Part I

“JORDAN TAYLOR HANSON!”

His father’s voice boomed over the intercom in his bedroom making Taylor’s blood freeze instantly. “Yes sir?” he answered meekly, turning to his two brothers with a questioning look. He shrugged his shoulders at them, wide eyed and shaking his head to indicate he had no idea what this could be about. Apparently neither did they as they just returned his look with blank stares.

“Get your bottom down here this minute!” Oh man, there was no arguing with that. “Yes sir,” he croaked out again, his voice noticeably more quaky now. “Shit. This isn’t good!” Tay groaned, stating the blatantly obvious. His father’s tone could hardly have been angrier – nor his choice of words more pointed.

“Man, bro! Dad’s really pissed. What the heck did you do?” Zac asked.

“I have no idea,” Tay sighed trying to shake it off, but it was clear that he was nervous all the same, and pretty sure he was guilty and in big trouble as well.

“Good luck, dude,” Ike offered supportively. “Sounds like you’ll need it!”

“Thanks,” Tay muttered, lost in his own panic already. Slowly he left the room and forced himself to head for the kitchen where he had a bad feeling his life was about to take a severe turn for the worse.

He arrived to find both his parents sitting at the kitchen table discussing the situation. His two younger sisters were on the far side of the table as well, completing some school work. They threw him sympathetic, worried looks which didn’t help his anxiety level one bit. What could this be about? It was then that he noticed his little brother, Mac, standing in the corner sobbing and rubbing his bottom. From the looks of it he’d just gotten a pretty good spanking. Tay was more than surprised by that as Mac had never been spanked before; he was only 6 and their folks didn’t believe in spanking much before that age. Apparently that age had arrived. Tay’s heart went out to his little bro as he remembered his own first spanking all too well.

Tay’s mother immediately launched her attacked.

“Would you like to know why Mac is being punished Taylor? Why he got his first full-out spanking ever?” The question made his stomach hurt. It obviously had something to do with him he now knew, but for the life of him he couldn’t imagine how.

His mother didn’t wait for an answer though; the question was clearly rhetorical. “I asked him to clean up his mess and do you know what he said to me?” she continued.

Tay just shook his head miserably. He had a sinking feeling that he really didn’t want to know either.

“Mackie! No rubbing your bottom,” Diana suddenly scolded her youngest son. “You know better than that. You just stand there and feel it, young man!” Mac snatched his hands away instantly, not willing to anger his mother any further. His sobbing intensified though. Diana shook her head sadly. She was trembling with emotion and it made Tay very uneasy.

“Do you know what he said to me?” she repeated, obviously still stunned by what had happened. “He told me to ‘leave him the hell alone!’”

Tay flinched. His mother never used language like that and it was like a sharp slap across the face to hear her say it. She paused for dramatic effect, and to get her rising anger in check, while she waited to see how Taylor would respond. Just as she’d expected he turned gray and ashen.

“Now, where do you suppose he learned such language? Hmmm?” she baited him. “Can you guess what he said when we asked him that very question?” She paused again. All that could be heard in the room was the quiet ticking of the clock. To Tay though, it sounded like a whole phalanx of marching soldiers pounding in his head.

Taylor wanted to crawl in a hole. He knew the answer. He knew it all too well. He’d had no idea it would ever come back to haunt him this way though. It had seemed innocent enough at the time. Had even felt sort of satisfying. A few days ago Mackie had been pestering him about something and Tay had said that very thing to him. Told his little six-year-old brother to ‘leave him the hell alone’! Now, hearing it like this, he could see just how wrong it had been. What had he been thinking? He was an idiot. Oh man. Tay’s gut contracted into a tight ball. No longer able to look his parents in the eyes, he dropped his gaze to the floor.

“Answer her, young man!” Walker demanded. “What do you think he said?”

Taylor swallowed hard. With two angry parents grilling him now he could barely think or breathe, let alone speak. “Me,” he whimpered, barely audibly. Knowing such a pitiful attempt to answer wouldn’t be accepted though, he cleared his throat, dragged his eyes back up to meet his father’s, and tried again. “Me!” he stated a bit louder, albeit so shakily it hardly sounded like a recognizable word.

His mother let out a groan that cut him to his soul. She was so disappointed in him it made him feel weak in the knees. The tight ball in his gut turned a clumsy somersault. He’d been in trouble for his nasty mouth so many times in the past that he knew she could barely tolerate the fact that he’d done it again. And even worse this time because this time he’d not only sworn, but sworn *at* his little brother, and now he’d taught him to swear too. And to be seriously disrespectful as well. As if it must be okay to speak to another person like that since his older, supposedly wiser, big brother had talked to him that way. Tay shuddered with shame.

The clock beat its inexorable advance in the otherwise silent room.

“Get the paddle!” Diana ordered.

