Anders Schmidt’s heart raced, he re-entered the figures on the spreadsheet, double clicked the mouse and waited for it to update.
Sweat was moistening his brow and it was not only because the air-conditioning in the room was not working.
In a second the computer screen flickered. Schmidt did not have to look; he already knew the answer. He had missed his target again – for the second month running. He was in big trouble. Very big trouble.
He had a couple of hours maximum before his boss checked the files and found out what Schmidt, the apprentice salesman, had done; or more accurately, what he had failed to do.
Schmidt had been with MegaCorp for five months. He was taken on after he left school, along with dozens of other teenagers, for a five-year apprenticeship. He had been overjoyed to land it: unemployment in the country was high, and in the stratosphere for young people. Welfare had been slashed and for Anders, no job would have meant destitution.
Merkel sipped on his too-hot coffee and waited patiently as the printer coughed out the sales figures. Business had been slow since Christmas and he did not expect this month to be much better. He put down his mug, picked up a highlighter pen, and shuffled through the printed sheets. He almost smiled: sales were higher than he expected. By the time he had finished only two of his salesmen’s names were marked. Schmidt and another apprentice Vidic had missed their targets; Schmidt by a little and Vidic by a mile.
Oh well, Merkel, thought, he could have a little sport now.
Anders stared impassively out of the window. The sun was blazing, it had not rained in months and the grass had turned brown and died. The shortage meant it was now illegal to water plants and gardens across the country had perished.
Anders had never been in this situation before, but he knew something unpleasant and painful was going to happen. Since the Unity Government came to power a lot had changed. Its first task to tackle mass unemployment had been to strip workers of all their rights and set up work schemes. The apprenticeships had been welcomed by youngsters and parents alike. Boys, girls were not included, were signed up for five years and given training and a wage. In return, the boys were compelled to stay with the company until the end of their contract. The company, however, if it saw fit, could terminate the apprentice at any time.
To lose an apprenticeship would be a disaster. No former apprentice could by law be re-hired at another business.
Anders would not lose his job; not this time, he knew that. But, he would have to undergo a humiliation the like of which he had never suffered before.
MegaCorp called it their “second-chance” policy. In fact, for some apprentices it was a third, or even a fourth-chance policy. Ander’s bosses were not cruel people, they understood how vital it was for a young man to have work; many of the apprentices in the company were the only earners in their family. Heck, MegaCorp knew it had a social responsibility.
Merkel looked at the clock: it was twenty after noon. He would take lunch soon and deal with the apprentices later in the afternoon. It would give him something to look forward to.
At three-thirty prompt, Anders stood in Helmut’s office. Helmut was Merkel’s personal assistant. They used to call his post a “secretary”, but they changed the title when they sacked all the women and gave their jobs to men. No self-respecting man would want to be called a secretary.
Helmut was in his twenties and like everyone else in the country, he feared for his job, so he kept his head down, his mouth buttoned and his thoughts to himself. He knew how Merkel treated the apprentices and, even with the pace of changes being made to the law, he was darned sure what he did was illegal. But, he said nothing: fearing for his job and also for the skin on his backside.
A screen on Helmut’s desk flickered. “You can go in now,” and despite his timidity, he added, “Good luck.”
Anders knocked on the door, waited for a response and then entered.
It was a large modern open-plan office. It was so big if you took the furniture out there would be enough space to play five-a-side football. One end of the office was dominated by a vast steel and glass desk and the other end had been decked out like a fashionable lounge room with comfortable chairs and a coffee table.
Anders took his place in front of the desk. He could not look Merkel in the eye and instead stared over his left shoulder at the framed portrait of the nation’s new leader. He was in a commanding pose. Anders and his friends had once thought the man absurd, he even looked a little like the clown Chico who had been famous in silent movies more than a century previously.
But, now Chico had been in power for more than five years with no sight of a general election to come, they knew he was no clown.
Merkel eyed Anders up and down. He saw a slight boy in a pin-striped suit that was just a little too big for him. All the apprentices wore blue pin-stripes; it was like an unofficial uniform. If Merkel had his way the young men would have a proper uniform: he imagined them in pale blue shirts and black shorts. They would be proper shorts too, the ones that showed the boys’ legs and were not much longer than their underwear.
