Down The Hatch Finale

I wake up dying for a glass of water. My head is pounding and I can barely pry my eyes open. Fortuitously, there is a glass of water that Melissa left near the bed. I gulp it down and listen carefully to see where she is in the house. Prying my tired body out of bed, I shyly tiptoe down the stairs. Melissa is hunched in front of her iPad at the kitchen counter.

“Well good morning,” she says with a smile when she notices my presence, “I was going to let you sleep until 9, but apparently you’re an over achiever even when hungover.” I giggle and blush because it feels like a compliment.

“I’m sorry about last ni-”

“Let’s not keep doing the apology thing. You’re soon going to find out exactly how I feel about your behavior last night, and you’ll be sorry for a couple of days.” She narrows her eyes forebodingly, and I know that I’m up for one heck of a spanking. “Now,” she says more cheerfully, “Let’s have breakfast and talk about the contract first. What do you like in the mornings? Eggs? I can make waffles… Cereal?”

“I usually do plain oatmeal,” I mumble, “Sometimes with almond butter. Scrambled egg whites with pepper, too.” Melissa bites her lip and considers my suggestion.

“Well. You’re not trying to lose weight, so egg whites aren’t necessarily appropriate. Let’s try two whole eggs, and a bowl of oatmeal, and we can do some fruit, too.” I nod. I feel safe with Melissa. I want to be cooperative.

“Thank you, ma’am,” I say simply. She smirks as she walks around me to the stove, lifting the Yale hoodie up and smacking my bare bottom as she walks by. I give a small yelp and grab my bottom cheeks.

“HA! That was a pat compared to what you’re getting later. Sit while you still can and have some coffee.” As I sip coffee and she cooks, she hands me her iPad where a copy of our rules have been reproduced. The email got buried in my inbox because of how busy I had been. I skim through it. It’s pretty understandable. Three meals per day, and preferably at least two snacks. I have to attend all of my classes and appointments, and if I am sick or injured, she has to know ASAP. No putting myself in danger in other ways (oops, that ship sailed last night), and no being disrespectful or lying. She confirms that I understand everything, and I confirm that it all makes sense.

I have a hard time getting my breakfast down because I’m nervous about the spanking and not used to people watching me eat. Melissa sits next to me making small talk to distract me and gently rubbing my back and hair. When I finish eating, I ask if I can brush my teeth.

“Go ahead,” she says, “And then put your nose in that corner over there,” she says, gesturing to the far side of the living room. Ugh. The corner? Like a child? I don’t show my distaste. I’m in enough trouble, so I scamper off to get washed up, and then shuffle into the dreaded corner.

“This is embarrassing,” I observe as I settle into my spot in the corner.

“Mhmm,” is her absent response from the living room, “You should focus on why we’re in this position. Corner time can help you calm down and focus, and it gives me time to plan exactly what I’m going to do if I haven’t decided yet. It helps you come to terms with who is in charge. Sure, it’s a bit infantilizing, but a little embarrassment is healthy.”

I don’t respond. I try to stay still. I feel small and uncomfortable, but it does make me feel protected to know that Melissa is watching me from a distance. After what feels like an eternity, she calls me over. I stand quietly in front of her knees.

“I think you know why you’re being punished. For one, you didn’t bother to read our rules, but I’m glad we got up to speed on those today. You had way too much to drink last night, to the point where you were sick and lost. You drank underage, you almost froze to death, and I’m certain that you didn’t eat enough dinner to justify nearly a quarter of what you drank.” I nod miserably. “Were you at a bar?” she asks coldly.

“I used a fake ID.” Her expression is one of pure irritation.

“Thank you for being honest. I’ll be taking that from you today. That is obviously illegal, and I don’t need to tell you how much trouble it could get you in.” I nod again. My words seem to be evading me, as I’m just a mess of guilt and nerves. Melissa grabs my wrist and pulls me over her knees. “You’re getting a hard spanking, and then you’re going to get a taste of both a hairbrush and a belt,” she says simply. “Then, I’ll sit you down at the table and you can write ‘I will not drink past my limits’ 100 times… by hand. If I’m satisfied at that point, we’ll be done. If not, you’ll find out how creative, and relentless, my discipline can be. Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I gasp as she lands the first hard swat on my behind. Dang… Melissa means business today. Every smack is super painful. She peppers both cheeks with several swats, and she starts to get my inner thighs, too. It doesn’t take long for a painful heat to build all over my rear end. I feel secure with her hand around my waist and her strong thighs beneath me, but this lady’s hand is made of steel!