Part II

Tay froze. “Please, please, please,” he begged in his head, imploring her mentally to reconsider, to let him apologize and be off the hook, to punish him some other way, or at least not use the paddle! He was sorry. He really was. He’d do anything if she’d just change her mind. He didn’t say any of this out loud though, of course. He knew it would just make her angrier and that was the very last thing he needed right now. He hesitated a moment in the feeble hope that his silent pleas might be understood and accepted, then his whole body slumped in defeat.

He turned and walked slowly to the kitchen counter where the despised paddle resided with the cooking utensils next to the stove - so as to always be ready and waiting should a naughty child need a dose, as his mother would say. Apparently he was that naughty child right now. Tay hated it with every cell in his body. He’d been spanked with it a dozen times or more and it was something you just never got used to. Each smack from it stung like a million fire ants and the burn lasted for hours, sometimes even days. And he already knew the spanking he was about to get with it was going to be really severe too; his parents’ furious glares were a dead giveaway.

He pulled the paddle from the canister, and eyes glued to the floor once more - he couldn’t bear to see his parents’ disappointed, angry expressions any more - he dragged himself back to his mother’s side. He stood there, head hanging, as she undid his pants and slid them down his legs. A chill ran through him and he shivered all over, but it wasn’t from the cold. In fact, if anything, the kitchen felt like it was 100 degrees, and the air seemed as still as a vacuum. The incessant ticking from the clock was driving him insane too. It seemed to be mocking him. Tsk-tsking at him. He wanted to rip it off the wall and smash it to pieces.

His mother took his wrist – he could see she was still shaking and it nearly broke his heart. How could he have done this? How could he have made her so upset? Now, instead of the clock’s hammering beat, it was the pounding of his own heart that was drowning out all other sound. Maybe he could rip that out and smash it to pieces instead, he thought miserably. Or maybe he didn’t need to since his mother’s disappointment was doing it for him.

Diana jerked his wrist and he went over her knees like he was no bigger than Mackie, even though he was actually ten years older. He shuddered at the thought - it was just so embarrassing at sixteen to be in this humiliating situation once again. He tightened all his muscles as she pulled his boxers down in back, baring his bottom for the most effective results. Tay moaned without even realizing it, he felt so wretched. This was the worst position he could ever imagine being in – draped over one of his parent’s knees, bottom bared and clenched, awaiting what he knew was going to be a truly severe spanking. It always sucked a little part of his soul away.

His mother sighed resignedly, then tightened her grip on his waist and raised the paddle high. Tay cringed knowing what was coming, but there was no real preparing for it. No amount of prayer would help now, no degree of muscular contraction, no begging, no nothing.

Part III

“OHHH!” he gasped as the paddle slammed down hard, a loud cracking sound resonating around the room, bouncing off the walls. Frantically he reached out to grab hold of something. His fingers found the rungs of the chair just in time to brace for the next blow. It came even harder than the first and he arched up almost pushing himself off his mother’s knee - a total no-no and he knew it. Panting he dropped back down. If he’d doubted it at all before, Tay now knew for certain that he was really in for it. His mother was furious and she was clearly going to make sure he knew that what he’d done was completely inexcusable.

Inside his head he was screaming and begging and apologizing but he didn’t make another sound for nearly a dozen more smacks. He suffered in total silence, clenching down on himself like a vice grip until he couldn’t bear it anymore. Then, like an explosion going off, he burst out wailing. It was all just too much. The pain, the humiliation, the shame. He felt almost sick. But there wasn’t room in his brain to handle all those battling sensations so the pureness of the pain won out. It took over. He totally succumbed. He sobbed and pleaded, he kicked and bucked, he squirmed wildly, frantically, trying to ease the pain. Nothing helped. His mother’s paddle kept up its inexorable beat until Taylor was beside himself.

Despite her heartache at having to deliver such pain to one of her offspring, Diana persevered through all his struggling. She knew he deserved everything he was getting and more. Finally, when she felt the fire in his bottom was sufficiently stoked, she lightened up some, intending to just keep the heat simmering while she gave him the tongue-lashing she thought he needed as well.

“I hope you are learning your lesson, young man. #SPANK# It’s one thing when you can’t control your own mouth #SPANK# and it only affects you. #SPANK# But to speak to others that way? #SPANK# To be so rude, so nasty, so disrespectful? #SPANK# And especially to speak to your little brother like that! #SPANK# He’s only six years old Taylor! #SPANK# Oooooh, that just makes me soooo angry. #SPANK# #SPANK# #SPANK# He doesn’t deserve such treatment. #SPANK# No one does. #SPANK# I hope you understand that. #SPANK# Do you?? Do you really?” #SPANK#

Tay could do little more than whimper and groan at this point. His mother was giving him only enough time between smacks to catch his breath, and then dredge up a whole new load of panic and dread about the next blow.

