Community Service - Part 7(New Version)

This story is written by David, please send comments and appreciation to

Ch. 7: Mrs Newlove is over the moon; dancing in the street - she's just all hop, skippity boo!

Community Service Officer Linda's prediction proved to be right.

On Monday, Tina Marshall, a Team Leader counter assistant at Canford town's highly popular High Street burger bar, Burger Heaven, was, as a first-offender with a previously unblemished character record, given just a formal warning.

But, unfortunately for Tina, Mrs Norma Newlove, who could not be prevailed upon by the local Authoritarian Female Party official to drop her Grievous Aggravated Assault charges, adamantly appealed against what she angrily contested was a too-soft summary decision of said local AFP official.

At the outraged insistence of the sorely aggrieved 'plaintiff' Norma Newlove, supported by her Sock Room cronies Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb, the Community Service Liaison Officer, Harriet Harmman, finally succumbed to the haranguing vengeful trio's indignant and righteous demands: that the offender Tina Marshall faces a much sterner retributive comeuppance.

And so it was that on Wednesday, regretfully Ms Harmman agreed to revise her original, too-lenient decision, and reluctantly she duly awarded Tina the 'Standard Six'.

Tina's public, Standard Six bare-bottom caning chastisement was to be administered on the following Saturday afternoon at 2 pm, in Canford town's High Street, by two CSOs as assigned by Ms Harmman.

Presiding over the punishment proceedings, would me Ms Harmman herself.

Waiting on Ms Harmman's expressed instructions, one of the two punishment-detail CSOs would duly administer her AFP-issue whippy bamboo cane to Tina's left, fully exposed bare buttock three times while simultaneously the other CSO would administer her wicked-looking cane to Tina's right buttock.

All over Canford, everywhere to be seen were the hurriedly printed and posted public information notices, billboard posters, and flyers.

At such short notice, it was too late to advertise the upcoming historic event in the local newspapers.

But on local radio and TV, during commercial break interludes or at the end of news bulletins, announcements were made pertaining to Miss Tina Marshall's historic public chastisement caning, this coming Saturday at 2 pm.

For the first time, under Authoritarian Female Party rule, not just in Canford, but in the whole of the UK, it was a female, who was to be publicly caned.

* * *

Today was Friday.

I was finishing my second Monday to Friday working week as a community servant, assigned to work in Canford town's Sock Room where, supervised by CSOs Karen and Linda I was made to earn my weekly Unemployment Benefit by hand-washing, and laundering to a high and exacting standard the females of Canford's dirty socks.

But on Monday, I'd had a very narrow and lucky escape, when Tina Marshall - the heaven, of Burger Heaven - to her own, great detriment, in a feat of daring-do had courageously caused my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove to be hoisted by her own petard - instead of me.

Tina had turned upon Norma, herself, her dastardly day-long 'preparation' of foot dust and toenail clippings, as was exfoliated and clipped from her own, from her Sock Room cronies Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb, and from the soles of twenty-plus other conniving Sock Room attending females' feet and toes.

Norma, with the gleeful assistance of her many willing and enthusiastic co-participants - who with their cruelly grabbing hands and painfully digging fingernails had forcibly restrained me and held me upside down upon Norma's black leather recliner - had been about to pour into my mouth, and make me eat, the horrible little mounds of all of their soles-of-the-feet flaky dead skin and all of their many dozens of variously coloured toenail clippings ... when Tina, with her timely brave intervention, had quickly strode up to the smugly gloating and avidly concentrating Norma unnoticed and kicked Norma's tightly rolled-up magazine right out of her hands and out of my mouth, resulting in most of Norma's dreadful day-long harvest ending up in the shocked and horrified Norma's own, lustrous black hair.

Which was why Tina was now in trouble with the AFP ... facing a history making, exquisitely painful and excruciatingly humiliating Standard Six public chastisement caning, at the more than willing and more than capable hands of two punishment-detail CSOs, tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock.

In fact, I'd had two lucky escapes.

My second lucky escape - after Tina had been handcuffed by CSOs Karen and Linda and escorted to the Community Service Liaison Centre to summarily appear before Ms Harmman - was to find my two supervisors' office door left unlocked after I'd made what I'd believed could only be a futile, postponing-the-inevitable, ill-fated run-for-it.

Which was a very lucky escape, indeed.

Because there, with the Sock Room temporarily entrusted unto the now seething and even further antagonised Mrs Newlove's care until my two supervisors returned from the Community Service Liaison Centre, I was able to keep myself safely locked in.

A refuge, from the wrath of my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove, her Sock Room cronies Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb, and the other twenty-plus, almost equally vengeful sock-changing females.

Who, shouting angrily, and violently slapping their hands and banging their fists and kicking their white-socked feet against the white-painted office door, furiously demanded, upon pain of the direst consequences, that I open up at once and come out.

The direst of consequences or not. There was no way I was going to unlock that office door ... unless it was to CSOs Karen and Linda.


By the end of this second week since Canford town's Sock Room's much-trumpeted opening, what surely most people would think of as very generous storage capacity had been reached, then exceeded, and now my noisome workload of the town's females' dirty socks was just getting totally and ridiculously out of hand ...

The industrial-sized, open-topped hopper - that was signed: 'White Socks Only!' - was now full to over-capacity of dirty white socks.

The colour-coded wheelie bins - of which there were now twenty - were all overflowing with dirty socks; the lids left hanging open untidily, on all of them.

And the industrial-sized hot-and-soapy-water (prewash) soaking tank; the two stainless-steel washing and rinsing sinks; all of the large plastic soaking tubs (for non-white socks); and the four nylon clotheslines outside in the flagstoned courtyard - all fully utilised.

No matter how hard I worked: no matter how hard I toiled, laboured, sweated - no matter how much I slaved! - over the temperature-controlled hand-washing sink, and at the rinsing sink, and at the old-fashioned mangle, and in my ironing station - my stinky, noisome workload just kept on growing and growing.

Growing and growing, as a never-ending flow of the town's sock-changing females came in through the Sock Room's doors to deposit their dirty socks, and change into a clean pair.

Some of the Canford girls and women - some of whom I knew personally, and quite well; others, not so well, or maybe just on nodding acquaintance with - sometimes changed their socks more than once a day.

Well, why shouldn't they? They didn't have to wash them.


It was now just after 2 pm.

It was exactly 24 hours, before Tina - the Heaven, of Burger Heaven - was scheduled to be administered, publicly, the Standard Six.

Scheduled to make history, as the first ever female, to be caned under the AFP.

Sitting on my folding chair, I was pulling inside out (with my bare hands, because wearing gloves made the horrible distasteful chore too meddlesome, and thereby too time-consuming), yet another laundry basketful of the dirty white socks from the industrial-sized, open-topped hopper that was signed: 'White Socks Only!'

Some of the girls and women of Canford balled up their pair of dirty white socks, before depositing them in one of the colour-coded wheelie bins or tossing them into the open-topped hopper. Which only demanded more of my effort and time in separating them: effort, that was highly irksome; and time, that I could ill afford.

Whether my town's womenfolk did that, purely from pre-Sock-Room days habit, simply because it was what they did all the time, or whether they did it, very deliberately, for the malicious pleasure and satisfaction of causing me some extra aggravation - I thought it was a combination of both.

