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The Twenty Dollar Bill
(***, M/mmfff, Severe, Teen punishment)
A number of teenage children face regular fatherly discipline until a missing twenty dollar bill is found. (Approximately 3,469 words. Originally published 1995-12.)
It was the beginning of summer, the fresh spring air becoming warm and luxurious, just begging for a long slow swim in a cool pond. But we had to work, of course. A farm is pretty busy during the summer. I had my children helping, such as they would. There's four of them: Scott and Susan, the twins, who just turned seventeen last month, Elly, who's fifteen, and Steve, who's fourteen. My niece Stephanie had come from Chicago to stay with us that summer, and as she was the same age as Elly, the cousins got along famously.
Now, teenagers on a farm are almost as much of hindrance to work as they are a help. On the one hand they physically are capable of almost as much work as an adult, but their inexperience and natural mischievousness lead them to frequent bouts of inactivity. I tried to be generous and give them as much free time as I could, but they never ceased to grumble at having to do any sort of work at all.
Financially things were really tight for us at that time. We were really saving money for the twins, hoping they could go to college in a year, so we didn't have a great deal of money to spare on frivolities. When the fair came to town the kids begged and begged me to let them go, and I was reluctant, because we really didn't have the money. But they had been working very hard for the past couple of weeks, so I finally relented.
So early Friday morning I sat in the living room and counted my money. I had very little cash. I remembered I had given most of my money to my wife for the groceries a few days earlier, so I went and asked her if there was any left.
"I'm gonna take the kids to the fair," I told her. "They've been working pretty hard. They deserve a holiday."
"I think there's a twenty or two in my purse," Sally said. "It's on the bed." She was using our bathroom so I found her purse but there was only one twenty in it. I took it. As I had left my wallet in the other room and she was occupying our bathroom, I headed back to living room, stopping by the main bathroom and using the toilet on the way. I set the twenty on the counter for a minute while I relieved myself.
A few minutes later all the kids were up and I gathered them together and told them to get ready, that they were taking a holiday. I told them I'd give each of them $5 to spend at the fair. Everyone was excited and the house became quite chaotic for the next half-hour as everyone rushed to finished their chores and change clothes for a trip to town.
I guess in the confusion I just forgot about that twenty, because when I dropped the kids off in town the twenty was not in my wallet. There were cries of disappointment as we raced back home for the twenty, everyone cursing my stupidity. At home, however, I discovered to my horror that the twenty was gone. I looked everywhere, but couldn't find it.
"Who used the bathroom last?" I asked, and finally it was revealed that while everyone had been in and out of there, Scott had been the last one.
"I never saw a twenty," he said, slightly sullenly, as though I was accusing him of a crime.
"Did anyone else see it?" Most said no, but a couple said yes, but no one admitted taking the bill, which I now figured had been what happened.
"All right, kids, one of you took that bill. If he or she doesn't own up I'm just going to have to give _all_ of you a sound spanking!"
There was a chorus of protests and groans to this announcement, but no guilty individual emerged. "Everyone out to the barn," I said sternly. "I'll be out in a minute."
As the kids reluctantly went out, their dream of a day at the fair suddenly turning to a nightmare of a hot bottom, I went into the kitchen and found Sally washing up the breakfast things and watching one of those damn soap operas on the television. "Those damn kids!" I cried out. "One of them stole my twenty dollars!"
"You're kidding," Sally said in a rather vague tone, and I saw she wasn't really paying me much attention.
"The guilty one won't confess," I continued, "I guess I'm gonna have to whip it out of them."
"Uh huh, she said, but again she was too absorbed in her soap to hear much. I went off, letting a good half hour go before I went out to the barn. The kids were all there, looking rather sullen and unhappy, but when I posed the question none came forth with a confession.
"All right," I said. "Let's get this over with. You're all gonna get a sound spanking!" I sat myself down on an old wooden stood and ordered Scott to step forward. He did reluctantly, looking frightfully embarrassed when I told him to drop his pants.
