A spur of the moment act meant retribution at home.
(Originally written c. 1998 for the Yahoo group “I Was Spanked Growing Up”)
by Megan Lowry
North Carolina’s mid-summer heat and humidity were more oppressive than usual that Friday as I drove to the Dixie Mart to fetch a few groceries my mom needed for supper.
Stopping at the pumps, I ran seven bucks worth of gas into my Monte Carlo and then ran inside where the air conditioning and chilly tile floor proved a welcome relief from the muggy air and sunbaked asphalt outside.
After going to the dairy case and bread rack, I padded up to the checkout. I was wearing faded Wrangler cutoffs and a white Pepsi Cola T-shirt as well as a light nylon windbreaker I had retrieved from the back seat of the car and thrown on before coming into the store.
As I stood in line behind a young mom and her two small kids and a couple of guys around my age, I felt around in the pocket of my windbreaker for the bills and change mom had given me. Quickly counting it, I realized that even combined with my own meager funds I wouldn’t have enough money to buy a pack of cigarettes. This was a definite bummer, as they say, because my last pack was running low and, despite the promise I’d made to mom to quit smoking, I still did when out with friends and occasionally sneaked a puff in my room.
When it came my turn to check out, I placed mom’s stuff on the counter and told Mr Mulroy, the store manager, that I owed for the gas, too. Mr Mulroy knew me and my parents and siblings from the Mount Zion Baptist Church we all attended and where his wife taught Sunday School. The phone jangled just then and he asked me nicely to “hold on just a second” as he turned to answer it.
The “second” dragged into a couple of minutes as I listened to one side of Mr Mulroy’s protracted conversation with someone I gathered would be making a delivery later that afternoon. Bored, my eyes wandered around the brilliantly lit interior and through the plate glass windows to the steaming July day outside. Standing there, I idly wondered whether there just might be sufficient loose change in the Monte’s glove compartment or under the front seat to cover the price of a pack of smokes. I decided there probably wasn’t.
It was at that moment, with Mr Mulroy’s back to me, that I looked towards the cash register and saw the aluminum cigarette rack mere inches to its right.
Temptation reared its ugly head.
It would be SO easy, I mused, and who would know? “NO, WAIT!” A little voice shouted inside me. “You weren’t raised to be a thief! And what if you get caught?” I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, wishing Mr Mulroy would hurry. Another voice, a much smoother one, snickered: “Oh, go ahead! It’ll be just this one time! It isn’t really stealing, anyway. Everyone does it!”
Mr Mulroy was still occupied on the phone. Glancing furtively around, I saw there were no other customers in the store. I succumbed in a heartbeat. My hand darted over the counter and grabbed two packs of Marlboro 100’s that I quickly shoved deep into the windbreaker’s pocket.
My God! What had I just done? My heart was pounding like a jackhammer. Trying to look innocent, I felt disbelief and sick fear welling up inside. I had the crazy thought that I was about a feel a heavy hand on my shoulder and turn to see a grim faced policeman ready to haul my sorry fanny off to jail. I had been a criminal only 15 seconds and already my conscience was tormenting me.
Mr Mulroy hung up the phone and stepped back to the counter. “Gosh, Meg, I’m sorry that took so long, but we’ve been havin’ some problems gettin’ stuff delivered durin’ the week,” he laughed, ringing up my purchases and taking my crumpled Dollar bills.
“No problem,” I said, my knees weak. “I’m in no hurry.” We passed a couple of minutes talking about Bob Hardy, our local high school football star who would play for UNC that autumn, and then I told him I had better get going.
“Say hi to your folks, Megan,” he said as I picked up the brown paper sack from the counter and turned to leave.
I pushed open the door and the air hit me like a blast furnace, but I felt weirdly cold and a million butterflies were fluttering in my tummy as I scampered to the car. “YEAH! OKAY! I GOT AWAY WITH IT.” I congratulated myself, giddy and almost light headed with relief. “But never again, NEVER again!” Slipping off my windbreaker, I tossed it through the window onto the back seat and then slid in behind the wheel.
As I started the motor and leaned over to adjust the AM/FM to a country and light rock station in Smithfield, I heard Mr Mulroy’s voice at the window. “Megan?” My head snapped around with a start. “I have to talk to you a minute. Would ya please shut the car off?” Suppressing panic, I twisted the ignition key and heard the motor die.
“What?” I asked, looking up at him.
