My friend James dares me to run down the hallway. It’s a game we play that we line up things a few feet apart and have to try to run straight down the hall, dodging anything in our path and jumping over them. It’s stupid, but it’s a rush. We do it whenever dad isn’t home so he won’t hear us being loud and laughing. I take off running and I leap over the first thing—a wooden stool. I hop over a stack of books, and a cardboard box, and as I near the end of the hall I make for a large jump over a vase—the last item. Instead, my foot knocks it as I move, and the motion kicks it across the hall. It hits the wall, and shatters with the force. I stand and stare at it, and know that I’m totally screwed.

James goes home, and I have to tell my older brother that I made a mess. Travis is in his room playing video games and is irritated that I interrupt him. He pauses his game and follows me out into the hall, seeing what I’ve done. “You know how pissed dad is gonna be, don’t you?” he sighs and he goes to get a broom to sweep the glass up with. I want to cry. I know that I’ll be punished, and the thought makes my eyes fill with tears. I sniff and wipe my face as Travis cleans up my mess.

Travis cleans the pieces of glass up carefully and throws them away. He looks at me, and he shakes his head, coming over. He hugs me for a second and pats my head. “It’s better to just tell him, Caleb. When he gets home, after he has a few minutes to change and relax, just go up to him and tell him. He’ll be less angry if you just be honest about it.”

I know he’s right. Still, the few hours until dad gets home from work feel like days and I spend the time in my room, crying on and off and feeling guilty for what I did. James and I used to play the game with dad home, but he’d holler for us to be quiet. Usually we used plastic items or things less breakable, and so if we knocked them down it just made a loud sound. We got braver, and that led to using the vase.

Dad gets home and I come downstairs. He’s wearing his usual suit and tie clothes for work, and as he enters the front door, he is already loosening his tie to relax in his house. I don’t want to tell him that I broke something expensive. I feel stupid and like a little kid, even though I don’t want to be seen that way. I admire dad so much; he’s strong and smart and always makes us laugh. He smiles when he sees me. “Hey, kiddo,” he says as he walks by, heading for his bedroom. I follow and linger by the door. It’s normal for us to hang around right when he comes home and talk to him.

He unbuttons his shirt and lays it on the bed. Underneath he wears a thin undershirt, and I can see the muscles of his arms easily, formed under dark hair. I know he’s going to spank me, and I know it’s going to hurt. I really don’t want to tell him. He asks me about school and my friends, and is generally interested. He asks where my brothers are; Travis and Sam are in their rooms, and Mikey is outside playing with our dog. He lays his pants next to his shirt and puts on a pair of shorts to wear around the house. It doesn’t take dad long to notice that something is wrong, and he asks me straight out.

“Nothing,” I say at first. Then I break and start crying as I come over and tell him through my blubbering that I broke something, that I was playing a game he told me to quit playing in the house, and that I didn’t listen. He sighs, both sympathetic to my crying, but firm in his beliefs that punishment needs to be given for this kind of behavior. He gives me a brief hug and then leaves to go and get a chair from the kitchen table, placing it in the center of his bedroom. He sits down and he pulls me to him. He asks me if I want to take my own pants down for it, but I don’t answer. He pulls my shorts and underwear down to the floor and pulls my t-shirt over my head. Then he takes my body and leans me down over his lap so my bottom is centered over his knees.

“Count them, please,” he says. There’s a moment when nothing happens, and it’s the worst. I sniff, nearly worn out from crying, and then his hand comes down. Slap. It’s sharp and it stings, and makes me cry out softly. I hate spankings so much. I barely ever get through a few licks before I am crying again. Mikey says that I cry too much—I am glad at least that my brothers aren’t around to watch.

“One,” I say.

Dad’s hand is very forceful, very firm it its movement. He prefers to give the punishment as quickly and efficiently as possible, not drawing out the feelings of guilt and the crying. Even as I make sounds of pain, stifled only by my blubbering, I know that dad loves me. He doesn’t want to draw out the pain and make me hurt. He doesn’t do it because he wants to hurt me, but to teach me to be well behaved and respectful. His hand comes down several more times. I could them—two, three, four, five. It gets harder to count them out loud as my bottom grows sore from the harsh attention, and for a while I barely say the numbers. Dad pauses when we get to fifteen.

“You understand that the vase was expensive, and a gift from family, right?” he asks me, and I nod my head shakily, enough that he can see from his position. “I don’t mind if you have your friends over, Caleb, but if you want to rough house and play those kinds of games, you need to do it outside, and you need to be careful. You know that. You’re a smart boy.” I nod again, and he continues, and I count.

“Twenty,” I say, more of a whine then anything else. Dad doesn’t mind if we cry when we’re punished—he even accepts us being angry or resentful toward him. However, we have to sit still for the spanking, otherwise he will get frustrated and it only makes things worse. I try my best to stay still over his lap, despite the urge to stand and hop around, clutching and rubbing my red bottom to try and sooth the pain.

“Twenty-five,” I cry out and find it harder to stay still. It’s almost over and I don’t want to lose myself at the very end and get a longer punishment. Travis comes to dad’s room and stands in the doorway. He tells dad, “Dinner is almost ready.” I look at Travis, face red and wet and twisted in pain and embarrassment. He gives me a sympathetic smile and a face that tells me to just hold on and be strong. He leaves the room, and the last five licks come a little easier.

“Thirty,” I say. Dad carefully stands me up and he stands with me. He hugs me to his chest and pets my hair and I cry for a few minutes and then pull away, sucking in breath and trying to stop crying.

“I love you, Caleb,” he says. He stays until I say it back and then he carries the chair back to the kitchen. I don’t follow right away, but when I do, I feel better. Sometimes it feels good to cry a lot and get all of your feelings out, and relieve yourself of guilt.
Cayboy Cayboy
18-21, M
Aug 27, 2014