lost on an almighty ring-road, somewhere outside Bedford, but she was still there at twenty to four.

The clinic looked just as it had in the brochure, low slung, red brick and anonymous, but whereas the glossy photos had hinted of green fields and country lanes the truth was somewhat different. It was part of a 1900s industrial estate, set alongside dozens of warehouses and depots with fleets of vans parked outside. Like most of its neighbours the Ludgate Clinic appeared to have no windows, which gave it a very sinister air, at least in Caroline's eyes.

She parked the car, after three attempts, because seeing the building reminded her of why she was here and made her very nervous. I suppose I'm meant to feel remorseful and properly repentant, she thought, but I don't care. I'm resentful, trembling and bloody scared.

She got out, locked the car, put the keys in her handbag, and smoked two cigarettes in such quick succession that she surprised even herself with the ferocity with which she inhaled. Then, with a sense of mounting trepidation she walked across a scrappy grass verge to the only visible door. She pushed the bell which buzzed like an angry hornet, and the intercom crackled into life.

"Name please." A woman's voice, adenoidal, sing-song.

"Caroline Devereaux."

"Look at the camera."

What camera, where? Instinctively she looked up and a flash went off right in her startled face.

"One moment, please."

Now she was nervous. Very nervous. This is like walking in to meet a firing squad.

"OK, come in."

The door opened automatically. Caroline took a deep breath and made as if to stride inside, only the second door took her completely by surprise. It was a metal barred affair. Just like a prison, she thought, and immediately felt sick. The outer door swing shut, locking itself with an ominous thud. The inner door slid open with an almost imperceptible whirr. Caroline crossed the threshold. The door slid back with surprising speed and a resounding clang. She found herself in a small lobby, shabbily decorated, like a one star hotel or student hostel. To the left was a reception desk. Behind shatterproof glass sat a blowsy middle-aged bottle blonde watching a daytime soap on one of a dozen video screens and chewing her fingernails.

"Just a minute, dear. Sister knows you're here."

There was nowhere to sit, so Caroline stood. The woman paid her no attention. Five minutes passed. Caroline's right leg was trembling violently, and she kept trying to jam her heel into the scruffy carpet, but to no avail. Her heart was beating so hard she could hardly breathe and an ominous sense of pressure was beginning to build in her bladder. Finally she cleared her throat.

"Um- excuse me- but do you have a toilet?"

The woman grinned knowingly.

"There'll be one in your cell, dear."


"You won't have to wait much longer. But if you can't hold it they won't mind if you pee in your panties. You wouldn't be the first in here to do that!"

No I bloody well won't wet myself, said Caroline to herself. I'm not a bloody kid. She was grinding her teeth so vehemently that it hurt.

As it happened, Sister arrived the very next minute. A tall, brisk Irishwoman with iron grey hair under a traditional cap. A starched apron, and a starched demeanour, as down to earth as her sensible shoes.

"Mrs. Devereaux. So sorry to keep you waiting. This way."

She hustled Caroline down a long, dimly-lit corridor with bare brick walls and blue carpet, unlocking and relocking several doors as they passed them with a huge bunch of keys she carried on her belt. Almost without breaking stride too, thought Caroline, admiring efficiency. They stopped outside a blue door, identical to the dozens they had passed. The door had in it a big round window of wire-reinforced glass, but there was no lock or handle to be seen.

"Here we are. Room 36."

Sister found a panel in the red-brick wall, turned yet another of her keys in yet another lock, and the blue door slid open.

The cell was small but not as squalid as Caroline had feared. The walls were bare and whitewashed, the floor was stripped boards, and Caroline was relieved to find it was quite warm, which must have been due to the underfloor heating, for there was no radiator. Neither were there any windows. In one corner was a white porcelain toilet bowl which she eyed with relief, but without a seat or a lid, a wash basin and a roller towel dispenser. There was a single bed, with a white tubular steel frame and a white mattress. No sheets, no blankets, no quilts. The room was lit from above by four brilliant spotlights set in the ceiling behind a glass panel. Caroline guessed there would be no point in looking for a switch for the lights, and she was right. Also set into the ceiling and high on three of the walls were small squares of darkened glass, four in all, whose function was a mystery to Caroline. Sister reached under the bed and pulled out a red storage case.

