Kismet of Submission: Episode 4

Tamara still is hesitant. Sleeping with a man has always meant having sex, whether wanted or not. Drunk or sober never seemed to make a difference, she was expected to put out and the few times she didn’t—rape is an ugly word. She’s never met a woman who hasn’t been raped. The anger at self is the most common theme. What did you expect? Boys will be boys. So much for female solidarity: her mother’s contempt still rings in her ears.

The fact that the man of the house was quick with a cold beer, and even quicker with his feet and fists, seems to have been okay with most adults growing up. Tamara was the bad girl, the slut; the whore who got knocked up on purpose by the town’s Golden Son who could do no wrong. He was the first of several who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

The daughter they had together three months after the wedding, only made things worse. He always blamed them for having to give up his dreams. Ten years later, he was in his grave, the police finally doing what no one else could. Justice delayed, was justice ice cold in hate.

That hate drove them from her hometown, constantly on the move, always searching for the mythical safe harbor. Tamara poured all her efforts into keeping her daughter stable.

‘You’re safe with me, Tamara.’

‘That’s easy for you to say.’

‘I understand. But it’s the truth. Now, how about that lunch?’

‘Fine. I’ll decide after we eat.’

‘No pressure.’

She collects her purse and snorts.

‘Something funny?’

‘No, sir, it’s that men don’t have to worry about “The Walk of Shame.”’

‘I see.’

‘I doubt it. I expected to stay the day, not the night, so I have no clothes or toiletries.’

‘I could buy you some.’

At this naïve pronouncement, Tamara sags against the wall and bursts out laughing. ‘That makes it even worse! Don’t you know anything about women?’

‘I know that I respect them and fall in love with their uniquenesses.’

‘You’re a strange man.’

‘It’s been said before. Doesn’t bother me. In fact, it’s kinda my trademark.’

Body language is fascinating. As they walk down the hallway to the elevator, they are clearly not a couple, yet we wonder at their apparent ease with which they converse. He’s the one who presses the down arrow. He holds the door motioning her in first. He pushes the L button. His head bops to the music. They don’t talk in the car—elevator etiquette, and he waves her out second. ‘Such a polite young man’, says the granny as she hobbles out first, ‘You should hang onto him, good men are hard to find.’ We readers can picture this scene quite well because it’s happened to all of us at one time. Mistaken identity and intent. Most of the time, a pro forma protest is lodged.

‘Thank you, ma’am, I find he’s growing on me.’

Out into the bright sunshine of a hot summer’s day, the glare off the windshields is blinding. Heat rises through their soles. The inevitable panic flares.

‘You do like Mexican? Is that okay? I mean we can go someplace else if you like.’

‘I’m supposed to be the nervous one here! Mexican is fine.’

The cold air hits them with a sharp slap when he opens the front entrance for her. He always holds the door for ladies and the elderly. Not once has he ever been chastised for being old-fashioned. In his worldview, being polite has never gone out of style.

‘Table for two, please, booth if you have it.’

He looks around the restaurant; moderately busy, blue-collar guys on break nudge each other and check out Tamara. He rests his hand on her lower back, guiding her past harried families. The married couples are building matching forts out of sugar substitutes and hot sauce. The guys he ignores, he knows the type, worked with them for decades; crude, crass, foul-mouthed, misogynistic; but not in a threatening predatory manner, more of a bonding pack mentality before going home and kissing their wives and daughters.

‘Ah! Fresh tortilla chips. All you need to know about how good a Mexican restaurant will be, is if the chips and salsa are homemade.’

‘Interesting concept. Of course, having worked in restaurants, I’m pretty jaded to the whole process. The stories I could tell you.’

‘My mama always said, “Eat a peck of dirt before you die.”’

‘This is a lot worse than dirt, sir.’

‘You don’t have to keep calling me sir, Tamara. My real name is M—’

‘No! No, don’t tell me, your pen name is fine. Besides, sir is more impersonal. I’ve always hated it when customers call me Tamara as if I’m their best friend. I’m slinging slop and you’re paying, I don’t need your life story and I certainly won’t fuck you for a lousy tip.’

‘I totally agree. People see a nametag, and automatically think you’re their bitch. I ain’t in service, honey, this is a trade. I give you something and you pay. That’s it. Have a nice day and take your attitude somewhere else.’

