This would make any husband with a secret to hide nervous. That's a very annoyed look on her face and what exactly is she going to do with that paddle?
Cindy Sinclair felt the job interview was going very well, but she had no idea how well she really was doing.
She was interviewing for a position in the Collections Department of a furniture manufacturing company in North Carolina, a demanding role in which she would need to keep track of dozens of accounts’ current status. The job could become stressful, especially when a customer became delinquent in payments and the job description used words like “poised,” “assertive,” and “tenacious.”
Conducting the interview was 26-year old department manager Barry Stevens, who headed up a group currently consisting of three women and two men. He had received approval to add a sixth person to his team, and having noted the three women generally did better jobs than the men, he hoped to find another woman to hire. Within the first five minutes of the interview, he was sure he wanted to hire Cindy. Within another five minutes, he started to think that Cindy was precisely the type of woman he would hope to marry some day.
At the end of the interview, Barry told Cindy that he had some other candidates to see, and would get back to her in a few days. She told him she had some other interviews scheduled, and that she hoped to hear from him soon. Once she left, Barry went to the Human Resources manager and told her he had found a great candidate, but was afraid she might accept a different job if he didn’t act quickly. The HR manager agreed to allow Barry to cancel his other interviews, and hire her immediately, so Barry called Cindy right back and hired her.
Company policy was that all new hires were probationary for the first two months -- at the end of that period, Barry gave Cindy an outstanding performance review and she was made a permanent employee, getting a rise in salary. She had become friendly with the other people in the group; especially the women, Joanne, Mary Lou, and Emily. She noticed that Barry occasionally asked her some questions that could be construed as personal, like did she live with a roommate (she did, her sister Heather) and who she might bring to the company picnic in the summer (she didn’t know, no steady boyfriend). Cindy had asked the other women if they had been asked those kinds of questions by Barry, and they had not, so she started to think he might have had some non professional interest in her.
A month after her performance review, Cindy and Barry happened to be heading to their cars at the same time. In a voice that Cindy thought might have been a bit nervous, Barry said, “I was wondering if you might be interested in us having dinner together some time.”
“You mean like a date?” Cindy asked.
“Well, yes, I suppose it would be like a date.”
“Isn’t that against company policy?” she asked.
Again with a nervous voice he admitted, “Officially, yes, but it’s a policy that’s not really enforced. There are a few other people in the company who are ignoring that rule.” (The truth was he had no idea if there was any other manager dating one of their employees).
“In that case, sure, I’d love to have dinner with you some time,” Cindy said.
On Saturday night, Barry took her to a restaurant he said was one of his favorites, but it was nearly 25 miles out of town. They dated again the following week, and as the spring weather was getting better, he suggested a day at a major regional theme park 50 miles away. Cindy quickly figured out that although Barry had said it wasn’t a big deal having a manager dating one of his employees, he seemed reluctant to take her anywhere local where someone from the company might see them.
Since she knew her sister Heather would be away the following weekend, she invited him to dinner at her apartment for their third date. He readily accepted, and she prepared a delicious meal for him. After dinner, they moved into the living room to watch a movie, but before it was half over, they moved into the bedroom.
The next morning they discussed their now-consummated relationship, and both recognized they were putting their careers into jeopardy. Cindy told Barry she would resign on Monday morning and Barry said he would make some calls to help her get a new job.
It took less than a week -- helped by an outstanding letter of recommendation from Barry -- for Cindy to get a similar job with a non-competitive company. She told prospective employers a half-truth, that she had “romantic complications” at her old job with a company executive, and that she felt it best they no longer worked at the same company. Interviewers respected her candor; she actually had two offers in a week and chose one that paid a little more than she had been making.
The relationship developed rapidly after that. Barry brought her to the company picnic in July, where she was able to renew her friendship with the three women who worked for Barry, and later in the year, he brought her to the company Christmas party.
After six months of dating, Barry was ready to “pop the question” and had no reservations at all about her. Cindy, however, had one concern -- one very big concern -- that held her back from fully committing to him.
