A Bad Call

"Darbus! Where's my team?", Coach Bolton's voice echoed through the auditorium. Troy's stomach flipped as he watched his angry father's entrance. He sat perched on top of a paper tree to which he was supposed to be stapling leaves for detention. Instead he'd been using the artificial foliage to irritate his sleeping friend, Chad. Detention could be so strenuous. Well, he had other things to worry about now. He climbed down quickly.

"You two! In the gym! Now!", taking Chad by the arm, Troy hurried out of the auditorium towards the gym.

"Dude, I told you the team wouldn't cover for us. We should have told my Dad as soon as we got detention", he said as they reached the locker room.

"Don't blame me because the guys can't keep their mouths shut", Chad mumbled, stuffing his shirt into a locker and reaching for his jersey. The two finished dressing in silence and sat for a moment.

"He's totally going to give us the business", Troy mumbled, finally breaking the silence.

"Yeah", Chad agreed softly. He got up from the bench beside his friend, "Might as well get to practice. If we're any later he's just going to kill us in the middle of the gym. Right in front of the team. And you know how long it takes to get blood out of the gym floor"

Troy managed to chuckle as they headed out to the gym, giving their teammates a quick glare before joining in on the drills. Coach Bolton arrived later, about halfway through practice. He showed no trace of the anger the boys had expected. The coach seemed normal, even a little excited about their upcoming championship game. By the end of practice, the sweating boys had almost forgotten about the trouble they were in.

"Wildcats! Getcha head in the game!", Chad led the chant and the team headed out to the showers with the two friends in front. Their spirits were quickly dampened as they heard Coach Bolton's voice.

"Danforth. Bolton. Can you two hang back for a while", the sympathetic looks from their teammates did nothing to halt the rising anxiousness the boys felt. Avoiding eye contact with their coach, they shuffled over to stand in front of him.

"You know, I was angry when I had to come to the auditorium and retrieve you two. Furious when I had to defend you against Darbus. But now I'm calm. Now, I just want an explanation. I want you boys to explain to me why you got in trouble and more importantly, why you didn't come to me as soon as you knew", the nervous boys looked at each other, then back at the floor. Chad shifted from one foot to the other as Troy concentrated on not moving at all.

"I'm not going to ask you again… Troy!", cringing at his father's growl, the teen took a deep breath for courage. He was going to need it.

"Darbus caught a bunch of people in class with cell phones and she gave like everybody detention. Chad was just trying to stick up for me, but then she snapped on him too. She even gave one of the geeks detention, so we just figured it wasn't that big of a deal. I figured that if the team covered for us for one practice… it, umm…wouldn't be a big deal", even before he finished, Troy knew how weak that sounded.

"So, let me get this straight. You thought it was alright to break the rules, because everyone else was doing it. You thought that you didn't need to tell me, because it wasn't important. And you thought it was ok to lie to me, because it was only once. Did I sum that up about right?", Coach Bolton watched as the boys winced at their list of offenses. He continued, sparing them the answer to his question.

"Chad, Darbus said you were giving her lip. Is that true?", the offending boy focused his attention to the floor boards of the gym.

"I wasn't really giving her lip, really. I mean, sort of, but…", Chad mumbled.

"Chad. Is it true?", the authority in the coach's voice left no room for rambling. It was clearly a yes or no question.

"Yes, sir"

"And, Troy. Darbus said your phone was out during class. I thought we agreed that you would keep your call off during school hours", now it was Troy's turn to fidget.

"Yes, sir. But, I thought silent would be just as good. Since it's, you know, silent and all."

"No, Troy. Silent is not as good, because it's not what I told you to do. And furthermore, if you keep your phone on silent, why did you have it out when all the phones rang", Troy remained silent, but the pained expression on his face told his father everything.

"YOU MADE THE PHONE CALL! What the hell were you thinking, Troy!", Coach Bolton roared, stepping dangerously close to his son.

"I don't know, Dad. I was just…there was a girl, and I thought I…so I just wanted to check and…it was just homeroom. I'm SORRY."

"Oh you're going to be sorry. Trust me on that one. Go sit on the bleachers over there. Chad you sit on these. I will be back in five minutes and I don't want to hear a sound from either of you. Is that clear."

"Yes, sir" came the reply in unison. Both boys sat in quiet commiseration. Coach Bolton stepped into his office to clear his head. He was just out of earshot for the boys, but he knew neither of them would risk further punishment. He took a deep breath. Troy had really made the phone call. He could have gotten into so much trouble, especially with Darbus. How could he be so stupid?

Troy shared his father's thoughts verbatim. He could have made the call in between classes. Or stopped her after class. Or anything that would have spared him the punishment he knew was coming. And it was going to be bad. He hadn't seen his dad this angry since he and Chad had broken his big screen TV wrestling in the living room once. God, it was going to be so bad.

Chad echoed Troy's thoughts word for word. Keeping his mouth shut had never been his strong suit, but as far as bright ideas went, having the team lie for them was not one of them. Troy wanted to come straight to his father, but "no", Chad had said. "The team can cover for us", Chad had said. "He won't even know", Chad had said. And now, Coach was furious; rightfully so. Chad knew he deserved every bit of the punishment he was going to get. Let's just get it over with.

With the same thought in mind, Coach Bolton grabbed a paddle off the wall in his office and walked out to the sullen boys. He turned to Chad first, signaling him into position. He slowly bent over, resting his hands on the lowest bleacher.