Either way, certainly there was no practical point to it: I hand-washed the dirty white socks in big batches; many dozens at a time, so it was extremely unlikely that any of the separated pairs of socks would be paired together again, post-wash.

Glumly I stared at the white-socked soles of the sock-changing females, who, situated behind the two-barred safety rail on the upper-level of the Sock Room, were relaxing on the row of black leather recliners that overlooked my lower-level work area.

It was a habit I'd fallen into, lately: assessment.

Assessing, some of the difficulties and problems that I would be facing, in hand-washing some of the females of Canford's up-coming dirty-socks.

On Tuesday, in response to the growing demand, more of the well-padded black leather recliners had been supplied, bringing the number of recliners in the 'Spectators' Gallery' up to ten: five, to each side of the six wooden steps that led down into the unlovely environs of my one-man laundry domain.

Some of the reclining females' white socks, I saw, were grubby, grimy - almost incredibly dirty. A reliable indicator, as to those sock-changing females' penchant for going about shoeless.

Which was a habit, I believed, that some of the Sock Room attending girls and women had only acquired, since said establishment's grand opening, two weeks ago.

It was a great challenge, to keep composed and to keep my face neutral, as with bitter resentment and barely suppressed outrage I stared at all of the dirty, filthy, white-socked soles of those mostly careless and indifferent sock-changing females - who, so blithely, caused me so much wholly unnecessary extra hard work!

I say 'mostly', because I knew full well that some of these, more malicious-minded, Sock Room attending girls and women, whether motivated by a naughtily playful sense of mischief, or from more spiteful and cruel, urges or designs - dirtied up their socks deliberately.

They loved the idea - just loved it! - that they were ensuring that my dutiful efforts to hand-wash their extra-dirty socks clean would be all the more difficult, problematic, frustrating and stressful. And much more time-consuming, too: making me spend so much more time - time, that I could so ill afford to waste - on trying to hand-wash clean, in mad-hot soapy water, their purposely, cruelly, deliberately dirtied-up socks.

And these cruel-minded girls and women got an extra delicious kick from knowing I would have to hand-wash their pairs of deliberately dirtied-up socks clean enough to pass muster: Clean enough, to pass the nitpicky, hypercritical inspections of my two young cane-wielding and cane-happy supervisors, CSOs Karen and Linda.

Predominantly, these sock-changing tormentresses wore the long, white cotton sport and leisure socks. From preference, yes - but mostly, it was because the soles of white socks showed up the dirt and grime much more dramatically (and satisfactorily!) than coloured socks, and so they were so much more troublesome and vexatious for their Sock Room community servant to try and hand-wash clean again.

Sometimes, relaxing on their recliners, some of the sock-changing girls and women would take off their socks - or, more often than not, haughtily or bossily summon me to remove their socks for them.

So as to display the soles of their bare feet to me.

So as to display the soles of their bare feet to me, as I sat facing them on my folding chair as I grimly pulled inside out yet another large plastic basketful of the females of Canford's ever increasing and steadily overwhelming backlog of dirty, stinky socks.

Why did they display to me the soles of their bare feet? What was their underlying message?

They wanted to show me, naked, and unadorned, the symbols of my subjugation.

But mostly, relaxing on their recliners, the Sock Room attending females would display to me, the soles of their white-socked feet.

Showing me, the soles of their white cotton sport and leisure socks. Sometimes, filthy with an accumulation of days' worth of ingrained dirt; almost black, at the impact points of the heels, the balls of the feet, and the toe areas. Sometimes, yellow-tinged, too, with days' worth of their foot sweat.

Showing me, just exactly what they were going to make me hand-wash clean.

Showing me, just how much more needless extra effort they were obliging me to devote.

Showing me, the extent of the unspeakable misery they were inflicting upon me.

Showing me, the malicious, cruel challenge they were throwing down: Let's see you hand-wash these, clean enough, to pass your supervisors' inspection!

In short: Pitilessly, mercilessly, maliciously, malevolently - gleefully - aggravating me.

And why?

Because the Sock Room brought out the bitch in them.

A movement caught my eye: Mrs Norma Newlove, crossing her ankles. She was relaxing on the nearest of the five recliners to (my) right-hand side of the six wooden steps.

"And what - Community servant David double-oh-seven - do you think you're staring at?" snapped my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove.

My across the road neighbour from hell Norma Newlove had been giving me hell all week. Ever since late Monday afternoon, when Tina - the heaven, of Burger Heaven - had hoisted Norma by her own petard.

Although from Wednesday afternoon, Norma had eased up on me, just a tad.

Because it had been on Wednesday, that, back from her latest visit to the Community Service Liaison Centre, Norma had returned to the Sock Room triumphant.

Buoyant, at finally having managed to persuade Ms Harriet Harmman to punish 'Burger Girl' with something rather more satisfactorily retributive than the mere telling-off that the local AFP official had so leniently originally decreed: the Standard Six.

Jubilant, at knowing that, by proxy, she would also be inflicting great misery, and deeply wounding me, too.

Norma, with her Sock Room cronies Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb in tow and providing moral support, had demanded proper justice; had finally got it, and now she was looking forward immensely to seeing it being served.

"Nothing, Mrs Newlove," I said respectfully. "I wasn't staring at anything."

"You weren't staring at anything - Community servant David double-oh-seven?" snapped Norma. "I saw you: You were staring at the soles of my feet - and at the soles of all these other ladies' feet, too. Weren't you?"

"Yes, Mrs Newlove," I said respectfully. "I was," I admitted.

It wasn't just the look on my face that I had to try and keep composed and neutral, but the tone of my voice, too.

Since Wednesday afternoon, Norma had been in the ecstatic throes of vengeful anticipation. She was floating on Cloud Nine.

But that was no reason to drop my guard; Norma would still gleefully seize upon the tiniest and flimsiest of excuses to report me to my two supervisors CSOs Karen and Linda.

If I had lied to her just now - or at least, not immediately admitted my lie, when challenged - about staring at the white-socked soles of hers, and all of the nine other reclining ladies' feet ...

So why was Norma Newlove floating on Cloud Nine?

Because, in public, tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock, Tina Marshall ('Burger Girl') would be administered the Standard Six chastisement caning, by two punishment-detail CSOs - and Norma would be there to see it.

Of this, Norma had been gleefully reminding me, since Wednesday afternoon.

Since, adamant and unrelenting, her determined persistence had ultimately paid off. Norma had finally worn Ms Harriet Harmman down, forced the issue, and secured Tina's painful and humiliating punishment.

Since our first date, on Monday, when we'd gone to the cinema, Tina and I had become inseparable.

We'd dated each evening - and news of our being together as 'an item' had reached Norma's ears.

"Will you be there tomorrow afternoon - Community servant David double-oh-seven?" goaded Norma Newlove. "In the High Street, at two o'clock? To see your girlfriend receive the Standard Six? The punishment she so richly deserves!"

There was so much I wanted to say to my across-the-road neighbour from hell, so much I wanted to get off my chest. But, un-balling and then turning inside out with my bare hands another pair of dirty, stinky white socks, I bit my tongue.

