What happens when the holiday of a lifetime clashes with local customs
By Joanna Jones
“I am not sure that’s a good idea darling.” Said Greg softly as he stroked the hair of his wife of five days as she snuggled into him in bed.
Lucy was feeling very sated after the ‘exertions’ of the past hour or so. “Come on.” She wheedled seductively. “We are on our dream Indian Ocean island in a private beach resort. The beach is deserted at night, no one will see. I’ve always dreamt of doing it on the sand.”
“But if we are caught…”
“We’re on honeymoon and got a bit carried away. People understand that, an embarrassed apology and we forget it. But I told you the beach is deserted at night, we’ll be totally safe.” As she rubbed her husband’s chest lightly he finally gave way.
“Oh alright!” He said. “Tomorrow night, but after midnight okay.”
Lucy’s response was to roll on top of him to give him a very tempting kiss. Soon the only sounds were of moans as they enjoyed the bed in their beach ‘hut’ only thirty yards from the sound of the Indian Ocean waves lapping against the shore.
The following day Lucy was full of anticipation and nervous excitement. Greg found it infectious and the day was one of the best of their honeymoon so far. Their late dinner was perfect and, instead of retiring as they had most evenings they chose to go for a walk along the island’s shore. As Lucy had said, Greg was very reassured to find the beaches petty well empty. Initially there were a couple of other pairs, but by half past midnight as they walked back along one of the most secluded parts, midway between their complex and the neighbouring hotel about a mile further along the mostly unspoilt coast, it was utterly deserted.
Lucy stopped and looked around before pulling Greg towards her. Soon they were staggering back in each others’ arms to the back of the beach, where they found a small dip on the tree filled fringe where they could lie together.
The environment was intoxicating and it was a couple of hours later when their amours were coming to a climax for a second time, that Greg found a torch shining on them and a voice shouting at him in the native language as he was roughly pulled off his wife.
His first instinctive reaction to challenge this intrusion was quelled as he recognised the uniform of the voice’s angry owner. There were three policemen looking down on them.
Lucy hastily covered herself with the wrap around skirt she’d chosen that evening, and groped in the sand for her bikini top, as Greg covered himself with his shorts.
The policeman, recognising that these were tourists reverted to English. “What you were doing on the beach is very bad, not allowed.” He declared angrily. “Get dressed immediately!”
As discreetly as possible the two nervous honeymooners did so, and Greg started to apologise profusely.
However, the policeman was having none of it. Rather than warning them and sending them on their way he escorted them back to their complex and confirmed their names with the manager. Lucy was in tears by the time the three men left, taking their passports, saying they would be back in the morning.
The manager was sympathetic but could not offer them much hope as they asked him what would happen. The normal, he said, was that they would be taken to court, given a fine and deported.
Their three week holiday in paradise was coming to a very premature end!
As Lucy sobbed inconsolably with the news, Greg asked if there was anything that could be done, any alternative, that could save their holiday of a lifetime.
The manager had grown to like this couple and had some sympathy. Finally he said he doubted he could do much but he could try making a couple of calls.
Neither Lucy nor Greg slept much nor did they do much else other than lie holding hands as the clock ticked round until morning. The manager was not to be seen as they picked at an early breakfast, wondering if this would be their last there.
They were just finishing when the manager arrived accompanied by a policeman covered in braid; clearly he was very senior.
The manager introduced him as an assistant chief of police, but also as his good friend. Apparently he was the leading officer on the Island. It was a fairly small island and everyone seemed to know everyone else.
The policeman sat down with them and said: “So you got up to a bit of mischief last night…” His English was almost perfect, hardly accented, unlike the officers last night.
Greg started the apology as Lucy blushed miserably.
However, he was cut short. “Yes, I know you are on honeymoon here, I heard. However, we have very strict rules here on such behaviour.”
“So there’s nothing you can do?” Greg said miserably.
“Normally no, but Mr Rufus, the manager here likes you and made a suggestion, which we have not offered to foreigners before, as it might affect our reputation. You are not the first to have been caught in such a compromising position, either tourist or local. Always the tourists have been fined and deported. However, the locals have the choice of the fine, jail time, or the cane.”
Both Greg and Lucy found their lips go dry as the man continued. “Mr Rufus suggested we might consider the alternative of caning you both, as we would usually for some of our younger miscreants.”
It was Greg who replied: “But the cane leaves permanent scarring. I’ve heard. I don’t see that as an option!”
The officer smiled. “I think you are mixing this up with our friends in Singapore. No, our punishments are more on the lines that an older school pupil would receive, and still do receive on these Islands! I should warn you that, yes, you will have marks that will probably last for over a week, and it will be very painful at the time, but presuming you do not re-offend then we can avoid the court and you will be free to finish your honeymoon. There would also be no fine, but we would need your word that you will not, well, seek to ‘publicise’ the punishment.”
Greg clearly was all for saying thanks but no thanks, but Lucy cut across him. “So what exactly does the,… well… c..caning involve?”
She rather gulped as he replied: “Well, it would be eight strokes, given to your bare bottom with a three foot cane, by a police officer of the same sex. That means you will be punished separately.”
