Summer. The season of fun and sun. Season of cookouts and camp outs. Season of long days and all night parties.
Having only recently returned from one of those, Tracy was displeased at her current state. Lounging in the tall wooden chair, overlooking a pool full of brats screaming and hollering, was NOT helping her hangover. Had it not been for her oversized (and gorgeous) shades, she would certainly have drowned herself by now. Some story that would be! “LIFEGAURD DROWNS SELF DUE TO MASSIVE HANGOVER!” blaring over the headlines. She giggled, thinking The Daily Show needed easy material once in a while.
The giggle stretched into a yawn — and a mighty one at that. Her eyelids grew heavy as they gazed on the endless repetition of seniors doing laps. Down at the shallow end a few kids started splashing, giggling, just plain noisemaking, enough to make her scowl. It was only a moment later that she dozed. She didn’t even realize it, at first. Just the inability to resist the weight in her brow, closing out the world, and the comfy, cozy feeling of rest. She sat up with a start, wary. Dozing was NOT something an on duty lifeguard should be doing.
What she tried to put out of her mind especially, no matter how much it stuck, was the reaction her boss would have. Gerard, the shift super, was about the same age. That hadn’t stopped him from doing what he did last week, however. His reaction to her being late for a 3rd time…
The thought of it brought color to her cheeks. Don’t say it, don’t think it, don’t EVEN, she thought. It wasn’t hard to let her mind slip, the pounding headache finally being useful for something. That pain, however, brought back the fatigue. Before she knew it, Tracy found herself drifting…
It was the screaming that brought her back. The agonized wail of a child overreacting, melodrama at its best. Staring up from her chair, the world slowly came back into focus, facts rearranged themselves into their proper order. She dimly recognized Gerard pulling a kid out of the shallow end, a kid with a red line on his forehead. A few middle aged ladies hopped up from their gossip-laden sunbathing at the shrill cry and were scrambling in their designer swimsuits that had never touched water to the pool.
“Oh my baby, what happened!?!?!?” exclaimed one of the women, kneeling down to the concrete and putting hands all over the supposedly wounded child. Tracy’s throat fell into her stomach as she realized how much she had messed up. She heard the kneeling lady launch into a diatribe, pointing many a finger and word in Gerard’s direction. His face was concerned, but calm. As she grew in hysteria and outrage, he remained in control, empathy showing from across the pool.
The moment Tracy dreaded arrived, as the pair of them locked eyes on her up in that chair. She has already hopped out of it, walked halfway over. She barely listened to the one sided diatribe inflicted upon her by the angry mother. Each word landed on half deaf ears, her focus intently elsewhere.
As the incensed harpy finished the unnecessary rant about the overblown scratch, Tracy couldn’t tear her eyes from Gerard’s. His were cold, quiet, knowing. This was it — “The Look.” He turned from her and calmed the woman further, sending her off, and then she faced him once more. There wasn’t a hint of anger in his eyes as he looked at his watch coolly.
“Pretty sure you still have 20 minutes left on your shift, Tracy. After that, shower up, and we’ll talk.” he said, his voice level. She nodded, breath catching, knowing full well that it was going to be more than that. Dreading it. He walked away, and she turned to the chair.
Sitting up there, her stomach did somersaults. She couldn’t keep her mind off the coming discussion. She willed the minute hand of her watch to stop, to no avail. It ticked on, uninhibited. Faster, it seemed — almost mocking her. Fear clutched at her heart as her replacement, beaming in her ignorance, came forth to relieve her. With heavy steps she made her way to the locker room, head hanging low. Gerard was nowhere in sight, but that didn’t help. She knew where he was, and what would happen.
The shower was entirely perfunctory. Had she been in a better mood, dropping the soap would have given her a good laugh. Mirth seemed far from reach at this moment, however. She walked out, toweled off, and put on sweats. The light was on in the Shift Super office, and that’s where she knew he would be. With a big breath, she walked over and knocked.
“Come in” he said, and she did so. Slowly peeked in, then the rest of her followed. He didn’t look up from the paperwork. She stewed there for a minute, knowing he did it on purpose, roiling inside as he scribbled away for a good two minutes. He finished in a punctuated fashion, pushed the forms aside, and folded his hands together as he looked up at her.
She opened her mouth to say something. She hadn’t been sure what yet. An apology? A defense? A stalling tactic? It was irrelevant, because he raised a hand to silence her before the words crossed her lips.
“Your actions today…” he began, voice still level and distant, “were entirely inexcusable.”
