Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Special Story (Part 4)

Happy and Peaceful Holidays to all of you from Ludwig and me! As my little present to our readers, this is the fourth and final part of my tailor-made LOL Day story. I hope you enjoy reading it. The three previous parts can be found here, here and here.

I was confused, thrilled, scared, happy and nervous all at the same time! We took it slowly, though, and diligently planned our very first play session. From what I had told her and what she had seen, it was clear to Veronica that I wasn't exactly into love taps but rather into more severe spankings. She was willing to give me what I graved but only up to a point she felt comfortable with herself and which she considered safe given that she was new to all this.

She told me that she liked the idea of being a top like Mr Johnson, strict but caring. Just the kind of top I love! Then she made a suggestion: What if we took my betrayal on her as a premise for my first spanking? I was torn between yes and no. On the one hand I am into punishment scenarios and the whole story was almost too good not to use it. Maybe it would even help us to finally let go of the last remaining resentments?! On the other hand I was really remorseful and scared that this premise might be too real and would just cause awful feelings.

After pondering the pros and cons for some time, we decided to give it a try. Veronica resolved that like Ms Smithers I was in for a severe caning. I heard her practise with the cane almost every evening and it sounded really menacing. I had tried the cane twice, but always after a long warm-up with other implements. Now I was about to receive a cold caning for the very first time in my life, consisting of 24 strokes. The thought was both scaring and thrilling. In the days before the event I was on an emotional roller coaster, my tummy full of butterflies more often than not.

On the evening when my long-held fantasy was about to become real, Veronica wore an elegant and beautiful new red dress. She ordered me to come to the living room, where she had arranged a table over which I was supposed to be caned. I was excited and really nervous at the same time. But I trusted Veronica. And it turned out that she was a natural!

At first she ordered me to strip naked, making me feel very vulnerable. Then she made me tell her the whole story why I was going to be caned as I stood in front of her in my birthday suit quivering from excitement. She told me to bend over the table and exclaimed that I was about to receive a severe caning. And receive a severe caning I did! Only three strokes in I whimpered and whined and apologized. In the end I was shaky and breathless and done. Cold canings are real agony! Veronica was absolutely accurate, though, and imprinted 24 wonderful parallel cane stripes on my bottom which I admired for a long time in a mirror afterwards. The welts were delicious and the marks were visible for two weeks after. But there was no broken skin and no blood.

And after the caning we had great sex. It was as wild and lustful as it hadn't been in years. Life felt wonderful again. And that's actually what it has been for the past six years. Of course, the excitement has eased a bit. We still do erotic spanking, usually very playfully, sometimes with a real life premise to heighten the thrill. But of course not as often as we did when we started out six years ago. Other things in our life have become more important again. For instance, we have since become grandparents. Despite the decrease of spanking play our life is full of laughter and happiness and our love for each other is very strong.

And sometimes we still do naughty things. Like today on the sixth anniversary of our first spanking play. “A penny for your thoughts,” Veronica is suddenly standing close behind me. “I was thinking how happy I am to have you in my life,” I reply, still looking straight ahead on the white wall in front of me. Veronica's hand casually wanders over my right buttock, making me shiver.

“That's nice to hear. Now, let's get down to business,” says she, now in the typical strict toppy voice I have come to love, her hand squeezing my bottom. “Turn around.” I follow her order and she gleefully gazes at my naked body. “Now go and bring the strap immediately, subby.” Veronica has made a habit of teasingly calling me subby when we play. I make my way to the cupboard where we store our implements and take out the large prison strap which Veronica has referred to. I bring it to her and hand it over. Veronica has me bend over our bed and gives me a thorough strapping that is accompanied by a lot of ouching on my behalf and has my bottom glowing red afterwards. The strapping is followed by our now almost traditional 24 cane strokes which add a set of rigid welts to the painting and leave me gasping for air.

