Rushing out to make her Friday night shift, Liz Kramer pushed open the heavily repainted back door, startling her only child's girlfriend as she was about to knock.
"Oh!.........Hello, Mrs. Kramer." Emily stuttered as she stepped back recovering her balance.
"Hi, Emily. Sorry for nearly knocking you over."
"No harm done. Is Doug home?"
"Yes, he got back from State about two hours ago."
"Great. We're supposed to be going to the park tomorrow, if the weather holds, but I wanted to pop in tonight to welcome him back. He sounded a bit down on the phone."
"Well, you must have heard about the midterms." Liz frowned.
"Yes." Emily frowned in sympathy. "I heard."
Shaking her head, Liz snapped. "I just don't know what he's thinking............or if he's thinking at all! Honestly." She huffed, "Sometimes I think that boy needs a good spanking.....never mind that he's 19."
Emily nodded her immediate agreement. "I think you are right, Mrs. Kramer. He definitely deserves one."
Liz smiled at how readily Emily supported her postulated threat. She was obviously as concerned about Doug as she was. "Well I have to be off to Schumann's. You see if you can talk some sense to him. Maybe you'll have more luck."
"Oh, I will, Mrs. Kramer. And he knows I'm upset too. I want him to do well. He's smart, but he needs to buckle down and get serious."
After parting with Doug's mom, the determined young brunette strode directly to her boyfriend's door and knocked. "You in there?"
Doug opened the door somewhat sheepishly, both glad and frightened to see Emily. "I didn't hear you knock."
"I came in just as your mom left, so I never got a chance to knock." The serious young lady leaned in delivering an abrupt peck. "Welcome home."
"Thanks." Doug half-smiled knowing better than to complain about the cool kiss. He knew why Emily had come that night, and it wasn't to lavish warm kisses and gooey greetings. Though a full year younger, Emily seemed more mature than her boyfriend. Bright brown eyes lit her roundish face with a wholesome radiance. But when she had a mission, her countenance seemed to glower rather than glow. And tonight she was on a mission of which her boyfriend was well aware. Arms folded tightly and lips pursed and skewed to one side, the petite hellcat leaned menacingly against the gaudily-posted wall.
"So." she prompted sternly, waiting for a response.
Doug cowered a bit. Not much taller to begin with, under her disapproving scowl he seemed smaller. Without a single instruction, he pulled his sturdy desk chair towards the wall and positioned it for her.
"I know, Em. Things just kind of got away from me, but I've already met with most of my professors and I even applied for tutoring in Chemistry......"
"I fully expect you to turn this around, Doug, but you're not getting out of this." Emily flatly interjected as she sat in the offered seat. Doug blushed, his ears red as heated irons. Always looking more juvenile than his age and being fair also, when he blushed the effect was even more pronounced reverting the young adult to adolescent.
"I understand." he murmured.
"This is serious, Doug." Emily explained with a tone of controlled exasperation. "We agreed to get married once you were out of college. That meant graduating college.......not flunking out. You barely made it through your Freshman year, and now this year is turning out even worse. And it's not for any other reason than goofing off. You are certainly smart enough....but you have to do the work, Doug. You can't coast." Kicking off his loafers and unbuttoning his shirt, he nodded in assent. "You know what your mother told me before?" The question jerked his head up. "She said what you needed was a good spanking." He blushed more deeply than before. "Ironic, huh?"Emily smirked.
"What did you say?"the red-faced penitent hoarsely whispered as he slipped off his shirt and began undoing his buckle.
"I told her I agreed, of course! Only, unlike me.......she was merely venting. Now, look!" Emily continued to lecture, "I mean business. This isn't going to be a cute game of patty-cakes. In fact........." Emily scanned the room,"I'll be needing a hairbrush I think, because as reliable as my hand has proved to be in the past, we need to take this to a whole new level."
"There's one on my mother's vanity." Doug offered as he stepped out of his jeans.
"Get it." Emily ordered and watched as her meek victim hurried to obey. The sight of this pale man-child trying to impress her with the prompt retrieval of the instrument destined to be his undoing, made her smile. After a dash to fetch it, the brush was handed over with a hopeful 'see-how-obedient-I-am' smile that seemed so boyishly naive, it turned her smile into a chuckle. It was as if he thought after a half semester of laziness, that this one quick act of compliance would soften her.
