Three Very Sorry Young Men
Author: Amy

The Hanson family was finishing breakfast in the restaurant of their motel. They were en route to Phoenix where the boys were going to give a concert the next night. Ike, Tay and Zac had just begun their second official tour and were feeling pretty full of themselves. They were, in fact, a bit out of control, and had already been warned several times by their overwhelmed parents to get themselves back in check – or else. It was going to be a long tour.

Yesterday the three of them had been acting particularly rowdy and disrespectful and had ended up being grounded to their room for the entire night. They had kept themselves busy working on some music but by midnight, long after the rest of the family had gone to bed, they were bored, pissed and looking for trouble. Confined and restless, it hadn’t taken them very long to hatch a plan to escape. The idea had originally been Zac’s, but he’d only just mentioned it in passing - and half jokingly at that. Tay had been the one to latch onto it and persuade the other two to actually do it. Ike hadn’t been too sure either but in the end he had caught his brother’s excitement. Now the three of them were finishing their coffee, smirking about their little escapade, blissfully unaware of the trouble that was brewing.

Suddenly there was a commotion at a nearby table. The boys were pretty used to this and at first just assumed they’d been recognized. However, the tension in the room didn’t feel quite right for that and all three of the guy’s antennae began to twitch. They watched anxiously as their father rose up and went over to see what was going on. Walker had realized that whatever it was obviously involved his sons somehow because there were lots of animated gestures and pointed glances in their direction. The three boys began to feel their blood pressure rise as one by one they realized who the men were.

The motel manager had been cornered by an angry patron who was explaining, quite vociferously, about a problem he’d had last night. And he was certain it was “those three boys” – nodding in their direction - who had been causing the trouble. When Walker arrived at the table he quickly introduced himself and asked, “Is there some sort of problem here?” The irate guest introduced himself as well and immediately launched into a tirade. Walker’s eyes grew wide at his story. He turned and gave his son’s a look that could kill. All three of them froze in their seats.

“Isaac, Taylor, Zachary! Get over here immediately,” Walker demanded. Oh man, this was bad. The boys were instantly overwhelmed by powerful surges of adrenaline that set their hearts racing and their skin crawling. Swallowing hard while trying to remain calm and look innocent, they slid their chairs back, got up, and shuffled nervously over to where their father was. None of them wanted to get too close to him though. Being within arm’s reach at this particular moment could have dire consequences. He was fuming mad.

The irate man’s name was Mr. Vincent and he had told Walker that last night he and his whole family had been awakened in the middle of the night by loud noises and wild partying in the motel’s indoor pool right outside their room. When he’d stepped out to investigate he’d found three teenage boys playing raucously in the water, splashing and yelling and singing. They’d obviously been drinking too, he added, as there were beer bottles scattered about.
When the three nervous brothers got to their father’s side the man continued his story. “I asked them politely to quiet down but they ignored me,” he said, glaring at each boy pointedly. “I then called the night manager to complain, but I was told that since they were VIP’s he was sorry but there was nothing he could do. I then tried once more to reason with them, telling them the pool was closed and they were disturbing other guests, but one of them gave me the finger and another one told me to ‘f*** off’.” The man said the last two words as an abbreviation and in a very hushed tone as well. It was quite clear the phrase was deeply distasteful to him and he had been seriously offended.

Walker turned slowly to face his three eldest children. He was quaking with anger, his eyes glazed in a way that made all three boys shudder. For a single endless moment time seemed to stand still. Ike hung his head in fear and shame, Taylor shrunk backwards a step, his cheeks burning hot and bright red, and Zac began to bounce in the knees and wring his hands fitfully. They couldn’t have looked guiltier if they were auditioning for the role.

“What do you have to say for yourselves?” Walker boomed. All three cringed visibly, wishing with all their might that he would lower his voice. The whole restaurant was watching now.

There was a god-awful silence. None of the boys wanted to be the first to speak as that might somehow seem to cast the blame directly on them. Nor did any of them have the slightest clue how to answer that question safely. Of course, truth was, it wasn’t possible to do that. They were as guilty as sin and in deep, deep trouble. There was absolutely no doubt about that.

“Well, I’m waiting!” Walker yelled, making all three boys jump. “Isaac?”

