Deemed Necessary

by Tom Walker <>

"In this case..." Mr. Bernstein folded his hands on the table in front of him; his eyes remained straight ahead, not looking at me, "....corporal punishment is deemed....necessary."

Upon hearing the word, I felt my throat close up. It was as though someone had punched me hard in the stomach, knocking the wind out of me. Spontaneously, my hands went out, palms opened, in a gesture that had I been more aware of myself, I would have understood as pleading.

Deemed necessary. No two words could have seemed more awful to me at that moment. The finality of them, the very conclusiveness of them, filled me with a feeling of dread helplessness.

This was the new way at Forest Lawn High School – a public school, not some preppy private academy, where such a system would have seemed more likely. The decision had been passed down from the legislature to the district, from the district to the school board, where it landed at last on the desk of the principal, who signed it into action. In the beginning of the school year, each student was given a form, along with the usual health cards and attendance papers, to bring home to their parents. The parents in turn had the right to choose whether to sign the form or not.

"I understand that in signing this form, I hereby give permission to the governing body of Forest Lawn High School, in accordance with Legislation V-51 of the County Code, to administer corporal discipline to my son/daughter, as they see fit."

I, of course, never bothered to read it, but stuck the pile of papers under my father's nose before breakfast on the second morning of school. Sign these, I said, and he did. The form was filed before I ever had a clue what either of us had signed our consent to. And now....I was too ashamed – and too scared – to let him know what his signing – and my actions – had come to.

"Please....Mr. Bernstein, isn't there something else we could do?" I sat shaking before the disciplinary board. It was made up of Martin Bernstein – the Dean of Boys, two others teachers whom I did not know, Ted Becker – President of the Student Body and a kiss-up par excellence, and Mister Lichtman, my Spanish II teacher, whom I had recently come to skirmish with during class, telling him in a voice too confident for the shaking creature that stood here now – to Suck my Freakin' Pud.

"I'm afraid not, Donald," Bernstein looked me in the eye now, although through me would be a more apt way to put it. "Maybe next time, before you shoot your mouth off in class, you'll think about this and stop yourself." I looked into the silver rims of his glasses, and hated him.

Papers were shuffled around the hearing table, signatures going on the official complaint form, one by one signing away my butt. I longed to lurch across the table and stop each hand as it scrawled across the appropriate lines. I watched Mister Bernstein most carefully – he was the boss here, and I remembered early in Freshman year, how I'd been lost in the hallway once, and he'd stopped to help me. His smile had been so kind then; I remembered thinking he was the handsomest man I had ever seen.

Bernstein mumbled something into Lichtman's ear. I choked again at what felt like a betrayal. Lichtman had embarrassed me in front of the whole class, he'd hated me from the first time I walked into his room. Even now, I had no regrets for telling the man off in his own classroom. To see Bernstein whispering into his ear now, confiding in him a trust that would not be shown to me, infuriated me. At last, Lichtman nodded, whispered something back, and Mister Bernstein turned to me.

"Okay, here's what happens now," he lay his hands flat out on the table. I glanced down at the clean, manicured nails, and felt the lump rising in my throat. "I'm sentencing you to sixty swats to the bare backside, to be administered by hand in six groups of ten, with brief pauses in between each. You are to arrive at my office at 7:30 tomorrow morning. When you get here, give your name to my secretary, and she'll let you in. Do you understand, Mister Carter?"

I nodded solemnly.

"Please answer for the record," he said. I looked over to where one of the unfamiliar teachers was recording everything we said in shorthand. I'd have liked at that moment to say, "Screw You," but again that terrified voice, unfamiliar to me, simply croaked out, "Yes, Sir."

"Now, I won't be administering your punishment," Bernstein continued. "One of our counselors will be with me, probably Mister Putnam – do you know him?"


"He's a very good man, very fair and patient," Bernstein looked at me with those same gentle eyes I remembered seeing in Freshman year, and I suddenly wanted to cry. "He'll spend a few minutes with you before your punishment begins, then he'll administer the spanking, and he'll stay with you afterwards to help you pull together before heading back to class."

Our eyes remained locked for a long moment – up until then, no one had actually said the word – Spanking – and to hear it now, I was filled with horror. At last, Bernstein folded his hands again and looked around at the rest of the assembled group. "I think our work is done here for today," he said, and a few of the bodies stood up to leave.

"Donald," he leaned forward, as if wanting to say something clearly off the record. "You understand: if you don't show up for any reason, we're going to have to file an official report to bring you before a judge. This is the law, you understand. There's no way around it."

I nodded, holding back tears.

