By Joanna Jones

Fifth in a series of stories where painful experiences, coupled with potentially worse sanctions in the future, lead to girls getting the impetus to give up tobacco.

* * *

My fifteen year old son came home from school last week with a note. Nervously he passed it to me and inside was the required letter saying that in accordance with my permission and school regulations he had received three licks of the paddle for parking his car, having just received it only a few weeks before, in a staff designated space.

We had the usual chat, and yes he’d learned his lesson, and yes it had been very sore. My husband Gary and I were not convinced about the ‘benefits’ of paddling, but sometimes it is easier to go with the status quo, as virtually all parents signed to accept.

After warning him that a second paddling might get him grounded at home I suggested he recover in his room, which he grudgingly did.

Afterward I reflected on my school experiences from thirty odd years ago. How things had changed. Paddling was not subject to the tight rules of today, and many teachers would employ the sanction. Parents certainly did not involve themselves in objecting, more likely getting their own paddle, hairbrush or strap out instead.

Given the policy, most kids got their butt whooped at some points in their junior years and I was no different. The one that I remember most happened fairly early in my final grade, when I was eighteen, and captain of the school cheerleaders.

It was an away match for the school football team, and we were in good spirits as they had won. The changing rooms at the school we were visiting were not very large, and the away cheerleaders certainly were not high on the priority list. Thus the room was a little cramped, but importantly there were not enough shower heads to go round. It was not the first time, and the routine was that those with shorter hair would wait. As the first half went in I lit up a cigarette as I waited.

Smoking was not permitted of course, but unusually on this trip the only teachers on the bus were male and were hardly likely to enter our changing room; as far as I remember the female cheerleading coach had some family problem and could not make it that time.

Most of the girls frowned since I was the only smoker, but none suggested I stop. They all knew I would have one if I thought I could get away with it.

It was about three minutes or so before the fire alarm went off. Suddenly there was pandemonium as the changing rooms were evacuated into the still sultry September afternoon air. A female teacher from the other school crashed into our room and demanded to know where the fire was, before her eyes lit angrily on my cigarette.

I had not realised that the school had just installed some new fangled smoke detection system and my cigarette had set it off.

She kept hold of me as we evacuated the building, where a large number of students were standing around partially clad, half wet in many cases, with hastily grabbed towels around them.

My escort found our school football coach who was unsurprisingly furious.

Once things were reset, and after an inspection from the local fire dept, I found myself in an unfamiliar principal’s office, with him present, as the coach, Mr Jarvis, phoned our principal, Mr Bates, to explain the situation. I found myself facing the wall nervously in the corner as apologies between the schools were made, and my fate discussed.

Finally I endured a very unpleasant few minutes on the phone to Mr Bates where he told me that I had let down the school et cetera, and he was leaving my punishment in Coach Jarvis’s hands.

I received yet another lecture from Mr Jarvis. I was already near tears with embarrassment, given the presence of the Principal whose office we were in.

I apologised as best I could, but it made no difference as he announced my punishment: Eight licks (there was no State limit as there is now) and I was stripped of my role as captain of the squad.

The licks I could (I thought then at least) handle, or perhaps I felt at least I deserved them. However, losing my role as leader of the squad was something else. I had worked desperately hard for that, and to have it taken away after only a few weeks was unbearable.

I begged and pleaded, even to get extra licks, but to no avail. Tears were falling down my cheeks in frustration at both his insistence and my stupidity.

He was getting rather impatient with my pleas, when the ‘other principal’ asked if he could have a word.

Coach Jarvis was not especially happy but could hardly say no. I was sent back to the corner while they discussed quietly.

After about five minutes I was called across. They both looked at my miserable face for what seemed like an age before a calmer Coach said “Mr H**** (I can’t remember his name) has suggested I cut you a deal.”

My hopes rose.

“Give up smoking and take your licks and you stay captain. If you smoke again before graduation then you get another eight licks from me, in addition to any for being caught that time, and you’re off the cheerleading team completely.”

I gulped as I had tried before, half-heartedly, to quit, but always gravitated back. However I had no choice. Praying that the ‘incentive’ would keep me off them I elected to quit smoking until after graduation.

“Right then, that just leaves your paddling.” He said.

The other school principal gave him his wooden swat, which was similar to ours, but with two rows of four holes drilled though the business end.

I was beginning to feel very teary again as Mr Jarvis, picked up the instrument and looked at me menacingly.

“Right Blaise, over that desk and stick your butt out”

I nervously walked to the desk put my elbows on it and obediently dipped my back to thrust the target out. I doubt he was supposed to do it, but he flipped the predominantly white skirt out the way to reveal the bright red sports ‘shorts’ that were worn underneath.

After ordering me to keep the pose he gently rubbed the paddle on my rear before… ‘Splat!’

I gasped. Either Mr Jarvis wielded a mean paddle or those holes sure made a difference!

More rubbing then Splat!

I grunted as the pain increased.

Splat!

A more desperate grunt. Gosh it was bad. I’d never had more than four before and I was beginning to wonder if I was going to make the eight.

Splat!

“Aaa-ah,” I shouted as the pain became pretty much intolerable. Not that I had any option but to tolerate it of course! I was wiggling my legs madly to deal with what was happening to my backside.

Mr Jarvis put his hand on my lower back and said: “Half way, Blaise, keep still!”

Splat!

And a scream from me. The tears had restarted.

Again he used his hand briefly on my back to still me, before another…

Splat!

I started sobbing in earnest and nothing could make me stop. The large paddle was basically landing each time over the lower half of my rear, pushing me further across the table. The bottom of the paddle was, as far as I could tell, also impacting on bare flesh. I raised myself up slightly to try to deal with the agony. Mr Jarvis gave me a brief respite before gently encouraging me to resume the required pose.

Splat!

Yet more screams and agony. But it was nearly over.

One to go. I dipped my hips and stuck my rear out for the last time, sobbing and moaning and goodness knows what else, as I did so.

A final Splat!

Just as hard as all the others.

I jumped up and gripped my red shorts to deal with the stinging pain that enveloped my rear. The skirt of the outfit was loose enough to drop in front, although modesty was a long way from my thoughts. As I gained a minimum of control I realised the leg elastic must have ridden up somewhat due to a combination of Coach Jarvis’s spanking method and my gyrations. Gently I eased the fabric back to cover as much of the afflicted area as possible.

As I did this, through the tears, I saw Mr Jarvis return the holey paddle to the other Principal. I then was escorted out, and, as we left, I stuttered out a thanks to the man who’d suggested the ‘deal’ to save my cheerleading role.

We were already late in leaving so I found my school track suit stuffed into my bag and was taken, still struggling with tears, directly to the bus. Despite my efforts I am sure, as I shuffled down the aisle to the vacant seat next to my best friend, that the short skirt and shorts were not totally covering the damage inflicted. Not that anyone looking at my face would have had any difficulty in guessing what had happened.

The seats on the school bus were not soft and it was a pretty uncomfortable ride back home with my hands tucked under my legs most of the way.

There was no way I ever wanted eight, over what was likely in that event to be an already paddled rear, from Coach Jarvis again; and even that was preferable in my eyes to the long term pain of being kicked off the cheerleading squad completely.

It was indeed the necessary incentive to ensure I never smoked again.

The End