"OK, pal. It's time." She formally announced, downwardly wagging a finger at his white briefs. Needing no verbal instruction, the sullen youth peeled down his last bit of covering as his girlfriend watched with unabashed glee. This last bit of baring always pleased her. Even the most serious 18-year old girl would not be immune to the pleasure of seeing a cute naked boy. She liked Doug's body. It was youthful and masculine while gentle and boyish. Other than a sparse tuft of brown hair beneath each arm and above his genitals, his soft body ran pale and smooth. Even his legs only sported barely noticeable fairways of down. Fully exposed and fully scrutinized, Doug stepped forward and placed himself over the skirt-covered lap, butt up, palms on the floor. He wondered how different the hairbrush would be and discovered all too soon how devastating this new weapon was when wielded with determination.
It was nothing he had ever experienced. Despite his conscious acceptance of his fate, his body could not mirror his resolve. He kicked, wriggled, and basically carried on like a boy half his age.
Emily didn't mind the thrashing about too much, since none of the wranglings were geared towards escape. He was just honestly reacting to more pain than he had ever had to process before.......and she could accept that. Being fair-skinned, Doug's rear always colored vividly under assault. Emily used to be amused at seeing red images of her fingers appear magically on the pale surface, but she was delighted with how the unyielding brush back painted such drastic ovals of color without the aid of any pigment. Each swat was a crisp outline of the brush itself that only blurred as subsequent swats overlapped in an overall effusion of soreness. To his credit, Doug did not try to bargain or beg. His only outcries were of pain not pleas. It's not that he was unusually brave......he just knew such behavior would only make things worse.
Once Emily was satisfied, she stopped and let him up. "You'll be feeling that a while, I think."
"Yes, Ma'am. I'm sure, Ma'am. Thank you, Ma'am." Doug stammered while wincing and fighting the urge to rub. He knew better than to do that also.
The unsolicited litany of "Ma'am's" amused Emily. She had never insisted on such formal address, but Doug always did so automatically, and while not required, she liked the spontaneity of such pain-prompted respect, especially from someone older than herself.
"OK, Doug." Emily now softened. "Hopefully we won't need a repeat of this." She opened her arms as Doug shuffled in for a hug.
"No Ma'am. I'll really work to do better, Em."
She kissed him briefly once again. "OK then. She smiled, "Tomorrow's a new day. You still want to take me to the park?"
"Absolutely, Hon. You know I love you. You are only doing what you know is best for me."
"I love you too, Dear." she smiled warmly, glowing once again.......her stern disciplinarian now receding to the background.
Liz Kramer returned from her shift tired and foot-sore. Working two jobs to keep up with Doug's tuition strained her stamina. Although still young herself, having had Doug when she was 20, the constant need to work was aging her. But what else could she do? Her late husband's life insurance only went so far. She was willing to make sacrifices though. Still, Doug's grades gnawed at her stoicism. No one likes making a vain sacrifice.....and it was time for her son to get serious. But what would it take to wake him up? Nagging him certainly hadn't helped. She had nagged him since his freshman year and what good had it done? And if she threatened to stop paying for his school, she worried he'd just quit college and end up with a job that would never be as good as what he might get with a degree.
Kicking off her shoes, she sat at her vanity and took off her earrings, thereby beginning her nightly routine. Snatching some tissues, she reached for her jar of Pond's out of habit and was startled to find it on the opposite side of her vanity tray.....with the lid loose. She always twisted the lid shut snugly. Still, fatigued as she was, she figured even a creature of habit such as herself could be forgetful. Frowning, she reached next for her hairbrush while pulling bobbypins from her short blonde hair. But it too was not in its usual spot.......and it was laying bristle-side up. Liz never left her hairbrush bristle-side up. Someone had been in her room and it had to have been Doug or Emily. The thought annoyed her, but only briefly. She didn't like her things tampered with, but if Emily needed some cold cream or a quick touch-up with her hairbrush and she was not home to be asked, she could overlook it.
Once she had finished her regime, she checked in on Doug. She could see him in a face-down flop, tangled in his sheets, from his half-open door. She leaned her head in amused at the boyish pose when she suddenly smelled cold cream. With knitted brow she quietly padded closer and discovered the scent was definitely coming from her son.....and yet there was no sign of cold cream anywhere she could see.