"Now everything you have goes in here. Give me your doctor's certificate, your ID card, and credit card if that's how you are paying?"

Caroline nodded and handed over the said items from her handbag.

"Now everything else in here please. Come on, quick about it. All your clothes off."

Caroline, crimson faced, obeyed. All the clothes she had so lovingly chosen to make a good impression! Shoes, pantyhose, knickers, bra, blouse, suit -which she carefully folded - necklace and earrings joined her handbag in the red plastic case. Naked, Caroline was cowering, trying to cover herself, both top and bottom, with her hands, and failing.

"Mrs. Devereaux. I said everything!"

Caroline looked blank.

"Your hairgrips, please."

Of course! And the hairgrips joined all the other symbols of self worth, of control, all the trappings of comfortable and conforming civilised adult life. And the long red hair tumbled down around her shoulders.

Sister was holding something out to her. She took it. It was a pair of shorts, in thick towelling material, white.

"Put them on!"

Caroline did. No zip, no buttons, hard to pull them up. Very tight, skimpy, only covering half her bottom. How naff. She nearly laughed - but not quite. She felt too stupid, too ridiculous.

"Make yourself at home, Mrs. Devereaux. Nurse Dawson will be with you at six o'clock for your final check up."

And abruptly, taking all of Caroline's outside life with her in a red plastic box, Sister was gone.

Whirr...clunk. The cell seemed even smaller now. Caroline sat on the bed - Jesus its as hard as nails - and hugged herself. Soon she was crying in self pity for the pathetic almost nude doll she had become, barefoot on bare boards in a bare room with no windows on a bare bed with no covers, bare-arse naked except for this ridiculous pair of shorts - almost like wearing a nappy. And then suddenly the surge in her bladder reminded her how desperate she was for a pee and she made it to the toilet just in time.

* * *

Caroline had no way of knowing whether or not it was six o'clock exactly when Nurse Dawson arrived. It certainly felt a lot later to her, having spent what seemed like an eternity moving restlessly between the bed and the porthole in the door, which invariably gave the same view of an empty corridor. Bored, fretting and dislocated, Caroline felt increased sympathy for zoo animals everywhere.

Nurse Dawson breezed into the tiny cell like a breath of fresh air. Plump, pretty, dark haired, cheerful and very young, probably only twenty or twenty one, dressed like the Sister in regulation, old-style starched white uniform, but with quite high-heeled calf-length black leather boots, she instantly made Caroline feel a lot better. It was Nurse Dawson's task to carry out another medical inspection which she did with minimum fuss, considerably more quickly and efficiently than old Dr. Gillespie. Then she gave Caroline two pills and a glass of water.

"What are these?" asked Caroline.

"One is a sleeping pill. It will knock you out in about two hours time, after we've taken you to see Dr. Ludgate. The other contains a very powerful laxative. Tomorrow morning you will have the mother of all bowel movements and then there will be no danger of you having to go again. Which is just as well. You don't want that happening while you're being caned."

Caroline looked horrified but reluctantly swallowed the pills.

"No need to look so terrified. It's not poison." said Nurse Dawson.

"I just don't like taking drugs," said Caroline. "Any drugs. I don't normally take pills even if I've got a splitting headache."

"Lots of people like you these days," agreed the Nurse. "They'd be better off, most of them, with the occasional aspirin inside them. But few people seem to trust the medical profession."

Can you blame them, thought Caroline, when a ghastly institution like this ends up under the control of medical staff?

"What's going to happen to me now?"

"I told you. We're going to see Dr. Ludgate now. He'll explain everything to you. Then it's back here and I'll lock you in for the night."

"What about dinner?"

"Not tonight, I'm afraid. You won't be fed before your therapy tomorrow. We give you an evening meal tomorrow night and breakfast on the day you leave, although the quality of the food leaves a lot to be desired, believe me. But, be honest, you're not hungry now. Don't really feel like eating, do you?"

Caroline had to admit that, no, she didn't.

