It was early afternoon and the roar of the kids going to lunch was just starting to die away. I couldnít blame them. Iíd been outside with my P.E. classes all morning and hadnít wanted to come in for math. It was a beautiful day outside. Technically it wasnít quite spring yet; but, in Texas, early March can be a wonderful time. Thatís why I was so unhappy about this afternoonís business. Not as unhappy as the young man who reluctantly pushed through my classroom door, however.
Josh Fitzhugh was too quiet to be one of my very favorite students, but he was a good kid and in my first period advanced class, where all the kids were pretty fun. At least he was normally; there was nothing normal about this afternoon. He just stuck his head in the door at first, obviously hoping that Iíd been kidnapped by aliens. When that didnít work out for him, he reluctantly entered the room and crossed to stand before my desk. Knowing that the boy deserved some agony, and knowing exactly how to make it worse with least effort, I glanced up and nodded to acknowledge his presence, then ignored him.
I spent another minute or two recording test grades in my grade book, then closed it, pushed it aside, and picked up a single sheet of paper that was sitting on the corner of my desk, next to an envelope. I glanced at it, realizing that it was much neater than the disciplinary slips I normally sent home. Those were just form letters. This one Iíd slipped over to the office and typed up at the end of my last period, after all the tests had been turned in. After the quick glance, I handed it to the boy and leaned back to watch his expression while he read it. I had already memorized what it said.
Mr. or Mrs. Fitzhugh,
Today in math class, I caught Joshua cheating on his test. I spoke with him about it in the hall, with Mrs. Rowe as a witness, and he freely admitted to it. Josh has always been an exemplary student, and I feel that this is just an anamoly caused by the difficulty he had with the current section.
Having said that, cheating is obviously not tolerated. My normal procedure in the rare cases this occurs is for the child to receive corporal punishment and re-take the test, with a ten-point grade reduction. This reduction is not part of the punishment, but to offset the extra time the student has to study. Because of the severity of the transgression, I always contact the parents in these cases.
Also, because Joshua is a bus student, arrangements will have to be made for him to take the test either before or after school. Iím available after school, but special arrangements will have to be made for any other time.
The rest was just contact information. Mostly I wasnít thinking about the letter though; I was thinking about the boy in front of me. Iíd checked his records and knew he was twelve, though he was a bit big for his age. Looking at him like this, standing in front of my desk by himself, he didnít seem very big. It was only when I saw him with his friends that I realized he was a good four or five inches taller than a lot of his classmates, even though he was only two or three inches above five feet, himself. Josh was a good-looking boy, with dirty blond hair that was just starting to look like it needed a trim. He was lean but not skinny. His face was nice, but not outstanding, except for what I considered to be his best featureódark, nearly olive green eyes, which were highlighted by the perpetual rosy glow in his cheeks.
The boy was fidgeting as he read my letter, which only made him cuter. I canít help it. Even though I do enjoy spanking, and even paddling kids, when they get this nervous and upset, I just want to wrap my arms around them and tell them itíll be okay. Josh was no exception.
"Please, Mr. Wells, do you have to send a letter home? Canít you just paddle me now?"
"Iíd," I stopped myself. It really wasnít appropriate to tell the kid ĎIíd like toí, so I paused to think about how I wanted to phrase this. I moved around my desk and sat on the edge, to be closer to his height. "Josh, what you did was very serious. I understand the reason for it, but you have to understand that itís not acceptable."
And I did understand. The boy was normally an excellent student, but heíd had trouble with the last section. Iíd tried to make myself available to help him, but because he rode the bus, he was very limited in when he could come in. Heíd come in at lunch a couple of times, and I thought heíd picked it up. Thatís why I was so shocked when I saw him looking across the aisle at someone elseís paper. I couldnít believe it at first, and even moved to where Iíd have a clearer view, before I finally let him know he was caught.
When Josh had brought his test to me, Iíd put it to the side. As soon as all the tests were done, Iíd led him outside and asked Mrs. Rowe from next door to join us.
The boy was obviously not happy about his parents learning of his behavior and was nearly trembling while I explained to him why I felt I had to contact them. His eyes were shiny damp as I explained my reason for sending a letter. "At least this way you have some control over who you tell first and when you let them know. If I call, itís out of your hands. You can at least wait until Momís not cooking dinner, or until Dadís put his feet up and had a beer. But, Josh, if you donít bring the letter back in the morning, Iíll have to call. Do you understand?" The threatening tears finally started to roll down his cheeks, but he nodded, finally admitting that he wasnít going to talk himself out of this.
