4217 Hillcrest Avenue just before 11 the next morning.
The front door was opened by Mr Philips butler. "Good morning Sir, how may I help you?".
"My name is Philip Banks and I have an appointment with Mr Philips at 11 O'clock."
"Yes Sir, please come in I believe the master is expecting you." Philip entered the door and waited for the butler to lead him to Mr Philips.
"My name is Daniels Sir," said the butler, "Can I get anything for you before I take you through to the master?". "No thank you Daniels". "Very well Sir, please follow me."
They walked through the house down a long corridor with dark walnut cladding on the walls. Daniels stopped and knocked on the study door before opening it. "A Mr Banks to see you Sir."
"Thank you Daniels" replied Mr Philips. "Good Morning Mr Banks, please take a seat" said Mr Philips gesturing to a comfortable set of soft red leather chairs.
"Can I get Daniels to get you anything Mr Banks before we sit down?"
"Coffee would be great" said Philip sitting down.
"Daniels please bring us both some coffee". "Yes of course Sir" said the butler retreating from the study closing the heavy wooden door on his way out.
"Well now Mr Banks, you said that you had a delicate matter to discuss, that occurred at my son's school. I have spoken with Fredrick and he hasn't mentioned anything." "What did you want to talk about?"
"Mr Philips," began Philip" "Please call me Arthur", interrupted Mr Philips. "very well, Arthur then, My Son Carlton, ended up in hospital with a drug overdose after the prom the other night. He took what he thought were vitamin pills he borrowed from my guardian Will's locker. These pills though were not vitamin pills they were "LCD, commonly known on the street as "Speed". Will was given these pills by your son Freddie when he expressed to him that he was having trouble staying awake,and he put them in his locker."
"Mr Banks, are you accusing my son of drug dealing?"
"No Arthur, I am not accusing your son of dealing, but I am certainly trying to bring it to your attention that your son is involved in handing out drugs in school. If he was found with them on him he most certainly would be arrested and charged with dealing drugs. I understand from Will that there was no attempt by your son to obtain any money for the drugs and he has not noticed Freddie dealing with other students. However that does not excuse your son from being in possessions of drugs and / or sharing them around with his school friends. Now I made a promise to the boys that I would try and keep this out of school and that is why I am talking to you about it, but should you fail to act then I am afraid that I will have to speak to the Principle and the Police as I will not allow my family or anyone else to be put at risk. Carton could have died!"
"Mr Banks" "please call me Philip, Arthur". "Thank you, Philip, I am very sorry that Carlton ended up in Hospital. I can assure you that I do not condone anyone being involved with either taking or dealing in drugs and I am very ashamed that my son may be involved. I am also very concerned that my son thinks it is OK to lie to my face about the whole situation too. I promise you I will take this up with him, in fact I would appreciate your assistance with questioning him if you have the time. As a judge you are probably more adept at telling whether or not someone is telling you a bare face lie. Would you consent to stay a while whilst I question my son about the whole situation?"
"If you would like me to then yes Arthur, I will." There was a knock and the door and it opened and Daniels walked in with a tray with the coffee, milk, cream, sugar and a selection of croissants on. He placed it on the small coffee table in between the leather armchairs and handed both gentlemen a cotton napkin. "Thank you Daniels, would you please find Master Fredrick and ask him to come to my study immediately." "Certainly Sir, is there anything else I can get you?" "No, thank you Daniels". "Very good Sir" Daniels said retreating from the room.
"Have one of these croissants Philip, Daniels makes these and they are fabulous!"
"Thank you Arthur" said Philip reaching for a cup of coffee and a croissant.
The two men spent the next 20 minutes enjoying their coffee and croissants whilst reminiscing about how their fathers' would have disciplined them, both men discovering that they were both brought up in very similar circumstances in a much poorer family situations. They had just finished their coffee's when there was a knock on the door.
"Come in", said Mr Philips.
Fredrick entered the study, recognising Mr Banks he wondered why he was in his fathers study.
"Daniels said you asked to see me Sir." he said approaching his father. "Yes Fredrick, this is Mr Banks, Carlton father and Will Smith's guardian, I understand that you know them both from school."
"Yes Sir, hello Mr Banks"
"Hello Fredrick" replied Philip.
"Son, please take a seat, I have a few questions for you." "Yes Sir" said Freddie sitting down.
"Fredrick, do you remember I asked you a question last night if you knew why Mr Banks wanted to speak to me and you said you had no idea?" "Yes Sir"
"Do you also remember me asking you if you knew anything about an incident in school?" "Yes Sir".
"Why are you lying to me son?".. "I'm not dad I don't know why Mr Banks is here or anything about an incident at school"
Frowning Arthur looked at his son and then addressed Philip. "Judge Banks would you like to ask any questions you have of my son?"
Freddie gulped, suddenly he had an idea what this might be about, but no, surely Will wouldn't have ratted him out.