Then we make love. Veronica runs her fingernails over my roasted rump reigniting the pain and sending waves of arousal through my body while I please her with my tongue. After we have both had our relief, we lie next to each other on the bed, still panting. Well, we don't get any younger. We exchange loving and reassuring kisses and cuddles and finally switch off the light. Soon we fall asleep, holding each other's hand.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Special Story (Part 3)

This is the third part of my tailor-made LOL Day story. Here you can find part one and part two.

“That was indeed very impressive, honey. You recall the story almost literally. That goes to show how much it meant to you at the time and still today.” Although I can't see her for I am facing the wall, I am sure that Veronica is sitting at her computer and has been comparing my words to the original story.

“That's true,” is all I reply. The story I have just recited is the very first spanking story I ever came across online six years ago. It was a revelation. Suddenly I knew what my strange fantasies had been all about. And I was reassured that I was not alone.

“It's how it all began, right?” I simply nod. “Yes, Ma'am.” - “At first we didn't take the easy road, though, did we?” I blush and nod silently. What followed directly after my discovery is nothing I am proud of.

Veronica and I had been married for 26 years at the time and had never had anything else but vanilla sex. As a matter of fact, after those 26 years we didn't have much sex at all anymore. Instead of telling her about my new discovery and my life-long fantasies, I pulled even further away from Veronica. I was convinced that she would be shocked if she found out. After a while, I even believed that she would judge me a pervert and file for divorce.

And so I kept it all to myself and began to explore this newly found world in secret. It started out pretty harmless. At first I just read more online spanking stories, a few blogs from those who actually lived the lifestyle and watched some spanking porn. My new hobby became more and more time consuming, though, and finally I reached the point where I wanted to try this out for real, no matter at which expense.

I started visiting professional dominatrices. At first infrequently. Then more and more often. Living out my fantasies with them was a dream come true. And the cause for a very bad conscience towards Veronica and a growing fear to lose her. I began to lie about where I was and what I did. I went to work early and came home late, telling her something about important projects and after-work pints with my colleagues when what I really did was hanging out at internet cafes and visiting Lady Georgia, Mistress Samantha and Madam Lucille.

Veronica and I argued more and more often. She would for instance ask me whether we could go to the cinema in the evening to watch a movie. The dialogue would unfold like this: “Honey, we haven't been out together for such a long time. How about going to the cinema this evening? They show a new funny movie called xxx.” - “No.” - “Why?” - “Because I said so.” At that point Veronica would silently retreat and I would quickly leave the house. I still loved Veronica as I did when we married and still do today, but I had no idea how to handle the situation which got more complicated and out of control with every day that went by.

We talked less and less and just passed each other on our separate ways. That was until the day on which Veronica confronted me with the fact that she knew it all. And I confessed. I told her everything from my early fantasies as a young man to that spanking story I had found online and what followed from there. Veronica was both angry and very sad. But not because of my kink. No, all the judging I had expected didn't happen. But she was angry and sad because I hadn't trusted her enough to tell her. And had betrayed her instead. Almost like the heroine of my favourite spanking story. That was the irony.

Veronica told me she needed time. She went on a short holiday trip for the weekend, alone. And I sat at home crying because I was sure I had destroyed our marriage. After three days Veronica returned. And we talked again. For hours. It was painful but at the same time cathartic and liberating. The following week we spent all evenings together talking. The more we spoke to each other, the more the mood lightened. On the second day we laughed together at one point. On the fourth day we drank wine while talking. And on the seventh day we went out for a walk and ended up sitting next to each other at the riverside watching the moon and the stars.

It was clear that the wounds caused by my betrayal would take time to heal. But contrary to my worries Veronica wasn't willing to give up on us. And what came like a shock to me – our conversations revealed that she had gathered a lot of information about erotic spanking on her weekend away and the days after in order to understand me better. In addition to that she asked me hundreds of questions which I tried to answer as best as I could.