By the time they order, the tension Tamara feels has dissipated, much like any lingering soreness in her bottom. In fact, despite wiggling on the padded bench, she can’t sense anything to indicate the recent spanking. She can’t help but giggle inside, imagining herself bending over the table, guacamole and fajitas shoved aside, while Sir whales away on her ass. She’s surprised at the ease with which he’s captured her attention. No leers, no come-ons, no innuendoes; just a clothed spanking, an invitation to spend the night sleeping and now a friendly and delicious lunch.

Before she’s even aware, she’s talking about her daughter, and how proud she is of her academic achievements. When she reveals a little bit about her past Tamara is startled by the warm hand reaching across and touching her wrist.

‘I don’t need to know, if it’s too painful.’

‘It was a long time ago.’

‘Some scars always seem like they happened yesterday.’

Their palms meet in silent solidarity.

To read all the Kismet of Submission episodes in order, please go to this page for individual links.

Kismet of Submission: Episode 3

To those of us observing this couple, the reactions vary from disgust and outrage to curiosity and envy. Spanking—despite a long literary provenance—cannot shake the dust of kink from adult desires: Likely because of the uncomfortable bridge between childish punishment and legal sexuality.

He raises his hand, and swings down with practiced ease. The impact on her mom jeans is surprisingly loud considering the casual way the arm moves. He could be painting the kitchen for all the drama the motion creates. The climate control fan is on high—a trick he learned long ago; the white noise masks repetitive sounds.

The sound of spanking: it’s unique and distinctive, even over clothing. He muses as he scatters spanks in a seemingly random pattern at the beat of two per second: How many women has he seen bottom up, submitting to his discipline? Not as many as he would have liked. The trials and tribulations of a spanker who is always seeking the next partner—too many strings attached these days. To borrow a phrase from the horror genre: Too squicky for most.

He’s never considered spanking to be violent, not like a punch or kick, or the cutting words of an abusive parent. To him, spanking a woman is as natural as breathing, but the politics of correctness have taken the shine off the hunt. He finishes with a quick flurry of smacks to the junction of her thighs, pats gently in a quick double-tap and then tells her he is finished.

Tamara discovers, much to her surprise, that being over his knee is actually… pleasant is the wrong word, so is safe, so she settles for comfortable: for the moment. The hand resting on the small of her back makes small circles, like a dog preparing for sleep. The heat spreads up her spine. She exhales with deep sigh: The carpet is out of focus.

The first spank jolts her, not from the pain—there is none—but from the instant comparison of all the times she’s been beaten before. She tenses and waits for the next blow. Instead, his right hand rests on her crests. A gentle squeeze, a pat, she consciously forces her muscles to relax. The ‘good girl’ is said softly, but the praise is clear in his tone. Her unseen smile is wry. The absurdity of the situation is beyond her ability at present to cope. Trust me; is the single hardest sentence in English to accept.

She wiggles slightly, letting him know she is okay and wants to continue. The second spank is on the opposite cheek. Then back and forth he goes, she tries to count, but the steadily increasing heat in her bottom is a distraction. It’s… divine is the wrong word. Searching her vocabulary, she settles on cool: lame perhaps, but it’s actually kinda cool to be getting a spanking in a stranger’s—a strange man’s hotel room.

The final volley of twenty are deliberately placed low and inside. She feels the spanks; oh does she feel them. Traitorous pussy she grumbles to herself. You’re not having sex today. The internal dialogue is rapid and angry. Too many times before has she let her genitals have control: it never ends well. When she hears the silence and his statement of closure, what she feels is disappointment. What she wants is to be bare-bottomed and spanked again from the top.

So what does he want? Can this patty-cake spanking be satisfying for either of them? A handshake or fist bump certainly doesn’t rise to the level of rapture, so why would we expect fireworks from a simple one-minute over the knee session? Have we as readers lost the capability to enjoy a slow consummation unfolding? The electronic pacifiers damage more relationships than they create.

This time, he helps her stand with an arm around her waist. He keeps his hands away from unacceptable places and pulls out the single chair from the desk-cum-workstation for her to sit. Perched on the corner of the bed, he studies her posture and expressions. She doesn’t quite meet his gaze; it’s centered somewhere on his forehead. He recognizes the look as one of the many varied and nuanced survivor stares. Asking about how she feels would likely provoke flight.

