“Be careful what you wish for--you might get it.”
That old truism ran through Gary Patterson’s mind as he drove towards the home he had shared with his ex-wife Delores for most of the twenty years they had been married. He was nervous, something she had immediately noticed when he had called to ask if he could come over to see her.
Their divorce two years earlier had been cordial, and they did have two daughters, so Gary had been to the house several times since the couple had split up, but this request struck Delores as quite unusual. Both girls were away at college at the moment, so she knew his impending visit did not involve them. And he had sounded so nervous when he called.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
His answer confused her. “Yes…no…Please, I really need to see you.” It sounded like he was about to cry.
“Come over right now,” she said. “Drive carefully.”
Patterson’s Appliances and Furniture had been a successful family-run business for decades, started more than fifty years earlier by Gary’s grandfather, and later managed by Gary’s father. When Gary returned from college with a degree in Business Administration from Penn State, as the only son of an only son, there was no doubt that he was destined to carry on the family business. He had been quite successful at doing so, managing to withstand the incursions of the “big box” stores and actually expanding the operation with two stores in malls as well as the original downtown location. Patterson’s also added furniture to the store’s original appliances-only positioning.
Delores McIntyre had joined Patterson’s right out of junior college as the secretary of Gary’s grandfather, and in the five years she had been with Patterson’s, she had made herself into an extremely valuable employee. Without the formal title, she had essentially become the Office Manager, even having hiring and firing authority for non-family employees. Gary had worked for the store in various positions when he had been home from school, so he had known Delores for all the time she had worked there, but when the 22-year old Gary started full time at the store, his father had asked the 25-year old Delores to teach Gary all that he needed to know.
Their interactions previously had been limited, but as Delores and Gary spent a lot of time together now, a mutual interest started to grow. Gary had always though of her as attractive, and admired the way she had become so valuable to the store with just a modest education, but as she was three years older he had never considered a social relationship to be possible.
Delores had always simply thought of him as just “a kid,” but as she got to know him better, she saw a great deal that she liked. Yes, he did show some signs of immaturity, but she rationalized that to be the fact that he was three years younger than her, still she realized there was much to like in him. She, too, started to wonder if a serious relationship could be possible. She had never imagined herself marrying into the Patterson family, but she did know most of them, and the thought started to take root. She knew Gary needed to take the first step, so she found herself doing more to make herself attractive to him, with the clothes she wore, her perfume, hairdo, and so on. As she worked with him, she tried to physically move her body as close to him as possible without it becoming obvious what she was doing.
It worked. Gary had become totally enamored with her, and finally got up the courage to ask her out. He was surprised -- and delighted -- when she accepted.
News that Gary and Delores were dating spread through the store like wildfire. Within six months, Gary proposed and Delores accepted. Some people -- one of them being Gary’s mother -- saw her as a “gold-digger” looking for a secure financial future, but others, including Gary’s father, thought it would be an excellent match. Gary’s parents had always had some concerns about his occasional regressions into immaturity, and his father felt that the more-mature Delores would be a good influence for him.
The couple was married in June, and shortly after they returned from their honeymoon it was time for the company picnic. It turned out to be a memorable day.
Tradition at the picnic called for members of the Patterson family to do the cooking for the employees. In previous years Delores had been one of the guests, and she felt reluctant to join the other family members behind the barbecue grills. Gary’s dad noticed that, and waved to her to come join the rest of the family, and she did. It was a small move, but very symbolic to all -- Delores was now officially one of the Patterson family.
A softball game followed the food. In the second inning, Gary lined a single to the outfield, and tried to stretch it into a double. But the throw was right on target, and he was clearly out at second by at least five feet. “Safe,” he announced to all and remained standing on the base. The player who had applied the tag was the teenage son of a man who worked on a Patterson’s delivery truck -- he knew he had tagged Gary out but he was afraid to argue with his father’s boss.
It was an embarrassing moment for everyone. No one wanted to tell the next President of Patterson’s that he was out instead of safe. Gary’s dad was elsewhere but his mother and Delores were watching the game.
“Delores, do something,” Faye said. “He was out.”