Our life got much better from that point on. It was okay for Veronica that I read about spanking online and watched spanking porn, but she didn't want me to go to a pro domme. Being able to dwell on kinky sites without the fear of being caught and without having a bad conscience was wonderful. Sometimes, Veronica would sit next to me and read what I was reading or watch what I was watching. At first, it felt a bit strange and I was slightly uncomfortable when she did that. But over time I got used to it and even appreciated it because it usually led to a nice conversation.

About three months after my confession there was another life-changing day. Veronica came to me and told me that she had done something behind my back as well. In the past three months as she had learned more and more about my kink, she had realised that the idea of spanking me gave her a thrill. She wasn't sure, though, whether it was just a stimulating fantasy or whether she would also enjoy it for real. Since she didn't want to raise a false hope on my behalf, she didn't tell me about her thoughts and instead contacted one of the dominatrices I had been to. Lady Georgia offered training courses for spanking newbies and Veronica went to one of these without telling me. As she revealed to me afterwards on that special day, she had actually enjoyed it and was willing to introduce erotic spanking play into our life!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Your Questions Answered (Part 2)

This is our the second set of answers to the question posed by our readers. You can find the first Q&A instalment here. Thank you very much to our readers who came up with all those intriguing topics!

Our Bottoms Burn (Bogey) asked: "Would like to know your thoughts while you are spanking your husband."

That depends on the situation! Since Ludwig doesn't switch that often, many of the times I got to spank him were for video clips. In that case I am usually very much focussed on the creative process, the scenario, the camera angles, the speed, my aim, Ludwig's reactions and the marks. I don't really enjoy the spanking while it happens, then, but rather enjoy the result afterwards.

Sometimes I also spank Ludwig (often spontaneously) in private. Then I am usually focussed on teasing and pushing him a bit and on creating reactions which I enjoy immensely during the spanking. I suppose I am in full sadist mode then. Of course not in a way that I want to harm Ludwig. I only love provoking reactions and creating marks to an extend which I know is fine for Ludwig as well. Ludwig relishes being spanked the most when the spanker genuinely enjoys it as well. And he likes me to be in a demanding toppy mode when I spank him.

I also had some rare experiences when spanking Ludwig got me into a special flow that was almost meditative. In that state I am rather focussed on the rhythm of the spanking and on myself. Of course a part of me still has an eye on whether Ludwig is fine, but my main focus is on the act of spanking and how it feels for me. I wrote about such an experience in my post about the video clip which we filmed together with Leia-Ann Woods.

Spearthrower asked: "How do you manage the sound of spanking in the apartment and particularly when traveling?"

Well, our first advantage here is that both Ludwig and I aren't exactly noisy when being on the receiving end of a spanking. So, the only problem that remains is the sound of the spanking itself. At home that isn't really a problem because the walls are thick enough for the neighbours not to hear. When travelling it can be more difficult. Since we normally don't do very prolonged scenes, though, we usually rely on the hope that those who might coincidentally overhear the swishing sound of a cane or the clapping sound of a hand spanking won't be able to guess what it is and won't really care, either. I can't remember any incident when we for instance switched on the TV or played music in order to disguise the sound of a spanking as I have heard others sometimes do.

Svetlana asked: "If (a) either of you individually and (b) both of you together could make an under-cover visit to the past for one day to either observe or experience historical corporal punishment, what place and time would you choose?"

We are going to answer that question separately.

Kaelah: That's a very difficult question! At first I thought about, for instance, the punishment of a navy cadet in the 19th century or a school punishment or something like that. But I have the following problem: While I find certain formal historic punishment scenarios erotic as kinky role-play fantasies, I find the real thing morally wrong and disgusting and don't want any part of it!

So, the only kind of real CP I can imagine myself to watch is consensual CP between adults. I don't know for which historical scenario that would be given, but I know one place were that kind of consensual CP still happens today. The form of “CP” (if one can even call it that) which I am talking about is something I came across in a documentary some years ago which thrilled me. I am talking about a stick being used as a motivational instrument during a sumo training session.

