Yikes #2: A note on tears

I mentioned, back in Yikes #1, that I told a girl I was going to give her twenty-eight strokes of a thick wooden paddle. We’ll call her tintanabula. I think using lower case for a submissive’s name, in print, is faintly ridiculous and so does she. But that’s exactly why she gets lower case: who said a submissive is allowed typographical dignity?

I’m going to leap ahead in that story, and say that I took her out, naked in the night air, and cuffed her to a whipping frame, with her head down, looking into a forested river valley. She began shedding tears after about five strokes of the paddle, and then sobbing aloud, serenading the valley, after eight. As she began to sob, she could reflect on the fact that there were still twenty strokes to come, and wonder what state she’d be in by the time I’d delivered the full set. 

The paddle: one partner in a love-hate relationship

The paddle: one partner in a love-hate relationship

This is a girl who can take a dozen with the cane dry-eyed. Sore, but not usually crying even when she’s dramatically striped. So she hates the paddle, because it reaches her. It reduces her to nothing but a warm, helpless creature being beaten, with no physical or psychological defences. 

I don’t have to use the paddle at all hard. A firm, controlled swing to bring it down across the centre of her buttocks, with not too long a gap for recovery between the strokes, will elicit a fresh outburst of pain and repentance every time. 

I worry that tintanabula will come to love being paddled: all that helplessness, and the hormonal ride of pain. But in the meantime, it’s the implement to use when I want to punish her and be sure she won’t enjoy it. 

Probation officer #9

Ana said, “Well, it’s…” After a minute, maybe longer, she said, “It’s.”

I said, “Ana? It’s … what?”

And that was that. She made a honking noise and the tears welled and spilled freely down her face. She closed her eyes so tight it seemed to screw up her entire face, and she opened her mouth wide and wailed like a baby. 

I said, “Um,” and then, “um, Ana, hey…” 

Tears on my shirt

Tears in my shirt

So Ana turned around, still blind, and banged her head into my chest. Her tears kept coming, soaking through my shirt onto my skin. I’d already been as unprofessional as I could manage, so it was a bit late to be worried about the rules on touching my clients. I put my arm around her shoulders and rocked her gently. I said, “oh now, oh now, it’s okay to cry, you’re all right, you’re okay, oh now.”

And so on. Things you might say to a baby, where the words don’t really matter. I had no idea what to do. I’d started out being incredibly stupid. With Ana chastely wetting my shirt, I was none the wiser.

Probation officer #8

That’s the magic of shouting and saying “fuck” a lot. I had Ana’s attention. It was probably the first time. So I pulled out the wad of paper the desk sergeant had given me when I’d signed for her release. 

The five sheets of paper were her charge list. Not her criminal record, but a police list of all the things they’d ever charged her with, including charges that hadn’t gone to court, or where she’d been found not guilty. The charges, all of them, were just nonsense. She’d been arrested for taking a short-cut across a railway track. She’d been arrested for littering. She’d been arrested for obscene language. Someone really hated her. A cop, or someone with cop connections. 

I held these papers under Ana’s nose. “Look at this shit. No, look at it, Ana, bloody well look at it. These charges, they’re all bullshit things. It says here you got arrested for, what is it, for being unlawfully on premises. And the premises turn out to be the Sonsang plant. How do you get arrested for being in the front yard of a factory?”

She didn’t understand what I meant. I was angry, so I must be angry at her. So she tried to deflect by looking ashamed. “It was after hours. I had a friend worked there. I was looking for her.”

I doubted that that was the whole story, but I didn’t care. I’ve been a lot of places I didn’t have a clear legal right to be. And I hope so have you. I said, “This … stuff from the cops. You whole criminal record, it’s bullshit, isn’t it? You’ve never committed a real crime in your life. Have you?”

tearsShe sniffed.

“Or if you have, they never caught you. Look, Ana, I don’t know what’s going on here.   No-one gets arrested for this sort of thing. Except you. You do.”

