The town hall of Little Onryx had had enough. They were up their eyes in complaints from the locals and were being flooded with more every single day. And what were those complaints about, you may ask? Why, the youth of Little Onryx, of course. The town was full of complaints of undisciplined yobs that were running around smashing everything, shoplifting, making obscene amounts of noise and scaring the elderly. And the stories they had from teachers were much worse. Something had to be done about this, obviously, but everything they did never really seemed to work.
They never learned anything from community service, curfews rolled off them like water off a duck's back, and written apologies were widely seen as being softer than a Pomeranian's fur. But throwing them into juvie seemed too hard on them, since most of the stuff they did wasn't bad enough to send them there anyway. So what did they do?
"Ladies and gentlemen, we need to find an urgent solution to how we can solve the disciplinary issue of Little Onryx's youth," Mayor Kent ordered his group of ten chairpersons. "Community service doesn't work, written apologies to the victims are pathetic and curfews are impossible to enforce."
"We could impose fines on the parents," one middle-aged man suggested. "Hitting them in the purse-strings always hurts the most."
"But that isn't fair on the parents, who went to the Town Hall to protest the last time a fine on the parents was imposed," his companion argued. "They stopped traffic for hours until they were escorted off by police! Didn't you see that?"
"Summer school could be implemented. I figure once they're out of back alleys and inside classrooms, they'll shape up," a white-haired woman advised.
"That didn't work either. After the first year of disciplinary summer school, the teachers left the classrooms and marched the streets demanding that they get paid more money to deal with worse kids or the summer school idea gets shoved right up our-"
"Thank you for that description," Mayor Kent smiled, clearly forced. "Any other suggestions?"
"How about some good old public humiliation?" one woman asked. All eyes turned to see this attractive, red-haired woman sitting with them. "Most of these crimes are done by teens, and teens care a lot about what people think of them. If the punishment was embarrassing enough, it could act as a pretty good deterrent for other kids." All eyes turned to Mayor Kent. What would he say about this?
"You know what? That's not such a bad idea," the mayor replied. "But to pass this law, we have to pitch this to the Little Onryx Juvenile Court, the people behind the community service and curfew orders, and if we have their go-ahead, it's pretty much all roses from there."
Boring legal process cut short, the idea to have public humiliation as a punishment for shoplifting was accepted by the local juvenile court, and the town went ballistic. It was on the local newspaper, and there were parents and teenagers alike who freaked out about the ruling. Parents grinned with anticipation as they looked at their misbehaving children; teachers cracked their knuckles at the thought of it; the teenagers gulped with fear. This wasn't going to be good for them.
Nevertheless, there always seemed to be a few kids who figured that this new punishment was going to be a walk in the park for them. Just a slap on the wrist was all it was. Well, that was what 17-year-old Jack Oldfield thought when he was arrested for stealing several set of adult nappies from a pharmacy. He was flippant to the judge as the counts were read to him in court.
"So, judge, what will I have to do this time?" Jack asked. "Community service? An apology letter? Another curfew?" The judge had an odd grin on his face when he addressed the teenage trouble-maker.
"Not this time, Mr Oldfield," the judge smiled. "You will be the very first to trial the new disciplinary action of public humiliation. And since you wanted those adult nappies so much you were willing to steal them, then clearly you should be allowed to keep them. Jack Oldfield, this court sentences you to pay for the cost of the adult nappies, as well as to use them for their intended purpose until every last one of them has been used." Jack lost his mind.
"Are you crazy?" Jack screamed. "Do you have any idea what people will say about me, or to me?"
"You should have thought about that before you decided to break the law," the judge replied. "That is the order of this court." Jack and his parents left the room afterwards, Jack on the verge of tears, while his parents seemed to have a smirk on their faces. They were going to be enforcing this new court-ordered punishment as best they could, just like they had all the others.
Jack sobbed bitter tears as he was wheeled around town in an oversized stroller, wearing a onesie that looked like it belonged on someone much, much younger. His parents were having way too much fun with this punishment, and who could blame them? They were sick and tired of having to see their boy come home in a police car, being shoved into the house by a few bored police officers who'd tell them about what he'd done now in a tired monotone. They had no control over him, and neither did the court. But now they were in control of their son's discipline, and they were going to take full advantage of it.
"Come on, sweetie, we just need to get a few things from the grocery store," Mrs Oldfield cooed, steering the oversized stroller to a nearby mini-mart as her wayward son bawled. "Oh, sweetie, I thought you loved to go grocery shopping?"
"But my friends might see me!" Jack replied through his sobs. "People will laugh! It's embarrassing!"
"Well, that's the point of public humiliation, isn't it?" his mother teased. "People hear about it, and you feel ashamed. You should have thought about this before you stole those nappies from the pharmacy. Now drink your ba-ba, sweetie. It's got all the things your punishment needs." Jack blushed a deep shade of red as he suckled on the teat of the bottle, dreading how badly the nappies would feel and smell later. As he drained the bottle, his worst nightmare came true.