I glanced at my watch. "Itís almost time for class to start, Josh. Did you eat yet?"
The boy refused to look at me, and just shrugged, then nodded, looking like it didnít matter anymore.
"Josh, Iím really sorry about this," I said, feeling for his depression, "but you brought this on yourself. You made a bad decision, and now you need to deal with the consequences and move on. Okay?"
He looked up at me, obviously understanding that I was trying to be encouraging, and he gave me a brief, weak smile, probably appreciating the effort, even while letting me know it hadnít worked.
I felt bad the rest of the day, not understanding how I could so gleefully spank or paddle a kid, yet agonize over sending a letter home. I can only guess that I remembered too many times that Iíd suffered the agony of anticipation myself. Josh wasnít one of my pet students, but he was still a really nice kid. Besides, it wasnít like I was going to get to spank him.
Teachers were required to be at school by 8am, but I tried to be there earlier, since it was easier to get in and out of the office, use the copier if I needed it, or just sit and stare a few minutes, before I actually had to do anything. My chance to sit and stare was blown by the fact that Josh was standing by the door to my classroom at 7:45, when I walked towards it with my briefcase in one hand, memos tucked under that arm, and my teeth clenching the rim of a can of Coke, so I could dig for my keys with my free hand. My attention was momentarily caught by the fact that Josh, who normally wore plain jeans like most of the boys did, was wearing one of those trendy pairs of olive green slacks with a built-in belt. It seemed an odd choice to me, since he knew he was going to be getting swats, and I wondered if either his parents had made him wear those, or if he was too tender from his parentsí attentions to wear anything heavier.
Josh was slumped in misery, but when he saw me, he straightened up and took the memos and briefcase. As soon as I had the can out of my mouth, I murmured Ďthank youí. He just nodded and returned to his own inner demons.
As soon as Iíd taken my stuff back from him, he pulled a noteóthe noteófrom his back pocket and held it out for me. I glanced at it, then looked up at him. His eyes were bleak and watery. I took the note, unfolded it, and read his fatherís reply.
"Do you know what this says?"
He shrugged. "Sorta."
"First, it says that heís going to pick you up after school today, so you can take the test this afternoon. Is that right?"
"Are you going to be ready this time?"
He nodded again, then added, "I studied hard last night."
I nodded, hoping it was true. "The other thing it says is, your parents are fine with the corporal punishment and suggest I give you as many swats as Iím allowed. ThatĎs five," I added, just in case heíd not heard.
Iím sure Josh had suspected something like that but was clearly unhappy to have it confirmed. His already bright eyes turned watery, and a tear hung suspended on the edge of his lid. His lower lip and chin began to tremble and quiver. He obviously wanted to look away, but fought the twitches of his neck to look me in the eye as he made his plea.
"Please, donít paddle me, Mr. Wells." He paused for a second and his normally ruddy cheeks darkened and the color spread across his face, before he admitted, "My butt already hurts real bad."
"Your dad whup you last night?"
I saw his Adamís apple bob up and down as he swallowed. "He switched me," he answered, in a small, sheepish, and deeply embarrassed voice.
"Who had to pick it?"
"I did," he admitted, the blush continuing to deepen, spreading to his neck and ears.
"Did he switch you on your pants?"
The boy shook his head. I just stared, so he went on. "My bare butt. I had to get naked."
"Before or after you picked the switch?"
The boy was clearly humiliated by my questions but didnít seem to dare to not answer, and didnít even seem to think them that unusual.
"Did anybody see you?"
"Just my mom and my brothers."
"They saw you pick the switch?"
"No. Well, yeah, they saw the whole thing. Dad made me tell them why I was in trouble, and he switched me in the living room, so theyíd know what will happen if they ever think about cheating in school."
I leaned back and thought a minute, concentrating like I did in gym class to keep my excitement from becoming too obvious. Josh fidgeted, obviously wanting to renew his plea for clemency, but not sure if it would be a good idea to interrupt me.
"Josh, I have two problems here. First, what happens at home shouldnít affect the penalty at school. Iím sorry you got switched, but it seems like your dad felt that should only be part of your punishment."
The seeming confirmation of his sentence sent the trembling tears overflowing, and they began to track down his cheek.