“And now, by example, #SPANK# you have taught him that it is okay to use that sort of language as well, #SPANK# and to be so disrespectful too? #SPANK# He looks up to you, #SPANK# emulates you, #SPANK# admires you, #SPANK# idolizes you. #SPANK# And this is how you treat him? #SPANK# This is what you teach him? #SPANK# Oh dear lord. I hope you remember this spanking for a good long time to come, mister. #SPANK# #SPANK# #SPANK# I’m sure by the time your father is done with you as well, you won’t be able to forget.” #SPANK#

What? Oh no! Taylor gasped through his sobs and cries. Did she just say his father was going to spank him too? She couldn’t mean it, could she? This spanking was plenty. More than plenty. He was sorry. Really sorry. If only he could make her see that. If only she would tell his dad he didn’t need any more. That she’d taught him his lesson completely. That he’d learned everything there was to learn from it. But, sadly, it wasn’t to be.

Diana landed one last powerful smack on Taylor’s flaming behind, making him howl loudly. Then she rested her hand on his back and stroked him to calm him some. And maybe to calm herself some too. Spanking her children, especially this hard, was something she loathed doing. It was the hardest part of her job bar none. But she took it seriously. She felt it was her god-given duty and responsibility to make sure her children were raised with the finest values possible. And she would never let her standards slip on that. Walker either. That was why they had agreed that he too would take a turn on Taylor’s backside.

Part IV

Diana gently pulled Taylor’s boxers up over his sizzling backside, then nudged him to rise. Sniffling and hiccupping, he pushed himself to his feet. He was miserable. And watching his mother get up and his father take her place on the chair only made him more so. He wanted to beg him not to do this but before he could even gather himself together enough to begin to think straight, his father took both his hands and started to lecture him quietly.

“Taylor, I’m sure you realize now just how wrong what you did was. Just how inappropriate and misguided.” Tears poured down Taylor’s face continuously as his father spoke. “As your mother said, swearing is one thing. But to swear at another person! Especially your little six-year-old brother! This is completely unacceptable. Your mouth has gotten you into plenty of trouble over the years and you’ve paid with the skin off your backside many times, but this is the worst thing you’ve ever said. Although the time you told your mother to ‘go to *you-know-where*’ was pretty close. I’m sure you remember that one well.” Taylor squeezed his eyes tight shut at the memory, forcing streams of tears to rain down his cheeks. He was trembling in his father’s grip.

“But she’s an adult at least,” Walker continued calmly. “What was Mac supposed to do? I think you see now what one option was – to assume that if his big brother, whom he admires so, would say such a thing to him, that it must be okay for him to say it to someone else as well. It is for this reason that you are getting another spanking. Your mother and I want to be completely sure that we have truly, and hopefully once and for all, impressed upon you just exactly how wrong that is and how severe the consequences of such behavior are. Do you understand?” Walker paused there looking hard at Taylor to see if he could tell what the boy was thinking.

Taylor was beside himself. The pain, the shame, the humiliation were overwhelming. And having his little sisters and brother witness it all was even worse. Not to mention knowing what was still to come. His father’s spankings were always severe. On top of the paddling he’d just gotten it was going to be pure hell. Taylor was sniffling and hiccupping and finding it impossible to stand still or focus as completely as he knew his father expected. He also knew he had to answer somehow but the words just wouldn’t come. He wished he could pull his hands free and cover his face to hide his shame but his father held them tightly.

Tay let his head hang so his hair would fall around his face to provide some protection from all the stares. He felt prickly all over. The burning on his backside was forcing him to shift and bounce and shudder, and the fact that he was standing there in only his shirt and boxers with his pants still puddled around his ankles wasn’t helping at all. He also knew his father would only be patient so long for his answer before he’d get angrier and that might mean an even harsher scolding or worse yet, a sharp smack on his smarting bottom. Not that he wasn’t about to get a whole lot more of those anyway but still…. He sniffled hoping his father would take pity and not expect him to speak. He really didn’t think he could without bursting into tears.

“I’m waiting young man,” his father said ominously though and that was the straw that broke the dam.

“I’m sorry,” Tay sobbed, shaking his head back and forth, his long blonde locks swinging wildly. “I’m so sorry. I really am. I didn’t mean it. Please Daddy. Please don’t spank me again. I understand. I do. It was wrong. I know that. Please. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again. I promise. Pleeeaase.”

Walker waited patiently until Taylor’s outburst subsided some, then he spoke up. “Taylor, I’m sure you feel that way right now, with your bottom burning from the paddling your mother just gave you, and knowing you are about to be put over my knee for a second dose, but we have been in this position so many times with you, young man, that I’m afraid your words don’t mean that much. Actions speak louder than words, Taylor, and your actions have been very revealing. You haven’t learned this lesson yet so I’m afraid you are about to get another one to help drill it home once again.”