"I'm certainly not gonna wear out my hand on those jeans," I shouted. "Now bare your butt and get over my lap or I'll fetch the hairbrush!"
That did it, and it was a red-faced seventeen-year-old boy that stretched himself across my lap, holding himself up with his hands so his naked bottom was right between my legs. Without any preamble I began to slap his bottom thoroughly, as hard as I could, until his whole rump was a even shade of red. His eyes were teary but he didn't make a sound the entire time, preferring to tough it out. "Does anyone want to confess?" I asked, but no one said anything, so I stood Scott up and made him go stand against the wall with his reddened bottom on display.
"Next!" I cried, and a teary-eyed Susan approached. A beautiful young lady, she nonetheless was obedient and gentle, and though her face turned crimson, she calmly lifted her dress and laid across my lap. I immediately jerked down her white panties and she squealed desperately and struggled. A hard slap across her bottom calmed her down and I scolded her, saying, "You are all getting it bare, my dear, so just lie there calmly and take it!"
With that I began to blister her bottom with my hand, spanking her as long as Scott and just as hard. She was weeping when it was over, and she went and stood next to her brother, her panties around her ankles and holding her dress up to keep her bottom exposed.
Elly was next, and received the same treatment as her sister, though not quite as long, and a few minutes later all five children were standing along the wall and fidgeting, a pretty row of sore red bottoms.
Still, no one confessed, so I gave out work assignments and we spent the day laboring hard. That evening I asked the children again to confess, and when no one did, we all went out to the barn and repeated the process, me giving each of them another sound spanking, this time harder and longer, until even Scott was crying a little. But there was still no guilty individual.
Saturday evening I decided to take things to a more serious level. It was obvious my methods weren't severe enough for these kids. I thought about using the strap and giving them each a real licking, but then I'd be punishing the innocent just as hard as the guilty. So I purposely held back so that I could save the strapping for the guilty one.
Instead I tried the hairbrush. Immediately after supper I took the kids out to the barn and one by one they went over my knee for a good long hand spanking, and then stood and waited with their red bottoms exposed to everyone else. Then I had them each come back again for a long session with the hairbrush, really reddening those rumps soundly. There wasn't a dry eye in the place afterwards, including me, as I was furious that no one had confessed.
"All right kids. Tomorrow night you'll all be out here again and this time it will be the wooden paddle! It's obvious I'm being to gentle with you."
The kids protested and begged me to stop, that they'd had enough, that they'd even all work extra and pay me back the twenty, but I was too angry at the arrogance of one who would steal so brazenly and told them that I was planning on giving them a whipping every night until someone confessed. The kids left very sad and downtrodden and I felt sorry for them and resolved that the guilty one was going to receive double whatever I had to dish out to the all the innocent kids. "Perhaps I'll even let the innocent ones punish the guilty one," I thought. "That would be very appropriate!"
Sunday evening it was a subdued group of teenagers in front of me in the barn. I had asked everyone to wear jeans, this time, and promptly ordered everyone to strip from the waist down. There were protests, but they weren't loud. Everyone could see I was really angry at how far things had escalated. I lined everyone up so that I had five naked bottoms facing me, the flesh of each having already returned it's normal paleness, the mild previous punishments not being severe enough for the marks to carry over. This time I determined that they would be feeling the effects of this punishment the next day.
First was Scott, as usual, and after a good fifteen minutes of hand spanking he went back in line. Susan was next with the same, and then I gave Elly, Stephanie, and Steve ten minutes each.
After this warm-up I picked up the wooden paddle and ordered Scott back across my lap. Reluctantly he complied. The paddle was a short one, similar in surface area to a table tennis racket, but narrower and much thicker. I really walloped him with it for a good five minutes, giving him about a hundred strokes. He was howling and sobbing when I finished, and in a minute a pale and cooperative Susan was bottom-up across my lap. I gave her the same as Scott, the paddle leaving scores of deep red blotches across her rather pert bottom. Then it was the other three, each receiving a through bottom-warming.
