A strange case of bullying, a new story from this author
By Joanna Jones
Martha Coles was surprised to see two sixth form girls giggling as they came out the girls’ toilets. It was just after five, and normally the school was empty by then, apart from the caretaker, the cleaners, and of course the Headmistress who seemed to work from seven in the morning to seven at night. Unmarried, it was clear to Martha she was devoted to her school and the girls in it. On other nights there were clubs, but on a Friday there was nothing normally to keep the girls back. Perhaps they had been helping out with something for the school drama, she thought, as the girls left the building; the show was in only a couple of weeks, after all.
She only had another half-hour to sweep the classes in the lower corridor of the west wing and, putting the girls out of her mind, she wheeled her trolley with mop, bucket, brushes et cetera along to get on with it.
Just after half past five, she finished and went to find her new assistant, Dot.
Dot was not really a friend, more a well loved niece in her eyes. She knew her story only too well, and could never feel anything but sorry for her.
Her mother, Eva, had been her colleague rather than assistant, and still was a close friend. The two of them had been cleaning the school for years; in Martha’s case it was around twelve, while Eva had taken the cleaning job in the school roughly six years ago, after her husband finally beat her more or less senseless in a drunken rage, after having first attacked Dot with his belt for her ‘insolence’ in trying to prevent him beating his wife.
Having finally got rid of him from their lives, Eva found herself near destitute, looking for work to support herself and daughter in a small council house, located in a rougher area of the city.
Cleaning does not pay well, and it was always a struggle for them, she knew. Something she felt a little guilty about as for her, happily married, the job was for the little luxuries in life; the ability to go on holiday to the Welsh coast in the summer, and to rent a good TV for example.
She knew Dot had not got to this Grammar School, but ended up in the secondary modern. It had been tough for her, and it was clear she had been one of the brightest there, though that did not help her much given the limited expectations most teachers had for the girls. Eva always bemoaned the fact that the issues with her drunken husband had peaked during the year of her eleven plus, as she had always hoped her daughter would get the chance to make more of her life by getting to the Grammar.
However, Dot had been doing the best with the cards she’d been given, and got herself onto a two year secretarial course, which she was doing very well in. The first year had been great and she’d won an award for being top, or was it second in the class, Martha could not quite remember.
Then disaster had struck. Eva started feeling unwell over the summer, struggling to help with the once weekly sweep they gave it during the holidays. It was more of a retainer from the school rather than real money. Eventually she had capitulated to Martha’s nudging and gone to the doctor. The diagnosis was lung cancer, probably from the smoke of the long since divorced husband.
She was on some new fangled treatment, but despite the brave face they gave, Martha knew that there was little hope. Just over six months later, she now needed extra oxygen and was probably only at home because her daughter was supporting her.
And therein came the problem. Dot could not carry on her full-time course and look after her mother, who was essentially the only close relative she had in the world. The college had freely given her a year out, but then she had no grant money and, with Eva unable to work and getting some meagre illness payments, things looked bleak. The part-time cleaning job was perfect, and it had not taken much to persuade Mr Thomas, the caretaker, to allow the daughter to take over while her mother was ill. He did not know how serious her condition really was.
Martha had found Dot extremely kind and serious, someone who had been forced to mature early through adversity. As they worked together she found herself liking her more and more. She always worked hard and any task that was hard on her older joints she would quickly volunteer for.
That said, in the past few weeks Martha had seen some out of character mistakes. Complaints about missed cubicles with blocked toilets, messes left in classrooms, and a couple of other things. At first she’d gently reminded her, thinking the pressure of her mother’s illness was getting to her. However, eventually Mr Thomas had had to warn Dot to buck up and do the job properly.
Dot seemed to have become a bit withdrawn even with Martha after that. It was clear the pressure was getting to her, and on a couple of occasions she’d seen Dot quietly crying as she did her work. However, it was clear that despite their close working relationship she did not want to talk about it.
