Photo Fantasy from Janus 155 featuring Tara Duncan. A sequel to Disciplinary Measures in Janus 132 and A Punishing Experience in Janus 139.
Tara Duncan was a naughty girl. Very naughty. And knew it. But now it might be said she’d graduated in the naughtiness stakes and become a pro. What had started with merely getting up to all kinds of mischief in the village, and being thrashed on her bottom for it by the redoubtable Hilary Hanbury-Boyce (Disciplinary Measures, Janus 132), had since developed to a realisation that she couldn’t stop being wilfully wicked. For a while this Hanbury-Boyce experience had definitely chastened Tara, and helped her see the error of her ways. But not for long. When she started going off the rails again she even tried organising her own punishment (A Punishing Experience, Janus 139) — but that didn’t do much good either, it seemed.
Quite simply, Tara had reached the conclusion that she was hopelessly and irredeemably bad. Not evil exactly, but the straight and narrow path was not for her — it threw her off the moment she made any attempt to step on it. In time her girlish pranks had developed into downright theft — not from individuals, but from stores and supermarkets who Tara reckoned were able to afford it. But it was only a matter of chance that she wasn’t caught before she was.
Surveillance cameras are constantly improving, and one of them took her by surprise. Tara Duncan was arrested in the street with the goods on her, and a further seventeen similar crimes to take into consideration. She was sent to an institution for young offenders. Designed to throw its inmates into a punitive routine they would not wish to have repeated once their time was done, this involved early rising, cold baths, assault courses, long runs carrying heavy packs, exhausting study routines and all sorts of other nasties. Privileges were cut to a minimum, they were yelled at by orderlies, given spells of solitary; it was hell.
None of this helped Tara to mend her ways. If anything, it made her worse, and more angry. She got into frequent fights with other detainees, gave lip to the uniformed personnel. Could it be that, deep down, she was secretly aching for the kind of discipline that political correctness and enlightened views had deemed inappropriate in this day and age?
Tara was summoned to a special interview. The functionary who saw her was female, tall, lean and precise. The moment the door closed behind them in a room little more than a cell, Tara felt she was in for some kind of telling off. How boring. That Hanbury-Boyce cow, she didn’t arse around like this, all prim and ‘you be good or else’ crap. She’d got straight into it and no messing.
‘So you think you’re a bit of a tough tit, Duncan?’ the woman began, cold of eye and hard of voice.
‘I don’t think. I know,’ said Tara.
‘We’ve got methods here you wouldn’t believe,’ her interviewer told her, ‘to scare the shit out of little hard cases like you.’
‘Really? I don’t scare easy.’
‘Don’t come it cocky with me,’ said the other.
‘What’re you going to do, then? Slap my wrist and send me to bed without supper?’
‘I’ll do more than slap your wrist, you cheeky bitch,’ threatened the functionary, whose name was Janice Fenton, ‘if you don’t start behaving p.d.q..’
‘Christ, you’re ignorant. It means ‘pretty damn quick’.’
‘How pathetic,’ said Tara. ‘You’re pathetic, too. What are you, a les?’
‘If I was, it wouldn’t be you I’d fancy.’
‘Go on, I bet you’re dying to get my tits out, strip me starkers and feel me up.’
‘Don’t flatter yourself. I’ve been on a course on how not to let toe-rags like you wind me up.’
‘So what’s this great system you’ve got here to sort me out?’ enquired Tara saucily. ‘You’re being very bleeding coy about it.’
‘I won’t use it unless I have to,’ snapped Fenton, but her clenched fists showed white round the knuckles.
‘Looks like you might have to.’
‘Don’t tempt me. I have the authority to do it, and I’m big enough to handle you. And if you get tricky I press a button and the rest come running.’
Tara stared at her. She was getting excited, that familiar thrilling in the pit of her gut. She wanted more. Wasn’t much to do in this place anyhow. ‘You’re a nice-looking woman, you know that?’ she teased her interviewer. ‘Maybe I could have a bit of rumpy with you. A bit of a roll around. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? — despite what you said. I’m a class bit of fluffy, I am. Every bit of me is lickable.’