“I think you know what. Did you take something out of the store without payin’ for it?”
“Me? No WAY!” I lied, trying to sound indignant.
“Look, my stockboy Ricky just told me he saw you pocket some cigarettes. Did you?” Frowning, I shook my head and prayed he didn’t notice me trembling.
Mr Mulroy reached through the window and grabbed my windbreaker from where I’d carelessly tossed it. “Hey!” I yelled, trying to snatch it back. It was no use. Feeling around, he took out the two damning packs of Marlboros and stared hard at me.
“I…, I bought those over at Walmart.” I stammered, angry now and confused.
Well, it’s easy enough to find out. All we have to do is run these over the scanner. You wanna come inside while I do that? I mean, if you’re tellin’ the truth, if ya bought these out at Wally World, I’ll sure hell make Ricky apologize to ya big time.”
Tightly gripping the steering wheel, I stared silently at a lamp post across the road.
“Megan, how about it?” He tossed my windbreaker back inside the car. Suddenly breathless and on the verge of tears, I understood I was busted. I bit my lip.
“I…, I don’t know what happened. I just…, I don’t know…”
“Oh, I know what happened,” he curtly interrupted. “You tried the Five Finger Discount and I caught you at it. What’s not to know?”
Mr Mulroy’s demeanor was nasty and authoritarian. I swallowed hard. “Do…, do you have to call the cops?” Taking my eyes from the lamp post I looked up at him imploringly, hoping against hope he’d give me a break just once.
“No, I guess not. Not this time,” Mr Mulroy answered. “Oh god, alright, thanks,” I sighed, having had the terrifying thought of being handcuffed in the back of a deputy’s car enroute to the Sheriff’s Office and an appearance in juvenile court.
“I, uh, I won’t ever do anything like this again,” I murmured, prickling with shame.
“You BETTER not ever pull anything like this again. Next time I won’t be so nice about it.” Mr Mulroy threatened.
“I promise you I won’t. Can I get goin’ now?” An enormous gasoline transport, its turn indicators flashing orange, rumbled to a stop behind the Monte Carlo with a sharp whoosh of air brakes. Mr Mulroy waved up to the driver with a sweaty smile and had to raise his voice to be heard above the racket of the semi’s heavy Diesel motor.
He leaned down and nodded. “Yeah, you can take off. I’m gonna be callin’ your folks about this, though.”
I winced. Damn it! Why couldn’t he just let it go? Because he’d let me off easy by not calling the police, I figured, it was pretty hopeless to argue him out of phoning mom. I started the car and turned onto 421, headed home.
As Peter Paul and Mary belted out “If I Had a Hammer,” my mind went into overdrive for an excuse, explanation or alibi to offer mom. Parking in the driveway, I walked across the dry, tickly grass toward the back porch. I was coming up the steps when mom opened the kitchen door and glared out. The anger and disappointment on her face told me everything: I was in trouble. I handed her the Dixie Mart bag and walked into the kitchen.
“WHAT do you have to say about this?” Mom demanded, arms crossed.
“I…, I’m sorry. I just don’t know why it happened.”
Blushing, I stared down at the linoleum floor. At five foot six and 119 pounds, I felt exactly like a misbehaving little brat of eight.
“It’s not that big a deal…”
CRACK! “OUCH!” I yelped, stunned, as mom’s open palm slapped my face. “Don’t!” The slap hurt but I resisted rubbing my cheek.
“I want you to go up to your room. I’ll come up in a few minutes.”
“Go upstairs? What for?”
“What for? ‘Cuz you haven’t had a good tanning lately and you’re gonna get one now.”
We stared at each other a good ten seconds. “Whaddya mean?” Mom couldn’t REALLY intend to spank me, could she?
“I ‘mean’,” Mom answered with a note of sarcasm, “That you can either get punished now, I’ll do it, or you can wait for daddy when he gets home from work. Up to you, but I don’t think you want dad to use the belt, do you?”
“Hey, I am seventeen years old. I don’t have to let…”
“Megan, I SAID to go up to your room right NOW!” She snapped her fingers and pointed towards the stairs, looking more ornery than I’d ever seen her before. Pouting and red faced, I tried to talk my way out of the mess I’d made.
“Mom, please..it’s just that I…”
CRACK! Mom’s hand delivered another hot, humiliating, slap to my face. “MOVE IT, MEG!”