Isaac flinched when his father said his name. Instantly he wanted to take it all back. He wanted to magically be transported back to their room last night and get another chance to make a different – wiser – choice. But it was too late. “Um,” he started weakly. It wasn’t fair, he thought. Why did this unpleasant task have to fall on his shoulders just because he was the oldest? Still he knew the ropes and if he didn’t say something soon all hell might just break loose. And he definitely had to prevent that at all cost. “We, um,” he shifted uncomfortably under everyone’s gaze. “I…ah, um, don’t know what to say, Dad.” Oh man, that didn’t come out very well, he moaned silently. His brother’s apparently agreed as they both groaned and seemed to shrink several inches in size.

Their father sucked in his breath as the full impact of the realization hit him. His sons had actually done exactly what this man had said! He was stunned.

“So you have nothing to say for yourselves then?” he asked, his voice filled with disappointment and barely concealed rage. “Taylor?” Taylor shook his head miserably and fought to keep himself from panicking. “Zachary?” Zac could only chew his lips and avert his eyes.

Walker turned back to the two men and, in a decidedly more deflated tone, asked, “Would you mind if we all took this back to our suite? I would like to continue this ‘discussion’ in private.” The word “discussion” was said in such a way that all three boys were quite clear there would be no discussing of anything happening. A trio of very nervous bottoms began to tingle and twinge in anxious anticipation.

The two men nodded, a bit taken aback by the request but also quite pleased to see how seriously Mr. Hanson was taking all this. Walker ushered the group out of the restaurant, motioning for Diana to gather the rest of the family and follow. Ike, Tay and Zac stole furtive glances at each other in a desperate attempt to garner strength from their numbers, but they were wholly unsuccessful. They felt like condemned criminals. The boys were each silently berating themselves for ever having been so stupid as to think they could get away with it. Any of it. And why, oh why, had they been so rude and disrespectful? It was one thing to break grounding and disobey their parents, it was another to be in the pool after hours and against the rules, and yet another to have disturbed a guest, not to mention his whole family. But to have treated the man the way they had – that was unconscionable. And to have been drinking to boot. They were all underage, let alone the fact that it was completely forbidden by their parents. They weren’t going to be sitting comfortably for a long, long time. The walk back to their room seemed more like a funeral procession.

Once inside the room their father turned sharply to the three of them - lined up side by side, trembling with fear, heads hanging - and said “You will explain yourselves right now!” There was a deathly pause. “Somebody speak. And it had better be good,” Walker demanded.

“Dad, we’re sorry,” Ike tried lamely.

“We didn’t mean it. Really,” Tay added pitifully, his voice tight and thin. He glanced uneasily at Mr. Vincent to see how he was reacting.

“It was my idea. I’m the one who thought it up,” Zac blurted out. There was a silence as everyone let this sink in.

“I… I convinced them to do it, though,” Tay admitted shakily. “They didn’t really want to but I pushed for it. I…, I’m sorry. I wish I could take it all back.”

“I bet you do,” his father said. “I just bet you do. But you can’t now, can you? CAN you?” he demanded, his voice rising ominously.

Tay was quaking in his boots, his heart racing furiously. His brothers were only slightly less panicked, thankful that for one brief moment their dad’s wrath seemed to be focused primarily on Tay.

The door opened then and the rest of the Hanson clan as well as their babysitter came in. The boys cringed as the number of spectators to their humiliation more than doubled. Diana motioned for the babysitter to take the baby into another room, however, allowing the boys to breathe a small sigh of relief. It was only a very minor break, but somehow in that tense moment it actually seemed to make a bit of a difference.

“Taylor,” Walker snapped, “since you seemed to be the one who was so keen on this little plan, you will explain to everyone here exactly what went on last night. I’m sure they’d all love to hear about your fascinating adventure.” His voice was dripping with sarcasm making Taylor’s racing heart nearly explode out of his chest.

Taylor squeezed his eyes tight shut trying to obliterate the whole horrible scene. He wiped his sweaty palms on the sides of his jeans, then took in a deep breath and released it with a quaky sigh. His father cleared his throat ominously, letting Taylor know that he was to start at the beginning and not skip any details. Or else.

“We were, um …, grounded to our room for misbehaving,” he started nervously, wondering if his father would accept his choice of beginning points. When there was no objection he continued. “And we were getting kind of bored and restless. So I…, um, I…. decided I was going to have a beer from the mini-bar.” He cringed, waiting for his father to come down on him about this, but there was only a deadly silence. “I convinced Ike and Zac to have one too.” Pause. Still nothing. “Then Zac mentioned the idea of going swimming. He was only joking but I was a little, um… drunk, I guess, and I said ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ Ike really didn’t want to and I think Zac wasn’t too sure either, but I convinced them to do that too.” Both his brothers were mightily impressed and grateful that Taylor was being so selfless in his accounting of the event. Of course, they also knew that it was basically pretty darn accurate so far.