Intrigued by this mini-mystery, Liz returned to her own room pondering possibilities like an amateur sleuth. But unable to string together a reasonable explanation, fatigue overtook her and she fell asleep.
The next morning Liz had fairly forgotten the mystery and went about the task of gathering laundry. Doug was already in the kitchen, dressed and buttering some toast and downing some orange juice all while standing at the Formica counter, so Liz ventured into his room to gather up additions to her laundry basket. Doug's discarded pajamas were crumpled on the floor as usual. Bending with a groan, she snatched the tangle and once again noticed a smell of cold cream. Liz sniffed at the pajamas and confirmed that the bottoms, though not the nightshirt, bore the distinct aroma of Pond's. Grasping their waistband, a survey of the outside and inside revealed traces of greasy white residue smeared into the inner seat. Liz tossed the soiled drawers into her basket ready to ask Doug what this was all about when she spied him pulling out a chair only to slowly and gingerly lower himself onto the seat with a wince. Suddenly it was all too clear. There was no need to ask Doug anything.
That afternoon while her son and Emily went frolicking in the neighborhood park, reconnecting and having fun, Liz wrestled with her discovery over two cups of coffee. By the end of the second cup she had reached a decision. That afternoon she drove over to Bruckmann's Department Store to purchase a single item and returned home. Later, when Doug got home, she mentioned nothing about her conclusions. She asked only how his day had been. Over dinner they said little except to observe how wonderful Emily was.....something they both agreed upon. Doug never noticed how intently his mother observed his movements looking for clues. Careless and carefree movements that told her he was moving about with far less fuss than he had that morning. Quite the recovered victim. Before heading off to her waitressing shift Liz asked what time he had intended to head back on Sunday.
"Around noon, Mom. We can have a nice breakfast together and then Emily's going to stop over to say 'goodbye' before I have to leave."
Sunday morning debuted like the dawn of a new age beaming sunshine so bright it seemed to cleanse everything it illuminated. Liz dressed cheerily infected by the radiance of the morning. In the room across from hers, Doug was all snaps, latches, and zippers, packing for his trip back to the State University. Later, as Liz finished cooking breakfast, Doug emerged from the bathroom flush-faced and freshly showered.
"Do I have time to dress?" asked the robed youth toweling his short crop of hair.
"It's ready now. Come sit. You're perfect just like that."
Doling out bacon and eggs with a pleasant but bland smile Liz began, "We never really finished dealing with this midterm issue."
"Oh Mom, not that again."
"Yes, that again."Liz insisted. "However, you might be interested to know that after a lot of thought I've decided that nagging you is not the answer."
"Well, thanks Mom." Doug nodded. "You'll see. I will do better."
"I'm sure you will, son, but there's still the issue of these grades. They are......unacceptable."
"Well there's nothing I can do about the current grades but I can work to raise them but the end of the term...........and I will."
"Doug, I know there's nothing you can do about these midterm grades now." Liz agreed.
"Ma....there's nothing anyone can do."
"Well, that's not entirely true, Doug. But finish your breakfast for now. I'll explain more when you're done."
Doug stared quizzically at his mother wondering if the stress of working two jobs had finally gotten to her, not comprehending that in a very real but unexpected way....it had. Curiosity prompted brisk consumption of both bacon and eggs so that Doug was soon ready for his promised explanation.
"All done?" she asked to a brisk nod and full-mouthed grunt of assent. "Fair enough. Come with me." Doug puzzled at the tone but followed his enigmatic mother while swallowing his last mouthful.
Entering the bright bedroom, Liz turned on her heels, her blonde hair channeling the sunlight into a brightness all her own."Doug I have been working as hard as I can to keep you in school. It hasn't been easy, but I haven't complained. I would do anything to help you succeed. Up until now that has meant working my butt off to raise tuition money and pestering you about your grades. But we both know how well that has worked. So like I said...I am prepared to resort to anything, and I mean that. So....." Liz took a deep breath, "because your attitude towards your grades shows an unfortunate lack of maturity and self-discipline, and because I now believe the reason is a lack of meaningful consequences, I am going to provide what I think is a consequence perfectly suited to the maturity level you seem to be functioning on."
The confused boy blinked uneasily at this ominous proclamation, but his eyes truly bulged when his mother calmly but sternly added, "Now if you please, come here young man." as she sat knees together in her dress far back from her vanity. Doug recognized the routine although he had not been a part of this particular ritual in nearly ten years. Despite the seeming absurdity of the situation, he found himself automatically obeying out of the same reluctant obligation he had felt when he was summoned this way as a kid. It was only when his mother suggested that he toss his robe on the bed that he snapped out of his compliant daze and balked.