Having finished her area she went back to their little cubby hole of a store come changing room, and was surprised to find Dot was not yet back. She was normally faster than her. What it was to be young, she thought wistfully.
After a few minutes she set off and quickly found Dot. She was shocked to find her mopping in the girls’ toilets, which looked a mess with water and toilet roll all over the place.
“I thought you did here first, Dot!” She exclaimed.
Dot looked up through a veil of tears and gave up the pretence she had been keeping for the last three weeks. “I did,” she wailed miserably. “But now I always double check all my rooms before finishing, and look at it. I bet there’ll be a classroom somewhere as well.”
“But, but why?” Martha asked.
“There’s a dance at the club tonight. I wanted to go, and Mum said she’d manage to cope, but they don’t want me to.” she replied miserably. “I don’t know why I want to go anyway, all they’ll do is call me ‘the skivvy’ in front of everyone.”
With that Dot burst into sobs.
Martha hugged her for a while till she’d calmed down, then helped her clean up the mess. As she did so she said: “Who are these girls?”
“A couple from the same primary school. They were in a different clique, but we were all at the top ability table. They never liked me, and now one of them has her eyes on a boy that they know I like, and I think he likes me.” A fresh bout of tears appeared on Dot’s cheeks.
“This has got to stop Dot, who are these girls?” She asked again looking for a more specific answer.
“I can’t say.” She replied miserably.
“Very well, but I think I know what they look like; one fair haired, straight to her shoulders, fairly slightly built and about five foot six, the other a couple of inches shorter and a bit rounder in build with faintly wavy dark brown hair that is a bit longer and tied back in a pony tail, yes?”
As Dot gave a shocked look of recognition Martha continued: “I saw them come out of the toilets after you would have cleaned them, but thought little of it at the time.”
Dot nodded miserably, but asked pleadingly: “Please don’t tell anyone, it’s bad enough as it is.”
“Dot, look I will finish up here, and check your other rooms. You go and get ready for the dance!” Martha said kindly.
“But this is my problem, not yours,” replied Dot uncertainly.
“Technically you are my assistant, Dot. So your problems at work are mine too.” She replied firmly. “You need time to yourself too in life and you must go to the dance, now get off with you!”
Dot bit her lip uncertainly before finally saying: “Thanks Martha, but please, about the girls, you won’t say…”
“I am not going to promise anything there, Dot, other than to do what I think is best. Look, trust me, forget about it at the dance and enjoy yourself.”
With that Martha gave a light squeeze to Dot’s hand and gently pushed out of toilets to go to their small room to change out of the cleaning smock and go home and get ready for her night out.
Martha’s emotions were in turmoil: after everything the girl had suffered, this too! It was almost like Cinderella, with two (actually physically not at all) ugly sisters tormenting her. However, she was no fairy godmother, and there was no-one else to fill that role. To calm herself she finished the cleaning in the toilets and then remembered to check the other rooms. Her anger reignited as, as Dot had expected, not one but two classrooms had been messed up, superficially to look as if Dot had skipped them.
This time she left them and went to find the Headmistress, Miss Middleton.
Miss Middleton was quite surprised to hear a knock on her door at now nearly six on a Friday. She had been just been finishing some paperwork and been looking forward to a quiet evening. “Come!” She called, half expecting Mr Thomas to appear to check what time she was leaving so he could do the final lock up. He was likely to be the only other person on the premises at this time.
She was very surprised to see Martha Coles. In her seven years as Head, Mrs Coles had never asked for a meeting with her before, and probably never been in this office, either for her or her predecessor, except to clean it. Further she was clearly very upset. Caroline Middleton put all thoughts of a quiet evening with her book from the library on hold.
“Mrs Coles,” she said. “Have a seat,” escorting her to the soft leather armchairs she had on one side of her office. “Whatever is the matter?”
Sitting nervously Martha managed to start as she had intended, calmly explaining that she thought her new, young cleaning assistant was being bullied by a couple of the upper sixth form pupils who were the same age.