“So we grabbed some more beers and snuck out to the pool. We’d been there about half an hour when Mr. Vincent came out and asked us to leave. We just ignored him - pretended we didn’t hear him - and went back to goofing around. Then he came back out a few minutes later even angrier and told us the pool was closed and we were disturbing the guests. And then I… um, um…, just… um.” Taylor paused. He was at a loss as to how to express what he had done next in the least incriminating way. He couldn’t bear to look at Mr. Vincent. He was completely ashamed of himself. He knew he’d had too much beer last night and that was the only reason he’d lost control in such an appalling way. It was completely uncharacteristic of him – and was, as he well knew, sure to get him severely punished.

“Then I…um… swore at him,” he blurted out, his head hanging. He couldn’t bear to look at anyone. “I told him to ‘f-off’.” His mother and siblings all gasped at this. “I’m sorry. I really am. I’m sooo sorry,” Taylor added quickly, waves of panic rising in his chest. “I didn’t think he’d hear. I’d had a couple beers and I didn’t … think.” His voice cracked and he looked close to tears. He took a step backwards trying subconsciously to disappear or to, at the very least, appear a little less noticeable. He could feel his father’s fury like a lazar beam burning a hole in his chest.

There was an appalling silence that seemed to be sucking what was left of the spirit out of the three boys. They waited, wondering anxiously what was going to happen next. The story wasn’t over yet.

“And?” Walker asked angrily when it became clear none of the boys was going to finish the story without prompting.

Taylor swallowed hard not wanting to reveal what happened next because it would implicate one of his brothers. He closed his eyes and prayed that the brother in question would take up the ball.

Walker cleared his throat threateningly. Zac nearly jumped out of his skin. He looked up nervously, swallowed hard and mumbled, “Then I.., um…, gave him the finger.” Once again there was a gasp from the gathered family members. Zac’s eyes immediately dropped to the floor again, his hands fidgeting furiously.

Walker looked ready to wring all their pretty little musical necks. He was fighting hard to maintain some control over his anger. “I am appalled,” he finally said coldly. “I am disgusted and completely ashamed of all three of you. You are all in very serious trouble and I think you know that.” He turned to the motel manager and Mr. Vincent and said, “I apologize from the depths of my soul for what my sons did. I assure you they were not raised to behave that way, as you will soon see. They know better and they are about to pay a very steep price for their completely unacceptable conduct!” All three boys groaned, their faces flushing crimson with embarrassment.

Turning back to his sons he said, “Tell these men how old you are.” The boys winced at this. Their father was now about to turn up the humiliation meter ten-fold. And he was very skilled at this particular style of discipline. Ike shifted uncomfortably, then muttered “nineteen,” Tay followed quietly with “seventeen,” and Zac mumbled “fourteen.” All three shuddered as the two men shook their heads in disgust at this information. There was no doubt they were certainly old enough to know better.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourselves,” Walker stated emphatically. “At your ages. To act like that. Like little children. Well, guess what?” He paused for effect. “You are about to be punished like little children too. Tell these men what you are about to get.” The boys were squirming like they had bugs in their clothes. “Tell them!” their father demanded.

“We’re going to get spanked,” Ike stated miserably, unable to meet the gaze of the two men.

The men’s eyes widened in shock. They really didn’t think parents still spanked their children, especially at these boys’ ages. Nonetheless, Mr. Vincent was wholly impressed. He certainly didn’t have this level of control over his own teenage son. He had originally assumed these boys were nothing but spoiled famous rich kids who got away with everything they wanted. From the moment their father had first spoken to them, however, it had become very apparent to him that this was anything but the case. In fact, he could see that quite the opposite was true.

Walker turned to Mr. Vincent and said, “I hope you approve. Their mother and I are firm believers in the ‘never too old’ rule. And when I’m finished with them I can assure you they will be three very sorry young men.” He turned to glare at them and the boys wilted under the harshness of his gaze. Then, to everyone’s shock he added, “And after I am done with them, if you feel they have not yet learned their lesson to your satisfaction, you will have the opportunity to finish their punishment. And you may do to them whatever else you feel they deserve. Whatever else!” All three boys’ jaws dropped at this news. They couldn’t believe it. Could he mean that he was going to allow this man to spank them too? Their combined level of panic was beginning to reach titanic proportions.