And with that Walker quickly took Taylor over his lap and stripped his boxers down. Taylor moaned pitifully but his father didn’t falter. He raised his hand up high and brought it down on Taylor’s red hot cheeks with a resounding smack. Taylor yelped and bucked sharply. “Pleeeeeaaase Daddy,” he cried, his fingers grasping onto the chair rungs for dear life. “Pleeease. I’m ssssooorrrry. Pleeeaaasse!” But Walker forged on. He spanked Taylor long and hard, covering every inch of exposed bottom many times over. Taylor sobbed and begged and struggled wildly but his father didn’t miss a beat. With one arm pinning his naughty son strongly, he went about his task with powerful commitment, determined this time to be sure the lesson penetrated all the way in.

When Walker finally decided that he’d taught Taylor all he could, he landed the last painful spank and then immediately pulled Taylor’s underwear back up and hauled him to his feet. “Okay son,” he said, “you are to go to your room now and stand in the corner until I tell you otherwise. You need to spend a good long time looking at yourself and figuring out why you continuously choose to behave this way. I want some real answers when I come up there. And then we’ll finish your punishment!”

Part V

Taylor was sobbing too hard to react much to his father’s words – until those last ones. Those sent a new shock wave of panic through him. Finish his punishment?? Oh no, he moaned internally, unable to fathom what that could possibly mean or how he would even be able to handle more.

Tay managed somehow to whimper “yes sir”, then he grabbed for his pants, yanked them up and ran from the room. And he kept on running too, not wanting to see anyone, or have anyone see him. He was too ashamed. He didn’t stop until he’d crossed the living room, climbed the stairs, and reached his own bedroom door. Only then did he pull up sharply. His brothers were in there and he knew they were wondering what had happened, and he didn’t want to be in this broken state when he entered.

He tried to pull himself together. He sniffled and wiped his eyes, and then held his breath and counted to ten to try to settle his nervous system some. It all helped a little, but not enough. After taking another deep breath and letting it out slowly, he turned the knob and walked in as calmly as possible. Keeping his eyes down, he headed right for the corner. He knew they wouldn’t ask him anything if he did that because they weren’t allowed to talk to each other while they were still being punished.

Taylor just prayed that corner time would actually make a difference somehow though - give him the time and space he needed to get himself totally together and able to think and reason again. His brain was all over the place right now and there was no way he could make heads or tails of the situation yet. But he didn’t know how much time his father would give him either and he knew he had to have some answers when that time came.

He stood there, nose to the wall, his bottom prickling and stinging, his thoughts swirling like a tornado in his brain. He had to use all his strength to will the storm to pass and the debris to settle first before he could even begin to think clearly. When the spinning finally stopped and his mind calmed some, he slowly and warily surveyed the wreckage, wondering where or how to even start to clean up the mess he’d made.

Then suddenly, like an epiphany, two thoughts came to him - loud and clear. The first one was that no matter what consequences he was willing to suffer personally himself for his dirty mouth, he wasn’t willing to put his siblings at risk. And two, that swearing at his little brother was worse than wrong, it was morally reprehensible. He was only six years old for Christ’s sake. What the hell had he been thinking? He could kick himself now for ever having been so stupid. And not because he’d gotten caught and punished severely for it, although that had certainly sucked royally, but because it was just so inexcusable.

Still, although these two revelations were powerful and true, and would go a long way to prove to his parents that he’d done some serious soul-searching, he knew his father would want to know something else too – mainly, why he had such a problem controlling his mouth to being with. Why he didn’t learn to express himself in a more effective, less offensive way. He’d been scolded, grounded, spanked and more, time and time again, and he still hadn’t learned this lesson. What was his deal anyway? Why did he blatantly defy them over and over despite the horrible consequences? It was getting ridiculous.

He knew why though. He’d always known why – deep, down inside. But the real truth wasn’t an acceptable excuse, so he couldn’t use it. The truth was he just liked to be naughty – disobedient - defiant. He liked the feeling it gave him to use bad words, especially since they were so forbidden in his house. Liked feeling older, more mature, grown up, capable of speaking however he wanted – as if he was in charge and no one had control over him. That he wasn’t still a little boy whose parents could and would spank him if he misbehaved. It was pathetically ironic, he suddenly realized, that the one thing he did to make himself feel like he was too old for a spanking, was the one thing that got him spanked the most. He shook his head in disgust at his own stupidity.

Sometimes too, he simply just wanted to feel more intimidating, more commanding, more imposing. Even perhaps a touch dangerous. He didn’t feel strong or physically superior often, and using swear words gave him a sense of power – of being tough and aggressive. It was also a release for him. He felt pent-up, overwhelmed and insecure at times, and sometimes those feelings would build inside him like a pressure cooker. He just needed a way to relieve some of the tension and stress. And using angry, harsh words seemed to work.