In Japanese the rather rough treatment of new recruits at a stable is called "kawaigatte" which means "to treat lovingly". One might think that this is irony, but it is not meant to be, because the harsh treatment is indeed supposed to make the new rikishi work as hard as he possibly can and therefore find his way to the top.

I guess that is a kind of spanking that would have an erotic appeal for me although it is real and no erotic play. But it would only be okay for me if I had the feeling that the recruits involved have really voluntarily chosen to become a sumo wrestler, knowing about the training methods. And if I had the feeling that the trainers really care for their protégés and don't overdo it. So maybe I would indeed choose a historical scenario involving one of the rikishis at the receiving end who later became successful sumo wrestlers. Since I was a huge sumo fan and watched sumo very regularly about fifteen years ago, that would probably be someone like Musashimaru, Kotonishiki or Wakanohana.

Ludwig: I have the same problem as Kaelah. Because I'm against real (i.e. non-consensual) CP, I don't believe I could eroticise watching it, no matter how much I might enjoy seeing the same scenario acted out as a role-play by a couple of consenting kinksters. Moreover, I find that my CP fantasies are often based on good CP porn videos I've seen rather than on actual reality, and these videos themselves are only very loosely based on reality. To name an example: as I mentioned several times on this blog, I like the Headmaster's Study series by Lupus Pictures. I might incorporate a scene like that into my fantasies. However, when you think about it, the action being shown there is not realistic at all. Did you ever hear about a female pupil being tied to a CP bench, totally naked, and given 50 hard cane strokes? Things like that never happened, not even in 19th century Bohemia.

In short, I tend to build my fantasies out of things I've seen in film rather than first-hand historical accounts. I suppose I can answer your question like this: I would not be interested in observing historical CP, but I would have loved being a fly on the wall while the filming of some of my favourite CP videos took place.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Your Questions Answered (Part 1)

In my last Kaelah's Corner post I invited you to ask Ludwig and me questions. I wasn't sure whether anyone would have any questions at all, but to my surprise five of our readers came up with very interesting ones. Since the topics you raised could each have been the theme for a separate post, our detailed answers will be published in two posts. That also gives those who haven't posed a question, yet, but would like to do so a few more days to write a comment. So here are our answers (which I have written in cooperation with Ludwig) to the first two questions :

Michael M asked: "Now that you have been together for so long has the interest in spanking each other tailed off a bit?"

Yes, it has. There are several reasons for this, I think.

First of all, I guess it is quite normal that new couples engage in sexual activities more often than couples who have been together for a long time. Having sex (and spanking for us is a part of that) is a way of getting to know each other and of being close to each other at a time when one's partner is still almost a stranger. This becomes less important when the partners know each other very well and share their daily life which involves lots of activities other than sex that bring the partners closer.

In addition to that, during our first years together, Ludwig and I were in a long-distance relationship. We saw each other only about every two weeks and when we did, we were in a holiday mood. So, spanking also was a way to bring us closer and enjoy a weekend off when we only had a rather limited time together and no shared obligations. Today we have a busy daily life with lots of vanilla responsibilities which makes it more difficult for us to get in the mood for planning and doing a spanking scene.

Then for Ludwig, spanking was always the most interesting in combination with making videos. Even when we started out as a couple, Ludwig was perfectly happy with private scenes to remain rare. His kinky mood usually heightened when we were in the stage of planning a video shoot or at least other kinky activities for the blog. Now we have realised almost every video idea that was important to us and it was clear from the beginning that our kinky activities would decrease once this state was reached.

As for me, I was absolutely new to spanking when Ludwig and I played for the very first time. As you can imagine, I was like a kid in a candy shop back then and wanted to try out many different things. Since then, I have done a lot of scenes that intrigued me, created videos, wrote blog posts, read blogs and spanking stories, watched kinky videos and so on, and the initial focus on kink to the exclusion of everything else has gone away.

