Copyright 1997 to <email@example.com>
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Written when we lived in Vegas. Before I met Mija in RL. :)
Brats Wild, Bottoms High
Tasha sat in her father's office surrounded by snowdrifts of
paper - trial transcripts, depositions, court motions, phone
bills, credit card bills, account ledgers, a myriad of Italian
names, and other miscellaneous things she didn't have a clue
about. All she knew was that Daddy was working day and night
on some huge trial and she was helping him file things. She
was only twelve and the Las Vegas sun was calling. Childhood
was calling. Mija was calling. She'd only been back from school
for half an hour, but she felt like her life was slipping away
with the sun. She should be outside playing, not shut up inside
her father's dingy old office doing this stuff!
She heaved an exasperated sigh and spun 360 degrees in her
swivel chair. Her father looked up at her, then back down at
what he was writing. She spun around again, twice this time.
Again he gave her a cursory glance, then dismissed her attempts
to get his attention.
Frustrated, Tasha slammed shut the huge file with a dusty
THUMP! Now she could not be ignored.
"What is it, little one?" Daddy asked, his voice
edged with his own frustration.
"So why don't you simply ask me for something to eat?"
he offered calmly.
"Because I'm bored, too!" She cast her eyes around
the room, around the mountains of work left to be done. "How
long is this gonna take?"
Daddy calmly closed the file he was poring over and beckoned
his daughter to him. He sat her on his knee and tousled her
shaggy mop of black hair. He smiled. "I know this is hard
work, little one, but you're really helping Daddy."
She pouted in response.
"What can I do for you, baby girl?" he asked kindly.
She brightened a little. "Let me play with Mija?"
"Would that make you happy?"
She nodded enthusiastically.
He looked at the files she had already organized for him in
her careful schoolgirl way. "Well, I think maybe you've
earned a recess. Sure, you can play with your little friend."
Tasha threw her arms around Daddy's neck. "Thank you,
Daddy!" she gushed, and was bounding out the door within
seconds of her reprieve, leaving her father to shake his head
indulgently in her wake.
"Mija!" Tasha cried. "MIJA!"
There was no answer from the window above.
Tasha stamped her foot in frustration. She looked around for
a pebble and finding one, threw it up to her friend's window.
Either the rock was slightly larger than she had thought or
she didn't know her own strength. Whichever the case, Mija couldn't
possibly have missed the sickening CRASH of shattering glass.
Tasha squealed in fright and dove to the ground, covering her
head with her arms as broken glass rained down on her. The silence
that followed was too quiet. She looked up to see Mija's face
in the now-open window, wearing a mask of shock and horror like
that of an imprisoned fairy tale princess on hearing the news
that her brave and chivalrous rescuer is to be put to death.
Tasha dusted herself off and stood up, unable to stop smiling.
"Sorry," she giggled.
Mija's face melted into a mischievous grin as well and she
laughed. "Damn, girl! Your daddy should have you pitching
for the Yankees, not practicing to be the world's youngest lawyer!"
Mija climbed through the window and out onto the trellis,
sliding easily down to the ground. She hugged her friend, helping
her brush remnants of broken glass from her hair.
They giggled as only schoolgirls can, and were off, Mija still
in her parochial school uniform and patent leather shoes, Tasha
in faded bluejeans cut off at the knee and her Dennis Rodman
"Where are we going?" Mija finally had to ask.
"Shhh!" Tasha clapped a hand over her friend's mouth.
"Do you want us to get busted?"
Mija's eyes widened as she shook her head. Tasha led the way
through the alley and over and around smelly dumpsters, cringing
as her friend's shiny black shoes clicked and clattered noisily.
They came to a door behind one of the buildings and Tasha
pushed it open easily. "Come on!"
"Is it safe?" Mija asked, peering inside, her eyes
adjusting to the darkness.
