Suitable correction for a junior staff member. From the old site.
By Joanna Jones
“This is so, so embarrassing mum,” whined Carol as she sat in the front seat of the car.
“I totally agree, and I am glad you’re finally understanding that your actions yesterday were totally unacceptable.” I replied coldly.
My daughter slumped in her chair, chewing her lip. She was wearing the smart business suit I had bought her when she had got the summer job with Evans and Pearce, the local solicitors in the market town near where we lived. It was about a quarter to seven on a Friday morning, far earlier than she normally went to work, and normally she made her own way there. Today was very different though – we had an early morning appointment with her boss, Mr Pearce.
“But, mum, I am eighteen. Surely there must be another way.”
“You want the sack? No possibility of any reference let alone a good one?”
Carol shuffled in her seat for a moment and then started again, “But…”
I lost my patience. “But what?” I asked. “Let’s go through the facts again. I, on your behalf, persuaded our family friend Mr Pearce to give you work over the summer on his reception to get experience. You promised both him and me you’d work to the best of your ability for the summer. Then you don’t get to work on time at least once a week.”
“Only a few minutes.” She whined.
“Late is late.” I responded. “It is simply unprofessional. However, that is nothing to telling Mr Coles to shut up and wait; and then calling him a ‘prat’.”
“But he was being rude to me, and I didn’t mean for him to hear me calling him that.” The whining continued.
“Whether you meant for him to hear or not is of absolutely no consequence. The fact is, he did hear, and you should not have even considered being so foolish in any case. Mr Coles is a very important client of Evans and Pearce and he was under a great deal of stress. You could see that. You were employed to keep clients calm while waiting even if they are impatient, not aggravate them, let alone swear about them.”
Carol was silent.
I continued. “You are lucky you weren’t sacked immediately. It took me a lot to persuade Mr Pearce to consider this alternative.”
“You could have suggested something else. I think being sacked would be better.”
“Really?” I replied. “Apart from the fact you would have no money as well as no allowance from me all summer. And I can give you something far worse than Mr Pearce for the cowardice in ducking this punishment, in addition to what you already have coming for the embarrassment you’ve caused me.”
“But, the cane on my backside from that lecherous old man, with that Mr Coles watching. It’s disgusting.”
There was a gap for a farm gate on the road. I braked and pulled in.
“How dare you!” I shouted. “Mr Pearce is an honourable man. He was very reluctant to consider this alternative, and it was he who said it would be best over your skirt. If he had listened to me he would be whacking your bare backside, which is exactly what’s going to happen a week on Saturday when it’s my turn.” I was getting very cross again. “It is clear from your language that you have still learned nothing from all this. When you arrive and apologise, you will show Mr Pearce how contrite you are by asking him to cane you over your knickers!”
“No mum! No way!” She shouted back.
However, I had had enough. “If you don’t, then I promise you same again, knickers down, with the cane tonight as well.”
She stared at me aghast. I held her gaze until finally she looked down and as she did so I noted a tear forming in her eye. My rather too forthright daughter was finally beginning to accept that actions have consequences.
I pressed home the advantage. “So when we get there you will first apologise to Mr Pearce and Mr Coles.”
“Then you will ask him to give you your caning on your knickers.” I continued.
“But what if he refuses?”
I grimaced. “You will have to try to insist. I am sure you can persuade him, knowing what will happen tonight if you fail. Understood?”
A deep breath from my daughter before she once again said: “Yes Mum.”
“Finally, I don’t want to hear another ‘but’, whine or argument before we get there. If you do, you’ll be asking for the caning on your bare backside! Is that clear?”
I was inwardly smiling at the horrified look on her face as she struggled with her argumentative desire before finally slumping back with a final: “Yes Mum.”
I restarted the car and the final five minutes into town were mercifully silent. Carol sat there nervously chewing her lip again as we pulled into one of the private spaces behind the solicitors’ offices. Two cars were already there. Although we were early, clearly both the aggrieved parties had also decided to be in plenty time.
Carol took an age to get out the car and smooth her clothes down before reluctantly starting for the door.
I called her back. “Are you not forgetting something?” I said pointing to the back door where, inside on the back seat, lay one of the canes I had at home. It was one of the ones I knew my daughter most feared when I had reason to use it for domestic discipline, which currently seemed to happen every couple of months. Carol was exceptionally headstrong, and managed to talk herself into some form of sore bottom even more frequently, certainly at least a couple of times a month. Her big sister and little brother in contrast only got into such trouble a few times a year.
