Maragana Girl Ch. 26bycaligula97236©
Next Kim addressed the issue of the drug trafficking charge, citing Dukov's two cases and her own to request the trafficking charge be dismissed. Kim then continued to explain what she wanted for Tiffany's sentence:
"Prisoner 98946 is in this country because this is the one place where she cannot feed her addictions. Her master is her chemical dependency, and chemical dependency is a jealous master that doesn't give up easily. Tiffany Walker can lead a normal healthy life, but the shadow of her addictions will loom over her forever. I plan to stand between her and her former master, to see to it that no matter how bad her cravings become, never again will drugs assault the soul of my client. I am accepting a lifetime of responsibility, because I believe that is what the Ancients have called upon me to do. That is what this being a Spokeswoman is all about. It is about saving a life and redeeming a soul."
The court sat in absolute silence as Kim confidently laid out what she wanted for Tiffany's punishment. There was the 35 year sentence and yearly switchings that Kim had discussed with Sergekt, to be held each July 12 to force Tiffany to perform penance for her role in Susan's death. Later would come Tiffany's future purpose in life, to provide first-hand information about drugs to a society and a government that knew very little about the substances themselves or how they were made. Among other things Tiffany knew several recipes for making methamphetamine, knowledge of which would allow the Danubian government to restrict the importation and sales of the needed ingredients.
"The storm is coming. It's not here yet, but it's coming. You need to prepare to fight it, and you can only fight it with the correct information. I believe Tiffany's path in life will be to provide the information you need to change your laws and make methamphetamine production impossible in this country. Without those changes, you will have plenty of Tiffany Walkers among your own children."
Kim spoke with such confidence that everyone in the court, with the exception of Vladim Dukov, was left stunned. She knew exactly what needed to be done about Tiffany Walker.
Spokesman Dukov sat back, deeply satisfied, his task with Kimberly Lee finally fulfilled. Kim had entered the path he had foreseen during the previous year's Day of the Dead ceremony. He had foreseen she would be here in court, redeeming a person no one in their right mind would have thought could have been saved.
Finally Kim finished speaking. The chairman of the arraignment committee raised his hand and the judge gave him permission to speak.
"Your Honor, this committee would like to withdraw the charge of marijuana trafficking against Prisoner 98946. We also recommend you abide by the wishes of Apprentice Lee concerning the sentencing of the prisoner."
"Very well, Chairman. I think that places everyone in this courtroom in agreement about how we should address the case of Prisoner 98946. This court finds her guilty of the crimes of direct perjury, indirect perjury, and the possession of one third of 432 grams of marijuana. The suspicion of drug trafficking does not apply in this case, given there is no evidence she planned to negotiate any monetary exchanges with her marijuana in the territory of the Grand Duchy of Upper Danubia. The conditions of the American Tiffany Walker's sentence are as follows:"
"Item One: The American Tiffany Walker will wear the criminal's collar for thirty five years. Twenty of those years will be for her reprehensible act of deception and perjury against the Danubian government and more importantly, the violation of her friendship with Kimberly Lee. For her corrupting influence on the behavior of the American Susan Taylor, the American Tiffany Walker will wear the criminal's collar an additional ten years. Finally, for her part in the possession of 432 grams of marijuana, the American Tiffany Walker will wear the criminal's collar an additional five years. The collar will identify her as a criminal, monitor her movements, and alert the police should she try to leave this city. For the next ten years the American Tiffany Walker is prohibited from traveling more than 10 kilometers from this courthouse. After ten years this court will review the criminal's status and determine if she or the nation might benefit from her being allowed to travel outside the Danube City collar zone."
"Item Two: For the duration of her sentence the American Tiffany Walker is prohibited from covering any part of her body with any article of clothing. That prohibition will remain in effect for the full 35 years, regardless of any other changes to the conditions of her sentence. She has disgraced herself and our city with her actions, and the American Tiffany Walker's disgrace will be shown to the world as a result of this conviction."
"Item Three: The American Tiffany Walker will receive 35 vigorous punishments on the naked buttocks with a standard leather switch. One of the punishments will be given in this chamber immediately at the closing of this hearing, the others will be given on the date of July 12 in the Central Police Station each year for the duration of her sentence. The arresting officer or his assigned partner will administer all punishments."
"Item Four: Finally, Apprentice Kimberly Lee will be held accountable for any drug use or relapses by the American Tiffany Walker. Apprentice Lee has full discretion concerning medical evaluation and drug testing of the American Tiffany Walker. Should the American Tiffany Walker violate her responsibilities as a convicted criminal, Apprentice Lee will advise this court concerning what action we should take."
