Miles entered the conference room to the unmistakable pop of wood impacting flesh. His head snapped to the source giving him a voyeur’s view of an oak paddle hovering near the shapely posterior of a nearly naked woman. She was bent over the end of the conference table with her reddened butt exposed and jutting out into open air. Her buttocks shimmered with the hot glow of embarrassment and shame which was further accentuated by the milky white skin peeking out of the tops of her black stockings. Her naked back arched upward as she held tight to the sides of the table and stared into the empty space before her. Miles smiled, noticing the muscles in her body tightening in anticipation of the next swat. The paddle was raised.
The paddle whooshed through the air. It slapped hard against the woman’s buttocks and she gasped for breath. Her buttocks bounced back from the impact and her hips ground against the rounded edge of the table while her white knuckled fingers held her down. Fresh tears trickled from her eyes and she sniffled, laying her wet cheek against the tabletop. Her eyes glistened like fiery sapphires staring up at Miles. He blinked, but he did not look away until the outstretched hand of the man he was meeting interrupted his view.
Mr. Harper said, “Miles, glad you could make it. Julian is just finishing up with Helen and then we can get started.”
Miles shook Mr. Harper’s hand and turned just in time to watch Julian deliver another swat to Helen. Her legs kicked in the aftermath and more tears spilled from her eyes. She groaned in obvious discomfort and said, “Please sir, no more.”
Julian smiled and nodded. He raised the paddle and said, “Well now, we’re finally getting somewhere. I think five more ought to do it, what do you think Dad?”
Helen’s eyes shifted to focus on Mr. Harper. Desperation tempered by humility dominated the warble of her voice. “Please Mr. Harper, have mercy.”
Mr. Harper ignored her, favoring his son with his attention. “Whatever you think is best,” he said, with a dismissive wave of his hand, “it’s your experiment after all.”
“Five more it is then,” Julian said. He delivered each with the calculated precision of a man who enjoys his work. The swats were ear piercing and delivered at a rate that left Helen breathless and a sheen of sweat on Julian’s forehead.
In the aftermath, Helen shuddered against the table. She gulped in air until her breath resumed its normal rhythm. Her body remained tense as if she expected another swat to fall at any moment and she maintained her firm grip on the edges of the table. Miles stood in place, mesmerized by the trembling of her naked flesh and the pulsating of her shining buttocks.
Julian laid the paddle on the table next to her face where she couldn’t help but look at it. He gestured toward the far end of the table, turning his attention to his father and Miles. “Shall we get started?”
Mr. Harper moved to the far end of the table and took his seat at the head. Miles sat to his left while Julian took the chair to the right. Helen’s sobs subsided and she slowly began to get her rapid breathing under control. Miles cleared his throat and tried to focus on the subject of the meeting, but his thoughts remained with Helen.
Julian indicated Helen with a tilt of his head. “As you can see, we’ve begun instituting our new corporal punishment policy. What do you think?”
Miles took the opportunity to look back toward Helen. The paleness of her bare skin glowed in the illumination of the overhead fluorescent lights. Her disheveled blond hair was feathered on the tabletop and around her left shoulder. She remained with her head flat on its side staring out to her right where the paddle rested. Her hands still gripped the edges of the table on either side of her and the tension in her arms and shoulders revealed her acute awareness of the three men. The growing flush of pink on her face told Miles the pain of her spanking had already faded enough for her thoughts to refocus on the more embarrassing aspects of her circumstances.
“I think,” Miles said, “she’ll be doing her best to be a model employee so long as her memory of this incident remains fresh.”
Mr. Harper nodded. “Well said. Spanking alone won’t solve our problems. What we need is a comprehensive policy with extensive reinforcements, both positive and negative, as appropriate.”
Julian slapped his hand on the table and spun in his chair to face his father directly. “Exactly,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing with Helen here. The spanking was just to get things started. By the time she goes home today she’ll be wishing she could forget this day ever happened and yet she’ll know that anything short of a company-wide bout of amnesia will make that impossible. That’s how you handle discipline.”