Deep down though, he knew that lashing out in anger – even just verbally – was actually the mark of someone weak, not strong. Especially when he did it to someone younger, smaller and more defenseless than himself just so he could feel more powerful. That thought made him physically flinch. He’d sworn at his little six-year-old brother! He still couldn’t get over it. He’d obviously managed to convince himself so completely that it was okay for him to vent his frustrations this way, that he’d totally lost all control and perspective. No wonder his folks were so furious and disgusted with him. He was too – finally!

He didn’t have any more time to think then though. A sudden knock at the door sent his blood pressure blasting through the ceiling. His father had come to finish his punishment! He wasn’t ready, he groaned. He couldn’t handle any more yet. What did his father have in store for him anyway? Weren’t two really hard spankings enough? Sheesh. He froze as his father entered.

Part VI

Walker nodded at Ike and Zac, then said, “Taylor, we need to talk. I hope you have come to some conclusions.” As he spoke he walked over to Taylor’s bed and sat down. “Come here son,” he stated firmly, gesturing for Tay to sit next to him.

Taylor winced at the whole notion - not only of sitting in general, but of sitting right next to his father where he’d be within prime spanking reach should he say anything his father didn’t agree with. But he had no choice – he knew that – so he sucked it up and shuffled painfully over, lowering himself onto his hands first to be able to control the speed of descent as his poor bottom took the weight. Then he hung his head, hands clasped between his knees, and waited.

“Well?” Walker asked when Taylor showed no signs of offering anything without being coaxed.
“Let’s hear what you came up with. Why do you continuously disobey us on this? You know the consequences! And I know you hate them! So, why? Explain this to me! I’m waiting.”

Taylor shook his head back and forth, eyes still locked on the carpet. “I don’t know what to say, Dad. I really don’t,” he mumbled barely audibly. He knew those words didn’t deserve any volume yet – he was only stalling. “I’m just stupid I guess,” he added, a little louder. Okay, now that was simply a ploy for sympathy – a pathetic, blatant attempt to defuse his father’s anger with self-pity. He tried again. “I know it’s wrong – especially when it gets Mac in trouble too. I hope you know how sorry I am about that. I never meant to teach him anything so … bad. I’m really, really sorry. I’ll apologize to Mac as soon as I can too. I promise. I will.”

Another diversion technique, he knew, but he paused then, hoping it would be good enough. He couldn’t really tell his father the ultimate ugly truth - that he just wanted to be mean sometimes, and naughty, and to feel powerful and grown up and like he had some control. There was just no way his father would accept any of those reasons without, at the very least, a serious lecture about how ridiculous they were. And he knew they were too, but he felt that way all the same. How could he possibly explain that?

“Taylor,” Walker said sadly, turning towards the boy and lifting his chin with a finger so their eyes would be forced to meet. He knew they hadn’t come to the real truth yet. “You are a gifted writer – a poet even. I’m sure you can figure out better ways to express yourself. What could these crude, vulgar, common little words possibly do for you that you can’t seem to find more creative and effective ways to vent your frustrations? It’s rude, offensive, and unacceptable and you know it. Inexcusable even – especially considering that you know how to use words so beautifully and powerfully when you put your mind to it. Your mother and I are at our wit’s end. But believe me, we will not back down, nor lighten up. You WILL learn this one – once and for all. I don’t care how long it takes or how many spankings and mouth washings you need to get. You WILL get it. Understand?”

Trembling with shame, Taylor tried to pull his chin away from his father’s grip several times during the lecture, but Walker was firm. The boy would listen and hear every word. And he did. Tears slowly began to leak out of the corners of Tay’s eyes, meandering down his pink, flushed cheeks.

“I know you think swearing makes you feel like a big-man-on-campus or something,” Walker continued, watching his son closely for any signs of recognition. “Makes you feel all macho and cool and powerful, or whatever. But it doesn’t. In fact, the exact opposite happens really. It’s base and childish, immature and disgusting. And beneath you on every level.”

Busted! One hundred percent! Taylor was squirming now, every blink of his eyelids sending streams of tears rolling down his face. He hadn’t covered his tracks at all he now knew. His father was seeing right through him as easily as if he had a window in his forehead looking directly into his thoughts. He tried harder to pull his face away again but his father grabbed his chin and tightened his grip.

“Not on your life, mister,” he said, focusing laser beams into Taylor’s shifting eyes. “I’ve got your number and you know it, and I’m just gonna sit here making you face your dishonesty until you confess. I want YOU to say it. Tell me what it is that makes you continue to talk trash when you know what it will cost you and how it hurts other people. I’ve got time. Believe me! There’s no rush. I can stay here and wait until you do. I’ve got nothing else more pressing to deal with than this issue.”

When Walker stopped talking it left a silence so big in the room it seemed to expand to fill all the corners - billowing out like a big, soft, suffocating pillow. Everyone was waiting. There was nothing else to do.

