In The Approved Manner
Art by Paula Russell
The Oakwood Public Safety Act of 1969, in Section Two (dealing with
corrective procedures, and, in particular, with the corporal punishment
of adult females), is notably single-minded in its old-fashioned,
authoritarian style, indicating that such punishments shall be administered
with ".. judicial severity sufficient to fully and demonstrably
chastise the offender of her grievous and culpable iniquity." Accordingly, the
casual reader is admonished that the following story is a graphic
fictional account of the judicial correction of a mature woman in the
'approved manner', and thus may cause distress to persons of fragile
The Oakwood Islands were granted virtual autonomy in 1957, after nearly
a century of squabbling between the five thousand or so inhabitants and
their British masters. Whilst nominally a 'protectorate' under the
Crown, in practice, the governor and the city fathers, known as the High
Council, were granted full sway over the Islands' political and legal
The unexpected tourist boom of the late 60's and 70's, with its influx
of young ideas and styles, seriously challenged, however, the
islanders' inbuilt sense of quiet superiority. This, combined with a general
feeling of righteous moral certitude, provided much of the impetus for the
re-introduction of corporal punishment in the early nineteen-seventies.
In those dim, but not-so-distant times, the imposing edifice of the old
colonial gaolhouse could still be seen towering over the eastern end of the capital, Kingstown. For more than three-hundred years, before its
demolition in 1985 to make way for a short-lived theme-park development, the grey sandstone fortress had watched like a sentinel over the
fiercely conservative, tight-knit island community.
It was here in this historic setting, on August 25th 1972, that, by
order of the Municipal Sessions, and with the approval of the governor and
most of the island populace, one Penelope Anne Spender - a lady of some
standing we are informed - was, as the evening papers put it, "..
formally chastised with an old-style prison birching," for crimes she had
committed in a mindless, drunken rage at a discotheque known
affectionately to locals and tourists alike as The Dungeon.
The Oakwood Islands Public Safety Act, 1969 (as amended) states that,
"Whereas a female has been judged guilty of an offence under this Act, a
magistrate, or his appointed deputy, may order that she undergo
corporal punishment, provided that :
a) the offender is aged over 18 years;
b) the court deems her to be unsuitable for rehabilitation;
c) the offender is able to comprehend the nature of her offence; and
d) she is physically fit and able to withstand the punishment."
The controversial Act came into effect in February 1970 after a spate
of violent incidents centred around Kingstown's booming tourist and
nightclub precinct. Later that year, amid international outrage, two
sisters aged 18 and 20, along with their 23-year-old male companion, were
punished for soliciting and theft. By the middle of 1971, and despite
continuing uproar, the number of women who had been sentenced under the
legislation had risen to over twenty. The practice of judicial birching
was officially discontinued in 1976, due mainly to its phenomenal success
in reducing crime rates amongst the trendy crowd of under-twenty-fives
who continued to flock to the resort in steadily increasing numbers.
Penny Spender was, however, not your average high-spirited teenage
rapscallion. Recently separated from her affluent, well-connected spouse,
the unrepentant Miss Spender had, according to Chief Stipendiary
Magistrate, Iain Treloare, come to Oakwood, with ".. too much money, too much
free time, and a bad attitude all round." So, for her part in the
nightclub affray and the rampage which had followed, the headstrong,
independent twenty-eight-year-old was duly sentenced and handed over for
chastisement in the 'approved manner'.
A murmur of approval rippled through the packed courtroom as the stiff
sentence was handed down. "Hear hear!" a loud voice said, and heads
nodded in the public gallery as she was led from the dock. The next
morning, shortly before nine, she was taken from her cell by two constables
and frogmarched down the long corridor to face her bitter penance.
The drill hall at the Kingstown Municipal Correctional Facility was a
large, brightly-lit area roughly the size of a tennis-court. The space
had originally served as an assembly place for troops and convicts - in
the days when there were troops and convicts to assemble - but now, the
whole south end of the room was dominated by the presence of a low
wooden podium, raised nine inches or so from the surrounding floor and more
than broad enough to accommodate the punishment detail with it's grisly
Spender was to be 'horsed' over the waist-high timber trestle which
stood at the rear of the platform. Her wrists and ankles would be fastened
so that she was presented in an 'on-all-fours' position with her hips
and bottom thrust up prominently to receive her punishment. A coarse
woollen blanket had been draped about the top of the cruel perch to afford
the prisoner some small protection from the rough-hewn beams and the
crude apparatus had been bolted tightly down into position, presumably as
a contingency in case a struggle should ensue.
