Toady's story is about such an aspiring writer and illustrates what the demands of the art may require in order to become an overnight sensation. It's from my collection, The Friday Night Bridge Club.
LOVE’S PASSIONATE FRENZIED FURY
“Arthur, I need to speak with you for a moment.” It was Eleanor, Arthur’s wife. Arthur had just settled down in his study to listen to a brand new remastered recording. Bill Evans with Scott LeFaro and Paul Motian. Classic. Relaxing. Arthur sighed. It would have to wait. “What is it, dear?”
Eleanor bustled into the room. She was a bundle of energy as usual. Never stopped talking. She never just walked into a place, she burst in. She looked the part too--- a short voluptuous blonde with curly hair that cascaded in ringlets framing a round and very pretty face. They had been married for nine years. No children.
“I need help with my writing.”
Oh God. The latest of Eleanor’s nutty hobbies. Now she was writing these romances, for Christ’s sake. The kind with some alpha male in a loincloth on the cover clutching some quivering damsel who, incidentally, had exceptionally large breasts, said breasts having been revealed by the tearing action of said male’s oversized paw visited upon said damsel’s wardrobe.
He understood they called them “bodice rippers”, an apt characterization. Before that it had been pottery (the garage was still a mess) and before that, violin lessons (his ears had yet to recover).
“So how can I help dear?” he said smoothly. He hoped this wouldn’t take too long.
“It’s my latest novel, Love’s Furious Passionate Frenzy. You see I’ve reached a bit of a writer’s block and I need help. I am finding it difficult to understand my own heroine, get into her head, as it were.”
Understandable, thought Arthur. Nobody can figure out what’s in a woman’s head, not even another woman. “But I don’t know anything about damsels in distress or whatever it is, dear.”
“You don’t have to. You just need to help me understand her.”
Arthur was now totally confused and Eleanor could see it on his face. “No, well, you see Miss Cadivec, my creative writing teacher, always says that we have to live the lives of our characters, to experience what they do, and well, I need to actually be her to know how it feels.”
“How what feels? To have the buttons on your blouse popped off? I think not. Your clothes are expensive as it is.”
“No, no, not that. It’s ah…a bit more intimate.”
Arthur was now a little more interested. Eleanor was a very attractive woman, and to tell the truth, things had been slipping in the bedroom department lately. Arthur was always busy at work and Eleanor had her hobbies. They were drifting, it seemed.
“Well, you see, Miss Cadivec says that, ah… spankings are very popular in romance novels nowadays, and so I thought I’d work one into the plot. I have it all figured out. My heroine, Daisy is an English princess captured by Thorgar, the Viking, as a slave--- only he falls in love with her and when they get back to Thorgar’s castle he wants to marry her only she runs away, against his express authorization, I might add, and he is very angry and when he catches up with her he decides to give her a good spanking…”
It was making Arthur’s head swim. Daisy? What kind of name was that? And if she’s a slave, of course she is forbidden to run away. Spankings? For grown women? Did Vikings do that? He’d always thought that Viking discipline usually involved something with an ax in it.
“….and so he puts her over his knee, tosses up her skirts and spanks her, right on the bottom!”
“It all sounds very intriguing dear but where do I come in?”
“Arthur, haven’t you been listening? I need to live Daisy, to be Daisy. I need a Thorgar.”
Arthur processed this for a minute. “You want me to spank you?”
“Yes. Yes. Precisely. I don’t know what that feels like. I can’t write about Daisy unless I know, you see. I need to have an authentic experience.”
This was too much. Arthur had to laugh. “Do I have to wear one of those horned helmets?”
Eleanor pouted. “Now you’re making fun of me.”
“Sorry, dear, but your request is a bit odd, wouldn’t you say?”
Eleanor remained firm. “Miss Cadivec says it is quite common in romances, historical or otherwise, and I should embrace the idea if I’m to write about it.”
“Hmm,” said Arthur. “All right, but how do we do this? I’ve never spanked anybody before.”
Eleanor brandished a sheaf of papers. “Here is what I’ve written so far. Just read it and speak Thorgar’s dialog. I’ll be Daisy.”
Arthur squinted at the page. “What ho, Glondorf, are the thralls secured in their bindings? Odin sends a fair wind, I’ll warrant!”