“Please Daddy,” Taylor finally whimpered. “Please. I’m sorry. I really am. You’re right. It’s just that …. It’s just … that …. It’s just…” Oh man, this was hard. He knew exactly what he had to say. What he should say. What he was supposed to say. But he couldn’t do it. It was too personal. Too embarrassing. Too shameful to admit. Could he really be that shallow and immature? Could he really be that simple and transparent? Could everyone see right through him like that? Apparently so, he had to admit.

He pulled his face away finally, and turned and buried himself into his bedcovers. He felt hard and yet fragile at the same time - like a piece of shale. His heart pounded wildly in his chest, and it hurt too. Ached in a deep, unbearable way. He had no idea what his father would do next either, considering this last bit of deliberate disobedience, but he couldn’t help himself. He felt just awful and needed to hide his shame away for a moment.

Walker sighed sadly. He’d pushed too hard. He frowned, looking up at Zac and Ike for fortitude, then reached out and stroked Tay’s heaving back. “Taylor,” he whispered, pulling the boy back up and into his arms. He felt hot and soft and limp, and Walker’s mind went immediately back to a time when he’d held his boys as toddlers running fevers and wanting nothing more than to be hugged and rocked and sure their parents could fix it all. He ran his fingers through Taylor’s warm, damp hair, pulling his son’s head to his chest and hugging him tightly.

“Tay,” he began gently, pressing his lips into the soft curls on top. “I know this is hard. I do. But I need you to admit to this. I need you to take responsibility for your actions. I need you to tell me that you recognize that you have a choice and that you are going to commit to choosing more wisely in the future. Do you understand?”

After a few moments Taylor’s breathing slowed and, his face still smothered in his dad’s powerful chest, he nodded. “Yes sir,” he whimpered, his voice muffled by the comforting cloth of his father’s shirt. “I understand. You’re right. I know it. It’s just a stupid way for me to feel like I’m in control. Like I’m stronger or more powerful than someone else.” He pulled back then and looked up into his father’s eyes. “I guess I do it for the shock value too,” he sighed wearily. “No one expects ‘little ole whimpy, goodie-two-shoes Taylor Hanson’ to have a dirty mouth. I get so tired of being thought of that way that I just want to show people they don’t know me. They think they can put me in a box and label me but they don’t understand that I’m not who they think I am. I have angry feelings and dark thoughts and I’m not all sunshiney all the time. But I can see now that it’s not the right way to do that. That I have to maintain my self control - my dignity even. Not lower myself. Speak the real truth of what I’m feeling instead of trying to overpower or manipulate or shock people with anger and nasty words and stuff.”

He shook his head sadly then, dropping his eyes to the floor once more, feeling defeated and lost. He heard his father’s last edict echoing somewhere in the recesses of his mind then, and he sucked in a deep breath, knowing what he had to say. He pulled his gaze back up. “I was doing all those things you said,” he said. “Trying to be deliberately defiant, trying to control and manipulate people, scare them even, and make myself feel more powerful that way. I see that now. And I know I have a choice too. I can choose something wiser. And I promise I will. I’ll try. I promise, Dad. I really do. I’m so sorry.” He took a deep breath and let out a quaky sigh before he asked the next question. “Do you forgive me?” He swallowed hard then, not sure if he even deserved forgiveness, and worried that it might be asking too much too soon. He held his breath.

His father smiled though, and Tay nearly gasped with relief as he was pulled into a hug. “You are forgiven Taylor,” Walker said as he squeezed and rocked his trembling son. After a moment though, he pulled Taylor back and looked him straight in the eye. “But there are no excuses!” he said firmly, giving his shoulders a little shake. “Do you know what I mean? You have made me a promise and if you let that mouth of yours run away from you again you will be severely punished - for two things now – swearing, and for breaking your promise. Do you understand?”

Tay shuddered at the thought but nodded. “Yes sir.”

“And Taylor,” Walker added with an ominous tone, making him quake again. “You’re not going to like this, but your mother and I have decided one more thing for your punishment as well. Tonight at dinner you are going to apologize to the whole family for today, explaining how your nasty language has finally gone too far by getting your little brother in trouble now too. And telling them exactly how you were punished for it, that you have promised to clean up your act, that you understand the added consequences for any slip-ups from now on, and finally, asking them for their forgiveness and their help in breaking this filthy little habit of yours.” Walker looked hard into Taylor’s eyes to drill in the lesson.

Taylor looked stricken. He glanced shamefacedly at Ike and Zac to see how they were taking this pronouncement, and their scared, sympathetic looks only confirmed for him just how awful it was going to be. But he nodded and mumbled “yes sir” obediently again, knowing he had no choice in the matter – nor any right to one.