"I hope so," Tasha giggled. "Don't be such
"Hey!" Mija shoved Tasha, hard, and the two girls
spilled out into a utility closet, where they crouched in fearful
silence until they were sure no one was there. Beyond the door
they could hear the cacophony of buzzers, bells, and jackpots
from the casino.
Instantly fascinated, Mija moved to the door and poked her
head out, drinking in the sight of slot machines, blackjack
tables, roulette wheels, and a keno board. "Wow. . ."
"Told ya!" Tasha exclaimed. "Isn't it cool?"
"It's WAY cool!" Mija said. "Let's go inside!"
"Wait! Mija!" But before Tasha could stop her, she
was in the casino. Tasha had no choice but to follow. No big,
she thought. No one would even notice them. They'd be in and
out just like that.
For the past month, Tasha had begged and pleaded with Daddy
to take her to a casino. He said it was illegal for her to even
be inside. She insisted she could pass for 21 and he merely
laughed tolerantly and said she'd have to wait until she was
a little older. Mija was the one who had offhandedly dared them
to just sneak inside one. She never knew Tasha would actually
"This is your dad's club, huh? I mean his client?"
"Yeah - the guy he's defending, Luige Squeegy something
- he's like the big boss and he owns this place."
"Is that how you knew about the back door?"
Tasha smiled proudly. "The hitman I told you about the
other day - this was where he came in the night he killed that
senator. He said where it was in his trial. I'm not supposed
to be reading it, but Daddy's too busy to notice."
Mija's gaze swept the room in awe. "Wanna play the slots?"
she asked in her best nonchalant grownup voice.
Tasha shrugged. "Sure." She dug in her pockets and
brought forth three quarters and a ball of lint.
Mija's pockets turned out slightly more. At least three dollars
in mint condition coins. She blushed. "I found it in the
desk drawer," she explained.
The girls pooled their money and set about the adventure of
facing the one-armed bandits. They lost most of their money
before Mija spotted what she said would be the winning machine.
It was standing in a corner of the room and was a little more
battered than the others. There was a bright red lipstick kiss
on the front. "Someone had to win here," she said.
"Why else would you kiss a slot machine?"
Tasha agreed and they fed the hungry creature a quarter. Pulled
the handle. Busted. They had one quarter left. "You do
it," she urged her friend.
Mija took a deep breath and closed her eyes, holding the quarter
tightly, superstitiously, before feeding it in.
Suddenly, the machine leapt to life. The siren on top began
to wail, signaling the entire casino that they had won. Brilliant
red and blue flashing lights swept the room, and the unmistakable
sound of the cascade of money drew the attention of everyone
within earshot. Tasha and Mija exchanged looks of elation and
horror all at once. They jumped aside to make way for the waterfall
of quarters piling at their feet, eyes darting around fearfully.
Mija began sweeping the money into one of the plastic winner's
cups. "Tash!" she hissed. "Come on!"
Tasha dropped to her knees and helped, scooping as much as
she could into her pockets, and looking up just in time to see
two men in suits running towards them. She rose slowly and stood
there, frozen, like a hypnotized bunny.
"What are you doing? We've got to -" Mija froze
as well, her heart clattering into the pit of her stomach as
she saw the men.
The girls were immediately seized by the arms and their loot
confiscated. They were hauled unceremoniously into the back
room, where they stood, trembling and holding hands, in front
of Rico Gellieri, the owner of the hotel.
"I want the names and numbers of your fathers, right
now," he said, eyeing them coldly.
Tasha opened her mouth to speak, then lost the courage and
took a step back.
Mija likewise found her throat full of sawdust.
The Sicilian simply stared at them, waiting.
Tasha opened her mouth again, this time to oblige, then gasped
in horror as the vision of Daddy and Mr. Gellieri exchanging
"what are YOU doing here"s hit her. How could she
explain how they came to be here, of all places? She suddenly
She was spared the torture of confession, however, by her
friend's meek surrender.
"Um, sir?" Mija began. "I'm really sorry."
She bowed her head and gave up her information, a bashful, apologetic
sidelong glance at Tasha, whose eyes were filling with tears.