When he was younger, brash and filled with conceit, he’d have pressed for feedback to stroke his fragile ego—and lost the girl. Concern is the primary focus now. ‘That snack earlier didn’t fill me up. What would you like to eat, Tamara? The restaurant next door appears interesting; if you like Mexican.’

‘I should go.’

‘The afternoon workshops should be fun. Plus tomorrow is the wrap up luncheon, you can assist me in flogging my oeuvre beforehand.’

‘I… don’t know what to do.’

‘Then let’s start with lunch, Tamara. Allow someone else to serve you for a change.’

‘I quit my job!’

‘Good for you.’

‘I can’t afford to stay overnight. My bus leaves at six.’

‘You can sleep on the side facing the door. I’m warning you though, hands off the TV remote. It’s mine.’

We see a genuine smile illuminate her face, for a brief instant something shines beneath. Craning our necks, the bright joy slowly fades; the haggard lines reappear. Are they shallower? Can anyone truly lift the veil of depression from somebody? It is very easy to criticize choices made in extremis, when doing so deflects from our own faults. In order to really empathize, we must purge the blind devotion to our perceived greatness. Respect is built upon a foundation of communication: Non-verbal cues are often missed.

To read all the Kismet of Submission episodes in order, please go to this page for individual links.

Kismet of Submission: Episode 2

Originally posted as What makes a spanko tick, for Wicked Wednesday on April 12th, 2017.

We see him driving, the concrete unspooling like an endless carpet in the world’s largest casino; gray and stained with sweat and unrequited hopes. The vastness of America catches the unwary—not vast like Siberia or Africa—but the green demarcations of exits and mileage remaining to safe haven, become a life raft you impatiently watch bob up over the horizon.

Flyover country—sneeringly patronized by those perched on couches in front of bi-coastal cameras. He feels the thump-thump of synthetic rubber trailing microns behind with every revolution.

His words still reverberate in the diner, a catalyst that goads a wounded soul to action.

Tamara shows up Saturday morning, her disguise of frumpy hausfrau unsurprisingly mundane. Most attendees could be her clones, all searching for a spark, dog-eared tablets clutched to chest, the ereader explosion replacing the autograph book. Some seek to rekindle first love from a time when cynicism was the fiercely guarded territory of mysterious elders.

They are now the elders. Their childhoods returned threefold.

She is not here for that. It’s not in her nature to be a fangirl. In fact, she isn’t quite sure why she quit her job and rode a bus for three hours, on the off chance the man with the rental car really meant what he didn’t say.

Observe her enter the room, she hugs the wall in loving embrace, chooses a chair, near the back, half-hidden by teased bouffant creations and Estee Lauder clouds. She holds the crinkled brochure over her nose, eyes peep mouse-like; if she had whiskers, they would be madly twitching.

He knows she’s there. There is time for action and time for seduction. It is the latter.

He speaks, introduces the panel, and talks about the causal link between feminism and submission: Freedom from drudgery allows empowerment to offer body as equals. The undercurrents in the audience are both subtle and treacherous. It’s easy for a white man to spout entitlement as if spraying sperm on the front row. Fertilization after all has many different meanings.

For Tamara—a Latina/Native American/Italian mongrel—the dangers of choosing the wrong partner[s][s][s] have left scars in every dimension. She listens to him moderate the discussion; most of the esoteric arguments are dandelion tufts seeking colonies in more fertile minds than hers. She watches the others mostly; their blatant flirtations and copulatory signals bounce away as if he doesn’t sense them.

Does he even notice? Is he gay? Is that why he invited her?

Her random thoughts prick like soap bubbles in the sun. Her self-defense mechanisms—always gleaming and rust free—close shutters and prime weapons. This time, she’s not going down without a fight.

What she doesn’t know is that he’s already in her control room and her defenses recognize him as safe.

You would suppose, after we witness his skillful extraction from the smiling crowd of pheromone emitting females; he has no interest in a companion, or two. That—in fact—is a slippery slope. Seduction to consummation is a yawning chasm for one who prefers conversation to a random tumble. Besides, he already knows whom he wants. We watch as he leads Tamara away as if they were a bonded pair already. Sustenance, and explanations—beckon us onward. Shall we follow?

She picks at her food—the diner was far superior fare—mostly because she studies the man across the plastic table. Tamara has to, must know why he selected her before she can consider the consequences. ‘What makes a spanko tick?’

