‘Right, gentlemen, before we go in to the Application and Implementation Room, let me recap the procedure you are about to witness.’
He glanced around the group of six young men, all of them clearly agitated despite their almost comical desperation not to betray their excitement. This procedure was the unacknowledged demonstration that, not only were they about to be recognised as fully-qualified doctors, they were to be admitted to the trusted elite of State Ordained Doctors. Stethoscopes were fiddled with in deep white medical-coat pockets, feet shuffled and many unblocked throats were cleared.
‘As you know,’ the Professor intoned, ‘under the Rationalisation of Public and Essential Services Act of 2010, state-endorsed corporal punishment was introduced for Level II misdemeanours and, consequently, medical supervision for its implementation became mandatory. Obviously, it would not do for any twopenny-halfpenny licensed Medical Practitioner to take part in such proceedings, and so it was decided that only those with full qualifications, graduating in the top five per cent of their year group, should be deemed competent for this onerous task.’
More foot-shuffling and throat clearing as the students acknowledged the weighty burden they were being asked to bear. Their shoulders drew back with one accord and jaws jutted out in preparation.
‘At the start of the proceedings, it is the responsibility of the attending State Ordained Doctor to give a thorough physical examination of the Offender to ensure they are suitably fit to undergo the punishment. Should there be any doubt about this, they will be returned to the Penal Dormitory for an indefinite period until they can be passed as fit. This means that nobody evades the legal consequence of their criminal acts and, since they have to pay for their accommodation in the Dormitory, they are unlikely to malinger.
‘If you are happy with their physical condition, but have even the slightest concern about the Offender’s mental state, you must give them either an oral or written test; in cases of grave ambivalence, both should be administered. This might be in the form of a discussion about their offence and the judicial procedures they have undergone, a written account of the same or an exercise to test their awareness and concentration. Any questions so far?’
He did not really anticipate any interjections and was about to proceed like the cleric at Jane Eyre’s wedding, when a timid-but-trying-not-to-show-it voice asked, ‘Could you elaborate on the nature of written exercises, sir?’
Hiding his irritation, the Professor shrugged and waved his hand vaguely. ‘Whatever you deem suitable: writing out one hundred times “I must not commit this type of offence again” is a fairly standard test. Personally, if I have any doubts about an Offender’s psychological state, I run them through the whole set of tests; have them recount aloud to myself and others the full details of their offence; then I get them to write it out to see if there are any discrepancies. If there are, I return them to the Dormitory for observation; if it’s okay, I do a final check by getting them to write out several times “I am a thief” or “I am a prostitute and deserve to be punished by the State” or whatever. If they can manage that, the punishment can proceed.’
‘Doesn’t that mean that the punishment session takes up a lot of time?’ another student asked.
‘Justice cannot be hurried,’ came the curt response. ‘That is why there are three Application and Implementation Rooms which can be used simultaneously. Don’t worry; we’ve never had a day yet when the order sheet has not been completed.’
The students dutifully laughed and their tutor continued.
‘As the only representative of the medical profession in attendance, it is your duty to pose the offender appropriately. They may be free-standing, bent under instruction to receive their chastisement, or you may decide to employ the Frame. As you will see, this comprises an upright pole slightly less than average human height, fitted with a bite-block, with a cross-beam ending in padded hand-grips, a support beam at crotch-height with diagonals leading to the floor ending in foot-blocks.’
The young medics struggled to retain an air of concentration whilst trying to picture the contraption in their minds. The Professor elucidated.
‘The usual practice is to have the Offender straddle the support beam facing the upright, with their feet placed either inside or outside the foot-blocks, depending on how widely spread you decide their legs should be. They hold onto the hand-grips and may choose to use the bite-block — this is for their own benefit as sometimes they have an urge to swear or hurl abuse at their Chastiser, which causes the punishment to be re-started. They are, of course, permitted to cry or respond to the punishment in other natural ways that do not cause offence.’
‘So they are not actually restrained?’
‘Of course not! That would be an infringement of their legal rights. The Frame is provided to make the punishment manageable for all concerned. It displays the Punishment Area of the Offender clearly to the Chastiser without causing undue discomfort, it protects the genitals of males and it enables the Offender to maintain the position with a degree of dignity.’
