The Frog Days of Summer
It was the most unglamorous summer job ever, but it made good money and even better party conversation so I remained the frog washer for the Biology Department of Alansbrook University for the entire summer of my junior year.
The job of frog washer was just as the title implied. Frogs were shipped to the Biology Department for dissection and they had to be washed upon arrival. As it was explained to me by Dr. Foxworth, the department chair, the frogs were likely to develop Red Leg Disease if they were subjected to stressful environments such as the overcrowded boxes in which they were shipped. The anti-bacterial bath I gave them helped to prevent the occurrence of the disease and kept them contentedly croaking until they found their way to the biology labs and scalpels of Introduction to Biology students - a fact I tried to keep far from my mind.
Dr. Foxworth was a scientist and researcher as well as a professor, and he was an exacting boss. I was expected to sign in upon arrival at work each day, wear protective gloves at all times, and document the frog shipments and bacterial baths precisely. I was only allowed to work my agreed hours - no more, no less. And I even was expected to sign myself out for bathroom breaks. That is not to say that he didn't have his good points. He was extremely hardworking and held himself to the same high standards that he expected of others. Though I didn't have him for Introduction to Biology he was very highly regarded by those friends and acquaintances of mine who did.
Dr. Foxworth and I had few interactions. I worked Saturday mornings from 9:00 until 1:00 and spent most of my time alone with the frogs in the lab. He spent his time in his office at the computer. I would hear his footsteps along the tile floor of the corridor and look up at the clock and know it was noon. He was so completely consistent that it became a little game of mine to see how much variation I could find in his routine.
This particular Saturday had begun like so many others. I had arrived at work just at 9:00 and signed in. Dr. Foxworth had looked up from his computer to greet me and had immediately returned to his research. I went to the lab and began the work of writing down the shipment numbers and counting the frogs in each box. That done, I began the process of individually washing each frog in the anti-bacterial soap, rinsing it in the sink, logging it on the sheet, and placing it in the holding bin to await transportation to the main department laboratory. I carried the bin up every time it began to approach half-full so that it wouldn't become too heavy or unwieldy. The thought of carrying a full bin of unpredictable and unruly frogs up to the main lab gave me stomach pangs. I could just imagine them leaping out everywhere, needing to be rewashed, and the outrage Dr. Foxworth would have if any of them became injured or lost.
It was the middle of July and the air conditioning system in the building wasn't doing an adequate job of keeping the lab cool. Under the lab coat and rubber gloves I was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a light, summer-weight sweater. My choice of attire was starting to feel unwise. I was uncomfortably warm and it was still early in the workday. As was my custom, I distracted myself from my tedious work and discomfort by singing songs. Even when I sang loudly enough to vibrate the laboratory glassware that was stored along the upper shelves of the room, Dr. Foxworth never offered any complaint. For all I knew, he couldn't hear me at all from his office down the hall.
I know I must have been quite a sight - dirty frogs to the right, clean frogs to the left and me standing in the middle, sweating and wailing away at the Top 40 in my goggles, lab coat, and rubber gloves. I couldn't help but laugh when I caught sight of myself in the reflection from an enormous round flask as I gathered up my fourth half-bin of frogs for the day.
When a short while later I heard the familiar sound of footsteps down the hallway, I looked up at the clock to see how Dr. Foxworth was doing. Twelve o'clock and seventeen seconds - a new record! I clucked my tongue and waited to hear the sound of his footsteps walk on past, signaling his departure and my last hour of work.
Since I was completely alone in the lab once he had gone, I would always shed my goggles, gloves, and lab coat in order to cool down a bit. But this day was particularly hot and I still felt horribly uncomfortable in the heat. My sweater and jeans were damp with sweat and clung unpleasantly to my body.
I decided that the best course of action would be to rush through the last batch of frogs quickly and get back to Drake Residence Hall where I could shower and enjoy the air conditioning of my room. Even if it meant leaving work a little early, I couldn't see how Dr. Foxworth could take issue under the circumstances.