Miss Middleton vaguely knew Dot had taken over from her mother and knew the face. As she listened sympathetically a dark cloud came over her as she considered the possibility a couple of her oldest girls were affecting a junior staff member in this way. She prided herself on keeping, as far as was possible, a happy school.
With the Headmistress listening very sympathetically Martha found she could not keep her emotions in check any longer. Instead of stopping and asking her if she would investigate as she had originally intended she found herself blurting out, now with a box of tissues next to her, everything about Dot and her family background. How she probably should have got to the grammar but for the family crisis; how she was looking after her officially seriously ill mother, probably she thought terminally ill, her course in abeyance as a result; how the money from this job was probably the only thing keeping her mother and her heads above water. To find the girl was having her work upset and being called ‘Skivvy’ was just so utterly unfair.
Miss Middleton had heard many sob stories in her years as Headmistress, but usually she was being asked to help in some way by parents or the pupil herself which helped her to maintain some detachment. This time she found the intensity of Mrs Coles’ outpouring almost contagious as she found herself having to consciously control her emotions.
After Martha had talked herself out, the headmistress, as much to calm them both down as anything else, got Martha to show her the classrooms that had been messed up. Martha did so and carefully pointed out the odd things that indicated that they had been very recently cleaned before being ‘untidied’.
On the way back she took the Head into the Girls’ toilets and explained the mess she had found and had to help Dot tidy.
Caroline Middleton was now somewhat less upset, but instead quite angry. She did not know the girls by the description, but after Martha pointed them out in the year photograph, and she had confirmed in their files which primary school they had attended, she had two names: Kirsteen Eagle and Pamela Dawson.
Martha was surprised to find the Head roll up her sleeves and help her tidy the two classrooms, soon assisted by Mr Thomas, who was clearly spurred by the example of his boss to join in. As they did so they agreed that the evidence was still a bit circumstantial and a plan was laid for the following week to ensure that if they could they might catch the two delinquents red-handed.
Once they had finished Miss Middleton returned to her office and tried to complete the last letter she had been writing, but found she was rather distracted wondering about whether Martha was right in her assessment of Dot’s academic ability. Eventually she gave up the letter and went to the file room to find the results for the eleven plus for the year in question. Looking down she found that a Dorothy Knowles had indeed just missed a place at the school. It was a shame her mother had not known to appeal, she thought. They always kept a few places back for such an eventuality. Some schools were good at pointing out unusual cases to her, but Joseph Smith-Rose was possibly the most useless, ineffectual primary school head she knew. Mrs Coles was only too right in saying Dot Knowles has been dealt a rough hand of cards in her childhood education. There seemed to be little she could do about it now though.
Dot seemed a bit more relaxed on Monday. The dance had been great and Colin, the boy she was attracted to, had walked her home and asked her for a date! However, there were some nerves too; she was sure the other girl and her friend were going to pay her back. One of them had “accidentally” spilled a drink on her party dress, but that had backfired as Colin had taken the opportunity to help her wipe it off. That said, she thought her best dress was probably ruined, as the mark had not washed out over the weekend.
Martha felt the anger in her rise again, but bottled it and kept her promise to Miss Middleton to say nothing to Dot about their plans.
As it was, Pamela was furious that Colin had chosen to walk Dot home. Whatever could the boy see in that ‘cleaning lady’, she wondered. She persuaded her best friend, Kirsteen, to go a little further to help her take a firmer action and put an end to Dot’s interference, as she saw it, once and for all.
Dot was in a classroom alone, wiping the desks when Kirsteen and Pamela came in, kicking the still to be emptied dust bucket over as they did so.
Kirsteen got hold of Dot’s arms to restrain her as Pamela grabbed her face, digging her nails painfully into the skin around her jaw as Dot struggled. “Clearly you have not learned your place, Skivvy.” She said contemptuously. “You don’t take a hint do you? Listen carefully, keep away from Colin or we’ll make sure this job is one you will lose, and you can’t get any lower in life!” Pamela cackled at her as she said it.
