Setting the Scene: The Jacksons are a dysfunctional blended family on the mend through the hard work of its ex-convict father, Drew, a once drug-addicted, now gone-straight mother, Michelle, and four sometimes-naughty, sometimes-nice children: Alexis, Joey, Lizzie, and Maddie. I borrow them for this series from the novelist Jujubees, with her permission. Her novel Alexis is available through the electronic publishing company, Lulu.com. Her second set of stories, The Jacksons, is available on her blog.That second set of stories takes place in rural Montana after Drew's harrowing escape from his troubled past. My story, The Lost Weekend, occurs over one weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas (between chapters 17 & 18 of Jujubees' story). It involves Alex, who is Drew's natural daughter, and Joey, whom this troubled family rescued from a hardscrabble existence in the big city housing projects. At first, Alex and Joey developed adolescent passion for each other, but that romantic relationship began to wane as they became more and more like brother and sister. This story unfolds on the weekend before the whole gang is due in court to finalize a legal adoption that would afford statutory recognition to the tight familial bond that has already developed. I hope you enjoy this segment and those that will follow.
Alex and Joey: The Lost Weekend
Part 1--Friday afternoon“Joey, get in here, now!” Drew admonished from his office, with an unmistakable tone of agitation.
“Yes, Sir! I’m coming,” came the resigned voice from upstairs, purposely loud enough so Drew wouldn’t mistake his unquestioning obedience.
Damn, Joey mussed. He was hoping for a reprieve until after dinner. News in this one-horse town must travel like a jungle telegraph. Or maybe one of the girls told.
Things had been going so well in the week he got his driver’s license: No more school bus, an unmistakable sense of freedom, and the admiration of his classmates at the slick black extended-cab pickup truck he drove to school with Alex riding shotgun and Lizzie and Maddie acting like chauffeured debutantes in the back.
This afternoon after school, those flashing blue lights sent a sudden rush of cold blood to his heart. The five-foot-nine, 16-year-old felt two inches tall as looked in the side mirror and watched that Montana State Trooper, in his Smokey the Bear hat, walk slowly toward his pulled-over vehicle.
“You’ve been stopped for speeding! License and registration, please.”
Joey’s bare feet reluctantly brought him closer to Drew’s lair, step by step down the threadbare carpet that lined the stairwell. As if it weren’t distressful enough, knowing he had a painful comeuppance in store, he glanced at Alex’s playful mimicry as he reached the bottom step. Out of sight of her father, she wagged her index finger in his direction and silently mouthed: “Joey’s gettin’ a whippin’ -- Joey’s gettin’ a whippin’,” followed by a mocking smile.
Joey adored his former lover and sister-to-be, but sometimes he just wanted to smack her sassy little butt. Whenever she got a spanking, which was rare these days, he stood by with watery eyes and a conscience full of empathy. When he got into trouble, which was just as infrequent, she mocked him unmercifully—just as she had done after the trooper handed him his ticket and left.
“Did you have a little run-in with the mounties this afternoon?” Drew asked accusingly, daring his soon-to-be son to lie or evade truth even the slightest bit.
Joey knew better as he and Drew locked eyeballs. Drew’s stern countenance seemed to project a laser beam right at Joey, through his wide eyes, penetrating his brain and burning an imaginary hole in the back of his head. He wouldn’t dare lie to his father; he wouldn’t want to anyway.
“I really screwed up, Dad,” Joey said as he looked down at his toes, unable to maintain eye contact. “I’m sorry.”
“Let’s see it,” Drew demanded. Reluctantly, the boy’s hand slid into his back pocket, produced the oblong, pink traffic citation, and hesitatingly handed it over to Drew.
“Sixty-one in a forty-five,” Drew said matter-of-factly. “How’d that happen?”
“We had the radio on and the girls were singing in the back,” Joey mouthed softly, still unable to life his eyes. “I was singing with them. I just lost track of my speed.”
Drew let out a deep breath. He’d done a lot worse in a vehicle as a henchman for the Mafia. Joey never deliberately gave him any trouble. Drew had whipped him only twice, both times for accidentally missing the school bus when he enthusiastically stayed too late after class to talk to his favorite teacher. Joey was as good a son as a man could expect, but Drew’s strict parenting style—a reaction to his own hardscrabble upbringing—allowed no leeway.
“I know you’re an inexperienced driver, but we talked about this last weekend when you got your license,” Drew said calmly. You’re not only responsible for yourself now, but you have your sisters’ lives in your hands. You made a mistake, but I can’t let you off.”
“I know, Dad, I’m sorry. I don’t want to get away with anything,” Joey admitted has he right hand subconsciously moved to unfasten the snap of his jeans in preparation for what he knew was coming next.
“Sixteen swats with the belt, one for each mile a hour above the speed limit,” Drew pronounced sentence. “The back of the ticket says your fine will be $350, so that will be 35 paddle licks, one for each ten dollars, and you’ll get that the afternoon we get home from traffic court. As a minor, you’ll have to face the judge.
“You get a couple weeks reprieve on that one,” Drew continued as he slipped his belt out of the trouser loops.