The intellectual of the group spoke up. ‘Could you tell us, Professor, if there is a standard profile of an Offender?’
‘To incur this type of punishment, a Level II Offence will have been committed. The most common misdemeanours in this category are prostitution, vandalism and shoplifting. There are other offences, but they occur less frequently. The majority of Offenders presenting themselves are female, aged under thirty and generally they will appear about three times; if they commit the same Offence more than five times, of course, they are automatically classed as Level III Offenders and will be sentenced to spend time in a Penal Industrial and Social Seminary to practise a trade and take part in a re-socialisation programme.’
The eyes before him were beginning to glaze over. ‘Similarly, those qualified to attend the Application and Implementation Room have a profile. It would be exceptional, though not inconceivable, for a woman to hold such a position. However, since no females have shown the perseverance and dedication to graduate to your level in the past five years, it is unlikely you will have many female colleagues.’
‘Who else attends a chastisement and the medical examination?’
‘The Chastiser, obviously, and a Security Officer would be the minimum. There may be Graduate Trainees from the Penal Professions attending in a purely observational role and there may be, as is the case today, medical students attending as part of their practical training.’
‘Do the Offenders have any say in whether such people are present?’
‘A First Offender may decline for reasons of modesty; otherwise there is no choice. However, it is particularly instructive to observe a person undergoing penal corporal punishment for the first time and so they are offered an inducement of a reduced chastisement in return for their cooperation. And now, if there are no further questions, I propose we get the proceedings started.’
A couple of the students moved towards the door and were disappointed to find that they were to spend yet more time being instructed before they gained their long-awaited ‘hands-on’ experience. The Professor pulled a cord and a curtain slid back to reveal an observation panel allowing them a view of the Application and Implementation Room without the Offender knowing of their presence.
The young blonde stood nervously in the centre of the room, resolutely obeying the instruction not to turn around to examine the Frame. She was well-proportioned with full breasts that needed no artificial support, a neat waist above curvaceous hips and clear skin covering it all. The female Security Officer stood mute guard.
‘Offender 387, gentlemen,’ the Professor announced. First offence of prostitution; sentenced to twelve strokes of the birch; reduced to eight strokes from assorted implements in recognition of her cooperation in helping you learn your craft.’
At last he led the group into the adjoining room. The temperature was decidedly cooler, although by no means in contravention of the health and safety regulations. The Chastiser joined them and the Professor instructed his students to begin examining the Offender.
There was a momentary confusion, since it was not clear whether this was to be a group head-to-toe examination, a full examination in turn by each student or a division of labour with each medic taking responsibility for one part of her anatomy. They finally decided they would undertake a collective thorough examination. There was no couch in the room, so they would have to position her conveniently at each stage with the aid of the Frame or the one hard-backed chair.
Logically, they started with her head. They told her to stand with her hands at her sides while they performed various tests. The Security Officer left the room momentarily and returned with a trolley laden with miscellaneous medical aids and implements.
They began with her hair. Two of them used fine-toothed combs to check for signs of infestation, although, if this had even been suspected, she would have had her locks shorn in the Dormitory. One of the students commented on the fine condition of her hair and they each fingered a lock and concluded that this indicated general good health. Her ears were checked, although nobody could think why and then her eyes — ostensibly to check the rate of pupil dilation to ensure she was not under the influence of drugs. The pin-prick lights applied to each eye six times left her momentarily dazed and when she was subsequently asked to read the chart at the far end of the room, her voice was hesitant as she struggled to focus. The results must have been satisfactory, however, because the students turned their attention to her arms and shoulders.
She was told to stand, feet together arms raised to shoulder-height reaching out to either side with her hands palms-down. They walked around her, making — she was sure — spurious comments about her posture; her shoulders began to ache and an involuntary tremble twitched through her arms. This caused interest. Her fingertips were supported by two medics while two of their companions examined her muscles and discussed the stress they seemed to be undergoing.