Merkel had never met Anders before, but he recognised him from the office. He knew all his apprentices by sight and expected that with the second-chance rule he would get to know each one intimately eventually.
Anders listened impassively as his boss went through the apprentice’s sales figures. They were poor. They were worse than those of the other boys. Anders nodded agreement from time to time; what more could he do? Nothing he said could change the course of action.
Satisfied that his case had been made, Merkel put down the printed sheets.
“We have a policy at MegaCorp. It is called the ‘second-chance’ policy; do you know what that means?”
Anders, his mouth now as dry as the grass outside the building, nodded.
“Well?” Merkel raised his voice.
“Yes, Sir,” Anders coughed and said no more.
“Yes, Sir, what?”
“Yes, I understand the policy.”
“Good. Then let us not waste any more of my time.” With that Merkel rose from his chair and walked the length of the office. Anders looked on mournfully. Any moment now, something would happen, but he was unsure what.
He had heard all kinds of stories. Tomas, a second-year apprentice had heard from a friend who heard from a friend that it was just like at the police station. What he meant was that teenagers and young men found hanging around the streets (even before curfew time) were routinely rounded up and taken to police stations. There was one such station less than a mile from Anders’ home.
At the station, one by one, each boy was led (or sometimes dragged) into a specially prepared room. It was bare except for a purpose-built frame. Some boys were brave and prepared themselves, but most were not and had their trousers and pants ripped down by one, or if the boy put up a titanic struggle, two officers. Then he was hauled across the frame and his wrists secured by straps.
The police had previously used a smaller room at the back of the building, away from the main street, but the ceiling was too low for an officer to properly raise and flog birch rods into a boy’s naked buttocks.
The replacement room was much better: there was ample space to swing a birch. The downside was that the pitiful screams of the whipped boy could be easily heard in the street. The punishments were so frequent and the wails so loud that people in offices nearby had asked that the police confine their activities until night time; the noise was disturbing their work.
“Pathetic liberals,” the police commander sneered when he received the complaint. Nonetheless, he ordered the room to be sound-proofed.
Merkel took up a straight-backed chair and put it down in the middle of the room. There would be no birching for Anders, he would get something much less severe; but much more pleasurable for the boss.
“Come here boy.” Anders had not moved from the desk.
Merkel sat down and moved his buttocks around and spread his legs a little until he was comfortable and ready to take the boy.
“Take off your jacket and put it on the chair there.”
Merkel enjoyed watching the boy unbutton the jacket and slip it from his shoulders. He was much more muscular than he had first realised. The too-large jacket did not flatter him.
“Stand in front of me here,” Merkel waved his hand unnecessarily, as Anders by now understood what was going to happen.
Anders stood a little under six-feet tall and was perfectly proportioned. His skin was clear and his fair-to-blond hair was cropped close. His sky blue eyes positively sparkled, even when he was in such a predicament as this.
He was so much better than Vidic, who had stood in the same spot thirty minutes previously. That boy was small, squat, with curly dark hair and eyes as brown as mud. And, Merkel still shuddered at the thought of it; his body was covered in rough black hair.
No matter, Merkel thought, Vidic and his kind would not be around for much longer. The Unity Government had plans for people like Vidic.
Anders was rooted to the spot, too humiliated to move, when his boss reached forward and began to unbuckle the teenager’s belt. He wanted to push him away and run from the room. In a fair world he would be able to punch the old man in the mouth before calling Security.
But this was not a fair world; Anders must let Merkel do as he wished.
The belt loosened, Merkel turned to the zipper. It took a second for it to fall and the trousers to open to reveal Anders was wearing bright blue briefs that were so tight Merkel could immediately see this was no boy standing before him.
Merkel pulled the pin-stripe trousers down Anders’ hips, over his buttocks and down to the teenager’s knees. He was ready now.
Anders could feel his face flush; it was as red now as his buttocks would surely be in only a few moments.