“Taylor, come here,” Walker demanded as he motioned to Diana to get the hairbrush. Then he pulled a straight back chair out to the center of the room. Taylor froze. Inside his head he was screaming, “Pleeeease Dad, Plllleeeeease don’t do this,” so loudly he was sure that everyone could hear. He gathered all the energy he could muster and took several tentative steps forward, but he couldn’t get his feet to move any further after that. His father came toward him then and grabbed him roughly by his upper arm.

“First we’re going to deal with that filthy mouth of yours,” he stated forcefully and dragged Taylor toward the bathroom. Taylor panicked. “No please, Dad, pleeeease,” he begged, out loud this time, unable to stifle himself any longer. But his father threw him a look that shut him up immediately. Taylor swallowed hard and let himself be pulled along, unable to find the strength to resist any more. His father took him to the open sink area, quickly soaped up a washcloth and, holding Tay’s chin firmly, gave his mouth a very thorough washing. Tay was fighting hard not to break down and sob. He was completely mortified. This was a level of forced submissiveness that always made his stomach turn. He was teetering on the brink of losing control.

After being allowed to rinse hastily, his father pulled him back to the chair. “We’ll start with you since you were the main instigator,” he said, taking his seat and readily unfastening Tay’s pants. The tears began to flow then. This was just too much. Taylor closed his eyes and hung his head as his father yanked his pants down. He was trembling from head to foot. Then in one swift motion Walker turned his naughty son over his knee. Another quick yank and Tay’s bottom was bared for all to see. Tay moaned audibly, his whole body seizing up in dread. Then his father raised his right hand and smacked his son’s pale backside with a loud and formidable “crack.” And he didn’t stop spanking him again until he’d turned Tay’s behind fire-engine red and his son was completely out of breath, panting and gasping for air. And even then Walker only paused long enough to take the hairbrush from his wife and begin all over again. Taylor was bawling by this time. He sobbed and pleaded desperately, struggling hard against the burning fire in his bottom. But it did no good. His father just kept on spanking him. It was unbearably painful – and humiliating.

When Walker finally decided his disobedient son had had enough, he stopped, pulled Taylor’s underwear up, and hauled him back onto his feet. Trembling and whimpering Taylor bent down and gingerly pulled his pants back up. “Go stand in the corner, young man,” his father ordered. With a barely audible “yes sir,” Taylor meekly complied. There was no other choice. He turned and staggered painfully over to the corner his father had pointed to and stood there, face to the wall, crying quietly.

“Zachary, you’re next,” Walker commanded. Zac started as his father’s sharp voice broke his self-absorbed trance. He’d been trying desperately to pretend he wasn’t there – to keep his mind off his impending doom. Slowly he stepped forward. “Hold out your left hand,” his father ordered next. Zac was startled by this. And confused. What was his father going to do to him, he wondered? A second later, to his dismay, he found out. His father grabbed his hand, held it palm up and smacked it hard, half a dozen stinging times, with the back of the brush. Zac gasped, staring at his bright red hand. Tears sprung to his eyes. “That should teach you not to use your hand to make obscene gestures. Yes?” he demanded. “Yes sir,” Zac moaned miserably. His father had smacked his hands before, but never like that. And never with the hairbrush. It hurt so bad. He didn’t have time to think too much about it though, as his father quickly yanked him over to his right side, undid his pants, and pulled them down just as he had Taylor’s. In a flash Zac was facedown across his father’s knees, his underwear then dragged down in back. “Nooo,” he wailed just before the first spank landed. Without thinking, Zac struggled to get up, but his father locked his left arm around him pinning him hard. Then Walker got down to serious business, laying into his son’s backside with a relentless battery of slaps. Zac kicked and begged and fought against the pain but his father held him fast. He gave Zac the same spanking he had just given Taylor - more than fifty hard scorching hand spanks followed by at least that number with the fire-igniting, well-worn hairbrush.

When he was satisfied with the job he’d done on Zac’s flaming bottom he pulled his underwear up and set his second chastised son back on his feet. Zac sobbed quietly as he refastened his pants. “Go stand in the corner now while I deal with Isaac,” his father ordered. And Zac turned obediently, whimpering softly, and limped to the corner his father had indicated.

“Isaac,” Walker sighed wearily. His father may have been tired but Isaac was not foolish enough to think that in any way meant his spanking would be shorter or less painful than his brothers’ had been. Given the amount of time the three of them spent together, it was inevitable that they had been the recipients of a number of triple spankings like this one in their young lives. They new full well that their father had plenty enough endurance to make it through all of their backsides without losing any noticeable strength at all.