But still none confessed. "Tomorrow night it's the strap," I said finally with a deep sigh. "I wanted to save that for the guilty one, but I guess you're all gonna have to taste it!"
Monday I noticed the teenagers' bottoms bore evidence of Sunday's paddling. They had to be sore and they certainly reacted to the hand spanking more vividly than usual.
"Now it's the strap! Does anyone want to confess?" There was silence except for some blubbering and sniffing, so I ordered Scott to bend across the wooden sawhorse, and then I began strapping his buttocks and legs soundly. I strapped him hard and fast, laying my stripes evenly, starting at the stop of his bottom and moving down to the back of his knees. He was quite sore and contrite when I finished, and I ordered Susan to step forward.
She bent across the horse and I saw she was already crying, her fear of the strap greater than her brother, he having tasted it more frequently over the years than herself. I strapped her just as thoroughly as her brother, however, and she practically danced as she stood there and received the lashes.
I gave the same to her sister, brother, and cousin, and then I ordered a shocked Scott back across the horse and made a second pass across his butt and thighs. I gave them all this second dose, all of them howling and weeping when I finally finished.
But still no one confessed. "Tomorrow it's the hickory stick!" There were groans and cries of dismay. "If you don't like it, find out which of you stole the money and get him or her to confess," I said.
Tuesday night there were slight welt marks from the strap of the previous evening. Five pairs of eyes looked at the long hickory stick I lay on the ground near me. It was a rod about a quarter-inch thick and about a yard long, thin and whippy. It's surface was polished and smooth. It would sting unbearably and even cut the flesh if not used correctly.
"Well, the good news is that I'm not going to give you a hand spanking tonight," I announced, and there were uneasy groans of relief at that. "But the bad news is that instead I'm going to give each of you a sound dose of the paddle before we proceed with the hickory rod."
I then went and paddled each of them as thoroughly as I had on Sunday night, if not harder and longer, and then one by one had them step out and bend across the horse for the stick. I held the stick with two hands and swung it like a baseball bat. Each stroke gave a tremendous crack like a gunshot and left a thin red stripe across both cheeks, the far one slightly deeper in color as the tip of the stick cut in on that side. At the half count, which was six for the older two and five for the younger ones, I switched sides so their left cheek wouldn't be neglected.
When I finished there were five shivering and sobbing teenagers standing before me, their bottoms were blister red and covered with a series of red welts. I knew those marks would still be there in a week. "Tomorrow you'll get the strap, too, and the stick across your thighs!" I threatened, and several of them went white with fear.
Wednesday morning there was a knock at the door to the bathroom as I was shaving. I opened it and found Scott nervously standing there. "Dad, I-I'm sorry, but I took that twenty."
I was dumbfounded. Secretly I had suspected it was Stephanie, my niece, but I couldn't be sure if that wasn't just my bias to protect my own children. "Scott? But why?"
"It was stupid, I know, and I'm sorry, but you have to stop punishing all of the others. It's my responsibility, not theirs."
"Why did you wait until now to confess?" He hung his head and didn't answer. "All right. I'll deal with you tonight. I've got a lot of work to finish today."
Later that morning Susan approached me. "Can I talk to you for a minute?" I nodded, continuing to shovel the manure, and she went on. "I've come to confess, Daddy. I'm the one who took that twenty."
I froze in shock. "Are you sure?" I asked.
"Of course I'm sure. How could I make a mistake regarding something like that?"
"So where's the twenty?"
"The one you stole."
"Oh," she said slowly. "Uh, I spent it."
"On a dress."
"Where is it? Go get it!"
Suddenly Susan began to cry. "Oh, Daddy, please, I didn't _really_ do it, but it's not fair to keep punishing all of us. Just pretend _I_ did it and punish me, okay? Spare the others?"