Kim looked up at her client.
"Tiffany, you are now convicted and sentenced. You gotta come down and kneel at the judge's table."
Once Tiffany was kneeling on the floor the judge issued another command. The collar technician walked up to her and put a measuring tape around her neck. He checked the pulse of her jugular vein and wrote down the measurement from the tape. He left and shortly returned with the collar-fitting device. Tiffany glanced at it in terror.
"That's what they use to put the collar on you," explained Kim. "It won't hurt."
The technician slipped the imposing tong-device over Tiffany's head and closed it around her neck. He checked to make sure it would not pinch her skin, and then clamped it shut. There was a faint hiss and a dull click. When the man opened the device and moved it away, Criminal 98946 had a metal collar around her neck. Like Kim before her, Tiffany now was marked as a convicted criminal by a collar that was virtually indestructible. Like every other criminal, Tiffany's hands went involuntarily to her neck to feel the collar that now set her apart from the world of free citizens.
The court attendants were collapsing the prisoner's stand to reveal the switching table. Tiffany glanced at it not so much in fear, but rather in sad resignation. Kim had told her how to behave in court and what to expect the previous night, so there was no need to explain now. Kim would release custody of Tiffany to Vladik Dukov, he would punish her and present her to the judge, she would thank him, and she then return to the police station to spend a painful afternoon on the recovery table in Dukov's office.
Kim, with Tiffany kneeling at her side, saluted Officer Dukov and his partner. There was the tap of the switch on Tiffany's shoulder, the kissing of his shoes, and the order she lie over the table. To Kim's relief it seemed that Tiffany had stopped crying.
Kim felt enormously relieved once Tiffany was strapped down to the table. The switching would be the final act of passage from Tiffany's life as a drug addict in the US to being a Danbuian criminal. It would be "the wall that divides Tiffany's soul".
Once she was strapped down Vladik tried his hand at speaking English to Kim's client.
"This whipping hurt your bottom because you need punish, but when you hurt, I want you show me courage and honor. I want you be brave criminal and no much cry. You understand?"
With that Vladik tapped the switch to Tiffany's bottom, repositioned himself slightly, and struck hard at the base of her buttocks. A reddish line appeared and quickly began to darken as Tiffany winced and clenched her fists. At last, Tiffany finally was receiving the punishment she should have submitted to two summers ago.
Vladik tapped Tiffany's bottom again and struck another vicious blow. A second line of solid pain marked the American's exposed bottom, soon to be joined by a third, a fourth, a fifth. Vladik sympathized with Tiffany. He had no intention of showing her any mercy by reducing the severity of the punishment, but he wanted Tiffany to show him, the courtroom, and most importantly herself, that she could take a severe punishment would courage and dignity. It was another step in her path to personal redemption and to gaining respect among her future peers in the criminal community.
Tiffany gritted her teeth, but wanted to do her best to show that officer the "courage and honor" he was asking from her. She understood this was the way things had to be. She had done many terrible things in her life to serve her addictions. Now the moment had come for the world to hold her accountable for having ruined her life and the bright prospects she once had enjoyed, as well as the lives of her two best friends.
Vladik punished Tiffany in his usual methodical manner. He tapped the victim's bottom to let her know where the next stroke would land, drew back, and then delivered a fearful blow. He waited for Tiffany to fully appreciate the pain from the stroke. After about 40 seconds Vladik tapped his target and struck again. He slowly worked his way up towards the top of Tiffany's bottom leaving it covered with 15 welts. Starting with the 16th stroke he slowly worked his way back down, trying as best he could to aim at the unmarked skin between the reddish lines on Tiffany's tanned bottom. He wanted to leave her bottom a solid mass of evenly placed welts.
Sweat and tears poured down Tiffany's face as she gasped through her clenched teeth. This punishment was a real judicial punishment, far more severe than what she had faced at the hospital. And yet, Tiffany still felt somewhat relieved about the intensity of the pain tearing into her. As the pain intensified, it forced her mind off the guilt, cravings, and self-pity that had so much filled her thoughts over that past two years.
Vladik continued striking viciously at the American. Her knees were shaking and her body jerked each time the switch landed. Vladik carefully laid a series of hard strokes at the base of Tiffany's bottom cheeks and then continued down her thighs.
Kim watched the punishment intensely. She knew that it was her duty to make sure Vladik did not come close to breaking Tiffany's skin, but the truth was she had little experience watching switchings and decided to leave the punishment's severity up to Vladik. She knew Vladik was both an experienced and a careful disciplinarian, so she trusted his judgment better than she trusted her own.
