It sucks when you think you’re home alone and you’re not. Especially when you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be doing… like smoking weed.
My older brother, Alan, nearly flipped out when he pushed my door open and found a smoke-filled room and my glazy-eyed stare. “Jocelyn! What are you doing?!” he yelped.
I jumped at the loud noise and said, “dude, chill!” I set my pipe down and looked at him calmly. “It’s okay, I promise.”
Alan folded his arms. “You’re getting high? Really? Come on, Joce, you’re smarter than this!”
“It just takes the edge off,” I promised. “And it hasn’t had any negative effects on my schoolwork or anything… I’m still your straight-A’ed little sister.”
“But it’s illegal, and you’re only seventeen.”
“Seriously? You’re going to pull the illegal card?” I was ready to list the illegal activities I knew about that the rest of my family (brothers included) had committed, but Alan stopped me.
“Okay. I can’t say that I agree with this, but if you’re doing it safely, and keeping up with your responsibilities, then I won’t stop you.” He then stepped closer, now towering over me. It was kind of scary. “But if your grades slip, or I find out you’re being irresponsible with where you smoke, I’m going to tell Jon.”
I wish I’d have listened to him… wish that I’d taken his warning… his many warnings actually. It wasn’t until we’d had the “weed” conversation about four times that he finally threw his arms up and decided it was time to rat me out to our eldest brother.
“Noooooo… Please don’t tell him. I’m going to do better, I promise!”
Alan shook his head, pointing at the fat red F on the packet of papers in his hand. “Jocelyn, this is the third test I’ve had to sign in a month! Your grades shouldn’t be this low. It’s because you’re smoking too much.”
My lower lip poked out in a pout. “Is not!” I said in a voice louder than anticipated. “The work is harder! It always gets hard this time of year.”
Alan gave me a doubtful look and showed me the current failure I’d presented him with — a history test of almost pure memorization (that I’d forgotten about, haha, ironic, right?). “How hard can it be to memorize vocabulary about the American Revolution? Not to mention, you’re brilliant at memorization usually.”
I gave him an evil look, not wanting to admit that he was right. But I knew that admitting it would likely deter him from telling Jon, who would most definitely have a cure for my memorization issues… so I had to lose this battle. “You’re right, Alan. I’ll cut back on the smoking and work harder in school,” I said, eyes filling up with tears and putting on my best puppy face.
His eyes narrowed. “No, you’re not pulling that one on me, Jocelyn Michelle.”
I blinked. “What?”
“You know that you’ll cut back just enough to get me off your back and in a couple of weeks you’ll hand me another exam that you failed.”
I said nothing.
“It’s time that you learn how to be responsible and accept the consequences for your actions,” he continued.
I rolled my eyes. “But I did accept the consequences! I got a shitty grade, isn’t that enough?”
“And what are the consequences of getting a bad grade?”
“I don’t know, I have you yelling at me forever about it?” I snapped.
Alan nodded. “You know that if you don’t get good grades, you won’t go to college, right?”
“And don’t you want to go off to college? I mean, if you don’t, that’s fine, but if you want to go to NYU or Berkley, you’ll have to get a scholarship because we don’t have the money to pay for that.”
I slumped down in my bed, picking at my fingernail. “Whatever, Alan,” I muttered. “I’ll do fine. I told you. I’ll cut back on smoking and study more.”
He sighed. “Last chance,” he said in a soft voice, lifting my chin so that I was looking him in the eyes. “Cut this out, Jocelyn. It’s not worth it.” He handed me the signed exam and walked out.
I was still shivering when my door closed. It was partly because I’d left my window cracked and the November chill had crept through my room. But it was also because I hated it when Alan got that serious. He was always so happy and playful… I didn’t like it when he gave me those looks and spoke to me in that tone of voice. It made me sad.
I really did try to study more after that, I promise. I opened my history book every now and then and even did literature homework on occasion. I cut my smoking sorta in half. And overall, I made an improvement. I did amazing on my Latin vocab quiz, somewhat well on a physics quiz, but then totally bombed this math test. I’d planned on studying for it but somehow kept getting distracted… and the next morning when I saw the mixture of numbers and letters and advanced formulas I realized I’d stayed up almost all night for nothing, was still a little stoned, and was definitely going to fail the test. I wanted to cry.
But not as much as I wanted to cry the following week when the exam was returned, a 61% F. Attached was the “orange slip”… the policy was that if a student scores below a 70% on any major exam, the parent or guardian must sign the “orange slip.” The loophole was that teachers determined what they would consider a major exam… usually it would be a midterm or final, but some teachers, like my math teacher, thought anything that wasn’t a quiz was a major exam, so of course, I had to take another failure home with me.
Alan was going to kill me. Or worse… Jon was going to kill me.
I walked home with nervous anticipation. I knew the damn exam was in my backpack… and I knew that someone had to sign it. I even thought about signing it myself, but am terrible at forging and not really into getting myself into a bigger mess than I already was. I’d have to come clean to my brothers. I would have to accept the consequences, as Alan always said. Even if they were painful.
