An ex-pupil has a favour to ask of her old headmaster
(This story, following earlier works by PG, is published with the full approval of PG)
The weather warmed up after Easter and James Simmons sat back in his chair towards the end of what had been a really busy week. ‘Only Friday to go,’ he thought to himself. The exams were now fast approaching and he was hoping for a good crop of results this summer. He knew how important these were and how they would reflect on the school, the staff and the pupils, head girl Stephanie French and her friend, Alison Carmichael, both holding provisional offers from Oxford; and on himself, of course.
He would be away from the school in the morning as he had to attend a meeting with the Education Authority. He sighed at the thought then shuffled the papers into his briefcase as he prepared to leave, planning to read through them all again first thing in the morning so the various issues, mostly to do with some new regulations on health and safety and extra–curricular courses for staff members, would be fresh in his mind. Just as he reached to turn his laptop off, the phone on his desk began its metallic ringing. He reached over and answered it, not immediately recognising the voice on the line.
“Oh, hello Headmaster,” said the girl, nervously. From somewhere he knew the voice, but couldn’t instantly place it. “I really hope you don’t mind me calling. It’s Helen Brown here.”
James Simmons perked up immediately.
“Hello, Helen,” he said. “What a surprise to hear from you. How are you doing? Your first year at University must be nearly over by now. How has it been?” He was genuinely pleased to hear from his former head girl, with whom he had developed a special bond.
“Very well, headmaster, very well, in the main. Thank you for asking. Obviously it has been a step up from school, but it has had its challenges and rewards, as expected. So far, anyway, it has been… How have things been at Archdean?”
The Head pursed his lips but was very genuine in his reply, when he told her that the year had not been without a few problems, which was of course to be expected, but he was hopeful for a very good crop of results in the forthcoming exams.
He also found himself wondering where the call was going. Obviously Helen had waited until he was likely to be alone in his office, but if she was avoiding the School Secretary she would be doing so for a reason. And for Helen Brown she sounded surprisingly nervous. It quickly became clear what Helen’s motive was.
She congratulated him on the news and then continued: “Headmaster, I actually have a reading week coming up before we sit end of term exams, and wondered if I could call by on Saturday morning. It’s just I feel as though my revision efforts have been a bit underpowered and I was wondering, if you could find the time that is, to, er…” She tailed off as her mind lost its focus for a moment, but then she gathered strength and her voice returned. “Headmaster, would it be possible to visit you for disciplinary purposes? I feel it would significantly increase my motivation to do well in my University exams, which I am sorry to say has been lacking a little in the past few weeks. A short, sharp shock would, I feel, serve to remind me that I need to attend to my studies with greater diligence.”
James Simmons was also momentarily lost for words. He had somehow sensed from Helen’s tone of voice that something like this might be the reason for the call, but nevertheless he was still taken aback. Recovering after a few seconds thought, he was able to say: “Well, I don’t see why not if you are sure it will have the motivational effect you feel it will. What is it you have in mind?”
There was another pause.
“Well Headmaster, two things. Firstly and only with your permission, I feel I ought to present myself in my school uniform. Then secondly, I am of course aware that there are strict rules that limit the level of punishment that can be applied to sixth formers, but in my case I am no longer under these rules and therefore expect to receive something a good deal more severe. Headmaster, I am asking for a caning from you to help me focus on my studies harder.”
To this, James Simmons was able to say he fully understood what she was asking for, that he was prepared to supply the motivational discipline she required and to report to him at the school at 10.30 on the Saturday morning. He was also by now becoming aware that his tea would be going cold at home, and was relieved to hear Helen thank him graciously for accepting her request and told him that she was very much looking forward to seeing him again. The call ended then. Helen had amazed him many times before, but this was in a new league, even for her.
A few minutes later James Simmons finally turned off his laptop, slipped it into his shoulder bag and headed home. He suddenly had quite a few extra things to think about. Unusual, unexpected, but quite pleasant things to think about. But first the Education Authority in the morning.
A studious and thorough man, the meeting with the education authority, while a bit long–winded for his taste, nevertheless went by without any major problems arising, and indeed the rest of the school day was busy but routine. He was used to having to come into school on the Saturday morning, he always liked to look in on the various sports events and make a check on the forthcoming week, but of course this Saturday was going to be extra-special, because Helen Brown, his head girl from the year before, was coming to see him and had made it very clear that she was expecting to receive a thorough thrashing from his cane.
As a thorough man, James Simmons was into the school early on the Saturday. There were two rounders matches scheduled, both mainly lower school but he duly went and spent a few minutes with the team and wished them well before returning to his study. He sat for a while, then took out both of his canes, leaving them on top of one of the cupboards that lined one side of his office. He arranged the chair in front of his desk and the stool at the side of the room and sat down to consider what he was going to need to do.
He was still deep in thought when there was a knock at his door.
“Come,” he called, looking at the clock on the wall, thinking to himself: ‘It’s too early.’
But Helen appeared with a sheepish smile on her face.
“Good morning, sir,” she said, then continued immediately. “I am sorry I am a little early, sir. I hope it isn’t inconvenient at all?”