SMACK, SMACK, SMACK, SMACK. I try my best to stay in place and breathe deep. She keeps going and I imagine my bottom turning bright pink, and then a vibrant red. I hiss in pain as she gives a few more swats to each inner thigh. When I think I can’t take it any more, she pauses. “I’m going to give you 30 with the hairbrush,” she says coldly. The hand spanking is for drinking so much that you put yourself in danger, “The hairbrush is for using a fake ID and jeopardizing your dance and academic careers.” I tense my body as she picks up the brush. “Relax, please,” she says, taking a moment to rub my burning cheeks. I try my best to let go and relax over her knee again. She hikes my bottom up farther into the air and brings the brush down for the first time.

“OWEEEEE, AH, AGHHH, OH MY GOD,” I howl in pain as the brush makes contact with my already tender skin. “Please, oh my, that hurts, Melissa please don’t do it so hard.”

“That was just three,” she says unsympathetically. She continues to bring the brush down with purpose, resulting in a mean CRACK across my bottom. I howl and squirm, but there’s nowhere to go. I start crying. It stings and my bottom feels like it has to be bruised and swollen everywhere. She keeps going, helpfully letting me know when we’re halfway done. “We wouldn’t be here if you would have made better choices last night. It’s ok to have fun with your friends. I remember being in college. It’s NOT okay to take shot after shot when you know you’re already drunk. It’s not okay to wander alone outside, freezing cold and wasted. The fake ID is absolutely never going to happen again. This spanking is better than a criminal penalty, or worse, being unconscious or dead or having someone hurt you while you’re vulnerable.” Her words hurt because she’s absolutely right. The last 15 smacks cause more crying and quivering, but I’m able to relax my body and submit fully to the spanking. When she finishes, she puts the brush down and rubs my lower back, praising how well I did. “I hope we don’t have to repeat this,” she says softly, “I know that you can make better choices and still have fun.” With that, she pulls me up and brushes the tears off of my face. “We still have six with the belt, baby. I hope it will drive home the importance of self care, and standing up to your friends when they’re out of control. I won’t swing it too hard,” she says kindly, seeing the pain and horror on my face.

Melissa gently walks me over to a kitchen chair and bends me over. I stare at the belt with wide, fearful eyes. “You’re perfectly safe,” she says soothingly, rubbing my back while I calm down. She pulls her arm back and lands the belt against my upper thighs with an anti-climactic swish and a small crack. I know she’s making an effort not to hit me hard. It still stings, so I hiss a little bit and let out a cry, but my feet stay firmly planted. “Why don’t you count down from five for me?” she suggests. I oblige.

“FIVE!” I cry urgently when the belt hits the center of my behind. “FOUR. THREE.” She gets two new spots, leaving my entire ass stinging like it was lit on fire. “TWO!” I say, letting out a deep breath. “ONE!” She drops the belt and pulls me into her arms. She hugs me tightly and kisses the top of my head.

“Good job, baby,” she praises, “Let’s have some snuggles before you write your lines.” She leads me to the couch, holding my hand firmly. She sits down and pulls me onto her lap. I wince when my bottom makes contact with her yoga pants, but I’m content to be held while I cry softly and apologize.

“Thank you again for picking me up,” I sniffle, “And going through all of this trouble.”

“Shh, you might be a trouble maker, but taking care of you is no trouble at all,” says Melissa as she continues to rub my back. When I’ve calmed down, she helps me sit up again. “Do you want to talk about what you said last night… about being worried that you might be gay?”

I blush deeply. “Oh, that…” I stutter nervously, “Yeah, I guess I just feel like I don’t like men. I mean, I keep trying because I always thought I did, but I saw this cute girl from my running group last night and I guess maybe I think I could be bisexual or a lesbian.”

Melissa’s face is full of compassion and understanding. She doesn’t say much, but she rubs my legs and asks why I seem so upset about it. We talk it over gently, with her reassuring and supporting me as we work through my thoughts and fears and hopes. When we’re both satisfied, she gently guides me to the dining room table to write my lines. I ask for a pillow, but my request is denied with a sympathetic kiss to the side of my head. Melissa does assorted chores while I write my lines, hand and bottom both burning. I know I’ve found someone that will hold me accountable… painfully… but I can’t be resentful when she also takes care of me and supports me so well.

