Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Burning Issue – by Alex Birch

In memory of Alex Birch

"Well here is another of my own stories which, for some reason, I never posted anywhere on the net. This was published in 'Februs' magazine under my 'Paul Melrose' name and I have included Paula's original illustrations to accompany it. Hope you enjoy it." (Alex's preface to this story)

Story from Februs 44.

The Burning Issue
by Paul Melrose (Alex Birch)

'The staff at RAP TV were cock-a-hoop after the release of the latest cable TV top ten programme charts showing their after-hours discussion programme, 'The Burning Issue' to be number three among the nation's favourite chat shows. The news was particularly rewarding for the fresh young station because of the daring live format of the show, a decision having been taken that virtually 'anything goes' on The Burning Issue because of its 1am start time. The producers had decided on an open-ended time format, allowing the show to run until the topic had dried up, and for the invited guests to express themselves in any way they chose, within pretty liberal reason. Controversy was the name of the game and despite, or because of, much flak in the media about the show's anarchic format and lack of social responsibility, the audiences just lapped it up with new viewers tuning in in droves.

Tonight there would be new ground to break and the young media whiz kids who ran the station had every reason to be upbeat and excited about this week's edition. Yet another taboo was to be tossed aside and yet more controversy attracted in the press when The Burning Issue became the first TV chat show to devote an entire edition to the delicate topic of corporal punishment as a source of pleasure and sexual gratification. The courage of RAP TV in going ahead with this had already been discussed in the press, many doubting the channel's wisdom given the prevailing climate among the forces of law and order. Such considerations had never bothered the company's young executives and they were confident that tonight's edition would see them top of the league by the time the next set of viewing figures was released.

It was half an hour now before this week's edition went out and , up in the control room, the guys were congratulating themselves already on the two guests they had secured to discuss this highly emotive topic.

Helen Grant, beautiful, auburn-haired, feisty and thirty-five years old, was in one corner, having recently made an outspoken attack on spanking magazines as 'yet another excuse for men to treat women like chattel and to abuse them for hedonistic pleasure' and had called for such publications to be banned. Ms. Grant was a well-known campaigner for women's rights and had received considerable publicity for her outspoken opposition to page 3 girls, strip clubs, escort agencies, in fact anything which she felt demeaned the status of women. She was a formidable campaigner.

In the other corner was Gavin Parry, the thirty-eight year old dynamic and articulate publisher of Tawse, one of the most successful spanking magazines in Britain. Parry had gone on record in condemning Ms. Grant's views as 'utter drivel' and had inferred that she had a tendency to talk through the end to which his magazine devoted most attention!

The programme preferred a one to one format with two protagonists taking opposite sides in a genuine head-to-head confrontation which usually required a very decisive person in the chair to prevent blood being shed. With two such combative individuals coming face to face, the station was proud of its choice of referee. Helen Grant had insisted on a female in the chair and RAP TV had one of the best up-and-coming young TV journalists in Nicola Thorne who had earned her colours by her judicious interventions in a number of previous high octane encounters. Nicola was an ideal choice and respected by both protagonists for her fairness and ability to cut to the chase when debate went up a blind alley. The twenty-five year old attractive brunette with the elfin haircut belied her years in the professional and mature manner with which she approached her job. She was no strong defender of what Helen Grant termed pornography but no great enthusiast for gender politics either and was thus untainted by bias.

Finally all the preparations were complete in the control room, Helen Grant, Gavin Parry and Nicola Thorne were seated around the big discussion table, throat mikes had been checked for effectiveness and the programme controller began the count down to zero, waving his arms like a track marshal as zero hour arrived. The many TV monitors sprang into life and Nicola moved into her introductions with practised ease. She announced the subject of the night's show to the audience and then explained that the 'prosecution' would be allowed first bite and the 'defence' would respond accordingly.

Helen Grant, her mouth curled in contempt, immediately went onto the attack.

"In my opinion, men like Mr. Parry pursue a disgusting and degrading trade in feeding the fantasies of all those men who believe women are chattels to be whipped and beaten on a whim, for a man's selfish pleasure, "she began, "and hostels all around Britain are full of women who are the victims of such outrage. Mr. Parry should be ashamed of himself and his magazine should be closed down!"

She paused for breath and Nicola Thorne immediately took the opportunity to call for a response from Parry. He nodded his head and began.

