The first memorable crime for which I was punished was forgetting to have my car MOTed and taxed. It was a small oversight, and one I rectified as soon as I noticed it, albeit months later than technically required. I was overjoyed to realise I’d got away with it without stern talks, fines or prison sentences. HH wasn’t quite as joyous as I was. He thought my carelessness should be punished with twelve strokes, implement unspecified. There was talk of the paddle.
I hate the paddle. Nothing that inflicts pain gives me warm fuzzy feelings, but some inspire more fear than others. Straps and tawses are almost in the ‘like’ column. Canes have their special place, as they leave such lovely marks. Paddles don’t. Paddles don’t even get classified because I’m too busy squealing. My ability to manage twelve hard paddle strokes was uncertain, and before I even arrived, I accrued another thirteen for failing to make travel arrangements in advance. I knew this had caused inconvenience and felt suitably guilty, but also confused, as my bad relationship with time makes such arrangements difficult and dangerous. I trod a difficult line between remorse and defensiveness.
Twenty-five strokes? Twenty-five of anything, in one go, was beyond me; I’m a self-confessed wimp. With Emma Jane’s admonishments to take limits seriously ringing in my ears, I resolved to clarify his intentions, and make a dignified refusal if it sounded like too much. I attempted that conversation three times. Every time I felt my tone sliding into petulance and wheedling. I wanted to talk like a grown up, but the more frustrated I got, the more childish I sounded, and his tone remained eminently reasonable.
He’d start with the twelve MOT strokes and decide whether to administer the rest directly after that, or the next day. I was terrified. So terrified that when I was offered a warm-up spanking it was beyond my capacity to make a decision, which meant that I went without. I was bent over and told to count. It was difficult. The first three or four went by quickly, but then he swapped to another cane and the pain of each stroke made me shriek. I didn’t just cry, I sobbed and screamed. The only thing that kept me in place was the fact that the half-way mark (a red, livid welt) was behind me. Surely I could hold out until the end? It was a close thing. I mixed up ten and eleven, gasping out the right number after a frenzied scrabble through my mind. I didn’t manage an ounce of bravery. When the twelfth stroke fell I cried harder, in pain and relief.