"Don't make this worse than it has to be," he patted me on the hand, then gathered the papers in front of him, and turned to leave. "I'll see you tomorrow," he said with a wink at his door.

I did not sleep that night. Hour after hour, I stared at the clock, trying to focus through the darkness at its glowing arms. A spanking. What was it going to feel like? I could not remember ever being spanked, by my parents or anyone else. At one point in the night, I tugged down at the back of my underwear, baring my bottom. With an open palm, I brought my hand down onto my butt. The stinging was bad, but not unmanageable. I did it a few times repeatedly, and by the four or fifth time, it began to hurt so badly, I could not make myself continue. How was I going to be able to bear sixty? Sixty swats. More than anything, I feared being watched by Mister Bernstein and this Putnam guy. When I'd arrived home after the hearing, the first thing I did was to grab my yearbook from the previous year, and look up the picture of Mister James Putnam, Guidance Counselor. I'd hoped he would be some small, bespectacled mouse of a man, someone with little strength and (somehow more importantly to me) someone to whom I would not look up, not feel ashamed to lose my cool and cry in front of. To my continued dismay, Mister James Putnam, Guidance Counselor, appeared to be anything but that. His picture showed a large, handsome, bearded face, smiling beneath a thick shock of graying hair. His eyes poured forth a strength that was undeniable. How I wished I could have met him under any circumstance other than this one; I bet he wouldn't have been an a-hole like Lichtman.

I tossed and turned, thoughts of this man and Mister Bernstein playing over and over in my mind. At last I fell out, exhausted. But at 6:45 sharp, I sat bolt upright in bed, staring into the harsh light from my bedroom window, wide awake and wider aware. It occurred to me, I had not remembered to set my alarm clock. I shook my head in amazement that I had awakened at the right time anyway.

"I have an appointment with Mister Bernstein," I told the thin, gray-haired secretary at the desk outside his office. She looked at me over her half-glasses, and I wondered if she knew what I was here for.

"Your name?" she said in a curt voice.

"Donald Carter."

She slowly opened the door behind her, and poked her head in. I listened to the mumbling voices. "A Donald Carter here to see you." "Yes, send him in."

She turned back to me with a blank look, and without a word, held the door open, so I would understand I was to enter.

Hearing the door close behind me with a click, I felt the sudden urge to run, but was frozen. Mister Bernstein sat behind his mahogany desk, the curtains closed at the window behind him. This room was markedly different from the bland folding-table-and-chair meeting room where we'd sat together yesterday. There was a warm glow to the place, soft chairs and dark wood furniture surrounded by bookshelves and dark burgundy curtains. Mister Putnam – I recognized him from the picture – was seated in a large easy chair before a coffee table. Before I could say anything, I looked past both of them to the far side of the room, where I saw a straight-backed wooden chair sitting solely in the center of the open floor, and behind that – a padded horse, the kind I knew from gym class. It wasn't for gymnastics here, though – I knew what it was for.

"Good morning, Don," Mister Bernstein nodded, "take a seat over there." He indicated the soft chair placed just beside the one where Mister Putnam sat.

Putnam put out his hand, "Hi," I shook it weakly, not wanting to make eye contact with him. As I sat, he put a hand on my shoulder and patted it once or twice.

"Gentlemen," Mister Bernstein stood, taking the jacket off the back of his chair, "I'm going to leave you two alone for a few minutes." He wrapped the jacket around his shoulders. He must have seen the question in my eyes, because he answered it without my asking: "My job here is to act as official for the state. I'll be keeping count and making an official record. I'll be right over there – " he pointed at his desk, "—during the punishment." He looked at Putnam. "When you're ready, just give a knock on the door," he opened it and stepped into the outer room, where his secretary sat. "I'll be right here."

The first thing Putnam did was to let me get a long, hard look at him. I kept waiting for him to say something, but he did not; rather, he just stared and stared, smiling at me for a half-moment, then letting his face fall serious, all the while examining my eyes, as I alternated between trying to check him out closely and trying to look away.

"Well...." I finally said.

"Good!" he suddenly sprang to life, "You're ready to talk."

I rolled my eyes, "I suppose you're going to ask me how I feel."

He considered the statement for a moment, then: "It's a good place to start." I folded my arms across my chest. "You look scared," he said.

"I am."

"What are you scared of?"

It seemed like the stupidest question in the world he could have asked.

"Are you scared of me?" he asked.

I froze. I was – but I wasn't sure why, and somehow didn't want to admit it.

"You don't have to be afraid of me," he said. "I'm here to help you through this. I understand how scared you must feel." He wrapped a hand firmly around my forearm. It was so large, the back of his hand wrapped around the entire width, I couldn't even see his fingers. I looked over at his other hand – it was like a large, fleshy paddle. I tried to imagine what it was going to feel like laid across my bare backside.