‘She hasn’t been depilated properly, one observed and reached for a disposable razor from the trolley. ‘Better do it wet, I suppose,’ he added, and dipped it into a bowl of tepid water. Offender 387 raised her arms above her head while the soon-to-be doctor scraped away invisible stubble.
‘Hands on your head,’ she was instructed and immediately found her proffered breasts being crudely manhandled.
‘Good shape, firm. No sign of cosmetic surgery,’ someone remarked lifting and twisting the fulsome mammaries to check for scars. Her nipples were hardened from the cool air and provided natural holding points for the rough examination, 387 closed her eyes to blot out the humiliation and was asked if she were having visual problems. An affirmative answer — or the slightest indication that this might be so — would have had her returned to the Dormitory, so she stared straight ahead with the silent resolve to not even blink more than was absolutely necessary.
Successive cold stethoscopes pressed against her chest and back. The flesh at the side of her waist was pinched to check for obesity, her navel was scoured with a cotton bud to confirm personal cleanliness.
‘Bend from the waist and place your palms on the floor.’
She complied, her hair tumbling forward and sweeping the ground. She found the position difficult to take up and even more difficult to maintain.
‘Good straight spine; legs seem to be having difficulty supporting her, though. Maybe she isn’t sufficiently fit?’ Muted mumblings took place as she struggled to quell the tics in her thighs: whatever it took, she was determined not to have to spend more time in the Dormitory: for one thing, she couldn’t afford it. ‘Arms displayed similar characteristics, if you remember,’ she heard. Unkind hands kneaded her calves. ‘Better put her through her paces before making a decision,’ someone said sagely.
‘Stretch your body parallel to the floor, weight supported on your toes and hands,’ someone commanded. She held the position for a count of ten, then was told to perform fifteen push-ups. The floor covering had a rubberised smell and its frigid touch tautened her nipples further. The final three gave her problems, but she completed them and held the position until further instructions were issued.
‘I’m really not convinced of her fitness; notice the shortness of breath after just a few press-ups; I recommend deferment of sentence for one week with daily aerobics to increase stamina.’
‘It could simply be the stress of the situation causing the shallow breathing,’ someone volunteered. ‘Let’s run one more test.’
‘Run’ proved to be the operative word: 387 was ordered to run on the spot for four minutes. She was constantly exhorted to raise her knees higher, pump her arms more, lift her head… Her unsupported breasts bounced, comfortably at first, then with jerking, weighty thumps and slaps against her torso as she was ordered to pick up her pace. The feminine roundness of her tummy and backside rippled from the unaccustomed motion. Despite the cool air, a sheen of perspiration glistened on her flushing skin.
When she was permitted to stop she drew one deep breath, then concentrated on controlling her breathing. The stethoscopes were applied again; her pulse was taken; her blood pressure was read.
‘She’ll do,’ an anonymous white coat pronounced.
‘We’d better check the punishment area then,’ a colleague suggested. The Offender swallowed hard; she had heard stories about this part of the examination.
Each student donned thin latex gloves — ominously on each hand, rather than the customary single she had encountered on routine gynaecological investigations. Digits were smeared with clear jelly, and she was told to spread her legs and put her hands on the chair seat. Bending forward stiffly, she felt cold, slippery fingers parting her buttocks. More fingers were probing intimately, testing the extent of her natural reflex to clench and repel their advances. A sudden internal pounding in her ears stopped her hearing the vulgarly unmedical comments being made about this sensitive region and the likely efficiency of her bodily functions.
Eventually, she was helped to stand upright. ‘Lie on the floor and draw your knees up so that you are holding them apart against each shoulder.’ The floor was still cold, but it did nothing to ease her burning embarrassment. She heartily wished she had accepted the full twelve strokes of the birch and foregone this terrible intimate assault.
Again the slick fingers stretched and probed her delicate, personal folds, remarking on their formation, their sensitivity, their elasticity, the rapid response of self-lubrication to their manual investigations.
‘I suggest a full shaving to allow proper monitoring of the chastisement,’ an authoritative baritone contributed. ‘And she’d better be lathered this time.’
