It was a cold Monday morning and I was on my way to see my bank manageress concerning overdue payments on a loan.
The loan had seemed a good idea at the time, a new car and some clothes but I was made redundant and couldn't even make the first payment.
The manageress was a friend of my auntie's and had granted the loan immediately, my auntie having agreed to act as guarantor.
I arrived at the bank and informed the receptionist of my arrival, she told me to sit and wait.
Having more time to reflect I took out the letter I had received from the bank and re read it.
"Following our meeting of two weeks ago you still have made no repayments on your loan. Would you please attend the bank on Monday morning at 9 a.m. to discuss the situation otherwise I will have to claim the outstanding sum from your guarantor."
At the meeting two weeks before, the manageress had said that if I continued to default that she would take action so I guessed that this would be it.
A buzzer sounded and I was ushered into the manageress's office.
"Ah sit down" she said.
"You still have made no progress with your repayments. I told you last time I saw you that I would have to take action, there are however two alternatives."
I nodded indicating to her to continue.
"I am reluctant to claim on your auntie's guarantee, being a personal friend of hers, however that is one of the two options."
"And the other" I asked.
"I don't think you are trying very hard to meet these payments, I consider that you could have paid something off of the account. The second option therefore is that you may have an additional three months to catch up with the payments, on condition that you accept a punishment."
"And what would that be" I said.
She pulled a notepad towards her and quickly wrote something on it then passed it to me. "If you accept the punishment you will go to this address tonight at 8 p.m. You will do what you are told by the woman that meets you there. You will not be told what the punishment is until you get there."
"Do you agree" she continued.
"Yes okay" I replied. I didn't want my auntie to know I had defaulted.
"Right if you do as you are told you will have three more months from today to catch up with your payments."
"Good day" she said indicating that the meeting was over.
I returned home wondering what was expected of me.
As the time approached I looked up the address on a street map to find it was in a very seedy part of town. I drove over there and parked. The street was strewn with litter and the tatty buildings made a depressing sight as I walked along observing the house numbers. I arrived at the address to find a very large Victorian terraced house and with great trepidation rung the bell. A very dowdy middle aged woman answered and gestured for me to come inside. Closing the door she said "I've been expecting you, come with me."
We went along a dingy passageway and into a small room.
"Now wait here while I go and get changed" she said, "oh did anyone tell you why you are here?"
"No," I said.
A slight smile crossed her face, "you will be smacked and caned" she said "wait here" she repeated, and went out closing the door.
Rather surprised I sat and waited, oh well I thought get it over with and at least I would have more time to deal with my debts. She returned shortly wearing a long black skirt and white blouse. "Now we will be going upstairs in a minute, you will do exactly as I ask at all times and without question. There will be some people watching your punishment, you will pay them no attention at all. Now take off your coat and come with me."
I did as asked and then followed her out and up some stairs.
She paused outside a door, "just follow me and do what I tell you" she reminded. My punishment was about to begin.
She opened the door and we entered.
Inside the room was thick with cigarette smoke and despite the silence I could sense there were many people assembled at the far end of the room. I could not see them because of a row of tiny spotlights on the ceiling all pointed down at the floor where we stood. The walls were all painted matt black. I followed the woman to the middle of the open floorspace and she told me "stay there."
I again looked over at the people but could see nothing except the occasional cigarette glowing in the dark. I got the impression there were twenty or so of them and from the height of the glowing cigarettes I guessed they were seated. The woman reappeared from the shadows into the small illuminated area where I stood.
"Take off your trainers" she ordered.
I removed them and put them on a wooden kitchen chair that she indicated and then returned to her.
"Face that wall" she said, I did so leaving myself sideways on to the watchers.
"Bend over and touch your toes" she said quietly.
A glance at her told me I had better comply. The watchers who had begun murmuring to each other fell silent.
I bent over.
She began smacking me hard with the flat of her hand, surprisingly forcefully but still more embarrassing than painful.
Aware all the time of the people watching, I hoped she would stop soon but she went on and on rhythmically smacking. I could see the cigarettes still calmly glowing in the dark out of the corner of my eye and then she stopped. "Stand" she said. "Stay there." I couldn't believe I was going to get away that lightly and sure enough she returned with one of my trainers.
"Bend over, touch your toes." I did.
Feeling embarrassed again I waited fingers on toes for her to resume. The murmuring that had gradually built up again ceased.
Suddenly the trainer was sent crashing into me very painfully, I squirmed and wriggled. "Keep still" she said in a bored tone.
She spanked hard with the trainer for several minutes. At first it was all I could do to stand it, but gradually my skin became accustomed to it and I was able to bear it more easily. As she continued I became aware again of the audience and my embarrassment heightened further.
On and on she sent the heavy trainer crashing against me, while I wondered how much longer I could possibly go on.
At last she stopped and replacing the trainer on the chair said, "stand up."
I stood and stole a glance towards the audience. The low voices started again, still I could not make out the people sitting there because of the spotlights shining straight at me. I wondered what they were saying to each other but could not discern individual conversations from the general murmuring. I was just wondering whether it could be over when the woman returned to my side, she was carrying the chair and stood it in front of me.
"Take your clothes off" she said sternly, "all of them, stack them on the chair."
I began undressing slowly.
"Quickly, I want you completely in the nude, now."
I removed the rest of my clothes as quickly as I could, placed them on the chair and stood naked awaiting her instructions. The cigarettes glowed brightly in the gloom.
"Touch your toes." I resumed my position and she began smacking hard with her hand again.
"There she said, that's better, nothing to protect your skin now."
A sharp crack was emitted every time her hand contacted me and it was indeed more painful.