"Tell me about the last time you were spanked," he said, releasing his grip.

"I don't remember it. I don't even know if I ever was spanked at all."

"Well, no wonder you're afraid. It's quite an experience," he said, _c_o_c_k_ing his head with a small grin that made me furious. "Come now," he said at last, sitting back and seeming to relax. "It's not the worst thing you'll ever endure. If you release some of the fear you're feeling right now, it'll be a lot less unpleasant."

"I guess you've done this a lot," I said, examining his neatly kept beard, his handsome, well-fitted gray suit. At his neck, he wore a carefully tied red and gray striped bow.

"Unfortunately," he said, "I've had to undertake this duty a number of times both here at Forest Lawn and at my former school. It was worse there, actually; the school was run by Jesuit brothers, they had me administering corporal punishment on a regular basis." I swallowed hard. "So, you see, you're not the only one." My eyes glanced over at the horse.

"Let me ask you a couple of questions," he said, emphasizing the pronouns.

"Okay....shoot," I said, starting to accept that there was going to be no way out of this.

"Talk to me about your _s_e_x_uality."

I felt my cheeks go hot. "Why?" I said.

He raised his eyebrows innocently. "I just asked a question."

"Why do you want to know?"

"Well, for starters: are you straight or gay?"

I didn't answer. The truth was, I didn't really know myself. I liked girls well enough, had no problem getting hard in their presence, but I'd had just as many fantasies about boys. This was something I really didn't want to talk about.

"I'm asking," he said, "because sometimes when a teenage boy receives a spanking, he gets a spontaneous erection. Sometimes it causes him more pain than even the spanking. We don't want to set off any nasty conflicts here this morning," he smiled again, and I found myself liking him, in spite of my fears.

"Can I ask you another question?" he said gently. "What happened with Mister Lichtman?"

I scowled, but checked my tongue. "He's a jerk, he hates my guts."

"You think so?"

"Yes!" I was yelling now. "Ever since the very beginning of school, no matter what I did, he always gave me a hard time. I did all my homework, I studied for his tests.....I don't know why he always picked on me."

"How did he pick on you?"

This question stopped me in my tracks. I finally hollered, "He embarrassed me!"


"Look: I don't want to talk about Lichtman any more. It doesn't matter what I say anyway. He turned me in – he got his way – and now here I am!" the words choked in my throat. "We might as well get this the hell over with!"

Mister Putnam nodded – very, very slowly. Then he stood and went for the door.

Bernstein opened a ledger behind his desk. Putnam removed his jacket, revealing a neat, trim vest over his white shirt. He rolled up his sleeves as he approached the chair where I sat. He lay his large palm out flat to me, and I understood I was to take his hand. I let him lift me out of the chair – my legs felt too weak to do it by themselves. With an arm around my shoulder, he walked me over to the horse.

When I arrived there, I noticed that the large padded roll had been set to be exactly at my waist. Putnam placed his hand on the middle of my back, and in a moment I was bowed over it, my eyes only inches above the hardwood floor. As I felt him reach around the front of my jeans and undo my belt, I became aware of the noises from outside the room, the sound of footsteps and yelling teenage voices. He loosened my zipper, and briskly parted the shirt from my pants, lowering the jeans to my knees. My bare behind felt cold and exposed.

I was sure he would begin immediately, but instead I heard him walk several paces away. I heard the click of a lock, and what sounded like a cabinet opening. I stared at the floor, trying to slow down the racing of my heart. In a moment, he returned, and I was shocked to see him wrapping a thin band of canvas around my wrists. The band joined at the center in a pair of o-rings, through which he placed a small padlock. I watched his fingers as they worked, clicking it shut. I must have grunted, or made some noise, because he said, "Sorry, Don – this is procedural." Across the canvas, printed in blue ink were the words: PROPERTY OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY. That was me, I thought. The image rose to my mind of an animal being tied up before slaughter.

After what felt like an eternity, Mister Putnam situated himself behind me, and I heard Mister Bernstein's voice from across the room:

"Begin set one."

I drew in to take a breath, but it was sent out of me with the first strike of Mister Putnam's hand. By the second crack, the pain was already blinding. My joined hands rose up to my face, and I pressed my fists above my eyes.


"Ow," I cried softly, hoping still that no one could hear me. With each of the first ten blows, the stinging in my butt became more pronounced, more intense. He took these quickly, though, and I felt a sense of relief when I heard him say: "Set one complete."