Ana turned her head away. I caught the last bit of what she said: “… being Samoan in public.”

“Yeah, I thought that. But it’s too specific. It’s about you. There was that cop who pulled you in for swearing, because you didn’t fuck him.”

“Greg. Greg Curnow.” There was contempt and anger in her voice. 

“Yeah. Curnow’s an arsehole. But these arrests, this shit started back before you met Curnow. What’s going on, Ana? Is there some cop who hates your Dad, or what the fuck is it?”

Ana didn’t answer. But her eyes were glistening like deep brown rock-pools and they spilled over, tears running down her face. I hadn’t spanked her, but I’d made her cry.

Probation officer #7

I had no right to spank Ana, and it wasn’t my place even to be thinking about it. But I did have every right to be angry with her. She would be going back to court, with her brand new criminal offence. The charge was stupid, and no-one would have taken it to court if it wasn’t that a local cop felt annoyed because she hadn’t flirted with him. But the shoplifting made her arrest record another item longer. It put her back in danger of jail. Also, I’d told the judge she was very unlikely to reoffend, and she’d lasted six weeks. This stupid incident had  weakened my credibility with the judge, and that would affect other clients. 

So I needed to talk to her. The Probation Office was closed. I couldn’t talk at my place, or at her place. But the road to her place followed the river. I took another risk, and drove off the road at an old track I knew. Trucks went there to pick up shingle for the road, but it was a pretty spot if you drove on past the gravel piles, a little closer to the water.

Yeah, I'm relaxed. Why?

Yeah, I’m relaxed. Why?

I’d just had a sexual fantasy about her, and although I’d managed to suppress that set of thoughts, what I was doing now was stupid. I was so busy feeling righteous that it didn’t occur to me how going off-road and parking looked to her. I turned the van off and pulled the brake. Ana had one hand near the door handle. She was pretending to be relaxed but she was tensed and ready to run. I said, “Ana, for fuck’s sake, you’re going to listen to me.”

She decided the anger in my voice must mean I wasn’t going to try to fuck her. I was puzzled to see her relax when I shouted at her. I was being stupid.

I said, “Ana, you’re playing with the justice system like it’s, I don’t know, like it’s a cat. Like it’ll scratch your hand if you annoy it. But it can actually destroy you. It can fuck your life up. I mean, shop-lifting a fucking broach.”

“Hair clip. Like a butterfly.” 

“Whatever. You were being a fucking idiot. You’ve got to stop being a fucking idiot, right now.”

Probation officer #6

The call from the desk sergeant had come in after the Probation Office had closed. All the official Probation Service cars were out, so if i were going to collect Ana it’d have to be in my own transport. I had a British Bedford van, twice my age though better at starting in the morning.

The cops would laugh at me when I drove the van into their yard. If one of them was in the mood he could find a dozen reasons why it shouldn’t be allowed on the road, and why I should be charged, even arrested if they felt like it, for having driven it. So I’d have my prisoner, Ana, and I’d be stranded. It would be a good way to get me fired.

But it was a choice of taking that risk or leaving Ana locked up overnight. It turned out that the cops were happy enough to see me driving an old wreck. I’d given them a laugh. So they let me sign for Ana, then wait while a policewoman went and got her. This time she’d been charged with a real crime, more or less. She stolen a butterfly hair clip from a department store, and then run off.

When I led Ana out of the watchroom and into the police car park, she looked around for the car I’d have. She was incredulous when it turned to be the Bedford. She knew people with vehicles like that, and they weren’t involved in law enforcement.

So we sat side by side in our bucket seats until we were safely away from the police yard. She said, “thank you. I didn’t think anyone was coming to get me.” She smiled at me, for the first time ever. But I was angry with her.



In fact, I realised, I wanted to put Ana over my knee. I wanted to tell her she was a silly, self-destructive little brat, and tug down the little frayed jeans she wore. Then I’d smack her golden little bottom until she was kicking and crying. And then I might stroke her ass while she listened to me, though by the time I’d thought that far ahead, her fantasy self was naked, embarrassed and kind of excited.