To voice, any of my resentful, outraged and less than reverent thoughts of Norma Newlove would merely be to play right into Norma's fiendishly manipulating hands. She would snatch up the internal phone, dial 01 for CSOs Karen and Linda's office, and promptly report my 'offence': that I had stepped outside of the behavioural parameters, expected of a community servant.

Under the 'female-friendly' governance of the Authoritarian Female Party, led by Prime Minister Caroline Flynt, we were living in new, 'Femocratic' times.

And all UK male citizens - especially community servants - had to be mindful of every word they said.

Everywhere now, were cunningly disguised CCTV cameras, and ingeniously hidden microphones.

The visual and audial information, was observed and listened to (and some of it, filed in 'Person of Interest' dossiers) by AFP employees working in the government's monitoring stations and data-gathering centres. The government listening, and watching posts, that were set up by the AFP, immediately upon winning the General Election.

And then there were the AFP's agents-at-large.

The agents-at-large - mostly, but not all, female - skillfully infiltrated the public.

Cunningly, slyly insinuating themselves, the AFP's agents-at-large blended in: Strolling in the streets; browsing in the shops; sitting in cafes, as though they were doing nothing more harmful, than drinking tea; mingling in the workplace, and in the pubs; riding on the buses, and on the Tube ... Snooping, eavesdropping, and reporting, on the unguarded sayings and doings of the hoi polloi.

On-the-spot canings, for behavioural transgressions reported by female citizens; for offences picked up by monitoring station observers; and for offences spotted, or heard out on the streets by sharp-eyed, keen-eared patrolling Community Service Officers, were becoming increasingly commonplace. Now a part of every-day life.

At first, the bright and colourful uniforms of the CSOs: blue blazer, green shirt, red, short skirt, yellow cotton ankle socks, and on their feet the clog-like thick-soled, black leather, backless shoes - appeared ludicrous. Laughable.

But male citizens didn't laugh, for long.

Soon, the sight of the CSOs primary-colours uniforms were evoking primal fear, in male minds. Inspiring knee-buckling dread, in male hearts.

And now, entering my lower-level work area, direct from their office, came two such CSOs: my two Sock Room supervisors, CSOs Karen and Linda.

They were both doing a pretty damn fine job of evoking fear, in my mind, and inspiring dread, in my heart.

Only a year or two older than me - and receiving Unemployment Benefit themselves, up until just two weeks ago - taking to their new 'careers' like ducks to water, CSOs Karen and Linda ruled me with a rod of iron - or, rather, with their AFP-issue flexible bamboo canes.

After checking to ensure that I was working both efficiently and diligently (upon spotting my two approaching supervisors, I'd immediately redoubled my efforts), CSOs Karen and Linda stood with their backs to me before the two-barred safety rail of the Sock Room's upper-level overlook - or, 'Spectators' Gallery'.

Right off, CSOs Karen and Linda started doing that, shoe-playing thing, that they always seemed so wont to do.

And now, albeit not from deliberate goading, but just absentmindedly, my two supervisors were showing me the soles of their socked feet, too. Showing me, the current state of their CSO uniform yellow cotton ankle socks.

Socks that, sooner or later, kneeling on the hard stone floor over a deep plastic laundry tub (for non-white socks) full of them, I would find myself using liberal amounts of industrial-strength detergent, and copious amounts of elbow grease, in trying to hand-wash clean.

Addressing Norma Newlove, CSO Karen, slipping out her left, yellow cotton ankle-socked foot to rest the pads of her toes upon the heel of her backless, clog-like shoe, said, "Mrs Newlove, we've just had a phone call from Ms Harmman."

"Oh, yes ...?" said Norma.

"Yes. She offered CSO Linda and me a spot of overtime ... tomorrow afternoon."

"What?" said Norma, her interest quickening. "Tomorrow afternoon?"

Smiling, CSO Karen told Norma, "For less than half an hour's work, we will be paid for a full day - at triple-time pay. Naturally, we've accepted."

Oh, no! I thought, miserably. I knew what this meant.

Norma said, "Does this mean, CSO Karen, that ..."

CSO Linda, slipping out her right, yellow cotton ankle-socked foot to rest the tops of her toes upon the heel of her backless, clog-like shoe - thereby absentmindedly displaying to me her entire yellow ankle-socked sole - answered, "Yes, Mrs Newlove, it does ... We are going to be the two-CSO punishment-detail, to publicly administer the Standard Six chastisement caning, to Tina Marshall.

Hell! I thought.

"Good!" Norma whooped for joy. "Good! I'm glad!" she said, her unspeakable pleasure, articulately expressed in the sudden luxuriating scrunching and flexing of her white-socked toes. "Because now I know, that Burger Girl will be sorry she crossed me!"

"Oh, Mrs Newlove," said CSO Karen, switching over now, and casually resting the tops of the toes of her right foot upon the heel of her right, clog-like shoe, showing me the full length of her in-need-of-a-wash yellow ankle-socked sole. "You can certainly be assured of that!"

CSO Linda, also switching over, now, and absentmindedly showing me the entire yellow cotton ankled-socked sole of her left foot; the creases and folds of the thin, damp-looking, now mustard-yellow, fabric, almost black-edged from her mingled foot sweat and workaday grime, said succinctly, but meaningfully, "That's right!"

CSO Karen went on, "To be honest, Mrs Newlove, at first, I felt a bit sorry for Tina Marshall. It was a very brave thing she did, coming alone into the Sock Room to confront you. But, through her activities since then, she has forfeited any sympathy that I might have had for her."

CSO Linda elucidated. "Reports have reached us, via Ms Harmman, that on Tuesday, and then again on Thursday, Tina Marshall was among unruly mobs protesting in the streets with placards and banners. They were decrying Prime Minister Caroline Flynt, and demanding the Authoritarian Female Party's immediate removal from government."

CSO Karen added, "Tina's Burger Heaven counter-assistant work colleague and friend, Janice Middleton, another dissident, accompanied her. They are now under surveillance. A very close eye is being kept, on both of them."

What, the? I thought, dismayed. Tina hadn't told me any of this!

"Well, the little ... ungrateful bitch!" said the outraged Gina Stainham. "After all the AFP have done for her!"

"Yes!" agreed Cheryl Chubb hotly. "What more, can she possibly want?"

"It beats me!" said another of the reclining Sock Room attending females, vehemently. "She and her other dissident friend must be out of their minds. We've never had it so good, since the AFP won the General Election, and Caroline Flynt and her Cabinet began introducing their female-friendly laws. We've been living in a Utopia! At last, it is us, who have the whip hand. Us females!"

"Ah," said CSO Linda. "But Tina Marshall doesn't like things the way they are now. Tina's not happy with the AFP's new societal rebalancing measures. Tina's not happy, with the introductions of all of our new female-friendly projects and institutions. She wants to go back to the way things were before - back to male-female equality. She doesn't think that we females should all be living on Easy Street: not having to work for a living anymore, if we don't want to, and having all of our new lifestyle benefits, privileges and easements, to the direct detriment of our menfolk. Above all, she wants these Sock Rooms closed down immediately, and permanently."

Norma Newlove said, "What's wrong with the girl? Is she mad? Burger Girl needs bringing back to her senses!" Pointing and jabbing an angry, accusatory finger at me, Norma said, "It's all because she's gone soft on him - Community servant David double-oh-seven!"