Finally they let her go. Dot, upset, just watched and begged them not to as they emptied her sweepings over the desks and kicked the bucket of murky water over as they made to leave the classroom. Dot had tears streaming from her eyes as they departed.
It was only as they reached the door to leave the classroom that Miss Middleton appeared on the other side, blocking their exit.
“You girls, what are you doing in the school at this time?” Miss Middleton demanded.
“Oh, errr, we were just talking to an old primary school friend.” Responded Pamela quickly.
“We were trying to comfort her, as she’s a bit upset about things at the moment, weren’t we Dot?” Continued Kirsteen, looking at Dot to demand her support as she said it.
Miss Middleton put her hand up to save Dot the need to lie. “Look you two I heard, and saw, everything you did in here.”
She watched the false confidence on the two faces evaporate, and continued.
“You see, you were spotted by another member of staff on Friday leaving the already cleaned girls’ toilets well after you should have left the school. After you left, the toilets were a mess. The caretaker told me other rooms that Miss Knowles is responsible for have also been vandalised after cleaning, and I think we now know the two responsible?”
The horrified, fearful faces were more than enough confirmation. When they stared at the floor, but did not answer, she turned to Dot.
“Miss Knowles, I am really sorry your work has been disrupted in this manner. Can I prevail upon you to clean up here and I will ensure the school pays you overtime for this, and the other times you have had to work late.”
Dot tried to wipe the tear streaks from her face as she replied quietly: “Yes, Miss.”
The Head turned to the very shocked schoolgirls. “You two, go and wait outside my office. Face the wall with your hands on your heads.” She said icily. “I will be along very shortly.”
After they had gone the Headmistress spoke more kindly. “I am sorry about this, Dorothy. I know from Mrs Coles what a rough time you are having. Please be assured that if I, or the school, can help in any way then you just need to let me know.”
Dot nodded as she said: “Thanks Miss.”
As the Head made to leave she suddenly turned and said: “Oh, and please, call me Miss Middleton, rather than just Miss. You are part of the staff here, not a pupil. Come to my office when you’ve finished, and bring Mrs Coles, then we can discuss the overtime issue.”
Dot thanked her again and, feeling a little less upset, started to wipe the desks down, hoping it would not take too long as her now housebound mother got worried if she was late back.
Miss Middleton allowed her anger to rise somewhat as she paced down the corridor.
She saw the two eighteen year olds outside her office, now looking much younger with their hands attached to their heads and noses to the wall. They both turned their heads slightly as her shoes clipped on the floor, and both faces she noted immediately returned to their consideration of the magnolia coloured paint on seeing the fury in her countenance.
She ignored them as she marched past them and into her office. Having already got their files out she glanced once more through them. Two generally well-behaved girls, never in serious trouble, though the teachers’ reports would imply they had had their fair share of warnings for chatting et cetera, and possibly the odd slippering or two.
She wondered again if it was enough not to expel them, after all their A-levels were now less than four months away. Was there an alternative?
Maybe there was. Perhaps she could suspend them for a couple of months. They would need to work on the subjects themselves, though she knew some tutor options their parents could pay for to help. Given the two friends had chosen the same subjects at A-level, it might be practical.
She still wondered if that was enough though, and her mind went to her cupboard. Inside were a couple of canes. They did not get much use; last time had been over a year ago. Ironically once again bullying had been the reason she’d thrashed the girl concerned; six of the best on her knickers. She remembered her bawling her eyes out afterwards. Rare though it was, if she did cane she made sure that it made an impression!
Then there was Dorothy; she kept coming back to her. Despite knowing otherwise, she felt inexplicably almost guilty that the girl had had such a rough time. She certainly had more ability than that needed to be a cleaner!
It was at that point that she remembered the complaint that she had had from her reception team about needing more administrative support. Wasn’t she studying a secretarial course? Maybe she could take her on as a part-time assistant for the rest of the term, though that would lead to another problem in quickly finding a, still what had to be temporary, replacement for Dot’s mother.