Delores stood up and called out, “Gary, you were out. Get off the base.”
“I was safe,” he called back to her.
“You were out. I’m the umpire and you’re out. Get off the base.”
He felt embarrassed being called out -- both literally and figuratively -- by his wife, but his initial reaction was to minimize his loss of face. He walked off the base back to the bench, saying “Ump says I’m out, I guess I’m out.”
The small crisis had been resolved, but the precedent set was an important one. Delores was going to be the “umpire” in their household.
The next five months went by very quickly, with both partners heavily involved in work. Gary did a number of out-of-town buying trips to meet furniture vendors, and Delores was officially named manager of the downtown store, as the previous manager moved to the larger mall store.
The marriage was generally going well, although there were a couple of incidents that Delores saw as acts of immaturity -- she discussed her thoughts with him and he accepted her comments saying he would try to do better.
And then it was time for the annual Christmas party, the biggest event of the year for the Pattersons and their employees. While getting ready for the event, Delores thought of the incident at the picnic, and had some concern about how he might behave at the party.
“Gary, you need to watch yourself tonight,” she said. “You’re the host. Don’t do anything stupid or there will be serious consequences when we get home.”
“What do you mean by serious consequences?” he asked, a bit nervously.
“You don’t want to know,” she replied. “Just watch yourself -- and watch your drinking!”
The first hour of the party went well, with Gary consuming just a single drink and graciously greeting the families of the employees. But then one drink led to a second, and the second quickly led to a third. Delores noticed and pulled him aside -- ”Remember, serious consequences,” she whispered.
“I’m fine,” Gary replied, as he pulled away from her to speak to the wife of one of the employees.
Within another half hour, he had become obviously inebriated, slurring his words and making inappropriate comments to some of the employees’ families. He had become obnoxious and was making the guests uncomfortable.
Gary’s mother approached Delores with a worried look. “Delores, Take him home -- please.” she pleaded. “I will,” she replied. After a moment she added, “And, Mom, trust me -- this will never happen again.”
Delores walked up to Gary who had started a conversation with a couple of wives who looked uncomfortable and were trying to get away from him. She grabbed his arm and said firmly, “Gary, we’re going home.”
“No, we haven’t even had the cake yet,” he feebly protested.
“Yes, we are going home,” she said with authority as she led him towards the room where the coats had been left. The women who had been stuck in conversation with him looked relieved.
Gary actually fell asleep in the car on the way home, so when Delores got him there and woke him he was in a complete daze. She pulled him out of the car and into the small house they were renting, roughly guiding him towards the living room. “Take off every stitch of clothes and get your face into that corner,” she ordered angrily.
“Why?” he muttered, having no idea what was about to happen.
“Because I said so!” she replied forcefully.
He started to get undressed, but in his current state it was difficult, so she did the majority of the work. Finally, he was completely naked, and she aimed him into the corner.”
“What’s going on?” he weakly questioned.
“Just be quiet and keep your face in that corner,” she ordered. Still quite drunk, he closed his eyes and rested his forehead in the corner, while she left the room.
She was still wearing the skirt and heels she had worn to the party, and would have greatly preferred to change into something more casual, but she had some fear that Gary could actually fall while trying to stand in the corner, so she felt she needed to act quickly.
She went into their bedroom to get her hairbrush then went to the dinette to turn one of the armless chairs around so she would be able to sit on it. Then still carrying the hairbrush in her left hand, she went back to the living room, firmly grabbed Gary’s ear with her right hand, and led him by the ear back to the dinette. Gary did not notice the hairbrush and had no idea what was going on, but he was in no condition to stop whatever she was planning to do.
As soon as they reached the dining room, she sat down and started to pull him over her lap. He caught his first glimpse of the hairbrush but still could not comprehend what was about to happen. As he descended over her, he reached out with his hands and managed to balance himself with his hands on the floor.
Delores said nothing and immediately swung her arm well above her head, then brought the brush down in a blur. Gary yelped at the pain from the first spank, but that one was immediately followed by another dozen.