I quickly text my friends and room mate to let them know I’m ok. It’s 10:30 and they just woke up, and I already have a fried behind! The injustice… As I finish up my lines, I look up at Melissa. She is really pretty. Stop it, I chastise myself, she’s a doctor and a mom and way older than you and probably isn’t attracted to you. Shaking the thought out of my head, I politely turn in my sheet of lines and give her one last hug.

“I can grab a cab so that you’re not inconvenienced,” I offer.

“I have to pick my son up from his sleepover at 11 anyway,” she says, “And please. Stop acting like an inconvenience or you’ll get another spanking.”

“Yes, ma’am! My butt is killing me. In that case, thanks for the ride!”

What. A. Day.

Down The Hatch Part II

When Melissa arrives to pick me up, she looks far more concerned than angry. I let out a huge sigh of relief, and timidly peel myself off of the cold concrete and try to make my way to the passenger’s side of her Audi without making eye contact. The second her wheels stop, however, she is out of the car and standing inches from my face. She already has her hands on me, making sure I’m ok and trying to assess just how drunk I am.

“Are you ok?” she asks urgently, noticing that I’m wobbly but still upright and not vomiting.

“Yessss, I’m so sorry I just so much vodka and shots and it got bad and I got nauseated but then I wanted pizza and lost so I called you because no cab money,” I blurted. The words were tumbling out of my numb lips in an incoherent blur. Melissa’s stare had become stone cold and I was starting to get anxious.

“Get into the car,” she demanded, “you have to be freezing.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I reply solemnly, slithering into the car and slouching down to make myself small. I want to explain myself, but my brain is moving faster than my mouth, so I don’t want to risk slurring my speech again and making her more angry. Melissa’s mouth is set in a firm, straight line and her narrowed eyes are looking straight ahead at the road. Shit, she’s really mad. “I’m sorry about this,” I try again, “If you take me home I’ll have water and a bagel and never take shots again in my entire life.” Melissa just sighed in annoyance.

“You’re not going home. You’re coming to my house so that I can keep an eye on you. You’re absolutely trashed. That’s concerning for many reasons, one of which is the fact that you’re underage. Your skin has been exposed to the cold air for God knows how long, and your legs are bright red. You need some water, and you need to get warm, and with any luck I won’t have to spend the entire night preventing you from choking on your own vomit.” Her voice is steely but I can tell from her concerned expression that she was worried about me. It’s endearing. And suddenly the crushing weight of making her worry makes me feel absolutely terrible. I lean my head against the window and squeeze my eyes shut so that I don’t cry. I mumble how sorry I am quietly until we pull up into her driveway. “Just hush for a minute, please,” she says softly as she helps unbuckle me and steer me to the front door. “Everything will be ok,” she whispers, placing her hand on my back as she unlocks the door.

Once we get into the warm house, my frigid body relaxes a bit. She goes to grab me a glass of water, and I feel like my drunk brain is experiencing deja vu. It’s just like the last time I was here, but darker outside and I’m way more intoxicated. I take off my converse and stand awkwardly by the door until she summons me into the kitchen. She has a peanut butter sandwich on a plate next to a glass of cold water. “Eat, drink,” she commands. I sit down and oblige. I mostly eat in silence, but at one point I can’t resist attempting another apology.

“I’m so sorry about this,” I say, “I really didn’t mean to bother you so late and inconvenience you and I know you’re probably really mad about a lot of things, not the least of which is the contract that I haven’t read, so I probably broke 98493389 rules. I’ve just been working so hard with the psychologist and trying to eat three solid meals and dance has been super rough with auditions for the December performance and on top of all of that I’m starting to worry that maybe I’m gay.” All of this comes rushing out, and gets nothing but a sigh and an eyebrow raise from Melissa.

“It’s late and you are drunk, she says carefully. We can chat in the morning, ok? I care very much about your thoughts, but I also care about getting you some rest. I’m going to lay you down in the guest bedroom,” she explains. “I think maybe you should take a shower first to warm up. I’m going to stand by the door just in case.” I nod submissively. It’s a little awkward to have her hovering around while I shower, but I know I gave up my right to make demands when I drunk dialed her on Halloween night.