Still lying on the floor, she found her exposed genital and anal area smothered in cheap soapy foam. There was a slight stinging sensation as some of it dribbled intimately, then her attention was taken up by the long, lewd scrapings of the blade. Whoever was performing the operation was very skilled. She normally left this area in its natural state and he had first to crop the long tangles and then shave the stubble. By the time he had finished, the area at the base of her belly and between her legs was completely nude.
‘Seems somewhat unstable. I think we should put her through some psychological testing before we pass her as fit.’ The voice sounded young, but who could take on the responsibility of this work and be truly youthful? She sighed.
‘I see what you mean. I suggest she gives an oral account of her offence and we can check it against the written transcript of her trial.’ Even as the baritone spoke, a copy of the transcript was being handed out to each medic. ‘Begin when you are ready, Offender 387.’
She swallowed hard, then panicked that they might take this as a symptom of some medical or psychological problem and resolved to keep her voice steady. Nobody had told her to stand, so she stayed as she was, lying on her back, thighs drawn up and spread, her newly shaven sex exposed and agape. She spoke with a pleasant southern counties’ accent, surprisingly educated and articulate.
‘I was arrested on a charge of prostitution on 17th February and my case was heard two weeks ago. I pleaded guilty but claimed mitigating circumstances. These were that I had been living and working in Manchester but my employer began making sexual advances to me and when I rebuffed him he sacked me and refused to pay my due wages. I therefore had to hitchhike back to my home area in Surrey and on the way a lorry driver forced me to have sex with him.’
She saw one of the students was about to ask for clarification, so she hurried on with her narrative. ’Although he did not physically force his attentions upon me, he took a secluded route and refused to continue the journey unless I submitted. I felt I had no alternative. Later we stopped at a transport cafe and before I could negotiate a further ride with a different driver, he had told them all that I would pay my fare with sexual favours. It seemed the only way I could get home was to comply.’
‘And that led to your arrest?’ somebody asked. ‘That does not seem to fit in with the legal definition of soliciting or prostitution. In fact, the drivers should have been arrested for their actions towards you.’
‘No, that wasn’t it. When I reached home I had nowhere to stay. I no longer have any immediate family and had previously shared a flat with two girlfriends. However, they could not accommodate me and I was desperate for a room. Given all I had been through, it no longer seemed so terrible to trade sexual favours for the price of a few nights’ accommodation. However, the second man I propositioned was an off-duty Police Officer and he arrested me.’
The medical students looked at one another, seemingly disappointed that her account had been so lucid. The baritone was about to suggest the chastisement commence, when a colleague spoke up.
‘I notice she declined to give details about the sexual acts she performed. This may suggest she lacks full comprehension of her offences. I move that she produce a written account of each encounter.’ The relief amongst the group was tangible and a table with appropriate stationery was speedily produced. 387 sat and rapidly wrote her account, conscious of her half-hour deadline. When it was complete, she once more stood in front of the team to await their response.
‘Seven acts in total including one with simultaneous multiple partners; two incurred direct cash payment, plus there was the attempted soliciting of the Police Officer. Acts defined as perverted as well as conventional intercourse. I would say she is fully cognizant of her crime and the punishment it has earned.’ There were murmurs of assent. ‘However, it is interesting that she did not include this information in her original account. It may be that some element of reinforcement is desirable before the chastisement begins; just to be certain of her mental readiness.’
Once again she sat at the table charged with the task of producing one hundred lines in less than an hour (“I am to be severely chastised because I am a whore” was the exact wording collectively decided upon).
By the time the task was completed, 387’s eyes were brimming with tears she dared not shed.
The students collectively led her to the Frame and positioned her so that her legs were spread to their limit (feet outside the blocks) and her bottom jutted so her weight was just about supported by the horizontal bar. Her attention was drawn to the voluntary gag and her hands were positioned at full stretch on the grips. Someone she could not see made some final adjustment to her position so that her buttocks were spread even more and the support bar pressed cruelly into her chafed sex.
The Chastiser took up his position. Now it was his turn to demonstrate his expertise. Ignoring the discomfort and humiliation of the Offender, he took the time to explain his actions and intentions to his audience.