The Boss picked up the phone and dialed the number. He explained
the situation to Paul, who was apparently taking it rather calmly.
Tasha wished she could imagine Daddy so calm. Mija had already
begun to cry, her hand gripping Tasha's tightly, clammy and
Tasha swallowed, knowing she was next, but she didn't have
to incriminate herself. Mr. Gellieri asked Paul the name of
Mija's friend's father. He nodded and repeated the name to himself,
and Tasha thought she would faint. His steely eyes panned slowly
to her as recognition dawned and he said a pleasant farewell
to Paul. He hung up the phone and steepled his fingers.
"So. You're my attorney's daughter. Well, I certainly
don't need you to supply his number for me." He dialed
the number from memory. Tasha closed her eyes as she listened
to the exchange. There was no way out of this one. She couldn't
even look at Mija now - her friend would hate her forever for
Unfortunately, Daddy took it far less calmly than Paul had.
She could hear his voice through the phone from where she stood
five feet away. Mr. Gellieri gave him very little information,
cryptically stating only that his daughter was in trouble. He
said he would explain in more detail when they met in his office
at the hotel. Then he smiled and hung up the phone.
"The two of you are in serious trouble," he said.
"With your legal guardians, with the law, and with me."
Tasha's father arrived first, and she hung her head as she
listened to the ensuing dialogue. Mr. Gellieri explained to
him that he could be disbarred for his daughter's indiscretion,
as well as fined by the Gaming Commission for allowing his minor
child into a casino. He took this news with much-too-calm nods
of his head and serious looks at his wayward daughter.
Paul arrived midway through the speech and Mija clung to him,
crying and asking to go home. "Not yet, I'm afraid,"
he said. "There is a little matter to settle here first."
Mr. Gellieri took the cue from him and stood up. "Yes,
you, young ladies, have to face the consequences of your impropriety."
He walked around the desk to stand in front of Tasha. "If
you're not entirely aware of the seriousness of what you've
done, I'm sure your father will educate you later. Now, I want
to know whose idea this was."
The girls exchanged looks of shame and dread, both terrified
the other would rat, and each knowing they were equally to blame.
Mija had masterminded the plan, but Tasha had carried it through.
And of course, individually, they were also guilty of other
infractions - Tasha had compromised her father's job, as well
as Mr. Gellieri's, and Mija was supposed to be grounded and
in her room doing her homework. And no one yet knew about the
As usual, Mija was the first to speak. She was so slick -
she always managed to make things easier for herself by speaking
up and facing the music bravely. Tasha usually had to be dragged,
kicking and protesting to the guillotine before she would own
up. "Sir, I'm sorry for my part," she said softly,
eyes lowered demurely.
All eyes turned expectantly to Tasha, who felt instantly guilty
for thinking Mija would rat her out. She took a deep breath
and mustered all the courage she had for her own minimalist
confession: "Me too."
"Very well, then. Counselor, you've heard their admission
of guilt," Mr. Gellieri said, addressing Tasha's father,
who nodded solemnly. "I don't think there's any question
"None," said Daddy, taking Tasha by the ear and
propping his foot up on a chair. He hauled her easily over his
knee and began to spank her, hard, on the faded seat of her
"Daddy!" she protested, kicking her legs frantically.
"Not here! Please! I'm sorry! Daddeeeeee!"
He didn't stop until he had given her some 50 swats, and then
he set her on her feet, blushing and hiding her face.
Paul was less dramatic. He had been quietly scolding his young
ward while she watched her friend's punishment and now he seated
himself on the straight-backed chair against the wall, pulling
Mija gently down over his knee. She saw Tasha rubbing her bottom
as her own was spanked by Paul over her skirt. She whimpered
and struggled and burned with shame as Mr. Gellieri watched
the proceedings with stern detachment.
