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[Image of Little Miss Naughty] Seasoning
by Mija

It had taken two weeks too long (in Mija's opinion anyway) but there was finally a tree in the house. And it was a great tree too! Smelling like a pine forest and decorated with lights that glowed like colored stars. Quirky ornaments too, collected over the years they'd known each other. The tree made everything in their little house seem warmer and more homey.

Decorating had taken hours because Mija tried to follow recommendations from her Feng Shui Holiday Guide. Paul good naturedly moved the tree four times, but when she pointed out that the fifth location wasn't right after all because it directed holiday energy out through one of the windows, he flatly refused to relocate the tree once more, instead offering to seal any drafts so the energy couldn't get out.

Partly because she liked the way the tree looked next to the window, and partly because of the odd vein throbbing in Paul's forehead, Mija agreed that the tree was probably okay where it was after all.

After the last candy canes were carefully hung, Paul turned off all but the tree lights and the two collapsed on the sofa. Paul put his arm around Mija, pulled her close, and she began crowing about the tree, tilting her head back and forth to get better views.

"It's perfect! The best tree ever!"

Paul looked carefully at the tree. "The best one you've ever had?"

Mija bounced beside him excitedly. "Yes. I mean no. The best one ever, period. Better than any other tree anywhere!"

"How do you know?"

"I know. I've seen a lot of trees and this one is the best."

"What about the one in New York? The big one at Rockerfeller Center?"

Mija snuggled in closer and stared harder at the tree across from her. She made a noise to show what she thought of the NYC tree. It sounded a lot like a raspberry, but wasn't since she's not allowed to make that noise.

"Ours is much better. That's a nice tree, but really way too big. This one is more focused. It's a centered tree with more concentrated Christmas tree-ness."

Paul laughed and kissed her hair. "'Tree-ness'?? I didn't know there was such a thing."

Mija rolled her eyes without Paul seeing. At least, she hoped he couldn't see. And he didn't say anything, so he probably hadn't seen.

"'The quality of being tree' of course! Sheesh, those English schools . . . This tree is just the right size. And has lots and lots of room under it. A Very Good Thing in a tree."

This last was undeniable. There was a lot of room under the tree.

Paul looked carefully at the space between the branches and the floor. Mija assumed he was gauging it, measuring it in cubic gift space.

"Maybe there's too much, sweetheart. Whatever shall we put there?" His tone was serious. Could Paul really not know?

Mija's answer was immediate. "Presents. Lots and lots of presents. After all, we've both been very good."

"Have we now?" Paul smiled, but seemed to consider this earnestly as he pulled Mija onto his lap.

Mija wiggled into a comfortable spot. "Well, yes. You're always really good. And I've been good too."

Except the last few words were said as a question. She was pretty sure she'd been really good. At least, relative to other years.

"Mostly," she finally added honestly.

Paul raised his eyebrows at this. "Really now? You've been a good girl all year?"

Mija squirmed. It was hard to talk to Paul when he looked at her like that. And even harder to look back at him. So she looked at her lap before she answered.

"Well, there was some stuff, sure. I mean, you know all about that. But Santa knows I got in trouble for those. I'm sure he won't hold it against me. That would be just wrong."

Paul nodded, but then followed up with another question.

"Won't he? So you're on the 'Nice' list and not the 'Naughty' one?"

Mija squirmed a bit more and stared at the tree. "Definitely on the 'Nice' list. Don't you think I'm nice? So I'm getting lots of kewl presents."

"Girls on the 'Naughty' list get presents too. Santa puts switches and lumps of coal in their stockings."

Something in his tone seemed to say he'd know just what to do with the switch too. Paul is maybe not the innocent boy he seems. The calm questions could sometimes lure Mija into answering, and then realizing too late that the noose had tightened.

"Those sound like pretty crummy presents. Unless you're the switch," Mija added, smiling brightly and deciding it never hurt to flirt a little. "And you're so big you'd ruin my stocking too." Mija paused a moment. "Don't you think I've been good?"