“I agree with you fundamentally,” Mr. Harper said, “but I’m still concerned about the disruption to the rest of the office. Right now, everyone in this office is probably thinking as much or more about Helen’s posterior than they are about their work.”
Julian sighed and leaned back in his chair. Miles leaned forward on the table and refocused himself on Mr. Harper. “I completely understand your concerns and they are legitimate, but I can assure you that once you’ve fully enacted the policy, your employees will be so much more focused on their work that the occasional disruption caused by a disciplinary action will be an insignificant drain on productivity.”
“Exactly Dad,” Julian said, slapping the table again. “The net result will be a gain not a loss.”
Mr. Harper looked down the center of his conference table at the woman laying with her torso flat against it. “Helen,” he said and she twisted her head to look at him, “would you stand up please?”
She sucked on her lower lip and inhaled deeply. Her eyes squeezed shut and she moved her arms in closer to her body. With exaggerated effort, she pushed herself upright. The three men were afforded only the briefest glimpse of her stiffened nipples before she wrapped an arm in front of her naked breasts and snaked the other lower to shield her sex from view. Her eyes reopened to stare down at the conference table while a new rush of embarrassment colored her cheeks a deep red.
“I can appreciate your embarrassment,” Mr. Harper said, “but keep your arms at your sides if you please.”
Helen’s eyes made no secret she was not in anyway pleased, but she was undoubtedly aware her dignity had already exited the room. She dropped her arms to her sides and straightened her shoulders. Her head raised to the meet the stares of the men. She pushed her naked breasts forward and widened her stance as if inviting the men’s eyes to drink upon her feminine beauty.
Mr. Harper looked from Miles to Julian. They were both staring at Helen’s naked body with slacked jaws. Mr. Harper nodded having gained the results he expected. “The two of you can’t even focus on this meeting with her in the room. How can I possibly expect the accounting department to do any work with her standing around like that?”
Miles forced himself to look at Mr. Harper. “If you think her presence will cause a problem then you can always assign her different duties for the duration. However, in my experience, after a company has settled into a disciplinary program like this, the employees grow accustomed to the sights and sounds as just a part of the normal office routine.”
Julian kept his eyes on Helen and said, “We’ll just make any of our disciplined ladies gophers for the day. That way they’ll get maximum exposure around the office and the disruption will be minimized to a few minutes here and there throughout the different departments.”
Miles looked between the two men, becoming aware of their unsettled differences. “Perhaps this meeting is premature,” he said. “I believe you have another sixty days on the trial version and if you aren’t certain about whether or not this type of disciplinary policy is right for your company, then you should take that time to explore the possibilities and their effects on your company’s operation.”
Mr. Harper appeared perplexed as he blinked at Miles. “Trial version?”
“After our first meeting,” Miles said, “my assistant sent you over a trial version of our software. I’m assuming you’re using it to administrate this ‘experiment’?”
Mr. Harper shook his head and looked to his son. “Julian?”
Julian peeled his eyes away from Helen’s naked assets and shrugged at his father. “I don’t know what’s he’s talking about. I used our lawyers to make arrangements for out test cases.”
Confused, Miles turned to look at Helen and then turned back to Julian and Mr. Harper. “I don’t understand. I thought Helen here was part of your testing the functionality of the software?”
Mr. Harper shook his head. “No, Julian wanted to test the effectiveness of corporal punishment in the office and so he selected a handful of employees to begin with. Helen has a gossipping issue and was therefore a natural choice.”
Concerned over the possible missteps the two men might have made in implementing their test, Miles glanced at Helen. “Maybe we should continue this discussion in private.”
Mr. Harper nodded agreement. Julian turned to Helen and said, “Why don’t you make a fresh pot of coffee and offer refills around the office.”
Helen’s mouth opened and closed in silence. Her chest heaved up and down in a momentary flush of panic. The warble of her voice hovered on the inaudible as she said, “Yes, sir.”