Last but not least, when we came together, Ludwig was already an experienced top and I was the newbie who let him guide me into this strange new world. Later, when I felt ready, we switched places from time to time and I was allowed to top the man who was mostly a top himself. Both premises made it rather easy to come up with scenarios and imagine each other in opposed kinky roles. Since Ludwig and I now organise so many things as a team, though, and know each other so extremely well, it has at least for me become less easy to get into a toppy or bottom mindset with him or to imagine Ludwig as a fictional character for a role-play scenario. Today it's sometimes easier for me to see us for instance topping others together at a play event than to get in the mood for a scene that has the two of us on different sides of the game.

Simon asked: "If you are punished by or punish someone else how is it different to punishing each other?"

I hope it is okay that I'll translate "punish" as "spank" because, as you know,
we don't do real discipline spankings and even most of our role-play scenarios aren't punishment scenes, either.

I think the difference is that spanking play between Ludwig and me is usually more intimate than spanking play with others. Often the spanking will lead to vanilla sex, something we don't share with others.

The exception from that rule is when we make a video clip together, because then others are involved through the camera. When we make videos, we are very much focussed on the creative process and the final clip. One of our last video clips together (the new professor) was the first time Ludwig had enjoyed the build-up and the caning while it happened and not only later when he watched the film material we produced.

Playing with others, on the other hand, makes it easier for us to engage in role-play scenarios. The reason is that there is at least a certain distance between us and the other participants, as they are acquaintances or friends at most and we don't share our daily life with them and don't know them as extremely well as we know each other. That makes it a lot easier to imagine them as a certain role-play character and to get into a role-play character, too. It also makes it a bit easier to experiment with things, because if something doesn't work out as planned, the disappointment doesn't afflict our relationship as much as a failed scene between the two of us might.

Playing with others can also give us a special thrill in the sense that, for instance, getting naked or telling the other to strip is different with a stranger. Between the two of us it of course isn't such a special thing anymore, since we have seen each other nude hundreds of times and as lovers don't feel strange being nude in front of one another at all.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Special Story (Part 2)

This is the second part of my tailor-made LOL Day story. You can find part one here.

Mr Johnson's words touched her heart and confirmed the decision she had already made. She didn't have any clue how a caning felt like other than that it would be incredibly painful. And she had no idea how to get through such a caning. But she knew that there was nothing she wanted more than to continue working for this company. And in a way, she also wanted to make up for her misdeeds. Thus she replied without hesitation: “I am very grateful for getting a second chance. I promise I won't ever disappoint you again! And I willfully submit to a severe caning as a punishment for my betrayal.”

A thin smile appeared on Mr Johnson's face. “I am happy to hear your decision, Ms Smithers. It makes me sad to think about what comes now, though. I suggest we get this over with as quickly as possible. What do you think?” She nodded, her throat tightening. “Yes, Sir.”

“Okay then.” Mr Johnson walked around his desk and stopped next to her. “Ms Smithers, would you please go to that cupboard over there and open it.” She did as she was told. It occurred to her that she had never seen what was in said cupboard. As she opened it, her mouth dropped open and her stomach clenched. It contained nothing but a handful of thick crook-handled rattan canes hanging down, neatly arranged next to each other. “Please take out the first cane from the right and bring it to me.”

With shaking hands she took the threatening-looking implement, closed the cupboard door and turned around. As she walked back to Mr Johnson, her gaze was fixed on the cane in her hands. It was about 2.5 feet long, roughly half an inch thick and felt rather heavy. Her hands began to sweat and one thought dominated her mind: Gosh, that is going to hurt!