He started to writhe around on her lap, trying to avoid the spanks, but she held him down by pressing hard on the small of his back. He swung his legs to the side in an attempt to rise, but that was met by Delores hooking her right leg around his ankles. He was now completely helpless, and totally within the control of a woman who had warned him of serious consequences for the kind of behavior he had chosen to exhibit despite her warnings.
He was quickly out of breath, panting for air. He couldn’t even verbalize apologies that likely would have been ignored anyway, and even in a drunken state, the pain was well beyond anything he could imagine. He managed to gulp out one solitary statement, “Please, Dee,” before he burst into heavy tears.
Delores was surprised that he was actually crying like a child -- it had become loud bawling that if anyone else had heard they would have immediately known precisely what was happening. But she was not at all displeased by the crying. She knew she was getting through to him --perhaps even to a better degree than she might have expected -- and she wanted to make a very strong impression on him of what happened when he made poor choices. She hadn’t thought beforehand if this punishment was meant to be a one-time event or the first of a ritual that would continue throughout their marriage, but his crying made her think that future spankings for future bad behavior might be a very good idea.
After about a hundred hard spanks, she stopped and let him lie over her knee for a few seconds. Then she guided him upwards while tears were running down his face and he was still crying heavily. He reached back to try to rub the pain out of his battered buttocks, shifting his weight from one leg to the other and back again. It was a classic “spank dance” being done by a now completely sober bad boy who had just received the spanking of his life.
“Get to the corner,” Delores ordered. “I’ll tell you when you can come to bed.”
The completely defeated man was at this point afraid to do anything but what he was being told, and he moved to the corner as quickly as his aching body let him.
The next day at work, Gary spent a lot of time apologizing to people for his behavior on the previous night. Most of the time he tried to casually stand when talking to other people, rather than sit down in their offices and he tried to minimize the time he needed to sit at his own desk. No one noticed except for his wife who had her own office in the building.
At home, things started to return to normal, but the dynamic between the two was never going to be exactly the same as it had been before. Delores thought it was vital to return to sexual intimacy, and they did so the first night. As the week wore on the two resumed a typical newlywed relationship and Gary’s memory of the spanking he received was more based on how he had reacted rather than the spanking itself. But the couple did not discuss what had happened, nor was there any discussion as to whether Gary could expect similar treatment in the future.
The future turned out to be about six months later. Gary and Delores had moved into the larger home they expected to raise their family in and at first still had a couple of rooms for which they needed furniture. Gary’s father had attended a furniture exposition in North Carolina during the week and had brought Gary’s mother with him. Faye had seen a dining room set she had loved, and they had agreed to buy the set for Gary and Delores as a housewarming gift.
They visited the couple on Sunday afternoon and Faye excitedly showed pictures of the furniture to the couple, announcing happily they were buying the set as a gift.
Unfortunately, neither Delores nor Gary liked what they saw. Delores tried expressing her thoughts tactfully, about how grateful they were but that they had had another design in mind. Gary however had been in a bad mood (partly because he had played golf that morning, and had played poorly) and he displayed no tact at all, talking about different tastes for different generations and how his parents should have known that since they were retailers in the furniture business. Before long, Gary and his dad were shouting at each other, and Faye, in tears, told her husband to take her home.
As they left, Gary looked at Delores, standing with her hands on her hips and fury in her eyes.
“Okay, I’ll call them to apologize as soon as they get home,” he said.
“Yes, you will,” she answered. “Right after you stop crying. While you’re sitting on your bright red rear end.”
“Dee, no,” he protested. “You can’t spank me every time you’re mad at me.”
“I don’t spank you every time I’m mad at you. Only when your behavior is ridiculously juvenile – like right now!”
“I’m sorry, Dee.”
“You’re going to be a whole lot sorrier by the time you call your mother. In this house, your corner will be in our bedroom by the closet. I want you completely undressed and standing there when I come in.”
“And if I don’t?” he asked nervously.
She replied calmly but firmly with complete self-assurance that she was totally in control. “Do the words ‘twice as bad as your first spanking’ mean anything to you?”
One look at her was all he needed to see to know it was not an idle threat. His stomach started to churn. He now accepted the fact that he was about to get a spanking. It was going to hurt -- a lot! He hoped he wouldn’t cry this time, but he doubted that he could control that.