"You'd be willing to do that?" I asked.
"Yes," she said firmly.
"But you are sparing the one who did it too, then," I said.
She shook her head. "I don't think any of us did it, Dad. I've talked with Steve and Elly and I believe them when they say they didn't do it. Stephanie, too."
"What about Scott?"
"Scott? Oh, no, he didn't do it. He would never steal."
"Really? He came and confessed to me this morning."
"I think he was just doing like you were, trying to protect the others. It makes me very proud of both of you, that you'd be willing to take the sinner's punishment upon yourself, but that's not the point of punishment. Discipline is meant to modify behavior, and the only way it can do that is if it is applied to the person that deserves it."
"Yes, dear, I know this is hard. But it has to be one of the younger three. Perhaps we shall find out tonight."
I found Scott later and asked him for the twenty back. There was a moment of silence and then a "Uh, I spent it," but like his sister he couldn't produce any evidence.
So that night everyone gathered in the barn again, and after blistering each child's bottom soundly with the paddle, I gave them each a sizzling round with the strap. Then it was a dozen strokes each with the hickory rod, followed by twenty hard wallops with a large wooden paddle that I swung with two hands as each child bent across the horse.ĘThen I gave them another dozen cuts of the hickory stick and we called it a night. I did not warn them of future punishments as I was running out of ideas to make the punishments more rigorous, but from the grim looks on their faces I could see they all expected to be bending over for more strokes the next night.
The next day was Thursday, the day we do our shopping. My wife and I went in to town and I stopped at the bank and took out some cash. I gave twenty to Sally and told her to take it easy on the groceries, as money was tight.
"Oh, well I've got that other twenty," she said casually. "You can keep this one if you need it."
"Where'd you get a twenty?" I asked, puzzled.
"It was left over from last week's shopping, remember?"
I shook my head. "No, that was the twenty I took for the fair and one of the kids stole. You only had one twenty. "
"Oh, I remember," she said suddenly, her face alighting with a broad smile, completely unaware of the pit she was about to fall into. "That was the twenty I found on the counter in the bathroom. I must have left it in there the other day. I'm so dingy sometimes I swear I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached!"
I almost fell down I was so shocked. "Sally, you found a twenty in the bathroom?"
"Yeah, like I said, I must have--"
"Sally, listen to me carefully." I spoke very calmly and slowly. "What in the hell do you think I've been whipping those kids for every night?"
Sally looked puzzled. Though a very beautiful woman, she sometimes wasn't all there. "Didn't you say one of them stole some money?"
"How much money?"
"Uh, I think you said it was a twenty dollar bill."
"And just how many twenty dollar bills do you think we have floating around the house?"
"Oh!" Suddenly it was all clear to her, and she paled. "Oh, George, you mean _I_ took the twenty that you thought the kids stole?"
"Oh, dear, that's terrible. And you've been whipping them every night!"
"That's putting it mildly, dear. I've practically been thrashing the skin off 'em, and all for nothing!"
Sally shook her pretty head and looked very sad. "That's terrible, terrible," she kept saying.
"Don't you think parents should live up to the same standards they apply to their children?"
"Good. Then I'm afraid you've got quite a licking coming to you. Go get the groceries and when we get home prepare for a sound thrashing!"
Sally's face went white. "But George--"
"No buts, Sally," I said firmly. "You took that twenty and caused those kids to have a miserable week. You're going across my knee when we get home!"
There was a moment of quiet and Sally looked at me and then she slowly nodded sadly. "Yes, sir," she said quietly. "I'll just, er, go get the groceries now, sir."
"Hop to it!"
"Yes, sir!" and she scurried off.
I thought about all the spankings I'd given out over the past week and slowly came to a decision. It was fair. It would take a while, but Sally certainly deserved it for her foolishness. Yes, she'd receive everything the others received but in double portion. In fact, I'd let the kids punish her, each giving her what they received. That certainly seemed fair.