Barbara and Janice were the first to arrive as always. It was easier for them as they worked in a company that shared the building with the pub where The Gang met on alternate Fridays. It was just a matter of taking the elevator down, gaining the street and turning left. Barbara worked on the next to last floor as PA to the Human Resources VP and Janice was clerking in the Engineering Department on the 5th floor.
"Barbs, what's with the big pow-wow? All the department and division heads being called for an after hours hush-hush meeting? People are freaking out thinking that we will all get pink slips on Monday."
"You know that I can't tell you, Jan. But don't worry about the jobs, OK?"
"You're a prissy cow, Barbs..." pouted Jan.
"Moo..." agreed Barbara, closing the subject.
They were taken to their usual place, a round table where eight girls could sit comfortably (their usual number) but at times they managed to squeeze up to twelve when all members of The Gang decided to appear.
When The Gang started meeting all members were just out of college, in their early twenties. Now, several years later destiny had split them apart, but they still met once a month in the same old pub in spite of gloomier times and economic slump.
Even the recent legislation that was quickly turning the lives of American women for the worst didn't make them forfeit the meetings, on the contrary, it reinforced the need for the camaraderie to face difficult times.
"The usual while you wait, girls?" Alice, their customary attendant placed the menus on the table.
"Yes, Alice," answered Barb. "Wow, what's that? They got you in a new sexy uniform?" It was true, Alice, an attractive single mom in her thirties was dressed in a short uniform that revealed her long legs almost to the crotch and enhanced her boobs with nice deep cleavage.
"Old Jim's idea to enliven the happy hour?" quipped Jan.
"Actually, it's his horny son's idea. Junior's butting his nose into Jim's business a little more every day. He annoyed old Jim until he hired those two bimbos over there," she pointed in the general direction of two skimpy dressed waitresses, "... and coerced him into letting Mike go."
"You must be joking... after all those years..."
"Yeah... and he trapped me in a corner to tell me if I don't smarten up my act I'll be replaced also..."
"Old Jim won't let it happen..."
"I'm not so sure. I gotta go. The small-dicked bastard is now checking our performance with a stop-watch." Alice hurried to order the first round of Cosmopolitans to start the evening. Both friends settled in the comfortable upholstered chairs to wait for the other girls. They took the seats that gave them a frontal view of the large television screen, one of the perks of getting there early. Most of the screens were tuned to one of the sports channels, but theirs was on CNN.
"And we return live from the Capitol, reporter Monica Love has more details on Law 2360 nicknamed the 'Husband's Permission Law'. Monica?"
"Thank you Robert. I'm here with Congressman Livehorn, the main advocate of this proposition. Congressman, now that the law was approved, what's next?"
"Yes, Monica, it was approved by a vast majority of both Houses. As soon as the law is signed by the President, you'll have to ask your husband's permission to purchase this cute little sexy outfit you're wearing, my dear."
"Thank, you Congressman. And I won't have to ask, because this cute sexy and certainly too short uniform is in obligatory use by all female reporters as mandated by our employer, CNN, as of this past week. But what's your next battle, Congressman?"
"As you know, Monica, I've my concerns with women's driving. I have already submitted a law proposition to severely restrict the granting of driving licenses to new female drivers and reassessment of the present license holders."
"But this is against all statistics, Congressman. Women are considered safer drivers than men."
"This is a fallacy, Monica, created by the insurance companies. I have my own statistics. And look at Saudi Arabia where there're no women drivers; their accident levels are among the lowest in the world. And even if the alleged women's safe driving should be true, with the recent legislation allowing corporations to use corporal punishment on their female employees, how safe would your driving be, Monica, returning home on a very well spanked bottom?"
"Thank you, Congressman. I'm Monica Love and I just interviewed Congressman Livehorn who is advocating banning women from driving. Back to the studio, Robert?"
"Those bastards approved that damned law!" Jessica, a petite blonde all cute from her pink hat to her pink pumps, had just arrived and plopped her cute butt into one of the arm-chairs. "I dare my Peter not to sign me a permission to shop. He will sleep on the couch for the next year."
"Hi Jess, hi Babs, hi Jen," the melodious voice of Thaliana the only Black girl of the group greeted the others. "Why should Peter sleep on the couch? Did you catch him sleeping around? Do tell!"
"No, Thali. It's this bloody Permission Law. One more thing to harass us. And now this idiot Livehorn is talking about taking our driving licenses. I could kill him."