He turned and walked towards the bedroom and the corner by the closet.
Gary’s hope to remain stoic during his punishment faded almost immediately. Different people have different tolerances to pain, and he was one with no ability at all to suffer in silence. Before the brush had descended ten times, he was moaning and pleading for mercy; after another ten spanks he was blubbering and shortly afterwards he was already crying at full pitch, with tears rolling down his face and mixing with his sweat.
Delores did not give him double what his first spanking had been, but this one was at least its equal and when finally finished, Gary repeated his spank dance with as much vigor as she had just put into his punishment. After about thirty seconds, she guided him back into the corner.
“You have thirty minutes to compose yourself,” she told him. “Then you’re going to wash up, get dressed, and we’re going to go to your parents’ house so you can apologize in person.”
“No, please, Dee, please just let me call.”
“Or,” she answered, “you can come back over here for more spanks. Those are your only choices.”
They went over to Gary’s parents where a very contrite son apologized to his mother several times over.
In the years that followed, spankings for Gary were not very frequent, but when he did get punished, they were all hard, long punishments. Neither of them kept track, but on average he probably got spanked two or three times a year. Once the children were born and old enough to possibly have overheard, spankings were delayed until just the two were in the house -- that probably saved Gary’s butt a few times as a delay of a couple of days may have given him enough of a reprieve that better behavior mitigated his earlier transgression.
During those years, Gary struggled with two thoughts. There was never a doubt in his mind that he loved Dee -- as much or even more than before they were married. But he finally had to admit to himself that he was actually afraid of his wife. Is it possible to love someone you’re afraid of, he constantly asked himself. How can you stay married to someone you’re afraid of?
Second was his self-scorn over his crying. He had finally come to accept the fact that he was married to a woman who was going to punish him for exceptionally poor behavior -- he didn’t like it, but it was a permanent element of their marriage. But if he was going to cry like a little boy during those punishments, how could she have any respect at all for him? He believed that she loved him, and rationalized that she punished him precisely because she loved him and cared about his behavior -- but can you continue to live with a person who has no respect for you? That was a very tough question, and he could not dismiss the internal struggles he had over that.
Over the years, Gary got spanked for a wide variety of infractions; there was no one trait that got him into trouble predominantly. In each case Delores perceived his misdeed as an act of immaturity or irresponsibility and felt justified in applying a childish punishment for what she saw as a childish act. Gary usually accepted the fact that his action was wrong, but he never accepted that spanking a grown man was justified. Still, as scared as he was of being spanked, he submitted to Delores each time she decided a spanking was appropriate. He realized that he was actually consenting to the punishments he hated, but he never felt that refusing to participate was a viable option.
Only one other person ever knew Gary was spanked. Over the years, Delores and her mother-in-law had grown close. One day when she and Faye were out shopping, Faye mentioned to her that she and Gary’s father had always been concerned about Gary.
“It seemed that every once in a while he would regress and do some really crazy things,” Faye said. “Like that horrible argument about the dining room furniture. But I see that much less frequently now. Did he finally grow up or do you have some sort of secret?”
Delores chuckled. “Well, I do have a bit of a secret, but I don’t think you really want to know about it.”
Faye smiled. She actually suspected Delores might have been talking about a treat, perhaps sexually, that she may have used to influence Gary’s behavior. But she felt close enough to her daughter-in-law to pursue the question.
“No, I do want to know. What do you do to keep Gary in line?”
“Mom,” Delores answered slowly. “When Gary misbehaves….” she paused. “I give him a good, hard spanking. And then he’s on his best behavior for quite a while.”
Faye started to laugh and couldn’t stop for almost fifteen seconds. She finally caught her breath and said, “You know, at first I didn’t want Gary to marry you. But I was wrong. You’re the best wife he could have possibly found. Thanks for taking care of my son.”
Gary never knew that his mother knew about the spankings.
As the couple approached their twentieth anniversary, Gary reflected on his life. Mostly, all was well. He was now President of Patterson’s, and business was excellent. The couple’s two daughters were doing well --the older one had already started college, and the younger one would be a freshman the following autumn. And generally – generally --he had a good marriage.