Noticing the boy gulp Philip began. "Fredrick are you aware that Carlton ended up in the emergency room after the prom a few nights ago?" "No Sir", Freddie answered honestly, he didn't he was a bit high at the prom and had pulled his girlfriend outside for a make out session when the paramedics Siren's had been heard. His girlfriend Sarah was a bit high too so she didn't complain.
Realising that Freddie was telling the truth Philip continued. "Well he did, apparently Carlton was feeling a bit run down so he 'borrowed' what he thought was some vitamins from his cousins Will's locker care to guess what those vitamins were son?"
Freddie looked down, realising that he was dead, Will clearly hadn't exactly ratted him out but the judge obviously knew what the drugs were. He knew had become far too complacent with taking the Speed, but since everyone around him was also taking it, he didn't think it was a problem to pass it on after all he reasoned, it's not like I am selling it to anyone. Still he wasn't a liar. "No Sir, I know what the pills were, I gave them to Will as he needed a pick me up."
Arthur sat in his chair stunned, he was furious that Freddie passed on drugs to someone but, he was also secretly a bit proud that his son hadn't lied to him after all and that he was mature enough to accept his responsibility. It seemed that he hadn't been wasting his time bringing him up after all.
"Thank you for being honest with me son" said Philip. "What I would like to know though is why you gave drugs to Will."
"Mr Banks, I'm sorry about Carlton I really am, I didn't know that he took anything I was kind of outside with my girl at the prom." Freddie looked up at his father and saw him scowl. He looked back down at his feet but continued. "Will said that he was struggling to stay awake and well,,, lots of guys are taking speed you know, it doesn't seem to hurt anyone although we all know not to overdo it you know and well Will is a good guy and I thought he would be sensible you know so I let him have a few."
"Excuse me interrupting Philip, Freddie are you saying that drug taking is rife at that school, because if you are I can promise you that it is going to be stopped. I did not enrol you in a school to take drugs I put you there to get a good education. How long exactly have you been taking it?"
"About 6 months Sir" said Freddie sheepishly, still not able to look at his father.
"Look at me son," said Mr Phillips "I raised you to be an honest hard-working young man. I wanted to give you the best, everything I never had growing up. Until now you have studied hard and already have a chance to go to Harvard or Yale but you could wreck that and the rest of your life if you get arrested for either possession or dealing drugs. Now you have been very lucky not to have been caught taking or being in possession of drugs and Judge Banks son has been extremely lucky not to have died else you would be charged with involuntary manslaughter as well."
Freddie sat there feeling very guilty, he found he couldn't continue to look at his father for long so he dropped his gaze down to look at his feet.
"Now I think son that you owe Carlton and Will an apology and we will have us a "discussion" later in your room. Now please leave us and return to your room, you are to stay there and wait for me."
"Yes Sir, I understand. Turning to Mr Banks I'm very sorry Judge Banks, please tell Will I am sorry I got him into any trouble and tell Carlton I am sorry he ended up in the emergency room I never meant for anything like that to happen".
"Thank you son, I will leave you to your father to decide any consequences this time. I hope that you get all the help you need to deal with your drug addiction, but know this, if this happens again I will inform the school and the police and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, do you understand me?"
"Y.. Yes Sir, I promise I will never happen again." with that Freddie got up and slowly walked out of the study.
"Philip, I appreciate your consideration with regard to the situation with my son especially given the seriousness of the occasion. I am truly sorry that my son was involved in any way and I can assure you that I will take steps for it to not happen again. But I do think that we need to find a way to contact the school as it is clear that there is a real problem there. Do you have any ideas how we could do this?"
"Hmm, Arthur I was not aware that the drug taking was so wide spread but, I do know of a Youth Court Officer who owes me a favour perhaps he could arrange something. I believe that after the holidays Carlton and I will have an appointment with the principle to discuss his collapse at the school. Hopefully I will be able to arrange something prior to that so that I can speak to the principle without worry that Will or Freddie will be implicated in any investigation." he paused "I must be going now, thank you for your hospitality, I am sorry that the first time we actually got to talk to each other properly was to discuss how our children were involved in drug taking! I will leave you to deal with your son however you see fit but, I suspect it will be the same way I have dealt with it. I will contact you when I have spoken to the youth court officer"
"Thank you once again Philip ." Daniels.." called Mr Philips, a few moments passed before the butler arrived, he knocked gently and then entered the study."Yes Sir?" "show Mr Banks out please." "Certainly Sir, please follow me Mr Banks."
Mr Philips sat for 15 minutes in his study contemplating how to discipline his son, he had not used corporal punishment in years since Freddie was about 10 in fact, but he could not come up with any other solution he thought would be fitting. Certainly his father wouldn't have hesitated if he were in the same position. Sighing Arthur got to his feet and headed up to see to Freddie.
Freddie was sitting on the edge of his bed with his head in his hands when he heard the gentle knock on the door. Come in dad he said.
