Hard Paddle

April sat, shy and uncertain, alone at a small table. The bar seemed to dwarf her, the dark smoky air battered unceasingly by a jukebox that alternated between George Thorogood’s raw chords and the twang of Hank Williams, Jr. She’d never heard of this place – tucked down a side street in a part of town she didn’t frequent. “Jimmy’s Place” was barely visible on the dirty and faded wooden sign outside, lit by single sickly yellow light.

She nursed a cola, eyes lowered, occasionally peeking up from under her long eyelashes. The person she was supposed to meet might have been there already – she wondered if he were watching her – but everyone seemed busy with their own affairs. Her nervous glances retreated anytime someone’s eyes came close to making contact, riveting back to the glass in front of her. No one paid any attention, so she sat, hands wrapped around the moist glass to keep from fidgeting, her back stiff with tense anticipation. She wondered if she could go through with this; then a shift in her seat reminded her of the feeling between her legs, and she knew she had to at least try, or face a lifetime of regret for missed chances. She was past the point of turning back.

April had read the ad in the local underground paper, surreptitiously reading it at work during her break, looking for a relief from the boredom that threatened her upcoming weekend. None of the bands or local theaters interested her as she skimmed through entertainment section, and she was about to discard it when she glanced at the personals. She read them occasionally for fun, giggling at some of the possibilities the ads promised or asked for. They were obviously unreal, obviously made up by people like her with an overactive imagination.

Then she read it. And read it again, and again, and had felt the same wetness growing between her legs as she felt sitting at the table alone in the bar. It was a simple ad; someone was looking for “a submissive with an ass made for Harleys and hard paddles.” April had never ridden a Harley in her life, and while the idea thrilled her, it was nothing compared to the idea of a hard wooden paddle thudding into her ass, driving down again and again, that had her heart pounding. She’d folded the paper into her pocket, wiped the sweat from her forehead, and returned to work that day. She had gone through the rest of the day in a daze, thinking of only when she would go home and find out if that ad, if that person, was for real.

At home, her fingers had trembled as she’d dialed the number, a rough masculine voice instructing her to leave a message. It was simple, direct, and not an invitation – it was an order. Voice trembling, she had managed to get out “This is April…” and then had stammered out her phone number before slamming down the phone and hugging her knees to her chest. She had actually called! Her body had started shaking uncontrollably, and she couldn’t tell If it was for fear that the deep voice would call back or that he wouldn’t. She had settled into an agony of waiting and fantasizing and anticipating, only half-aware of the fantasy that she was trying to make come true.

Two days later there had been a message on her answering machine. She’d pushed the “play” button with her heart pounding, and let out a small cry at the husky voice that growled out of the tiny speaker. Matter-of-factly it told her what to wear, clothing and makeup, and where to go and when. Then he had told her what was expected. “When you get here, you will do as you’re told. You will be safe, but you will be pushed beyond any fantasy you’ve ever had. You have my word on both those counts.”

Hearing the confident assurance in his voice had filled April with a thrilling terror, a hunger for the power it promised. She’d dated men looking for it, but never found it; instead it had fueled the fantasies as she touched herself at night. That kind of voice; those kinds of words. There was no question of backing out. She would wear those clothes, she would put on that makeup, and she would get that hard paddling.

Now she sipped her drink, wearing the clothes he’d asked her to wear in the unfamiliar bar where he’d told her to come. She knew he’d know what she looked like – she was the only one dressed this way – but she had no idea who he might be. That voice could have belonged to any of the men here, or to any of the strong images she’d conjured up while masturbating. April fidgeted impatiently, desperately wanting to meet the real him, to resolve that cloud of uncertainty. Every time the door at the front of the bar opened, she would peek up, trying to catch a glimpse of the patron, heart thudding because it might be the real him. But the men just walked to the bar, ordered their drink and then swaggered back to the noisy activity by the pool tables, loudly greeting their friends with handshakes and pats on the back.






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