James Simmons paused for a moment. “No, not at all. Would you like to take a seat?” Indicating the chair in front of him. He noticed that Helen was carrying a small rucksack and was dressed in fairly normal day clothes.
She made a little, slightly embarrassed movement with her hands and said: “Well sir, I think you know why I have come here. It’s just, if it is still all right with you, I would prefer to change into my school uniform? I feel it is somehow more traditional? I was hoping to get changed in the Secretary’s office but I’m afraid it’s locked, sir.”
The Headmaster’s reaction was immediate. “Oh yes, of course,” he said, reaching for his keys. “I have no objection at all. Let me open it for you,” and with that he literally bounded out through his own door and unlocked the adjoining office, stepping aside to allow Helen to go in. He returned to sit behind his desk and waited for his former head girl to reappear.
Helen took her time and made sure her appearance was as she wanted. She was nervous, but in the months since leaving she realised she missed the presence of discipline, not just for herself but of disciplining others as well. She had hit upon the idea of returning to see Mr Simmons just as the last term was ending and her reason, while slightly exaggerated, nevertheless had more than a grain of truth in it. It was still a nervous Helen Brown who, once changed, tapped again on the headmasters’ door and waited to be summoned inside.
James Simmons waited a few seconds for effect before saying: “Come,” and the door opened gently to reveal Helen Brown standing in the uniform she had last worn about a year ago. He called her in and told her to sit in the chair in front of his desk.
He wanted to talk to her first to make absolutely sure they were on the same wavelength. Once seated, he spoke to her, welcoming her back and telling her how the call on Thursday had been unexpected, both in hearing from her again, “always a pleasure to hear from ex–pupils, of course,” to the subject matter of that call.
“In terms of seeking discipline for motivational purposes, I do understand where you are coming from, of course, but I would like you to confirm that it is a severe caning that you seek, and you do this in pursuit of, shall we say, energising you to revise harder in order to achieve high grades?”
Helen bit her lip slightly, but was able to say: “Yes sir, that’s about, well, exactly the situation, sir,” she said. “I felt that I need a sharp lesson to make me redouble my efforts to try to get a top grade.”
This was as James Simmons expected, but it did leave the door open for some more exploration. “How would you describe your work so far Helen?” He asked. “Have you found university invigorating?”
She agreed quickly, adding: “But no more challenging or difficult than I thought it would be, Headmaster.”
Asked if she was enjoying university life, she smiled and said that she certainly was. She thought it best not to mention she had found herself a boyfriend there, and it was because of spending too much time with him that she had fallen behind in her studies.
“What kind of marks are you aiming to get then Helen?” He asked out of curiosity.
“Oh, 70% at least, sir,” came the confident reply. “If not, then, well, I will not have motivated myself enough. I do realise that it is all up to me though, sir,” she added quickly. Then with a little shrug of her shoulders, she confirmed: “Hence the idea of today.”
He acknowledged her logic with a nod of his head, then decided his own deductions had been completely correct, so decided to change the subject a little. Chatting like this was not so easy now but would be impossible after he had caned Helen.
“Well, I understand,” replied the Headmaster. Then after a short pause: “So what are your plans after the exams?”
What he was really enquiring about was whether Helen had any plans for a summer job. He was simply staggered by her reply.
“If I do not achieve the marks I am aiming for, I would feel I had let myself, my university and my school down,” she said. “And as you have been good enough to see me today, I would hope I could call on you again, sir, at the end of term, not only to be taught a salutary and, I would expect, painful lesson about letting my standards slip, but the additional motivation should help me focus on consolidating my work through the summer and on doing better next year, sir.”
Fortunately, James Simmons was a nimble thinker and after nodding at her words simply said: “Well that neatly brings us to the present, doesn’t it? I think we will have to consider anything else you are proposing until after you have taken your exams and seen your results. Of course, if today is effective, then I would hope to hear of a successful set of marks. You will call at the end of term and let me know, won’t you?”
If James Simmons could have seen the flash of exultation that went through Helen Brown’s mind right then he would have been cross. Helen had realised immediately that her suggestions seemed to have been accepted by her headmaster and, if so, she could be making another visit, maybe in a few weeks’ time. Her pulse, already sharply raised, went nearly into overdrive, and, despite the situation she was in, she found it hard to suppress a smile right then as she felt a surge of anticipation flow through her veins.
But of course there was the present to attend to. Professional as ever, James Simmons spoke again and said to Helen that he had understood what she was asking for, and that was for a severe caning that would be outside the maximum normally allowed, to which she nodded in agreement.
“After considering this for a while, I decided that the motivational discipline you have asked to receive should consist of an initial six strokes with the ordinary school cane, followed by ten strokes with the dragon cane.”
He looked at her and was pleased to see a nervous, confirming nod of Helen Brown’s head, albeit with a slightly sharp intake of breath.
“I propose we start now. If you could please undress, Helen, then bend right over the stool. I am sure you will remember how.”
Helen was quick to comply, unzipping her skirt and taking her panties right off. Meanwhile, Mr Simmons moved the stool to the centre of the room and took up the school cane, waiting a moment while Helen positioned herself well over the stool and pushed her bottom out. The headmaster gazed at this perfect sight for just a second, before he tapped her a couple of times and applied the first stroke.