So I tried to pump myself up. I chanted to myself inside my head… Come on Jocelyn! You can do it! But when I got home and Alan was sitting with his laptop in front of the tv, I froze. I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t let him know that I’d done so badly on a stupid test when we’d just talked about it and he was expecting me to improve. It would let him down so much. I knew I had to do it, but it was so hard.
And I let him distract me, talking about meaningless things, like how much we hate Dr. Phil, and what we want to eat for Thanksgiving. When Jon came home, it gave me an excuse to shower and change into my pjs, then open my backpack to attempt homework. That was when I was reminded of what awaited me inside. That stupid test. Ugh. I took it out and set it on my bedside table. I’d get Alan to sign it later.
I flipped on my tv to watch the Bad Girls Club and was giggling at their stupidity when Alan knocked on my door. Without thinking, I yelled, “Come in!”
He came in and I ignored him, still laughing at the tv until he said something that made my heart stop: “What’s this?”
Shit. He’d seen the exam and I totally wasn’t prepared. “Oh, uhm, I was going to bring that down to you later,” I said hurriedly as he looked at me, an undoubtedly pissed off expression on his face. “I, it’s that, I, um,” I stammered. “I studied for that test. I dunno, it was just… uh… really… hard.” Genius.
Alan said nothing, just shook his head and turned away, taking my test with him.
“No, wait, Alan, please!” I said, a tear slipping down my cheek. He didn’t answer me, just continued down the stairs.
I took a deep breath in and stood up. I should at least hear what he was saying about me…
I inched towards the top of the staircase and sat at the top stair, listening to my brothers’ voices. It was hard to make out all of what they were saying, but Alan was talking a lot, and Jon only responded with the occasional “mmhmm” and “mmm.” I held my head in my hands, silently praying to get out of this or to wake up from this nightmare, or something…
“Jocelyn!” I heard Jon call.
I swallowed the lump in my throat and stood up, taking another deep breath to steady my pounding heart. I took the stairs as slowly as possible, finally descending into the living room where two sets of eyes stared at me coldly. “I’m really, really sorry,” I began.
They were both quiet for a moment, until finally, Jon said, “have you been failing a lot of tests lately?”
I bit my lower lip. “Yes,” I murmured.
“And smoking weed?”
I nodded, now chewing on my fingernail and staring at the floor.
“Yes or no!?” he asked, a little louder and scarier.
“And Alan has talked to you about this already?”
I nodded again. “Yes,” I said in almost a whisper.
“Then it’s time for you and me to discuss your bad habits and irresponsibility.” He paused and my heart raced faster, tears threatening to spill down my cheeks. “Go to your room, television off, thinking about the spanking I’m about to give you,” he told me. “And thinking about why you’re being punished, and how you’re going to avoid it in the future.”
I nodded, still chewing on my fingernail, and climbing the stairs. A few tears managed to escape as I turned the tv off and sat on my bed, head in hands, doing exactly as my brother had ordered — thinking about my impending punishment. Those moments are the worst… when you know what’s coming, you just don’t know in which moment. You notice every noise, wondering if that’s him climbing the stairs, if he’s nearing your door, about to order you to bare yourself from the waist down, so that he can inflict fire upon your backside until you’re kicking and crying and begging for him to stop. Every creek in the house sounds like him taking those dreadful steps, and when you finally notice that he is, indeed, taking those steps, the tears come almost instantly.
Jon didn’t knock, just pushed the door open. “You and I need to have a long discussion, little sister,” he said. He came inside and closed the door behind him. “Stand up,” he ordered.
Sniffling, I pushed myself up from the bed, trying my hardest not to whine because he hated that. Normally I didn’t care if I crossed anyone, but it was best not to mess with my eldest brother when he was upset — his spankings were no joke! And any time I earned one, it was a painful reminder that I was still a kid. “I’m realllllyy sorry…”
“Pants and panties off.”
A chill ran down my spine at his flat tone and stern expression. “I promise I’ll stop smoking and do better in school…”
Eyebrows raised, he repeated a little firmer: “Pants and panties off, now.”
I gulped and did as told, pushing my purple penguin PJs to the floor and my panties with them. A cool breeze passed over my bare thighs, reminding me of my vulnerable state. Ughhh… it had to be the most embarrassing thing ever, still getting such childish punishments. Couldn’t he just ground me like a normal person?
Jon sat on my bed and grabbed my left wrist, tugging me over his knee. “I’m disappointed in your behavior, Young Lady,” he said seriously. “I never expected you to act this irresponsibly with your school work. You’ve always been the good student in the family… the one with dreams. I’m disappointed that you’d sacrifice those dreams like you’ve been doing lately.”
Ouch. His words made my stomach twist into knots. I hated that he was right.
“Not to mention you’re too young to smoke weed, you’re still just a kid.”
“I’m not a kid!” I demanded.
“Oh yeah? Then why are you about to get a bare bottom spanking?”
I didn’t have an answer for that, so he threw a leg over my feet to prevent me from kicking, and circled his arm around my waist.
“And I’m sure there’s more that Alan is hiding from me, so you better thank him for that later.”