That train of thought, and some of its ramifications, stayed in my mind for only about a second while I remembered that I was supposed to be some sort of professional. I shook my head and made a sound, “nnnh”, to clear that vision out. I wondered if she’d heard men make that sound before.

Anyway, the erection I was sporting had taken about a second to arrive, and it was taking longer to go away. I forced myself not to look to check if it was visible. 

Probation officer #5

So we had a slightly futile probation officer-client relationship. I’d try to talk to her, and she’d answer some of my questions as briefly as possible, looking at the floor on the far side of the room, in a tiny voice that involved almost no breath and no movement of her mouth. She had to repeat most things she said, because I never caught it the first time, but though that annoyed her she never spoke any louder.To keep things even, she didn’t listen to anything I said, either.

No, it's okay. I don't care what you were saying.

No, it’s okay. I don’t care what you were saying.

We went through the motions. I’d set her up with job interviews, and she’d turn up late to those interviews, sullen and uncooperative, and not get hired.

I’d give her brochures for job training, and she’d take them when I put them directly into her hand.

And she’d lose them.

I’d tell myself that this was her right, and that all she had to do, legally, was turn up once a week. I was – still am – fairly obsessive about keeping the coercive power of the state severely limited, so although I had some levers I could have used to make her take probation more seriously, I didn’t use them. You might think that a civil libertarian working as a probation officer is in the wrong job. Well, it was the right job, but it did make me almost permanently uncomfortable. 

Anyway, the shadow boxing between us had to end because I got a call from the local police station. At the time I didn’t realise just how deeply the local police despised me. But I was on the wrong side in all of my cases, and I didn’t like the cops enough to drink with them after the case, like the defence lawyers always did.

Even so, the desk sergeant sounded quite sympathetic, this one time. My client, Tiana Vainu’upo La’asaga, had been arrested. She was in one of their holding cells. If I wanted to come and get her, they’d release her into my custody. 

To be continued 

Probation officer #4

But a week later I was pulled into the Director’s office. He told me I was good at doing these reports, but they thought they’d broaden my skills by giving me long-term supervision cases of my own. So I picked up some files. I had a case-load of a dozen, which was very light. And one of them was Ana.

I'm trying to work, here...

I’m trying to work, here…

So two days later she was back with me in the interview room. She was wearing tiny white shorts and a torn tee shirt. She looked like she was going to climb a tree and steal apples. She looked like she wanted to be the hottest woman on the dance floor. She flickered from one to the other, within the same second. 

I coughed again. She must have heard men clearing their throats before they spoke to her.

I said, “Hey. Ana. Nice to see you again. Er, Jaime. I mean, I’m Jaime. It turns out I’m your probation officer.” 

She had brown eyes. I realised she’d wondered why I’d said “again”? She didn’t remember me, specifically or personally. I was just some pig. Part of the Ana-crushing machine. She said, “hello.” 

Probation officer #3

In spite of the power she had over me, I didn’t think she was using her beauty in a knowing way. I suspected that she didn’t really believe she was beautiful, or know the effect she could have on men. And she didnt see me as a man. Not that she liked men much, I thought. She liked boys.

I wasn’t much older than her, but I wouldn’t quite have been a boy even if she’d thought of me as human at all. I didn’t wear uniform, as a probation officer, but I might as well have. I was part of the horrible thing that had happened to her – cops, courts, geek with clipboard – simply because she was young, pretty and Samoan.

So I held on to my clipboard, coughed till my voice sounded solid again, and started asking her questions about her family, who she lived with, who she hung with, and what plans she had for jobs, education and so on. 

I didn’t put my reservations about the police charges into my report to the judge. It would have been pointless because she’d pled guilty, even though she shouldn’t have. She didn’t want to get involved in the fuss that would begin if she changed her plea at this stage. I’d tried to talk her into getting a new lawyer and going for a re-trial because she hadn’t been properly represented, but she didn’t want to do it.