That led her to a rather interesting thought. Rather than invite the girls in she left her office again leaving them still sickly facing the wall.
Martha was nearly finished her part of the school when Miss Middleton found her. Martha listened to her suggestion and a smile spread over her face. She would be delighted to help out!
Carol Middleton felt in a much happier frame of mind as she strolled back to her office. This time she opened her door and said rather abruptly: “In,” to the two quivering females as she held it open.
Both girls looked terrible as they stood before their Head, who was now staring angrily across her desk at them.
Miss Middleton checked her facts with the two young women in front of her; vandalising classrooms and the toilets, rudeness to a staff member, threatening behaviour, bullying of the worst order. By the time Kirsteen and Pamela had admitted to those, they were both sniffing as they tried to hold back the tears. Having heard from Martha she also asked about the damaged party dress and the guilty look they gave each other summed up her suspicions.
After ten minutes of a lecture the tears were falling. Two eighteen year olds were now feeling like very naughty twelve year olds.
The Headmistress paused. “So,” she eventually said. “Please give me any reason why I should not expel you?”
Both girls stared in shock and then started to beg incoherently for an alternative. Eventually she silenced them.
“I have heard no reason at all that can explain your behaviour, no excuse for the abuse you have given to the youngest, most junior member of my staff, who has never done anything against either of you! Is that correct?”
There was no response to that other than a muted plea from Pamela.
You have a choice; either expulsion, or a six week suspension, four weeks before the Easter break and two after. If you accept expulsion then that will be the end of the matter as well as your career here. However, if you opt for suspension then I will additionally cane you, and you will ‘voluntarily’ assist in cleaning the school for those six weeks. I will provide the money the school saves to Dorothy to replace her dress as well as pay her the overtime due. Note, I will also be giving Mrs Coles permission to slipper you any and every time your work is not up to scratch, and I should warn you Mrs Coles is very fond of Dorothy! Finally as I know six weeks is a long time, I will be advising your parents of a suitable private tutor I know who can cover the three subjects you need. The choice is yours. You can decide overnight with your parents and come back tomorrow at 10 am. There is no need to attend beforehand, as your suspension or expulsion will be backdated to this evening.”
Both Pamela and Kirsteen were now feeling utterly sick as the tears dripped from their eyes. They had been worried about a one week long suspension, and feared being given the alternative of a thorough slippering, or at worst a couple of strokes of the cane. They both knew which type of punishment their parents would have chosen for them! However, what was being proposed was much, much worse: Expulsion or a long suspension with the cane, chores and almost certain slipperings mixed in.
Miss Middleton looked grimly at the two distressed girls. “If you have no further questions I suggest you get out of my office and start considering your options.” She remarked coldly.
It was Pamela who turned as they got to the door. “P… please Miss, th… the caning, how many strokes will it be?” She asked.
Miss Middleton pondered for a moment. These girls had let themselves down badly, and their age could hardly count in their favour. Finally she answered. “Six of the best tomorrow across your knickers. Then between four and eight in six weeks time depending on your performance with Mrs Coles.” With that the Head turned to her desk and picked up some paperwork. The interview was at an end.
Pamela shivered as she left. The prospect of two canings was one that filled her with dread. Kirsteen was still in shock as she contemplated how foolish she’d been. How had she let her best friend talk her into this mess, she wondered.
By the time the girls had walked home Miss Middleton had contacted both sets of parents. Both mothers had also had a chance to talk to each other too.
Thus, in both houses a furious mother awaited the arrival of her offspring. Mrs Dawson and Mrs Eagle were both good friends and Pamela found herself escorted by her mother to the Eagle’s house where the two young woman faced their irate mothers together.
Soon two daughters were being assaulted by a tirade of angry words as they were told that expulsion was not an option. They discovered that their parents had agreed to club together for the tuition fees, but they would both need to pay back money with any summer job they could find. Allowances were stopped, replaced with some minimal pocket money.