With quivering trepidation jittering through her body, she looked at the seated men. Her eyes pleaded for a reprieve, but none was forthcoming. She surrendered to her inevitable fate, taking a last deep breath before turning and walking out the open door. Only seconds later, the first exclamation of a shocked worker was heard. “My goodness, Helen, I never imagined the company assets were so far in the red.” The outer office erupted in a storm of snickers and outright laughter easily heard at the conference table. Filled with pride, Julian rose from his chair and crossed the floor to close the door.
Miles pushed aside his lingering visions of naked Helen and focused on Mr. Harper. “One of the reasons we offer a trial version of our software is because the legal issues involved in initiating a corporal punishment policy in the workplace are extensive and complicated. Our software comes with all the legal documentation and forms necessary to get started but without them, you could be leaving yourself open to a lawsuit.”
“We’re not idiots,” Julian said, leaning on the far end of the table where Helen had stood. “I had the ladies sign agreements drawn up by our lawyers.”
Miles shook his head. “I’m not questioning your intelligence or competence. The fact of the matter is these things are complicated and there’s more to it than mere consent and most lawyers lack the experience to properly advise you on corporal punishment policy. My assistant should have explained all of this to you in detail.”
Julian said, “I did my homework. For our little experiment, I kept the policy limited to just our five worst behaved ladies and I kept the rules simple. The consequences are limited to a narrow range of possibilities and if any of them don’t agree with my judgment they can appeal to my father for a second opinion. I’m absolutely certain we’re perfectly safe from anything but a frivolous lawsuit.”
Miles said, “Hopefully you are correct, but I’ve heard you refer to those involved in this experiment as ‘ladies’ three times now and that concerns me. In order to avoid a discrimination suit or worse, a sexual harassment suit, at the very least you must tie your corporal punishment policy to particular job functions in the company. If you want to be completely secure, the policy should be connected to whole departments or even company wide with very few, if any, positions in exception.”
Julian opened his mouth to respond, but Mr. Harper spoke first. “Clearly your company is more of an expert on this sort of thing. The reason we’ve had these discussions is because I’d like to take advantage of your expertise, but we never received your trial version. Perhaps you should take that up with your assistant?”
“Of course.” Miles agreed with further arguments on the tip of his tongue.
Mr. Harper pushed the conversation forward, keeping Miles sidelined. “If we’ve made some errors,” he said and looked at Julian for a brief moment before turning back to Miles, “I think we can still safely correct those mistakes with your assistance. Might I suggest you come back with the trial version on Monday and work with Julian to get it up and running for us?”
Miles nodded, accepting that something had clearly gone wrong either with his assistant’s or the Harper’s end. He disliked having to run through a client’s setup process personally, but he realized he would have to be accommodating in order to preserve any chance of a sale. “Alright, let me just make a call to my assistant and see if I can find out what happened and then we can schedule a time.”
Mr. Harper said, “Excellent.”
Miles pulled out his phone and dialed his assistant. “Jennifer,” he said when the call was answered.
Static hissed on the other end followed by a thumping sound and then she said, “Fuck!”
Mr. Harper looked bemused, overhearing the exclamation. Julian chuckled and shook his head. Miles blinked at his phone, but otherwise avoided any outward signs of his embarrassment.
“Jennifer? It’s Miles.”
The static cleared and her voice came through loud. “Oh, hey. Sorry, I’m sort of having car troubles.”
Miles frowned and his eyebrows furrowed. “I thought you were staying home today?”
She said, “I had some stuff to take care of—
The blare of a horn interrupted.
—and this damn storm is making it fucking impossible.”
Miles envisioned her gesturing rudely out her window at some poor, hapless driver. “I’m meeting with the Harpers,” Miles said, hoping she would get the hint to drop the foul language before he had to try and explain why an employee at a company that sells discipline policy software would talk to her boss with such loose expletives. “And I was calling because it seems they never received their trial copy of our software.”
“Shit!” Jennifer said, followed by a triple blare of car horn.
Miles tried to remain calm despite the annoyed tension tightening the back of his neck. “Are you saying you didn’t send it?”
“Sorry, I wasn’t talking to you,” she said. “I’m in a bit of trouble here.”
“You certainly are,” Miles said.