Barry was a smoker, and Cindy abhorred smoking. When she had been a young girl, one of her grandfathers had died of lung cancer, and she remembered her parents blaming his smoking habit for killing him prematurely. She had learned Barry smoked when she worked for him -- even in a tobacco-growing state like North Carolina, smoking had become so politically incorrect it was no longer allowed in the office and Barry would go outside a few times each day, often with a man named Ed Carruthers from the Sales Department, to have a smoke. It seemed at that time his smoking was somewhat controlled, but when she started dating him she saw a much greater frequency of smoking on weekends and at night. His apartment had a permanent odor of smoke that she found to be obnoxious, and she also felt she was “kissing an ashtray” whenever they became romantic.
She had started to discuss his smoking as early as the amusement park date. Barry said he had become hooked when he was at college, and had tried many times to quit, but wasn’t able. He noted he had tried patches, gum, pills, hypnosis, and even therapy, and had made it as long as two weeks without a cigarette on a couple of tries. But, he said, on days when work became very stressful, he would go to Ed Carruthers to get a cigarette, and so far every attempt to quit had failed sooner or later.
At one time when the couple was telling each other about their childhoods, Barry had told Cindy that he had been quite a problem child for his mother, and she had found the only way to control and modify his behavior was with a spanking. Cindy said she wished his mother had spanked him for smoking.
“I didn’t start smoking until college,” he said. “She had stopped spanking me long before then.”
“She should have started again,” Cindy told him.
But Cindy had not meant it as a joke.
Barry proposed on New Year’s Eve, and despite her concern about his smoking, she accepted. She felt with a lot of encouragement from her (and maybe even a little nagging) she could help him quit the habit. The engagement lasted six months, with the couple marrying in June. During that period Barry made a few more attempts to quit, each attempt lasting from a few hours to several days. Cindy encouraged him each time he tried to quit, and tried to be supportive when he failed, but she still felt he was showing a lack of will power since he had proven he could defeat a physical need to smoke, but always was beaten by a desire to smoke when he had a rough day at work.
It seemed to Barry that Ed Carruthers had a sixth sense of when Barry needed a smoke. Whenever he was having a bad day, Ed seemed to appear at his office door, nodding his head towards the exit as if to say, “Let’s go outside.” Too often Barry weakened and took a cigarette from Ed. On a few occasions, if Barry wasn’t going to see Cindy that night, he wouldn’t tell her he had started smoking again, hoping he might not smoke again the next day.
After the wedding, Cindy was there every day so Barry had lost the option of not telling her he had been smoking. Cindy continued to be supportive of attempts to quit, and encouraged him to re-try aids such as pills, patches, and gum. The marriage was succeeding in every aspect except for the tension over smoking, but that tension got worse every time Barry came home smelling of smoke. He no longer smoked in front of her, but still she felt he constantly smelled of smoke, and she began to fear he could not quit, no matter how supportive she was. Her thinking started to change from what she could do to help him quit towards what she could do to make him quit.
As their first anniversary approached, Barry asked her what she wanted as a gift and the answer was easy -- she wanted him to stop smoking! He promised her that he would make the greatest effort he had ever made and got a new prescription for patches from his doctor. He told Ed Carruthers to stay away from his department except for company business, and the day before their first anniversary he told himself he had just smoked his very last cigarette.
After a month with no cigarettes, both of them celebrated his apparent success, and Cindy took him to his favorite restaurant for a victory dinner. Barry had previously talked about them starting a family, but Cindy had consistently said she wasn’t ready yet -- now she started to think more seriously about having children.
However, after about six weeks, Barry was faced with a major problem at work. A recession had started, and the company’s business had fallen off. Barry was told he needed to cut his group down from six people to five. Barry knew the weakest team member was a man named Jack who had been there even before Barry had become the manager -- a man he had known and been friendly with for over five years. This was going to be the first time he had ever fired anyone, and he became exceptionally nervous about it. The HR manager had told him it was best to do it on Friday afternoon, and on Friday morning as he left for work, Cindy kissed him and said, “I know you’re going to have a bad day today, but no cigarettes, right?” He promised her that no matter how bad it would be, he would not smoke, and she believed him.