“I’m sorry, Gerard. I was definitely in the wrong. I should have been more aware —”
“More awake is more like it,” he interrupted. The fact that he knew struck her hard, and the guilt began to weigh physically on her. She almost whimpered as he stood up, chair scratching across the linoleum floor. He circled around the desk to the straight backed chair he had arranged on one wall. Echoes of last week overwhelmed her. He had done just that, gone to just that chair, and then, and then….
“You realize what I’m going to do in response, don’t you?” he said, standing right next to her. His face leveled with hers. She nodded. She hoped to God he wouldn’t make her say it out loud…
“Well, what is it?” he asked, and she cursed inwardly. Her tongue tied a circle around itself trying to form the words.
“You’re going to….spank me,” she finally managed, the last words barely more than a whisper. He nodded, and continued his lecture.
“I had hoped our discussion last week would have had a greater effect on your outlook about working here, Tracy.” he intoned and sat down on the wooden chair. He took her wrist in his hand and gently brought her around to his right side. She dropped her gym bag. And, without a moment’s hesitation, he plopped her squarely over his knee.
“Apparently it did not. I intend to make THIS lesson stick, however,” came his voice. But all she could see was floor.
When the first blow landed, she JUMPED, even through the sweats. She didn’t remember it being that hard last week! But then again, the shock had made it so hard to remember, OW! Again! This really hurt, and he had only just started…
“In case you hadn’t noticed, I don’t intend to hold back this time, young lady. You deserve a long, hard spanking, and that’s what I intend to dispense.” SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! came the blows, unrelenting, and she squirmed and whimpered throughout.
“Gerard, it was barely a scratch! Their parents should have been watching too! I cant believe — ”
“Wait! Don’t! Please!” she startled, her attempt at mollification turning to protest midway as she felt his hands at the waist band of her sweats. Down they came, to her horror, and before she could argue any more, she was wincing and squinting as his hand peppered her lightly pantied bottom with blows. She tensed up, putting her hands on the chair, straightening her body out flat, but it didn’t help. She began to kick, in time with his hand, when she heard him loudly speak over the smacks.
“Stop struggling, Tracy, or you’ll get this on the bare.” She listened, gritting her teeth hard, trying her damnedest, until one particularly hard blow fell on her upper thigh. Without thought, she REACTED, hand flying back to block. She realized her mistake immediately, but it was too late. He grabbed her hand immediately, pinned it to the small of her back. She wailed as he took down her panties, embarrassment nearly overwhelming her. That, however, didn’t compare to the pain she felt as the spanking resumed, this time on bare flesh.
“I warned you, missy — just like I warned you last week — that your unprofessional and childish behavior would NOT be tolerated any more!” he said, spanking hard throughout. Tracy heard every word, despite the pain.
“When I spanked you last week, I thought you would see how serious I was when I said I would keep you in line!”
She listened to him, wanting only for it to stop. And apologies flowed from her lips like water.
“Not done yet, oh no. I’m going to show you how much I can make you regret that foul up,” he said. Then everything came to and she sighed audibly in relief as he stopped. When she felt him bend over, she became curious. She could see him reaching down, to her gym bag that was slightly open. As he wrapped his fingers around the handle of her wooden hairbrush, she almost died.
“No! No! Please, do- AHHHHHHHH!” the first crack landed, square on the sit spot, followed by a matched pair on the other cheek. The blows rained down as he lectured, and she kicked and struggled through every syllable.
“You may think it isn’t much now, but think hard! THINK what could have happened down there while you dozed! That could have been SERIOUS! You are so lucky no one was really hurt, or this spanking would be the LEAST of your worries!” he lectured, and despite her struggles, he held her down tight. It wasn’t long before the hot tears streamed down her face.
When he stopped, finally, she continued to sob, lying over his knee. He whispered softly to her, righting her so she sat gently in his lap. Tracy buried her face in his shirt, getting it wet with tears, and he held her close.
“I’m so sorry, Gerard. I swear it won’t happen again.” she promised, and he kissed her head.
“I know it, kiddo. I know it.” he said. They stayed like that for a good 20 minutes, him whispering comforts into her ear. Soon after, she stood, got dressed, and stared at the door, about to leave. He grabbed her wrist again. She turned around, shocked, terrified, surprised….and what was that other feeling…. but it didn’t matter, his face was inquisitive.
“Would you like to get dinner with me tonight?” he ventured.
She stopped for a second, and smiled.
For the rest of that summer, she rarely sat comfortably in the lifeguard chair. But dammit, she sat happy.