Mr. Harper and Julian nodded in silent agreement. Miles recognized the look in their eyes. Keeping the sale had just gotten more complicated and Jennifer was making it worse with every oblivious response. If he could have faked a quick end to the conversation he would have, but the quiet in the conference room combined with Jennifer’s extra loud voice left him without options. She would just have to face the consequences.
“Miles!” Jennifer said with annoyance dominating her tone. “I need help and I’m not fucking kidding.”
“Fine,” Miles said, “but first things first, tell me who you sent that trial version to here at Harper & Son, so we can track it down.”
Jennifer hissed into the phone. “I’m about to fucking drown and all you care about is some stupid trial copy? What the hell is wrong with you?”
Miles took a deep breath and asked, “Where are you?”
“Surrounded by fucking water,” she said.
Miles breathed through his frustration. “That’s generally what happens when you go outside during a rainstorm. Why do you think I told you to stay home today?”
Jennifer growled into the phone. “Keep pissing me off and you’ll be sucking your own dick for the rest of the month.”
Mr. Harper’s eyes opened wide as he regarded Miles curiously. Nearly choking on laughter, Julian shook his head and asked, “Does your software consider that as a punishment or a reward?”
Miles covered the receiver and said, “She’s also my girlfriend.”
Mr. Harper said, “All the more reason that girl needs a bar of soap in her mouth and a long session over the knee.”
Miles nodded. “I couldn’t agree more.”
Mr. Harper pushed off from the table and stood. “I look forward to seeing it first hand then. Shall we say, Monday at 9 A.M.?”
Miles eyebrow raised and Mr. Harper said, “Well I’m sure you agree we are certainly victims of her behavior problems and it would only be appropriate for her discipline to be witnessed by us. Besides, you’ll be coming by to install the trial version anyway.”
Miles swallowed his objections and said, “Of course, Monday morning it is.”
Mr. Harper walked toward the door and gestured for Julian to join him on the way out. Opening the door he turned back toward Miles. “Helen can show you out when your finished with your call.”
Miles nodded and turned his attention back to his phone after Mr. Harper and Julian exited the room. He uncovered the receiver and put the phone back to his ear. “Are you still there?”
Jennifer said, “Where the fuck do you think I’d be?”
“Just tell me where you are and I’ll be right there,” he said.
She said, “I’m stuck at the intersection of Washington and Fourth.”
“What do you mean ‘stuck’?” Miles asked.
“I ‘mean’,” she said, “Washington is a river and my car isn’t a fucking boat.”
“You drove into it?” Miles asked.
“No,” Jennifer said, “I tapped my fucking heels three times and magically appeared here. What the fuck do you think?”
Miles rolled his eyes and shook his head a the ceiling. “I’m coming, but could you please just tell me why you are out driving in the first place when I told you to stay home?”
“If you want someone to sit, stay and fetch for you, then get a fucking dog. I’m not your bitch,” she said. “As you can no doubt guess based on your oh so important meeting, I’m a little behind in my work.”
“So you thought you’d run around and try to play catch up without me finding out?” Miles asked.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” she said.
“Obviously not now,” he said.
“Well since you obviously moved up your meeting with Harper & Son,” she said, “I was apparently unsuccessful.”
“Yes,” Miles said. “Try and see if you can get out of your car and onto drier ground. I’ll be there just as soon as I can.”
“It’s fucking raining,” Jennifer said, “and I’m not really feeling like going for a swim.”
“Fine, stay in the car and drown,” Miles said. “I’ll be there soon enough and if by some miracle you’re still breathing, you’ll soon be wishing you weren’t because you are in for the worst spanking of your life.”
“That’s just fucking great,” she said. “Like I’m not already having the worst day ever.”
“It’s going to get worse,” Miles said. “Just wait until you hear about my new deal with the Harper & Son.” He ended the call before Jennifer could respond. He paused for a moment and then decided to call home before leaving.
“Hello,” Mr. Bennett said. “How’s your meeting going?”
Miles said, “It’s over until Monday. You aren’t going to believe what Jennifer has done.”
“Oh?” Mr. Bennett asked.