I was panting, I realized, and was hardly aware when after a brief period, I heard Mister Bernstein again: "Begin set two."

The swats came slower this time, and after each, Mister Putnam rubbed his hand into the spot he had targeted. I began to wriggle, and he fixed me with a hand to my lower back.



I was aware of myself crying out in rhythm, no longer able to hide the sound. A small, tugging pain – different from the one on my behind – began to make itself known in my chest. I banged my knuckles on the bridge of my nose, and squeezed my eyes shut.

"Please!" I finally cried out, by the nineteenth swat.

CRACK! "Oh!"

"Set two complete," I heard Mister Putnam, his voice like an automaton.

I felt no relief in the waiting period this time, only a dread fear of what lay ahead. My bottom was burning and sore. I had learned my lesson, I thought: surely they must see that, they'll let me go now, they won't make me go through any more.

"Begin set three."

At the sound of Mister Bernstein's voice, I cried out openly, "NO!"

CRACK "Pleeeeeeease!! I'm sorry! PLEASE!"


The ache in my chest began to let itself go then. I began to sob loudly, tears poured into my eyes, filling them so that I could not longer make out the lines in the parquet floor below.

"Please, I'm BEGGING you," I cried, and felt all the more foolish when the literal statement of the word failed to bring any pause in Mister Putnam's hand.


A deep groan, like the grunt of an animal, rumbled from the bottom of my throat. In a distant corner of my mind, I was aware of how ashamed I should feel at this; I was hardly the model of a seventeen-year-old boy I believed I should be.


The greater part of my mind, though, was consumed in something beyond my recognition. I only felt the blistering pain of each fall of the hand, and the helplessness of my tethered wrists.

"Set three complete."

During this pause, I became vaguely aware of Mister Putnam's fingers running themselves over the top of my backside. At first, it was only a strange almost-tickle, but the feeling increased, and I could tell the touch was not gentle at all. He seemed to be pressing the pads of his fingers into my skin, and occasionally scraping me with his nails. As I wiped the tears from my eyes, I realized he was working to bring the feeling back to my numb backside before continuing.

"Begin set four."


The stinging of each blow was accompanied now by a strange, dull thudding sensation. Mister Putnam began to rotate his hand to different parts of my bottom; each seemed to have its own, cunning sharpness. To each, I gave its own cry; a whimper for the right side, a howl as he struck the bottom. "Please!" I moaned intermittently through my tears, praying that each stroke would be the last, and horrified as the next one arrived to fill its place.

After the fourth set was finished, I heard Mister Putnam's voice speaking to Mister Bernstein across the room. "I'm going to take him over my knee for the last sets." Shaking, I felt Mister Putnam's hands on my shoulders. I was aware of being raised from the horse, and of his hands guiding me in a zombie-like shuffle over to where the hardbacked chair was set, a few paces away.

I heard my voice saying, "Please, Mister Putnam, I swear I'll never talk back to a teacher again." I was glad I couldn't see through my tears. "Please, no more. I'll be good, I swear!"

"Okay, Don," he patted my back gently as he sat and stretched me across his lap. I cried into my hands, resting my head onto the floor.

"Begin set five."

From this new angle, the blows came as a stunning shock, as though they were the first – although my worn bottom was unable to withstand even as much as it had upon the horse. CRACK-CRACK-CRACK The slaps came quickly, each one a whirlwind of pain more intense than the one before. Mister Putnam, it seemed, was determined to drive this last measure of punishment into me so that I would not forget its effects. I sobbed and wailed, wriggling like a fish caught on a line (this my counselor corrected with a single finger at the back of my neck, holding my nerves, so it seemed, in a state of paralysis). With my bare genitals rubbing at the crack in between his legs, I finally achieved that erection he had spoken of. Rather than bringing me shame, however, it provided me with some form of relief, something for my energy to grasp at beside the pain. For a moment, I flashed back to the earlier moments, the ones when he had been speaking to me gently, holding my arm. Something broke inside me again, and the pain of each blow was transformed for a split second into a strong but not unkind caress.

Throughout all this, however, Mister Putnam remained silent. I sensed his studied passivity as he doled out the blows and my cries grew more intense – and it infuriated me that he acknowledged not even the tenderness I felt for him within these last sharp cracks.

SLAP His fingers remained in the spot, he pressed them into my flesh.

SLAP The same spot. A rush of pins and needles bristled at the top of my head.

SLAP And again. "PLEASE!" I cried, releasing in the moment the understanding that we had gone beyond the ten strokes of the prescribed set, and that perhaps we were even at the last of the final group.

SLAP "Nooooo," I wailed, sensing that until the day I died, I would forever hurt in that same small spot.