"Ok, Chad. Do you understand why you're being punished?", the steady hand on the boys back calmed him a little.

"Yes sir"

"Why is that, Chad?"

"Because I shot off my big mouth for Troy and didn't tell you about it. I basically lied", Coach Bolton shifted his weight.

"Basically?"

"Well, it wasn't like an out and out lie. It was more of an omiss-OW", Chad's head reared back as his coach brought the paddle down hard.

"I'm sorry?"

"Sorry. It was a lie. A big one. Completely. Sir", Chad had gone through this many times, probably more than Troy, and he knew that a quick turn around was the best option.

"Good. Now you're going to get twelve. Five for misbehaving and seven for lying. Are you ready?"

Knowing that "absolutely not, and I probably won't ever be sir" was probably not an acceptable answer, Chad opted for a murmured "yes sir". He barely got out the two syllables before he felt the warm sting of the paddle again. He gritted his teeth and took it without sound, prepared for this stroke. The fire spread through his bottom. Coach Bolton's strong arm delivered swat after swat, leaving just enough time before each smack for his player to feel the intense burn of the last. By the eighth stroke, Chad had ceased to suffer quietly, hissing and groaning with each landing. Tears started to roll down his cheeks. Nine. Aghh. Ten. Ssss. Elevennn. Owwwww. AGHH. Twelve.

Coach Bolton rubbed circles into the boys back as he sobbed. He hated punishing the kids and he wasn't looking forward at all to the ordeal with his son. Slowly, Chad pulled himself together enough to stand. The coach gave him a quick hard embrace that calmed him almost immediately.

"Ok, go wash up", the tired man said, ruffling the boy's big curly hair. He turned to his son as Chad walked away slowly.

Troy looked awful and felt even worse. Seeing his best friend in pain had an obvious effect on him. It was totally his fault. If he hadn't pulled out his phone...

Coach Bolton read his son's thoughts. The anger he had felt melted away and pity took it's place. He knew how hard Troy took it when Chad was punished. Letting out a long, weary sigh at the task ahead, the man sat down on the bench next to his son, laying the paddle down beside him. "I just want to know why, Troy. Why'd you make the call? He watched as his son steadied his watery gaze to the floor.

"I met this girl, Gabriella, at the ski-lodge and I thought I saw her in class, so I called her, but then Darbus caught me. It was her though. But now everybody's in trouble because of one stupid phone call and it sucks", Troy looked into his father's eyes for sympathy. He found frustration and quickly mirrored it, upset that his father wouldn't understand.

"All this over a girl, Troy? You know Darbus and I don't get along. She could have easily suspended you for a couple of days. That goes on your permanent record!" "But she didn't "

"That's not the point, Troy", the teen let out a loud sigh. It was one sigh more than the elder Bolton could tolerate.

"You know what, get up. Bend over. Now!" the boy obeyed wordlessly, knowing better than to argue, but too defiant for a 'yes, sir'. It wasn't until he felt his basketball shorts pulled down that he looked back in protest.

"Dad..."

"Troy, what are you being punished for?", the boy pulled his focus back downwards.

"Because I got caught with my cell phone in home-room" , WHACK. Troy jumped up in pain and turned a shocked face towards his father, He was rewarded with a calm nod at the bleachers. The rebelliousness the young man had felt moments before was replaced by fear and remorse as he realized how bad the spanking was going to be. Reluctantly, he bent back down.

"Troy, what are you being punished for?"

"For… for… I used my cell phone in class"

"And"

"'Cuz, umm... me and Chad didn't come to you right away", WHACK. Troy let out a small groan.

"This is about you, Troy. Not Chad or anyone else. You are being spanked because of you. Is that clear?" a faint nod, "Now, what else?"

"We-I mean, I got the team to lie for me"

"And why are you being spanked for all this?", the question threw Troy completely.

"Be-because... Umm…" WHACK. Troy raised to his tiptoes with a hiss of pain.

"Because... I deserve it?" WHACK

"Ow! I don't know, Dad. Because it was wrong?" WHACK . The blow brought the boy to tears of frustration and pain.

"Think, Troy. Take a second and think about why I wouldn't want you getting into trouble at school", Troy was surprised to hear that his father's tone was concerned and almost sympathetic. He paused to think, and the answer suddenly dawned on him. It was obvious, really.

"You don't want me to get in trouble, because it could hurt my chances at college?", Troy braced himself for a blow, but none came. Coach Bolton turned the boy to face him.

"You can't let one moment ruin your whole future, Troy. You'll be the first Bolton in college. And even if you didn't want to go, you should still have the option. That's why I'm punishing you. Do you understand? Troy nodded sincerely, then cringed as his father guided him back over the bleachers.

"Ok, son. you're going to get ten", the boy sniffled and nodded. Coach Bolton delivered the swats quickly, hoping to get the spanking over with as soon as possible. Despite the fast spanking, Troy's frame was still wracked with sobs when the spanking was done. His father pulled him into a hug until he quieted.

"Ok", he said, as the boy pulled away," Go hit the showers. Chad's probably waiting for you in the locker room"

"Yeah, standing up thanks to you", he responded to his fathers warning look with a mischievous smile, and as he rushed off to the showers, Coach Bolton couldn't help but smile too.