But there was one major problem he felt he needed to deal with. Delores had been spanking him for twenty years now, and he felt he could no longer allow it to continue. He thought that if they were in the right mood and the perfect setting, he could convince her to put the hairbrush away for good.
He suggested an extended weekend to coincide with their anniversary, and he reserved a deluxe bungalow at one of the honeymoon-oriented resorts in the Pocono Mountains. The room had all the extra amenities possible, including a 2-person hot tub as part of the bedroom.
After a sumptuous dinner, the couple retired to the bungalow where champagne on ice was waiting. They disrobed and entered the tub with their drinks. “This is the right time,” Gary told himself.
“Dee, we need to talk about something serious,” he said to her.
“What?” she asked.
“You know how much I love you, Dee. I love my life with you and the girls. But honey, it’s been twenty years now, and I just can not live any longer with the threat of being spanked whenever I screw up. I need you to tell me that no matter what, you will not spank me any more.”
Delores put her glass on the rim of the tub. “I love you too, Gary. But, no, I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear. I know you better than you know yourself. You have tendencies to backslide every once in a while, and you do things that you simply should not do. Immature things. Irresponsible things. Even childish things some times. I know you hate getting spanked. It hurts. It’s embarrassing. But I have no doubt whatsoever that it does you some good -- a lot of good -- because it cuts down on the times when you’re tempted to backslide.”
Gary started to get nervous. He had convinced himself that his appeal to her would succeed, and he was surprised to hear her answer. “Dee, I just can’t wake up every morning and wonder if you’re going to spank me today. I love you, but to be honest, I’m actually afraid of you. How an I live with a person I’m afraid of?”
“You shouldn’t be afraid of me. I’ve never spanked you for no reason. Be afraid of yourself, and what you might do to get yourself in trouble.”
Between the wine he had already consumed and the disappointment, Gary felt close to tears. He was now desperate to change her mind. “I just can’t do it anymore, Dee. I just can’t live with you any more this way. I need to move out.”
“Gary, I’m truly sorry you feel that way. The truth is you sometimes do stupid, impetuous things, and you need someone to hold you accountable. If I were to stop spanking you, your behavior would get much worse and we’d end up divorced and hating each other. You yourself have told me on several occasions that you had been tempted to do something you shouldn’t do, but you knew I’d spank you for it if I found out. At least if we split up this way we won’t hate each other. The girls are old enough that they could handle it. Do what you need to do.”
They checked out the next morning and drove home.
Gary made a right turn onto the block his old home was on, he was now about a quarter-mile from the house. “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it” ran through his head again.
When Gary and Delores got home from the Poconos, they started by explaining to their daughters that they could no longer live together. The girls were upset, but as each had friends with divorced parents, they took the news in stride. Gary moved into the guest room for a few nights and moved into his own apartment the following weekend.
The divorce was completely amicable, so much so that one lawyer was able to handle the entire procedure. At first, Gary enjoyed his life as a relatively young, reasonably wealthy man. He posted an online profile about a month after leaving Delores, and had no trouble meeting women. Since most of the women he met were in their forties and coming off their first or second divorce -- needing to be reassured that they were still physically attractive to men -- he enjoyed a wide variety of women for the first time since he was in college.
Delores chose not to date, although her daughters urged her to. For the first six months, she held out hope that Gary might come back to her and she frequently wondered if she had handled the spanking question correctly. She honestly believed she was right that Gary needed her discipline, but was it right to make such a strong stand on the question that it cost her an otherwise successful marriage? She was no longer sure.
Money was not an issue with her, but to help fill her life, she went back into the workforce, getting a job as assistant manager of a dress shop at the mall. It helped, but once the younger daughter left for college and the house was an empty nest, she was lonely.
Gary pulled into the driveway and walked to the front door. Delores had been standing by the window waiting to see his headlights. She opened the door before he even reached the house.
“What’s the matter?” she asked as soon as he was inside.
“I need to talk to you,” he said softly, and she led him towards the living room. They sat on separate couches facing each other.
