When I was younger, I had a best friend who lived just down the street, and we spent most of our weekends together playing make-believe in her basement and building forts. She had an uncle who eventually ended up moving into their basement for a time while he was in between places and that overtook our play area.

One weekend when I was around 10 years old, we were playing all afternoon. We watched movies and ate popcorn, and eventually ended up falling asleep in our fort.

The next morning, we were playing hide-and-go-seek and I ended up hiding in her uncle’s room. He was a smoker and seemed to prefer matches instead of lighters. I was down in his room so long I ended up getting kind of bored, so I started going through his bedside table. I found a book of matches, opened it up and started lighting them one by one. I would watch it burn for a bit and then drop it in his garbage. I honestly have no idea how many I ended up doing, but one got a bit away from me and a tiny little fire started in his garbage. I managed to put it out immediately, but her Mom had noticed the smell of the matches and came down.

She yelled at me and told me to get out of the room and go upstairs into the kitchen. I made my way upstairs and sat at the kitchen table. She came upstairs and called my parents, briefly explaining the situation and asking for them to come get me. I have no idea if I had ever felt panic quite like that, my heart was racing and I had no idea what my parents would do, I just knew I was in trouble.

My parents had never laid a hand on me that I could remember up to that point. My Dad had always threatened the strap that hung up in his shed but had never used it. I heard the car pull into the driveway and made my way out to the car to find my Dad behind the wheel. He had this way of being incredibly and unnervingly stoic when he was mad, and this was as bad as I had ever seen him.
We drove the short drive home in complete silence until we were pulling into our driveway. He then told me that he was incredibly disappointed in me and I would need to be punished. I felt my entire body flush and my heart race. He told me that I was going to be spanked and that I needed to walk straight upstairs, sit on my bed and wait for him to come up. I felt numb, I was terrified.

I walked right up to my room and sat on my bed. I could hear my Dad talking to my Mom for a brief time before he started walking up the stairs. It was the middle of summer and the room was incredibly bright. He walked into the room, over to the window and closed my blinds. The room became instantly dark. My Dad walked over and sat on my bed to the left of me. He proceeded to tell me how disappointed that my Mom and him were with my choices, that I was behaving incredibly poorly and that I could have set my friend’s house on fire. I needed to be spanked in order to understand what I had done.

He told me stand and I did so promptly. He pulled down my shorts and underwear and pulled me over his knee. I remember feeling so embarrassed. I couldn’t think of the last time my Dad had seen me that naked. I laid there in panic over his lap, just waiting for what was coming next. I became abruptly aware how this was going to go when he brought his hand up quickly and brought it down swiftly to my bare bottom.

I took the deepest and sharpest breaths with the first few smacks, and I felt like I would never be able to catch my breath. I lost count of how many times he smacked me on my bare bottom, but it was much more than 40 swats. He was quiet the entire time as I panted and tried desperately not to cry. I yelled out a few times and, near the end, I could hold out no more and burst into tears. The final swat came down with such force that I yelped and felt certain that I would always feel that pain. My Dad left me on his lap, my bare bottom hot and exposed, while he reinforced how badly I had behaved. That both he and my Mom expected so much more from me and that if I ever did anything like that again the punishment would be far worse. I shuddered at the thought of a harder punishment and made a mental note to never touch matches ever again.

My Dad lifted me up off his lap, stood me up, grabbed my undies and shorts and pulled them both up in one motion. He got up to leave and told me that I was to stay in my room for the next hour. If I turned on my TV or my radio he would come back up and spank me some more. As he left and closed the door, I dropped onto the bed on my stomach and cried heavily into my pillow so no one could hear me. I didn’t even move from my bed for the hour I was in there and continued to stay in room well after my Mom came and opened my door.

The embarrassment I felt pulsed through me for weeks. I had the hardest time looking at my Dad, knowing how exposed I had been laid over his lap. After that spanking I went out of my way to behave, knowing I did not want to end up back in that position. I was never spanked again after that day, but it has stayed with me to this day.