And if she wasn’t going to change her plea, it would have just caused her trouble if I commented on the police conduct. The judge who was going to sentence her really hated lawyers, let alone junior probation officers, who accused the police of misconduct. He didn’t want to hear it, and he let it be known that it would backfire on their clients.

jail girlThis girl – her name was Tiana, though she called herself Ana – was very vulnerable to a bit of judicial shittiness. Technically, she could only stay out of jail if she showed contrition. So if I argued on her behalf that she should never have been arrested and that the charges should have been dropped, that wouldn’t be contrition.

I’d be putting her in jail.

So I wrote a report calculated to keep her out of there. I claimed that she’d fallen into bad company but that there were positive influences in her family. She was taing active steps to find employment. This is the sort of stuff judges love. I argued for community supervision rather than a fine. She was broke, and unemployed. She couldn’t pay a fine.

The judge accepted my recommendation. I’d got paid less and done her much more good than her defence lawyer. I expected she’d go on the client list of a wiley old Quaker called Ethan who had an office down the corridor from mine. Ethan did a good line in gentle-but-scary father-figuring, that kept most of his clients from getting themselves into further trouble. 

To be continued.

Probation officer #2

She, my new probation client, had been arrested and charged with “obscene language”, “obstruction”, and “resisting arrest”.

cop-frisk-girlThe thing about those offences are that they are created by arrogant, stupid and not quite legal policing. They mean that a cop came up and harassed her, because she was young, pretty, and Samoan. She was eventually provoked into telling him to fuck off, and when he grabbed her she shook him off. Her defence lawyer should have threatened the cops with an improper conduct complaint.

The complaint would have led to an internal investigation, and that would be enough to make the desk sergeant drop the charges. Worse, it would have uncovered some awkward truths about some of the local cops. The cops would have dropped the case at the first hint of a threat. But her lawyer had been court-appointed, underpaid, overworked and burned out.

So there my client was, a young, harmless, non-criminal, girl, with three new convictions on her record.

She was in my interview room. She wore skin-tight jeans, faded from blue to almost white, and there were rips and worn patches that showed me patches of golden brown skin at her knees, her left inner thigh, and a larger patch just under her left buttock where she crossed her legs. I was supposed to be a professional, and she’d reduced me to the kind of tongue-tied awareness of beauty that doomed most of my attempts to talk to girls when I was 15.

To be continued.

Probation officer

Years ago, when I was just 23, I worked  as a probation officer. My job was to interview people who’d committed crimes: that is, they’d pled guilty or been found guilty, but they hadn’t been sentenced yet.

I’d go and see them with their families, their employers if they had a job, and their teachers if they were at school.

Then I’d write a report on why they’d committed their crime, and what sort of influences in their life put them at risk of re-offending, and what influences might help them get out of further crime. I’d make a recommendation for the judge, about what the best sentence would be. Judges usually took this advice. 

I’d usually recommend that they not get sent to jail, because there was plenty of evidence that jailing people only made it more likely that they’d reoffend, and that the offences they committed after they’d been to jail were usually more serious than there ones that they’d committed before. So most often I argued for keeping them in the community, but with supervision. 

The supervisor would be a probation officer, and he or she had the power to tell the criminal where they could live, who they could associate with, and in some circumstances, with a Court order, we could make the person come in and do supervised work for the community, like cleaning graffiti off people’s walls, that kind of thing. 

Most of my clients were sad people. They’d had terrible lives, by the time they were 18 or so. Many were about as intelligent as a plate of cat food, and they often had untreated psychiatric illnesses. They could be helped, if someone got them help, but they’d never been diagnosed or treated. 

This city was a long way from Samoa.

This city was a long way from Samoa.

Then I had a new client. She was 18, just five years younger than me. She was a Samoan girl, and although she didn’t really know it – she didn’t know anything good about herself – she was shockingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful. 

I’ll leave off here. To be continued.