"Well, needless to say, Miss Thorne, I think she is talking absolute rubbish. Certainly we cater for the fantasies of those men who enjoy the thrill of spanking or caning a female bottom, a thrill shared by many of the women themselves I may add. Does she seriously believe there is a link between my magazine and the wives who are beaten up by their husbands? If she does then Ms, Grant has absolutely no comprehension of the subject of this programme, namely corporal punishment as a means of sexual stimulus and enjoyment. The two situations are not related."

Helen Grant took a sip of her water and resumed her venomous assault.

"It's easy for Mr. Parry to say that," she snarled, "because that's how he makes his money. Mr. Parry, your magazines are full of poor defenceless naked girls being spanked, strapped, caned and otherwise abused in a way no woman would ever tolerate just to pander to fantasies of male domination. I think it's sick and despicable."

Gavin Parry grinned and shook his head.

"Ms. Grant, have you ever heard of a range of books written especially for women called the Golden Sable series? You have.. ahah.. but you've never read one? That doesn't surprise me. I suggest you give one a try because research suggests that they are currently outselling the traditional 'romantic' novel by about 3 to 1. Do you know what the format of the Golden Sable novels centres around, Ms. Grant? I'll tell you – poor defenceless naked girls being spanked, strapped, caned, put into bondage, slavery etc and forced to perform outrageous sexual acts at the behest of their cruel Masters. This is far more heady stuff than we publish – and women are buying it! So what does that say about your theories on exploitation and sexual misuse, Ms. Grant. They are so much hot air. You do not seem to appreciate the feverish sexual imagination of your own gender nor do you give any respect to the common sense of the men who read my magazine and who recognise fantasy for what it is."

Helen Grant snorted her contempt.

"I simply don't believe your statistics and I think you are trying to justify your squalid trade on precious little evidence. People like you have to be emotionally warped, Mr. Parry, and I feel sorry for you in many ways."

Nicola Thorne began to politely request that personal abuse be eliminated from the discussion, but Gavin Parry raised his hand to check her.

"Please, Miss Thorne, let her continue in that vein if it makes her feel better but I would like to come back on a couple of points. First, I have at least supplied some evidence, Ms. Grant, which you have rejected, while you have supplied nothing but emotional rhetoric and hot air. Secondly, on the issue of my warped emotional state, let me tell you a little about myself. I have been married now for twelve years to my wife, Jennifer Burton, who many of you will know as a freelance writer in her own right. Jenny is hardly a wilting violet as those who read her articles will know. I love her very much and I know that love is returned in abundance. However I do punish my wife when she's been a naughty girl and she's been a willing partner to this practice since well before we married.

"It stops lots of silly arguments and there are no sulky rows that last for ever. It might not work for everyone but it works for us. Now, I also spank my wife when she's not a naughty girl, primarily because it turns her on sexually faster than any foreplay ever invented, and she loves the sensation of a red, hot bare bottom immediately prior to getting a good seeing to.

"Sorry, am I embarrassing you, Ms. Grant? –" as Helen Grant gasped in disgust, "– because I am pretty sure you have never even got close to the pleasures my wife and I enjoy. I think I've got a pretty good domestic track record, but how about you, Ms. Grant? I've done a little research on you and I understand that you have been married three times, all of which ended in failure, including two really messy divorces. I understand you have a current partner who is also on the way out if press speculation is to be believed. You appear to have no clear emotional stability or direction. Which of us is warped, Ms. Grant? Are you too busy tilting at feminist windmills to get your own life in order?"

Nicola Thorne had tried to stop him a number of times after vigorous protests by Helen Grant and eventually said clearly, "That's quite enough, Mr. Parry, that kind of remark is out of order!" and he apologised but the shaft had clearly struck home, Helen Grant remaining subdued and red-faced for a few minutes.

The debate continued with parries and thrusts from one or the other for quite some time, occasionally reaching levels where Nicola felt the need to step in and quieten things down a little. Eventually, after some pretty heated acrimony on both sides, she held up her hand and said, "Well we seem to have some pretty heated and diametrically opposed views but I don't think there is any way we can advance the argument one way or the other so I'd like to thank....."

It was at this point that Gavin Parry made the interjection that had the entire crew of the control room agog with excitement.

"I'm afraid I don't agree that the argument has run its course, Miss Thorne," he said smoothly, "and I certainly don't agree with your last contention. There is one way that we could progress the argument satisfactorily because actions speak louder than words, Ms. Grant." He turned to his opponent and stared fully into her eyes, then said, "Have you ever received a good spanking?"