The HR manager came into Barry’s department right after lunch, and they called the unlucky man into Barry’s office. It became the worst afternoon of Barry’s professional life -- not only did Jack take the bad news hard, Barry could look out into the department to see the interaction between him and the other members of the department. The news quickly spread into other departments, and Ed Carruthers came by moments after Jack had left for the last time.
“I have a feeling you could use a smoke,” Ed said. Barry nodded and headed outside with him.
Afterwards, Barry started to feel that as bad as firing Jack had been, telling Cindy he had smoked might be even worse.
He was right.
He got home before she did, and quickly shed his business attire to put on casual clothes. Cindy arrived about fifteen minutes later and asked, “How did it go?” as soon as she entered.
“Bad,” he said. “It was hard. And I’m sorry, I smoked.”
Cindy’s facial expression changed a few times in just a couple of seconds. At first she was surprised -- she really felt that after six weeks without a cigarette, Barry had fully kicked the habit and could handle the day’s stress without needing the crutch of a cigarette. Then her face showed a look of disappointment. And then finally, real anger.
“Wait there,” she said as she walked into the bedroom.
She emerged after just a few seconds, still wearing the same clothes she had worn to work. She looked angry -- and she was carrying a small dark-colored paddle. Barry wasn’t sure of her intentions until she pulled out a low upholstered bench, sat down on it with the paddle on her knees, looked directly at him, and barked, “Lower your pants.”
“Cindy, you’re not serious,” he said.
“You’re going to see just how serious I am,” she said. “This worked for your mother and I’m going to make it work again. Pants down -- right now!”
The words from the job description he had hired her for flashed through Barry’s mind: “Assertive, tenacious.” Yes, she was, he told himself. Maybe even more than he had imagined. Standing above her while she was sitting on the low bench, she looked especially attractive, but he knew those thoughts were irrelevant now. Knowing he would be wise not to make the situation any worse, he reached for his belt and did what he had been told to do.
He bent way down to get over her lap on the low bench and he found himself with both hands and both feet touching the floor. He was somewhat relieved that she had demanded just his pants down, not his undershorts. But within seconds he felt her fingers inside the waistband of his boxer shorts, and felt them being lowered down below his butt cheeks.
“I’ve had it with your smoking,” she said angrily. “No more excuses. I’m sorry you had to fire Jack. I know you liked him, and I liked him too. But you had this thing beat and you started feeling sorry for yourself, so you smoked again. That’s not acceptable!”
And with that statement she brought down the paddle as hard and fast as she could. Barry gasped at the first spank, but many more followed rapidly. It had been a very long time since he had been spanked, but he thought this spanking was hurting more than any his mother had ever given him.
“I’ll stop again, I promise,” he hollered, but it fell on deaf ears.
She stopped momentarily, but only to respond. “I’ve heard that before, too many times.” Then she resumed with another dozen hard, fast spanks. She saw his butt becoming red, and felt maybe she had done enough for one night, but she added another dozen to make sure it was going to be an effective punishment.
She stopped and let him slowly up, much to his relief as he thought he was close to crying. He didn’t know what to do next, and just shuffled a few feet away with his pants around his ankles and his shorts still down around his upper thighs.
The spanking may have ended, but Cindy still had a lot to say to him, so she rose and walked right in front of him. Still holding the paddle in her left hand, she lectured him, wagging her finger right in his face. “I’m sick and tired of your feeble excuses about this, so here’s the way it’s going to be. You smoke. You get spanked. It is that simple. And if I have to do it again -- believe this, Barry -- if I have to do this again, it’s going to be much, much worse than tonight. Did it hurt?”
He nodded yes.
“Do you feel embarrassed, being spanked like a little boy?”
He nodded yes again.
“Well, if I have to spank you again, it’s going to hurt even more and it’s going to be a lot more embarrassing. That’s a promise.