The six weeks would include grounding to all social activities (including the two weeks of Easter break too) and both mothers ensured their offspring understood that, despite not having been used for many years in both cases, physical chastisement at home was very much back on the agenda there too. Pamela was rather horrified to learn that this would involve liberal application of a wooden spoon to her bare backside in the bathroom as Kirsteen had received as a child rather than over the knee hand spankings she had experienced from her mother around the same age.
Finally they were told that with Miss Middleton’s advice a tutor who could help with their A-level subjects had already been found and had agreed to help. Any slacking and their mothers would get the wooden spoon out, and even spank them in front of her if necessary.
Before going home Pamela found herself in the Eagle’s bathroom, skirt off, bending over the bath with her friend next to her. Their knickers were yanked down and each mother gave both their daughter and her friend six hard whacks with a long wooden spoon, bringing wails and tears to their eyes as a result of the twelve harsh blows they each received. Their mothers said they had been let off lightly given that they were going to be caned in the morning. As they rubbed their bottoms neither Pamela or Kirsteen felt they could agree, but of course said nothing.
The following morning the two girls, as instructed, knocked on the school reception window. An older secretary appeared, then called out that the two girls for Miss Middleton were here.
A few minutes later, and Dot, dressed in a rather old-fashioned skirt suit, appeared and said: “Follow me.”
When Kirsteen tried to ask Dot what was going on, Dot merely shrugged and led them down the corridor to the Headmistress’s office. Knocking, she opened the door to let the two, now near panic stricken, girls in.
“Thank you Dorothy,” said Miss Middleton kindly. “If you would just stand to the side there, while you two stand there.” The sudden harshness in the Head’s voice as she addressed Pamela and Kirsteen sent a quiver through the two miserable young ladies.
“Just in case you are wondering, I appointed Miss Knowles here as a part-time secretary till July. She will be providing general help in the school as well as gaining valuable work experience for her course at college. One of the rules in the school is that there should be a secretary to witness formal corporal punishment, and assist if necessary.”
“A… assist Miss?” Pamela queried in a quavering voice.
“Hold you down if you can’t do it yourself, which I should warn you will get you extra!” Replied the Head coldly before continuing. “It seemed most appropriate therefore that Dorothy undertake the role on this occasion. I should tell you that she was rather reluctant and even suggested I be lenient with you. However, as I pointed out to her, her new duties do include this unpalatable aspect, which I too do not enjoy, and I told her leniency was not an option. The school needs to ensure that other pupils understand that vandalism, bullying and abusing staff will not ever be tolerated!”
Both girls shuddered as Miss Middleton emphasised her final words.
“I see little point in discussing your despicable behaviour further, so, who is going first?”
Pamela and Kirsteen gave a terrified glance at each other, but clearly neither felt able to volunteer.
“Miss Dawson, I think you were the main instigator here? Perhaps therefore you can go first. Fetch that chair, take your skirt off and bend over it. You will stay still and in position until I give you permission to stand.”
Slowly Pamela fetched the chair and placed it in the middle of the office as requested. Nerves showing, she fumbled badly with the clasp on her skirt before it finally gave, allowing her to unzip herself and drop the tight, tailored grey school skirt to pool rounded her black school sandals.
Finally, she bent over gripping the sides of the chair seat. Her green underwear now was all that was covering her vulnerable bottom.
Meanwhile the Head had pulled the punishment book out of the drawer and subsequently extracted a cane from the cupboard. At just on three foot it was the longer, and also thicker of the two she actually had; and until that morning when she’d given it a couple of practice swishes, it had been unused. These two young ladies were in for the hiding of their lives she had decided grimly.
Dot watched almost mesmerised as Pamela prepared herself. At one point she had glanced at Kirsteen, who just looked as white as a sheet as her friend got ready. She noted that Kirsteen’s eyes kept flicking to the Head, subconsciously flexing her cane as she waited for Pamela. Dot rather wished one of the other secretaries had been asked, but having just been given this opportunity and with Miss Middleton making it clear she would be as flexible as necessary to work round her mother’s needs she was certainly not going to query her judgment. She was profoundly grateful for the chance, which gave her an increase in her hourly rate and a few more hours per week, in addition of course to being directly related to her course and therefore her chances of getting a better job when she finished.