Ike wanted to plead desperately that he was too old for this - too old to be spanked - but he could only sigh ruefully at his own folly. He knew that argument would fall on totally deaf ears. The terms had long ago been set. He always knew that if he didn’t want a spanking he had one choice and one choice only - to behave himself. It was that simple. He’d made the wrong choice this time - that went without saying - and now he had to face the consequences. There was nothing else to be done. Nineteen years old or not.

He came forward slowly, dreading every single second that ticked by. His father, irked by his son’s dawdling, reached out, grabbed him by his belt buckle and yanked him forward. Then he expertly unfastened and lowered his pants and put him right across his lap. Ike was taken aback by how quickly his father had managed all this. However, witnessing both his brothers’ spankings before him had taken his last shred of resistance, so his father handled him readily. He gritted his teeth as he felt his father lower his boxers in back. Then he tightened every muscle in his body in anticipation of the explosion of pain he knew was coming. And he wasn’t disappointed. It was everything he expected and more. Sadly. Tears welled up and spilled over almost immediately. He kept his jaw clamped shut for as long as possible though, determined not to make a scene, but by the time his father finished with the hand spanking and started scalding his bottom with the hairbrush he couldn’t hold back any longer. He began to sob full out. He was spent. “Please Daddy, pleeease,” he begged between smacks. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Please. Nooo mooore!”

His father didn’t stop, however, until he had given Ike’s backside the same punishment the other two had received. And when he eventually did stop he simply said, “Since you’re the oldest and should have put a stop to all this, I’m going to give you an extra twenty with the brush.” “Noooo,” Ike wailed, but it did no good. His father laid right back into his blazing bottom with a determination born out of a deep-seated, bitter sense of disappointment. His sons’ behavior had profoundly embarrassed Walker, reflecting badly on his parenting skills he thought, and he was taking it out on his eldest’s backside, since he was the one who should have been in charge.

When his father finished spanking him, Ike just lay there for several moments, limp and sobbing - thoroughly spent and utterly admonished. When he was calmed down enough to form a clear thought he carefully pushed himself to standing and resituated his pants, his fingers so shaky he could barely work the button. He was too ashamed to meet his father’s eyes so he just kept his gaze glued to the carpet.

“Taylor, Zachary, come here now,” Walker ordered. Both boys cringed at the anger still left in their father’s voice, but they turned slowly and obeyed, shamefaced and teary-eyed. His sharp tone was keeping them all on edge. “What do you have to say for yourselves now?” he asked when they were all lined up in front of him. “I’m sorry,” Taylor started, completely ashamed of himself. “Me too, I’m sorry, I really am,” Zac added, his voice choked with barely stifled sobs. Ike was still trying to regain his composure as his spanking had only just ended, so it took him an extra moment or two before he could speak clearly. “I’m really sorry too,” he sniffled, wiping his wet cheeks with both hands. “I should have known better. I know that. Please forgive us. We’re sorry Mr. Vincent. Really.”

Walker, Diana, Mr. Vincent and the motel manager all nodded their acceptance, genuinely pleased by the boys’ obviously heartfelt remorse. It wasn’t over yet though. Walker, to the brothers’ extreme dismay, cleared his throat again and began ticking off a list of their transgressions on his fingers. “Considering the extent of your misbehavior,” he said, “including deliberately disobeying your mother and me by leaving your room when you were grounded, being in the pool after hours and against the motel’s rules, creating a disturbance, being rude, disrespectful and downright nasty to someone, swearing and making obscene gestures, and last but not least, drinking – which is not only against our rules and those of the motel, but the law as well! Your punishment is not over yet.”

He paused as the boys tensed visibly, wondering what awful news awaited them now. Having let down their guard somewhat, assuming the worst was over, they were dumbfounded by this turn of events. “For starters, you are all under restriction for the entire week,” Walker continued. “And if any of you so much as step anywhere even near the line, let alone over it, you can expect to have your bottom bared and severely spanked again. And I can guarantee you that it will be worse than this one. Is this understood?” “Yeees sir,” the boys stammered in unison.

“Now, you three are to turn around and walk over to the kitchen table.” Six shiny eyes widened in disbelief. What was this about? They panicked, hearts once again racing in their chests. “Mr. Vincent, I don’t know if you spank your kids but I would like to ask you a favor. I would like for you to finish their punishments by giving each one of them whatever number of spanks with this brush you feel they deserve,” Walker said as he handed him the dreaded implement. There was a shocked silence. The boys looked as though they’d been hit by a stun gun. Their hearts skipped a few beats and their knees nearly buckled. They watched in horror as the man took the hairbrush from their father.