“And on ‘no publicity’, our word is enough for you?” Lucy asked.
“Mr Rufus says he believes we can trust you, and the marks should have disappeared by the time you are due to leave. All we ask is you let him keep your passports till the flight home. If after that you try to make a story, then we will claim it was some sexual experiment between you and we know nothing. However, we do not believe you are the sort of couple that would enjoy the media pawing over your nocturnal activities for their readers.”
The policeman’s view was confirmed by the involuntary shudder from Lucy as she imagined her name being news headlines for such a reason.
However, Greg was looking at Lucy incredulously, still amazed that she could seriously be considering taking a thrashing. He asked if they could have a few minutes to consider.
As the officer retired Greg looked at his lovely young wife and asked: “Are you mad? You cannot seriously consider taking such a punishment can you?”
Lucy replied simply: “I am not being deported on our honeymoon. I cannot face the embarrassment in being sent home early. I know this is my fault, as it was my idea, but please let’s try to stay!”
Once again Greg wondered what he had let himself be persuaded into as he finally acquiesced.
As the policeman came back across and sat down with them it was Lucy that spoke first. “We have talked and will accept the caning.” She said in a voice that sounded far firmer than she felt. “However, I would ask that I take the punishment as it was my idea.”
She blushed as she continued: “I had to work hard to persuade Greg to do it. This is my fault and therefore I must take the consequence.”
Greg looked shocked, spluttered and started to interrupt, but found himself silenced by his wife’s resolve overriding him.
The police officer was bemused at the reverse chivalry. A couple of local men had begged him to let their girlfriend’s off, but never the other way round. This was a tough young lady that was in front of him. Briefly he wondered if the new husband realised how lucky he was, and came to the conclusion he probably did, though perhaps he did not yet fully appreciate it. Considering Lucy’s request, eventually he decided to adopt the same strategy as he had on those previous occasions.
“You both agreed to this and therefore both must accept a consequence.” He stated. “However, I can give you ten and your husband six if you both agree.”
The policeman carefully schooled his face to be totally impassive as he watched, with a detached amusement, the two of them, clearly very much in love with each other, arguing who should take more. He was not surprised that the girl won again.
“Very well,” he said. “Normally we would ask you to the station, but Mr Rufus has a quiet location in the hotel. Some colleagues will return in one hour’s time to conclude things.
With that he left them to wonder what they had agreed to.
On schedule, an hour later, Mr Rufus knocked on the door of their hut. A few minutes later they were in his office.
In the room were four officers. Two of them were from the men who had discovered them, and the other two were women. Lucy noticed that one was definitely what you might call ‘strapping’. She nervously came to the quick conclusion that she would be able to wield a punishment implement very effectively.
Though it was not a truly official punishment, they had to both sign a disclaimer and a promise not to divulge the punishment to anyone else. They both were biting their lips nervously as they signed up for what they knew would be a painful experience. How painful, they of course as yet had no idea.
The formalities over, the most senior officer indicated the procedure. First the two men would take Greg to a basement cellar, built in case of a cyclone, but as yet unused for such an emergency. Once he had had his six strokes then the women officers would take Lucy for her ten. Last night Greg had many times tried to suggest swapping them round or being equal, but Lucy had been adamant. Now as she saw one of the officers pick the hitherto unnoticed pair of simple straight canes from a corner in the room, she was much less sure of the wisdom of her insistence. She remembered being told they were about three feet long. Perhaps it was her imagination – they looked longer than that to her.
Then she was alone in the office with the two female officers, and what was to be ‘her’ cane. Mr Rufus had gone with Greg to unlock the door to the shelter.
There was silence between the three women for a while before the smaller, also kinder looking, of the two women spoke. “I am sorry this is happening on your honeymoon.” She said sympathetically.
Lucy grimaced as she replied: “So am I now. I am very sorry to have been so silly, and caused such trouble.”
“If the assistant chief didn’t think so you’d be packing your bags before going to court by now. He must feel very sorry for you as he has never done this for a foreigner before.” Replied the officer.
The officer then continued. “We have a bit of a question. You’re taking ten strokes right?
“Yes?” replied Lucy nervously.
“Well, Maria here can do as she normally does and lay them on right across your bottom, but I doubt you’ll find any swimsuit or bikini that will hide the lowest ones. Alternatively she can try to keep them off the lowest part, meaning you might get away with some fully cut bikini bottoms, but as some of the strokes might overlap, the last ones may be more painful.”
Lucy was silent as she considered the two unpalatable options. Greg was lucky, she realised. The baggy shorts he wore on the beach would cover every conceivable mark that she guessed, with a shudder, he was now actually receiving.
Finally she replied looking at the bigger woman. “Please try to keep as high as possible, but I prefer lower than the risk of extra pain, please.”
The older officer looked at her sympathetically for the first time. “I’ll do my best.” She replied. “Though I will also be doing my best to make sure you never are so silly again!”
Lucy shuddered once again at the final part of the statement. She felt like saying there was no chance of her ever being so silly, but instead blushed and kept quiet.
Suddenly the two male officers returned. Lucy stood. “Where’s Greg?” She asked abruptly as she did so.