Walker stood then, pulling Taylor up too, hugging him tightly again. “I know you want to go talk with Mac now,” he said. “But first ….” And with that he took Taylor by the arm and started pulling him toward the bathroom. “You need to have your mouth washed out until it’s as clean as Mac’s mouth is now!” Tay cringed then knowing now just how much apologizing he still had to do to his little brother.

Epilogue:

Tay approached Mac’s door nervously. He still couldn’t believe that he’d been the cause of his little brother’s first spanking. He knew he’d never live that one down. Forever more, whenever that story was told, Taylor would be an integral – and decidedly negative - part of it. His heart jolted painfully at the thought. Tentatively he reached out his fist and knocked. When there was no answer, he cracked the door a smidge.

“Mac?” he said. “You in there, bro? Can I come in? I need to talk to you. Will you let me in?” Then he waited anxiously, not sure how his little brother would respond but hoping Mac hadn’t lost all respect for him yet.

“Come in,” Mac mumbled, and Tay let out of sigh of relief as he pushed the door open slowly.

“Hey,” Tay started.

“Hey,” Mac replied, barely able to look Tay in the face.

“I’m sooooo sorry dude. I’m so sorry. Will you ever forgive me?” Tay begged as he crossed the room and lowered himself gently down on the bed with Mac. “Say you’ll forgive me. Pleeeaaase?” Tay knew he’d do whatever it took to be sure his brother knew how bad he felt.

Mac just kept his head down, his chin beginning to tremble as the emotions of the past hour or so fought to the surface once more. Tay moved closer and gingerly reached out, pulling his little brother into a hug he hoped he wouldn’t resist. Mac relaxed into Tay’s arms though, thankful and relieved that his big brother wasn’t mad at him for getting him into so much trouble. Suddenly Mac’s arms wrapped around Tay’s waist and held on tight, his face buried in Tay’s chest, his sobs getting harder.

“Mac, bro,” Tay comforted, rubbing his arm soothingly. “It’s okay, little guy. What’s the matter? Why are you crying now? I’m really sorry. What can I do to make you not be so sad?”

Mac shook his head back and forth. “It’s all my fault,” he moaned into Tay’s chest. “I was so stupid. I didn’t mean to get you in trouble. Don’t be mad at me, okay? I’m really sorry.”

Tay had been so self-absorbed he hadn’t even considered the possibility that Mac might be feeling guilty for getting him in trouble instead. “Oh no, bro!” Tay cried, squeezing Mac tightly. “Don’t say that. It wasn’t your fault, dude. It was all my fault. Only my fault. NOT yours! You had nothing to do with it. There’s no reason you should even have had to think about not getting me in trouble. I was the one who was totally wrong. I should NEVER have said that to you. Never. I’m so ashamed and sorry about that. Please Mac,” he said, pulling his brother back a bit so he could look him in the eyes. “Don’t feel guilty or sorry for anything at all, okay? I’m the only one to blame and I’ll never forgive myself for being the cause of your first spanking ever. Will you ever forgive me?”

Mac blinked back the puddle of tears that filled his eyes. He was confused still. “But if I hadn’t said that, Mommy and Daddy would never have spanked you. I should have known better. I should never have said that. Mommy was soooo mad!” And his eyes filled up again.

“NO!” Tay stated adamantly. “I deserved everything I got. There’s no reason you could have known better. I said it to you, so of course you would think it was okay to say it to someone else. You’ll never know how bad I feel about that.” Tay paused there, looking at his little brother who looked so sad. “So, was it bad?” he asked carefully. “The spanking? Was it bad? You wanna talk about it? Sometimes it helps.”

At first Mac just shook his head. But a few moments later he nodded. “It was soooo bad,” he whimpered. “I hated it. Mommy pulled my pants and undies down and put me over her knee. It hurt really bad. I cried and cried but she wouldn’t stop. I don’t wanna ever go through that again!”

Tay had to chuckle. How many times had he said that very thing to himself over the ten years or so he’d been getting spanked. “I know exactly what you mean, little guy,” he comforted. “I don’t ever want to go through that again myself either.”

Mac looked nervously up at his big brother, shuddering as he added, “She washed my mouth out too. I hate that! I can still taste it.” Mac had had his mouth washed out a couple times before for back-talking so it wasn’t a totally new experience but it was still more than a little unpleasant.

Tay nodded sympathetically again. “Yep. Totally sucks, doesn’t it? Dad did it to me too,” he sighed, shaking his head sadly. “And I still have one more punishment to go too,” Tay admitted. “I have to apologize to everyone at dinner. Tell them everything - that I swore at you and then got you in trouble too by teaching you bad words, bad attitude and disrespect. And then I have to say how I got punished!” He gave Mac a sad, lost look. “God, I hate having to tell everyone stuff like that. It’s so embarrassing. And Dad made me promise that I won’t swear again, and he said if I did, then I’d get doubly punished the next time because I’d be breaking my promise too. And so I have to tell them that too, and then I have to ask for everyone’s forgiveness. And their help in breaking this habit.” Tay felt totally defeated. He took a deep breath trying to fortify himself though as he knew there was no getting out of it. “Wanna help me with it?” he asked, genuinely hoping Mac would agree. “I don’t know how to say it all.”

