A conversation is overheard, with painful consequences
It was just after 7.45 pm on a Thursday evening in April 2021, and Simon De Chatoyment was making his way to the exit of the converted Sports and Entertainment Centre, having just received his second Covid 19 vaccination. The Centre, which had formerly housed a large sports hall and occasional concert venue, had now been largely taken over as the principal vaccination centre for the small island jurisdiction. Some of the smaller sports venues within the centre had recently reopened for personal training, gymnastics, and squash.
The 64-year-old widower, who had a compliance role in senior management in a large local company, was also an Honorary Police Officer. Simon was off duty and his next duty shift was not until the weekend. The Honorary Police had, until the early 20th century, when a professional police force paid for by the government was added, been the key to the enforcement of law.
Originally dating from the 13th century, the system had feudal origins. Each parish had to provide officers elected in a hierarchy representing each five, twenty and one hundred households, with the equivalent of a ‘father of the parish’ who originally also acted as chief of police, a role that was later separated. It was only in the 1920s that these elections had become theoretically subject to universal suffrage. A shortage of volunteers meant that often there was no need for elections, and Simon had risen to the third level without ever having a contested election. Training had, however, been comprehensive and Simon was proud of the system and its historic links. His role now also included formally sitting, as a sort of first line of review, on cases submitted to him by other Honorary Officers to determine which minor offences could be dealt with by on the spot fines or formal or written warnings, and which would be referred to the Magistrate’s court.
As he made his way towards the exit, two young ladies were heading towards the same door. Both were wearing leotards over yoga tights with tracksuit tops. Annalise, known to almost everyone as ‘Anna’, and Zoe were good friends who also worked together and exercised after work; both were nineteen years old and, but for the pandemic, would have been at university. Anna, blonde and very attractive under her facemask, stood about 5’5” tall and had, in Simon’s opinion, a perfect figure; she wore her medium length golden tresses in a plaited pony-tail and was dressed in various shades of pink. Zoe, slightly taller and significantly plumper, wore her dark brown shoulder length hair loose and had a pale blue outfit over her white yoga tights.
The two young ladies were deep in conversation and Simon slackened his stride to allow the ladies to pass ahead and to maintain 2m distance. Their voices were quite different; Zoe had retained the distinctive Scottish accent of her parents, whilst Anna spoke with the ‘cut glass’ accent formerly typical of the British upper class. Their conversation centred around the recent easing of Covid restrictions and the opening of restaurants and pubs; Anna looking forward to the weekend and her first meal out with her boyfriend in over a year.
Anna, realising that the shoelace of her right trainer had come undone, stopped suddenly and bent at the waist. Simon just stopped in time and found himself looking at her beautiful bottom, the deep pink of her leotard contrasting with yoga tights in the palest pink hue, in very close proximity. Smiling he stepped to one side and resumed walking towards the exit.
Anna quickly refastened her shoelace and the two young ladies fell in behind Simon. Zoe asked Anna if she and her boyfriend had anything special planned, at which point Anna said something she was to regret.
“Actually, yes. You know that sometimes you put something away for safe keeping so well that you forget where it is? Well, that happened to me and then just this morning I was looking through my sock drawer and right at the back was a little tin. So, I opened it and there they were! Two wraps of ‘weed’ that I had put away last year before lockdown. It was really good stuff too, and as each had been wrapped in clingfilm, although it was a bit sticky, it had not dried out. Jasper and I will share them on Saturday.”
As Simon reached the door, he pondered what to do with the information the young lady had carelessly disclosed. He was off-duty and so could, and perhaps should, just ignore it. She seemed a charming and pleasant girl and obviously of good family. On the other hand, the Centre was within his jurisdiction and he never believed that cannabis was harmless when used recreationally. Its possession and use were, he was convinced, illegal for a reason. He decided to investigate further. The door opened outwards and so, having passed through, he held it open for the two ladies.
A smiling Anna passed through first, followed by Zoe, thanking him for his courtesy. Simon then produced his warrant card and addressed Anna.
“Excuse me, miss. My name is Simon De Chatoyment and, as you can see, I am an Honorary Police Officer for this parish. I have reason to believe that you are aware of the location of a quantity of Category C controlled drugs. I therefore require you both to give me your names, addresses, and dates of birth, to assist me with my enquiries.”
The two girls were shocked as Simon, standing clear of the entrance, took out a notebook and pen.
“Come along, ladies, unless you wish me to take you to the central police station.”
Both Anna and Zoe reluctantly provided their names and addresses and their dates of birth; Simon being relieved that both were over eighteen.