A long wooden bench had been placed in front of the podium for the warden and the court Bailiff, along with a number of officers and official witnesses. When the prisoner was led in, flanked by the uniformed guards, an expectant hush fell immediately over the small gathering. Penny
was straightaway brought forward and made to stand facing the bench.
"Penelope Anne Spender, brought by order of the Bailiff," the senior officer declared to no one in particular, then produced a bundle of keys from his jacket. The warden, a prim, mousey woman named McNally reached over and accepted them without comment, placing them carefully on the
bench in front of her. She turned then to the lean, blue-coated man who sat beside her. "A most un-cooperative little madam," she said. "Your prisoner, Sergeant."
Staff Sergeant Maxwell Thorne nodded curtly, rose from his seat and,
eyeing intently the woman whose chastisement he would presently oversee,
made his way to the front and stepped onto the platform. "Bring her
here," he said, and the burly constables promptly manhandled the squirming
girl up onto the deck.
Under normal conditions, she would have been thought an attractive
woman, though today she would not have readily agreed. She was dressed in
the same diminutive blue miniskirt and cream cotton blouse she had been
arrested in two nights earlier. Worse, with her belongings confiscated
and with no mirror to dress by, her long brown hair had been left
unbrushed and her makeup unattended. so that she appeared bedraggled and
unkempt in the extreme. "Let me go!" she snarled, baring her teeth in
"Settle down!" Thorne said sharply, raising an admonishing finger. "Sod
you!" she spat back and aimed an untidy, half-hearted kick at his
groin. Thorne fixed her with a glowering stare. "I'll warn you once." he
hissed. "One more such outburst, madam, and you will find yourself back
before the court for assaulting a police officer and resisting lawful
restraint. Do I make myself clear?"
Penelope blanched. "I .. I .."
"Do you understand me, girl?!" the big man demanded. Penny jumped
visibly and a deep blush came over her ashen visage. "Yes, Sir. I
understand, Sir," she said softly, lowering her eyes, shamefaced and apparently
resigned now to her ignominious fate. "Hold out your hands, then," he
ordered, and, when she had done so, the younger constable, a man in his
early twenties, removed the steel cuffs from her wrists. "Has the doctor
seen you?" Thorne enquired. Penelope shuffled nervously, staring at her
"I asked you a question!" the gruff sergeant barked. Penny winced at
his renewed show of anger. "She.. I.." she stammered. "She.. she.." With
a frustrated shrug Thorne turned his back on the babbling convict and
addressed a lumpish, red-faced little woman at the bench. "Matron! Has
the prisoner been examined?" he demanded. "Yessir, she has," the surly
old nurse replied, and detached herself awkwardly from her chair. "She's
as fit as a fiddle, Guv. I dare say the .." She would have gone on but
the sergeant interrupted, unconcerned with details. "That will do,
Nurse Grimes!" he said. The fat woman bristled, giving him a sour look.
"Hmmmph!" she snorted and flopped back heavily into her chair.
"Right, you men! Let's have her over," the sergeant continued, and
Penny was taken across to the big trestle. Immediately she had been
positioned, the senior constable knelt to secure the heavy buckled restraints
about her ankles. The other fellow then took her by the collar, and,
placing his free hand between her thighs, tipped her headfirst over the
whipping-horse. Penny let out a startled cry but the constable ignored
her. "Hands flat on the floor!" he ordered.
Sergeant Thorne, meanwhile, had taken advantage of this interlude to
consult with Warden McNally, who produced a number of canes and birches
from a steel bucket by the door. Selecting the sleekest and most supple
of these and quietly thanking the warden for her trouble, he stepped
back up onto the podium.
Thorne regarded both policemen gravely. "Senior Constable Clark. You
will carry out the order," he said, handing him the doleful weapon. The
designated officer then moved to a position facing the prisoner's right
side, while the younger man stepped back a pace. The staff sergeant
called out, "Mister Bailiff! The warrant, please," and, at the far end of
the bench, a portly man in a dark, double-breasted suit rose and began
to leaf through the items in front of him.
"Ahem .. yes. In the warrant of execution before me .." he said,
selecting one of the documents and quoting from it in a starched, lugubrious
baritone. "For diverse acts and offences detrimental to good order and
governance, namely, riotous affray and wilful damage to property,
assault with intent to cause injury, in addition to drunkenness and
offensive behaviour, the prisoner, the woman called Penelope Anne Spender, is
sentenced hereby that she shall, at a time and place convenient to the
court, be chastised formally to the order of eight strokes to her naked
posterior; the said punishment to be administered in the approved
manner and in the presence of such individuals as the governor deems proper
to attend. His Worship notes also that the prisoner has drawn
particular attention to herself by her flagrant disregard .."