Mac grimaced at the thought of what his brother had to do but then he put his hand comfortingly on Tay’s arm and nodded. Together the two of them spent the next half hour or so planning and rehearsing Tay’s speech; right up until they were summoned to dinner. “Well, here goes nothing,” Tay groaned as he hoisted his little brother onto his back and gave him a piggyback ride down the stairs.

Tay smiled sheepishly at his parents as he set Mac down in the kitchen. He walked tentatively over to his mother, hands deep in his pockets, and gave her an imploring look, hoping she wasn’t still mad at him - praying she’d let him know he wasn’t still in the doghouse with her. She looked sadly at him at first, then she wiped her hands on the dishcloth and held her arms out. “C’mere,” she said with a half smile, and he gratefully dove into her embrace. “I’m so sorry Momma. I really am. Do you forgive me? Please say you do,” he mumbled into the crook of her neck.

She pulled him back, ruffled his hair and then gave him a little shake of frustration. “You drive me crazy. You know that, don’t you?” she said, with a barely concealed smile, and Tay nearly collapsed with relief, sure now that it was going to be all right. “Yes ma’am,” he grinned, blushing. “That’s what you love about me, right?” and he winked, knowing they were okay again.

As the rest of the family gathered for dinner, Tay grew increasingly nervous. He busied himself helping his mother with the final food preparations – feeding this many people was a massive production each time – but soon enough there was nothing left to do. He took his seat wondering when his time would come. He glanced over at his father, catching his eye, giving him a questioning look, not really wanting it to be right then, but not wanting to postpone the agony any longer either. Walker nodded, then cleared his throat.

“As many of you know, both Mac and Taylor got into some trouble today and were punished for it.” Taylor could barely stifle a groan, his cheeks a raging blush already. “Taylor has something he’d like to say to you all now.” And Walker ceded the platform to him.

Taylor looked down at his trembling hands as they fidgeted in his lap, then took a deep breath and began. “I did something really stupid a couple days ago. I … um … swore at Mac.” He shook his head in disgust at his own idiocy. “Um, well, anyway, today, Mac, not realizing how wrong it was, said the same thing to Mom, and got spanked for it. His very first spanking ever.” He threw Mac an apologetic look. “And then, well, when Mom and Dad found out where he’d learned it, um, I got spanked for it too. Twice. Mom paddled me, then Dad used his hand.”

Tay had to stop for a moment then to try and get his shaking under control. He sucked in a deep breath and counted backwards from ten, then forced himself to look up. He was relieved to find only sympathy in the eyes of his family. “Anyway, I’m really sorry. I can’t believe I did something so stupid – and wrong. And caused Mac to get his first spanking. I promised Dad that I’d never do it again and he said that I’d get punished twice if I did ‘cause now I’d be breaking my promise as well. And he said I had to tell you all this and ask you all for your forgiveness … and for your help in breaking this bad habit I have of swearing.” He stopped then as he was practically panting. “So that’s what I’m doing. Apologizing and asking for your help. I don’t know what that’ll look like but I know I have to learn to control my mouth. I thought a lot about it and realized I only do it to feel powerful and mean and cool, but that it doesn’t really do any of those things in the end. And mostly I don’t want to set a bad example for anyone else, or get anyone else in trouble, … nor ever get spanked that hard again.” He glanced sheepishly at his parents then, remembering the awful spankings. He hoped he’d said enough and could stop humiliating himself now.

Walker nodded supportively, then looked around the table. “So do you all agree?” he asked, making Tay blush an even deeper read. It felt so personal and intrusive and embarrassing to have his father asking them all that. “Do you all accept his apology and agree to help hold Taylor accountable to his promise to clean up his mouth? That doesn’t mean tattling,” he added quickly, much to Tay’s relief. Tay sure didn’t want his family having to tell on him all the time. “That just means calling him on his broken promise should he slip up, and reminding him that that sort of language is inappropriate and won’t be tolerated. What do you all say?” Walker looked at each person separately, with a kind smile to let them know this was no longer punishment, just support.

“Yes sir,” was the general response. And that was that.

“Good! Then let’s eat,” Walker stated. “Although I’m not sure how good this’ll taste after a soap appetizer,” he teased, winking at Mac and then Tay. Tay groaned and rolled his eyes, but then, looking conspiratorially at Mac, he stuck his tongue out at his father with a broad grin. A second later Mac giggled and did the same thing, much to their father’s astonishment. Tay shuddered all over as he realized he’d just done it again.