Head down, I walked quickly through the living room and upstairs, boiling with frustration. Sitting dejectedly on the edge of my bed, I hated mom, I hated myself for the nightmare I’d created and I hated the whole world. What was I gonna do? Would my mom really come in here and…? At seventeen, I saw myself as a grown woman. My last spanking had been at least a year before and the idea of suffering another had seemed pretty remote. Now, suddenly, a tanning was a chillingly real possibility.
What if I wouldn’t let her? Would she actually tell daddy? I thought back to when I was thirteen and one of my older sisters back-sassed him over breaking her curfew. I had felt dread in the pit of my stomach overhearing her wails and screams punctuated by a dozen fast, snapping cracks with his heavy leather belt across the seat of her jeans. Kimberly lay on her bed crying her eyes out for the better part of an hour. I hadn’t been spanked by dad since I was fifteen. That punishment had consisted of just three or four extremely painful swats with his brown cowhide belt across the bottom of jogging shorts, but I was certain that if he had to do the job now I’d be in for the same as my sis, if not worse. Needless to say I didn’t want that.
The same little voice of conscience I’d ignored 20 minutes ago suddenly piped up: “Hey, girl, that was one stupid thing to do,” it whispered vindictively. “Ain’t ya sorry now?” Oh, yeah, I was. Sorrier than I’d ever been about anything in my whole life. If only I could relive this last half hour, I’d give anything, I thought, just to undo it.
My bedroom door opened and mom walked in, the heavy old maple hairbrush in her right hand. I hadn’t felt its sting for over a year and didn’t want to now. I glanced away from it and up at her.
“Megan Elizabeth,” she said. Mom didn’t sound angry anymore. I shrugged, wishing to appear cool and uncaring.
“C’mon, hon.” Mom reached down and took my left wrist. I stood, not resisting but scared, and came with her two steps to the end of the bed where she sat down. She looked me in the eyes, nodded, and patted her lap.
“Oh no, just like I was some little five year old!” I realized sickly. I rolled my eyes and gave a sigh of exasperation, hoping to make her think I saw all of this as silly and no real punishment at all. With my mind in a fog of disbelief, I got across mom’s lap while thinking those faded cutoff Wranglers and skimpy cotton panties wouldn’t offer much protection against what was coming.
Feeling small, vulnerable and ashamed, I adjusted myself while that little voice screamed at me again: “YOU’RE JUST A KID AND YOU WERE BAD. YOU’RE GONNA GET A SPANKIN’! YEAH MEG, A SPANKIN’!”
Mom’s tummy was warm against my side. She took my right wrist and held it tightly against the small of my back. My left palm was against the floor. My brain concentrated on the happy summertime sounds of the little kids across the county road, giggling as they ran through the lawn sprinkler.
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
Fast, hard and scalding, mom slapped the heavy brush down, alternating from left to right. Wanting not to cry, I tensed my muscles and squirmed. Mom hadn’t tanned my ass in about fourteen months and that’s a long time, long enough to forget how badly this really hurt.
WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
“Ouch!” I gasped. “Mom, no!” Please God, I thought, let this be all of it, no more. Yet the spanks kept raining down, right to left with some across my crack as my misbehaving little teenage tush began to burn as if I’d sat in steaming water.
THWACK! SMACK! CRACK! WHACK!
Hot salty tears started to flow in earnest, the sizzling in my rear far more intense than I could ever remember. As the hardwood brush stoked up the hellfire raging in my reddening butt cheeks, I let out one powerful scream. Mom finished with five hard WHACKS at the same spot on my right cheek, then five more at one spot on my left. Writhing and struggling across her lap, dirty feet kicking furiously, the spanking seared away all my adult pretensions as I dissolved into tears of shame and whining squeals of well-earned pain.
After thirty five or forty hard slaps, mom stopped. She helped me up and I stood before her, no longer a sassy mouthed teen but a well chastised and sobbing little girl suffering the blistering sting of a spankin.’ Mom laid the brush on my dresser and drew me close, rubbing my shoulders.
“Don’t cry, honey. It’s all right.” Mom soothed as I whimpered. She gave me a light kiss and patted my back. “Meg, go wash your feet and get right to bed.” Mom said in a gentle voice. “You’re goin’ without supper tonight. I don’t wanna see you downstairs until mornin,’ got that?” With a sad look on her face she left the room and quietly shut the door.