‘This chastisement,’ he drawled in what had once been known as “Estuary English” ‘will not, sadly, be as effective as it could have been, had the original sentence of twelve strokes of the birch been administered. As a consequence of this I am afraid that Mistress 387 is very likely to reoffend. However, you gentlemen will benefit from seeing a range of chastising implements in use and get an idea of their relative effects.’ He paused and dramatically drew back a curtain to reveal an array of tools of his trade. ‘Gentlemen, the cane.’
He selected a long supple wand from a collection of similar honey-hued rattans. Without preamble, he raised it high and struck 387’s buttocks and then repeated the procedure before ceremoniously replacing his weapon. 387 emitted a long piercing wail and then bit hard on the towelling block. She tried to ease the pain by kicking her legs, but the widely-spaced blocks prevented this.
‘You may examine her, sirs,’
They needed no second bidding. Six hands, still gloved and greased, traced the emergent weals as they metamorphosed from thin white streaks, though reddened furrows to purple, furred tramlines lying parallel across the fullest part of her bottom. 387 gasped at their touch and groaned throatily.
‘Stand clear. The classic tawse.’
A broad leather strap, split for part of its length, hissed through the air and impacted with a distinct slapping sound that echoed around the bare chamber. Even as the two-tongued mauve image took shape diagonally across her rump, its mirrored-twin was being imparted.
Again the young men surged forward, eager to feel, to touch, to exacerbate her agony. She held fast to the grips but bucked so that the just-visible support bar took on a dubiously crude identity. Through the thin latex, their fingers sensed the heat rising through the welts, they saw the beleaguered flesh pucker at their touch and they marvelled at the vehemence of her response to their prodding’s.
When they stepped back, the Chastiser displayed the original implement of her sentence: a birch. It seemed almost laughable: a bundle of twigs, unwieldy, undisciplined; but it hissed through the air with demonic threats and drew from its victim a high-pitched screaming sound that defied interpretation. 387 knew that she would receive at least one more stroke of this fiery torture, but could not stop the wailing sound that snaked from her throat long enough to draw breath. When the second blow landed she was gulping air desperately to try and replenish her lungs for further protest.
As the probing fingers explored the extensively-punished skin, she let forth a guttural howl and writhed shamelessly on the support bar. Her grinding hips seemed to invite further investigations, and her nates were stroked, pinched, scraped and slapped by the six highly aroused students.
‘Slut!’ one of them pronounced sourly as they once more withdrew to observe the Chastiser’s final delivery.
‘Something different, gents. A martinet. Quite a gentle little toy really if applied in advance of the others. However, I think you’ll be interested in seeing the effect it has on already-tenderised flesh. First, see how the unpunished skin responds.’
It didn’t seem as if there was any skin that had not already been dealt with, but the Chastiser was not aiming at her rump. Instead, he took careful aim and brought the bunched thongs down upon Offender 387’s unmarked back. A tracery of pink appeared almost at once, although in comparison with what they had already witnessed, the little whip seemed almost pathetic.
‘And now to the treated area,’ the Chastiser announced, swinging the lashes rapidly and hard so that they cut through all the previous marks.
387 screamed and seemed about to curse them all with their unfortunate acronym, but just in time she checked herself and instead bit steadfastly into the gag and assaulted the support bar in a fashion that definitely hurt her more than the impervious pole. As one, they surged forward and whistled in amazement at the fine filigree weaving its way through the multicoloured blotchings and stripes. One slippery finger followed a trail that started at the Offender’s right hip and led into the deep cleft between her buttocks. Similar tracks were traced and remarked upon as their bearer sobbed uncontrollably.
The Professor was with them again, shepherding them from the room. Watching through the observation panel, they saw Offender 387 receive a final admonition from the Chastiser before also being ushered away, still naked and with her hands folded on her head so that she could not comfort herself en route to the Dormitory for her period of respite.
‘Overseeing such proceedings is not mandatory. If any of you feels you will be unable, for reasons of conscience or otherwise, to supervise any future penal chastisements, you may declare yourselves now, with no loss of status or prospects.’
As was normal, nobody made such a declaration.