When Mija was let up, Mr. Gellieri gave Paul a meaningful
look, and Paul steered Mija to the center of the room to stand
next to her friend. They pressed close to each other, trembling,
shoulder to shoulder, fingers searching behind their backs for
each other, intertwining for comfort. They both knew from Tasha's
unauthorized disclosure what this man was allegedly guilty of,
at least capable of, and they shook with wide-eyed schoolgirl
fright as they wondered what they were in for.
"Do you know what would happen to you both if I were
to call the authorities?"
They shook their heads.
"You could end up in reform school." He crossed
his arms and leaned back against the desk. "However, I
could well do without that kind of publicity, as I'm sure you're
both aware," he added caustically. "So I've made a
decision. You're both gamblers. I'm going to give you a chance
to really get lucky. You can either take your medicine from
the authorities or you can take it from me."
Mija gasped. "But - but -"
"No buts, Mija," Paul told her sternly. "Just
understand that whatever you decide, you will still have to
deal with me afterwards."
"The same goes for you, young lady," Daddy said.
Tasha sensed that being strung up with piano wire and planted
in the Mojave would be a slap on the wrist compared to what
Daddy would give her later. Her bottom already stung.
Mija kept on like a broken record. "But - but what are
you going to do?" she finally blurted out.
Mr. Gellieri shook his head. "That's the gamble. You
in or out?"
Mija looked at Tasha and they were both thinking the same
thing. The disgrace of going to juvenile hall and reform school
would be terrible, but Daddy and Paul would suffer even more.
And they would be ashamed of them. THAT was unbearable. Nothing
this Wiseguy could do would be as painful as hurting the men
who loved them and took care of them. Such irony that the ones
with sore backsides were worrying about hurting THEM. This time,
Tasha was the first to speak.
"We're - um, in," she mumbled. How much worse could
"Very good. Your spirit is something to be proud of,
girls." He reached behind him and opened the desk drawer,
withdrawing a thick wooden hairbrush. He laid it on the desk
and watched their eyes widen. Then he pulled a deck of cards
from his inside jacket pocket and shuffled it in front of them,
setting it next to the hairbrush. "This is how my own little
girl used to learn her lessons," he said. "She's a
student at Berkeley now, and she thanks me every time I see
her for loving her enough to discipline her so firmly. I trust
you two will be as appreciative when this is all over."
He cut the deck and motioned to Mija to come forward. She
hesitated, crushing Tasha's fingers in her own, before stepping
up. "Take the top card," he said. "That's how
many strokes you're both going to get."
Mija swallowed and slowly lifted the card, peering underneath
to be sure she saw it first. Her face lit up. An ace! She held
it up for Tasha to see and she sighed with relief. She showed
it to Mr. Gellieri, smiling shyly.
"I don't know what you're smiling about," he said.
"The ace is worth eleven in this hand."
Her smile vanished at once and she began to sniffle.
"Come on now," he said, not unkindly. "Be a
brave girl." He took her by the hand and pushed her down
gently over the desk. He raised her tartan skirt and she started
to cry. He gave her a fatherly pat on the head before tugging
down her panties. Mija buried her head in her arms, whimpering
Mr. Gellieri laid the hairbrush against her bottom and brought
it down without ceremony - hard. Mija squealed and instantly
reached behind to protect herself. Paul's warmup, while far
from mild, had not prepared her for this. "Hands forward,"
Mr. Gellieri said firmly. When Mija hesitated, he addressed
Tasha: "Come here and hold your accomplice's hands down.
If she reaches back again, you'll get the extra strokes."
Tasha gasped, but, fearing worse, she did as she was told.
Mija clutched Tasha's hands as she knelt in front of her friend.
She held her tightly while the hairbrush found its mark and
Mija yelped and whimpered. Tasha whispered childish encouragement
as the punishment went on. She glanced up once to see Paul's
concerned expression. He was practically in tears, too. She
looked away before she could see the same disappointed look
on Daddy's face. She wouldn't be able to endure it.
The final strokes were the hardest, and Mija was crying freely.