That long evening I lay on my bed with my face buried in the pillow, sometimes reaching back to gingerly massage my throbbing backside. With no air conditioning and only a table fan to stir the humid air, my bedroom was like a cauldron. Bright sunlight streamed in the windows. I was hot, hungry and in aching pain. Way more than that, however, I felt simmering resentment towards Mom; how DARE she do this? How DARE she be such a bitch? I just wanted nightfall to come and to get some shuteye. Around ten I drifted off into sweaty, restless sleep.
KAA – – – BOOM!
I woke with a start. My bedroom was lit by a flash of lightning as a clap of thunder roared from nearby. Suddenly, at that instant, I understood it all. I had very seriously screwed up and had deserved very serious consequences. Those “consequences” left my fanny sore and stinging hours later, but punishment had balanced the scales. My mom’s lickin’ had made me suffer and atone for my guilt and stupid, truly stupid, behavior. Now it was okay. Now I was forgiven and it was over and done with. In my heart I knew Mom spanking me was, really and truly, an act of love. Rain pattered on the live oak outside my window. A deliciously refreshing wind stirred the curtains and cooled the air. I pulled up the sheet and fell into deep, peaceful slumber.
At seven, Saturday morning, I came downstairs. Mom was having some Earl Grey tea before starting breakfast. Recovered somewhat, I sat down across the table from her. “Uh, I’m sorry, Mom,” I began, “This won’t happen again.”
“I know it won’t, Megan. You just made a mistake, that’s all. I guess everybody does sometimes.”
“Uh, did you tell Daddy what happened?”
Mom shook her head. “Nah, you feel bad enough as it is without dad scolding and yelling at you. We don’t have to say anything. I just told him a little white lie. I said you’d gone up to bed ‘cuz you had a bad headache.”
This was a huge relief. I knew daddy wouldn’t spank me again, but he might possibly ground me – until I was about 35.
“You won’t ever have to do this again, either.”
“I hope not, Honey. You don’t know how much I hated that yesterday.”
“You don’t know how much I hated that yesterday!” I managed a weak smile and mom laughed. She offered me a Pepsi and we didn’t talk about it anymore.
That was the last spankin’ mom ever had to give me, and one I’ll always remember. The twang and soreness served as a three day reminder that it was time to grow up, time to stop acting like a kid and time to stop getting into the kind of trouble that would mean getting my ass slapped like a kid. Having to sleep on my tummy for a few nights really drove that message home.
The next night, as the Great Love of My Life and I held hands and watched a three quarter moon rise over WhiteLake, I ‘fessed up what I’d done and what had happened when I’d gotten home. At first he didn’t believe it.
“What now? She actually SMACKED your BACKSIDE?”
“Oh, right, right. No WAY!” He laughed.
“YES way! Hell, d’ya think I’d make this UP?”
My Love took a bit of convincing that I was telling the truth. After I let him see the evidence to prove I wasn’t fibbing, he reflected silently for a moment then said: “Good God, Sweetie. I’d say you’ve gotten off rather easily. What if…, well, you might have finished up like Carla !”
Yes, I might have “finished up like Carla”, a black thought I’d had during Mr Mulroy’s interrogation. The previous year my pal Carla D, my age and a classmate, had been caught in a store the first day of summer vacation trying to rip off two expensive watches and a bracelet. Our county, back in those days, had a perfect bitch of a juvenile judge who committed her to the Department of Youth Corrections for 75 days. I had been deeply angered by what I’d heard about Carla’s removal from the hearing room, bawling and looking back towards her mother and a married sister who were in tears.
She was actually granted an early release that August, and on returning admitted to sobbing out: “Please, I wanna go home,” after Lights Out that first night in a dormitory with about twenty other girls. A fat matron sharply ordered her to “hush up and go to sleep” as one or two other inmates joined her in crying.
Stretched out on the sand that evening, I had a thought. Had mom remembered Carla’s awful experience? Was my extra hard spanking her effort to spare me from the same shameful thing? I think so.
My Love shook his head at the thought of mom whacking my fanny. For some damn reason he found the whole story just real amusing. He was particularly “amused” by learning she’d told daddy I’d gone to my room with a headache when, quote, “it was the opposite part of your anatomy that was aching, Dear Heart!” That’s a guy for you. Anyway, the mental image of his almost-of-legal-age girlfriend over her mom’s knee getting her derriere tanned elicited his sympathy. He tenderly “comforted” me and made it all better. (grin)