She stopped. "Stay there" she said. I stayed fingers on toes waiting for the next onslaught.
She picked up the trainer that she had used before and now began a violent assault on my flesh. The shoe was very heavy and my skin was stinging and bruised but she pounded away fully for five minutes.
"Okay then stand" she ordered.
I stood and rubbed my battered skin.
She disappeared into the shadows and then returned with a long bamboo cane, a hint of a smile again and then "I want you to kneel in the chair, lean over the back and put your hands flat on the floor."
Still nude I knelt on my clothes that I had placed on the chair seat earlier, cautiously I leaned over the chair back and managed to touch the floor with my fingers.
She came round the back of the chair and said "hands flat on the floor."
I had to really stretch to get my hands flat as the chair back pressed into my stomach, but now she was satisfied with my position and I watched her feet as she walked back behind me.
I had never been caned before and I began to wonder just how much this was going to hurt. The audience was perfectly silent now as they and I waited for her to begin. For some while she just paced slowly up and down adding to my apprehension and embarrassment at my exposed position.
Without warning her cane swished through the air and connected with my unprotected skin. I heard a barely audible gasp from the audience as a searing pain shot through me, I lifted a hand from the floor intending to rub my skin but it became obvious that I would not be able to reach without standing up first. The burning sensation seemed to go on and on as I wriggled and writhed in a futile attempt at reducing the pain.
Eventually it began to lessen and I became aware of the audience now quiet again.
We all waited in the perfect silence for her next blow, they in anticipation and me in dread.
It came all too soon, that terrible swishing noise followed by a loud crack as her cane found its target for the second time.
Again unable to get up immediately I writhed in agony, every muscle tensed to try to dispel the pain. I tried to get up but a hand pushed me back down again. "Don't move" she said.
Eventually the pain reduced to a general burning sensation and I relaxed a bit.
My knees were hurting and the back of the chair pressed hard into my stomach as I waited and hoped that there wouldn't be too many more.
I watched her feet walk slowly around me as she gave me time to recover.
The feet disappeared out of my sight again and I guessed I was going to get some more.
Crack, the cane bit hard into my flesh, then again and again. Six times she sent the cane exploding against my skin in rapid succession.
The blows all seemed to blend into one and left me breathless with the intense burning.
Another two minutes went by, more recovery time I supposed. My skin felt red raw and burned incessantly.
Without warning another six swipes had my skin afire again, it seemed ages until the pain abated but eventually it did.
"Stand" she said. I extricated myself from my uncomfortable position and stood.
Barely having to raise her voice in the silence she said "anyone fancy a swipe or two?"
She put her hand to her forehead to shield her eyes from the spotlights.
I could see nothing but she evidently could because she gestured to someone to come forward.
Three women appeared out of the gloom and came to stand beside us.
I suddenly became more aware of my nudity with four of them dressed beside me, although they had been there in the dark all along.
"Bend over and put your hands flat on the chair seat." She said
There was some polite discussion as to which of the women would go first and then silence as one of them took up position behind me.
Swipe, I heard the cane rush through the air a fraction of a second before it exploded against my flesh.
I had hoped that they might be a bit more reticent but the cane had been propelled at full force. I rubbed frantically at my skin but was told in a mechanical tone "put your hand back down, you will get an extra swipe from me every time you move your hands."
All went quiet again and then swipe, the cane bit once again.
As I recovered a bit the women changed places and a different one took up the cane.
Swipe, Swipe she took her turn to devastating effect, as I writhed I resisted the temptation to move my hands and just wriggled to the amusement of the audience.
The third woman then took the cane, they all went quiet again and then Swipe, Swipe, once more the searing pain as the cane connected with my skin.
"Stand" I was told, I stood up once more.
"Anyone else" she asked the audience. No response.
"Anyone fancy smacking." She continued.
Evidently some of them did because she gestured again and two more women appeared, smiling.
"Touch your toes" I was told.
As I bent over I thought is there to be no end to my humiliation.
One of the women looked very heavy and strong but I thought this probably wouldn't hurt much after the caning.
The lighter woman went first and smacked away at my skin for two minutes.
More embarrassing than painful I waited for it to end.
Last one hopefully I thought as the larger woman took up position.
Still touching my toes I waited for her to start.
Suddenly an enormous blow landed sending me sprawling forward on the floor. The crowd burst into laughter as I slowly picked myself up. The woman glowed with pride at the reaction to her effort.
"Get up" I was told by the woman in charge now smiling.
"Perhaps you had better lean against the chair again."
I resumed my position with my hands in the seat of the chair.
The large woman began to smack hard and fast at my already raw skin. Urged on by the now vociferous crowd she pummeled away at me, hurting nearly as much as the cane. I moved around trying to avoid her hitting the same spot repeatedly but her great hand relentlessly found its target.
Every time her hand connected it sent ripples outwards across my skin and I had to push back to avoid the blows sending me forwards.
At last she stopped, out of breath and soaked up the congratulations from her friends.
I thought this must be over now, but no.
The woman in charge told the other women to resume their seats and me to stand.
She took away the chair and placed it out of sight. Returning to me she took my arm, led me to the middle of the lit area and turned me to face the audience. Then surprisingly she went and sat with them leaving me standing on my own.
I felt very silly and embarrassed standing there nude on my own as I waited for her to say something.
After some seconds which seemed ages she said from the darkness, "right to finish you are going to bring yourself to climax, you have two minutes or else you will be caned again even harder than before. The time starts now."
The final humiliation, all this because I had got into trouble with a loan.
Acutely embarrassed I did as I was told, they applauded at the end more at my humiliation than anything else.
I was given back my clothes and allowed to dress and leave.