After a moment, I felt his hand draping gently there, like a feather on the hot wound. And I knew we had passed the final blow. In spite of the burning pain, which somehow seemed to fill every corner of my body, I relaxed and tumbled from within, into a long and liquid heap onto his lap.

It must have been an afterthought – whether Mister Bernstein's or Mister Putnam's I do not know, but after a suitable pause and when I was sure the worst was over, I received two notices that if ever need be again, there could be still be something worse in store for me.



It all happened very quickly after that – too quickly, I'd say, for the minutes that followed could have lasted hours, and I would not have cared.

I heard Mister Bernstein close his ledger and hurry across the room to the door which led out to the waiting area. Without so much as a signal I could discern, he was gone, and Mister Putnam was hoisting me to my feet. I stood there dumbly a moment, rubbing a shoulder against my cheek to dry some of the tears. Mister Putnam took a key from his vest pocket and removed the lock and brace from my wrists; my freed hands spread themselves over my eyes.

"Come on, now," he tapped a hand on the outside of my leg, "take care of yourself." I don't know how long I stood there staring, but I heard Mister Putnam's voice again, saw the urgency in his eyes. "Come on, now – you know what to do. Atta boy," he said as I pulled up my pants, then did up the zipper and belt buckle. "Let's go."

He led me back over to the sitting area, to a long, green velvet couch by an open window where the curtains were blowing and a soft breeze oozed its way forward. He tried to sit me down there, but seeing my hesitance, said, "No, I guess you won't be wanting to sit on that for awhile." He lay me down and sat on one end of the couch, placing my head into his lap. "I'm afraid you're not going to be able to forget this too soon. The rest of the day's going to be a hard one." I remembered, after this I was supposed to attend my regular day of classes – I blocked out the thought of sitting in the hard plastic chairs.

"I'll be alright," I mumbled.

"I'm sure you will," Mister Putnam answered, beginning to stroke my hair. I was quiet – and so was he – and I closed my eyes for a moment, letting the cool breeze and the softness of his touch soothe me. My erection had gone down, and I could feel my heartbeat slowing back to its normal speed.

"So, what do you think?" he said at last, and when I didn't answer immediately, he didn't press again, but let me lie very still until I was ready to speak.

I began, though, before I opened my eyes. I let the words spill out of me without even thinking of what they meant. I told him about having looked up his picture in the yearbook the day before, how I thought he looked cool, and how I wished I had known him without having to be spanked. I told him about Freshman year, about how I had first met Mister Bernstein, and that deep inside, I wanted nothing more in the world than to be just like him. I thought I might even want to be a high school teacher myself someday. This garnered the nicest reaction from Mister Putnam, as he placed his hand on my chest, right over my heart, and pounded it a few times evenly.

I opened my eyes. And then I said something that surprised even me. About Mister Lichtman.... he had never hated me, I said. It's just that I'd wanted him to like me so bad. I'd never had a teacher who expected so much from me.

"Sounds like a compliment," Mister Putnam said.

I hadn't thought of it in that way, I told him. I expected him to praise me. Every other teacher had. I'd seen him talking with other students after class, praising them for their efforts, and giving them pointers and feedback. I wanted him to do that with me, but he never did.

"Why not?" Mister Putnam turned my shoulders so I could look him in the eye.

"I don't know," I looked away— "I guess..." – then looked back at him, "I didn't really knock myself out in his class. And then when he didn't give me the big thumbs-up.... I did even less. Which," I smiled, enjoying the moment of seeing Mister Putnam smile back at me, "when you think about, would only make him less likely to praise me. And so I'd do even less. And so on."

"And so forth," Mister Putnam said emphatically, with a slow nod.

I turned over again, and put a hand on his knee. I squeezed it, wanting somehow to comfort him as he was doing for me.

"It's not, easy, Don," he said, "growing up. We don't always see what we're doing before we start doing it." He let this sink in a moment. "Would that we always made our choices based on what we actually feel. No one would ever have to go through what you've had to go through here today. But that doesn't seem to be the case."

"No it doesn't," I said.

"We have to learn things at our own pace. And in our own way."

I slowly began to sit up. My bottom hurt like hell, but that didn't seem to matter as much now.

"Nobody ever wants to get a spanking," he said. "Some people struggle for years to avoid receiving one. But I guess there are some times when it's just..." he placed a hand under my chin and chuckled me once there, "....necessary."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you enjoyed the story, I'd love to hear from you. Send me an email—let me know what (if anything) worked best for you, and I'll try to remember your comments when I write my next story! Thanks for reading.—T. W.

More stories by Tom Walker