"Well," said CSO Karen, "Tina had better come back to her senses soon. Ms Harmman has warned her and her friend Janice twice now that they are both heading for trouble. Ms Harmman says, if Tina Marshall and Janice Middleton carry on the way they are, she'll be left with no option but to enrol both of them into one of the AFP's rehabilitation programmes, at Greystone Prison."

"Greystone Prison: isn't that a male prison; that awful place, down near Brighton?" asked another of the reclining sock-changing females, her apparent schadenfreude, expressively manifested in the scrunching and wiggling and flexing of her white-socked toes. "Where the Governor and all of the prison officers are female - and most of them, man-hating bitches? And they are known as the Jailhouse Blues?"

CSO Karen said, solemnly, "Yes ... that's the place."

* * *

Saturday, 1:45 pm.

I was shocked, at the size of the crowd.

Shocked, and horrified.

High Street, was packed. Thronged, with the excitedly expectant multitudes of Canford townfolk.

Even worse - much worse - was that the media were here.

And they were here in strength: not just the local newspaper reporters and TV journalists, but radio and TV journalists from outside London, and even from regions further afield, too.

Suddenly, among the gathered crowd there was a frisson of excitement, a thrilled hubbub of anticipation.

Standing on tiptoe, over the heads of the crowd, I could see Tina - the heaven, of Burger Heaven - her wrists, handcuffed in front of her, being escorted down High Street towards the five sets of stocks by CSOs Karen and Linda. Accompanying them, was the Community Service Liaison Officer and local AFP official, Ms Harriet Harmman.

Leading the small party, Ms Harriet Harmman's charismatic presence was like an aura.

Everyone in the gathered crowd, seemed to sense it; seemed to feel it. It would not be overstating it, or in any way flattering her, to say that Ms Harmman was enthralling. Or perhaps 'charming' would be a better word.

This natural ability, to so effortlessly enthral: to command attention, respect - even to awe - was a common AFP characteristic.

This inherent, enthralling (or charming) commonality, was not only shared by Prime Minister Caroline Flynt and her Cabinet Ministers but also by many of the lower echelon, local Authoritarian Female Party representatives - such as Ms Harriet Harmman: the AFP MP for Canford, south London.

As I had experienced for myself, two weeks ago, when CSOs Karen and Linda had picked me up at home in their AFP van and escorted me to the Community Service Liaison Centre to be assigned my duties as a community servant to earn my Unemployment Benefit - Ms Harriet Harmman exuded an air of natural authority.

While issuing my community servant's uniform, Ms Harmman had emanated an authoritative vibe more effective and subduing than any spoken words could have engendered. An unignorable vibe, warning me to be on my very best behaviour.

She was a daunting, very intimidating woman, of whom one's instinctive sense of self-preservation immediately kicked in. Cautioning gravely, against crossing her, or in any way giving her displeasure, and ramming home the message that the less one saw of Ms Harmman, or was otherwise brought to her attention, much the better off, one would ultimately be.

And upon seeing the tall and lightly built Ms Harriet Harmman again now, her light-brown hair styled in the same AFP-modified concave bob as worn by the CSOs, all of those unsettling, disturbing feelings washed over me and through me anew, as those foreboding sensations and direly warning imperatives urgently reasserted themselves in the very core of me.

The closer the approaching small party of four got to the bank of stocks - to those instruments of barbarism; those anachronistic, Olde Worlde devices of cruelty and humiliation - the more the crowd quietened.

Parting before Ms Harmman's sedate approach, as if the forcefield of her charismatic presence was gently nudging them aside, the crowd's growing tension was palpable.

Standing beside the stocks, I saw, was my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove. She was accompanied (surprise, surprise) by her Sock Room cronies Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb.

What an absolute, unmitigated misery those three 'Sock Room Girls' had made of my life, these past two weeks.

Of all of the past fortnight's Sock Room attending, sock-changing females, it was these three, who by far were the major contributors to making my life hell.

Especially Norma Newlove. Who, I could only imagine, because of some past imagined or perceived slight, or other, unforgivable insult, was always on the alert and ever on the lookout for new opportunities to punish me.

But me? I thought the reason for our mutual hostility was as simple as it was prosaic: Norma Newlove and I were the flip-side of what is sometimes romantically alluded to as a 'chemical-attraction'.

My being assigned my community servant duties in the town's Sock Room was like a dream come true for Norma.

It meant so much, to her, she'd told me, that it was like receiving all of her lifetime's birthday and Christmas gifts at once - in one huge, unimaginably fantastic, undreamed-of, present.

And now, in her refusal to give clemency to Tina, and insisting and demanding that Tina suffers the pain and humiliation of the publicly administered Standard Six, Norma knew that, by proxy, she would, effectively, be inflicting cruel punishment on me, too.

Norma, in her unspeakable eagerness to see these punishment proceedings under way, was hopping from foot to foot, such was her gleeful anticipation.

So too, from the looks on their faces, were Gina and Cheryl. They were enjoying themselves almost as much as Norma.

A moment or two later the silence became complete as, her mere presence commanding not just the respect but the undivided attention of the gathered Canford citizens, the local Authoritarian Female Party representative prepared herself to speak.

Ms Harriet Harmman's formal, modulated voice, though not loud, still carrying easily to the furthest reaches of the now rapt crowd, intoned, "Citizens of Canford. It is my unpleasant duty, and with great regret, that I bring before you today not a male offender, but a female transgressor: Miss Tina Marshall. Her crime: Grievous Aggravated Assault.

"It was upon female citizen Mrs Norma Newlove, pursuing her lawful activities in the town's Sock Room, whom Miss Tina Marshall so grievously assaulted.

"In being made aware by CSOs Karen and Linda of certain mitigating factors, and considering Miss Tina Marshall's status as a first-offender with a previously unblemished character record, I was inclined towards leniency.

"But her victim, Mrs Norma Newlove, has appealed against my considered lenient adjudication of a formal warning. She has demanded, and is adamant, that her assailant must be awarded the maximum penalty under the law. And, that it is administered, to the full extent of the law."

Yes - she would! I thought, feelingly.

Ms Harriet Harmman now formally addressed Norma Newlove.

"Mrs Newlove. Is it still your wish, that these punishment proceedings are carried out? That your assailant, Miss Tina Marshall, receives the Standard Six public chastisement caning? Even now, at this late stage, you can give clemency. If you have had a change of heart, Mrs Newlove, you only have to say the word, and I shall call an immediate halt to these punishment proceedings. Just say the word, Mrs Newlove, and Miss Tina Marshall's bared bottom will not receive the Standard Six."

Puffed up with righteous indignation, Norma Newlove responded, huffily, "Stop the punishment proceedings, Ms Harmman? Give Tina Marshall clemency? After what she did to me? That is the last thing I want to do! Have I had a change of heart? No! Not a chance! You didn't see what she did to my hair! I want to see the little minx get what's coming to her. I want to see her bare bottom caned - for what she did to me! I only wish I could do it myself!"

Ms Harriet Harmman said, in disappointed resignation, "Very well, Mrs Newlove. Miss Tina Marshall's Standard Six sentence stands."

Turning to address the now, even more, rapt and expectant crowd, the local Authoritarian Female Party official, announced, "That being the state of affairs, it is now my unfortunate and most regrettable duty, to preside over these most unpalatable proceedings. And to see and ensure, that said Standard Six judicial proceedings are duly carried out, both in the spirit and to the letter of the law."

