Julie went out partying with friends. They never got around to choosing a designated driver. So, her friends took it easy on the drinks. But Julie had had a stressful week. Everything seemed so foreign. And she was a stranger in a strange land. And the alcohol seemed to take all her cares away. The Guinness stout, even lukewarm, tasted good.
I think you can foresee what happened. Julie was arrested for drunk driving a block from her flat. She was fingerprinted and booked.
She assumed that this offense would be treated like it was in the states, that she’d spend the night in the drunk-tank with other women, be released on her own recognizance, come back for her court date. But she was wrong. This was South Africa in 1964.
She got a glimmer of that reality when the guard appeared, the guard with the bundle of long branches in his hand. He led her to a near-empty room.
The room contained only a leather couch against the wall, a low table in front of that, and a trundle-like piece of furniture in the room’s center.
A document was placed on the low table. Julie was handed a pen.
“That’s your confession, what you said when you were first brought in,” the guard said.
“I was drunk!” Julie protested.
“You’re still drunk! Look it over, sign it…”
Julie read the confession. It all sounded so much worse in terse, short sentences. But it was basically all true. She signed.
“Take your knickers down,” the guard said.
It was only then that things became clear to her spinning consciousness, what the bundle and the bolster in the room’s center were for…
“I said to take your knickers down!”
“Please, sir…” She saw that there was no mercy in his heart. He was just following orders, playing by the rules. If only she had…
She rose from the couch a few inches. tugged the white garment down to her knees. Sitting back down, the cool leather felt so strange against her bare buttocks. She tried not to think about how her rosebud seemed to be puckering-up and kissing the cool leather, how many other bared bottoms had kissed that couch. She put her face in her hands.
“I’m so ashamed!” she balled.
Ashamed now, sorry later… the guard thought as he lifted her by the arm and led her to the trundle.
“I need to pee!” she said with desperation.
The guard ignored her. Even if he let her go to the loo, she’d still wet herself with what lay in-store. He stoically turned Julie over the bolster, restrained her about the wrists, then the ankles, and then her waist. Finally, he lifted her skirt onto her lower back.
God! He can see everything! Julie thought. She began to sob.
With the first stroke, Julie screamed. She couldn’t believe a beating with branches could hurt that much! By the fourth stroke, she was screaming bloody murder. On the sixth stroke, she gave way and wet herself involuntarily. The guard just kept whipping. She lost count. She lost consciousness, was revived with smelling-salts. The beating continued.
“That’s twelve…” he pronounced.
She slumped over the bolster, thinking it was over.
“We’ll give you a little breather,” he said, “then give you the second half of the sentence in a few minutes…”
Nooooo!” Julie wailed, to no avail.