Harry was not in any rush to get home this day. In his backpack was a nastygram from school. It wasn't because of anything that he did, such as fighting, nor even a crime of omission, like not doing his assignments. It was that there was a ruckus in the hall by his locker. Two unreasonable teachers had converged and he was caught up in the small sieve net. The Vice Principal was super generous and suspended everyone. He was sure that his father would have a fit.
Harry had hoped that his mother would sign the note after he explained its unfairness but she was not home as she usually was. It was an hour later that she came home with his father. The unexpected excursion was because Dad's car had been hit by another while properly parked and mom had gone to pick him up. The car would take days to repair and there would be many hours dealing with the insurance and other paperwork. Needless to say dad was in a foul mood.
If Harry had known this, he would have kept the note secret until at least after dinner but he had followed the rule and put it with the mail. Dad's explosion nearly blew the roof off the house. It was just seconds later that Harry lost his pants and was laying over the end of his bed getting strapped with a belt. The strapping was violent and fast as the man was driven by his anger at others. Harry was left bawling with a very hot red bottom. Later a poor sandwich and glass of milk were brought to him as dinner.
* * * * * * * * * *
It was three days later when Harry returned home with another note from school. This one had an entirely different message. It was curt to the point of rudeness. It did not offer an apology or explanation or reason but just said. "Previous letter is withdrawn and the school records have been adjusted." Harry had not been the only victim of a rush to condemn under a zero tolerance policy but the other innocent victim's family, fortunately, insisted on a proper review of the events which resulted in the correction.© YLeeCoyote
Harry's father response was quite different from that of two days before. Basically it was a couple of words. They were: "better" and "sorry". That did not make Harry's bottom any less sore nor compensate for being grounded and on 'bread and water' rations for three days.
* * * * * * * * * *
The next day Roger returned home. It was a long weekend because of his college schedule. Roger and Harry were brothers and very close even though they were seven years apart being nineteen and twelve-years-old respectively. Roger was quite horrified when he heard about the events of the past week. They were terrible in themselves but there was a terrible case of déjà vu. This was noticeable to Harry for Roger's demeanor changed sufficiently that he had to explain.
"When I was your age dad overreacted in a similar way so I know you're exactly what you are going through. I did not need to be in the hospital but my butt was sore for ages. Social Services got involved because of the turmoil. There were lots of discussions and even a court order to insure Dad did not weasel out. The requirements included Dad taking anger management training and some penalties for failure. Dad had to make some very solemn promises to me to assure changes in his conduct so that such a thing could never happen again." Roger explained to his kid brother. "It is necessary to act, now, to protect you in the same way."
Harry was quite amazed. He had never seen his brother so angry but, unlike their father, he was in control of himself. Roger went to confront their father. He was on a mission and was not to be denied. It was the first time that Harry ever heard his brother face up to their father and to him it seemed disrespectful. "YOU HAVE BROKEN THE SOLEMN PROMISES YOU MADE TO ME AND TO THE COURT. NOW GET YOUR PANTS DOWN AND GET OVER THE COUCH FOR THE STROP."
"You can't do this…." yelled back his father but was cut off immediately.
"Yes, I can and if you're not in position in thirty seconds I'm calling the cops! The court orders are still valid and enforceable for Harry just like for me."
Harry watched with saucer-eyes as his father immediately backed down and dropped his trousers.
"Underwear, too." snapped Roger and his father complied.
Making sure that Harry was in a safe place, Roger started with the heavy razor strop that had sent him to the ER years before and that he saw used on his father by an officer by order of the court. Over and over Roger raised and swung the strap at the target. At first the man kept silent but leather is tireless and he soon could not maintain such control.
When he had recovered sufficiently, Roger made him arrange for another anger management course. He also made him apologize and make the same promises to Harry.