I belted out a favorite song loudly enough to vibrate the test tubes arrayed in a frame on the shelf above me as I vigorously washed the frogs and hurried them from one pile to the other. I took down one of the test tubes and sang into it like a microphone. And I did my level best to block my discomfort from my mind as I worked.
I was successful in distracting myself. In fact, I was so distracted that I discovered I had nearly filled the bin with clean frogs before I had realized it. I sighed and tried to decide what to do. I could carry it upstairs full and risk the frogs jumping out or I could transfer half the frogs back to the "Dirty" pile and carry the bin upstairs half-full.
I decided to try to lift the full bin and see how heavy it was first. I leaned over it and grasped it firmly with both arms and lifted it up slowly. It was heavy - quite heavy in fact, so I decided to set it back down and take some of the frogs out of it. But when I went to set it back down, the test tube that I had been singing into rolled across the counter surface into just the spot where I placed the bin. Of course I hadn't seen it and I was in the process of putting my gear back on (in case someone should see me in the halls) when it began to roll forward. I watched, as if in slow motion, as the bin rolled off the edge of the counter sending dozens of squeaky-clean African bullfrogs plummeting to the floor below.
I leaped toward the bin in a futile effort to catch it, but only managed to knock the bottle of anti-bacterial soap from the sink. It went up into the air, avoided my attempts to grab hold of it, and landed instead on my chest where it emptied its contents all over my sweater, my jeans and the frogs on the lab floor. The frogs were beginning to leap and spread out to enjoy their newfound freedom even as the soap seeped its way through my sweater and jeans to my skin. It was a harsh, anti-bacterial soap and it was stinging my skin so in a moment of impulse, I stripped off all my clothes except my panties and tossed them into the sink to wash. I hurriedly scrubbed at them to quickly remove the soap as the frogs casually spread themselves all over the laboratory.
I felt so frustrated and upset that I wanted to cry. Instead I forced myself to laugh at the situation. I was nearly naked in the biology lab of Dr. Foxworth with his bullfrogs running amok all over the floor. It was so utterly preposterous that I couldn't think of any way that things could worsen. That is, I couldn't think of anything worse until I heard the sound of footsteps in the hallway.
Dr. Foxworth never came back to the office on Saturday afternoon! He was so predictable and habitual in his routines. I went into a panic and started to scoop the frogs up from the floor into my arms and get them into the bins as quickly as possible. As bad luck turned to worse, I slipped in the soap on the floor and landed squarely on my backside dropping an entire armload of bullfrogs into my lap.
It was at that moment that the door to the lab opened and I heard the astonished gasp from Dr. Foxworth as he beheld me unclothed and drenched on the floor, covered in frogs. I don't know if he thought that I was crazy or some sort of pervert, but he kept his tone of voice even and civil as he spoke.
"Marissa, please gather your things and come to my office directly."
I heard the door shut behind me and I got myself up from the floor. I gathered up the frogs, quickly rinsed the soap off of them and put them back into the "Clean" bin. My clothes were completely soaked and I decided that the best thing to do was just put on the lab coat over my underwear and carry my clothing out in my bag. I felt certain that I was about to be fired, so I wasn't overly concerned about what he might think if I were to take the lab coat home with me.
I tried to fix my hair, but it was too soaked with sweat and it resisted my attempts to right it. Reluctantly, I decided there was nothing more I could use as a delay and I let myself out into the corridor to walk to Dr. Foxworth's office.
The door was slightly ajar and I saw him typing at his computer with a look of disgust on his face. I wondered if he were typing a letter to my advisor, my parents, or even the Dean of Science. I steeled myself and stepped into the office with as much dignity as I could muster.
"Sir, I - I can explain," I started to say but he held his hand up to silence me.
Dr. Foxworth typed in silence a moment longer then started his printer. He looked at me carefully, scrutinizing every detail of my appearance before he spoke.
"I have been at this university for twenty two years, Marissa." He spoke calmly but loudly and I suspected that he was expending a certain amount of effort at controlling himself and his anger. "In all that time," he continued, "I don't think I can ever recall anything even remotely as outlandish as what I just witnessed in the lab back there."
"But, Dr. Foxworth sir, I can explain," I said and struggled to keep from crying.