Paul looked down at her and raised her chin so she looked up at him. "You've done some naughty things, but I'm sure you're right. Santa will take into consideration that you've already been punished for all of them and not put you on the 'Naughty' list this year. He's very fair that way. And you've got a pure heart."

She nodded slowly, turning her head a little bit away. Staring into his eyes always made her feel a little guilty. Mija was sure she'd got punished plenty this past year. The stuff she'd gotten away with hardly seemed worth mentioning.

"You have been punished for all the naughty things, haven't you, Mija?"

Mija started to nod some more. After all, she thought, I'm no fool. But then again, what if Santa does know? She looked longingly at the empty space under the tree and imagined bright paper and ribbons. Lots of kewl stuff could fit under there. Her stocking already hung from the mantel and it was a biggie. How awful would it be if they came out on Christmas morning and he had all sorts of kewl stuff and could see that Mija only had coal? He's good, she thought, but totally greedy with sweets. He might not even share! Or worse yet, what if there were only coal and a switch. It would almost be like Santa was telling Paul to be stricter with her. What would that look like? She shuddered slightly at the thought.

Mr. Bailey waited a few more seconds, then tipped her chin up again so he could see into her eyes. Her eyes darted about as though looking for escape, before looking back into his, trapped.

"Mija, is there something you want to tell me?"

Well, put it like that! Mija tried to squirm away. Which isn't easy to do when you're on someone's lap.

"I - I don't think so. Maybe there's one or two little things that I might have forgotten to tell you about or that were really too small for anyone even to notice. But nothing that should keep me off the Nice list. I can't even remember anything."

"Mm-hm." Mr. Bailey made the noise that sounded sort of like he was agreeing but really means he's doubtful. Hearing it, Mija closed her eyes and wished the tone away.

It seemed the very next moment that Mija was off his lap and sitting on a low stool in a corner of the living room away from the tree. Something must have happened in between, but somehow she'd missed it, though from the sting, she suspected her ear might have been involved. Christmas magic isn't supposed to work that way.

There was a low voice in her ear that made her jump and almost turn out of the corner. Almost but not quite, because Mija knew better.

"Mija, you sit there and think for a few minutes. And then I'm going to ask you to tell me everything naughty you've done all year long. You've only got this one chance to try and get off the Naughty list, so don't waste it. And don't forget what happens in this house to girls who tell lies."

She stared at the corner. Why hadn't she remembered to paint something interesting on these walls? Or maybe put the tree in this corner so he had to pick another? As it was, all she could do was hear Mr. Bailey's voice. Things Mija had done flitted through her mind. They weren't really that serious. But a year's a long time. It was funny how she forgot about stuff she didn't get caught for. Tortured by her conscience she sure as heck wasn't!

"Plus you should consider that there very well could be things I've noticed and not mentioned that I will be expecting to hear about."

Mija was glad he couldn't see the face she made at this remark. Was he serious? Bluffing? Who could tell?

This was seeming like a worse and worse idea. And where was he anyway? His voice sounded like it came from another room. But one quick look over her shoulder - Mija barely even saw anything and there he was, lifting her up, his big hand smacking hard against her bare thighs, dropping her back to the stool and pushing it and her further into the corner and telling her the next time she looked back she'd be feeling the ruler across her palms as well as her thighs. Bleh! What happened to looking at the tree by the soft glow of the fire all snuggled up on the couch?

Mija wanted to say that, but she didn't. Besides, who wants to cuddle with such a grouch anyway? She felt very sorry for herself indeed.

But what had she done? Maybe there really wasn't anything he didn't know. How could she be punished if she couldn't remember anything she'd done? Especially since she honestly couldn't.

"Come over here to me, Mija."

She turned to see him sitting in an armless chair, paddle in hand. Suddenly staying in the corner seemed like a very good idea. But still she came, reluctantly.

"Kneel down here sweetheart - that's right."

Mija knelt down, feeling an odd déjà vu about confession at school. Her kilt brushed against her knickers, making her quite aware of her bottom.