She was in a daze, but somehow her body still worked well. When she handed the cane to Mr Johnson, it felt a bit like an out-of-body experience. “Thank you. Now stand in front of the desk, please, and bend over.” Again she did as ordered, though her legs were shaking. “Now please put up your skirt and pull down your knickers, Ms Smithers.” That order took her breath away for a moment. She was about to be caned on her bare backside by her boss! It hat never occurred to her that she would have to bare her behind for the punishment. Now she vaguely remembered that paragraph 11 actually said something about a bare bottom caning. Still, a part of her couldn't believe this was really happening.

“Please put up your skirt and pull down your knickers, Ms Smithers,” Mr Johnson repeated calmly. Hastily she raised the skirt of her navy suit uncovering her undergarment made of silk. She took a deep breath, tucked her fingers into the elastic of the blue knickers and peeled them down just to the top of her thighs. Cool air touched her bare backside and made her shiver. “That's alright,” she heard Mr Johnson say. “I suggest you hold on to the far end of the desk. It will help to keep you steady. You will receive 24 strokes. I expect you to stay in position for them, please, and to only stand up when I tell you so. Do you understand?”

Even in this completely surreal situation, the warmth in Mr Johnson's voice helped her to calm down. She gripped the far end of the desk as hard as she could and nodded. “Yes, Sir.” - “Very well, then.” She saw Mr Johnson move beside her and suddenly she felt the cold touch of the wooden cane on her bare skin. It made her quiver. All of a sudden she started to panic. A voice in her head screamed: Stop it! You can't take it!

Mr Johnson had obviously realised what was going on because he calmly told her: “Breathe. It will be over, soon. Just hold onto the desk and take the strokes one by one like a surfer the waves.” She tried to take deep breaths and nodded. It will soon be over, she repeated in her head, it will soon be over.

Suddenly, she heard a sharp swish followed by a loud crack that echoed in her ears. For a split-second, she felt nothing except for a pressure on her bottom. But then a burning pain ignited on her bare skin and she let out a shocked. “Ow!” She wriggled in a faint hope to ease the horrible pain and was still trying to catch her breath when she heard the next swish. The pain of the second stroke was even worse. Her whole body suddenly felt hot and her breathing became faster. She had no idea how she should take 22 more strokes of that horrible implement!

She didn't have much time to worry about that, though, because the next stroke already hit target. She buckled underneath it and it took all her will not to stand up and cover her burning bottom with her hands. Tears came to her eyes and started rolling freely when the next stroke landed.

From that point on, she only focussed on recovering from the stroke which she had just received and on the next one she had to prepare for. She didn't care that she was yelping with each stroke, that her legs and her whole body were trembling, her face was tear-stained and her hair a mess. All she thought of was getting through the next stroke. Soon, she had lost count.

The caning went on for what felt like forever. It took a while for her to realise that suddenly the room had become silent. No swishing and cracking. Was it over? She didn't know. But she lay there limb across Mr Johnson's desk and tried to calm her breathing.

“You've made it. Well done.” Mr Johnson's deep voice seemed to come from a place very far away. “Take your time to compose yourself and when you feel ready, you may stand up.” In a daze, she saw Mr Johnson walk over to the cupboard and put back the cane. Slowly, she stood up, cautiously rolled up her knickers over her hot and burning striped backside. She put down her skirt and straightened her hair. Mr Johnson, who had returned to her, handed her a handkerchief which she gratefully took. She cleaned her face and wiped away the tears.

She looked at her boss. “I'm really sorry, Mr Johnson!” - “It's okay, Ms Smithers. It's all settled and we shall not raise the issue again.” Mr Johnson smiled. “Now, it was an exhausting day, Ms Smithers. I suggest you go home to your younger sister and come back tomorrow refreshed and revitalised. Important negotiations are lying ahead of us. I will see you tomorrow at nine o'clock for our weekly meeting. And tomorrow afternoon we can talk about the conditions for the advance of salary which you need.” She nodded silently, a shy smile appearing on her face. “Thank you!”

She turned around to leave the room. Only then did she realise that her legs were still shaky. She had to walk slowly in order to keep her balance. When she left the office, her gaze fell on the clock on the wall to her right. It showed 18 minutes past three. For a moment, she pondered whether her fellow employees knew what had just happened in Mr Johnson's office.