"The other problem is, I only have your word that you did get switched." Josh started to protest, but I cut him off with an upraised finger. He stood quietly, his mouth still agape for a moment, before catching himself fully.
I knew what I wanted to do, but wasnít sure it was a good idea. I glanced at my watch. It hadnít even been ten minutes yet. We still had at least twenty minutes before the first bell, and at least fifteen before any student would normally come in. That decided me.
"Iíll tell you what Iíll do, Josh. If you agree, Iíll check to see if thereís still any evidence that youíve been switched. If there is, then I can probably think of a couple of alternatives for you. Okay?"
"That means youíre going to have to drop your pants. Iíll lock the door, but are you okay with doing that here?"
He was a bit more hesitant, but nodded again.
"And Iíll probably have to touch you to be sure. Any problem"
He shrugged his shoulders this time. "Not if it gets me outta swats."
I couldnít control the small smile that stole to my lips. He was obviously and reasonably distraught, but an answering smile, though weak and watery, appeared on his own.
I walked across to the door and locked it, having much less trouble with my key this time. When I turned back, Josh was turned away from me but already undoing his pants. I walked back to where he still stood in front of my desk.
"Go ahead and drop Ďem to your knees, then bend over the desk."
He nodded, and I stepped back a bit as he followed my instructions. I had three of the four boysí sixth-grade gym classes, but that meant I missed twenty-five percent of them. Josh was part of that one-quarter. I have to admit that I was watching curiously as the slacks slid down, revealing smooth legs. His shirt dangled a bit too much for me to have a good look at his rear. I would really have liked to have seen it with his briefs still on, but didnít get a look until they were already down his thighs and he was leaning on the desk.
I raised his shirt up nearly to his shoulders, tucking it in a bit, so it wouldnít fall, then knelt down beside him. Standing, I couldnít really see any evidence that the boy had been punished, but when I got down on my knee, it became obvious. There wasnít anything youíd really call damage, but there were signs if you looked.
His upper cheeks and legs seemed to be free of blemishes, but his lower cheeks, especially where his weight would be resting when he sat, looked like it was covered with a weird type of gooseflesh.
"Iím going to touch you now, Josh," I warned him. He just grunted, so I ran my hand up and down each cheek. I had my left arm resting on his bare back, so I easily noticed him flinch when my hand first made contact.
Though his upper cheeks and legs looked clear, I could feel very slight welts raised up on the skin. On the lower spots, where the results were more obvious, I could feel more ridges than on a Ruffles chip. The slight welts were hardly anything Iíd consider abusive, but there were enough of them there that he must have been in agony long before it was over. Then again, Iíd seen the results of switchings that had been a lot worse. He must have picked his switch with care, since the welts hadnít broke and were already not real noticeable.
I knelt a little closer, thankful that the boy had good hygiene, and took a look. There was actually a little more damage than Iíd first noticed. There were a couple of places where it looked like heíd popped a pimple, but a little more oblong. Iím assuming that those were a couple of spots where the tip of the switch had cut in a bit, or maybe welts had overlapped and broken there. Still, it wasnít any worse than if heíd popped a pimple, and I doubted it was really painfulÖ Well, no more painful than the rest of his rear anyway.
In my gym classes, and even spanking, I saw a lot of bare bottoms, but always from at least a couple of feet. This time, when I finished my examination, I took a minute to admire the up close view that I never really got, (and it was a very admirable bottom, even counting the small, blond hairs that I could see in a few places, and especially counting the signs of his fatherís displeasure). Not wanting to leave the boy this way too long, or have him start wondering what I was doing, I stood.
"Hop up and turn around, Josh."
He did, and started to lower his shirt.
"You might as well leave that up," I told him.
He stopped with the shirt part way down, but still exposing his firm, lean belly. He was blushing and looking at the floor, so I glanced down to catch a glimpse of a narrow, thin band of dark blond pubic hair, the exact shade on his head, growing over a fairly nice looking package, before I corrected myself.
"You can pull your briefs up for now," I paused for just a second, "and I guess it doesnít matter if you let your shirt down."
The boy was obviously not comfortable with his nudity and was happy to fix his clothes as much as I allowed. After a minute, standing there mostly dressed, except his slacks, which had worked down his calves, he was able to look me in the face again.