"So tell me. What have you done this year and not been punished for?"

She knelt there, looking up at him, her head swimming. There were things she wanted to tell him, but couldn't bear to. Besides, part of her was sure there'd already been more than enough spankings.

"I - I - can't remember any. Really, I can't. I'm sorry."

Mr. Bailey looked at her quite sternly. "Have we discussed the difference between 'can't' and 'won't', Miss?"

Mija trembled a bit and nodded sadly. His hands tightened on her upper arms and pulled her over his knees, baring her bottom quickly. The paddle began spanking her crisply at once, causing her to kick as though she could somehow swim away.

"I had thought we could take care of this quickly and easily, Mija. But it seems you're going to be a naughty, stubborn girl and make this as difficult as possible."

"No, no, no! Please, I'm sorry. I'll try, really, really."

The pleading was in time with the paddle, punctuated by crying and loud smacks. After forever (or at least three minutes) the smacking stopped and Mija lay gasping over his lap. Mr. Bailey set down the paddle, but reached between her legs to pull her knickers down and then off. Mr. Bailey stood her before him, pulling her face close to his.

"Okay, now what's going to happen, young lady, is you're going to go over to that desk, sit down and write a letter to Santa Claus."

Mija squirmed uncomfortably, resisting the temptation to rub at her bottom where the sting was fast becoming itch.

"In that letter," Mr. Bailey continued, "you're going to confess all the naughty things you've done this past year that you haven't been punished for. And you're going to tell the truth. Then you're going to bring the letter to me and I'll read it over before you mail it. If you can't be disciplined for the naughty things you do, then we can at least make sure Santa knows about them."

Mija looked down at the carpet, tracing her toe around one of the flowers.

"Is this clear, Miss? Look at me please."

She looked up at him, trying to look very sorry rather than pouty. He carefully pinned her skirt to her blouse, ignoring the blush that made her face feel hot.

"That's right. You sit right there on your bare bottom and write that letter. When you're done, bring it over to me. And, Mija, if you have any trouble writing, you remember I've still got the paddle and am happy to help motivate you."

She nodded, hoping he couldn't read her thoughts, and replied, "Yes sir."

She sat at the desk, trying hard not to squirm on the hard wooden seat. The letter started slowly, as she felt his eyes on her, watching her write. But soon the rhythm of writing soothed her and Mija was only aware of the sound of the pen scratching against the paper. She was unaware of time passing or even of Mr. Bailey's quiet movements.

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"I've finished, sir."

Mija stood before Mr. Bailey, her skirt still pinned up, and held out a sheet of folded paper. He took it from her and began reading the letter out loud, pausing to mark errors in spelling and grammar. She listened, her eyes closed, to the small crimes listed out.


Dear Santa Claus,

I hope this letter finds you well. I want to thank you for the lovely gifts you gave me last year. Especially the new dresses for Marianna.

I'm not writing because I want to tell you what I want for Christmas this year, but rather because Mr. Bailey wants me to tell you about the naughty things I've done and not been punished for, in case you haven't noticed. (But if you think you have you don't need to read any further.)

For four days in a row when I was alone, I got out of bed after my bedtime and played on the 'net. When I got asked why I was so tired, I said it was because school was so hard. And that wasn't exactly true.

I missed an appointment with the dentist because I wanted to go and hang out with my friends. And I didn't make another appointment even though I needed one.

When I wanted more attention I didn't ask for it but made up a story.

One day I ate just candy all day but when Paul asked I pretended I'd eaten all healthy.

I got two parking tickets I didn't tell Paul about and didn't pay either.

I got stopped for driving without lights.

I haven't done my school work in a while and have avoided talking about it with anyone because I don't know what to do.

That's pretty much all I can remember. I'm sorry if this puts me on the Naughty list.

Sincerely yours,



Mr. Bailey cleared his throat and re-folded the paper. He sat quietly, waiting for her to look up at him.

"That's not very impressive, is it, Mija?"

She shook her head sadly. "No sir."