Son, although I am very angry and disappointed in what you have done, I need you to know that I am proud that you did not lie to me or Judge Banks. I admit that for a while I suspected that you had lied to me when you told me that you didn't know anything and that was hard for me to understand so I am glad that I was proved wrong. Also I want you to know that I am proud of you for accepting your responsibilities. I will arrange for you to go on a drug programme over the next few months and I want you to promise me that you will never attempt to take drugs again.
Yes Sir I promise, and I am sorry for disappointing you .
Fredrick Arthur Philips, I don't know why you got yourself involved with taking or passing out drugs to your friends but I am going to make sure that you never do so again. It has been a long time since I needed to take you in hand but regretfully I think I have no other choice. What you did could have ruined many lives and that is completely unacceptable do you understand?
Freddie looked up at his father when he said his full name, knowing that even though his father hadn't raised his voice he was angry and he knew only too well that it was the tone used only when he was in serious trouble. But dad I m eighteen I'm too old for that, you haven't spanked me in years, please can't you take away my car or something?
Firstly, you are not too old for that, in fact I was the same age as you the last time I was spanked, if you do not believe me you can confirm that with your grandfather. Secondly, what you did could have ended up with someone losing their life and you spending the rest of your life in a 6 by 10 foot cell. That is something I do not wish for my only son and I will do anything to prevent that, including spanking you every day for a week if that is the only thing that makes you think about what you are doing and thirdly. I will be taking away your car and other privileges as well as spanking you.
When we are finished here I want you to take out your mobile phone, your laptop and your car keys and put them in my study. You will be grounded for a month. School and home only, you may keep your books and your television in your room as you will be spending the time from when you arrive home until the morning in your room except for meals but I expect your homework done first. You may call Sarah to tell her you are grounded but but that is it do you understand me son?
Yes Sir, I understand but I still think I am too old for spanking.
Sorry son, but it is not something I enjoy, now jeans down and lay over the end of the bed.
Freddie stood up and lowered his jeans and looked at his father anxiously praying that he could keep his boxers, his father nodded his head yes you can keep them on he said. Freddie lowered himself down onto the bed putting his hands under his head to prevent him wanting to reach back.
Mr Philips took off his leather belt and placed it on the bed next to his son, he then took off his jacket and rolled up both shirt sleeves, he was aware that this was causing his son a lot of anxiety but he wanted him to remember this event for a long time. Arthur suddenly had a flashback. He remembered his own father telling him just how hard it was for him to discipline his son when he was around the same age and he suddenly realised just what he meant, it was much harder contemplating spanking his son at eighteen then it was when he was just a little boy.
Mr Philips took a deep breath and reached down and grabbed his belt, he carefully folded it making sure that the buckle was safely in his right hand and he reached forward and put his left hand on Freddie back. Brace yourself son he said and then he swung the belt. The first lash eluteded a scream from Freddie. Arrrghhh Christ!, swat, arrrgggh, swat, arrrrghhh, swat arrgggh . Arthur was not immune to the pain that he was causing his son but he just kept seeing Freddie behind bars and he couldn't let that happen so biting his lip to control his own emotions he carried on counting in his head. swat arrrggghh, ddd...dad please, I promise to never get involved with drugs again honest. Arthur was almost undone by that and so he thought to swat faster so that he could get the whole thing over quicker. swat, swat, swat, swat, swat, swat, swat. Freddie scream on each lash. After the twelfth lash Mr Philips dropped the belt and sat on the bed next to his son. Breathing heavily he suppressed his tears. Freddie lay over the bed sobbing hard for a moment before he realised that there were no more swats. Looking to the left side of him he saw his father sitting next to him and he then felt his back being rubbed gently.
Freddie, you are forgiven, I love you son, I don't want you to hate me for what I ve just done, but I don't think you realise what it would do to your mother and I if you ended up in jail.
Freddie sobbed even more hearing his father say that, I, I, I don't ha,,, hate you dad, hhow cccan I hhhate you? he sobbed.
Mr Philips kept rubbing his son's back gently, holding back his own tears whilst Freddie sobbed into his duvet cover. When the sobs died down he helped Freddie stand and drew him into a hug. D... dad I really ddon't hhate yyou he sobbed. He gulped in air and said. It was my fault you had to spank me, I promise you wont have to do that again.
Hugging his son tight, he gently combed his hand through his sons hair. Oh son, I know, I know, you are a good boy most of the time, trust me it was hard for me to even contemplate disciplining you this way and I don t want to have to ever again, but I will if I have too, please ensure that I do not have too. Why don't you lay down for a while. You can bring me your phone, laptop and keys shortly, remember you may call Sarah to tell her you are grounded but I don't want you on the phone for more than 10 minutes. OK?
Yes Sir, I love you dad.
Love you too son, I'll check on you in a while. Mr Philips left the room and Freddie laid face down on the bed, kicking his jeans of first.