"That's enough!" Thorne cut in. "This is a punishment parade, not the
Globe Theatre!" The Bailiff drew himself up, nonplussed and not a little
put out by the interruption. "Er.. yes .. well, that's all then,
Sergeant. Carry on." Fuming, he returned to his seat and busied himself with
"Take up her skirt," Thorne instructed, and the young constable stepped
forward again and began to draw the tight-fitting garment up over
Penny's hips. She gave a bewildered little squeak, "NO!!" and started to tug
energetically at her heavy bonds. Penny gasped. She could scarcely
move, let alone stand. The constable finally got her skirt up around her
waist and stood back waiting for the next order. Penny's face was a mask
of fear and mortification at what was about to take place.
"The panties as well, please," Thorne continued and the big fellow
grinned then carefully hooked his fingers inside the waistband of the
woman's briefs. Penny squealed and wriggled about madly but, in her
jack-knife posture, she could not hope to keep it up for long. Knowing this,
the young man took no notice of her tantrum, which he patiently allowed
to run its course. Then, with a snap of elastic and the slither of nylon
over silky-smooth skin, her scanty undergarment was peeled down to
expose the broad expanse of her mature feminine posterior.
The plump, rotund globes had flattened out firm and hard with the
stricture of the horsing and the delicate skin had been drawn almost
drum-tight by the unnatural angle of her body. The downy cleft had, in
consequence, opened wide, exposing the entire region, while between her parted
thighs the soft pink of her pouting sex could be seen peeping coyly out
from behind the coarse dark tufts which sprouted there in tangled
"Senior Constable Clark!!" the sergeant said loudly, his voice suddenly
taking on a stern, formal tone. Penny gave a terrified sob and a look
of sheer panic crossed her face. Whimpering with fright, she recommenced
her erstwhile efforts to free herself from the awful contraption to
which she had been bound. As if to make her misery complete, her knees had
begun to quake violently and were trying to give way beneath her. But
Penelope was strapped firmly in place, unable to flee the coming pain.
Clark watched the woman's voluptuous, involuntary contortions with a
sneer of disgust and swished the birch menacingly from side to side,
testing its weight and balance. The instrument was nearly thirty inches in
length, with a fine four-inch spray at the business end, and was bound
at its handle with black cloth tape. It had been completely stripped of
leaves then soaked overnight to prevent the canes splitting under the
protracted strain of the whipping. Indeed, the tight bundle of slender,
tapering rods appeared so incredibly supple that it resembled as much a
light, multi-thonged lash as it did the bushy-tailed instrument we tend
to associate with the public school tradition.
Clark looked over at his sergeant, signalling his readiness. "Eight
strokes," Thorne said bluntly. "To the buttocks only. Proceed!"
Abruptly, the senior constable swung the birch up and over his head.
Then, taking quick aim, he lashed it down again with all the strength he
could bring to bear. There was a loud, meaty "thhwwaaack!" and a
sudden, violent shock passed through the woman's well-padded bottom and
thighs, throwing her forward on her mount. The whole of her fleshy rear had
jumped and juddered with the sheer force of the blow and, as the pain
of the stinging impact began to take hold, a keening wail
issued out from beneath her mop of long auburn tresses and her hips arched
forward in a powerful spasm.
Then the tense, twitching buttocks suddenly relaxed, bucking and
writhing with the swelling, scalding agony. She tossed her head furiously
from side to side and her long hair thrashed wildly about her face,
getting in her mouth and eyes. "Ohhh God!" she spluttered, groping for
breath. "God! God! Ahhh..." Without further pause, the big policeman swung
the birch around again and brought it whistling down a second time.
"Nnnnnnnnggggggggggg ... !!!"
In colonial times the birch had been employed to cool the lust of the
so-called 'naughty women' who frequented the taverns and bawdy-houses of
the seamy Kingstown waterfront. These whippings were often carried out
in full view of any who cared to attend, the shame and humiliation of
the degrading ordeal being thought a fitting addendum to the proper
chastisement of 'strumpets and unchaste women.' The last woman to be
publicly flogged at Oakwood was a certain Siobhán Milligan, who, in April
1903, received twenty-five lashes for what the records describe as her
"lewd and indecent dealings with certain gentlemen known to the court."
The Public Safety Act of 1969, however, limits the number of strokes to
a safe maximum of twelve at any one session. Punishment is administered
to the prisoner's bare buttocks by a suitably experienced officer drawn
from the all-male R.O.C., the Royal Oakwood Constabulary. The appointed
officer will be expected to deliver the thrashing with the full force
of his arm and, according to prison authorities, the more severe welts
will often persist for several days.