Caught in mid-bite, he finishes chewing, sips his soda and, after wiping his fingers, reaches across and takes her in hand. ‘For me, it’s in my nature to desire a woman over my knee. Not to subjugate necessarily, although, please don’t misunderstand, punishment is not something I shy away from: No, it’s because all the attraction I feel for a woman begins with her bottom and ends with her mind. Everything else in between is the glorious territory of love and respect.’

‘So spanking for you is like… foreplay?’

‘No, Tamara, more like a handshake. A friendly greeting, much as a hug or peck on the cheek.’

She is rattled: the violence inherent in the submissive posture his words have offered, strikes too close to home in memories of fists and booted feet. The familiar adrenaline blanches her olive skin, her mind retreats to the safe room. I’m here for you. A gentle whisper, she turns inside out and sees him waiting there, patiently smiling. She allows his guidance as they leave the convention: for her, all convention flew away long ago. But now, sunlight floods the dark spaces of her soul. Sprouts of emotions buried for survival’s sake, unfurl in the warmth of his regard. She cannot think. Nor, does she wish to.

Wow! Cries the reader. No way! Life doesn’t happen that way. Fine, maybe there are good guys out there, but good guys don’t go around telling woman they want to spank them! Do they?

A mile down the road is the hotel. He calls it GWC—Generic World Clone. He swipes the card at the side entrance, no need to parade his captive through the lobby. The elevator to the fourth floor, right turn; fifteen doors down on the left is room 425. A queen size bed awaits, maid service come and gone for the day.

He perches at the foot of the bed, after draping his jacket over the back of the chair. The water runs in the compact bathroom; on purpose he left the room door ajar, resting on the safety latch. If she runs, he will not chase.

In the mirror, a worn woman appears ghostly in the harsh artificial light. What happened to the carefree girl I never had a chance to be? His words have warmed her as none have ever done before. She makes an easy decision: The solid thump of the closing door is followed by the sharp clack of deadbolt and clink of latch.

‘Are you right-handed?’

‘Yes.’

She takes a deep breath and exhales loudly. Then another. She stands at attention, right angle to his seated thighs. ‘Hi. My name is Tamara. It’s a pleasure to meet you.’

Awkwardly—for he does not touch her at all—she bends forward and lies down over his knees. Her hands press the sheared carpet, her shoes slip until she digs in.

‘Hello, Tamara, likewise, it is a great pleasure to meet you. You may call me… Sir.’

To read all the Kismet of Submission episodes in order, please go to this page for individual links.

Kismet of Submission: Episode 1

Originally posted as Some times, that’s all it takes, for Wicked Wednesday on March 1st, 2017. After I posted this story, there were some readers who wanted to continue. I did so, with a direct followup six weeks later. By the time I started the third 1,000-word addition, I decided to turn the story into a serial. My plan is to post an episode of Kismet of Submission once a week, as long as I have ideas.

Tamara meets a man at her place of work. He tells her he’s a spanko. For reasons that are unclear to her—considering her abusive past—she decides to follow him. This story, of undetermined length, will cover topics such as spanking, submission, dominance, politics, religion, abusive pasts, drug and alcohol use, sex, and anything else that pops up. The story will be told from three perspectives: His, Hers and Omnipresent. The episodes will be around 1,000 words and will be sequential.

The windows faced west, not that they provided a scenic vista of sweeping beauty. Neat rows of gas pumps under a flat canopy that would topple in a strong wind: beyond them, the four lanes of asphalt connecting the freeway with town.

Over there, near the cash register, a middle-aged woman polishes the stainless steel counter and mops the tile floor. The breakfast crowd has cleared out; one booth for four nurses coffees and argues politics. She is the quintessential diner waitress. Even without her salmon uniform dress or sea foam green name badge, she has the thousand-yard service stare that makes patrons feel both acknowledged and uncomfortable.

Her story—unfortunately—is all too familiar, even if unknown to anyone in town. An abusive home begat teen pregnancy, begat reluctant marriage, begat domestic violence until the divorce, the restraining order until her ex killed resisting arrest. Her daughter got a college scholarship, her mother sold everything, and left her memories behind.

She does what she has to do in order to survive, even if being numb is a normal state of being. Do you believe in fate? She doesn’t.