“No. No. Not there. The next page. Here,” she said pointing.
Ok. There it was. “I think perhaps I must needs teach you a lesson, wench. You sorely try my patience.”
Eleanor reads, “You brute. My father will hear of your mistreatment of me. He will bring an army to rescue me.”
“Ha ha! Before he arrives I will have tamed you, you tawny vixen.” Tawny vixen? What drivel! Who reads this stuff?
Eleanor throws her arm across her forehead and turns away. “Unhand me you Viking oaf!”
Then the page was blank. “What now?” said Arthur.
“Now you put me over your knee and spank me; then I write the rest of it.”
“Eleanor, now really, I mean…” But Eleanor had dragged Arthur over to the couch and pushed him down. He sat down in the middle of the long couch. Eleanor hoisted her skirts and climbed down across his lap. Arthur’s gaze was immediately directed to the twin plump mounds of Eleanor’s delectable behind, now covered by the thinnest of panties. She looked back at him and said, “Now Arthur. Spank me like I’m your naughty slave girl. Be Thorgar.”
Arthur rested his hand on Eleanor’s satiny bottom. He felt an immediate charge in his lower regions. Hmm, this is interesting. He brought his hand up and gave Eleanor’s bottom a little slap. The flesh quivered. He slapped the other side.
“Not like that, Arthur. Harder. Like you mean it. I’m Daisy, the slave who ran away. Punish me.” Arthur reflected that maybe Thorgar should have just let her keep on running, but he raised his arm and gave ‘Daisy’ a crisp spank that cracked noisily right on the crowns of her bottom cheeks.
“Ouch! Yes, yes. Like that.”
Well, ok, thought Arthur, and he proceeded to apply a series of crisp spanks that echoed in the study like rifle shots. He alternated with spanks delivered to both cheeks and was mesmerized by the way Eleanor’s bottom would wobble upon impact. Eleanor kicked her legs and begged “Thorgar” for mercy. Clearly she was still playing a game, so Arthur kept on spanking, one brisk spank after another until “Daisy’s” behind was uniformly red, like two bright stoplights. He paused a moment to rip “Daisy’s” panties down, now revealing his wife’s cheeky bottom in all its fully nude glory.
“Oh, my!” Gasped Eleanor.
By now the feel of Eleanor’s bottom under his hand and the vision of her shameless wriggling was giving Arthur a ferocious hard on. By God, if she wants Thorgar I’ll give her Thorgar. Arthur kept it up, laying on stinging spank after stinging spank. Finally he became aware that Eleanor had stopped calling him Thorgar.
“Arthur! Arthur, Stop, Please!” She wailed.
“What? Oh…” He paused, arm upraised. “Sorry, dear. I got a bit carried away.”
“Let me up. I think that’s quite enough, darling.”
“Are you sure?” asked Arthur. “Wouldn’t your Thorgar want to make doubly sure that his slave girl wouldn’t be tempted to run off again? Perhaps a few more…”
“No, No, Arthur that’s quite enough,” said Eleanor quickly. Arthur let her get up. Eleanor looked at Arthur wide eyed as she knelt upright on the couch and rubbed her burning bottom. But then without further ado she grabbed Arthur and toppled him backwards. By then she was smothering his face with kisses.
Arthur was nonplussed but he responded. Clothing flew off and before long Eleanor was straddling Arthur and riding him like a cowgirl. When it was all over Eleanor confessed that she’d been quite carried away, that his masterful spanking had awakened something quite delicious and that she couldn’t help herself. She rearranged her clothing and bustled off to write about Thorgar and Daisy, now absolutely sure as to how to describe it.
Arthur sat there numbly, a survivor (barely) of hurricane Eleanor. Still, it had been most interesting and pleasurable. Maybe there was something to this torrid romance tripe after all.
And, as it turned out later, astonishing as well. Eleanor acquired a publishing agent through a friend. The agent liked the novel and got it published-- in hardback of all things. It sold well. It sold well enough in fact that Eleanor acquired a publishing contract with an option for her next three novels.
A few weeks later Arthur came home to see a delivery truck parked in the driveway and some boxes and a large object being carried into the basement. What now? What is all this stuff?