Turning to Zoe, Simon continued, “Thank you, Miss Hawke. That will be all for now. You may go. We may be in touch. No, Miss Whitley, not you. We have some more questions, which for the moment are off the record.”
The address that Anna had given was also, to Simon’s relief, within his jurisdiction; it was a well-known and imposing residence on the edge of town. It was therefore likely that she still lived with her parents.
“Miss Whitley, do you have a car with you?”
The worried Anna, who was blushing and had been biting her lip slightly, shook her head and replied quietly, “No Sir, Zoe was going to give me a lift but I will be able to catch the bus.”
Simon continued, “You now have two choices. I can take you to the police station or I can take you home and we can continue the conversation there. It is your choice.”
Neither were very good options for Anna, whose father was a prominent local lawyer and whose mother a senior civil servant. She wanted daddy’s support but still hoped that neither he nor mummy need know.
“Please sir, can you not just give me a warning, if I promise not to do it again and to dispose of the weed when I get home?”
“Miss Whitley, how you behave in the next thirty minutes will determine the action that I need to take in the public interest. So no! If, after our further discussions, I am convinced about your cooperation and determination to do as you promise, then it may be that this need go no further. So, do I drive you to your parents’ house or to the Police Station?”
Anna did not need time to think. Formal processing at the Police Station would invariably get back to her father, one of the drawbacks of being a prominent family in a small community.
“Please sir, would you take me home please?”
Ten minutes later, with Anna in the passenger seat of Simon’s dark green Peugeot 3008, the couple drove through the electric gates into the substantial detached Edwardian property that had been in Anna’s family since it was built. Anna noticed her father’s Range Rover was parked in the drive but, as the garage door was open and her mother’s brand-new Jaguar XF hybrid was missing, it was still possible that both her parents were out.
Anna’s hopes were soon dashed as, hearing the sound of tyres on the gravel driveway, Daniel Whitley had looked up from his desk and, not recognising the vehicle, opened the front door by the time Simon had opened the car door for Anna.
Seeing her father, Anna’s head dropped and she blushed. There was mutual recognition between the two gentlemen, who had met occasionally socially and also more frequently in court, although Simon had not met Anna before that evening.
“Hello Simon, what brings you here?”
“Business not pleasure, unfortunately, Daniel, although I would stress that Miss Whitley has not been arrested or even cautioned, and I have no search warrant. So, I am relying on you inviting me in so that we can discuss the matter further.”
“Of course, Simon. Please come through to my study. Annalise, you too. Perhaps then someone will tell me what has been going on?”
With all three seated in the spacious office, Simon and Anna in two burgundy leather armchairs and Daniel in the similarly coloured Captain’s swivel chair from his desk.
“Well? Enlighten me!”
Simon started. “Maybe Miss Whitley would like to tell you exactly what she said to Miss Hawke in my hearing at the Centre?”
Blushing, the lovely blonde, her features clearly visible as, widely separated, she and Simon had been invited to remove their masks, accurately repeated what she had previously said to her friend. To say that her father was not impressed was an understatement.
“Young lady! Are you saying that not only have you been in the habit of using illegal drugs, you had the nerve to have kept some in my house, and then the stupidity to brag about it in public? You do know that the maximum penalty for possession of cannabis here is five years in prison?”
Anna, her eyes filling with tears, hung her head, and quietly replied, “Yes Daddy, I’m so sorry.”
“You will be! Now go and retrieve that tin and bring it back here now. I will discuss with Mr De Chatoyment how we should deal with this matter.”
A very worried Anna left the study.
As the door closed, Daniel turned to Simon.
“So, what is the plan?”
Simon replied, “As you know, I have not cautioned Anna and I did not obtain a warrant. I merely wanted to impress on her how stupid she had been and the very serious potential consequences. I know that many young people consider cannabis harmless and that it should be legalised, but neither I nor the law see it that way. Anna was planning to smoke the joints with her boyfriend at the weekend and there was a possibility that, had I done nothing, she might have been caught doing so. I could not let that happen as I feel she is a charming, albeit a somewhat naïve, young lady and I did not want her life ruined. If I can be certain the drugs have been destroyed, that Anna regrets what she has done, and that she is not likely to reoffend, then I would be content with issuing informal words of advice on this occasion.”
“Thank you, Simon. I can assure you that by the time you leave here the drugs will have been destroyed and you will have seen a very sorry young lady who will not risk letting herself down again. I am so glad that you have handled the incident the way you have to protect Anna. Despite this evening, she is really a great kid and the consequences could have been devastating. Having this place searched for drugs under a search warrant would also, I confess, not have done my reputation much good either.”