"You can't be serious, Mom." he whined.
"I'm very serious." Liz assured him, "And it was your own dear Emily that told me just this past Friday that I should do this. So if Emily thinks it's a good idea, and I think it's a good idea, perhaps you'd like to give me one good reason why you think it isn't?" Scrambling for a sound objection resulted in nervous silence. Liz waited patiently letting him dangle and then concluded, "I thought not. Robe please."
Doug slid off the robe and clumsily covered his genitals as his face baked in its own embarrassment. "Nothing I haven't seen before, Dear." she chided. "However, you aren't 9 anymore, so I suppose this is a bit more embarrassing.....but that is as it should be. And because you aren't 9 anymore, kindly hand me that hairbrush, please."
Doug made a reflexive yip of protest but obeyed, handing over the implement he only so recently learned to fear. Liz took it from him and tapped her lap with the flat of its back, pleased that her son obeyed the gesture without objection. A few stray marks from Friday still remained faintly observable, but Liz ignored them. "Now you can fuss all you want, though you could try to take your punishment like a man, however, if you expect a check for your tuition from me, you had better not try to get up once I start."
A warm left hand pressed down on Doug's lower back while the right cocked back and snapped the brush authoritatively into the waiting bottom. The resulting jiggle was as satisfying as the sound of sucked air through gritted teeth that accompanied it. In seconds the spot pinkened. Inspired by the reaction, Liz nestled herself into her seat with determination and began to spank with measured ferocity. Her victim maintained his manly stoicism for the first couple of dozen, but his resolve crumbled soon thereafter. Liz found that the yelping and kicking bolstered her confidence that this might truly be a consequence Doug might fear. Seeing him kick in a genuine panic proved a spanking at 19 was as effective as one at 9.......maybe moreso.
Although she hadn't set a numerical limit, Liz found herself counting the strokes in her head. By about 75 she felt fairly satisfied but decided to continue to 100 since she was so close. The extra would do no real harm but certainly add to the experience. She delivered the next ten very slowly and with a lot of force, lecturing as she went, "Now when you come back in a few weeks, I want to see your test and quiz scores...........just like in grammar school. And if they aren't good, we'll be doing this all over again, understand?"
"Yes, Ma'am." Doug blubbered.
With fifteen to go, Liz launched into a manic flurry of crisp smacks delivered in a staccato blur of sting as Doug thrashed and yelled out shamelessly. At one hundred she stopped. "OK, Up."
Quickly, Doug clambered off the lap with red-rimmed eyes and reached for his hot bottom while dancing an impromptu jig in place. Liz just grinned smugly at the comical performance wondering where the modesty that was such a big deal earlier had disappeared to. As he settled down, she rose and took him out of the room, left hand holding his left wrist while the right, still armed with the hairbrush, urged him along with sharp prodding slaps all the way to the corner at the end of the hallway.
"Nose in the corner until told to move."
"Yes Ma'am" came the nearly shouted response, as the hairbrush delivered its last reprimand.
Leaving her son to ponder his stinging bottom, Liz cleaned up the breakfast dishes, periodically glancing towards the end of the hall and the fair-skinned occupant showing off a posterior that looked as if someone had run a roller of red paint over it.....leaving only the inner crease and outer hips starkly in contrast. As she dried her hands still admiring her work, a familiar tap rapped the pane of the back door. Turning, Liz waved Emily in.
"Hello Mrs, Kramer."
"Can I get you anything? Juice? Tea?"
"Tea please. Thanks."
"Coming right up."
"Is Doug here? I hope I didn't miss him."
"Oh no, he's here. He's just indisposed right now. You can see him if you want, only he can't come to see you. Not just yet." Liz pointed a finger down the hall and Emily followed its direction until she saw her naked boyfriend contritely displaying his well-spanked bottom at the hallway's end.
"Oh my!" Emily squealed with a toothy smile, "You did it. You really did it. Oh boy." Emily turned to Liz, "This is great!" she clapped in delight.
"Hmmmm, I can see Doug won't be able to count on you for sympathy."
Emily blushed a bit ashamed of her unrestrained glee. "Well a little bit, perhaps."