Eleanor was inside directing the placement of the items. There was a strange contraption like T-shaped wooden frame. When the deliverymen left, Arthur asked, “What in the world is this?”
“It’s for my new book, Love’s Passionate Frenzied Fury,” said Eleanor. “I’m writing about a daughter of an English nobleman. You see her father has promised her in marriage to Lord Foulweather who is a villainous rogue, but she wants to marry Sir Percival who is her true love. So she runs away. Anyway Lord Foulweather is the nephew of Henry, the King and is a staunch royalist and his minister the evil Oliver Cromwell captures her and delivers her to Lord Foulweather. He conspires with Cromwell to have her tried for treason unless she marries him but she refuses, so he sentences her to be flogged and…”
“Wait, wait. Which Henry is this? Henry V? Henry VIII? Henry II?”
“Yes, one of those Henry’s.”
“Yes, but my dear,” began Arthur slowly, “there was no Oliver Cromwell in the reign of either Henry II or Henry VIII, or Henry V.”
“There was a man named Cromwell in there somewhere, I read it.”
“Yes, but it was a Thomas Cromwell in Henry VIII’s day and well, Oliver Cromwell was much later and certainly no royalist and…”. Arthur knew a little bit about English history.
Eleanor stamped her foot. “Those are unimportant details. What is important is that Lady Elspeth has run away to find Sir Percival, but was caught and is now in the clutches of Lord Foulweather who is determined to flog her until she agrees to marry him.”
Arthur sighed. “But then what is this, this…thing?” He was pointing to the wooden construct on the garage floor.
“It is a stocks. I bought it in a catalog. On sale for only $599.00.”
“What on earth is it for? And $599? That’s a lot of money.”
“It’s for the new novel, Love’s Passionate Frenzied Fury.”
“You need a $600 wooden pillory to write a novel?”
“Do I have to remind you of everything? This is the way I write. I live my characters. Lady Elspeth is to be flogged. I must place myself in the pillory to be flogged by Lord Foulweather until Sir Percival arrives on his stunning white horse and saves her.”
Arthur mused, “Let me guess. I’m to be Lord Foulweather?”
Eleanor beamed. “Yes, precisely.” Her face glowed with excitement.
Arthur surveyed the apparatus. “So this Lord Foulfeather…he puts you in that and he flogs you with…”
“It’s Lord Foulweather, Arthur. Don’t you listen?” She said in exasperation.
“He uses this,” said Eleanor pulling an object from one of the boxes. To Arthur it looked like a cat-o-nine-tails that he’d seen in old seafaring movies like Mutiny on the Bounty and such. It had a handle and seven or eight strands of thin supple leather.
“It’s made of deerskin, Arthur. Here, feel. It’s soft.”
The strands were light and supple. “But won’t this hurt?” The thing did have some heft to it.
“It’s deerskin and it will sting some, but Miss Cadivec says we must be prepared to suffer for our art. I was assured that it will leave no marks. I’m prepared to take the whipping Elspeth would take. I have to know what she feels, her fear, her emotions when she is stripped and locked in the pillory. The sting of the whip on her naked behind, the…”
This really did have possibilities, mused Arthur. Eleanor had certainly turned passionate as a result of their last encounter, but then she had locked herself away to write for, it seemed, days on end. Now she wanted to play another scene. Suffer for art, she said. She’d also suffer for spending $600 without asking him.
“…heat of the lash and the response of her quivering sex.” Eleanor was getting worked up enough just by talking about it.
“So will you do it?”
“Do what, now?” Arthur was startled out of his reverie.
“Be Lord Foulweather. Strip me. Put me in the stocks. Lash my bare behind with the whip.” Eleanor eyed him breathlessly. “You do remember what happened last time?” She asked coyly, a little come hither twinkle in her eye.
“Of course, dear. Where do we start?” Arthur was a bit more enthusiastic this time.
“Wait here. I’ll get the clothes.”
The clothes? thought Arthur. But Eleanor pulled a costume out of the box and handed it to Arthur. “Go put these on. I’ll dress here. Don’t be long,” she cooed, smiling.