Alice arrived with a tray full of Cosmopolitans and appetizers. The girls dug in. "Hey guys," Thaliana exclaimed between two bites, "did Alice just flash her panties at me?"
"Poor gal. Respectable mother of two and forced into that slutty outfit because of a horny teenager." Jennifer was pissed off. "How?" Thaliana wanted to know. While Barb and Jen were explaining the three Ps arrived: Paula, Pamela and Penelope. So Barb explained again.
"Last week my company also posted a dress code for all females," said Paula, "and it's as bad as Alice's. No way can I bend, sit or even walk without flashing the guys."
"You're not wearing it," laughed Pam, "where's it at?"
"It will only become mandatory next month, fortunately. We don't have dressing facilities at work, so I'll be forced to wear the damn thing from home to work and back on the tube. It will be an invitation for groping hands."
"Tough..." was the consensus around the table. "Let's drink to the Congressmen," proposed Barb. "May they rot in hell with their mini-skirted moms."
"Anybody know where Yoko and Suki are? They should be here already..."
"Speaking of the devil..." They were joined by two Oriental ladies. Both were very pretty and looked like twins wearing a company uniform in shades of blue. They worked for a giant Japanese electronics company. One of them was wearing dark glasses. The other greeted the assembly. "Hi guys, please give Yoko some space and a soft chair. She isn't well."
A chair was provided and the petite Oriental girl sat gingerly.
"What happened, Yoko?" Her friends were concerned.
"Yoko got her first CCP," said Suki, "and it was a lulu."
"What's a CCP?" somebody asked.
"Corporate Corporal Punishment," clarified Suki.
Yoko grabbed a Cosmo and gulped it down in one long swallow. "I needed that. Another one please." The other girls gathered around her. Another Cosmo was deposited in front of the Oriental girl who took her shades off. Her eyes were red from crying and her mascara was ruined. "Come with me, let's repair your face," cried Janice, grabbing Yoko's hand. Both women disappeared in the girls' room.
"What happened, Suki?" demanded Barb while all girls turned their attention to the small Oriental woman.
"Last month our company decided to implement the merit and demerit system, a variation of the original one that has been operational in Japan for at least ten years. We had to sign the new labor contract. Guess what happens to a girl if she reaches ten demerits?"
"She gets the CCP," volunteered one of the gals.
"Yeah, in public for everyone to see and in two installments. Six of the best during the morning coffee break and another six half an hour before quitting time followed by 'humbling time' which is spending fifteen minutes in the middle of the work area with your skirt up, panties and pantyhose down and wearing a 'dumb hat'."
"Wow, those Japs know how to humiliate a girl. Poor Yoko, no wonder she is crying her eyes out."
"What is the CCP like?"
There's a small podium in the middle of the work area. You bend over to touch your toes. Your boss raises your skirt and pins it up with safety pins. Then he lowers your pantyhose and panties and beats your ass with a hard plastic ferule that they call 'the office cane' and which they say sting like hell. If you get up, or try to protect your ass, he starts again."
"You can say that again. Yoko jumped up twice. Once on the second stroke and once on the fifth."
"And what is the punishment for the guys?"
"They have to wear the hat and a button saying 'I'm an idiot' and they're also getting fines."
"But no spankings?"
"No public exhibition of their butts and dicks?"
"Unfair." Everybody agreed and drinks were raised.
"Well, a few of them confided that they would prefer to get spanked than getting pay cuts."
"I don't know, guys," said the pink-clad Jess, "I, for one, would also prefer to get a hiding and get it over than loosing cash. What is dreadful is this public 'humble time', I'd die from embarrassment."
"It's easy for you to say, Jess," protested Pam. "You're the only one of us who isn't a working girl. You're a kept housewife, an animal in extinction."
"Am not!" protested Jess, "I'm an artist and I work from home. There're months that I earn more money that my Peter. So!"
"It's true," concurred Paula. "I read about you: the rising American female artist and bla-bla-bla."
Yoko and Janice returned. Yoko looked much better with the make-up retouched and all signs of crying washed from her face. She grabbed a drink and almost spilled it when her bottom made contact with the chair.
"Her bum is a sight," announced Jan after sipping her drink, "I would die if somebody did this to me. I'm happy that our company didn't adopt this dreadful demerit system."
"Well, Jan, I'm sorry to tell you, you're in for an unpleasant surprise." Barb's usually playful voice was serious. "It won't be a secret on Monday anymore, so what the hell, I'll tell you now." She dried her glass and deposited it on the table. It was her second and last one as she was driving home. The other girls got quiet and waited for what she had to tell.