Taylor was sitting in a local Tulsa coffee house drinking a cappuccino and smoking a cigarette with four of his buddies. He’d been there for about an hour and seemed to be enjoying himself, but his friends had begun to notice a slight increase in his fidgetiness in the last little while. He was always a “busy” guy – constantly tapping his fingers, twiddling the spoons, or making origami shapes out of the paper napkins - but this was different. He seemed really nervous or scared or something. They couldn’t imagine what was eating him.
“Oh fuck!” Taylor suddenly gasped. Frantically snubbing out his cigarette, he slunk down in his seat and shielded his face, trying to look incognito. The guys all assumed he’d been recognized by some fans, which happened all the time. But Tay’s chest was heaving and he looked extremely agitated. His friends all exchanged confused, concerned looks.
A woman was approaching their table. She looked vaguely familiar but none of them could place her. As she got closer, however, it became painfully clear that Taylor knew her quite well, and that, in fact, she was possibly the very last person on earth he wanted to see right now. Looking for all the world like a trapped animal, but unable to pretend he was invisible any longer, he slowly rose back up in his seat and turned to face the person who was standing there.
“Hi Aunt Jane,” Taylor mumbled nervously, squinting under her laser-like glare. She just stood stock still and stared down at him. He could feel himself slowly melting.
“Do your parents know you’re here?” she finally demanded icily.
“No …ma’am,” was his guilty response as his face flushed cherry red. Everyone at the table could feel the tension.
“I see,” she said. She inhaled deeply, paused, and then hissed, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself!” After making sure Taylor saw her glance pointedly at the snubbed out cigarette, she turned and walked over to the table where the friend she was meeting was waiting.
Taylor was completely dazed by the scene that had just taken place. His hands were trembling and his heart was racing. He swallowed hard and shifted uncomfortably under everyone’s gaze. He wanted to yell “what are you looking at?” but he would never do such a thing. Instead he just sat there trying to get himself back under control. He had to figure out what his next step should be. He took a moment to review the entire series of events that had led up to his current pathetic predicament. Oh god, he was in so much trouble. He shivered as the full impact of the realization hit him.
Three days earlier Taylor had been ordered to baby-sit for Aunt Jane’s two children. He usually didn’t mind baby-sitting because he loved his cousins, but that particular day he was in a foul mood and wanted nothing more than to be left alone. His mother, who had been growing more and more irked with his behavior of late, decided, however, that he was just the person for the job. He was so pissed he’d nearly snapped at her but he stopped himself just in time. He didn’t want to experience that kitchen paddle she was so proficient at wielding, and he knew he was getting dangerously close to just that.
He clamped his jaw tight shut instead, and slammed out of the house, driving himself over to his aunt’s place and muttering expletives under his breath the whole way. When he’d gotten there Aunt Jane had started right in on him, proceeding to lay down the law about a whole host of things that were officially banned for the day – for her kids, as well as Taylor. There was to be no watching television, listening to music, playing video games, or eating any sweets. They were to stay in the house and do homework and chores, and Taylor was to supervise. Nothing else! He was so irritated it was all he could do not to scream. Apparently, Aunt Jane had reached total overwhelm. Her husband had been away for a week and she was done. Both her kids had been trying her very last nerve and that was why she had called Diana for an emergency babysitter. She needed to get out of the house for a few hours before she blew a fuse.
She was also well aware of Diana’s growing frustration with Taylor over the past few days. She’d had several heart-to-hearts with her sister-in-law about it. And the unacceptable tone she’d heard him take with his mother when she’d called left her none too happy, herself, with her nephew at the moment. She felt her brother and his wife had been going too easy on him recently.
After Aunt Jane had left, Taylor had tried to suck it up and follow orders, he really had, but his mounting irritation finally got the best of him. He just had to get out of that house before he smashed something. Before he knew it he had both kids in his car and was taking them out for ice cream. And, once they’d gotten back home he even deliberately allowed them to do all the things on their mother’s forbidden list, figuring he might as well go for broke as he’d already stepped well over the line. He swore them to secrecy, of course, but he should have known better. They were 7 and 9 years old after all. Taylor had siblings around those ages. He’d had plenty of experience with kids not being able to keep a secret under pressure.
When Aunt Jane got back and asked how things had gone, the rather too hasty and slightly guilty sounding “fine” she had gotten from all three of them aroused her keen motherly suspicions. So she’d pushed a little harder for details, and the truth, as it so often does, soon came pouring out. As his cousins broke under their mother’s grilling, Taylor could do little more than just stand there, his heart beating wildly in his chest and his palms beginning to sweat.
When all had been revealed his Aunt Jane had given him a look that was nothing short of crushing. She’d sent her two misbehaving children off to bed with the promise of a sound spanking for each of them when she came up in a few minutes. Then she turned to Taylor. She was beyond exhausted.