Further notes of regret and disinclination clearly evident in her voice, Ms Harriet Harmman duly instructed, "CSOs Karen and Linda. Unhandcuff the offender, Miss Tina Marshall. Instal her - head, and arms - into the centre set of stocks. Upon my expressed instruction, bare her bottom. She will receive, publicly, upon my expressed instructions, the Standard Six."

"Ma'am!" replied CSOs Karen and Linda, who with zealous enthusiasm proceeded to do their superior's, albeit reluctant, bidding.

But CSOs Karen and Linda, I knew, weren't inclined towards leniency. Nor were they reluctant. And not in the least, were they troubled by feelings of regret, or disinclination.

Tina, in protesting publicly and vociferously against Prime Minister Caroline Flynt and her Authoritarian Female Party government's so-called 'female-friendly' rule - demanding the all-female Party's immediate removal from office, no less - had forfeited any such scintilla of sympathy, that AFP-employed CSOs Karen and Linda may previously have had for her. They would have no unpleasant pangs of remorse.

For all of CSOs Karen and Linda's smug boasting and gloating over being paid for a full day at triple-time pay, for what would probably amount to less than half an hour's work, I knew for an absolute fact that the very generous monetary incentives were to them just a welcome bonus.

CSOs Karen and Linda would have given up their free time gladly, and volunteered with willing enthusiasm and for no monetary gain at all, to administer the Standard Six, bare-bottom caning, to the 'ungrateful', self-confessed anti-AFP, Tina.

Tina's head and both of her arms were now inserted and secured in the centre set stocks.

My heart was being torn apart, at the very sight. It was unbearable.

The girl I loved - brutally installed, by of all people, my two Sock Room supervisors CSOs Karen and Linda, into Canford High Street's centre set of stocks!

Ms Harriet Harmman said, "CSOs Karen and Linda. Prepare to perform the Standard Six."

"Ma'am!" said CSOs Karen and Linda.

"CSOs Karen and Linda. Upon my expressed instructions, you will both duly administer your canes, to offender Miss Tina Marshall's bared bottom."

"Ma'am!" said CSOs Karen and Linda.

"CSOs Karen and Linda. Disrobe the offender, Miss Tina Marshall: bare her bottom."

"Ma'am!" said CSOs Karen and Linda.

I couldn't stand this!

I could not, and would not, let this happen.

Because I could, and would, stop it.

"No - wait!" I shouted.

An excited commotion came over the attending citizens of Canford. Almost frantically, they looked about, trying to ascertain both the exact location and the source of the urgently shouted appeal.

As I approached Ms Harriet Harmman, not wanting to hinder my way, members of the crowd parted before me in their eagerness to witness whatever unexpected events were apparently about to unfold.

Ms Harmman said, "So ... Community servant David double-oh-seven. What do you have to say?"

But I think she knew ... No: I knew, she knew. It was in her smile.

I was well prepared; I knew what I must now say. I'd been to the town library, and I'd looked up the relevant section of official, formal jargon. And then, so that I wouldn't mess up, I'd learned it by heart.

"Ms Harmman," I said respectfully, and formally. "I humbly beg your indulgence, to formally claim my lawful constitutional right, as a male citizen, to assume upon myself, the judicial sentence awarded to a female citizen: Miss Tina Marshall."

Perhaps only I, had noticed, that upon hearing my pleading voiced, cap-in-hands words, Ms Harriet Harmman visibly brightened; her smile, widening, just ever so slightly. As though I had duly confirmed her assumption. And as though thinking, that she would not, now, after all, have to preside over such unfortunate and unpleasant, female-punishment proceedings. History would still be made today, in Canford - but not, thankfully, as scheduled.

"No! No, David!" cried Tina, absolutely appalled, at my sudden intervention.

"Be quiet, you!" admonished CSO Karen.

The local Authoritarian Female Party representative said, "Are you quite sure, Community servant David double-oh-seven?"

"Yes, Ms Harmman," I said respectfully.

"You are fully aware, then, of exactly what this will entail? Since you are apparently au fait with the relevant protocol, can I infer from that that you are also fully conversant, with what you are asking my permission to undertake, in offender Miss Tina Marshall's behalf?"

"Yes, Ms Harmman. I am fully aware."

"That you will assume Miss Tina Marshall's Standard Six chastisement caning, at triple-rate: eighteen, strokes of the cane?"

"Yes, Ms Harmman."

"Administered publicly, to your bared bottom? In the stocks?"

"Yes, Ms Harmman."

"No! No, David! Don't! You mustn't!" yelled Tina, hysterical with anguish, at my out-of-the-blue heroics.

"You have been told to shut up!" CSO Linda shouted at Tina. "I won't tell you again!"

Ms Harmman then went on, "And, that the offender's victim, if she so wishes, is allowed to administer all, or some of the eighteen cane strokes, herself? In this case: Mrs Norma Newlove?"

"Yes, Ms Harmman," I said respectfully. "Ye-yes. I ... I understand."

Norma couldn't believe it - this was too good to be true.

"Yes!" my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove yelled gleefully. "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

"No, David!" cried Tina, distraught. Distraught, at the notion of me handing myself over to my nemesis Norma Newlove, in her stead. "Don't do it, David! Don't! You mustn't do it, David! You mustn't!"

"Miss Tina Marshall! You have been told twice by my CSOs to remain silent!" said Ms Harmman sternly. "One more word out of you, and I shall award you a mandatory Standard Six - for contempt! And then all of Community servant David double-oh-seven's suffering in your behalf will have been for nothing!"

Ms Harriet Harmman instructed, "CSOs Karen and Linda. Release offender Miss Tina Marshall from the stocks. On my authority, her Standard Six chastisement caning is duly rescinded."

"Ma'am!" said CSOs Karen and Linda, sounding disappointed. But the law, was the law.

Upon her release from the stocks, Tina looked at me - and I will never forget the look on her face.

Such caring!

All at once, Tina looked furious with me, grateful to me, admiring of me - and loving.

Ms Harmman now instructed, crisply, "CSOs Karen and Linda. Now install Community servant David double-oh-seven into the centre stocks. Bare his bottom: pull down his community servant's shorts, to duly receive eighteen strokes of the cane."

"Ma'am!" said CSOs Karen and Linda.

As CSOs Karen and Linda secured first my head, and then my arms into the centre set of stocks, and then unceremoniously pulled down my community servant's white, elasticated waist shorts, the eager excitement of the gathered crowd was tangible. I could almost feel the spark, crackle and fizz of electricity in the air, such was the charged atmosphere.

The local and regional radio and TV journos, too, were affected. All a jabber, they were making sure that they were still broadcasting this historic event: that their microphones were turned on, and that their TV cameras were rolling.

The local Authoritarian Female Party official now turned her attention to, and formally addressed, my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove.

"Mrs Norma Newlove. Is it your wish, as the constitution of the law so provides, to personally administer all, or some, of the eighteen-stroke caning punishment that Community servant David double-oh-seven has petitioned to assume upon himself, in your assailant Miss Tina Marshall's stead?"

"Yes, Ms Harmman!" replied the ecstatic, gleeful Norma. "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

Norma still couldn't believe it - this was beyond her wildest dreams.