“I didn’t ruin your Halloween, did I?” I whine pathetically as she starts the shower and assembles a couple of towels.

“My son is too old for Halloween,” she says with a small smile, “but it looks like you had enough fun for everyone.” Her tone is mostly dry, but I can tell she’s gone from livid to mildly annoyed and somewhat amused. This is progress, I think to myself. Melissa stands in the doorway as I undress. I glance at her shyly, as if to ask if she plans to shut the door and give me privacy, but she mouths an impatient “let’s go” so I strip the spandex off and hop into the shower as quickly as I can. Once behind the curtain, I take a deep breath and let the hot water soothe my previously icy skin. It feels amazing, but I’m also starting to get a little sleepy, so I wash the scent of the bar off of me as quickly as possible and turn the faucet off. I can sense Melissa standing in the door frame.

“You don’t have to be shy,” she teases, “I’ve seen your bottom plenty of times, and it’s not like your costume was covering much anyway.” Throwing a bratty glare her way as I step out of the shower naked, I whip the towel around my shoulders and wait patiently for my next instructions. She gestures to the sink where there’s already a spare toothbrush laid out for me. I nod in embarrassment and brush my teeth while she continues to observe me. I hope that my whole lesbian comment didn’t creep her out. Luckily, she seems unfazed by pretty much everything.

I’ve never seen Melissa in casual clothes before. Even last time I was at her house she was still in a suit. She looks really pretty and snuggly with her hair un-done and her oversized Yale sweater on. I wonder briefly if she went to school there, but it’s best not to change the topic when she’s in “you’re in trouble” mode. When I finish brushing my teeth, Melissa walks me back to the guest room.

“Oh… pajamas. Ok. Here.” She takes off her large Yale sweater and hands it to me. She’s wearing a black tank top under it. I smile and throw it on over my naked body. It almost covers my lower half entirely. I look at her expectantly, but she just smiles. “When you wake up,” she says, “you’re not going to need pants on, so I figured we’d make your discipline easier tomorrow.”

“But your son…” I say uncomfortably.

“Is at a friend’s house for a sleepover.”

“Your husband?” I ask quizzically.

“I never said I had a husband. You’re fine. You need to stop arguing and go to bed, unless you want to get half of your spanking tonight.”

I start to shake my head, but then I shrug. “I don’t know,” I slur, “I just feel soo guilty but I’m also tired.  I shouldn’t have had so much to drink. And I gave you my life story and you probably think I’m so annoying.”

“I think you’re drunk and need sleep,” she insists again. She rubs my head and then leans over and kisses my temple. “You are SO difficult sometimes,” she smiles, “get some sleep. I’ll check on you in a little bit.”

I think about protesting, but the alcohol and emotions are wearing me out. Melissa is still sitting next to me on the bed. I tentatively reach a hand out and place it in hers. She jerks in surprise a little bit, but then gently rubs my hand with her thumb as I drift off to sleep, nice and warm, but with my bottom cheeks tingling in anticipation of tomorrow’s punishment.

HEHE… TO BE CONTINUED ONE MORE TIME!

[Open to suggestions about what Melissa should do to Shae tomorrow]

Meeting Dr. Doom

As I sit in the waiting room at the tiny University physician’s office, I feel like a walking stereotype. I’m a dance major at a large liberal arts school, and I recently had to confide in one of my instructors about my eating disorder. I’m irritated with myself but I don’t quite know why. Eating disorders persist despite the victims intelligence, confidence, happiness, and desire to be healthy. I keep repeating that it’s not my fault; I’m not making fellow dancers “look bad,” and I’m not a burden for needing to seek help.

My eating disorder had started over a year ago, when I realized that dance in college was a whole ‘nother ball game, so to speak. No matter what I told myself about how talented I was, I couldn’t help but think that I would be as talented as my intimidating classmates if I could just be more thin. More beautiful. More graceful. Lean. What started as a promise to eat healthy spiraled into near-starvation, compulsive exercise, and eventually vomiting. After coming back from a summer dance intensive feeling ill and looking like a string bean, I was forced to have “the talk” with one of my favorite professors. She said that I would have to see one of the university’s physicians to get a letter of approval for my participation that semester. I whined, but there was nothing I could say to change her mind. She was kind but firm about the requirement. “It’ll be fine,” she had promised with a reassuring smile, “Dr. (let’s call her Doom) is fantastic.”

