A disturbing experiment causes a assistant to seek counselling.
By Lorna Brand
Sitting in the stylish waiting room I did wonder what I was going to say. As I pretended to read one of the magazines from the sleek little glass coffee table I wondered how I would start. After all, this wasn’t really my problem. It was more a work thing; well, sort of. On the other hand I had found myself drawn to the subject, so maybe it was my issues that had brought me. I had an odd mix of conflicting emotions, but either way I was ever so pleased she could see me at such short notice. I knew she liked to make people wait so that by the time they got into her office they were dying to blurt everything out before even sitting down.
But I still hated waiting. My palms were itchy and I kept shuffling in my seat. My thoughts were not coherent and jumped from celebrity gossip that my brain had subconsciously picked up through a kind of osmosis as I held the glossy pages in my hand and what I really wanted to talk about – Philip’s experiment.
Dr Alexander is a colleague of mine and a well known couples councillor but although she specializes in marriage therapy she still has a few individuals that seek out her very specialist expertise. We have known each other since university. She was the year above me but still gave me time to pick her brain now and then if I wanted some help or advice and that continues to today, so no matter how infrequently we may meet she is my first choice if I am stuck.
Dr Alexander was strikingly dressed to give her the authoritarian edge that she preferred to encourage people to be more honest with her than they might otherwise be. In her tight navy pencil skirt and white blouse, the only splash of colour was a patterned silk scarf tied around her elegant neck. She always made me feel a little on edge but in a good way.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting, Jacqueline,” she lied as she greeted me.
“That’s OK,” I lied back, which Dr Alexander instantly saw through, although we both smiled pleasantly.
Her office was much like the rest of the building, very well manicured. I decided to sit on the soft brown leather sofa that was placed down the right side wall as I walked in and found myself retrieving the cushion from my back and clutching it on my knees just as a child might hold their bear for comfort. Visiting Dr Alexander is a bit like visiting the headmaster at school; you are always nervous even if you are not in the wrong. It gives you an instant sense of guilt just by being there.
She asked me what had brought me to her, but it was quite a difficult question to answer so I simply said that I was there to discover that very question.
“I suppose I should explain,” I said. “You will have heard of the old Kellogg’s experiment?”
“Of course, the scientist that raised a baby chimp alongside his own child.”
“Yeah, that’s the one. He decided the only way he could test his theory was to do it with his own family until it went a bit wrong and his child started acting more chimp-like. That delayed the boy’s development and the experiment was cancelled.”
I knew that Dr Alexander was confused, sitting across from me in a large wingback chair. I took a bit of a deep breath and moved my gaze to focus on the grand bookshelf behind her as she took notes so that I didn’t have to see the look on her face as I spoke quickly.
“It’s not my experiment but Philip’s.”
“Your partner at your practice?”
“Yes, I mean he doesn’t have a chimp or anything.”
“Jacqueline, please calm down and take all the time you need. Trust me, I won’t judge. So you are concerned about an experiment?”
“Sort of, you see Philip specialises in behaviour therapy and he has a theory about corporal punishment. As it’s not commonplace in society as it once was, so he has taken a cue from Kellogg and decided to find a compliant girlfriend to help him out. He has only been with Liz for just over a year now but somehow she has agreed to this.”
“And you are worried for her? Or him?”
I had to think about that for a bit before I could answer because I really wasn’t sure. I hadn’t considered the real reason as I kneaded the cushion in front of me and pondered.
“I am not sure; both, I think.”
“Perhaps if you elaborate on the ‘experiment’ then I would have a clearer idea of where your concerns lie and I can see how I can help.”
I could see that Dr Alexander’s interest was aroused as her eyes twinkled.
“It sounds a bit crazy to say it out loud, and if I hadn’t unwittingly agreed to help, in a strictly observing capacity, of course, then I probably wouldn’t even know exactly what was going on anyway.”
“And what is going on?”
“They come in together every other day and we meet in Philip’s office first thing in the morning, although I don’t actually speak or interfere at all. It’s my job just to observe and give an independent perspective at the end of each session. And well, well he sort of spanks her.”
“Sort of?” Dr Alexander smiled.
I finally met her gaze.
“OK. The experiment has been in two stages, each running for a month. In the first stage, Philip was deliberately cold and distant. It was quite shocking to watch and I wanted to comfort the poor girl, but that would have defeated the purpose. He was very stern and only used short commands. It always started with making her strip off completely in the middle of the room, not letting her cover her modesty.
“Philip made her wait naked in the middle of the room while he selected an implement to use from a selection he had laid out on his desk as she watched with trepidation. The fear in her eyes bored into me. She was always crying before he started; it was not nice to watch.
“Once Philip had picked his implement he would instruct her to bend over, gripping her calfs and then he delivered four or five vicious blows unless she had been misbehaving. Then she would get more, which happened towards the end of the month. He would normally choose the strap or cane. Only occasionally did he pick something else to punish her unprotected bum. Then he would make her wait for a period of time before letting her try to soothe the pain. The whole time Philip didn’t show any emotion, despite his girlfriend’s plight. The whole experience was meant to engineer a testing environment.”
“It sounds like quite a severe situation to witness, all that control being used and you feeling helpless.”
“Yes, it was, but that changed in the second half of the experiment.”
I couldn’t help but let a little slip of a smile show as I recoiled, thinking about the most vivid images I have ever known. Dr Alexander was certainly taking an interest in what I was saying as she seemed to copy down almost every word I said while I fiddled with my hair.