Nurse Dawson led her out of her cell and along some more identical corridors. Caroline wrapped her arms tightly around her naked breasts as she walked. It seemed bizarre to be walking around with no clothes on, and she was mortified at the thought of meeting anyone on the way, but they did not pass another soul, and she saw no-one peering out of any of the portholes in the identical blue doors. They came at last to an ordinary wooden door. Nurse Dawson knocked smartly and a deep rich voice called "Come!" Entering, Caroline found herself in the study shown in the photograph, and there, behind the desk, exactly as in the picture, sat Founder and Chief Consultant Dr. Charles H. Ludgate FRCCP.

"Ah, Mrs Devereaux. Splendid, splendid."

There were no visitors chairs and so Caroline stood in front of the desk while Nurse Dawson sort of melted into the shadows behind her.

Dr. Ludgate opened a file on his desk.

"Now then, what's the award. Ah yes, eighteen strokes. Not too severe, my dear, but maybe a little harsh for a first time offender."

It'll be the last time too, thought Caroline.

"Right, well, I need to check a few details with you. Now, tomorrow, I've got you down for two o'clock. You'll be taken from your cell at about 10 a.m. Nurse Dawson here will see you get a nice hot shower and then she'll dress you for punishment. Then, as you know, you have to stand for two hours with your hands on your head in a place where you can be clearly observed."

"I didn't know." Caroline's mouth felt as though it was full of sawdust.

"Yes, it's a kink of the Home Secretary's." He laughed at his own joke. "No, seriously, it's to demonstrate that you undergo punishment of your own free will, and that you're fit and able to do so. And don't worry, we do have a neat way of making that part of the day less unpleasant for you. We are a private clinic, Mrs Devereaux, and as long as we obey Home Office rules to the letter, we can make them mean whatever we like."

For some strange reason, Caroline felt slightly cheered by this.

"Now then, what type of cane will you have?"

The question took Caroline by surprise.

"I'm sorry? Do I get a choice?"

"Of course you do. Free market forces prevail and choice is paramount. There are two approved types. Simple bamboo, which is cheaper at only thirty-five pounds...."

Of course, thought Caroline bitterly, I have to buy my own bloody cane!

"...but, of course, there are knots in the plain bamboo which can cause quite nasty contusions. Or there is the smoothest rattan version, which I would recommend. I have them specially cut for me. It's more expensive, naturally. Sixty pounds, but you'll find it's well worth it."

Caroline gulped.

"The rattan? Yes I thought so. Wise choice. And shall I get them to oil it for you? It's only ten pounds more. Money well spent. It does make the cane more springy."

Caroline, having no idea whether 'more springy' was a good thing or not, merely nodded helplessly.

"Now you'll probably want someone to hold your hand?"

Caroline looked blank.

"You see, we're not allowed to restrain you in any way. Which is unfortunate, because if you start flailing around too much we have to abort the punishment, and your file goes back marked 'resisted therapy'. Which is not good for you, or for us."

"No, I suppose not," Caroline agreed, dully.

"So you see, we get round this by your nominating someone to hold your hand, that's quite in order. I am sure Nurse Dawson would be more than happy to oblige?"

Caroline turned sharply to see Nurse Dawson smile and nod her head.

"Good, good. She's very experienced and a lot stronger than she looks. She'll make sure you stay put for the full eighteen strokes. And she can remind you to count as well."


"My dear lady, do you not read the newspapers? It was laid down last year that the chastisee must count aloud after each stroke. It proves once again that you are there of your own free will and, more importantly, that you haven't fainted. Its to avoid the risk of -er, treating - an unconscious person,which would be very wrong indeed."

Oh indeed I can see that! Of course there's nothing wrong with -er, treating - a sensitive conscious person? thought Caroline, miserably.

"So that will be an extra one hundred and fifty pounds as a little 'thank you' to Nurse Dawson. And I'll put you down for a tub of cold cream for afterwards, eh? You'll be grateful for it, I can assure you. That will be another £13.99. Now, finally, will you be wanting a copy of your video?"

He saw Caroline's open mouthed, shocked expression and grinned.