With little real warning Miss Middleton thrashed down the stick across the middle of Pamela’s rump.
Pamela gave a shocked gasp but managed to hold herself together as the consequences of the cut were felt.
Miss Middleton took her time to examine her cane before, after about half a minute, she launched the second cut into the green knickered rear end of Pamela. A second Thwack echoed in the office.
This time Pamela gave a small wail and a desperate wriggle as she tightly gripped the chair as the pain sank in.
Thirty odd seconds later and a third cut led to a shriek. Dot noticed that the eye she could see was now watering.
Thwack. The fourth stroke was perceptibly harder and was once again lower on the target. Dot could now see that the Head was probably landing the stripes from top to bottom of poor Pamela’s bum. The fourth blow also led to an unrestrained wail from the victim as she tried to writhe and stamp her feet while still gripping the seat of the chair.
“Keep still, Dawson!” Ordered the Head angrily.
“I… I’m trying miss,” replied Pamela in a half moan, half wail.
“Then try harder!” Demanded Miss Middleton as she broke her pattern of going slightly lower for each cut and thrashed the cane very low on the target during a brief stilling of Pamela’s bottom gyrations.
Landing on the crease of bottom and thigh, part on bare flesh, and being the hardest yet, led to Pamela losing control and standing as she first gave a scream that Dot thought the whole school would have heard, and then pleaded that she had had enough.
Dot looked at the sobbing girl begging with Miss Middleton not to have to bend over again for the fifth stroke to be repeated. Miss Middleton on the other hand was demanding she bend over immediately unless she wanted ‘Miss Knowles’ to hold her down, in which case a further two strokes would be added to her punishment. Despite the tribulations Pamela had put her through she felt sorry for her predicament. She certainly did not want to restrain her for further agonies to be inflicted on her backside.
To Dot’s relief Pamela finally turned back to the chair and pushed her bottom out for the punishment to resume. Miss Middleton thrashed down two further strokes hard and fairly low down on her bottom.
After a brief pause the sobbing Pamela was allowed to stand and pull up her skirt, a process that took a brief while as she first had to retrieve it from Dot, who’d picked it up after her writhings had led to it bring kicked from her ankles, before she could slowly lever it over her bottom.
Kirsteen was then ordered to take her place in front of the chair seat. With a pale determination she slipped off her skirt and bent over. A pair of thin white cotton knickers was all that now separated her bottom from the cane that Miss Middleton immediately started lining up.
When Pamela had first bent over, Kirsteen had rather cursed herself for not having the presence of mind to dig out and wear her old regulation knickers, that were uniform for first through fifth forms. However, having watched her friend’s thrashing as the cane cut into the target, she concluded it probably made almost no difference. She hoped it was not a painful as Pamela had made it out to be.
A faint whoosh and then Thwack!
Kirsteen bit her lip as the cane cut into her bottom as if the thin white cotton was absent. After the brief pause for the pain to set in, she rapidly realised why Pamela had been wailing so much.
Half a minute later she gasped as a second bout of pain blotted all other thoughts from her mind. She gripped the chair seat more tightly in an effort to prevent herself standing up.
The third blow led to another stifled gasp. This was desperately sore, far worse than the spoon her mother occasionally used.
A low, guttural grunt was the reaction to the fourth. Every fibre of her body was begging to be released from this agony. Her mind was purely focussed on trying to keep it together; she did not want the extra Pamela had got!
Miss Middleton was mildly impressed with her control. On the previous five occasions in her time as Head that she’d got her less severe cane out, the girl was invariably audibly in tears by this point.
Thwack! A bit of extra effort into the lowest cut, to the bare flesh just below the knickers. She’d noted the hint of a bruise in that region and suspected the girl had had an unpleasant experience at her parents’ hands last night. Hardly undeserved!