"Oh, I seriously doubt that, Marissa." He shook his head at me. "I trusted you to do your work unsupervised one hour each week. That should be simple enough, right?"
I nodded but didn't speak.
"I realized how hot it had become and I decided to let you out of here a half hour early today." He paused for a moment and looked me squarely in the eyes, "Can you even imagine my shock when I saw you?"
"Sir, it was all just a crazy series of mishaps and mistakes," I offered, still struggling not to cry.
"So you are about to tell me some rational explanation of how you managed to wind up naked and wet on the floor of my laboratory covered in frogs, Marissa? You are going to explain to me why I shouldn't fire you, report you to campus police, and put an official letter of reprimand in your file?" He leaned forward and rested his elbows on the desk. "By all means, then. Tell me."
"Report me to the police sir?" I was taken completely aback. It hadn't occurred to me that he might do that.
"Oh yes, for indecent exposure if nothing else. And since I don't know what you were doing with the frogs down there -"
I quickly interrupted, "Sir, let me assure you. I wasn't doing a single thing except washing those frogs."
"I will give you exactly three minutes to explain this - which is more than I think you deserve, but go ahead."
He leaned forward and narrowed his eyes. I detailed the entire incident as best as I could, leaving out no details, even including the part about singing into the test tube, which suddenly seemed especially childish as I retold it.
Dr. Foxworth listened to everything I had to say and sighed deeply as I brought my tale to a close. After a lengthy pause, he drew himself up and looked at me again. "Even if I am to believe everything you have just told me, and I have some serious doubts Marissa, I still have grounds to fire you."
"You do sir?" I stammered, "I mean you would, sir? It was just a series of accidents. I mean, I was trying to do my job properly."
He widened his eyes in astonishment. "Oh? You admit that you took off your goggles, took off your gloves, and took off your lab coat - even before you supposedly spilled soap all over everything. You also admit that you took a test tube down from the shelves where they were being stored so that you could sing loudly instead of concentrating on your work. And, you further admit to intending to leave work early without permission." He paused and looked sternly at the lab coat I was wearing, "I won't even go in to the matter of you taking off the rest of your clothing."
I suddenly lost my struggle to keep from crying and I burst forth with tears and apologies. "I'm so sorry, Dr. Foxworth. Please don't fire me and call the police on me, sir. Please don't write a reprimand to go in my permanent record. I don't know what I would do."
I stood there and cried softly for several minutes when I noticed that he seemed strangely touched by my outpouring of emotion. His face had softened somewhat and he and sighed deeply as he stood from his chair. "I am an old-fashioned man, Marissa. I believe in honesty, hard work, and following the rules. I also believe that when people disobey the rules that there should be consequences for those actions."
I nodded my head and continued to cry. I couldn't disagree with him even though I knew it meant that I was about to be out of a job.
"People have to learn to be responsible for their own actions, and that means accepting blame as well as accepting the logical consequences for their wrongdoing. You admit that you made some very wrong choices, and yet you stand here in front of me and ask me to allow you to walk away without any sort of official reprimand or punishment?"
His lecture on obedience sounded so much like the lectures I used to always get from my father just before he would blister my backside when I had gotten into trouble. I felt my bottom cheeks tighten involuntarily at the thought. I put my hands protectively on my behind without thinking.
As if on cue, Dr. Foxworth responded, "If you were my daughter I would take the strap to your backside, Marissa!"
"That is just what my father would do too," I said before I had thought it through.
Dr. Foxworth paused a long time before he responded. "Well then Marissa, if that is what you want I am sure we can come to some sort of accommodation. However, you are not a child and I cannot punish you as if you were. I would have to be much more severe with you."
I swallowed hard and tried to comprehend what Dr. Foxworth was suggesting. "Sir, are you saying that you will, er - spank me instead of firing me and reporting me to the authorities?" I stared at him in disbelief.
"Only if you ask me very politely and most sincerely. But I warn you, I am in no mood to trifle."
I started to open my mouth to speak, only to realize that I had nothing to say. I hadn't been spanked for years and it seemed the most outlandish thing I had ever heard suggested in my life. And yet, I saw no alternative.