The last thing I wanted to do was thank my stupid tattletail brother, but Jon didn’t give me much time to think about it, his hand now raining down on my unprotected bottom. I clenched onto my bedsheets, biting my lower lip hard so that I wouldn’t cry out so much. Each swat was intense and hurt much more than I’d remembered from my last spanking.
After only a dozen or so smacks, my attempts to keep quiet failed. “Owwwww, Jon… that hurts!”
“It’s supposed to hurt.”
I groaned at the cliched response, squeezing my eyes shut in hopes that it would help ease the pain (it didn’t). Then he started swatting my sit spots, and I squealed like a banshee and kicked as much as possible with his tight grip on me.
The lecture continued. “If you want to smoke weed, wait till you’re old enough. Or at least be responsible enough to not get caught,” Jon scolded, increasing the speed and intensity of the smacks.
My bottom felt like it was on fire and I tried to take it like a woman, but between the pain and the disappointment that he had in me, and the disappointment I had in myself, it was becoming increasingly difficult to hold in my tears. “Okayyyy, I get it!”
He didn’t let up. “Tomorrow I want you to find out all of your grades, and come up with a plan to make sure they’re up to par with your abilities, understood?”
“Yessssssss,” I howled, hand threatening to reach back and try to stop this assault on my backside.
At least the scolding finally stopped, and after what felt like an eternity, the spanks stopped and Jon lifted me up. My hands flew to my throbbing bottom to rub out some of the sting.
He stood and put his hands on my shoulders. “Jocelyn, we’re going to start to have more structure around here with you. You’ll have a bedtime every night, you’ll spend the afternoons studying rather than watching tv, and the smoking is going to cease. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” I said weakly.
I don’t know if he wasn’t convinced or if he’d already planned to spank me more, but next thing I knew, he was putting my pillows in the middle of my bed and telling me to lean over them. Then he unbuckled his belt and started to take it off and that’s when the real tears finally came.
“Noooo, pleaseeee, don’t use that,” I begged.
He didn’t say anything, didn’t argue with me, just waited patiently. I knew I probably did deserve the belting, as much as I hated it, but that didn’t help me submit any easier. My legs felt so much like jelly that it took me a few minutes to find the willpower to obey his request and lay over the pillows.
“I’m really sorry, Jon,” I whined, burying my face in my hands and bracing myself for the first lash.
He raised the folded belt into the air then crashed it down in the center of my bottom. The leather bit into my skin with this unimaginable sting that had me immediately crying like a little girl. I wasn’t given any time to regain my composure when he brought it down again, this time on my sit spots.
“Owwwww Jonnnnn please no moreeee!” I howled, reaching back in a pathetic attempt to block him.
“Move your hand,” he ordered.
Tears streaming down my face, I put myself back into position.
“I want you to remember this next time you think about lighting up a joint, or whatever it is you kids do nowadays.”
I heard the jingle of the belt buckle then the CRACK! of leather-meeting-skin. My howling was cut off by another lash, and then another right across my sit spots.
“And remember this when you’re sitting in class tomorrow.” Two more to my sit spots. “I really want you to do your best, Jocelyn, and I know this isn’t your best.”
“I’ll do my bestttttt!” I promised.
“You better.” He landed four more swats in a row, hard and fast. “Or you know what will happen.”
By this point, I was a sobbing mess, in too much pain to even fight much anymore. And the scolding had me even more subdued.
“I’m going to help you get back on track.” The belt came down a final time on my sit spots, then I heard him putting it back on, giving me a minute to regain my composure.
Face buried into my tear-filled hands, I allowed myself some time to cry everything out. I hated crying — hated the the way it makes my head pound and throat sore and nose all stuffy. But Jon’s spankings often left me no choice, so I may as well take advantage of it while I could. So I allowed my mind to wander to places I often avoided… The dark places.
When my crying didn’t die down after a couple of minutes, Jon sat at my side and pushed my hair out of my face. “You okay?”
I nodded, trying to breathe and calm myself. Ugh, it didn’t help that my butt was burning. “I don’t like it when you spank me.”
“So do your work. Stop slacking and being a junkie.”
I shot him a glare. “I’m not a junkie!”
Jon gave a slight smirk and ruffled my hair. “Get your homework finished, kiddo, then to bed. No tv tonight.” He gave me a kiss on the forehead and finally gave me some privacy. What a relief.
My first ten minutes of alone time was spent trying to rub some of the sting out from the damn spanking, then I retrieved my pajamas and went to wash my face. I couldn’t help but peek at the damage in the mirror. My butt was crimson and puffy all over, still tender to touch. Ouch! Sitting in class tomorrow would not be fun!
When I exited the bathroom, Alan was climbing the stairs. I blushed thinking about how he must have heard everything, then bolted towards my room hoping to escape conversation.
“Joce, wait! Here’s your signed test.”
Okay, I guess I’d need that. “Thanks,” I mumbled and snatched the paper from him, avoiding eye contact at all costs.
“Hey… I’m sorry that I ratted you out, but…”
“I know, I deserved it.”
“And you asked for it, remember?”
Yup… stupid me.
He gave me a side-hug and patted me on the shoulder. “Goodnight, sis. And good luck sitting!”