“And another thing -- you keep saying you want kids. If you think I’m going to bring children into the world who are going to see their father die before they finish high school, you’ve got another think coming. So it better be over, Barry. No more smoking! Ever! Understand?”
Anyone who might have viewed the scene would never have believed the man rubbing his butt and fighting back tears had just a couple of years before been the boss of the woman now holding the paddle and wagging her finger in his face.
“I understand,” Barry replied weakly.
Cindy had never failed to do anything she had said she would do, so her threat was very real to Barry. He could well imagine her making a second spanking hurt more, but he wondered what she had meant by warning him it would also be more embarrassing. He asked her about that once, but she would not elaborate, saying simply “You don’t want to know.” He decided she was right. He probably did not want to know.
Six months later he had made it to a half-year without a cigarette, and both he and Cindy now considered him to be a former smoker. Things had again become excellent in the marriage, with Cindy once again thinking seriously the time to start a family might be near.
Things were also progressing nicely at work. A major furniture exposition was coming up shortly in Las Vegas, and Barry was asked if he cared to be one of the people who would staff the company’s exhibition space at the show. The space was the Sales Department’s responsibility, but they needed help from other departments for a full staff at peak hours. Although it was unusual for anyone from the Finance Department to be chosen, Ed Carruthers had requested Barry along with some other people, and he was among those picked. Along with it being an indication that he was favorably viewed upon by company execs, it was to be his first major business trip and his first time in “Sin City.”
Las Vegas is more tolerant about smoking than most other places in the country, with it being permitted in the casinos and many eating and drinking places. Barry was exposed to second-hand smoke, and to his surprise, it attracted him and made him feel that he would love a cigarette. On his second evening there, at a reception that included free drinks, he was in a very good mood and when Ed offered a cigarette, he was greatly tempted.
“Better not, Ed,” he said. “I promised Cindy I’m done.”
Using the city’s famous advertising slogan, Ed laughed and said, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Smoke while you’re here and quit again when you get home.”
With three free drinks in him, that made a lot of sense to Barry. He took the cigarette and bought two packs on his way back to his hotel.
He saved one last cigarette for Sunday morning before getting on the plane to go home. On the plane he decided that if Cindy asked him if he had smoked in Las Vegas, he would tell her a lie rather than get spanked again, but she had become so convinced that he had fully kicked the habit that she didn’t ask.
The problem came on Monday morning when Barry was back in the office -- with a pile of back work sitting on his desk. He really wanted a cigarette again!
People who have gone through the struggles of trying to quit smoking have learned that even after weeks or months of not smoking, having the first one is like having a hundred. The addiction, whether it is a physical addiction or a psychological addiction, comes right back -- and Barry was feeling a strong need for a smoke this morning.
Ed Carruthers came by about 10AM, mostly to thank Barry for his help during the show. Barry told him that he really wanted another cigarette at the moment, and Ed laughed, “Guess I owe you that much,” he said. “It’s a nice morning, perfect smoking-outside weather.”
“I better not, Ed, Cindy will go ballistic,” Barry said.
Ed laughed, “She doesn’t have to know. I went for years without my wife or kids knowing I was smoking here.”
Barry looked at him quizzically.
“My kids used to hassle me not to smoke,” Ed said. “So I told them I stopped. But I kept on smoking at work. It’s pretty easy not to smoke at home at night, or even over the weekend. But I kept a pack hidden in my car and would light up each morning going to work. We always have to smoke outside here, so your clothes don’t smell of smoke. And before I would go home at night, I’d use some mouthwash and I’d leave the car window open. Even when I kissed my wife at home she didn’t know I had smoked. When I started smoking at home again when the kids left for college, she told me she really had no idea I had been smoking at work for years.”
Desperate for some nicotine, it all sounded good to Barry. “Let’s go outside,” he said to Ed.
Not totally convinced that he could get away with it, Barry had only two cigarettes that day, and despite the fact it was a cool day, he kept the car windows open and the air conditioner on during the drive home. To his great relief, Cindy did not suspect he had smoked, and the next morning he bought a pack to keep in his desk at work. He soon leveled off at 5-6 cigarettes a day, and became confident that Ed had been right and he could keep the deception going indefinitely.