It was time to celebrate!

Norma, after all, hadn't received her lifetime's worth of birthday gifts and Christmas presents in advance - because I was the gift that kept on giving.

Standing in front of me with her Sock Room cronies Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb, jubilantly and tauntingly Norma sashayed her bottom at me, in an unseemly display of unbridled triumphalism.

"Yes! Yes! Yes! I most certainly do, Ms Harmman!" exulted Norma, still doing her victory dance.

Mrs Newlove was triumphant. Ecstatic. She was over the moon; dancing in the street - she was just all hop, skippity boo.

Ms Harmman said, "Very well, Mrs Newlove. And how, then, do you wish to proceed?"

"Ms Harmman. Of the eighteen cane strokes, I would first like my two friends, Gina and Cheryl, to administer to Community servant David double-oh-seven's bared bottom, between them, a Standard-Six style caning."

Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb, right in front of me, clasped hands and did a joyful little jig of their own - Norma hadn't forgotten her loyal friends!

"As you wish, Mrs Newlove," said the Authoritarian Female Party's representative for Canford town. "That is quite in order. And, the remaining twelve cane strokes?"

"Ms Harmman," said Norma Newlove, with unspeakable relish. "The remaining twelve cane strokes, I shall administer personally. A sort of double, Standard Six."

"Very well, Mrs Newlove. Consider your chosen caning punishment format, thus arranged. CSOs Karen and Linda will facilitate you and Mrs Gina Stainham and Mrs Cheryl Chubb with the use of their canes."

During her formal exchange with Norma Newlove, I'd noticed that Ms Harmman, who was so accustomed to sitting comfortably behind her Community Service Liaison Office desk, appeared to be getting a bit footsore, from all of this standing around ... Or was she?

Switching from foot to foot, Canford's Authoritarian Female Party representative would gratefully slip her rather long and slender, dark-nylon stockinged foot from her well-worn two-inch heeled, black leather office shoes. And when Ms Harmman pressed her toes down inside the back of the shoe's heel, thereby causing her shoe to stand on end, I was close enough to discern the profusion of scratches, scuffs and scars on the leather sole of her office pump.

The already all of a jabber, excitable voices of the live-at-the-scene local radio and TV journalists, and some further afield regional radio and TV commentators, too, were growing increasingly excited and melodramatic in their commentaries as they reported the very latest from Canford to their listeners and viewers.

The assembled media scrum knew they were all onto a sure-fire winner with this one.

Although what would have been the historic first public caning of a female under AFP rule had been narrowly averted, still, they were now onto something almost just as good ... And history was still being made - by me.

In these new Femocratic times, since Caroline Flynt and her Authoritarian Female Party had won the last General Election on their female-friendly mandate and assumed the mantle of government, the permitted and indeed encouraged TV coverage of the public chastisement of offenders made for very popular TV news programme sign-off pieces: 'And, finally ...'

And this, 'And, finally ...' sign-off piece would be especially viewer-engaging, with its 'love-angle' aspect.

A black-garbed man with black, curly hair suddenly stood in front of me, the lens of his shoulder-mounted camera pointing right at my face.

Hell! I thought, as the full, terrible reality of what I was doing came slamming home to me. What was Mum going to think? What was Dad going to say?

But I wouldn't have changed a thing.

And then appeared a blonde and blue-eyed female TV journalist, whose very attractive, very familiar peaches-and-cream complexioned face on my TV screen I instantly recognised: she was the delightful and delectable Kathy Newton.

Standing right in front of me, she was even more stunningly beautiful in the flesh.

Although mostly she presented the news from the TV studio, Kathy was a frequent outside-broadcaster of South London news events and issues, and of other, regional and national stories too.

Only last week, at home (my parents' house), with all of the Smith family gathered together under the same roof to enjoy one of Mum's exceedingly tasty spaghetti Bolognese dinners, I'd enjoyed watching Kathy Newton interviewing the Authoritarian Female Party's Home Secretary, Theresa Maynard.

But now, I listened with growing, mortified horror, as the lovely Kathy Newton spoke excitedly and melodramatically to the TV camera lens ... about me.

"Ladies and gentlemen SLTV viewers ... history is in the making, in Canford."

"Please, Miss Newton," said Ms Harmman politely. Politely; but there was an edge to her voice.

"There has been a reprieve, in the most remarkable and incredibly dramatic turn of events ... In an eleventh-hour interruption of female offender Miss Tina Marshall's Standard Six caning punishment proceedings, Miss Marshall's boyfriend, Community servant David double-oh-seven, has made an emotional last-minute appeal to the presiding local AFP representative, Ms Harriet Harmman, to allow him to assume upon himself the judicial sentence of a female."

Ms Harriet Harmman then said, irritably, "Please stand aside, Miss Newton."

But Kathy Newton did not stand aside.

She was an investigative and breaking news journalist working for a TV channel who were notorious for pushing the envelope.

The channel's investigative, chasing up and chasing down reporters were of a breed of hardened, cynical, pushy, no-pushover journos. Their flagship, evening-news programme, went on air at 7 o'clock.

Filling in SLTV's viewers on the latest, unfolding events from Canford, the bubbly, neck-length, wavy-blonde-haired TV studio presenter/outside-broadcast reporter went on - unabashed, unperturbed, unrestrained, and unapologetic.

"You just could not, make it up!" marvelled Kathy Newton, excitedly and melodramatically, and beaming her sensationalist 'Wait-till-you-hear-this!' smile.

"Unlikely hero-of-the-hour, Community servant David double-oh-seven, in so dramatically rescuing in such a brave and selfless act, the love of his life - Burger Heaven Team-Leader counter assistant, Miss Tina Marshall - from a Standard Six, public caning punishment proceeding, has in fact done so, to his own, great detriment.

"For in doing so, Community servant David double-oh-seven - who is none other than Canford town's Sock Room community servant - is actually volunteering to sacrifice what remains of his honour, his pride, and his self-esteem, by offering himself, in his girlfriend's stead, to the mercy of - according to our reliable sources - the very woman who is the bane of his life: Mrs Norma Newlove, a Sock Room frequenting, mid-twenties, unmarried mother of four."

Losing patience, Ms Harriet Harmman adjured, "Miss Newton! Please!"

"Community servant David double-oh-seven," Kathy Newton went on regardless, seemingly immune to Ms Harmman's unignorable 'best-behaviour' vibe, "is an eighteen-year-old, recent school-leaver.

"An unemployed Benefits claimant, he has been assigned by local Authoritarian Female Party representative, Ms Harriet Harmman, to Canford town's Sock Room, to earn his weekly welfare handouts by hand-washing and laundering to a high standard the females of Canford's dirty socks.

"And who will now face, publicly, in the stocks, in Canford town's High Street, eighteen strokes of the cane to his bared bottom. Twelve of the-"

"Miss Newton!" said Ms Harriet Harmman sharply.

"Twelve of the eighteen cane strokes, Mrs Norma Newlove has elected to administer, herself. After, that is, her two selected co-caners: her Sock Room friends Mrs Gina Stainham and Mrs Cheryl Chubb, have first administered between them, the first six cane strokes.