Helen Grant's mouth dropped open as her face pinkened.

"Of course not," she replied, angrily. "What a disgusting and degrading question!" and she looked desperately to Nicola for support and a change of tack, but no help was forthcoming, Nicola appearing to regard the question as reasonable in the context of the discussion.

"Then I contend that you have no idea what you're talking about, and never will until you have some experience," Parry continued, "Therefore, I am prepared to throw down the gauntlet to you. I challenge you, right here and now, on this programme, to undergo a thorough spanking at my hands and, when I've finished, tell me in all honesty that you experienced no sexual pleasure from it. We may disagree on many issues but I believe you to have integrity, Ms. Grant, and will tell the truth. If you do get sexual pleasure from it, I win the argument. If you do not then I will donate £1000 to your cause and suspend publication of Tawse for a month. How do you respond?"

Helen Grant's mouth opened in a disbelieving gasp as her face turned crimson.

"Y-You've got to be joking..." she managed as she turned desperately to Nicola Thorne for help. "Good God, Miss Thorne, that's a sick joke isn't it? An outrageous suggestion! To be spanked in full view of a television crew and a studio audience? You can't let him get away with that!"

Nicola was suddenly paralysed with shock and indecision for the first time that night as she stared up at the control room for guidance. To her consternation the guys were leaping about in delight, thumbs up gestures flashing down to Nicola indicating that the channel was perfectly prepared to go through with this if Helen consented.

"Well, Ms. Grant," she began hesitantly, "it is an outrageous suggestion, but you knew when you agreed to appear that we are an outrageous station pushing back the frontiers of TV freedom, and it does seem to me that the choice is in your hands. Mr. Parry does have a point after all and he's made it extremely well."

For what seemed like hours as she stared at the polite but implacable features of Nicola and the smug grin on the face of Gavin Parry, Helen Grant was in purgatory. If she refused after all the pressure against her she would be accused of ducking a challenge, something she'd never done.. but to accept this? Acceptance meant the loss of her dignity in public and a degree of humiliation which was intolerable to such a campaigner as herself, yet the chance to prove her courage in demeaning circumstances, to clearly win her argument and to obtain funds for her cause was irresistible. Her face crimson, Helen Grant spoke with a slight tremor in her voice.

"I seem to have been put in a no-win situation here by some very smart footwork," she began, glaring at Nicola for her lack of support, "and, despite the disgusting nature of the suggestion, I will accept this squalid challenge because it enables me to prove that strong-minded women have nothing to fear from being humiliated by the cheap wiles of men. It only makes them pathetic and my cause stronger. I shall experience no pleasure from this experience whatsoever."

The crew in the control room were beside themselves with joy as Helen Grant got slowly to her feet and walked across to Parry's chair; her body trembling slightly as she stood beside him.

"Well? How do you want me?" she snapped with as much dignity as she could muster, then prepared to bend forward, her face bright red with embarrassment.

"No," Parry said quickly, "come round to the other side. I'm left handed and I wouldn't want you to get less than full value from the experience," which was almost true in that he was ambidextrous but Parry wanted to make sure that the business end of Helen Grant was exposed to the cameras.

"How long will this take?" Nicola Thorne enquired, her voice betraying a sense of someone who had lost the script and was being driven by forces beyond her control.

"Until I'm convinced I've lost," Parry replied with a grin, "and some women take longer to warm up than others."

The trembling Helen muttered something insulting while Nicola nodded assent for the proceedings to commence.

Without further ado, Parry pulled the indignant and still protesting Helen Grant across his lap until her shapely plump bottom lay uppermost, her hands touching the carpet and her legs straight out behind. Parry studied the outline of Helen's panties clearly delineated through the taut fabric of her blue silk dress, grinned and playfully smoothed out a few creases in the dress, the stroking hand prompting cries of outrage from his reluctant victim.

"Ms. Grant, I think it would be useful if you recorded your observations as the spanking continues," Nicola suggested helpfully, a suggestion met with spluttered epithets from the now upended and thoroughly unhappy Helen.

Without further delay, Gavin Parry gently adjusted Helen's position over his knee so that her bottom was yet further thrust up and then brought his hand down crisply on her right buttock, producing a sharp cry of surprise from his victim and a wonderful warmth through his palm as his hand lingered briefly on the seat of her dress. Pausing only briefly, Parry applied a complementary blow to the other buttock, receiving a similar but more anguished cry and an equally satisfying feeling of warmth from Helen Grant's bottom.