But it took Arthur quite some time to figure out the damn costume, what with all the buttons and cuffs and frilly frou frou. Did they really wear this ridiculous outfit back then? He supposed that he was intended to look like a 17th century cavalier, but to Arthur it looked like he was Captain Hook sent over from central casting.
When Arthur arrived in the dungeon, i. e., the basement, Eleanor had changed into something that looked like a lady’s gown pilfered from the set of Shakespeare in Love.
“Eleanor, I feel ridiculous in this outfit. By the way, how much did all this cost?”
“Arthur dear, it’s all in the furtherance of art. But if you must know,” she sniffed, “it was a mere $ 850. These are very authentic.”
Arthur cringed. So this little set up was now running close to $1500. And it was just so they could act out a scene and be ‘authentic’. Arthur sighed. “What do we do now, dear?”
“Well,” said Eleanor, handing him a manuscript, “you read what Lord Foulweather says, right here.”
Arthur skimmed the page. Then he began, “Well, you disobedient little strumpet, what do you say now that I have you in my dungeon? You will marry me or suffer the consequences!”
“I will never marry you, you swinish oaf! Lord Percival will hear of your mistreatment of me and he will bring an army to rescue me.”
It seemed to Arthur that he’d heard this dialog before, but he continued, “Ha ha! I will tame you, you cheeky doxy. I think you require a sound whipping for your insolent behavior.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“Oh, wouldn’t I? I’ll show you. Strip out of that gown. Strip, I say, or I’ll call the guards and tear it off you.”
Eleanor, now fully into the part of the captured Elspeth, put her arm across her forehead and said, “You beast. You would ravage a young maid. You are indeed foul, Lord Foulweather. I have no choice but to obey.” Slowly she shucked out of the gown, and took off several layers of petticoats to stand before Arthur in a chemise and stockings. She looked quite lovely. Arthur stared rapturously, not moving
“Arthur,” she whispered, shaking him out of his reverie, “Now you must put me in the stocks.” She pointed to the wooden contraption.
“Hunh? Oh. Ok,” Then Arthur whispered back. “But why are we whispering?”
Arthur saw that the pillory had a hinged top and pried it up. Eleanor put her neck and two hands in the indented lower half, then Arthur gingerly lowered the top and locked the clasps. This left Eleanor in a quite vulnerable position. Bent over like this her shapely posterior was presented for what Arthur guessed would be Lord Foulweather’s evil ministrations.
“What do I do now?” said Arthur.
“You must pull down my drawers and lash me with the whip. It’s what Lord Foulweather would do.”
“All right, dear, but this might hurt, you know.”
“We must be prepared to suffer for our art, Arthur. Please go ahead.”
Suffer for art. Well, ok. He picked up the whip and tucking it under his arm approached Eleanor and tugged down the white pantaloons or whatever they were to reveal Eleanor’s full and curvy rear. The rounded moons were plump, but well proportioned. Arthur now felt a genuine stirring in his lower regions. He took the whip and swished it a time or two. Then taking a stance beside her, he drew back his arm and lashed her bottom. The whip went swish…thwick! Eleanor seemed to jump at the impact. A series of tiny red lines appeared across her rump. Drawing back, he lashed her again. This time she hissed and contracted her buttocks. He settled into a slow tempo, carefully drawing his arm back and whipping it forward so the strands landed evenly across her bottom. The tails would fan out for each lash. Eleanor would flinch and her bottom would wobble as the whip hit, but she remained silent through ten lashes.
“Er, Eleanor, how many lashes does Lord Foulweather give her?”
“Just keep going, darling, I’ll tell you when it’s enough. Oooh, it’s hot and stingy, but please continue. Miss Cadivec says we must really feel it to appreciate the true emotional state of our heroine. I must feel her pain.”
Arthur mused that a recent president had said much the same thing. He probably did not have this scene in mind—or maybe he did, who knows? Then Arthur decided that this was one way to get a little satisfaction for a $1500 outlay. Hopefully there would be several novels with this kind of scene so it would at least be a bit more cost effective. He went to work with the whip.