Daniel had just finished speaking when there was a knock on the study door.
“Come in, Anna.”
The pretty teenager produced the little tin box and placed it on her father’s desk. When told to do so, she opened the box to reveal the two clingfilm-wrapped joints.
“Annalise Whitley, on your honour, is this all the drugs that you have hidden anywhere?”
“Yes daddy, that is the lot.”
“Ok. Mr De Chatoyment and I have come up with a way of protecting you from your own stupidity and ensuring you do nothing like this in future. You are an adult and of course make your own decisions, but whilst you live in our house, and your mother and I support you, you will abide by our rules.
“Firstly, these drugs will be destroyed and you will do so witnessed by myself and Mr De Chatoyment.
“Secondly, you will phone Jasper and tell him that you will be unable to dine with him on Saturday and the reason. You are grounded for two weeks. Jasper will not be welcome in this house again until he and I have had a discussion on the subject of illegal drugs and my daughter never being linked in any way ever. The same applies to Zoe if her visits are not work related.
“Thirdly, you and I will convince Mr de Chatoyment that you are really very sorry for what you have done. If you think back to the discussion that we had with your mother when you were sixteen on the subject, and what we agreed the consequences would be, you will be aware of what I have in mind. The only difference is that, as your mother is dining with Grandma this evening, because I want to protect her from the embarrassment of knowing what you have been up to, I and not your mother will be playing the leading role.
“Finally, you will formally apologise to both Mr De Chatoyment and to me and promise never to do anything so stupid again. Is that clear?”
“Yes, daddy, but surely I am too old for what we discussed three years ago, especially for you to do it?”
“Annalise Whitley, I love you more than life itself and I really had hoped you were old enough to know better, but your conduct suggests otherwise.”
“Now Anna, leave the box on the desk, go to the garage and bring me the white spirit and a box of matches.”
Five minutes later, Anna was back.
Taking the bottle of white spirit and the matches, he told Anna to pick up the little tin.
“Ok Simon, please accompany Anna and I to the bathroom. Annalise, lead the way, please.”
Arriving in the luxurious bathroom, Daniel instructed his daughter to fill the sink with two inches of water, then to unwrap the two joints and put the contents back in the tin. He then told Anna to pour white spirit into the tin until all the cannabis was covered, and then put the tin in the sink so it was floating on the water. Finally, Anna was to strike a match and ignite the white spirit.
In two minutes, the smoke had been cleared by the extractor fan and the cannabis was no more with just ashes in the bottom of the tin. Anna was then instructed to drain the sink and wash out the tin so that, except for the scorch marks, no trace remained. Daniel then sent Anna back to the garage with the matches and white spirit, together with the tin which was to be placed in the recycling, with instructions to report back to the study when this was done. As Anna left the bathroom, Daniel picked up a large wooden-backed hairbrush from the bathroom shelf in front of the mirror, before leading Simon back to the study.
They were sitting in the study, with Daniel having poured himself a brandy. Although offered, Simon declined one himself as he would need to drive home. When Anna returned, her eyes immediately went to the hairbrush prominent on the desk.
“Daddy, must we?”
“Yes, darling, we must. The next task is for you to phone Jasper in our presence from this phone.”
The call was placed on speakerphone and it was very uncomfortable for both the young lovers. The joy on the part of Jasper at hearing his girlfriend’s voice soon turned to disappointment and concern as she explained why she would not be able to see him either on Saturday or over the following weekend, and that her father wanted a word with him before he would be allowed to visit her home again. Anna was crying softly when she put the phone down.
Daniel then turned to his daughter.
“Annalise, go over to the armchair, bend over, and place your hands on the seat. Then, in order to show that you accept you have done wrong and willingly submit to deserved punishment, ask me to spank you with the hairbrush. As there were not one but two joints, you are then to remain bent over and politely ask Mr De Chatoyment to give you a further spanking. You will receive thirty-eight strokes, one stroke from each of us for every year of your age. Once you are told that you may rise, you are to apologise to us both for your conduct and promise never to repeat it. Mr De Chatoyment will then formally warn you about your future conduct, although no paperwork will be issued. The incident will then be closed and you will be forgiven, although you will go straight to your room and remain there until breakfast tomorrow. Is that clear, Annalise?”
Sighing, her loving father, who was enjoying this no more than his daughter, replied, “Ok, let’s get this over with.”
A very distressed young lady made her way to the armchair in which she had been sitting fifteen minutes earlier. She bent as instructed, while her father stood and picked up the hairbrush. Simon, sitting in the other armchair, had a perfect view of the gorgeous bottom, once again ideally displayed, thinly covered and a vision in two-tone pink.