“I don’t even know what to say to you, Taylor,” she reprimanded him. “I couldn’t be more disappointed in you. I asked for your help because I was in need and look what you do. You deliberately disobey my orders, undermine my authority, and teach my children to lie. You have completely let me down. I would never have expected anything like this from you. Never! Maybe I shouldn’t be that surprised though, since your mother has been telling me all about your deplorable behavior lately. You’ve been asking for it and I hope you finally get it.”
Taylor was dumbfounded. Aunt Jane had never spoken to him like this before. He was her favorite nephew and she his favorite aunt. However, although he was starting to see the error of his ways, he was still too irked to admit it yet. He apologized to her but it wasn’t nearly as heartfelt as his aunt would have liked. Even he, despite his current self-centered state, knew she deserved better than his rather lazy attempt, but he just wasn’t ready to make himself fully own the responsibility of what had transpired that day.
“I’m going to call your parents now before I go up to deal with my kids,” she’d sighed sadly. “Just go home now, Taylor. I don’t think I want to see you any more right now.” And with that he was dismissed. The drive home had been sheer torture. He knew he was in deep, deep trouble. He didn’t want to think about what his parents were going to do to him but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. He was literally shaking from head to foot by the time he got home.
Recently Taylor had begun to notice a dismaying pattern in his own behavior. He’d realized that he seemed to have about a three-month cycle - he could manage about three months of respectful obedience before he’d start to get antsy and testy and snippy. Eventually he’d find himself doing something unacceptable or even downright disobedient, and then, sooner or later, he’d end up facing his irate parents and some of their good old-fashioned discipline. He’d undoubtedly get turned over his mother or father’s knee for a well-deserved adjustment to his attitude. No matter that he was now sixteen years old. His parents were firm believers in the “never too old” principle. His last spanking had been so severe, however, that he had stayed out of trouble for a record stretch of time. It had now been well over 5 months since his last episode of parental correction. He knew he was way overdue.
He shuddered as the memory of that last time came flooding back. To make matters worse, it had been only the concluding chapter of a truly awful six-week stint of trouble that had seen him receive five other spankings as well. On that final fateful day, his mother had caught him with a girl in his room and it had led to the worst night of his entire life by far. Right in front of his girlfriend, his mother had taken him over her knee, bared his bottom, and spanked him with her hairbrush - longer and harder than she’d ever done before. What had happened later that night, however, had made what his mother had done seem almost merciful by comparison. After a long, heated lecture, his father had taken his pants down, turned him over his knee and given him four separate spankings in a row without a break – first he’d used his hand on Taylor’s already burning bottom, then the kitchen paddle, then that same hairbrush his mother had used, and finally his belt. It had been indescribably painful and humiliating.
Needlesstosay, he’d been an angel since then. That is until the last week or so. Recently he’d begun to feel that old nagging itch to push the edges of things a bit. He seemed to have very little control over this drive despite knowing exactly where it would lead. It always ended the same. Why didn’t he ever learn? He hated it but he couldn’t seem to stop it. And now, here he was again, about to face his parent’s wrath once more. And he knew he deserved it. He’d already been given a big break and completely abused it.
When he’d gotten home from his aunt’s house after baby-sitting that day, his parents had met him in the kitchen. He’d been made to sit in a chair at the table, face to face with his mother’s angry scowl, while his father strode back and forth dressing him down with a fury that made Taylor flinch over and over again - especially when his father would suddenly slam his hand down on the table in front of him to make a point. In the end, however, he’d been surprised. For some reason his parents had decided to “try a new tact,” as they’d put it. Instead of bending him over a knee for a well-deserved bottom blistering, they were just going to ground him for a week. This was to be a kind of test, they’d added.
They told him that Aunt Jane was very disappointed with their decision and disagreed strongly. She thought that he deserved a good, hard spanking. After all, her kids were each getting one, and since it was mostly Taylor’s fault she thought he should too. She felt that they weren’t being supportive enough of her position. His parents told Taylor they were going out on a limb for him this time; it was now his job to prove to them, as well as to Aunt Jane, that being grounded would be enough punishment and that he could learn his lesson from that too. Could he promise that this would be the case? Could he assure them that he would behave and mend his ways? Yes, yes, yes, he had promised quickly and gratefully, stunned by his unexpected stroke of good fortune.
Now, here he was, despite it all, only three days later, out at a coffee house with his friends. He knew his Aunt Jane had every right to be furious with him. What had he been thinking? Two hours ago, when his parents had left for an early movie and dinner, he’d simply sneaked out of the house with barely a moment’s hesitation. He didn’t even let his mind consider a single one of the potential ramifications of his ill advised choice. Ike was in charge so Taylor hadn’t told his brother he was leaving. That way, if and when Ike was ever asked about it, he could honestly say he didn’t know where Taylor was. Sneaky, he knew, but safer than telling him any day.
“Tay, what’s the deal man?” his friend Mark finally got up the nerve to ask. His buddies at the table were beginning to get worried by Taylor’s silence. Taylor looked somewhat shell-shocked and he’d been sitting alarmingly still for several minutes now.
