“Wondrous Hot Ice”


After a long practice only days before the Regionals, Sonia and Gerta completed her cool-down stretches rinkside, then headed for the locker room. As they neared the door, Shelbi Coppra, one of the older girls, and her trainer went in ahead of them. Shelbi was weeping and holding on to her trainer’s shoulder with one hand while gently kneading her right hip with the other. This was not an unusual sight, given the frequency of minor injuries, plus the highly charged emotional atmosphere of skating competition. Sonia admired Shelbi’s form very much, especially her scratch spins, which were so fast she turned to a blurry tornado on the ice.

Shelbi took a while to undress. Sonia was already under the spray when the older girl came into the communal shower. Sonia blinked, then stared at the condition of Shelbi’s backside.

“Wow, you musta come down flat on your butt, Shelbi. No wonder you were crying.”

The girl quickly turned the other way to hide her bruised behind, then sighed and leaned back to sluice water through pixie-cut hair. Her head shook and water droplets sailed in all directions.

“I didn’t hit the ice, honey, something hit me.”

Sonia frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that I hate wooden hairbrushes, that’s what I mean. Oh, and Davin Spiel. I hate him, too, right now.”

“Coach Spiel hit you with a hairbrush?”

“Yep.” She lathered while Sonia gaped. “No, wait. He never hits, he spanks. That’s his take, anyhow.”

“But that – that’s like assault. Isn’t it?”

“It might be if I complained about it, I guess.”

“You aren’t going to?”

“Course not. I never have before.” She shut off the tap and went to grab a towel from a stack on a table just outside the shower room. “It just takes me a while to cool off afterwards, then I’m okay. Anyway, I bet I remember to set up quicker for that second double axel from now on.”

Shelbi went out, wrapping herself in a big white towel. Sonia stood, dumbfounded, beneath the tepid spray.

“Hey! You gonna be all night in there or what, princess?”

“Oh! Sorry! Just coming, Gerta!”

Sonia climbed onto a massage table. Shelbi laid face down, her head turned away from Sonia, on the next table. Her trainer, Saskia, already had her fingers dug deep into Shelbi’s calf muscles, kneading and twisting. The older girl had a towel draped over her back and bottom, just as Sonia had, leaving her legs exposed for the massage. Several red marks and a few light blue ones were clearly visible at the tops of her thighs. Sonia stared for a long moment before turning away.

She tried to imagine Coach Spiel spanking anyone. He was energetic and talked a lot, but he seemed so calm, at least compared to Peggy. Sonia had never heard him yell. Peggy did a lot of that. Little used as Sonia was even to yelling, spanking was almost unknown to her. She had seen spanking in films and on TV, of children and adults both, but her parents had never even threatened such a thing.

Her brothers, however, being brothers, had told her that their parents would spank her if she didn’t behave. They went into graphic detail about how Mom would hold her down while Dad spanked her bare bottom with his belt. Sonia had been five years old at the time, and their tall tale had scared her so much she ran to hide under her bed. Eventually, Travers had come to her room and told her they were only teasing. She came out from beneath the bed, though she was not sure she believed him. Ever afterwards, she wondered what a spanking might be like.

So absorbed was she in her reverie that she scarcely noticed Gerta’s fingers, fists, and elbows as the woman wrung waste products and toxins from her muscles.

“Don’t that hurt, girl?” the woman said.

“Hm? The trigger point in my gastrocs? It always does when you jab your finger into it like that.”

Gerta shrugged and held the pressure for a few more seconds. “I just wondered ’cause the whole muscle started twitching like crazy. Turn over, now, so I can get at those quads.”