"I think itís obvious that your father wanted you paddled now, while youíre like this." The boy suddenly looked miserable, but I went on before he could break down. "Lucky for you, he can tell me no, or he can make suggestions, but he canít MAKE me punish you a certain way. Instead, Iím going to give you three choices."
He looked up, hope and thankfulness beaming from his eyes.
"I know it sucks having to wait for a punishment, but we can do the paddling Monday at lunch, if youíd like. Youíll get the full five swats if we do that." His eyes went wide at the thought of five swats, and his hands stole behind him, to softly rub his cotton covered bottom, as he thought of some of the kids he must know whoíd received just two or three swats from me. Iím sure the thought of waiting all weekend for it didnít help either.
"Or," I went on, "you can pull your pants up right now, bend over and getÖ" I really wanted to give the boy at least three, but over those welts, every one would be agony: "Ö Two swats." He didnít look very happy at the lower number, so I went on.
"Third choice is the one I think youĎll like best. You bend over right now and get five."
"Five now!?" he burst in confusion.
"Five now, with your pants down," I said, as he stared at me like Iíd just grown a third-eye, "with my hand." He sagged as I filled in that little detail.
He looked confused and did NOT want to make the decision. I reminded him that I should be giving him five with the paddle right then, albeit on his pants. When he still didnít decide, I offered to let him examine the paddle. That rattled him and he shook his head to decline the offer.
Instead, he opened his mouth. "Five now, with your hand," he said, dejectedly.
I nodded and motioned for him to go back over the desk. It wasnít quite 8am yet, so we still had a couple of minutes. I got him into perfect position: knees straight, bottom back, elbows on the desk so his rear was up a bit. It took me a few seconds to get into position, since I was accustomed to using the paddle, but I lined up my hand, then took a couple of test swings. When I was satisfied, I gave his left cheek a quick rub, then pulled my hand back above my shoulder and smacked it down.
Josh yelped. His head shot up, back arched, and arms straightened, but he didnít move or reach behind him. I gave him a second, then gently pushed him back down.
As soon as he was back in position, I cupped his right cheek, gave it a rub, and repeated the procedure, drawing the same result, except the yelp was damper this time.
The third smack was back on the left cheek, but was lower down. I saw Josh begin to tremble as I lined up on those tiny welts that covered the area and knew Iíd be re-igniting the fire when this swat fell, but made it no easier. The boy cried out when it landed, and I could see his chest shaking with silent sobs.
The sobs grew much louder when the next swat fell on the same spot of the opposite cheek. If heíd thought my hand was going to be easier, he was right. If he thought that meant it would be easy, he was sadly mistaken. Iíd given him too many chances to get help to let him off easy on this. I intended to make sure that he had a lesson to remember for a while before I was through with him. With his fatherís preparation, I think I succeeded.
I nudged his legs a bit further apart for the last swat. I could see fresh redness glowing through the thin cotton of his Jockey shorts as I lined up the last swat to fall up and down his crack. I measured the distance carefully and curled my fingers a bit to dig into those sensitive inner thighs. When that swat landed, he howled and cried aloud. I was extremely happy with the results, but I didnít think he could complain too much. It had been his choice, and it had been a fair one.
As much as I wanted to rub his bottom for him, I didnít think it was a really good idea. My hand was tingling wonderfully and I looked down at it, surprised by how dark it was, and it occurred to me to wonder, heís the one that had been caught, so why was I red-handed?
He didnít seem ready to rub himself, so I left him over the desk for a minute, then carefully helped him up. I wasnít going to hug a student, as much as he looked like he could use one, so I held some Kleenex out for him, then gave his shoulder a soft squeeze instead. He took them gratefully, though it made a bit of a problem, since he was busily trying to rub the sting away. When heíd finally rubbed enough of the sting out, he fixed his clothes, and hurried to the bathroom before class started.
He was late getting back, but I ignored it (Ďjust this onceí) and told him to catch his seat. When he saw me watching him, he made a huge production of sitting carefully. I was shaking my head, but had to smile at him. He smiled back and seemed to be glad heíd gotten the worst behind him.
Josh took the test again after school that day and made a hundred. Even with the grade reduction, that was still an ĎAí. Two weeks later, when I handed some homework back to him that wasnít his usual quality, he stopped by my desk on the way out of class and made an appointment for some lunch time tutoring. One way or the other, the boy had learned his lesson. I think he learned to ask for help when he was unsure about something. If he ever did cheat again, heíd learned to be much more careful about it.