Penny Spender's behaviour under the birch, however, was as stubbornly
defiant as had been her insolent, undignified performance before the
chief magistrate the day before. It is true she gasped and cried out when
the punishment began, and, it must be said, she had been justifiably
horrified at the ghastly, indecent exposure of her bare bottom before the
officers and the official witnesses. Yet, for all her suffering and
humiliation, she did not plead nor weep so stridently, nor struggle so
earnestly as one might have expected under such forceful castigation.
Indeed, the lass seemed to take her thrashing with a sullen, white-knuckled
resolve not to succumb at all willingly to its punitive vicissitudes.
A third time the constable swung the birch down on Penelope's helpless,
trembling rear and a great tremor racked her entire frame. Again she
gave out her strangled, mewling cry.
"Nnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg ... !!!!!"
Predictably, her recalcitrance and lack of contrition served only to
arouse the man's righteous wrath, and, after a fourth stroke had been
given without eliciting the desired level of remorse, he turned and looked
impatiently at the sergeant, folding his arms over his chest, and
saying, "She resists correction, Sir."
Sergeant Thorne nodded sagaciously. "Give her two at the top of the
thighs," he said. "That should make her see sense." Clark wheeled about
and strode across to continue the punishment on the relatively unscathed
surface of her opposite flank, laying the birch squarely across that
part which the sergeant had indicated. The effect of the man's impressive
demonstration of strength and accuracy was immediate and spectacular.
Penny let out a tremendous yelp of pain and her hips jerked forward
violently. Then, as the terrible sting continued to rage and swell the
woman screamed incoherently and her trembling, whip-marked bottom rose
sharply in the air, bucking and writhing uncontrollably.
Clark stood by impassively while his howling victim performed her mad
tarantella of pain and penitence, then, without warning, swung again
with all his might, coming on at that same sensitive place where the birch
had previously struck. Penelope shrieked and commenced another
astonishing volley of jerks and gyrations. Her hips arched up lewdly and,
seizing the moment, Clark brought the birch down for a seventh time across
the taut, apple-hard globes of Penelope's writhing, upthrust derriere,
and once more her frightful ululations rent the still morning calm of
the near-empty gaolhouse. Her lithe body twisted painfully as she
strained to break free of her restraints, and, begging for mercy, she flung
her hips from side to side in a vain, frantic effort to avoid, or perhaps
simply delay, the next agonising stroke. "One to come!" the sergeant
shouted over the raucous din.
Penny tossed her head back, sobbing hoarsely. Her eyes were wild and
her face contorted with pain. "NO!!" she shrieked. "No! No! Nooo...!!!"
Clark waited till the convulsion had subsided then slowly raised the
birch. The jiggling buttocks tensed. The tender globes appeared raw and
ruddy under the harsh electric light of the drill hall. Indeed, the whole
of her shapely posterior was ridged and scored with long, ragged weals
where the slim, whippy birch had coiled itself about her bottom and
With a dramatic, ostentatious show of ceremony, the senior constable
then swung the birch around in a wide arc and brought it slicing down.
There followed another great howl of pain as the final stroke lashed
across the burning, plum-red tapestry already emblazoned on Penelope's
churning rear. A great spasm of pain coursed through her body and her
desperate struggles commenced anew.
"Undo her," the sergeant said, when, after a minute or so, the frenzy
of her chastisement had spent itself. All the fight, it seemed, had
deserted her and she had collapsed limply across the trestle, sobbing her
very heart out.
The young constable then moved around and began to unfasten the
manacles from about her wrists. "Don't try to stand up too quickly," he said,
placing a hand at her shoulder and easing her up gently. "Oh God.. Oh
God.." she moaned. "Easy, Miss," the lad said. Penelope moaned again.
"Oh God.. Leave me alone."
Wincing painfully, she managed to right herself and, reaching behind
her, pulled the panties up from around her knees. The senior man had,
meanwhile, discarded the birch, and now proceeded to release her ankles
from their leather restraints. Penny was still blubbering and sobbing
weakly, though the worst of it was over. She would spend a very restless
night, face down, no doubt. "Come on, lass," the younger constable said,
straightening her skirt, and together the two men led the woman,
vinegar faced and dishevelled, down from the platform.
"What will happen to her now?" one of the official witnesses asked as
the documents were being signed to confirm the execution of the
sentence. "She will be released," Mrs McNally said matter-of-factly. "What! In
her state?" the astonished witness cried, looking dubiously at the
punished woman who stood gazing about her with a pained, bewildered look.
"Of course," replied the warden. "We like to make an example of these
The man considered this for a moment and said, "You're right, of
course. If it weren't for the birch we'd be overrun by the young savages.
Copyright (c) 1999 by Lupercal
All Rights Reserved