So, there I sat in the doctor’s waiting room, at 9am sharp on a Monday, pretending to study from my Italian textbook while listening to my heart thud in my chest. When my name was called, I shuffled down the narrow hallway into a small exam room. My backpack and rain coat were drowning my small frame, and I kept my eyes down. My palms were sweaty and my heart was thumping ever faster, but I promised myself that the appointment would only take 20 minutes. I’d promise that I was getting better- eating more- and she would let me go. The doctor hadn’t quite greeted me yet. She was sizing me up while applying an inhuman amount of hand sanitizer to both hands. The doctor was tall, with sharp facial features and a cold, demanding stare. I felt about two inches tall when I looked up at her from the exam table. I know that she works for the university’s athletic department. She’s probably used to fixing the broken bones of soccer stars and managing the illnesses of football players four times her size. I imagine that she’d rather be doing anything but talking to little, silly me. Finally, she breaks the awkward silence.

“So… your professor sent you here for an eating disorder?”

I choose not to answer because what she really did was make a statement, and I’m not going to reward the obvious with an answer. Seemingly annoyed by my blank stare, she says, with zero emotion or tenderness, “So what is it that you do? I mean, are you not eating? Are you vomiting?”

My face scrunches up in annoyance. No way in H-E-doublehockeysticks am I going to let this judgmental jerk get an answer out of me.

“Uhm. Yeah I guess.” I’m purposely vague and my nervousness has been replaced with straight irritation. I can feel my eyes narrowing involuntarily, as if my inner defensive brat can’t help but punish the rude question with an evil stare.

The doctor sighs and tells me that she needs to weigh me. I silently acquiesce. She has me sit back on the exam table, and explains in a business-like fashion that she has to check my throat for signs of trauma. We do the tongue depressor thing, she pokes around my throat with her cold fingers, and she stabs at my abdomen to see if anything hurts. I keep my eyes on the ceiling, feigning disinterest in this whole process. On the inside, I’m simmering with embarrassment. She finally backs up again, and returns to her favorite position: arms crossed and face set in a blank, intimidating stare.

“Physically, you look okay right now,” she says slowly, “but I have to warn you that with the vomiting and–”

“I’m not stupid!” I spit, interrupting her impending lecture, “I know that it’s bad for me. I’m working on it.” She looks a little irritated at the interruption, but she shifts tactics smoothly.

“Look. If you want to exercise the way that your schedule demands, it’s really not sustainable for you to not eat.” She continues her lecture, but all I can hear is her patronizing tone and all that I can really focus on is her un-amused stare. I have never felt so ridiculous before.

“FINE!” I interrupt for a second time, “I know I’m an idiot, ok? I know I have to eat. I didn’t need to come to the doctor because there’s nothing really wrong with me. My professor made me schedule this appointment, and I know you don’t want to talk to some dumb skinny dancer about how foolish she’s being. As long as I’m good to return to dance class, I don’t need anything else. I’m sure you have plenty of better things to do with your time and I’m sorry I had to come annoy you about my ineptitude. I’m obviously having a hard time, and you’re kind of being a jerk. You’re talking to me like… like… I’m the scum of the earth or something. So I can just go or whatever. If I’m fine to dance and all.” When I finish my tirade, it dawns on me that perhaps I didn’t need to speak quite so loudly. Dr. Doom’s eyebrows are raised, but she doesn’t look particularly surprised, nor does she necessarily look angry. The silence in the room is deafening.

“Ok,” says Dr. Doom, still eerily calm, “why don’t you stand on the ground and turn around for me?” I look back at her with wide eyes. “Stand up,” she repeats, “and turn around.” I don’t know what else to do at this point, so I stand up and turn around slowly. “Put your hands on the exam table,” she instructs calmly. I do. “I’m going to pull your pants down, and I’m going to spank you,” she says matter-of-factly. “Eating disorders are about control,” she explains, “and in my exam room, I’m in control. I’m sorry that you didn’t get the sympathy that you were hoping for, but I’m trying to do my job. I’m trying to make sure that you’re healthy and capable of performing your usual activities. So now, you are going to stay still and stay silent, and I am going to spank you for how incredibly rude you’ve been.” It is a very good thing that I’m already bent over, because I feel extremely lightheaded. Can doctors spank people?!?! I’m too humiliated to speak, so I wait to see if she is going to say anything. “I need your consent,” she finally says, “and this isn’t medical treatment, it’s a personal offer to give you something that you obviously need.” Her voice is still amazingly businesslike, a little exasperated perhaps. I’m not sure what options I have at this point.