"It is Mrs Newlove's lawful constitutional prerogative, under the AFP's new female-friendly-"

"Miss Newton!" snapped Ms Harriet Harmman angrily. She'd now had more than enough of Kathy Newton's envelope-pushing ways.

"Ms Harmman," said Kathy Newton curtly, now recognising the very obvious fact.

And at last, the gorgeous intrepid SLTV studio journalist/roving reporter Kathy Newton removed herself and her attendant cameraman from in front of the centre stocks.

Ms Harriet Harmman now said: "Mrs Gina Stainham and Mrs Cheryl Chubb. Position yourselves, behind the centre set of stocks. Prepare to administer three strokes of the cane each, to Community servant David double-oh-seven's bared bottom. Ladies ... At your leisure."

CSOs Karen and Linda now duly handed over their AFP-issue whippy bamboo canes to Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb.

With malicious glee, Gina and Cheryl, milking the moment to the full - milking their history-making, radio-and-TV-covered, fifteen-minutes-of-fame - stepped up to me, and in a faux friendly manner they patted my cheeks with their fingers.

And so it began: If not the most painful, then certainly the most traumatic, and the most humiliating day of my life to date.

Listening, to them! What a torment!

Listening, to Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb's whoops of malicious glee, upon inflicting (at their "leisure") upon my bared bottom, each of their allocated three strokes of the cane: Gina Stainham thrashed my left, bared buttock, while Cheryl Chubb, whipped my fully exposed right, butt cheek.

Norma Newlove whooped along, with her cane-wielding Sock Room cronies. As did most of the spectating females in the gathered crowd.

The agonising pain! The unspeakable humiliation!

And, all of it, reported not just on local, but also on some of the further afield, regional and even national radio and TV channels.

How could I ever look Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb in the eye in the Sock Room again? After this!

But much worse, infinitely worse, I knew, was yet to come ...

CSO Karen then facilitated my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove with the use of her AFP-issue flexible bamboo cane.

Smiling, CSO Karen said, "I'd like it back in one piece, please, Mrs Newlove."

Not smiling, Norma Newlove replied, "Oh, I can't promise that, CSO Karen!"

Ms Harriet Harmman now said: "Mrs Norma Newlove. Position yourself behind the centre set of stocks. Prepare to administer twelve strokes of the cane, to Community servant David double-oh-seven's bared bottom. Mrs Newlove ..."

On her way to position herself behind my bared bottom, Norma walked right up to me. With her hand, she uptilted my chin, so that she could look right into my eyes.

Norma didn't say anything. Not a word.

But she didn't need to: The look, on Norma's face, said everything. And the expression in her eyes, said more than words can articulate.

Ms Harriet Harmman prompted, "Mrs Newlove ... At your leisure."

And so it continued: If not the most agonising, then certainly the most anguishing, and the most devastating day of my life to date.

And all of it, reported live, on a staggering array of local, regional, national, and even international radio and TV channels ... including SLTV.

"You must be hurting terribly already, Community servant David double-oh-seven, aren't you?" said the blonde, blue-eyed, envelope-pushing journo Kathy Newton, her attendant TV cameraman, taking his zoom-in close-ups, at Kathy's direction.

"And you've still got Mrs Newlove to come! She's going to let you have it, isn't she, Community servant David? Why has Mrs Newlove got it in for you, David? Whatever have you done to her? Would you like to tell SLTV viewers, why she's-"

"Miss Newton! Please!" admonished Ms Harriet Harmman. "I must insist!"

As Norma's Sock Room cronies Gina and Cheryl were both taking maximum advantage and making optimum use of their three-cane-stroke allocation upon my fully exposed buttocks, it was with reluctant admiration, being the subject of her compelling reportage, that I'd listened to the consummate professional so familiar on my TV screen, Kathy Newton.

Clinically detached from the sights and sounds of my suffering, and totally absorbed, in the perfectionist's execution of purpose, Kathy Newton gave expert direction to capture, for the delectation of SLTV viewers, every agonised expression that the cane-wielding Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb had caused to pass across my contorted, pain-wracked face.

I then felt my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove playing CSO Karen's AFP-issue cane over the six raised welts on my bared bottom: the six, painful injuries, resultant of Norma's Sock Room cronies Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb's "Standard-Six style" equal partnership.

I understood perfectly, what Norma Newlove was silently telling me: Norma was maliciously letting me know, that she was going to target each of those self-same, already sore and tender spots ... deliberately. And repeatedly.

Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb had laid the foundations. And now, Norma Newlove was going to build me a 'twelve-storey' tower of pain.

Perhaps Norma Newlove wasn't possessed of the clinical polish and finesse, of which CSOs such as my two young Sock Room supervisors, through a combination of regular training and frequent practice, were so accomplished.

But, where Norma may have been deficient in expertise and elegance, I was quite confident that she would more than compensate for any such handicaps and shortcomings, with her hateful, spiteful, and cruel administering, of CSO Karen's AFP-issue flexible bamboo cane.

Norma was going to-

Whoo! - Crack!

White-hot, searing pain detonated across the centre of my right, bared buttock.

The pain was mind-numbing. But, gritting my teeth, I stifled a strangled yelp.

Norma Newlove had, I knew, accurately overlaid one of her Sock Room crony Gina Stainham's own, three hits.

With my head secured in the stocks, my movements were restrained and restricted. But when my head automatically snapped up, upon feeling the first of Norma Newlove's twelve allotted cane strokes to my bared bottom, it was to see, once again, Ms Harmman slipping one of her rather long and narrow, dark-nylon stockinged feet from its well-worn, two-inch heeled, black leather office pump. And, pressing her toes down inside the shoe's heel, she was causing her shoe to stand on end.

Ms Harmman's seemingly deliberate switching from foot to foot, displaying to me the scuffed, scratched and scarred leather soles of her office pumps, while she duly presided over my humiliating, public bare-bottom caning, felt like an added insult.

And Kathy Newton wasn't helping matters, either.

When SLTV's news programme went on-air at 7 pm, the channel's viewers were going to love the bubbly and vivacious Kathy's excited and melodramatic, live-at-the-scene running commentary.

How could Kathy Newton be so unfeeling? I wondered. How could she be so detached and clinical, in the face of my terrible suffering? How could she be so unsympathetic, of my unspeakable public humiliation?

How could Kathy, a TV journalist who I'd always so liked, and admired, and respected - even had a bit of a crush for, if I'm honest - be so-

Whoo! - Crack!

Unbelievable pain flashed across the centre of my left, bared buttock.

The pain was mind-shattering. But, biting my tongue, I smothered an agonised cry.

Norma Newlove had, I knew, precisely overlaid one of her Sock Room crony Cheryl Chubb's own, three hits.

Automatically, my head snapped up again. And Ms Harmman, choosing this moment to switch over to her other foot, seemingly deliberately showed to me the scratched, scuffed and scarred leather sole of her other, well-worn black leather office pump.

And Kathy Newton, with her clever turns of phrase, and her witty and amusing asides - and her chuckling, laughing, and giggling - was only exacerbating my misery.

It was so very different, when someone else, was the butt of Kathy's cruel jokes. When someone else, was the pansy, for her acerbic wit. When someone else, was her hapless fall-guy.

Even Ms Harmman was smiling.

After this, I didn't think I would view Kathy Newton in the same light again.

I would make Emily Makepeace, my new TV news darling.