After a few seconds, she decided that she didn't care. The only thing that was important was that she would come back to this place to work here again the next day. Her only deed left for today was to go to Andrew who sat in another open plan office down the floor. And so she slowly crossed the room, from time to time returning a friendly look or a smile from a colleague, mentally reminding herself to buy some cooling creme in a pharmacy on her way back home where she would be able to break the happy news to her little sister that she could go to college.

With that I fall silent and wait. For a while all I can hear is my own breathing.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Special Story (Part 1)

This is the first part of my tailor-made LOL Day story for your enjoyment. Your word suggestions are highlighted in bold. The story became really long (5,000 words), so I am going to publish it in four parts. Since it contains a story within a story, you don't have to wait until part four for the juicy bits, though. :-) Here it goes, I hope you enjoy reading:

For I moment I stand there silently. I look at the white wall in front of me and focus my mind. Words start forming before my inner eye. After a few seconds I take a deep breath and reply: “Yes, I believe I remember it quite well. Here is how I think it goes:”

She walked through the open planning office, her gaze firmly straight ahead. She felt her colleagues' eyes on her, but maybe that was just an illusion. Or maybe they really all already knew what she had done. After all, words spread fast in a small company like that. However, she didn't dare look anyone in the eyes. Instead, she straightened her back and stiffly continued her way to the brown door at the end of the room.

“Mr Johnson, CEO” read a little sign on it. Over the past four years she had knocked on that door so many times, sometimes in a rush because so much work needed her attention, but usually in a  good mood. Today, though, her stomach churned as she came to a halt right in front of the door. She looked to her left at the white clock hanging there on the wall. It showed one minute to three. Mr Johnson didn't like tardiness. So it didn't make any sense to delay what would happen anyway. She took a deep breath and forced herself to knock.

“Come in, please.” Mr Johnson's deep voice had the warm undertone she had come to love in her time as his assistant. She opened the door, suddenly feeling very shy. She entered the room tentatively and quietly shut the door behind her. Mr Johnson was sitting behind his huge desk made of oak. He was in his late fifties, a tall handsome man with grey hair and glasses. Through them he now looked at her with his friendly eyes, expectantly. She struggled to meet his gaze. Seconds felt like years.

Finally, Mr Johnson spoke up: “You know why I asked you to come and see me, right Ms Smithers?” She didn't manage to answer, so she silently nodded instead. Sadness and incredulity were in Mr Johnson's voice as he continued: “I still can't believe what Mr Singer has reported to me. Please tell me what has happened – I want to hear the story from your perspective.”

For a moment, she didn't know what to say. She looked down on her shoes, trying to find the right words. There were no good words to explain what she had done, though. 'Sorry, I didn't mean it. It was all just a huge mistake.' She would have loved to say something like that, and she really did regret what she had done. But words wouldn't be able to undo her failure, and she was sure that it was much too late to be sorry.

So she finally replied: “I really don't know what to say. I am sure what Mr Singer told you is correct. I tried to steal money from the cash reserve, and Mr Singer caught me red-handed.” It seemed to her that Mr Johnson slumped in his chair as he heard those words. It felt like a stab into her heart.

He was such a lovely man, a company owner of a rare type. A man with a big heart who used to give those a chance who had already missed a few. Like her. He had been the only person to believe in her four years ago. He had given her a job at a time when nobody else would have. And then he even made her his personal assistant, a position that involved a lot of responsibility and autonomy. So far, she had never failed his expectations, never betrayed his trust in her. Until now.

Desperately, she tried to find more words. All that came out was: “I'm sorry, but I didn't have a choice!” Mr Johnson raised his head and looked her straight in the eyes. “You didn't have a choice? You didn't have a choice but to steal from me and my company?” His voice was a bit louder now than usual and his words filled the room. She blushed and looked away. “I... It's too complicated... And it doesn't make any difference now, anyway... I tried to steal from you and there's nothing I can do unmake it.”