Tiffany was shaking and groaning slightly from the pain, which by the 35th stroke was worse than anything she had experienced previously. Over the past two years she had been beaten up a couple of times, but intensity of the physical pain from those experiences came nowhere close to the agony she was experiencing now. Her bottom and upper thighs were a solid mass of red swollen welts, and there still was more to come.
Vladik's 36th stroke landed right across the middle of Tiffany's badly swollen bottom. The stroke hurt enough to break her resistance and she started crying. Still, she struggled not to scream. She began sobbing, the sobs growing louder at each stroke. The final blows left ugly purplish lines across Tiffany's reddish skin, as she cried louder and louder.
Finally the 50th stroke landed and Kim was able to raise her hand. Dukov previously had instructed her that it was extremely important to keep track of the number of strokes a client received, because it was the Spokesperson's job, not the cop's job, to make sure the punishment did not go beyond 50 strokes. Tiffany's body was jerking with sobs and her bottom was quite red, with a series of dark purple lines punctuating where Vladik had landed his final blows.
Kim and Vladik exchanged glances. Tiffany had held up extremely well, considering the severity of her punishment. Vladik and his partner unbuckled their victim, but for a few minutes she remained bent over the table with her face buried in her hands. Vladik had no intention of pulling her off himself, but gave Kim another glance, warning her she needed to get Tiffany to stand up on her own if she didn't want the officers to move her. Kim laid her hand on Tiffany's shoulder:
"Tiffany...Tiffany...come on, you're done. They still gotta present you to the judge, but then that's it, it'll be over. You did real good, but you gotta stand up."
Tiffany sobbed, nodded, and pushed herself to her feet. She was unsteady while standing, but Vladik and his partner grabbed her arms and walked her over to the judge. The judge signed the punishment certificate and they presented her to Apprentice Lee. Kim needed to remind Tiffany.
"OK, that's it. All you gotta do is thank Officer Dukov. Just kiss his shoes and say 'thank you for correcting my bad behavior.'"
Tiffany clumsily got on her knees and repeated the required sentence in English, which Kim translated for the court. Vladik again touched Tiffany on the shoulder with his switch and saluted Kim. Kim saluted back and with that Tiffany's first punishment ended.
The court gave Criminal 98946 its final instructions and the promise that Kim was required to find her work and a place to live within three days. Finally, Kim led the broken criminal to the photography room, where she posed for her post switching police photos. The final ordeal was another walk past the crowded Central Plaza to the police station, to return to Dukov's office and rest on a recovery table.
As they entered the Central Police Station, reporters lined the steps leading to the entrance. Kim responded:
"I will be back here in a few minutes to answer your questions, but I request you let me take care of my client first. Once I have her on a recovery table I will be out here to talk with you."
The reporters respectfully stepped aside to let Kim, Tiffany, and Spokesman Dukov pass by. Fifteen minutes later Tiffany was safely on a recovery table and Kim returned to the Police Station entrance to fulfill her promise to the Danubian press. In accented Danubian she discussed the case and how Tiffany came to be her client.
Towards the end of the impromptu press conference a reporter asked Kim about any feelings she had of personal betrayal. Kim responded:
"Whatever happened two years ago I must now address from a professional point of view, not a personal one. As I stated in court, the path of my life included rescuing Tiffany Walker from her chemical addictions. I will continue to help her battle her addictions for many years to come, which is why I requested such a long sentence. To understand my feelings about the 'betrayal' issue, you must understand she is not the same person from two years ago, and neither am I. What matters now is that Tiffany Walker and I will have a professional relationship and I will serve as her mentor."
Kim went back upstairs to see Tiffany asleep on her recovery table. She cringed slightly at the sight of the dark marks punctuating Tiffany's red bottom, but by now Kim was quite used to the sight of a punished criminal. Still, it was very hard on her to see her friend from high school reduced to a naked criminal with a whipped bottom asleep on a Danubian recovery table.
Spokesman Vladim Dukov stood next to his Apprentice, as she sadly looked at her former friend.
"Right now I feel terrible about having to do this to her. It hurts me to see her like this, to have to make her kneel when she talks to me, not to be able to call her 'Tiff' anymore..."
"Kimberly, you've done the best you can for her. She now must rebuild her life, and what you see on this table is not an end, but a beginning. Will your new relationship ever be that between two equals? No, but you will serve each other, and someday you will be close friends again. You will be there for her, you will guide her, and she will need you. Tiffany will build her life here in our country, and I believe, in her own way, she will find the path to happiness."