"But it's not really very bad either. Do you want to send this letter to Santa?"

Mija shook her head "no" again.

"Then you have a choice. You can either address it and send it, or leave it to me to punish you for these transgressions."

At the word "punish," Mija felt a familiar tingle in her backside. Still, it was clear which she would have to choose.

"You, sir."

"'Me' what, Mija?" He took her hands in his.

God, this was agony.

"You, sir. Please punish me. I don't want to have to send the letter."

He nodded. "Alright then. You go over to that corner and push your nose right in. And you think about the lies you told me. Because this list is mostly all about lies."

It seemed to Mija she wasn't even there an instant, barely even long enough to catch her breath, before she was being pulled by her ear to a chair in the center of the room. Mr. Bailey pulled her over to it, and then carefully over his lap. She was already bared so he began tapping the hairbrush against her bottom.

Mija tensed, but there was little further talk before the walloping started. Though she tried to be brave, she heard herself pleading almost at once, asking Mr. Bailey to please stop. The crying started soon, deep ragged gasps as the hairbrush slowed but swung still harder into her bottom, crashing in a way that left her breathless and sobbing.

There was a pause as he rested the hairbrush against her bright red bottom.

"Now then, Miss, I want you to answer me something."

Mija squirmed a little before realizing he was waiting for an answer.

"Yes sir. I - I'll try."

"Tell me this, Mija. Do I ask a lot of you?"

She stammered a little, not sure of his meaning. "You, um, expect a lot from me, sir."

There was a pause while he seemed to consider that.

"That's true. But what things do I expect most of all?

"That I try my best. And keep myself safe. And don't tell lies ever."

Mr. Bailey patted her almost gently with the hairbrush.

"That's exactly right, Mija. And those are exactly the things you didn't do. You told me lies, you didn't take care of yourself and you didn't let me help you stay safe."

He waited a moment for his words to sink in before he continued.

"What should happen to you now, Mija?"

Mija's tears started to fall in earnest. They ran off her face and onto the rug.

"You should thrash me, sir. With the cane." Her voice broke as she finished. The cane scared her. As did that sort of thrashing.

The pats resumed, a bit harder.

"Indeed I should. But I think you know that I think little girls like you need to be punished over the knee on their bare bottoms. So I'm going to give you a very sound spanking with this hairbrush. If you're a good girl and don't put your hands back or kick your feet too much, I won't need to give you the caning you so clearly deserve. Is this understood?"

She nodded. "Yes sir. Thanks, um, thank you."

She meant it too. Canings were nothing to be sneezed at. But then, she thought gripping the chair, neither were hairbrushings.

"Good girl."

He began smacking her, slowly, steadily and hard. Mija's promise to herself to be quiet and still lasted all of three smacks before she was squirming and pleading. Mr. Bailey seemed heedless and continued spanking her, not increasing in speed, but landing the wallops on the tops of her thighs as well as on her already glowing bottom.

Deprived of her ability to kick or throw her arms back, Mija was left only to sob over his knees, apologizing and promising to be good. It was as long and hard a hairbrushing as he'd ever given, so much so that when he put the brush down and switched to his hand, she barely noticed.

"Such a good, brave girl."

With that, the spanking was over. Mija cried over his lap, deep and hard. Paul turned her over and she buried her face in his chest, wetting the front of his shirt with her tears. He rocked her, whispering to her softly, smoothing her hair with his hand.

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"Can't I pull up my knickers now, Paul?" Mija, curled up on the couch, reached back to rub a bit ruefully.

"Turn around first and let me see."

"Why do you want to see?" Mija sighed dramatically and turned around to show her bottom.

Paul didn't answer at first, but ran his fingers gently over the red sore skin.

"I just wanted to check."

"On what?"

"To see if Santa would be able to see what a good helper I am."

Paul landed a hard smack on Mija's behind and pulled up her knickers. She turned and hugged him, pulling him down with her on the couch where they could both, finally, look at the shimmering, beautiful, perfect Christmas tree.

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