But Cindy was a smart woman who knew her husband well. She sensed something was different about Barry, but couldn’t pin down what he was hiding. She realized that since he had returned from Las Vegas, he had been acting differently. She could think of two possibilities -- might he have spent some time with another woman in Las Vegas? No, she felt she knew him well enough to dismiss that. The only other possibility she could think of was smoking -- and she did feel he might have been weak enough to have smoked there. In a way, she almost would have preferred the first alternative -- at least that wouldn’t kill him.
Finally one evening she needed to know. “Did you smoke in Las Vegas?” she asked him.
The question scared him, as he knew there was a paddle waiting in the next room. He made an instantaneous decision -- he lied.
“No,” he told her.
“Is everything else OK?”
“Yes, of course, don’t worry.”
Cindy wasn’t totally convinced, but didn’t want to think her husband would lie to her, so she dropped the subject.
Barry cut back his smoking the next few days, but Cindy still was uneasy. If cigarettes were now making him lie to her, she hated smoking even more than she did before. She had to find out for sure.
Hoping to assure herself that Barry was not smoking and not lying to her, she came up with a plan to find out. One morning she sent out an email to Joanne, Mary Lou, and Emily.
“Hi,” it started. “I certainly don’t want to put any of you in a position where you’re spying on your boss, but you all know how much Barry has struggled trying to kick the smoking habit. I’ve been trying to help him do that since even before we were married. He’s telling me he doesn’t smoke any more, but you know women’s intuition -- I’ve started to think he might be sneaking a few at the office. For his own health, I’m asking you to let me know if you see him smoking at work, so I can help him quit completely. Thanks so much, Cindy.”
Within an hour she had an answer. All three women had responded with essentially the same facts -- Barry had been going out to smoke several times a day, often with Ed Carruthers. Emily added that she had been out of the office for a while just yesterday and when she got back Barry was at the door with a cigarette in his hand.
Cindy was upset but not shocked by the responses. She started to think about how she would handle the evening, and sent out another email.
Having no idea what his wife now knew, it was a normal day for Barry. Near the end of the day he went into the men’s room to rinse out his mouth, then as usual left the window open in his car as he drove home. When he entered the apartment, the first person he saw was his sister-in-law Heather.
“Hi, honey,” Cindy said, a little too loudly to be her normal speaking voice.
“Hi,” Barry responded warily.
“I was just bragging to Heather about you.”
Barry knew something was wrong, but he didn’t know what it was. “About what?”
“I told Heather what a great kisser you are. Come here and give me a great big kiss.”
Since he had started smoking again, Barry had been giving Cindy a quick peck of a kiss when he got home -- but he still didn’t make the connection about what was really going on. He approached his wife hoping to get away with a quick little kiss, but Cindy grabbed him and stretched to give him a big, long kiss -- inserting her tongue into his mouth.
He felt her stiffen and he then understood what all this was about. She knew.
Cindy backed away with an angry look. “You reek of smoke,” she said.
Barry had no response. He remembered her warning after she had spanked him the first time and he knew he was not going to enjoy the rest of the night.
“Get undressed,” Cindy told him as she headed towards the bedroom.
Barry looked at Heather, who said quietly, “You shouldn’t have lied to her.”
Knowing a spanking was now inevitable, Barry loosened his belt and allowed his pants to fall. Cindy came out of the bedroom and looked at him angrily, “I told you to get undressed, not lower your pants. Get undressed. Everything. Right now.”
Barry looked over at Heather again, and Cindy said, “Yes, she’s going to watch. I told you this was going to be worse than last time, and tonight you’re going to have an audience. Move!”
She pulled out the low bench and watched as he slowly undressed. He hesitated as he reached the point where he only had his boxers left, and Cindy said briskly, “Yes, Heather’s going to see you. Drop them!” Completely embarrassed, he pushed down the shorts and bent down to get over his wife’s lap.