“Mr Rufus has taken him to your hut.” Came the reply, then the officer said to his female colleagues: “The room is down the stairs at the end of the corridor, second door on the right.”
With that the two female officers also got up and escorted Lucy out. Her nerves were very much getting the better of her as they walked down the thankfully empty corridor. Fortunately it was in the ‘staff only’ area so being sandwiched between two women in uniform, the one behind carrying the straight cane, was not something her fellow guests, including a few they had begun to get to know a little, would ever need to find out about.
As she walked along she was very aware of an anticipatory ache in her rear. She also felt very vulnerable having chosen not to bother with knickers, given that she knew it was not an option to retain them. While some of her friends at home would go ‘commando’ on a night out, Lucy had never had the confidence or indeed desire to so with a skirt. Excluding nightwear and her now infamous visit to the beach the night before, this was another first for her.
The nerves were tingling as they went down the deserted stairs. Lucy felt herself starting to breathe more deeply as they approached the door to the room, the room where the punishment she had agreed to, in part asked for, would be carried out.
The younger officer opened the door and went in. The windowless chamber was large, capable of holding the hotel guests and staff after all, but currently fairly empty, though she could see a pile of simple furniture stacked at the far end. Near the door area all there was were a couple of chairs and a simple wooden framed bed. A couple of blankets were folded over the foot end of the frame to provide a cushion of sorts.
She heard the door shut behind the older woman and turned to face her.
“You can either bend over the chair or the end of the bed, after you’ve taken your skirt and underwear off,” she said.
Fumbling Lucy untied the waist of the three quarter length wrap and placed it on the chair. She noticed both ladies looking at the fair hair between her legs. Her T-shirt was not long enough to protect her modesty, not that it really mattered, she reflected. As they continued to look at her she shrugged and said quietly: “I didn’t see much point wearing knickers.”
The younger woman gave a not unsympathetic smile, while Lucy looked at the choice of chair and bed, eventually choosing the bed, given the presence of the thick blankets. The high back of the chairs would be hard for her petite frame to bend over in any case.
Soon she was part standing, part lying over the bed end with her legs behind her and her hands gripping the mattress.
The younger woman sat on the bed and leaned towards her, grabbing her wrists. “Hold tight!” She whispered.
At the first gentle touch of the stick on her bottom her stomach lurched towards her mouth. She screwed her eyes closed and prayed desperately that she would hold herself together as the touch left.
Then the low whistle and the thwack as the first cut landed high on her buttocks. Despite having resolved to take it quietly the shock of pain led to a gasp and brief wail. It was certainly much sharper than she expected.
Then there was a wait. Suddenly a second whistle and thwack, just below the first. It took all her resolve not to scream out.
The third was just below again and Lucy could not control a small wail escaping.
The police officer was methodically working down the target, and was clearly in no hurry, allowing around a quarter of a minute between strokes.
As she waited for the fourth Lucy wondered if she was being lenient, not realising that the delay was to prevent numbing of the pain; precisely the opposite.
A most unladylike grunt escaped her as the fourth landed right on target.
“Owwww!” She wailed more audibly as the fifth hard cut seared her senses.
The wail on the sixth was louder. Lucy was now beginning to really struggle, for the first time her hands left their grip on the mattress and the younger policewoman had to encourage her to remain still as she tightened her grip on Lucy’s wrists.
Lucy found herself unable to control her voice on the seventh as the pain overwhelmed her. She had had no idea it could be this bad.
Her resolve not to scream had been broken, and on the eighth, a real stringer just below half way down the target, her resolve not to cry also went as the first tears fell on the mattress. “Please, enough! I am sorry!” She begged.
The only response was: “Only two to go now!” From the woman holding her hands, to be followed by another loud, low whistle as the cane cut into her hindquarters, the cut landing not quite on top of number eight as the caner tried to leave the very lowest part of her bottom unmarked.
Lucy was now sobbing uncontrollably and incoherently pleading for no more, only vaguely was she aware that there was one to go.
Then it came, very hard and three quarters of the way down the target. The scream was ear splitting as the final cut branded her bottom.
The younger officer let go of her wrists, but Lucy made no effort to get up as she sobbed to herself. Eventually the officer took her arm and gently raised her from the bed. She then helped her tie the loose cotton skirt back on her waist.
Lucy had recovered just about enough composure to thank her and was similarly grateful for a tissue she produced from a pocket.
Finally the women headed to the door, and the younger officer helped Lucy slowly climb the stairs. At the top they found Mr Rufus waiting.
Lucy in retrospect found it strange that she did so, but she thanked the two officers before allowing Mr Rufus to point her in the direction of the staff washroom to clean the worst of the marks off her face, before he helped her back to the hut.
As he got there he gave her a small pot of cream. “You both might find this of use.” He said wryly.
“T-thanks!” She stuttered as she turned to face the door.
Rather than unlock it she knocked as Mr Rufus disappeared round the path to the main part of the hotel.
The moment Greg, still grimacing from his own experiences, opened the door she threw herself in his arms and started sobbing again, desperately wanting his forgiveness for what had happened. Forgiveness of course that she already had.