“This morning, like the last two, Philip was kind and soft as he spoke to his girlfriend, not apologetic but still caring. He took her hand and led the way to a chair that he had brought out into the room. Everything was calm as he undid the buttons on her trousers and slipped them down over her hips. They pooled at her ankles and she automatically draped herself over his knees, even adjusting to the best position. She flinched slightly as he caressed her bottom, then lifted her bottom to meet his hand. He didn’t go easy on her and his hand came down rapidly again and again until her bum was scarlet and she was limp from crying. But once Philip had finished he lifted her up and embraced her.”
I sighed and took in a deep breath as if I had been holding something in and had finally been able to release it.
“So there is still some time until the experiment is finished then? How does that make you feel?”
“Erm, I am not sure.”
“Come now, Jacqueline, there is no need to be bashful. Truthfully now.”
“I have lots of feelings about it. I suppose I was scared to start with, worried about how this would effect the way I saw Philip and how we worked together, but then that faded and now…”
“Now you are disappointed that is coming to an end?”
“How did you know? Does that make me a bad person? It’s not that I like seeing his girlfriend in pain but…”
“It excites you!” Dr Alexander smiled knowingly. “You’re not a bad person. It’s quite a normal reaction to have when you are watching something so intimate and from a professional point of view you certainly have got some interesting results.”
“Oh yes, it’s been fascinating to see how the severe, soulless approach appeared to encourage such negative behaviour and the tender approach so far has done nothing but brought them closer in an odd way. I am sure when Philip writes his paper about it there will be much more highlighted.”
“I am sure there will be. I look forward to reading it.” Dr Alexander smirked. “But I would like to explore more about your non-professional interest. Is it just excitement you feel when you see her derriere changing colour?”
“Curiosity, maybe. I have wondered how she must feel.”
“How about jealousy? Have you wanted to take her place?”
I was ashamed to admit it but I had. Over the last six weeks I had often thought about changing places with her. I didn’t have to answer Dr Alexander, though; she knew what I was thinking. I just sat in silence with my head hung.
“You know, I can help with that. I have administered a few spankings in my time. I have found that it can be helpful sometimes as a release. Would you like me to spank you?”
My eyes widened as I looked up towards hers. My mouth opened and I wanted to answer but I couldn’t make a sound. I was completely shocked. This wasn’t where I thought this consultation would go.
“I take it that’s a ‘yes’? I think it would be best for you to bend over my desk. Give you something to grasp on too. Now please stand up and make your way over there.” Dr Alexander gestured towards the large sturdy-looking mahogany desk directly in front of the window but thankfully her blinds were shut.
And that is how I found myself in this situation with my chest pressed hard against the cold hard wood of her desk, my arms out-stretched gripping onto the far side of the desk. My palms were slippery and I was unsure if I could maintain my grip, but I was determined to try. As Dr Alexander approached me my heart thumped so loud it almost drowned out her voice.
“Jacqueline, I am going to lift your skirt up now. Then I am going to spank your bare bum with my hand to warm it up and then I am going to take my thick leather strap and give you four strokes, but if you move from this position I will increase that. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”
“Yes,” was all I could manage to whisper but my whole body had stiffened and started to tremor.
Dr Alexander took both her hands and slid my black skirt up over my hips, bunching it up at the small of my back. Then in one fluid motion she took my tights and pants down to my ankles. I can’t believe I was going to go through with this. I was not even sure I wanted to, but that was only a fleeting thought. I felt her warm soft hand cup my bottom. Then her hand struck my cheeks repeatedly, firm and hard, taking my breath away. The heat was not just in my bum as I feel my whole body getting clammy. Each stroke was pushing me forward, forcing the desk top into my stomach and my hair tumbled out from my clasp over my face. I didn’t know why Dr Alexander said she was going to warm my bum as it felt like it was on fire and the closer she got to my thighs the more it stung and the more I shook. Finally she stopped and took a step back but I knew it wasn’t all over.
“Jacqueline, you are going to want to keep a firm grip as I am not going to be soft on you. Remember, if you get up before I say so you will get more than the four I am planning.” Her tone was stern and cold as she lined up her first shot.
I lifted my head up from the desk briefly to see my knuckles whiten, just as the first stroke of the hard leather hit sending an electric feeling through my body. Scrunching my eyes tightly to try and keep the tears in, I felt the next blow. That made me cry out properly for the first time. I was lying, waiting for the next stroke, as my bottom became engulfed in pain for what felt like an eternity. I had started to loosen my grip and then the next stroke hit, catching me by surprise and making me feel off balance.
“Last one, Jacqueline, as long as you stay in place.”
I only had a second to think as the final electric current whipped over my bum and through my body. I could stay down. I could keep my body firmly pressed against the wood but then, for some reason, I couldn’t I get up. I could stay down but I tried not to. I could instinctively feel Dr Alexander’s smile.
“Jacqueline, I did not say that you could move yet. I am now going to give you another two strokes, so return to your position.”
I feel it hit low and hard making me cry out. The tears ran freely onto the desk as I struggled to compose myself. I was so consumed that the final stroke doesn’t register at all. All I could do was to lay limp and sob as I feel her hand on my back.
“If you can stay still for a moment I have some cream to help with the bruising.”
The feeling of Dr Alexander rubbing the cold cream into my hot and sore bum was making me tingle all over. She helped me to my feet and I instinctively embraced her with my pants still around my ankles. I thanked her for all her help.
“Will I book you a follow up session?” Dr Alexander smiled.
© Lorna Brand 2016