Arthur set about to give Eleanor her money’s worth. The lashes fell on Eleanor’s quivering rear end in a slow but steady tempo, impacting the soft cheeks and drawing more red lines across the wobbling rounds. Eleanor began to make little gurgling noises, but did not beg Arthur to stop. Arthur felt like a grim executioner of old, standing beside his prisoner, drawing the whip back with his arm and then striking a blow to the reddening cheeks. After a while he thought that his form became pretty smooth.
Swish….thwick! At each lash now, Eleanor shifted from foot to foot which only made her bottom cheeks dance lasciviously. Eleanor began to give out little stifled yelps. After about 30 lashes she implored Arthur to stop.
“Oww…oww, darling. That’s quite enough, dear,” she said hopefully. “I think I have the feel of it now.”
Arthur stood back. He could not stop thinking about the $1500 worth of stuff.
“Well dear. Lord Foulweather would not stop just because Lady Elspeth asked him to do so, would he?”
“Well, no, I suppose not,” came Eleanor’s muffled response.
“And so, I think he might lay on another dozen or so ---real sharp stingers, wouldn’t you think?”
Eleanor was silent for a moment. “No, no. He wouldn’t, he…..well, maybe. But not too hard, darling.” Eleanor was pleading now.
Arthur chuckled. “Oh, I think they’d be hard. After all, she is a naughty wench.”
By God, this was exhilarating, thought Arthur. He drew back the whip and resumed, lashing her with a volley of deliberate, stinging strokes delivered right across the fullness of Eleanor’s backside. Eleanor yelped, all pretense of bearing it stoically cast aside. Now she was getting a taste of it. Now I bet she knows what it means to be whipped, the little baggage! The whip bit. Swishh…..whick! Eleanor’s bottom quivered in response. Refuse to marry him, would she? Swish….whick! He’d show her obedience, he’d….
“Arthur! Arthur! Stop!” Eleanor was practically shrieking.
Arthur stopped himself. Whew! What had he been thinking? Eleanor’s rear was a bright red with little striped tracings near the side. Arthur dropped the whip and caressed his wife’s glowing cheeks. Eleanor moaned, “Oh…Arthur, that feels so good.” He had moved his fingers down lower into her cleft. The slit of her vagina was slippery wet. She moaned and rotated her hips, responding to his fingers which continued to stimulate her sex. Without thinking Arthur stood behind her and unzipped his pants, letting them fall. Eleanor heard the sound, but could not see him.
“Arthur, dear, what are you doing?” But before she even react, she felt the probing of Arthur’s maleness at the entrance to her vaginal slit. “Oh, my….Arthur, ohhh….Arthur,” she gasped as it slid all the way in. Arthur stroked Eleanor, slowly at first, but then built up speed, his mid section spanking the red globes of her bottom as he thrust repeatedly deep inside her. Eleanor screamed as she was ridden to climax and Arthur seemed to go completely rigid as he was wracked with orgasmic spasms.
Later, in bed and out of the period costumes, Eleanor confided that it had been a most thorough whipping Arthur had meted out, but that his manly conquest of her had made it worth the suffering endured by her poor bottom.
“Well, as you said dear, we must sometimes suffer for our art. I now feel almost like a co-author of these novels of yours. I’ll be happy to help, anytime, dear. Really.”
The novel was a smashing success. Love’s Passionate Frenzied Fury, it seemed, was all the rage in romance circles. So it was with some anticipation that Arthur observed the latest of Eleanor’s props being loaded off the delivery van and carried into the basement. Oh, say, he thought. What’s this? School desks. A blackboard. A teacher’s desk, the kind that sits in front of a classroom. A school scene, she’s writing a schoolroom scene. At once Arthur conjured a picture in his mind of an English boarding school, and a classroom. A stern headmaster wearing a black gown and one of those flat hats with the little tassel on it, flexing a switch, or what?---a cane. That was it. They called it a cane, but it wasn’t a walking stick, no. It was bendy and swishy. All the better for striping girlish bottoms. And Eleanor, clad in a cute pleated skirt, very short of course, her hair in pigtails, called to front by a stern schoolmaster, played by yours truly, there to be reprimanded most severely for some fault. I wonder what the plot is, he thought. Does the schoolmaster give her good spanking and then she falls in love with him? He was getting aroused already.
Arthur positively beamed at Eleanor’s intrusion into his study. Now he was expecting her and all too happy to assist.