"You know, Emily, I would not have done this except for you. And so as a token of my gratitude I got you a little something." Liz handed over the Bruckmann's bag and Emily took it curiously.
"Thanks, Mrs. Kramer." Emily said as she opened the bag. Looking inside, she squealed again.
Triumphantly Emily held her gift aloft: a solid polished wood hairbrush nearly identical to the one on Liz's vanity.
"Unless I am mistaken I thought perhaps you could use one of your own?" Liz hinted.
"I think I might be able to put this to good use, Mrs. Kramer." the girl admitted secretly amused at the obvious endorsement of her unusual methods by Doug's own mother.
"Good. Then it's a useful gift after all. However, dear, if you don't mind me asking.........When did you first start spanking my son?"
The direct question froze Emily speechless, but only for a moment. She saw no reason to not answer just as bluntly. "The first time was about a year ago......just before we started dating. Doug was passing his old school and seeing my brother Tommy, offered to give him a ride home. But, instead of taking him straight home, he decided to stop at Skinny's for a soda. Tommy tried to talk him out of it, saying he needed to go straight home, but Doug told him not to worry and even offered to treat. Tommy gave in and they pulled up to our house about an hour and a half past Tommy's usual time when he walked.
"I was frantic. See, I am sort of the disciplinarian in our house. With Mom gone and Dad not the best at parenting kids, it sort of fell to me. Well, Tommy saw right away by my face that he was in trouble, but I realized that Doug had been the instigator. I told Doug that because of him Tommy was going to get a good spanking from me and that my biggest regret was that he wouldn't share in that punishment. All of a sudden Doug wasn't as cocky as when he walked in. He asked me if I was serious and I assured him I was. He mumbled an apology and left quietly. I sort of figured that he was feeling guilty but that that was that, and so I went to deal with my brother when the doorbell rang. To my surprise, there was your son. I asked him what he wanted and he asked me that since this mess was mostly his fault, if I'd let Tommy off if he agreed to take the punishment in his place?
"I have to admit, I was pretty shocked at the offer......but the thought had a definite appeal" she admitted with a demure grin, "so I agreed. I had never punished anyone other than my brother and sisters and never anyone older than me, but I took him to my room like it was nothing special and had him drop his pants and bend over my lap. He did it without even a single protest. I only used my hand that day, but I still spanked him as hard as I could for as long as I could before my hand hurt too much to continue. He was thoroughly reddened and sore by that point anyway. Before he left he told me he had never met anyone like me before and asked me out right then and there."
"And you agreed, huh?"
Nodding in answer, Emily admitted, "I always thought he was cute and when he showed such a sense of conscience voluntarily subjecting himself to punishment he could have avoided just to spare my brother, well, I kind of fell for him right there." Then Emily thrust an impetuous hand to touch Liz's arm. "But Mrs. Kramer..." she began with imploring reassurance, "I want you to know that even though I have continued to spank Doug on occasion, I never do it to bully him. I am not out to crush his spirit. Anytime I've done it, it has been with his consent." Emily then giggled, "Sometimes it's ..........reluctant consent."
"That's understandable." Liz agreed.
"And," Emily continued slowly, " sometimes..........it is not allllll that serious."
"No?" Liz prompted.
"No." the blushing girl confessed. "Sometimes it's more of a game between us. You know like part of a bet?"
"Oh," Liz chuckled, "You mean like 'loser gets a spanking'?"
"Well, sort of, only that penalty is reserved for Doug only. My lost bets usually mean me going to his choice of movie without complaining. And sometimes we'll just be goofing around and Doug'll tease me and I'll tease him back, and then he might push me a bit further until I threaten him with one, and.....depending on his mood, he'll keep teasing anyway."
"Those I would imagine are a bit different." Liz interjected.
"Yes. It's all sort of silly and we end up laughing the whole time............but he knows the difference between something silly and something serious."
"Well, Emily," Liz confided, "Thank you for telling me all of that. I think it's obvious that you are both good kids and if this sort of thing works for you....well.....that's what matters. Anyway, enjoy the gift.....and at least now you won't have to borrow mine again."
Looking surprised at having been caught, Emily asked if Doug had told her about Friday.
"No. I figured it out on my own. See? I never rest my brush on its back. But the thing that really gave it away was the cold cream."
"Cold cream?" Emily blinked.