Tasha pressed her forehead to Mija's, telling her it was almost
over, that she would be all right. She sobbed gratefully, clinging
to Tasha, not wanting to make it worse for her friend by letting
Her sentence up, Mr. Gellieri helped Mija adjust her dress.
He took her chin between his thumb and forefinger and tilted
her head up to look him in the eye. "You're going to be
a good girl from now on, aren't you?" he asked.
Teary-eyed, she nodded, rubbing her backside. "Yes, sir.
"Good girl." He turned to Tasha, who was squirming
and fidgeting. Why couldn't she have been first? Then it would
have been all over by now. "Your turn, young lady,"
he said, gesturing to the desk. Tasha came around to the front
and thought better of begging for mercy. "Take your pants
down." With a shudder, she managed to make her quaking
fingers work the zipper and she pulled her jeans down to her
knees. She allowed herself to be forced into the same position
Mija had just been in, covering her head with her arms, burning
Mr. Gellieri said something she couldn't hear and then Mija
was in front of her, holding her wrists the way her own had
just been held. Tasha's panties were lowered as well and she
felt the now-warm wood of the hairbrush against her flesh. She
cringed, anticipating the first stroke. It was hard, and she
yelped. Without Mija to hold her down, she would definitely
not have been able to stay put. She was crying by the fifth
stroke and Mija held her tightly, offering the same encouragement
She took it as bravely as she could, tears streaming down
her face and falling on the desk. She couldn't remember Daddy
ever having spanked her this hard before. She had thought eleven
strokes couldn't be that bad - but Mr. Gellieri had proven her
wrong. His daughter must be the most angelic child on the face
of the earth if this was HER routine!
"You're almost there, Tash," Mija whispered, and
she braced herself for the last two strokes, which made her
cry out in pain. She longed to rub the sting out of her bottom,
but she didn't want to make it worse for Mija, and Mija, likewise,
kept a tight grip on Tasha's wrists, Indian style.
Tasha was allowed up, dazed and sniffling, and Mr. Gellieri
offered her the same dispassionate praise as he helped her adjust
her clothes. The girls flew into the arms of their respective
guardians, who held them while they sobbed and apologized. All
they wanted was to go home.
Mr. Gellieri spoke to someone through the intercom and then
the door opened. One of the men who had grabbed them came in
and he handed an envelope to Mr. Gellieri, then left. The hotel
owner opened the envelope and took out two checks, which he
handed to Daddy and Paul. "I'm going to allow them to keep
their winnings," he explained. "Provided they do something
responsible - and legal - with it."
Mija and Tasha met each other's eyes, pleasantly surprised
in the midst of their sorrow.
"And now you're free to go," he said. "And
the next time I find either of you two in my casino, I hope
you'll be ten years older." He smiled fondly at them, his
harsh demeanor vanishing as he opened the door for them. The
girls blushed and returned his smile with shy mumbles of gratitude.
"Do you need a ride?" Tasha's father asked Paul.
"Yes, in fact. I took a cab from the office."
"Come on, then."
Tasha felt sick. It had, of course, crossed her mind that
Daddy wouldn't see the broken window at all, nor even find out
about it until the next day. Now he would know as soon as he
pulled up to drop them off. Mija only shook her head, wishing
she had never gotten up this morning.
In the end, Tasha and Mija DID learn their lesson. They both
spent their evenings in a similar fashion, upended, crying,
and finally comforted, forgiven, and put to bed. After being
made to copy all the definitions of 'attorney-client privilege',
'nondisclosure', 'ethics', and a few other things from Daddy's
Columbia textbooks, Tasha thought her hand would fall off. Mija's
hand was sore as well from writing 'I will not succumb to peer
pressure, and I will not break the law' 500 times.
Their money paid for Paul's new window, and they decided to
give the rest to the local animal shelter, where they were given
a plaque with their names on it and the honor of naming the
shelter's mascot, an Italian greyhound who had been found in
an alley behind Caesar's Palace. They named him Rico.
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