“Arthur I’m afraid I need your help again.” A look of consternation on her face.
Arthur spread his arms and smiled. “Of course my dear. I’m all yours. I will gladly assist you in any way I can.”
“Oh, I am so relieved to hear you say that, Arthur. I’m having a devil of a time with my current book, Love’s Frenzied Furious Passion. It’s my heroine, you see. I have trouble understanding her feelings and I rather thought you and I could…”
“Sort of act it out?” Eleanor nodded hopefully. Arthur replied, “Of course, dear. Whatever you require.”
“Oh, thank you dear. This may be difficult, but…”
Arthur held up his hand stopping her. “I assure you Eleanor that I will do whatever it takes and I will not shirk away from what needs to be done so you can understand your heroine. You have my pledge. As your Miss Cadivec frequently says, ‘we must be prepared to suffer for art’s sake’, so if suffer we must, so be it.”
Taking her arm he said, with a twinkle in his eye, “I saw the schoolroom equipment being carried into the basement. Shall we?”
Arthur followed Eleanor into the basement observing the twitching of her hips under the tight skirt. He wondered how she would look bent over for the cane, panties lowered, lush bottom bared. How many, he wondered? Didn’t they give them in multiples of six or something? For some reason the phrase ‘six of the best’ came to mind. Well, they’d be the best all right.
Eleanor turned to Arthur and smiled, “Now,” she said, hugging Arthur and giving him a big hug and kiss, “I’m so glad you are enthusiastic about this one. I’ll tell you all about it. You see in my latest book, my heroine Elizabeth is in love with Lord Rockwell. But she is only a tutor in his household, hired by Lord Rockwell to tutor his favorite nephew Billy of whom he is very fond. She thinks that he may be warming up to her and she wants the relationship to go further. And also she is very fond of Billy, but Billy is a bit of a rogue, you see and has run off to play instead of attending to his studies.”
“And so Lord Rockwell is put out with her for failing to tutor Billy properly?”
Eleanor cocked her head, “Well….not exactly, but yes, sort of. You see Elizabeth is torn, she is anguished. She knows what must happen and she fears losing both the affection of Lord Rockwell and Billy. And what I need to do is to feel her anguish, the awful wrenching of her soul, the pain…”
“That she feels when Lord Rockwell canes her?” said Arthur hopefully.
“Well….not exactly. You see she must cane Billy. Severely. Imagine her feelings. She must severely punish the boy she is so fond of for his own good, and imagines that Lord Rockwell will hate her for it, but it is her duty and she must. I need for her to feel the remorse for every stinging swish of the cane that she applies to Billy’s tender backside. The two conflicting emotions of solemn duty and tender sympathy along with her fear that she may lose Lord Rockwell forever. I need to feel that it truly hurts her worse than it hurts Billy!”
“But…But what about Lord Rockwell? Don’t you want me to be Lord Rockwell when he finds out and…?
Eleanor looked at Arthur sharply. “Lord Rockwell? Who said anything about Lord Rockwell? I need for you to be Billy, of course.”
Arthur was stunned. He stood frozen to the spot as the awful realization dawned. “You mean you want to cane…”
Eleanor nodded, beaming. She strode over to a box, fished around in it, and pulled out a yellow crook handled cane about 3 feet long. Arthur stared mesmerized as it quivered back and forth in her hand like a snake about to bite. She held it in both hands flexing it. She could bend it almost into a circle. “Yes, of course dear. And I’m so glad you so enthusiastically agreed to help. You do understand what Miss Cadivec means when she says we must suffer for our art. It won’t be easy. I intend to give Billy a bakers dozen with this swishy wand. Hard, too. I must feel her pain as she delivers each excruciating stripe. Billy’s howls of pain will sear her soul.” She swooshed through the air for effect. It made a scary whine. “You will howl for me, won’t you dear?” She asked expectantly.
Arthur stood there, dumbstruck.
“Now hurry up.” She pointed the cane at him meaningfully. “Your clothes for the scene are in the box. I’m afraid the short woolen schoolboy pants may be a little tight, dear. All I could get was a ‘small’. But don’t worry,” she added with a wicked grin, “they will come down soon enough. I intend to cane naughty Billy completely bare.”