“Oh. Ok. Ye- I mean, sure.” My voice is suddenly quiet and whiny, in stark contrast to my bold proclamations less than two minutes ago. Having gotten the go-ahead from yours truly, Dr. Doom takes a step closer to me. With one hand on the exam table next to me, she raises her right hand and brings it down with an alarmingly painful crack. “AH, OW!” I exclaim automatically.

“You will get precisely one reminder to be quiet,” she says in a low voice, pinching my inner thigh painfully for emphasis.

“Ok, sorry!” I whisper urgently, letting my breath out slowly as she raises her hand again. SMACK! Geez, it’s painful when she hits me. I was never spanked as a child, but good Lord I didn’t think it would hurt so darn much. SMACK. SMACK. SMACK. No one else was in the waiting room, but I wonder if the receptionist can hear. SMACK SMACK SMACK. My embarrassment is driven from my mind temporarily as I try to adjust to the pain. Dr. Doom keeps spanking both cheeks- and the tops of my thighs- while I will wiggle and breathe heavily. She moves her second hand to my lower back as she continues to smack my bare bottom. As painful as the spanking is, I feel oddly serene under her control. Like the only thing that I have to focus on is submitting to her authority, and my previously complicated emotions have simplified. SMACK SMACK SMACK.

“Do you know why you’re being spanked?” she asks, not stopping the onslaught of smacks.

“I was rude to you and it was disrespectful,” I squeak out.

“Good girl. I’m spanking you because you were rude, and also because you need to learn a lesson about control. Learning to let go is going to help you. So *SMACK SMACK* will eating.” Her swats have slowed down since I have stopped wiggling. The pain and embarrassment and stress of the whole morning get to me and I start to cry. She delivers a few more swats to the back of each of my thighs.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble into the silence.

“What’s that?” she asks, her voice finally the softest it has been all morning.

“I’m sorry,” I repeat. “Actually, I was apologizing for crying because you don’t seem like the type of person who would appreciate a crybaby, but while I’m at it, I’m also sorry for… you know… snapping at you and stuff. I know you were just doing your job. I shouldn’t have taken my nervousness out on you. I’m just embarrassed and frustrated and scared, ya know…” I start to cry harder after my admission rushes out of my mouth, and she rubs my back gently.

“It’s ok,” she finally whispers, “everything is fine. I sometimes forget to be mindful of sensitive topics. I’m a pretty straightforward person.”

“No… really?” I ask with a sarcastic smile. She smiles for the first time all morning and laughs.

“Stand up,” she says kindly, helping me up into standing position. I feel incredibly awkward standing in front of her with my leggings pulled halfway down, but I look up at her and wait for more instructions rather than adjusting them. “I’m not a psychologist,” she says carefully, “and you need to see the university psychologist. But I do know when a brat needs a spanking, and you were begging for one this morning.”

“Y-yes, Ma’am. Uh… thank you?” I mumble awkwardly, looking between Dr. Doom and the ground.

“Pull your pants up,” she says with a small smile. “I’m going to write a letter to your dance teacher that you’re ok to participate for now, but I’m expecting you to see the psychologist… and the dietitian.”

“Yes, Ma’am, I will,” I nod emphatically.

“And why don’t I give you my business card in case you have any questions,” she offers kindly. “You’re won’t be bothering me,” she emphasizes, briefly putting her hand under my chin. I nod gratefully and she hands me a tissue.

“Do you, like, want a hug or something?” I ask timidly as she moves to open the door and release me back into the world. She laughs and opens her arms slightly, so I take that as a yes. I quickly wrap my arms around her tall frame, pressing my cheek against her chest. She pats me gently on the back and holds me until I am ready to pull away.

“Be good. Take care of yourself,” she says as she walks me back to the reception area.

“Ok. Thank you,” I say with sincerity. And with that, I head back out into the bright September sunshine. My bottom is still stinging, but I hold onto her business card and smile. That was a strange appointment, I think to myself, but I might actually be back to see Dr. Doom. Maybe her doom was just what I needed to get better.