Carol very reluctantly picked up the stick and we went to the entrance, which was locked. As I rang, Carol was doing her best to keep the cane hidden in front of her, although there was no-one I could see to hide it from. The electronic latch clicked and we made our way upstairs.
Mr Coles and Mr Pearce were waiting in the otherwise deserted office. The idea was to carry out this punishment before the other staff arrived, and seven o’clock also fitted in with the need for Mr Coles to travel on to his own work.
We all stood waiting for someone to say something. When nothing happened, I nudged my daughter. It was clear the onus was on her to set the ball rolling.
She looked at me half petrified before finally taking a deep breath as she turned to face the two men.
She went to Mr Coles first. “Mr Coles,” she started. “I am very sorry for my conduct yesterday. It was very immature and silly of me. I will learn to be more considerate and I hope by seeing me punished you can forgive me.” She subconsciously was fiddling with the cane in her hands and looking down at the floor as she said this.
Her head jerked up as Mr Coles spoke. “Thank you,” he said gruffly. “Perhaps I was a little impatient yesterday; I was very concerned at the time.”
I watched impassively as she turned to Mr Pearce. Despite my daughter’s protestations of him being old he was only in his early forties (younger than me by quite a few years) with a fairly young family, who like us were active members in the local tennis club. His views on family discipline, I knew, were fairly similar to ours. His eldest was twelve and I knew had received his first caning a couple of months ago. He had been disqualified for having sworn at an umpire in a junior tennis match while losing his temper over an (admittedly very poor) line call. He had been taken home directly after, and had returned less than an hour later walking carefully with a tear-stained face to apologise to the umpire and others about his behaviour. Another one with an overly competitive headstrong instinct I reflected.
Carol look nervously at Mr Pearce and, trembling, passed the cane over. “Mr Pearce, I am extremely sorry about my behaviour yesterday and for my lax timekeeping and general performance. I realise now that this is not a paid holiday but that I need to work properly to earn the money you pay me. Yesterday I showed myself to be very immature and silly. I am ashamed of what I did and the embarrassment I caused you. “
I was mildly impressed so far with her speech and wondered if she had been practising it in her mind last night, but now she was coming to the new bit.
She paused and glanced at me before continuing. “I am very thankful that you did not sack me immediately and are going to give me another chance. I behaved like a spoilt child and deserve to be punished like one. I know you agreed with my mother that I should get eight strokes of the cane, but to show you that I mean to change my ways I would like you to give me the punishment the way I deserve, over my knickers.”
Mr Pearce raised his eyebrows at that and glanced nervously at me before looking at Carol. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” he replied. “You’re an adult woman and I don’t know if that really would be appropriate.”
Carol glanced at me nervously. “I spoke to my mother about it and we agreed it would be for the best. Maybe I am just an adult, but my behaviour yesterday shows that I still have childish lessons to learn.”
“I really am not sure, Carol. Surely you don’t want to take your skirt off?” He asked.
Carol replied quickly: “I don’t think what I want matters. It’s what I deserve that counts. If it’s any reassurance I have put on a pair of old school underwear, which are very modest; and my mother is here to witness things.”
A small note of amusement entered my mind as I recalled a few weeks ago Carol expressing her satisfaction at never needing to wear those bottle green knickers again as she returned from her final day at school. Clearly her dislike of them was outweighed by the desire for whatever protection possible. They were a little thicker and cut more fully than the usual garments she now wore. Meanwhile Mr Pearce looked in a quandary, glancing at the two of us before finally agreeing. I was glad he didn’t glance at Mr Coles who looked more than a little excited at this turn of events. He was a bad tempered old goat, in my view, although there was no doubt that he was one of the wealthiest and most successful businessmen in the area.
“Very well,” he eventually said. “You’d better change over there,” pointing to a chair in the corner. “Once you’re ready, face the wall with your hands on your head until I call you.”
Carol went to the corner and nervously took off her jacket before reaching round for the clasp on her skirt at the back and, after clipping it and unzipping herself, she slipped the garment off and put it on the chair. The thin short satin slip soon followed and, glancing at me once again, she finally reluctantly slid her (at the time) new-fangled tights down to her ankles and eased them off.
Prepared, she then briefly looked around the room at us before facing the wall as requested. With her hands on her head the short blouse rode up more than far enough for her old school knickers to be displayed. With a white blouse and bottle green underwear she did indeed look like a naughty schoolgirl rather than the young woman she was supposed to be.
Mr Pearce fingered the cane absently while we waited, then cleared a file off the middle of his desk and removed his jacket. Picking up the cane again he then examined it more carefully and gave it a couple of practice swishes, causing my daughter to perceptibly flinch as it hummed through the air. After another brief moment he called her across. “Carol, come over here and grab the other side of my desk.”