"Yes, dear, I noticed my cold cream had been moved, then smelled it later in Doug's room, and when I went to do the laundry I realized it has been used on his bottom. So. Cold cream on a bottom?Dead giveaway. When Doug was little, if he was extra good after a spanking, I'd rub some on his sore cheeks before bedtime."
"Mrs. Kramer, I didn't use any cold cream on Doug."
"Well then he did it himself after you left." Liz surmised but was perplexed by the frown on Emily's face. "Is something wrong?"
"Mrs. Kramer..." Emily explained patiently, "Doug knows he is not to rub or try to soothe his behind in any way after one of my spankings. If he used your cold cream....."
"He disobeyed that rule." Liz finished the thought. "Hmmmmm." she mused rubbing her chin, "Doug also knows not to take anything from my room without asking. I had figured you had borrowed the cold cream, and under the circumstances, I was going to overlook its use..........but this sort of changes that also."
"I would agree." Emily nodded with her arms crossed.
"So, Emily," Liz asked as she scowled in her son's direction, "how would you like to test your new hairbrush? Since..." she continued, "it seems like both you and I have some unfinished business to attend to."
Emily grinned slapping her palm rhythmically with the flat of the oval back, "Yes it does seem so. And I would love to try this out. Shall we flip for who goes first?"
Liz laughed, "Sure."
Fishing for a coin in her purse, the stern brunette said, "You know, Mrs, Kramer, our naughty little Doug is going to have one very uncomfortable ride back to college."
"OK, Hon." ----- "Very good."------"No, I'm glad you called to let me know you got there safely."-----"No, that's fine."--------"Yes, Dear, I'm sure you will." -------"Don't be silly. Of course I'm not mad at you. I just want the best for you." ------"Yes, Dear."------"Yes, it's OK."----"I love you too, Hon." -----" Be good and study hard."-----"OK Bye." Liz hung up the phone and swung her feet onto the bed. Work again tomorrow. It sure had been quite a day. Not very typical though. Not one to discuss over coffee at the Steno pool.
There's a comical scene: 'Oh, Liz ,what did you do on your day off?'-'Hmmm, not much. Did some laundry. Spanked my college-age son. And you?'
Occasionally a co-worker did mention spanking their kid for something. It wasn't unheard of for some exasperated parent to vent over muddy footprints or broken heirloom and the stinging bottom that resulted. Didn't Sally once tell how her twins built a sandcastle in their bedroom? That story ended with a double spanking on identical bottoms........spanked identically red. Somehow .....Liz thought, her story would not be received as well. And then there was Emily. No. Definitely not a discussion for work.
Strangely though, Liz did not have a problem with all that happened. Maybe her solution to things was unusual, but if it worked?.........
And knowing her son, a repeat performance would be unlikely. She believed her point had been made........and if not? Well then the option was there ...laying on her vanity....bristle-side down........ and she would not shy away from her duty.
No, Liz did not foresee a repeat of today....with her anyway. Emily was another story.
In that situation, it was unlikely that Emily's new implement would go unused for long. No. Between what she learned from Emily and saw for herself, she surmised that brush would be a frequent visitor to her son's posterior. But if it worked for them? So be it.
Liz wondered why she was so darned comfortable with it all. Shouldn't she be irritated by knowing this girl...a relative stranger..was taking a hairbrush to her own flesh-and-blood? Perhaps. But she wasn't. In fact the scene played out as fluidly natural in her head as if she imagined them holding hands. Liz admired Emily. She felt sorry for her too. Having to be so responsible at such a young age must be difficult. (She would make it a point in the future to mother the girl a bit.) Her maturity, focus, and obvious care she felt for Doug, were strong assets. Liz was lucky to have a girl like that dating her son.
Emily wasn't a bully. She told Liz that and Liz believed her. Her methods were not to intimidate but to guide.....an unusual though fairly harmless method to encourage self-control. So whether the work crowd would approve or even understand, didn't really matter. Besides, what was the worst consequence to her son? A sore bottom? Hardly a major concern.
And if that consequence resulted in a more focused outlook? A more disciplined approach to responsibility? An impetus for success? Better manners? More thoughtful disposition? Perhaps even a spurt in maturity? All these benefits and Doug himself seeming to need and want it? Well, perhaps that purchase at Bruckmann's was the best investment she ever made. She'd see in a few weeks.....and later still when final grades were posted.