The following story is fiction about corporal punishment in public. The story contains scenes of paddling in public. If this subject is offensive, uninteresting or if you are a minor (i.e., child) please leave now. I was inspired by a line in the news article travel.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/travel/booted-off-the-plane-how-normal-is-that.html about being sent to the principal's office.
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It was in the fine print of the Contract of Carriage which is never read by anyone except lawyers but it was legal and binding. When the CPO (Chief Passenger Officer) proposed it was unanimously adopted by the board within a few minutes. The legal department took several weeks to refine it into totally incomprehensible, unambiguous, legal gobbledygook. Initially, the flight attendants were unhappy with it but once they learnt what it meant in real life practical terms, they were totally elated. Frustrations with plane travel were immense especially with crowded and cramped cabins.
It took a couple of forced landings and arrests in unscheduled stops for the word to spread that was the new order of things. "These new rules are ridiculous" said one old codger, "Reminds me of being sent to the vice-principal's office in high school." A couple of groups tried to organize a boycott but as other airlines copied the new rules, that effort was stymied and soon fizzled out like contrails in the jet stream.
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The Inflight Service Manager (ISM) Harold Shoemaker hated the run. It was the last flight out from the airport serving the weekend resort area and was always full of rowdy travelers who were unhappy about having to go back to home and work with significantly lighter wallets. Surprisingly, the younger cohorts of twenty-somethings and even the college kids were OK. They were so sleep deprived from playing day and night that they dropped off like babies put into their cribs. The few seniors were also well behaved as they always were. It was the middle aged executives who, having to pay their own way missed their business perks, who were the problem. What Harold did like, however, was the additional pay he received as the ISM for being in charge of the other flight attendants even though he was only twenty-seven. The more senior ISM's chose other, more pleasant, flights.
The pair in seats 57A and B who were full of themselves were the problem this trip. It was only with some pleading that the junior flight attendant had managed to get them buckled in, seat backs up and electronics off for takeoff. Perhaps it would have been better if they had been ejected before takeoff but now cruising at thirty thousand feet (nine thousand meters) that was frowned upon as it would depressurize that cabin and require reams of paperwork. It was ISM Harold's duty to deal with the pair who were both twice his age.© YLeeCoyote
Coming from the first class cabin, carrying his paddle both as a symbol of his authority and for use as the implement of discipline. Other passengers saw him walking down the aisle and gave him encouragement with their comments, such as "It's about time." and "Give it to them good."
Approaching the miscreants with the paddle instantly changed their attitude for they immediately quieted down and stopped drinking. Harold quickly took their flasks "for safekeeping" until the plane landed. They quickly promised to be quiet and all. "Of course, that is required, Mr. Ackerman and Mr. Penrod but you still must pay for your past misbehaviors." said the ISM most firmly, "You are both due six pops." Several nearby passengers applauded.
"No." they shouted in unison, "We'll be good."
"If I have to call the Captain it will be double that and perhaps even a police matter when we land." He paused to let that sink in and then continued. "To the front by the curtain, please, gentlemen." and then after a slight pause added: "NOW!"
Slowly Ackerman moved as ordered. "Drop your pants and undies and bend over, please."
"Please, not on the bare." he begged now even more embarrassed.
"Don't make me call the Captain. Drop 'em and assume the position. Hold on to the side of the bulkhead until this is over."
Not so rapidly, Ackerman complied, mooning the other passengers as he presented his butt for the paddle. Harold was delighted. He raised the paddle and brought it down hard on the target. Unlike high school boys of the past who tried to be as stoic as possible by being silent, Ackerman yelled although he retained his position. The audience was most amused. The remaining five pops had the same reactions and left Ackerman with four bright red checks. He was allowed to pull up his pants to cover his hot swollen nether cheeks. His bruised dignity could not be so easily covered.
Penrod was due the exact same treatment. He was even more pitiful. First he had to be dragged from his seat by a couple of flight attendants like a recalcitrant child. This was accompanied by howls that would have done a five-year-old proud. His behavior did not change even after he was dragged to the end of the cabin.
The two flight attendants had to open his belt and pants so that they could be lowered. "He sounds like a banshee!" was the yell from the back when they yanked down his underwear. They had to hold him in place for Harold to use the paddle on his butt. Harold swung as hard as he could and added an extra two for non-cooperation. Needless to say Penrod howled for each pop and by the time it was over he was bawling like a baby. The flight attendants helped to pull up his clothes and got him back into his seat.
He sobbed for more than an hour but that was the only disturbance from the pair for the rest of the trip.
* * * * * * * * * *
It took about a day for the video to go viral after being posted on YouTube. It turned out that one of the other passengers' eyeglasses' had a built-in camera and he quietly watched the action while it was in record mode. The flight attendants had watched for smart phones and cameras as instructed but had missed the still experimental eyeglasses cam. Of course, once posted there was not any way to unpost it.
It was the talk of the blogosphere for days. In addition to the usual pros and cons of corporal punishment, there was the additional of chatter about age since the targets were both middle age men and the paddler was under thirty. All the talk, however, changed nothing.
A few people behaved better on airplanes, however, being fearful about getting their own rumps roasted.
© Copyright A.I.L. August 3, 2013
The URL for this page is: https://yleecoyote.asslr.org/ContractCarriage.html
Last updated: September 15, 2023