Joey let his loose-fitting jeans drop to the carpet and stepped out of them. Then he pulled down his briefs, kicked them gently off with his bare toes, and bent over, grabbing the back of his knees with his hands. He was sorry for what he did and was ready for his punishment. In a way, he was glad it was happening now, so he wouldn’t have to think about it the rest of the afternoon. He had planned to tell Drew after dinner.
Out of the corner of his eye, off to the side, he caught a glimpse of Alex positioning for a look, trying to keep out of Drew’s range of vision.
“Alex, you want to help Joey take his punishment?” Drew asked sternly, not even turning his head in her direction. Without a verbal reply, there followed the sounds of her bare feet quickly padding up the stairs, and then her door closing.
The tears welled in Joey’s eyes as the well-worn cowhide raised angry red welts on the pasty white bare flesh of his upturned bottom. Smack followed painful smack, as Drew put the full force of his swing—strengthened by years in the crude prison weight room—into his effort to teach Joey a lesson. Drew never gave easy spankings, but he really bore down this time.
It wasn’t out of meanness, but in reaction to an unspoken fear deep down in Drew’s consciousness. He had come to love Joey as possibly the only son he’d ever have. Michelle’s ultrasound had revealed the presence of two heartbeats, indicating twins, but it was too early to determine their gender. Drew had seen a lot of carnage on the street, and he never wanted to look down into a wooden box and see the lifeless body of his soon-to-be-adopted son. He’d seen too many of those.
Drew considered the flesh he was abusing with his hefty belt to be, in reality, his own flesh, and the painful, merciless licks he imposed were an investment in Joey’s future. On the receiving end, Joey’s mind processed the punishment as his bottom flamed with pain. It wasn’t the searing sensation of the belt that bothered Joey so badly, but instead the fact that he had disappointed his father so soon after being trusted with the car. It was really Joey’s heart, not his ass, that hurt the most.
Joey felt so stupid, getting a ticket this quickly. But deep down inside, he was glad he was being punished. It eased his conscience.
Drew held Joey’s head pressed into his shoulder as his son stood naked from the waist down, sobbing and quivering in the aftermath of a pretty brutal whipping. This time Joey abandoned all pretense of bravery and cried uncontrollably, his chest heaving, tears flowing copiously, and nasal mucus wetting Drew’s shirt. Father and son just stood there, locked in an embrace that was unusual for a hardened felon like Drew.
Drew’s heart hurt also, but the two men weren’t the only ones who felt regret.
Upstairs, through a cracked door, Alex heard Joey’s sobs. A single tear ran down her face. She was sorry she’d mocked him in his time of distress and vowed to make amends tonight.
* * *
After a delicious dinner of roast pork, potatoes and fresh vegetables, Joey was glad to stand and help Michelle with the dishes.
“Drew really roasted your bottom this afternoon, didn’t he?” Michelle commented sympathetically, as she gave his sore bottom a gentle pat, and then an understanding motherly rub.
“Yeah, don’t tell him this, but I’m glad he did,” Joey admitted. “I felt so damned stupid, getting a speeding ticket in my first week with a driver’s license.”
“So you’re getting 35 with the paddle after you go see the judge in a couple weeks?” she added sympathetically. Michelle was glad Drew never spanked her so hard.
“Yep, I’ve got that coming, also,” Joey said with gallows resignation in his voice. “Three hundred and fifty dollars is a lot of money, and I don’t have it.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Michelle assured him. When Drew came back from the dead, apparently he’d brought a lot of money with him. Michelle never questioned the family finances, as something told her the money was as tainted as the rest of Drew’s history. But was glad for the security.
“Looks like that tops the 30 with the paddle I gave you,” she quipped with a smirk as she gave his tender bottom another loving pinch.
It was the first time Joey smiled after getting the ticket his afternoon, as his mind wandered back to that afternoon that he embarrassed his family, newly arrived in Montana, by stealing the classic, collector's comic book. Yep, Michelle was really stressed out after that one, having to confront the store owner and beg him not to call the cops. The $300 she had to shell out didn’t do much to ease her mind, either.
Joey had insisted that he get paddle swats for that one, so badly did his conscience hurt him. He even went to fetch the maple paddle, the one that hurt the most. Of course, Alex was very supportive of his getting a spanking, the little brat that she was!
Michelle had to remind him to take his pants down that day, which he did in front of the family. Yes, Michelle’s paddle swats hurt, but having to take them in front of three females had been very embarrassing.
It was a family tradition that all spankings were taken on the bare bottom, and nudity was never much of an issue in the Jackson household. He and his sisters-to-be had seen each other naked in passing, in the shower and bathroom, which they treated with a degree of nonchalance; after all, they were family.
But bending over in front of Alex and Lizzie while Michelle applied the punishment to his naked ass was another thing altogether. Maddie hadn’t yet joined the family at that point.
He smiled as the recollection of his embarrassment and then made up his mind: As humiliating as it would be, he’d ask to take his 35 paddle swats, not in the privacy of Drew’s office, but in front of the family. The three girls would be driving eventually and he wanted them to witness his painful lesson. His face would become as read as his scalded ass, but Joey reasoned that humiliation was part of his punishment. And it might remind the girls that driving was serious business.
“Well, don’t let it get you down, kiddo,” Michelle comforted him. We’ve got a big day Monday.
To be continued . . .