By Joshua Ryan
Chapter 21: Spare the Rod and Spoil the Slappie
Then came the day when I returned to the housekeeping room on the fifth floor, and my hand couldn’t find the stash I’d hidden behind the wallboard. I knew I was in bad trouble. I was scared to even look at my other hiding places. At the end of my shift, I found Boss Derek waiting for me at his desk. Seated behind that old dinged-up piece of discarded furniture, wearing his brown slappie suit with his hotel tag dangling from his collar, he looked like a total putz, despite the distinguished haircut. But he also had total power.
“Found this,” he said, opening a drawer, pulling out a wad of cash and laying it on the desk.
“What’s that?” I said. It was just a formality. I knew I was caught.
“Don’t waste my time,” he said, putting the wad back in his drawer. I could imagine what was going to happen to that. That and all the other stuff he’d found, exactly where he knew it was. His snitches would have seen to that. It would be pointless to bring up all the bills I’d passed up the chain to him. He wouldn’t bother to deny it. It was clear that somewhere I’d crossed a line. No matter how much he’d made from me, I’d gotten too big. I’d have to be made small. And being a sadist is entertaining in itself. “Hit the Frame,” he said.
The Frame was an unobtrusive object on one side of the room. I’d seen it before, many times. It was there as a warning whenever we walked past it or sat down to dinner next to it. It was just a horizontal plank nailed at the ends to vertical planks, with a heavy plank at the bottom to keep it standing up. That, and two handcuffs chained to the bottom plank. This was where they paddled your ass with a thick piece of wood.
“Take down your shorts, boy. Lean over the plank. All the way down.”
When I had my stomach on the plank and my arms reaching for my feet, he cuffed me in. I stayed that way for a long time. I couldn’t see what was going on in the background, but I heard boots moving across the floor, then stopping in back of me.
Oh my God, he hit me! He hit my fuckin ASS! That’s all I thought about the first blow. Then
WHAP! WHAP! WHAP!
Blow after blow. Every time he hit me, my arms jerked up, trying to escape the cuffs that were cutting into them; my feet thrashed, trying to find the ground that would let them stand up, walk away from the Frame; my stomach scratched itself raw moving back and forth against the plank that supported it. When the fifth blow hit—or was it the sixth?—I heard a voice shouting “Stop! Please stop!” It was my voice.
The blows stopped. I raised my eyes. Boss Derek appeared in front of me. “Had enough?” he said.
“Yes . . . . please . . . . ” I gasped.
“All right, Brandon,” he said. “Continue.”
Before the next blow hit, I had time enough to realize that the Boss wasn’t the one that was busting my ass. It was Brandon, the asshole that always showed up quickest when somebody called Security. Brandon, whose browns were XXL, but a size too small for his muscles. I received the eighth blow, or was it the tenth? The pain kept mounting even after it pushed the idea of numbers out of my head.
I heard the clank of chains and cuffs. “You may stand up now,” the voice said. “And pull up your shorts.”
I edged my shorts slowly over my ass and turned around. Facing me were ten of my closest slappie colleagues. Some were smirking. Some were snickering. Some were laughing out loud, with their arms around their boyfriends’ necks. Two or three of them were slaps I’d been plowing the past few weeks. They were laughing hardest.
I crept back to the barracks and fell face down on my bunk. My career as a big businessman was over. I was a slappie like every other slappie.
Except that there were worse jobs than the one I’d been working. After the chow that I was too sick to eat that night, Dev came to my bunk and told me to clear out for barracks number 1, the Foodie pen—I was now a busboy and I had to live with the other busboys. Next morning he handed me another SERVANT IN TRAINING cap and told me to report to the kitchen. I climbed the stairs to begin my new life as a food servant.
To be continued …