Grinning, Parry began to up the tempo but not the strength, delivering a volley of spanks to each cheek of Helen's behind and revelling in the gentle wriggling of her bottom across his lap. He began to spank her a little harder and more quickly, soon rewarded by a more frantic writhing across his knee and the sounds of a woman who was beginning to appreciate the meaning of a well-warmed bottom! He smiled as he heard her running commentary while the spanking proceeded.

"I can tell you, Nicola, I'm....... aaaah..... not enjoying this one bit and I...... oooohhhhhh.... can assure any woman watching that..... ooooo my God.... this is a far from pleasant experience which... aaaaaggghh... does nothing to... owwwwwwwwww.... change my view that Mr. Parry is a.... aaaagh.... cruel pervert who.... oh Christ, that one hurt!"

Parry began to accelerate the force of the spanking for three or four minutes until he heard the sound of real tears from below and somehow the running commentary seemed to dry up yet there was no indignant plea from his victim for him to stop. Despite their differences, Gavin Parry had some respect for the woman whose bottom was now suffering at his hands for she was no quitter and he reasoned that she would grit this out until he conceded defeat.... whatever he did! Smiling to himself, he paused just long enough to quickly extract a pair of nail clippers from his right hand pocket and, with his thumb, flick them into the open position, just part of a preconceived plan for Helen Grant which was going so much better than he could have dreamed.

Holding the nail clippers in his right hand, Parry brought his other hand down on the now violently wriggling bottom once more, much harder this time and, after this particularly hard blow to her right buttock, Helen's head shot up in mute protest , her eyes wide with pain. As she did so, Parry took the opportunity to reach round with his right hand while Helen's tear stained face remained distracted by the stinging pain in her rear, to nip through the wafer thin lead of the throat microphone which trailed in front of her, then swiftly replaced the clippers in his pocket, the action unseen by the TV cameras.

Helen Grant was in such a state that she was totally unaware of being rendered mute but Nicola Thorne, with open mouthed astonishment, had watched Parry clip through the wire. He had done it quickly and skilfully – but why? She was sure all would soon be clear, yet Nicola felt as if she were in some surreal play totally outside her control.

After a few more hard spanks to the seat of her blue dress, Helen Grant was crying quietly and shamefully, not from the pain of the spanking but because she was having to admit the unacceptable to herself. Damn the man, for she was beginning to experience sensations she would never have predicted as her bottom and loins began to tingle and glow. Oh God, what could she say when all this was over? Dimly she was aware that the spanking had paused and Parry was speaking.

"I think you'll find, Miss Thorne, that Ms. Grant is, by now, experiencing a whole welter of emotions quite different from those negative feelings expressed at the start of the experiment but, of course, we have only completed stage one. As I'm sure you're aware, the sexual pleasure we discussed earlier was always referred to by flagellants of ancient times as the fustigation of the flesh, and, naturally, they were right. Civilisation has forced the introduction of a dampening agent, namely clothing, which diminishes the high points of both pain and pleasure. A warming up exercise over clothes is fine but spanking is a genuinely tactile sensation which, to really prove my point, must of essence be delivered to bare flesh and I think it was very brave of Ms. Grant to accept that implicitly when she agreed to this challenge."

As Nicola Thorne simply stared at Parry, wide-eyed with disbelief, Helen Grant tried to rise in panic but Parry easily held her head down below the level of the desk. She tried to protest.

"Christ! What do you mean – delivered to bare flesh? What the hell are you talking about, you bastard! Don't you dare even think of.." but he held her head down again and then Helen realised something was wrong with her mike and that her words were not getting through. Parry and Nicola could hear her frenzied pleas but to the studio audience and the viewers at home it was an indecipherable scratching noise like a mouse in a cardboard box.

As Nicola Thorne watched in fascinated horror; her face occasionally raised to the control room for deliverance, Gavin Parry confidently lifted Helen's blue silk dress slowly right up to the stricken woman's waist, revealing a very shapely pair of now frenzied kicking legs attired in dark nylons attached to a pale blue suspender belt. Casually, Perry locked his leg over hers to keep them still while his eyes roved over the expanse of white thigh now revealed and the obviously expensive blue silk panties which adorned the shapely rear. The protests from below were tearful and angry yet to the now goggle-eyed TV viewers, Helen Grant seemed to be taking her medicine in stoic silence.

