The following story is fiction about paddling in a high school setting back in the middle of the last century in the USA. The story contains scenes of paddling. If this subject is offensive, uninteresting or if you are a minor (i.e., child) please leave now.
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It was my fifteenth high school reunion. It was pretty much like, I guess, most of them. Meeting old classmates who were older and fatter and now essentially strangers. And meeting old teachers who were also older, but except for the one who just started the year I graduated, the same. It was quite the same as my tenth reunion except everything was shabbier.
The reunion committee had learnt a painful lesson last time and they made the dinner an open buffet so there would not be, er, loud discussions about the seating plan. We were in the school gym. I guess that they had kidnapped the janitor, better known as Mr. No-shoes-on-my-gym-floor, who surely would have had a heart attack seeing us walking on his pristine floor. Well, he seemed to think that it was pristine.
There were lots of placards around the wall with pictures to show off the proudest moments of our class. It took me a long time to find the one about me. It never got posted in the halls because Vice Principal Belinowski – affectionately known as the Vicious Paddler, did not want to encourage completion in this endeavor. During my four-year ordeal I achieved a unique record. I had gotten the most pops of anyone ever in the history of the school. My record was still standing after ten years but now the little placard that was created for our first reunion (as a supposed joke) was defaced. It claimed that some upstart last year exceed my count by five pops.
It was an outrage!
My mind slipped back and …© YLeeCoyote
It was the second week of my freshman year and I was a scared not quite fourteen-year-old. I was being bullied by some wiseass soph and I did not like it. He knocked my books down and laughed. I saw RED and swung. I swung hard and he had a bloody nose thanks to my hard fist. Some teacher saw the punch and the blood and seconds later I was on my way to the Vicious Paddler. I was scared. I had to wait outside his office for a half hour which was the longest thirty minutes of my entire life.
The VP was sitting behind his desk. The huge paddle that I heard about was on top. It was two feet long, four inches wide and half inch (sixty cm long, ten cm wide and a cm) thick hunk of heavy, hard oak wood. It was absolutely scary. He lectured me and pronounced sentence. Six! That was the max. He taught me the protocol for freshmen – empty back pockets, stand on the line, bend over desk and hold on tight. I got into position and he started swinging. WHACK! I yelled and jumped. "Back into position, Stockdale. Next time you get up the pop won't count." he snarled. I got a death grip on his desk. I managed to keep my place for the other five pops. Then he said to get up and I signed the punishment book with teary eyes.
In gym an hour later I was a hero with my red butt inspected by one and all for I was the first in my class to get it. It wasn't until I was a junior that I had to drop my pants for the paddle.
As I stood there annoyed that my claim to fame was lost, VP interrupted my reverie. I immediately saw from his name tag that he had been passed over being promoted to principal as it said "VP Belinowski". After we exchanged pleasantries, he spoke. "Stockdale, I had never expected that anyone would come close to your infamous achievement but Lovejoy did. A couple of years ago he visited my office more than even you had and I practically wore out my paddle on his butt. It was the first year I didn't miss you and your butt to roast."
That he was gleeful was irritating and made my being toppled all the worse. It was time for the speeches and we all went into the auditorium for a while. Fortunately they were limited to five minutes each. I kept my seat and hardly listened thinking about my lost record.
Everyone was back in the gym mingling when I met Stanford Gronewold. I hardly remembered the guy. He was in the school only for our senior year. He greeted me warmly and told me that I had a profound effect on his life. I was puzzled so I asked him to explain.
"It was the beginning of October and I was having trouble fitting in. One of the problems is that I had never been paddled and somehow I got excused from it because of that a couple of weeks earlier although a few other guys did not. That got me a bad reputation. You saved me and I'll never forget you."
"Me?" I asked still puzzled.
"Yes, you. You had gotten paddled twice that week and were about to get sent to VP again. I heard you wishing that you weren't. I asked you to let me take the rap and you graciously agreed. I saw the VP, confessed and got six pops. They hurt like nothing I had ever experienced before. I was still glowing when I had to change for gym the next period. My roasted rump was admired and let me get close to the other guys."
I thought of a lot of choice but unprintable words. If not for my being nice I would still be first although only by one pop.
The next thing I realized was that Stanford was trying to get my attention. He said my eyes had glazed over. I explained what the problem was.
"That easy to fix. You just have to confess to VP. Since they banned CP last year, he is sure to be delighted to paddle you again. Back then he lived to paddle us and I bet he still does."
We looked around and found VP. I explained that my conscience was bothering me because at the beginning of my senior year I let Gronewold take the blame for something. "I'm confessing to that crime."
VP was a little dubious but Stanford backed me up. "It was and still is my job to help you kids so if this is true, then you can get what is due you. Sorry, there isn't anyway to unpaddle you Gronewold but you lied with your false confession. Come along to my office."
The three of us went along the half dark corridors to his office and he unlocked the door and we went in. Belinowski went digging in his bookcase and found the punishment book that held the records. He looked for and quickly found Gronewold's record complete with his signature. The record is consistent with your story so I'm going to believe you. "Henry, you are due six pops." he said to me. Then he went digging in his desk for the paddle. It looked bigger that I recalled.
"OK, Henry, you know the drill – drop your pants and briefs and get into position."
"Yes, Sir." I responded and did as instructed even though I was wearing boxers. A grinning VP was in position immediately. He had lots of experience. Then I felt the paddle as he checked the spacing. I gripped the desk and then WHACK!
That fucken' hurt. I immediately thought: «Will the other five be as bad?» I did not have to wait very long to find out. WHACK! Yes, it hurt just as much. But I knew that I could take it. Just four more to go. Another WHACK! and I was at the half way point. I realized that I was out of practice to feel the burn so much. Back when I was a student I never worried (much) about pops. The next three pops come quickly one after the other. I stood up and rubbed my just battered butt.
"Back into position, Henry. You got another six due."
"Yes, shall we say interest for the delay and lies."
I bent over and grabbed the desk tightly. Again and again that hardwood devil landed on my butt like it was trying to shatter it. I yelled on the eighth one.
"I'm finally getting to you, Henry. I wish that I could have done this when you were a student." Then he gave me the tenth. My butt was really hurting and then the eleventh and finally the twelfth. I gave another yell. "You may get up Henry" he said calmly as I rubbed furiously. Then very calmly (ignoring that it was almost sixteen years late) he made an entry in the punishment book and I signed it. "You got the record again and it will stand forever, Henry. I'll get the placard fixed."
Stanford and I stopped in the john before returning to the gym. He admired how I was glowing and helped with some towels soaked in cold water.
It hurt but I held the record once again.
© Copyright A.I.L. November 5, 2016
The URL for this page is: https://yleecoyote.asslr.org/RecoveringTitle.html
Last updated: September 15, 2023