"Ah another thing you hadn't read, Mrs Devereaux? We are required by law to video our therapy, in case the magistrates or the police want to satisfy themselves that we are following correct procedure. Don't worry, they usually don't bother. Recently people have been asking to keep a copy for their own purposes. There is even talk of some TV company putting together a compilation show, called 'So you've been flogged!" or something!" He chuckled.

Caroline shook her head.

"No video then?" His voice held a tinge of regret , probably at the loss of an opportunity for extra profit, thought Caroline. "Ah well, if you change your mind let us know and we'll run off a copy and put it in the post for you. By law we have to keep the master tape for six years."

"No," said Caroline firmly, and with a tinge of anger. "No, thank you."

Dr. Ludgate closed the file, in which he had been jotting notes while they talked.

"Right, that's it then. Any other charges will be self explanatory. I'll have the bill drawn up and you can settle before you leave."

He stood up.

"Now, last but not least, let's have a good look at the target area, shall we? Take your shorts off please, and stand with your hands on your head."

Trembling, her face hot, Caroline obeyed. He moved behind her. She felt rough, dry fingers tracing patterns on the bared flesh of her behind.

"Yes, good, good. A nice broad bottom, Mrs. Devereaux. Plenty of room here to get eighteen good ones in without having to cane too far down your thighs. Nice and firm. Been caned often before, Mrs Devereaux?"

"Never!" said Caroline, vehemently.

"Ah well, it's good to try everything once, as the man said, except incest and folk-dancing. I think she's a five-five-four-four. Will you remember that for me, Nurse Dawson? Good, good, splendid." He returned to his desk. "Well, good night, Mrs Devereaux. Sleep well. I look forward to our appointment tomorrow."

Caroline struggled back into the stupid shorts and was practically dragged from the room by Nurse Dawson. They walked back along still deserted corridors.

"What did he mean by 'five-five-four-four'? " asked Caroline. "I'm five foot six."

Nurse Dawson grinned. "Oh it's nothing to do with your height. It's technical talk. Standard caning pattern. It means he'll do five strokes from the left, five from the right, then only four on your thighs - which is lucky for you. Then he puts the last four anywhere there is a gap."

Caroline felt like a cartoon she had once seen in a butcher's shop - her body divided with crisp white lines into neat and distinctive marked areas. Rump, flank, topside..."

They were back at the cell.

"Come on, now," said Nurse Dawson, quickly spotting that Caroline was close to tears. "It's not as bad as you think it is. Well, OK, maybe it is. Maybe it's worse, but worrying can't make it better can it? You'll live. They all do, you know!"

And then, to Caroline's immense surprise and delight, Nurse Dawson suddenly reached out her arms and squeezed Caroline in a startlingly strong and intimate hug. The unexpected warmth of friendly human contact surged through her body like an electric shock.

"Now don't worry," said Nurse Dawson, cuddling Caroline as if she were a frightened child. "I'll be there. I'll look after you. Now get your beauty sleep. You've got a big day tomorrow."

Once Nurse Dawson had gone, and the door had locked behind her, Caroline suddenly felt very tired. She lay on the bed, and despite the discomfort of the thin mattress, despite the lack of covers, and despite the brilliance of the overhead spotlights, which showed no sign of being switched off, she immediately fell fast asleep.

From Hermione's Heart


Roz said...

Hi Hermione,

I lovd the commentary on the political landscape. Far fetched but fun read. Looking forward to reading the conclusion.


opsimath said...

Thank you lots for bringing us this one, Hermione. Janus and Februs were such wonderful magazines and it is a treat to see the stories making a reappearance in your amazing blog.

This one is completely OTT but a perfect example of spanko fiction; I await Part Two with bated breath ;) !

Have a nice day!

Hermione said...

Roz - Let's hope it all stays a fantasy.

Opsimath - Part two is even more OTT. I suspect you will enjoy it.


ronnie said...

Definitely OTT but a fun read, enjoyed it. Look forward to part 2. Thank you, Hermione.


Hermione said...

Ronnie - I like the idea of spanking as an alternative punishment, but this story is a bit more than I need!