Mr Johnson's voice was already calm again, as he said: “You need money to pay for the college for your little sister Ann. It's her chance to get the education you never had, and you want to make it possible for her. As I heard, she got a scholarship because of her high merits, but it doesn't cover the initial admission fee.”

Now, she was dumbfounded. “How do you know?” He leaned back in his chair. “I know because Mr Brown came to me and asked for on advance of salary. When I asked him what he needed it for, he told me that he wanted to help you with the payment.” She felt her eyes becoming wet. Andrew was such a lovely guy. He didn't have much and had to take care of his wife and his two little kids. And yet, he was caring enough to try and help her with her financial problems. And, in contrast to her, he was smart enough to look for a way to raise the money that didn't make him a thief!

“Why didn't you tell me? I told you that caring not only for yourself but for your little sister as well is a big burden, especially at your age! And I said to you that you could always come to me when you needed help, didn't I? Have I done anything wrong? Why didn't you trust me?” Mr Johnson's voice was full of hurt and sorrow as he asked those questions.

That was the moment she broke down and cried. Then she blurted out: “You haven't done anything wrong at all! I... I... I just didn't know what to do. Two weeks ago, Ann told me about the scholarship. It was all quite unexpected! I so wanted to help my little sister. But the fee is so large, and I haven't got enough savings, yet. I have to pay for the rent and our daily expenses. And then I thought stealing the money was the only way to be able to afford the fee. I hoped that no-one would notice and wanted to put the money back bit by bit. I know that doesn't change a thing, but please believe me that I really wanted to pay it back! I've betrayed you, and I am so incredibly sorry. You are like the father to me whom I never had. And now I've betrayed you because in my panic it didn't occur to me that I could have simply asked you for help...”

With that, she became silent, frantically looking at Mr Johnson. He put his elbows on the top of his desk and rested his chin on his hands. There was the usual warmth in his voice as he said: “I know you didn't mean to cause any harm. But still, what you did was a severe breach of trust, and I can't ignore that. In fact, your offence is so serious that a reprimand won't do.” She nodded, looking to the floor again. “I'll go and clean out my desk,” she said in a low voice.

“So, you want to leave the company?” Mr Johnson asked. “Want to?” Now she was confused. “No, I would do anything in order not to having to leave. But as you said, you can't keep me as your employee after what I have done.” - “Well, your dismissal is one option. The other is to solve this issue according to paragraph 11 of your work contract. It's up to you.”

For a moment she stared at him blankly. Then her memory set in. There was indeed a very special paragraph in her employment agreement. Paragraph eleven – known as the red butt paragraph among the employees – basically stated that under certain circumstances a misdemeanor that would inevitably lead to dismissal in any other company could instead be solved by corporal punishment, more precisely a caning. Mr Johnson's family seemed to have quite a tradition with good old fashioned CP as the family crest on the wall behind Mr Johnson's desk proved. Among other ornaments it showed a cane swaying in the wind.

So far, the whole red butt paragraph thing had only been a lunch time joke for her. There were rumors that the paragraph became indeed relevant rather regularly, but nobody had ever admitted to having been caned. Now the whole thing suddenly became painfully real. She didn't have to think long, though. “Okay, I...”

“Wait,” said Mr Johnson. He stood up from his chair and began to walk up and down behind his desk. “Before you make a decision, I want you to understand what the two options really mean. Dismissal means that you will leave the company today. You will still get your payment for this month, but that will be your last payment cheque. Paragraph 11 means that you will receive a severe – and I mean severe – caning from me, right here and now. With that, the issue will be closed. Since it is important for me that you really have a choice in the matter, I want you to know this in advance: Should you decide to leave the company, I will try to help you find another job. And in both cases I will help you out with the money for Ann's college. Take your time for your decision.”