Taking a deep breath, Anna then requested her punishment. “Please daddy, I was naughty and I broke the law. I have used cannabis and brought some home. I was intending to smoke it this weekend with Jasper. I deserve to be punished, so please spank me.”
Anna closed her eyes and waited, dreading what was to come. She had not been physically punished since she was fourteen, and not by her father since she left primary school. She felt the wooden back of the hair brush gently touch the centre of the right cheek of her bottom. Then SMACK! The hairbrush landed hard, briefly flattening the fleshy pillow of her right buttock.
The first stroke came as quite a shock to the gorgeous blonde.
‘Heavens! That hurt!’ She thought to herself.
Anna, however, took the first eight strokes, which alternated between the very centre of each buttock, without a sound; only her heavy breathing indicating her very real discomfort. The ninth stroke brought a quiet ouch and the vocal reactions became more pronounced during the remaining ten strokes, with her bottom moving from side to side and feet occasionally leaving the carpet. Annalise was in tears by the end.
At last, the first part of her punishment was over but, with dread, Anna realised she was only half way through her ordeal.
The two gentlemen waited patiently for the lovely girl to compose herself. After a couple of minutes, Anna slowly stood and turned to face Simon, rubbing the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. With her hands once more by her sides, and a hesitancy in her sweet voice, she quietly addressed the older man.
“Please sir, I know what I did was wrong and I promise that I will never be involved in drugs again. Please punish me with the hairbrush, like daddy has just done, so that I am able to move on.”
With that, Anna, very slowly, turned around and, with great reluctance, bent forward, presenting her already very painful bottom for further punishment.
Simon was passed the hairbrush by Daniel, and then he addressed the lovely girl. “I, reluctantly, accept your invitation as by far the best option for your future. I would not want a promising young life ruined through either involvement in drugs or the consequences of being caught.”
Simon slapped the flat side of the hairbrush hard onto his left palm, and was surprised by how much it stung. The sound of the impact made Annalise flinch, surprised that she had felt no impact.
Simon was aware the beautiful bottom in front of him had already received nineteen hard strokes of the hairbrush and was, under her clothing, likely to be coloured much closer to the deep fuchsia pink of her leotard than to the powder pink of her yoga tights. He realised that if he applied the strokes at full force there would almost certainly be severe bruising. Knowing that even moderate strokes would add to the fire in Anna’s bottom, and suffice for the intended lesson, he decided to act accordingly. Simon therefore gently rested the flat wood against the centre of Anna’s left buttock, before removing it and swinging it into the perfectly presented curves with significantly less force than applied by her father. He administered the subsequent strokes with the same degree of vigour, positioning them to cover the whole area of the lovely bottom, whilst at the same time he delivered his chosen words of advice, although how much the charming teenager heard over her own cries must remain in doubt.
“Cannabis is an illegal Category ‘C’ drug for a reason. Promise me you will never let this happen again!”
The last two strokes were deliberately harder and were administered to each side of the girl’s derriere with a slightly upward motion. Annalise was left sobbing, at least partially from relief that her ordeal was at an end, slumped over the chair arm with both hands on her bottom.
Simon placed the hairbrush on the desk and, Covid guidance briefly forgotten, Daniel shook him by the hand.
“Thank you, Simon. I think that should have done the trick, and I am grateful for you having given her this chance.”
The two gentlemen stood and watched as Anna’s struggles to compose herself gradually succeeded. After some five minutes, she stood on shaking legs and turned to face the two gentlemen.
Simon spoke next. “Well, my dear, do you promise that you will have no more to do with illegal drugs and will never risk your future like this again?”
Still rubbing her bottom gingerly, Anna replied, “I promise. Really! Never again. I’m so sorry, sir. I’m sorry, daddy. Please tell me I am forgiven.”
Daniel replied, “Of course you are, darling. Just make sure you profit from the chance you have been given and do not let yourself down again. Now, say goodnight and get off to bed with you. I will be up to see you later to make sure you are all right.”
“Thank-you, daddy. Goodnight. Goodnight Mr de Chatoyment, and thank you. Really!”
“Goodnight,” chorused the two gentlemen.
Anna turned and, walking stiffly, left the study.
Simon then took his leave of Daniel, with the latter thanking Simon once more for the way he had handled things. As the green Peugeot left the drive, Mrs Whitley’s Jaguar was waiting to turn in and Simon wondered how Daniel intended to explain things to his wife. With his delayed return home, Simon no longer felt like cooking and so diverted to his favourite fish and chip shop, all the while pondering on a most surprising evening, and a job well done.
© Capstan 2021