The Covid-19 pandemic was raging so all classes were being held via video links over the internet. My second period video class with tenth grade students was proceeding normally this day. I had delivered my presentation and had moved into the discussion to get the students actively involved. Delightfully today most of the students were engaged although that is not the case for far too many days.
It was a lively discussion and Lionel, the fourth student I called on with the delightful ease of a mouse click, got going most enthusiastically. He was only speaking a minute when there was a WHACK immediately followed by second one just a second later which we all heard. Then a loud yowl of pain filled everyones’ ears. Lionel turned redder than a well-polished McIntosh apple. I had never seen so many smiles on the faces of my students for they immediately realized what that sound was. I’m sure that they saw that I was smiling for it was an automatic reaction.
Lionel stopped, frozen in mid-sentence, surely from embarrassment. That allowed another WHACK and howl to be heard even more clearly. Everyone immediately knew that one of his brothers was getting paddled. It surely must have seemed like an eternity to Lionel before he could click the mute icon on his screen. We saw him turn his head and obviously speak, probably shouting. It’s easy to imagine that he was telling his paddle wielding parent and howling sibling to be quiet as he was online.
Would the tone and phasing of that essential information enrage his parent or just cause him to realize that his activity was unintentionally extremely public? I must confess that I was surprised and thus slow to react. I started to move my mouse and was about to call on Derrick saying “It appears like Lionel is having, er, technical difficulties.” when he unmuted his microphone and apologized with “Sorry, a family issue.” and then continued with his contribution.
I could see that my students had lost their concentration. The smiles had, in many cases, turned into broad grins. I’m sure that they all had imagined some scene to account for the unusual sounds in the classroom. Surely, it was one of Lionel’s brothers who was the audio co-star along with a heavy paddle or perhaps the maternal hairbrush. But was it his fifteen months older or younger brother who was the target?© YLeeCoyote
I could not be positive that all my students had gotten paddled or even spanked but it was clear that in this community all the kids knew what a spanking sounded like. At their ages, they don’t like to admit that they are still spanked but if it was known that Grayson, his older brother, still got spanked then surely Lionel was also. It wasn’t so clear if the star was Victor, his younger brother, which Lionel could explain much more easily to claim that he was no longer spanked.
The period continued until the virtual bell rang and everyone got a ten minute break before the next class. I wondered what would happen based on this short but unexpected interruption.
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That evening I looked at the school’s page on the most popular social medium where rumors and more rumors fly about at the speed of light. The event got a teaser, keeping within the school’s posting guidelines, in the interesting/unusual-events-of-day box but with a hash tag. That pointed to different social media where the school guidelines don’t apply. There were so many posts that I could not keep up with them. I think that they were all speculation since only Lionel and his brothers knew the true facts. They generally fit into the following categories or were just liked.
The early posts made the most likely and reasonable assumption (er, guesses) about what had occurred. It was assumed that Victor was the target of parental wrath. Said parent did what irate parents in the privacy of their homes do in these parts and just started to spank the lad. Whacks indicated a paddle and on the bare or very close. What was obviously not considered was that remote instruction is bidirectional. The timing was terrible as Lionel’s microphone was open and the world was listening to what was certainly private.
Even if this was not the case, Victor was now subject to being teased about being spanked publically. It was the best scenario from Lionel’s POV since he could claim to be past spanking age. If it was his older brother, Grayson, who was getting spanked that argument would not hold. Wisely Lionel did not respond sensing that the less he said the better.
Grayson, even on such flimsy evidence, got hassled and just protested that he was not the spankee agreeing with his middle brother, Lionel, that it was Victor's butt that had been roasted. Since they went to the same school, there was not anyway to keep aloof. Fanciful tales of how many pops he had to endure and surely on the bare were concocted and shamelessly shared.
After that the speculation got more interesting. Since their father was already in a bad temper he did not take kindly to his middle son yelling at him however justified and without any alternative. He thus resorted to more violence and when Lionel finished classes he got a mess of licks for being disrespectful. Such is parental ‘justice’.
A more interesting hypothesis was that their father was an essential worker and not home when this occurred so that it must have been Grayson who having been left in charge was paddling his younger brother Victor. This was a very reasonable hypothesis with just about the same as implications as the previous one.
An elaborate fantasy was posted under an assumed name by someone claiming to be a classmate of Grayson. It expanded on the previous theme that the father was not present. It also claimed that Grayson had cut his first three video classes which would have been known to his classmates and none of them disputed that. With his dad at work Grayson just showed up after sleeping in since he felt that he was sort of in charge by default but Victor pounced. It was a classic blackmail situation. “Would you prefer to drop your pants and get six pops from me or wait until Dad gets home and get a dozen from him for cutting three classes?”
It was not a pleasant choice but Grayson yielded to his uppity aggressive kid brother. And Victor insisted ‘right now’ so the class heard the first two pops to its delight and amusement. Lionel did the best that he could to minimize the damage to his status and even that of his errant big brother. Grayson had a big problem as this fantastic tale got many likes and all he could do was laugh it off as totally ridiculous. And if it could happen to Grayson then it could also happen to Lionel so he had the same problem.
It is really impossible to know the truth without interrogating the family members which is most inappropriate unless one is a close friend. As for who is the anonymous poster of the fascinating idea that Victor was the paddler I would ask the question who benefits regardless of its truth value. I suggest two answers. First, some classmate of Grayson who dislikes or holds a grudge. Second, Victor who can smile and politely decline to talk of such family matter gaining status.
Perhaps, as we see in multiple choice tests, the answer is “None of the above.” What do you think?