Mr. Vincent stood there for several moments, looking at the brush and trying to decide how to respond. “I did spank my kids when they were younger,” he stated uncomfortably, “and am a firm believer myself, but I don’t know about this.” The three brothers prayed fervently that he would say no. “Please, please, please,” they begged silently. They couldn’t believe their father was asking this stranger to spank them.

“I know their mother and I would greatly appreciate it,” Walker gently coaxed. “They deserve it, as you well know, and you certainly deserve the right to give it to them.”

To the boy’s stunned disbelief, Mr. Vincent slowly began to warm to the idea. He had certainly been raging mad at them for how they’d treated him last night, that was for sure. And their father’s listing of all their offenses had made him realize just how naughty they’d been. He looked at each of them intently, one by one, took in a deep breath, and then nodded his acceptance of the idea. All three boys groaned.

“To the table. Now!” Walker ordered. They did as they were told, speechless and still in denial to some extent of what was about to happen. Their father’s next words left them with little doubt, however. “Take your pants down and bend over, heads on your arms,” he demanded. The boys froze. Bare? They looked at each other in shock. “Now!” came the command. “Don’t make me ask again.” The boys complied. They were sunk and they knew it. “Now pull your underpants down,” was the final edict – the final straw. One by one they began to cry. They had no defenses left. They made a pitiful site – of that they were sure.

Mr. Vincent walked over to the row of submissive, bowed forms lined up along the table’s edge. He took another deep breath, then he raised the brush, and beginning at one end of the line, spanked each boy’s already sizzling red hot bare bottom twenty or so more times, one after the other. He quickly found a rhythm and even picked up intensity after the first few swats. He actually began to rise to his hard-earned task - committing full out to seeing to it that these boys never did anything like this ever again. The three sobbed and wailed and squirmed violently against the pain, but they didn’t resist or try to get up. They knew better. In a flash they could be back over their father’s knee getting it even worse if they weren’t careful.

Finally Mr. Vincent stopped, out of breath himself and somewhat dazed by the whole episode. “You boys can get up and pull up your pants now,” Walker stated calmly. “Then you are to go back to your corners.” He was finally completely satisfied that the boys had been taught their lesson. “And you will stand in the corner until your mother and I feel you have had enough time to rethink your behavior and to determine to make wiser choices in the future. Do you understand?” Once again, all three boys muttered, “Yes sir,” in unison and did as they were told. They were completely exhausted and thoroughly reproached. This had been one of the worst days of their lives. They each silently resolved to behave themselves – to not make the same mistakes again, no matter what. It wasn’t worth it. Not by a long shot. They were definitely three very sorry young men, just as their father had predicted.

The Phoenix Concert the next night:

Coincidentally, as it had turned out, Mr. Vincent and his family were traveling to Phoenix too. When Walker heard this he had immediately invited them all to come to the concert and had given them free front row seats. They had gladly accepted, awed and overwhelmed by the generosity and integrity of the entire Hanson family. Now all of them were sitting right down front, clapping and dancing and generally having a grand time.

Ike, Tay and Zac finished up a song and waited for the applause to die down. They were enjoying themselves immensely as always. They loved performing. It was in their souls. It fed them like nothing else. However, their bottoms still burned painfully as constant reminders of the consequences of their earlier bad behavior, and there was an uncomfortable task yet to be accomplished which they were all slightly dreading. Earlier that day, the three remorseful brothers had decided they needed to tell Mr. Vincent something. Much as they didn’t want to, they all felt it was simply the right thing to do. They’d drawn straws and the difficult responsibility had fallen to Ike.

Ike glanced at his brothers, who threw him supportive glances in return. He cleared his throat nervously. “Thank you all,” he said to the screaming fans. “Now, we would like to say a very specific thanks to a special guest here tonight.” The audience grew quiet as all three boys turned to look right at Mr. Vincent. Mr. Vincent was surprised to say the least and smiled back up at them. “Mr. Vincent,” Ike paused. “Tay and Zac and I want to say thank you. Thank you for what you did - for caring, for taking the time and energy to make sure we stayed on the right path. We may not have liked it but we know we deserved it. And we appreciate it. We really do.” And, once again, in unison, all three boys said “Thank you.”