Giovanni Romano was a classmate Jack had tormented in school for being overweight. Years of taunting had given the once portly boy the motivation to work for and eventually get the body that now had the girls and a few guys drooling over him and Jack seething with jealousy. Giovanni figured that his transformation was revenge enough, but when he was out on a date with a girl he really liked and both of them saw the old school bully getting some long overdue karma, how could they walk away from something like this?
"Hello, Jack," Giovanni smiled, walking to Jack's stroller as the infantilized bully tried to fight his restraints. "Remember me?"
"What are you doing here?" Jack whimpered.
"I was on a date with my girlfriend when I saw you rolling past in your new ride," Giovanni explained, as his date, a black-haired girl with glasses and a cherry-red dress, giggled at Jack's appearance. "Did you receive a public humiliation punishment?" Jack just nodded. Giovanni's girlfriend laughed.
"And it's not ending any time soon," Jack's mother interrupted. "This doesn't end until he's used all the diapers. He's barely made a dent in one of the packs, and he stole five packs, all containing 24 diapers."
"Excuse me," Giovanni's girlfriend piped up, "but how many diapers does he go through in a day?"
"About two," Paddy's mother smiled.
"So, 5 times 24 gives you 120 diapers," she calculated. "120 divided by 2 . . . 60. At the rate you're going, you'll be doing this for 60 days in total, or two months. How long has been going on?"
"Three days," Jack sobbed.
"You've got 57 days left, little guy," the girl giggled. "Good luck!" And the young couple left the big baby alone, but not before taking plenty of photos. Jack started to wail as they left him alone, tears flowing freely down his face as it began to sink in exactly how badly damaged his bad boy reputation was now. He barely noticed his mother pushing the stroller through the doors of the local mini-mart.
After the demise of Jack Oldfield, crimes committed by teenagers dropped fast. Less teenagers appeared in juvenile court than ever before. Parents and teachers of troubled kids reported better behaviour, much to the general community's delight. The situation was practically perfect . . . and perfection never lasts long.
Fraternal twins Damian and Darla Martel were the terrible two that marked the whole of Little Onryx as their stomping ground. These twins used every trick in the book to weasel more money out of people. They were being brought in for attempting to vandalise a charity stall by the owner of the stall while looking for cash. Both of them were pleading guilty to the charge of vandalism. Unlike most kids who entered these courts, they were respectful and quiet as the judge went through their crimes. "Mr and Miss Martel, I'm going to give you a choice," the judge offered. "You can spend 30 days in a juvenile detention centre for unlawful and wanton vandalism or you can volunteer for a week at the charity stall you helped to vandalise. I'll give you two a minute to make up your minds." The twins put their heads together about it, whispering and fidgeting until they came to a decision.
"We'd like to volunteer at the charity stall," Damian decided, his sister nodding along behind him. Apparently, he was going to be speaking for both of them.
"Good to know, Mr Martel," the judge said. "The court sentences you to do the work the stall owner wants you to complete. That is the order of this court." The twins breathed a sigh of relief, since they figured charity work wasn't that hard. Neither of them would have been that relieved if they'd seen the look on the face of the woman running it.
At the fair, both twins howled with laughter as several set of fingers dug into their ribs, armpits, tummies and sides. They knew that the kids they had once hounded for money were the ones tormenting them with agonizing tickles. And they were absolutely ruthless, going for every ticklish spot they could find. Both twins felt tears of laughter springing up at the corners of their eyes.
"GAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! NOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO MOHOHOHOHOHOHOHORE!" Damian begged.
"LEHEHEHEHEHEHET UHUHUHUHUHUHUS GOHOHOHOHOHOHO!" Darla pleaded. The kids surrounding them grinned sadistically.
"I don't think we've tickled their feet yet, have we?" one girl grinned. The other kids all got evil looks on their faces, and then they called two other kids to get their wiggling, straining feet. Damian and Darla were beginning to really wish that they'd got their money through more honest means, like a garage sale or even a lemonade stand. Anything but one more second of this ticklish torment.
The stall owner smirked as she watched the money pile up in the glass tin. All this money was going to make a charity a little bit richer and a lot happier. She wondered about how much money the kids had put in the tin, and more so about how much money they had left. Those twins had better start hoping that none of these kids had rich parents or had just gotten an increase in pocket money, or they were officially done for.
"Hey, Billy," one boy shouted, "how about you and Harriet play This Little Piggy with their toes while Stanley and I see if Damian and Darla has the normal number of ribs?"
"OK!" Billy agreed, as he and a blond girl that had to be Harriet swapped places with the twins messing with the Martel twins' feet. Meanwhile, two boys positioned themselves behind the twins.
"You are going to wish you'd left us all alone," he hissed, as his fingers danced up and down his captive's sensitive ribcage.
Screams of laughter echoed throughout the air. The once feared Martel twins would never hear or feel the end of this.