Emily, already a long-time firm favourite - and a bit of a heartthrob, too, if I'm honest - certainly wasn't all beauty and no brains. She was one tough cookie of an interviewer, and she was certainly-

Whoo! - Crack!

Unimaginable, intolerable pain sliced across the undermost part of my right, bared buttock, just where it meets the top of the thigh.

This time, the pain was overwhelming, and I couldn't prevent the escape of an agonised moan of anguish.

My neighbour from hell Norma Newlove had, I knew, exactly overlaid another of her Sock Room crony Gina Stainham's own, three hits.

"He felt that one, Norma!" yelled Cheryl Chubb gleefully.

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Gina Stainham. "Now you've got the little squirt right where you want him, Norma!"

Norma Newlove, as I was now finding out, was a lot handier with the cane than I'd imagined she might be.

But then, where Norma might lack the proficiency and finesse of my two young, well-trained and well-practiced Sock Room supervisors, CSOs Karen and Linda, Norma did, more than compensate for any such handicaps and shortcomings, with her hateful, spiteful, and cruel administering, of CSO Karen's AFP-issue flexible bamboo cane.

And it was only three down, with another nine of Norma's "double, Standard Six" bare-bottom cane-stroke allocation, still to be duly administered ...


Finally, it was over.

The public caning punishment awarded to a female, that, as a male citizen subject to Prime Minister Caroline Flynt's Authoritarian Female Party's female-friendly constitutional laws, I was allowed to volunteer to assume upon myself - was finally over.

Immediately upon my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove savagely administering the last of her twelve cane-stroke allocation to my bared bottom, perfectly overlaying for a second time another of her Sock Room crony Cheryl Chubb's own, three hits, Tina - the heaven, of Burger Heaven - ran straight up to me. And, crying herself, she showered my pain-wracked, tear-streaked, stock-secured face with her relieved, grateful, proud, and loving kisses.

"Here's your cane back, CSO Karen," said Norma Newlove, smiling. "It's still in one piece."

"Yes - but I don't know how!" said CSO Karen admiringly. "You are a natural with the cane, Mrs Newlove. With just a few, words-to-the-wise tips from me and CSO Linda, and a bit of trial-and-error practice, I bet you'd stroll the CSOs' cane craft passing-out exam."

"Yes, and with flying colours!" CSO Linda agreed effusively. "Double-oh-seven will vouch for that. Mrs Newlove nearly made him, pass out!"

"Get David out of this barbaric contraption!" Tina yelled, at CSOs Karen and Linda. "This isn't funny!"

"Aw, look at the two lovebirds," chuckled Gina Stainham. "Ah ... doesn't it make you remember your own, first love, Cheryl?"

"Oh ... yes," said Cheryl Chubb, playing along. "It's a real whirlwind romance, isn't it? It's plucking my heartstrings, watching the two of them."

Norma Newlove said to Tina, "So now you know - Burger Girl! Now you know, what happens when you get on the wrong side of me! And, if you want my advice: you'll forget about this loser. Find yourself a proper boyfriend. Ditch him, and walk away from him now. All he's good for, and all he'll ever be good for, is working in the Sock Room, and washing our dirty socks. So-"

"Well, I don't want your advice! Advice? From you?" responded Tina spiritedly. "Norma Newlove, your are a heartless, cruel, malicious, vindictive woman, who ..."

Cheryl Chubb, throwing her head back, let out a high peal of delighted, tickled-pink laughter.

So infectious was it, that Gina Stainham and Norma Newlove immediately contracted the unseemly contagion. The only cure: to laugh out the affliction's tickly course.

Laughing themselves, CSOs Karen and Linda began extricating me from the centre set of stocks. "Let's get you out of this thing, double-oh-seven," said CSO Linda, chuckling. "See what happens, double-oh-seven, when you take on the super-villains?"

And, laughing herself, was Kathy Newton. How could she!

"Ha, ha, ha - 'double-oh-seven' - that's a good one!" squealed Kathy, in hilarity.

No: I didn't think I could ever view my former favourite TV newsgirl Kathy Newton in the same, rose-tinted light, ever again.

Not, after this!

"Come on, David," said Tina. "Let's go back to mine and Janice's place. She'll be finishing her shift at Burger Heaven soon. Janice will help me to, um, get you tidied up."

Norma Newlove and her Sock Room cronies Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb were still laughing themselves fit to bust.

"Tidied up?" Cheryl Chubb managed to get out, between laughs. "He needs a bit more than tidying up - after what we've done to him!"

I looked over, at Canford town's Authoritarian Female Party representative. The woman, who had officially presided over these vile and barbaric public caning punishment proceedings. Ms Harmman was smiling at me.

And, seemingly right on cue, and deliberately, Ms Harriet Harmman slipped her rather long and slender, dark-nylon stockinged right foot from her well-worn, two-inch heeled, black leather office pump. And, pressing her toes down inside the heel of her shoe, she caused her pump to stand on end, displaying to me the scratched, scuffed and scarred leather sole of her office pump.

Ms Harmman's smile said she'd got the measure of me: I was such a schmuck.

I was in a world of agony and anguish.

I had never felt so physically, and so mentally wounded: Being made to suffer, like this, at my across the road neighbour from hell Norma Newlove's, very own hand.

And all of it, covered live at the scene by the world's media.

I shuddered to think, what Dad would say. And what Mum would think.

And what about my two sisters Alison and Denise? There was bound to be some unwelcome and uncomfortable, behind-their-backs gossip at the town centre solicitors' office where they both worked - Black, Brown, and Grey.

And then there was my brother John. He was away at present, working as a chef on the Omega 3 oil rig, in the North Sea. John still had another two weeks left, of his usual three-week working stint.

What were they all going to think, of their younger brother's famous (infamous!), history-making exploits?

This was yet another, of Norma Newlove's emphatic victories. And it was, by far, her greatest and most satisfying triumph yet, that she'd chalked up against me.

Slowly, gradually, and inexorably, Norma was crushing me - both physically and mentally - under her heel.

I was the gift, that kept on giving ... and Norma was the woman, who kept on accepting.

Already, I was dreading the coming Monday.

On Monday - in less than two days' time - I would be starting Week 3, as Canford town's Sock Room community servant: the Unemployment-Benefit-earning duties, assigned to me by the local Authoritarian Female Party representative, Ms Harriet Harmman.

And in less than two days' time, I could expect Norma Newlove and her cohorts in cruelty Gina Stainham and Cheryl Chubb, to come and 'visit' me, in the Sock Room.

As Tina began helping me back to her and her work colleague and friend Janice's place, my every, pain-filled movement, hindering her struggling efforts at progress, I thought it would be nice to meet Janice properly. I just wished it could have been under better circumstances.

Norma Newlove shouted after Tina and me.

"So, you remember - Burger Girl! What happens, when you cross me! When you get on the wrong side of Norma Newlove!"

Tina looked back over her shoulder at Norma. But sensibly, Tina said nothing in reply.

"And, as for you - Community servant David double-oh-seven!" yelled my neighbour from hell Norma Newlove, tauntingly. "We'll see you on Monday!"

"Yes!" chorused Gina Stainham and Chery Chubb. "In the Sock Room!"

Community Service continues, in Chapter 8.


This story is written by David, please send comments and appreciation to