A bad judgement called to account

By Marcella Cabana

My little sister, Carla, once had a friend, or more accurately a frenemy, called Marta. Marta was a terrible influence on her, and they ended up falling out when Marta’s behaviour resulted in them both getting caned. I told the story of how this happened in a story called ‘A Spanish Caning’. Carla was so hurt and angry that she took her revenge in a story called ‘A Friend Indeed’. Carla was able to see that Marta’s bottom was caned a second time. This story, which closes the trilogy, tells of how Carla finally learned her lesson from the incident.

Carla came home at lunchtime from school, and it was obvious she was upset. She had been crying, and her face was pale and puffy.

“You ok?” I asked.

“No,” she said and disappeared into her room. I heard the scratch of her pen. She was writing in her diary, as she always did when she was especially emotional.

Ninety minutes later, she left for the afternoon at school. I just figured she didn’t want to talk.

Then I found that she’d left her diary in the lavatory. I knew I shouldn’t, but I just couldn’t resist. I would only read the entry pertaining to why she had been crying. I was looking out for her! I opened the diary to the last entry.

Went to school feeling pretty happy. That cow, Marta, had got hers yesterday, as I told you.

At this point, I read the preceding entry, events of which have been related in ‘A friend Indeed’.

I was still giggling at the memory as I walked in. But as I got to school, I got a strange feeling of butterflies, as if something wasn’t right. The first sign of real danger was when I saw Marta. She wasn’t alone. She had a man with her, who I guessed was her father. I was right. He’d come to complain about Marta’s caning! Alarm bells were really ringing now.

I went to lessons. But just twenty minutes into the class, the address system interrupted the teacher. I was called to the director’s office. Now. I felt like I’d been drained of blood. Everyone in the class was looking at me. I stood, and quickly hurried out.

Yes, they were there. The father was a massive man. I think he’d intimidated the headmaster a bit. Marta’s dad glared at me with pure hatred in his eyes.

He said, “My daughter was caned yesterday, and she hadn’t done anything. She says you set her up. Is that true?”

“No, no, sir.”

“Are you calling my daughter a liar?” he shouted.

“No, sir, but I didn’t…”

“She says you did. She says you did a doodle of the teacher and planted it to get her the cane. Now, is that right?”

I told them I hadn’t, but they went on and on and I’m not a good liar. They had me banged to rights. A lump came to my throat as I nodded to confess. I realized what was coming.

The headmaster went over to the cupboard and there was the cane in his hand. Remembering how much it hurt the first time, I began to cry a little even then. My head started to swim as I stepped forward to bend over. I cursed my own stupidity. Why hadn’t I let it go? And the worst thing was, Marta and her dad were right there, about to watch me being caned!

I touched my toes, facing the desk. Facing Marta and her dad. The headmaster walked around, and stood behind me. I braced myself. It felt like the longest 20 seconds of my life as he flexed the cane and swished it through the air. It was like he was playing to the gallery, showing off for Marta’s dad.

The first stroke landed right across my bum, and lit me up like a log on the fire. I bit my lip to stop crying out, but the second stroke did it.

I cried out. And can you believe it? She laughed! Marta laughed at my pain. What did I ever see in her? She is so toxic, that girl.

The third stroke took my mind right off her, and back onto my bum. How could my attention be anywhere else? It hurt like hell!

The fourth stroke landed where the first had, almost exactly, and I nearly shrieked in pain. As I heard Marta laugh with her father again, I swore at her loudly, which promptly earned me a seventh stroke.

Oh, it hurts, that cane! And the worst thing is, you can’t run away from the cane. You have to stay still and receive each terrible stroke. I can’t think of any experience where you have to fight your ‘fight and flight instincts’. Every bone in you is screaming to get up, run away, get out of the way of this pain.’

You even have the warning sound, the swish in the air as it heads your way. But you just have to stay there, bent over like an idiot, your bottom being whipped again and again.

My bottom was on fire! Seven strokes of the cane had been delivered and the pain was terrible, believe me. I was crying and rubbing my bottom as I stumbled out of the headmaster’s office and to the girl’s toilets. Some things were said, but I didn’t hear.

If only I’d never met Marta! I decided, though, that getting her caned again would just land me back in the office. So, I’ll work something else out to get her back. Anyway, it’s time to get back to afternoon school, so adios for now.

I closed my sister’s diary and replaced it in the bathroom. So, she’d taken seven hard strokes that morning? No wonder she’d been crying. I had been caned once, and I remember, for me, the worst thing was the way it stung when I sat down. It was like my body wouldn’t let the experience end. Wouldn’t let it go.

When Carla came home that night, I asked her how her afternoon had been.

“I learnt a valuable lesson,” she said.

“Revenge comes back to bite you in the ass.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle as she closed the door.

The End

© Marcella Cabana 2022