She dropped her hands, and to avoid I think the stares of Mr Coles, rather quickly crossed the room and took up the required position. It was all rather different from the pleas, tears and begging when I punished her.
“Eight strokes, Carol. If you move or stand up it won’t count. Finally I want you to count each stroke, understood.”
She replied, “Yes, sir,” as Mr Pearce adjusted his position. Carol I could see had already a very tight grip of the desk edge as she waited.
I felt for the first time a little sorry for my daughter as Mr Pearce took his time lining up the first cut, with innumerable taps before finally he brought it down with a ‘swish’ and a loud ‘crack’ as the cane landed on the target.
My daughter gasped audibly as the impact registered before calling: “One Sir,” in a fairly clear voice.
Mr Coles I could see was watching avidly at the small hip movements she was making to deal with the pain.
Personally I was impressed with force used, certainly harder than I generally could muster. This was certainly going to be no picnic for Carol.
Mr Pearce knew how to take his time, slowly lining up each stroke and bringing it down harshly on the target. The green knickers were wriggling and bucking slightly more desperately with each blow, and the gasps and groans were becoming ever more heartfelt. The once clear voice was breaking more and more as my daughter counted out the strokes.
I was mildly impressed, as at home any punishment was always met with screams and tears throughout; the classic trick to pull on parental heartstrings (not that it worked on me I think). I had wondered how Carol had dealt with the two canings she had got at school and if this was anything to go by then pretty well would be the answer.
It was the fifth stroke of the eight that she gave the first audible shriek as an almighty blow caught her low on her hindquarters. There was a pause of a couple of seconds before she stuttered: “F… f… five, Sir.” Carol was finally reaching the end of her tether.
That did not encourage her punisher to abate the effort he was using. The sixth was lower still and a short scream preceded a sob as she cried out the stroke.
Mr Pearce continued to be, as far as I could see, unmoved by the agonies he was inflicting. Knowing that he had been quite frustrated by the low level poor attitude over the first few weeks of her employment I was not surprised. The seventh stroke was right at the base of her buttocks and the wail of pain was heartfelt.
Carol was struggling, sobbing audibly. It was only when she was asked by her chastiser if she wanted it again that she remembered to count: “Seven sir.” She repeated it, panic stricken, to avoid the prospect of additional cuts being inflicted. Her bottom and legs were now wriggling madly as she tried to cope with what was happening.
Mr Pearce, absorbed in his task, smiled grimly as he waited for her to still sufficiently for the final stroke.
It was his hardest, deliberately angled across her buttocks. Another scream and a gasped: “Ei… eight s… sir,” between breaths.
It was only after Mr Pearce told her that her punishment was over that she raised herself and faced us, still crying profusely while cradling her agonised rear end. At a word from Mr Pearce she stumbled to the corner, apologising again to Mr Coles on the way, and slowly started to change.
Mr Pearce turned to his client who looked rather flushed and distracted at what he had seen. After confirming that Mr Coles was indeed satisfied that justice had been served he politely escorted him out of the building.
When he returned he found Carol dressed and crying on my shoulder, repeatedly apologising for having let me down. It was a couple of minutes before she regained enough composure to face her manager again, still snuffling and cradling her bottom gently.
Mr Pearce spoke first. “I think you are in no fit state to work today,” he said kindly. “Take the day off and we will start afresh on Monday.”
“Thank you sir,” she stuttered. Then to my surprise as Mr Pearce made to return our cane she said: “No please can you keep it. I promise to do my best over the rest of the summer, but if I know the consequences of letting you down I am sure I will do it better.”
Mr Pearce glanced at me. My reply was that as she was eighteen this was essentially between him and my daughter. The final agreement was that unless Carol did something meriting the termination of employment I would have no interest in any further bottom warming that was felt necessary.
Carol lay on the back seat on the way home and for the first and perhaps the only time I waived her promised punishment, due eight days later, promising only I would remember it if she let Mr Pearce down again sufficiently to come close to losing her job.
That never happened, and her new attitude was sufficient that she happily worked for Evans and Pearce every summer while she was at university. Her overall behaviour at home also perceptibly changed and instances at home fell from their all too regular occurrences to once in the proverbial blue moon.
As for whether the cane left in Mr Pearce’s office was used again to warm her knickers, I cannot say for sure. A few times during those summers my daughter stumbled in quite late and seemed to be rather tender sitting down. However, true to my word I never asked nor sought to find out.