After just a couple of spanks, Barry already realized this was going to hurt a lot more than the first time Cindy had spanked him. Maybe it was the fact that Heather was there, maybe it was that Cindy was truly angry because he had lied to her as well as having smoked, but he was in tremendous pain as the paddle continued to fall. At one point he realized that the women were talking, but he was so focused on how much the paddle was hurting him, he couldn’t make sense of what they were saying. What he had missed was Heather commenting on how red his butt was becoming, and Cindy responding that it was going to be purple before she was done.
If Barry could have pushed his way up off of Cindy’s lap, he would have, but he couldn’t muster up the strength to do so, so he mostly squirmed around trying, but failing, to avoid the next spank. He also realized he wasn’t going to be able to hold back tears this time, and to his horror, he felt tears falling and his shoulders heaving in full view of his sister-in-law. He had never been more miserable in his life, and he truly regretted both smoking and lying about it.
After what seemed like an eternity, Cindy finally stopped, and left him sprawled over her lap to finish crying. He spent about a minute there, and then she helped him up, and told him to go to the corner to display his butt to her and Heather while she prepared dinner. After ten minutes, she told him to come over to the table for dinner. He said he wasn’t hungry and asked if he could go to the bedroom instead.
“No,” Cindy told him. “You don’t have to eat, but you do have to sit here with us, even if it hurts.” Knowing it would do no good to argue, he did exactly what he had been told and suffered while the women enjoyed a leisurely meal.
Cindy did not allow him to put clothes back on until Heather left about an hour later. “Put on pajamas and we can talk,” she told him.
He came back out of the bedroom and sat down very carefully on the couch. “This was the most embarrassing night of my life,” he told her.
“Good,” she responded. “You deserve it, smoking again and lying about it. But I promise you this, Barry. As bad as today was, smoke again --just one more time -- and next time will be much, much worse that tonight was.”
“I don’t think you could make it worse.”
“Did you like having Heather watch?”
“No. Absolutely not, I hated it.”
“Well, guess who will be here if you need to be spanked again.”
“Who?” he asked nervously.
“Not sure, Maybe Joanne, maybe Mary Lou, maybe Emily. Maybe all of them.”
“Cindy, you couldn’t spank me in front of people who work for me.”
“Do not tell me what I can and cannot do. There is nothing – nothing -- I would not do to stop you from killing yourself with cigarettes. Get this very straight: If you smoke again, I will find out about it. And if you do, you will get spanked harder and longer than you did tonight, and it will be in front of anyone I decide -- no matter how embarrassing it will be for you. I’ve never told you I would do something and then backed off from doing it, have I?”
“Well, you better believe I will do this too.”
“I believe you,” he said unhappily.
He did believe her, and it has now been five years since Barry has had a cigarette. After attempts with patches, gum, pills, hypnosis, therapy, and everything else, it was the threat of a spanking in front of his employees that got him to stop smoking.
The next morning he threw out what was left of the pack he had hidden in his car, and when Ed Carruthers walked into his office, Barry was waiting for him to tell him never to come around looking for a smoking partner again. Ed didn’t believe him, but after a month had passed he stopped coming around to Barry’s office except on business matters.
A lot has happened in the last five years.
Heather is now married. Luckily for her husband, he doesn’t smoke.
Ed Carruthers is still with the company, although he missed quite a lot of time last year due to a bad case of pneumonia. Most people thought he caught it by standing outside smoking in some very inclement weather.
Barry was promoted again and is now in charge of the entire Accounting Department, with Mary Lou now running the Collections group. Barry expects to be made a Vice President at the next meeting of the Board of Directors.
Cindy has done well at her job also, having earned several rises and having been named her company’s “Employee of the Month” last year. Barry enjoyed seeing the citation that accompanied her award, which mentioned her tenacity and determination to bring about her goals. Cindy recently returned to her job after taking maternity leave following the birth of Jessica two months ago.
Barry, Jr. will be three years old next month.
If cornertime, scolding and a bright red bottom don't work, nothing will.