"Think quickly, Marissa. I am a busy man."
I needed the income for the next three weeks in order to buy my textbooks in the fall and to pay the first installment of my tuition . . .
"Okay," I said in a voice not stronger than a whisper.
"Okay?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. "No, Marissa. It is much easier for me to replace you than to punish you physically. If that is what you truly want, then you are going to have to ask for it - very nicely."
I looked at him in complete disbelief. It was like when my mother would have me go find a switch that she could use to spank me with. Just like then, I did not wish to be complicit. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself and remind myself why I needed to keep my job. "Please sir," I said softly, hoping that would satisfy him.
He folded his arms impatiently and waited for an elaboration.
I struggled with my pride and my sense of disbelief and finally managed to say, "Please spank me, Dr. Foxworth for not obeying the rules. I want to keep working here for you sir. I'm very sorry."
He approached me with a look of skepticism. Unbuttoning the cuff on his shirt, he began to roll up his sleeve. "I will have to punish you very severely, Marissa. Is that what you want?"
It certainly was not what I wanted, but as if possessed, I answered, "Yes sir."
"Take off the lab coat," he instructed.
Feeling as though I had somehow stepped into a bizarre dream world, I began to unsnap the front of the lab coat and I slipped it off. Underneath, I was wearing nothing but a pair of panties and the nipples on my breasts hardened as they were exposed. I felt a flush come to my face and looked down to see that I was pink all the way down to my chest. Dr. Foxworth seemed surprised to see that I wasn't wearing anything under the lab coat, but it didn't deter him from his plan.
"Lower your panties to your knees and bend forward over my desk," he said.
I looked at him and shook my head in the slightest way to indicate that I thought he was asking too much.
"I told you that I was going to punish you severely, Marissa. Now do as I say. Lower your panties to your knees and bend forward over my desk." His voice was calm but very stern.
Still in a daze, I did just as he ordered. I pulled my panties down and put my elbows on the desk giving him a perfect view of my backside as I bent forward.
"Grasp the other side of the desk with your hands please."
I repositioned myself to grasp the other side of the desk. It was a large desk and I felt myself stretched out and very exposed as I took hold of the far end of it.
"I no longer keep a paddle in my desk of course," he said as if I were still having a conversation with him in my position. "Not like the old days. But, it's no worry."
I heard the sound as he undid his belt and removed it from his trousers. Glancing nervously over my shoulder, I saw that he held it doubled in his hand. It was large, black, and looked to be made of a heavy leather. It was just the sort of belt that someone would not want to be spanked with. I felt a shiver of unease as I waited for him to begin.
"How many frogs do you carry in the bin up to the lab at a time, Marissa?
I wondered why he wanted to make conversation with me at a time like this, but I thought my best bet was to go along with him and not anger him. "I only carry them up about 25 at a time, sir. I think a half bin of clean frogs is easier to manage than a full bin."
"And the bin of frogs that you dropped on the floor, was that a half bin or a full bin?" he asked.
"That was a full bin of frogs, sir." As much as I didn't want to be punished, I did wish that he would go ahead and get on with it so that I could get it over with.
"So, about fifty frogs you say?"
"Yes sir," I answered.
"You let fifty of my frogs hit the floor out of carelessness and irresponsibility, Marissa. I am going to give you fifty strokes of this belt to punish you." "Fifty?!" I started to stand upright but Dr. Foxworth had his hand on my back, and held me in place. "That is outrageous!" I insisted.
"No, Marissa! What is outrageous is an undergraduate lab assistant singing and dancing naked while the frogs leap all over the lab!" With that, he brought down the strap suddenly and very unexpectedly on my unprotected bottom.
I shrieked, though I don't know now whether it was from pain or from shock. I had felt like I was in a daze earlier, but the sudden impact of his belt on my backside had shaken me completely from my stupor.
The second swipe of the belt landed just where the first one had and drew another shriek of pain from me.
He brought the belt down across the middle of my backside several times and I found myself unable to keep my position over the desk with my hands grasping the other side.
Dr. Foxworth paused long enough to reposition me and then continued the onslaught. I wailed and cried piteously but my anguish had no effect on him.