Helen was able to remain perfectly still and did not say a word, even though the stroke had stung fiercely. Mr Simmons waited, counting slowly to ten, before tapping Helen’s bottom and thrashing down the second stroke, slightly higher this time. Again, there was no sound from Helen, no flinch, despite the deep and intense stinging the cane strokes caused. Mr Simmons took his time and laid on four more, slowly and accurately, each taken by Helen in silence and, at the end, only a couple of twitches to indicate that the cane was having a serious effect.
“You may rise for a moment and rub your bottom if you wish,” said the Headmaster. After a few seconds Helen replied: “Thank you, sir, but I will remain in position for the rest of my caning, if I may?”
James Simmons said nothing. Helen’s reply was not at all unexpected. He changed the canes and, after waiting a moment or two, measured the longer and slightly thicker dragon cane, lining up another stroke across the centre of Helen’s delectable bottom, already bearing six bright red, parallel lines from the administration of the lighter school cane.
He waited a moment before giving her another tap and then he thrashed her again. This time, Helen gave an involuntary jerk as the powerful sting of the dragon cane burned much more deeply into her bottom. She stayed in position though, obediently awaiting the next stroke, anticipating it; the Headmaster applied the cane accurately and slowly, some strokes higher, some lower, down towards the crease, but Helen resolutely remained in position, offering her bottom to the burning smart of the dragon cane as it thrashed her.
Time after time it arrived, imparting a searing flash of immediate pain and each stroke adding to the cumulative blazing fire being built up inside her bottom as James Simmons took to his task with an eager thoroughness and repeatedly applied to Helen Brown’s bottom the same dragon cane she had last experienced over a year before. She found it just as painful, just as intense, but her willpower held out and when the Headmaster had completed caning her she had hardly uttered a sound, just a few involuntary gasps and twitches of the legs, an acknowledgment of the effectiveness of the powerful smarting each cane stroke caused, but her red and well–lined bottom told a vivid story of a bottom that had been caned hard.
Slowly, she got up when told to and stood in front of James Simmons’ desk, her pubic triangle on full view to him as it had been on other, memorable, occasions. He had long wondered if Helen Brown had ‘a thing’ about being caned and now he knew for certain. He talked to her, rather than deliver his usual post–caning lecture, then told her to get dressed. She was able to gather her composure quickly, and just before she was about to leave he asked her if she thought the caning she had just taken would provide the kind of motivation she was looking for.
A contrite and thoughtful Helen Brown faced him and pursed her lips for a moment before nodding and saying: “Yes sir, I am fairly certain the experience I have just undergone here will stay with me for some time. I admit to being slightly behind with my revision which is why I sought your assistance, I felt that a thorough administration of the cane was both deserved and would also serve to motivate me to increase my efforts to achieve the marks I want to get.”
Again James Simmons nodded. “I hope it does have the effect you desire, Helen, and I trust you will be successful. You have always achieved highly. I see no reason why you cannot continue to do so. And it was nice to see you again, as well. Now, don’t let me keep you.”
Realising she had been dismissed, Helen hesitated for moment, then spoke again. “Thank you very much for all you have done for me, Headmaster. I am very grateful. You asked me to contact you with my exam marks and I will do…” Her voice tailed off, the rest of the sentence did not need to be spoken.
James Simmons looked firmly at her and said: “Well, when we discussed this earlier I think we concluded that we should cross that bridge if or when we come to it.” He looked directly at the girl standing in front of him, who could only nod slightly. “In the meantime, good luck and I hope you do well.”
They half smiled at each other, and Helen Brown turned and left.
The term remained busy, although James Simmons thought several times about that extraordinary Saturday. However he had A–level and GCSE examinations to attend to, then of course there were the school exams, open days, sports days and parents evenings, as well as the endless school management issues such as ensuring the staff contracts were renewed where necessary and he also had interviews to organise and conduct for a couple of support staff for the IT department.
He was so busy that he had all but forgotten that day at the beginning of May when Helen Brown had called him out of the blue. But now, with the end of term just over a fortnight away, he was deep in concentration one evening, completing some paperwork long after others had left for the day, when his phone rang. He instinctively guessed who it was as he put the receiver to his ear.
“Headmaster? Hello, it’s Helen Brown here.” She paused a moment. “I said I would call with my exam marks sir, and I should have called a few days ago when I received them.”
He could tell by the tone of voice that things had not gone quite according to plan.
“I did fairly well, Headmaster, but I think I had underestimated the amount of work I would need to do to catch up. The exam marks were only 65%, I am very sorry to say.”
She asked if she could come to see him the Saturday after. Helen told him very honestly about her exam marks and was going to bring her letter, but what she did not tell him was her final term project had boosted her marks considerably further. She decided not to tell James Simmons about this, though, because she had aimed for 70% in the exams and had fallen short. Helen had been quite clear in her own mind what a successful mark would be. She had failed, knew she had failed, and she knew this meant another appointment with the school canes.
© PW 2017