‘Ah,’ said Fenton. ‘I’ll grant you that, Duncan. Being no doubt a scholar of English, you will be aware that the verb ‘to lick’ has more than one meaning.’
‘Do what?’ said Tara, one eyebrow raised.
‘A good licking. It’s exactly what you need. And I don’t mean with my tongue.’
Silence fell as the two females surveyed each other. ‘So at last we’re getting to it,’ said Tara. Her legs felt watery suddenly, and she had trouble catching her breath. ‘You can’t kid me. You’re not allowed to do that to people.’
‘That’s what you’re scared of really, isn’t it?’ said Fenton. ‘Of all the things anyone can do to YOU regarding punishment, a good hiding is what you dread most.’
‘No it’s not,’ protested Tara. She flushed a little. ‘If that’s what you think, you’re even stupider than you look.’
But the girl was becoming confused. Part of her wanted to have all decisions taken from her. She wanted to be told she was bad, endure the consequences as she had before, and the offence would have been paid for and she’d feel okay for a while. But now that it looked as if that was exactly where she was headed, the girl felt frightened. The excited thrill she’d experienced moments before had changed to dread.
‘No one likes to be beaten,’ continued Fenton. ‘Not here, by me. It’s so humiliating for a start, and it hurts like hell the way I do it.’ The woman stared at Tara. ‘Not quite so cocky now, hey?’
‘I reckon that’s all bluff,’ countered Tara, trying not to sound uncertain. ‘They did away with all that stuff. I read about it somewhere.’
‘You mean you can actually read?’ said the other coolly. ‘Well, I am surprised.’
‘Yeah! And I can work tills too,’ said Tara hotly She’d worked as checkout girl in her local supermarket, and was glad to have held the job down for so long.
‘From which side of the counter, I wonder, did you work the till?’ Fenton was almost smiling, yet there was malice with it.
‘I never robbed the machines,’ shouted Tara, ‘so don’t you say I did!’
The woman was watching the prisoner narrowly, like a cat watches a mouse, wondering when to spring. ‘Despite the fact that I wouldn’t normally touch the likes of you with a sterilised bargepole,’ Fenton said, ‘a strap or a stick or something of that kind would be different. I suppose some might describe you as being pretty in an English sort of way, and I’ll bet that arse of yours is just made to be spanked.’
‘Wanna try it?’ It was bravado now, and the woman knew it. The status between them had been subtly established.
Fenton nodded, eyeing the prisoner shrewdly. ‘Yes, I rather think I do.’ There was an air of panic in Tara, which she was struggling without success to overcome. The woman’s voice became harder, as did her glare. ‘If I take you over my knee, Duncan, I promise you you’re going to know all about it. I’ll strip your backside bare and slap it till it’s scarlet. Then I’ll bend you down and carry on with instruments appropriate to the task. By the time I’m through with you you’ll be crying like a baby and begging me to stop.’
‘No you won’t, ‘cos you’re not allowed to do it!’ Tara’s expression was nakedly fearful now. It came back in force to her how horrible it had felt when Mrs Hanbury-Boyce had stripped her and her friend Natalie of their clothes and dignity that fateful day and walloped them both to screaming.
Fenton’s eyes glinted as the hard case in front of her quailed. She had discovered what it was that this girl both wanted and hated so much. This would be useful to add to the prisoner’s psychological profile, and could be helpful when methods of rehabilitation came to be discussed near the end of her term. Tara Duncan had a short sharp shock coming. The prisoner had talked and acted her way into it, but now that she so clearly wanted out, all chances of retreat had been forfeited.
Fenton picked up the paddle. It would be a good implement to warm the girl up with. She might even have her stark naked by the time she was finished — and who knows what might happen then?
‘Right,’ the woman began in ominous tones, settling herself on the chair. ‘Over my knee, Duncan, and let’s get started!’
An interview with Tara Duncan appeared in Janus 156.