Gary sighed. “Dee, you were right. My life is a mess. You kept me going in the right direction, and without you there I just screw up one thing after another.”
“I heard you were dating a lot.”
“Big deal. None of them could hold a candle to you.”
“The girls told me your apartment is a pig sty.”
“I had a cleaning lady for a while, but she quit and I never bothered to find another. I pretty much have lost interest in how I live. I’ve been drinking too much. I stopped going to the gym. I’ve been driving too fast -- a couple of weeks ago I almost got to 90 on the Turnpike -- I never would have done that if you had been in the car, you would have killed me. Even at work, we’re doing all right, but we’re coasting. I’ve lost the desire to keep making the business as great as it can be. I should be working hard to make our website better, and I’m not. You always pushed me to make the business better. Nobody’s pushing me any more.
“I used to think you spanking me was the worst thing in my life. You know what’s worse? Feeling guilty about how you’re living is worse. At least when you spanked me, afterwards, my conscience was clear. We started again with a clean slate. But now nothing happens when I screw up, and I lie awake at night thinking about how I’ve fallen apart.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Delores said sincerely.
“And last night I hit the bottom.”
“I had a date. We had dinner and a couple of drinks, and she invited me back to her place, so I was following her home. The road was a little icy, and I skidded into a small accident. The police gave me a breathalyzer and I was over the limit. I ended up spending the night in the drunk tank.”
“Gary, that’s terrible,” Delores said.
“My lawyer got it down to a Driving Under the Influence instead of a Driving While Intoxicated, but I’ll probably lose my license for a month or two.”
“The girls will be home from school soon. They can drive you some times. I’ll drive you some times too. It will be OK.”
“Thanks, but driving is the least of my worries right now.”
During most of his confession, Gary had avoided making eye contact with Delores. Now he picked his gaze up and looked directly at her. She could see tears in his eyes.
“Dee, will you take me back?” he asked in a very shaky voice.
Internally, her heart leapt, but she knew she had to remain calm as she responded. “If I take you back, there will be spankings in your life again,” she replied in a firm voice.
“Tonight?” he asked, more as a plea than a question.
Now Delores understood what this trip was about. “Right now,” she said as she stood up. “Follow me.”
She walked directly up the stairs to the bedroom and Gary followed a few steps behind. He looked first at the bed he used to sleep in and was struck by how different it appeared with no pillow on the side he used to sleep on.
Delores had a bench in the bedroom that she primarily used when she was applying her makeup, but in the past she had also used it as a seat while she was spanking Gary. As they entered the room she first took her hairbrush out of the dresser drawer and then went directly to the bench. Gary walked over to a few feet away -- no words needed to be spoken, she nodded and he started to undress.
In the past, among the things about spankings that Gary hated was that he was always completely naked while she stayed clothed. Of course, he understood the message it sent, that she was in absolute control and that he was being relegated to a position where he had no control whatsoever. Tonight, however, his thoughts were completely different --in a complete change of his attitude, he wanted to stand naked in front of her as quickly as he could and he disrobed in seconds.
Once undressed, he looked at her as if he was waiting for an invitation. She nodded again, and he lowered himself to stretch out over her lap. He reached out with his arms to touch the floor and waited for her to lock her right leg around the back of his legs, which she did.
He knew what the next sensation would be -- she would lightly rub the smooth wood side of the brush against his butt cheeks. He always had assumed she did that as a tease before she started the actual spanking, but that was not the case. Actually Delores did that to give herself a few seconds to gather her thoughts and compose herself before she started spanking her husband. And tonight she needed several extra seconds to process all that had happened in the last few minutes.
Laying there, Gary did start to think the rubbing was lasting a little longer than he remembered from the past. He knew that as soon as the rubbing stopped, he would be just a second or two away from the first of many, many painful blasts from the brush. He knew within seconds he would be writhing in pain, twisting his body trying to avoid the brush, blubbering apologies, and crying loudly.
And then he felt the brush lift up. He knew Delores was lifting her arm and was about to bring it down with as much power as she could muster.
In the last microsecond before he felt the brush, a thought popped into his head for the third time in less than an hour:
“Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”