The Illusion of Control

October 4, 1896
Charles Birchwood

“I’m sorry Mr. Birchwood.” Alice Truman said.

Her voice tremble ever so slightly and there was a sniffle at the end which conveyed more than any words ever could. Her straight brown hair fell around her shoulders and her dark eyes darted around the room looking at anything so long as it was not me. We were alone.

“Miss Truman, your record indicates you have been playing the flute since your sixth birthday. Tell me, how in all those years of study and practice you never learned to take care of your instrument?” I said.

I paced the floor in front of her as I spoke. My steps were measured to keep her nervous and the tap of my heal added punctuation to my soft tone. She would be in tears soon enough but building the anticipation first makes them all the more meaningful. I wanted her terrified of me.

“I’m sorry sir.” She said.

I stopped my pacing and abruptly turned to face her.

“Did I ask if you were sorry? No! Will your pathetic apologies undo the damage of your carelessness? No! Answer me, were you ever taught how to take care of your instrument?” I said.

I channeled as much rage into my voice as I was capable. Miss Truman sniffled again. She was only moments from a flood of tears and the first drops were all ready running along the crevice of her nose. Somewhere she found the courage to look at me despite the fear in her eyes.

“No, sir.” She said.

“You were never taught?” I asked incredulously.

“Correct, sir.”

“Do you expect me to believe that?”

Tears fell freely from her eyes. She wiped her arm across her face and her whole body trembled. The fear in her eyes transformed into hatred. Had I pushed her too far?

“I don’t give a damn what you believe. The truth is the truth whether you acknowledge or not.” She shouted.

I took the moment to study her. She was quite remarkable. Her feminine features were sufficiently attractive but they were not what made her remarkable. It was the fire burning inside her. She reminded me of Caroline, wild and untamed.

“If you did not know then why did you not ask?” I asked.

“Because you are unapproachable. You are arrogant and mean and everyone is afraid of you.” She accused.

I widened my eyes, surprised to hear such directness from a first year college student, not to mention a woman.

“You do not seem to be afraid of me now.” I said.

“Why should I be? You are going to do whatever you are going to do to me and there is nothing I can do about it. Being afraid of you is pointless now.”

“Then you might as well be honest with me.”

“I am being honest. My tutor always took care of my flute for me. I was never left with the task.”

“I apologize for assuming you would know then, but you should have asked me. Destroying equipment out of ignorance is bad enough. Destroying it because you are too afraid to ask a question is akin to malevolence.”

“I thought you would be angry.”

“Should I be happy you have destroyed my instrument?”

“No, sir. I am sorry about that, but if you truly expect to be asked questions when we do not know things, you should be more inviting of those questions.”

“Are you suggesting I am to blame here?” I asked.

She bit her lip before answering, but I knew what she was going to say before she said it.

“Yes, I am.”

I nodded at her. She is going to be a challenge but I revel in challenges.

“Lift your skirt and bend over the back of the chair.” I directed.

Alice stared at me for a long moment before deciding to comply. She was not accepting responsibility for her actions only the inevitability of punishment. She stepped behind the chair in the center of the room and gathered her skirt up around her waist. She leaned over the chair with something between a sigh and a sob. I could feel her frustration in the air between us. I admit it made me smile a little.

I took up position behind. I could have ordered her to remove her skirt and more but this was not the time. Alice is not yet ready to be improved by the submission. She needs the illusion of control still and for now I will allow it.

I raised my hand and began to spank her bloomer covered bottom. She wriggled and cried, but she remained in position and refused to offer further apology or beg for leniency. I admire that almost as much as her directness. As I spanked her I wondered what twisted logic is required for a woman to hate a man who clearly admires and respects her.

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