“Relax,” Merkel whispered as he took Anders left arm and gently guided him across his knees.
Anders was too tall to comfortably fit across anyone’s knees. Instinctively, he placed the palms of both hands squarely on the floor in front of him. Behind him his legs were so long, he had to curve them at the knees so his toes rested on the carpet.
“Spread your legs a little, it will be easier.” Merkel’s gave the instruction calmly, as if it was the most natural thing in the world for a boss to have his nineteen-year-old apprentice bent across his knee preparing to have his bottom smacked.
Anders did as instructed and was now comfortably over the man’s knee, hands pressed into the carpet at one end and toes resting comfortably on the ground at the other; his bottom perfectly resting on the old man’s right thigh.
This was a novel experience for Anders, but not for Merkel. Over the past few months he had developed a routine that he liked to follow. He loved to take his time, especially with boys as beautiful as Anders.
He took hold of the tail of the boy’s crisp white shirt and carefully pushed it up until an inch or two of bare flesh was exposed. Then, with his left hand he pulled at the elasticated waist of the briefs. They were tight already and it took no effort to smooth out creases so the cotton fitted smoothly like a second skin.
All the time, Anders lay submissively in position. He had never been spanked in his life and had no idea how much this was going to hurt. He wished Merkel would stop toying with him and get on with it.
But his boss was not ready yet. With his right hand he caressed the boy’s buttocks, feeling the firmness of the cheeks and the smoothness of the thighs. The beautiful blond boy seemed almost hairless; but Merkel palm was tickled as he ran it down the back of Anders’ legs. The hair was so blond it was almost invisible against his skin.
His breathing was becoming a little heavy and very soon he feared he might show just how attractive he felt the boy was. It was time to get on with it.
He raised his hand to about three inches from the boy’s left buttock and brought it down with a resounding smack! The flesh gave way and he felt his hand sink into the boy’s buttock. Perhaps, he was not as firm as he looked.
Merkel smacked away across both cheeks: high, low and then in the centre.
Anders lay impassively across the man’s lap. He felt the slaps hit into his proffered cheeks, but there was hardly any pain. There was a tingling sensation at first that after a dozen or so slaps became a warm glow. He was new to the experience of hand spanking and would not know that no matter how hard or how rapidly a man smacked the palm of his hand into the buttocks of a nineteen-year-old he would not make much of an impression. Indeed, there was a real possibility that after a short time the man’s hand would hurt a lot more than the teenager’s bottom.
Merkel knew what he was doing. After a few dozen slaps, he paused, and without saying a word, he tugged Ander’s underpants down.
He rubbed his hand over the now-naked cheeks. “What a lovely shade of pink,” he said and rubbed some more. “And, so very warm.”
Anders gasped and closed his eyes tight. “Please God, don’t let him put his fingers in my crack,” he prayed silently.
Merkel raised his hand and slapped it down into the buttocks: again and again and again.
It still did not hurt Anders much, but despite the novelty of the experience he reckoned it was supposed to cause him pain. Otherwise, he thought somewhat naively, what was the point of the spanking?
He let out an “Oww”, followed by an “Ahhh” and hoped he sounded convincing.
Merkel smiled. He was not fooled. He smacked on and on into the yielding naked flesh, landing a few blows on the sensitive sit-spot where the cheeks meet the thighs. A genuine gasp escaped Anders’ lips.
The boss was impressed by his own handiwork; literally, for his handprint was clearly visible at the top of each cheek.
He smacked the boy’s bare bottom for fully five minutes and would have carried on for at least another five, but he was interrupted by Helmut.
“Sorry, Sir. There’s an urgent phone call from head office in Dusseldorf. It’s important.”
“It had better be.”
He released his hold on Anders and the boy sprang to his feet and quickly whipped up his pants and trousers. His bottom was a little sore, but even in the few moments it took to get dressed the pain had turned to a warm glow. Within minutes it would be gone altogether.
“Take your jacket and go.” Merkel picked up the telephone and called out to Anders as he was disappearing through the door. “And I want to see better sales figures from you next month.”
But he did not mean it.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second