Tay started, jolted out of his stupor by his friend’s words. He looked up at each of them, nervously wondering what he was possibly going to say. He certainly did not want to reveal why he was so scared; he didn’t want to tell them the embarrassing information that he was still spanked at home – or, more specifically, that he was going to be spanked really hard later that very day when his parent’s found out what he had done. Yet this conversation could lead no where else as far as he could see. Out of the four of them sitting there only Chris new anything about his parent’s manner of punishing him. Chris had even witnessed a particularly unpleasant spanking Taylor had gotten from his father about a year ago. Taylor’s mouth began to water like it did sometimes when he was feeling sick. He swallowed hard.
“You’re scaring us, man. What’s up? What could possibly be that bad?” Brian asked next. Tay knew he was going to have to say something soon. He momentarily entertained the idea of just gathering his stuff and making a run for it, but eventually, he knew, he’d have to face them all again and explain himself. He took a deep, shuddering breath and exhaled with a groan. Then he looked at Chris for moral support, thankful beyond words that he was there. “I’m actually grounded right now so I’m not supposed to be here,” he began. “And my aunt knows that because it’s for something I did to her. That’s why she’s so mad.”
“Ohhhh,” came the united response. Every one of them could relate to the significance of that potentially thorny situation. Still, Taylor’s extreme reaction seemed a bit overboard even for that. He looked like a deer caught in headlights. His skin was pale and clammy and he was shaky and having trouble calming his breathing.
“Tay, man, it’s okay. I mean, how bad could it be?” Jake piped up. “So, you’ll get yelled at and grounded again. You’ll live.”
Taylor looked at Chris once more, hoping he wouldn’t spill the beans, but then he crumbled himself and said, “I wish that was all it was going to be. That I could deal with. But my parents are really strict and they’re going to be really, really mad. I mean I … I … totally screwed up this time.” And with that he gave up and launched into the whole sordid tale of what he’d done only three days ago. How he’d been pissing his parent’s off, how he’d been ordered to baby-sit, how his aunt had laid down the law, how he’d disobeyed her at every turn, and how his parents had, surprisingly, let him off the hook by only grounding him for a week in exchange for a promise that he would behave. And, how his aunt didn’t think that was punishment enough. He carefully avoided the whole subject of the spanking he’d managed to sidestep, however. And the fact that it was his aunt, in particular, who had thought he deserved one. And, finally, that he’d walked right into one for sure now.
When he was done revealing all this there was an unnerving silence. Taylor sat there fidgeting, destroying napkin after napkin while he let his friends absorb the seriousness of his state of affairs. He looked at Chris, feeling a bit guilty that he had so obviously lied by omission. The conversation wasn’t over yet though.
“God, Tay, so what’s going to happen now?” Mark asked.
“Yeah, what are your parents going to do to you now – especially since they’re gonna find out that grounding you obviously didn’t work?” added Brian.
Taylor looked down at the cigarette he was now furiously shredding, having trashed all the napkins already. He hadn’t even realized he’d picked it up. He shifted around, cleared his throat, and glanced nervously back at his aunt who caught his eye and shook her head disgustedly. Then he closed his eyes, let his head fall back and slipped down in his seat. He was officially defeated. After a moment, he mumbled, “My dad is, um …, he’s um ….” He tore the cigarette in half. “He’s going to … (sigh) … spank me.”
There was an audible gasp. Then a couple nervous titters. They weren’t sure they should believe him – was he was joking? “He’s serious, man,” Chris added solemnly. “Believe me, he’s dead serious. And it’s nothing to laugh about. His dad is gonna blister his butt but good. I’ve seen it happen. It’s awful.”
Taylor groaned at the bluntness of his friend’s remarks but, for some strange reason, he was actually relieved that Chris had backed him up. “I know you guys probably think it’s kind of weird, but I told you my parents are pretty strict,” Taylor said. “And old-fashioned,” he added. “That’s just the way it is. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
“Taylor. Jesus man. I mean, you’re, like, a famous rock star, with
tons of money and stuff. And besides, man, you’re, like, sixteen years
old, for cryin’ out loud. How can they do that?” Mark blurted out.
Taylor cringed. He so did not want to be having this discussion. “Not only can they do that, they will do that, let me assure you,” he sighed wearily. “None of those things matters to them in the least when it comes to this. Believe me, I’ve tried those arguments. “And,” Taylor shuddered, “this time it’s going to be really bad. I totally screwed up and now I’m going to pay big time.”
He was struggling hard to maintain some semblance of composure. He looked and felt like he was about to cry. He knew he had to go home now. It was time. It wouldn’t ultimately help matters – he’d already blown that completely - but it would make him feel a little less guilty. He pulled himself out from the booth, and with an apologetic wave, muttered, “Sorry guys, but I just, um, have to … go.” After a quick, shamefaced glance at his aunt, he turned and left, leaving a table full of shocked boys wondering what Taylor was in for.
To be continued…