He does.

She watches a nondescript four-door sedan pull up to the pumps. The driver gets out, stretches and presses his hands into the small of his back. He stares at the nozzles, then the vehicle. Shaking his head, he gets back in and reverses direction so the filler cap faces the right way. The fresh coffee is brewed, so she tops off the foursome and trades jokes all the while her peripheral vision monitors the man at the pumps.

He’s done. The vehicle turns around again and moves fifty feet to park in front of the diner. When he comes inside, he briefly brings the growling and barking of tractor-trailers rotating from the truck stop. He veers to the restroom, presumably to wash gasoline off his hands.

The counter stools are covered in checkerboard to match her colors. In fact, the entire diner is a tribute to the pastel age. Strangely enough, the laminated menus don’t match. She slaps one down with a practiced twist and asks, ‘would you like some coffee?’

You see the man now tilt his head and study her. It’s not easy being a survivor. She’s always thought she’s worn a neon sign stamped on her high forehead. He too, recognizes a kindred spirit, so he makes—to us—a seemingly impulsive decision.

‘No, no coffee, water is fine.’

He studies the menu now. He’s not hungry, peckish maybe, but it’s still two hours to his destination.

‘I’ll have two scrambled eggs and rye toast.’

He watches her spin and yell through the window to the short order cook. He notices her bottom. He’s an ass man, always has been, which, given his vocation, is a good thing.

She notices. She always notices; which, for a paranoid survivor is a good thing. His eyes though, they’re not flat and hungry like most of the truckers or the husbands stopping in for the luncheon special and some flirting. His eyes are open, smiling; his mouth follows through with a wry crook, his shoulders shrug in apology. For once, she doesn’t feel cornered.

To cover her unease, she resumes her interrupted cleaning then busses the booth after the town workers punch back in to spend more taxpayer dollars. She kneels on the bench, calf-length skirt rising to the back of knee. She knows he’s watching.

He can see her. Not by spinning around on the stool and ogling with cocky elbow on the Formica. The mirror that runs along the cornice is sufficient. Her nylons have a run. The shoes need new soles.

The ding and ‘order up!’ elicits Pavlovian responses.

The eggs are quickly consumed. The toast—buttered—slathered with one packet of jam each, blueberry and strawberry, the marmalade, as always, looks disgusting.

‘Anything else?’

‘No thanks.’

‘Passing through?’

‘Conference in the city this weekend.’

‘Sales?’

‘I’m a writer.’

Her gaze slides to his transportation. His follows.

‘It’s a rental.’

‘Ah.’

‘I don’t like flying.’

‘What kind of writing do you do?’

It’s at this point we wonder how to reconcile the internal dialogue in order to make a believable story. After all, as the reader, we have preconceived expectations of how people behave. As a writer, however, the internal becomes external, and the reader has to decide to follow or quit.

‘I write erotica. Specifically, erotica with some type of spanking as the focal point.’

Like falling dominoes, his words coalesce around his actions, and her mind concocts multiple scenarios in a blink of the eye. Which hers do multiple times.

‘Are you famous?’

A genuine smile of delight makes his eyes sparkle. His white teeth are only marred by a piece of toast stuck in one corner. Her eyes dart there. She watches as his tongue swishes and sucks. He bares his teeth. She nods.

‘Thanks. What is famous? Is my penname known? Sure, but my face isn’t. Besides, who needs the hassles? I like being anonymous.’

‘Why spanking?’

‘I like it. I like to spank, be spanked, read about spanking and write about spanking. It’s fun and easy to fantasize.’

‘This conference, is it open to the public?’

‘Sure. Gotta a brochure right here. If you want to go, here’s a comp ticket as well. I’ll circle the seminars I’m involved with and the ones I plan to attend.’

He watches as she gnaws her lower lip. She wants to go, he can tell, but pushing will result in being shoved away.

‘Sometimes, Tamara, you can clearly see the choice offered. Whether you accept or not, don’t regret your decision.’

He leaves a twenty and taps the counter with his fingers.

‘Keep the change. See you there tomorrow.’

As he pulls away, back to the highway, she smooths out the glossy paper, her finger underlining his name. There is no sense of panic, only rightness.

Sometimes, all it takes is one man to start the healing process.

To read all the Kismet of Submission episodes in order, please go to this page for individual links.