...and most of them are cruel ungrateful bastards.
So this is what I get for toiling week in, week out to provide you with fascinating philosophical insights, witty movie reviews and in-depth interviews with famous models. The first chance you get to hand me over for a thrashing, you take it with both hands.
Very well, an understandable choice. As an unapologetic sadist, I would have done the exact same thing in your position. At least I seem to be writing for the right kind of audience! Thank you for the reassurance.
And truth be told, I probably deserve the verdict. I felt a tinge of bad conscience myself after my April Fools' Day joke and subsequent teasing of Niki Flynn. My "bonsai" remark, albeit made in jest, was insolent and over the top. I realize that, too, and I'm going to pay the price for my behaviour. Painful as it may be, it is the right thing to do.
Still, I couldn't just surrender without a fight. Especially not when the adversary is Niki, "an instigator and conniver" who will usually "make the situation out to be far more hurtful than it actually was" (her brother's words, not mine). So, instead of letting my cherished (and sadistic) friend decide the amount of revenge she felt entitled to, I insisted on a neutral arbiter. Who better than our blog readers? Whatever the outcome, they would be the ones passing the sentence, not Niki. I could live with that, at least she wouldn't get the full "judge and executioner" package - a bit too much responsibility for the American brat, don't you think?
As you know, we agreed on the following four options:
A - No punishment
B - 6 cane strokes on the jeans
C - 12 cane strokes on the bare
D - 30 severe cane strokes on the bare
The first two were just there for the sake of completeness (surprise of surprises, noboby voted for them). Obviously, it was going to be a race between C and D. I don't need to tell you what Niki's preferred outcome was. She may talk about "quality over quantity", but if she really didn't care about the number of strokes, why try to introduce a "cumulative option"? As for me, I was expecting D and hoping against hope that, maybe, I would get away with C. The 18 additional strokes were less frightening than the prospect of having to admit total, unmitigated defeat.
Predictably, my Your Vote Counts post attracted a lot of interest (as did Niki's companion piece on her blog). Discounting my own contributions, I got 39 comments from 24 different posters - a record that won't be surpassed anytime soon. More than half of them were first-time commenters, too. Speculate about the origins of the kinky mind, and you get a handful of polite replies. Set yourself up for a caning, and the jeering mob comes breaking down the doors. Well, I'm happy about so much attention, regardless of the motivation behind it! A thank you to everyone who took part.
In total, 24 votes were made. I have to declare 3 invalid for formal reasons, but that doesn't change the outcome. Here are the results:
3 invalid votes:
Anonymous (voted D, but didn't leave a name)
Leia-Ann Woods (didn't select an option)
michaeld (voted C, but on Niki's blog, not here)
14 votes for option D:
Therefore, the majority verdict is: "It was a serious insult to Niki. As well as that, Ludwig deliberately fooled all of us with his Kinky Siberian Holiday story. Give him 30 cane strokes on the bare, and make them hard!"
Can't say I'm thrilled with your decision, but I respect it. To be honest, it's along the lines of what I would have given out as a top for a similar offense. While the "bonsai" remark in itself isn't all that bad, the circumstance that it was made in public, in front of others, does warrant a severe thrashing. That would have been the deciding factor for me.
In light of this, it is only fair that Niki should get to execute her retribution in public, too. Besides, I don't switch often, so if I'm going to do it, I might as well have something to show for it. That is why you will see a video of the event. I didn't mention it before because I felt it would bias the vote even more in Niki's favour. But it was always the plan. The video will be available as a free download. See how good I am to my readers, and how you treat me in return (can you even sleep at night?).
As for me, I feel strange. I always expected The Dreaded D to win. If anything, I was surprised by the high number of C votes in the first few days. For a while, I actually believed that I might get off lightly after all. But it was a false hope. The worst case scenario became a virtual certainty on Friday. So I can't say that I am not prepared. Still, now that the result is final and the punishment truly inevitable, I feel a quality of nervousness that wasn't there before. What used to be abstract is now immediate and palpable, and all the worse for it.
I can't decide what the most painful part is. The caning itself - I've had severe ones before, but 30 strokes never fail to get one's attention. The knowledge that Niki will gleefully follow the "make them hard" instruction - she can dish out werewolf-style, I've tried a sample, and this occasion will be much more serious. The admission of utter defeat - I lost this one all the way, there is no sugarcoating that. The taunting comments - I thought that letting the readers (not Niki) speak the verdict would lessen my embarassment, but now it has only increased.
It's true, schadenfreude is a German word, and the worst of it is yet to come: Miss Flynn chastising me with everyone here watching. Again, I knew this was coming, but now that it's official, 30 strokes on the bare, in front of the virtual audience, seem like a rather humbling prospect.
Anyway, too late to get cold feet now. At least there won't be any half-measures. Niki gets her full wish (my congratulations for that), and I get my full comeuppance. It will be memorable for sure. Afterwards, when it's all over, I will look back on it as an exciting and valuable experience.
Looking forward to it, though, that's the awkward part. You know, like when you've just cracked a joke at someone's expense, and their stony silence suddenly makes you realize that they don't think it was funny at all.
Yes, that's the kind of awkwardness I mean. **gulp**