"To her immense credit," Parry continued easily, "we have heard no objection to the unveiling thus far from Ms. Grant and I believe, Miss Thorne, the time has come for this experiment to reach its natural conclusion. With that in mind, I shall now proceed to take the lady's knickers down to prove my contention beyond doubt and at some length on her bare bottom!"

As Nicola Thorne sat frozen as if in a catatonic trance, anguished protests, which to viewers just sounded like hailstones on a roof, emanated from beneath the desk, for Helen Grant was too proud to scream.

"Oh dear God... no... you can't! Miss Thorne for Christ's sake stop him! We're on nationwide television! Oh you bastard Parry, you wouldn't dare take my knickers down! I'll kill you, I'll.... ahhhhhhhhhh oh Jesus Christ, noooooooooooooo!" as Helen Grant suddenly experienced the wrenching sensation of her panties leaving her bottom and ending up around her ankles, then she burst into floods of tears as humiliating awareness dawned that her submissively posed and now completely naked bottom was on display to half the population of the United Kingdom.

Nicola Thorne closed her eyes and prayed to the control room for deliverance. She was shaking like a leaf, her body trembling with a plethora of complex emotions. Surely the guys would have to zap the show at this point? She stared up at the control room and knew her prayers had failed for the guys were jumping around and cameras were homing in on this wonderful, unexpected bonus. She threw her arms in the air and effectively gave up all control.

Gavin Parry looked down in triumph at the beautiful naked bottom now lying helplessly at his disposal, all Helen's fight gone as she lay still, loudly sobbing, then he raised his hand with a new determination. For the next ten minutes, with the all night viewers glued to their TV sets, Helen Grant's bare bottom received one of the most comprehensive spankings Parry had ever delivered and, by the time he was done, every inch of her bottom cheeks was scarlet, as was her tear stained face, though only Parry and Nicola could hear her violent sobbing.

When her spanking was over, the stricken Helen lay across Parry's lap weeping loudly in humiliation and utter, total defeat. She had climaxed towards the end of the spanking and her orgasm had been massive and indisputable. Helen had experienced a sexual release beyond anything she could ever have imagined and, as her senses returned, she wondered how she could ever rise from this position to report her humiliating defeat to the audience. Parry saved her the trouble by raising and parting his legs slightly thus forcing her bottom higher and her thighs apart. He looked up at the control room and beckoned a camera to zoom in, a request enthusiastically obeyed as the open-mouthed TV audience was treated to a worms-eye view of what, until that moment, had been Helen Grant's very private parts. It was graphically obvious, in close up, that Ms. Helen Grant was in the throes of profound sexual arousal.

Parry looked across at Nicola Thorne who, good journalist that she was, pulled herself together realising that this was her cue to close the show. She did so with some aplomb, though in a somewhat shaky voice, and said, "Well the show has reached a new peak tonight.. or a new bottom.. depending on your point of view. I think Mr. Parry has proved his point in devastating style and I'm sure you will understand why we are not asking one of our guests to smile and say goodnight. Until next week..." then she closed the show before looking up first at the champagne which was frothing happily all over the control room and then, in bewilderment, at Helen Grant who had now climbed to her feet and was weeping unashamedly on Gavin Parry's shoulder, her arms tightly around his neck.

The following day brought three postscripts to the night's excitement, the first being an obscenity writ which landed on the desk of RAP TV's chief executive and which bothered him not a jot. Revenue was so good these days they could afford the best legal advice. The second was a news item that the female rights campaigner, Helen Grant, had suddenly cancelled a UK wide lecture tour and, at very short notice, had flown out to the Brazilian jungle to study the role of women in a tribal society. Her agent said she would be there for six months and possibly longer.

The last was a call to Gavin Parry at the Tawse offices from Nicola Thorne which soon had Parry grinning from ear to ear.

"I see, Miss Thorne, so you want to follow up last night's corporal punishment programme with a RAP TV special exploring all the human angles – purely from an objective journalistic point of view, naturally. Of course I understand, Miss Thorne, shall we say Thursday in my office at 9am where I will be delighted to assist your research in any way I can. What was that? Should you do any preliminary preparation for the meeting before you get to my office? Mmmm yes I think you should."

He paused as his grin widened and he closed his eyes imagining her firm young body at the other end of the phone. "In fact, I insist that you do. When you arrive at the fifth floor and before you enter my office, go into the ladies room opposite the elevator and remove your knickers. You won't be needing them for a good hour or so!"

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