Kirsteen gave a stifled wail and briefly tried to lift her left foot up, before finding it restrained by the skirt pooled around her ankles.
Taking breaths to control herself she tried to still herself for the final blow.
A vicious cut not much above the previous one!
Holding tight Kirsteen allowed the scream to escape from her lips, and briefly stamped her feet on the spot before returning to her panted deep breaths.
Dot was surprised at how well she held herself together; she strongly suspected she’d have been bawling her eyes out by that point.
Allowed to pull her skirt back up she somehow also still had the awareness to apologise to Dot and thank Miss Middleton. Pamela, still tears dripping down her cheeks, managed to follow suit.
Slowly the two girls managed to follow Dot out of the office. Both immediately let their hands go to their bottoms and desperately rub them in a vain attempt to reduce the pain still assaulting their senses. Both kept gripping their rears as they made their way along to the school entrance, from where they had to stagger home.
After an uncomfortable night on their stomachs, it was the following morning that their new routine started. The dining room at the Dawson’s house became their tutor room, and every morning they were given lessons in their A-level topics by a Dr Carsham, while Mrs Dawson minded her young baby in the living room. Dr Carsham gave them plenty of homework to keep them busy after. At three o’clock they had to set off to the school for their cleaning task, which ran from three thirty till around half past five.
On the first day Martha Coles had met them and taken them to the cleaners’ room and passed them their smock-like uniforms. On being told to change Pamela took one look at the garment and exclaimed.
“No way am I wearing that apology of a dress, I am cleaning in my jeans.”
Martha gave a glower and immediately grabbed her recently acquired slipper from the second shelf on the wall.
It only took one threat of a visit to Miss Middleton and Pamela reluctantly stripped to her bra and knickers. However before she could put the smock on Martha made her bend over and grab her ankles.
Martha found giving the eight whacks extremely therapeutic as she took out some of her anger with the girl on the thin cotton covered backside. She took her time between each blow and really threw the slipper at the dusty pink cotton that mostly covered the marks of the previous day, enjoying screeches and squirms of her victim.
In contrast poor Pamela did not enjoy it at all, finding it particularly agonising receiving more punishment on top of the bruises and weals from the previous whackings. As she eventually started her introductory guidance under Mrs Coles for her cleaning rounds it was clear to the few ‘friends’ she had no choice but to bump into as they did their clubs that she had very red eyes.
Kirsteen of course immediately decided to do whatever Mrs Coles said to the best of her ability without question.
The next few weeks for both were rather nerve wracking and painful.
Their tutor, they soon realised had been primed by either Miss Middleton or their parents. Whatever the case, when Kirsteen made a particularly ineffectual effort at an essay, she found herself up in Mrs Dawson’s bathroom at the end of the session. Despite not being her own mother she found her bare bottom smacked hard with the now feared wooden spoon, about twenty times, with Dr Carsham observing from the door, while Pamela kept an eye on the tutor’s baby downstairs. Kirsteen had tears of humiliation in her eyes as a result.
As for cleaning, Martha Coles was not unfair, but she had decided she was a going to be a stickler for things to be done absolutely correctly. Thus, when Kirsteen did not sweep the edges and corners of the class, three stinging slaps of the slipper with the cleaning smock lifted to reveal her polka dot panties ensured she got the message.
Pamela had found a particularly disgusting mess in the toilets and tried to avoid cleaning it in the second week. Martha was furious and gave her a full twelve blistering strokes on her knickers, bent over in their small cubbyhole office. The gasps and wails though carried around the school and she found herself very teary for the remainder of the cleaning session.
And so it went on. It was the fourth week before they managed to get things to the point that their tutor and Martha were sufficiently satisfied that they managed to get through a week unwhacked.
Truth be told the girls did form a respect for their tutor as she both pushed them hard and knew her stuff, and she didn’t demand whackings for their mistakes as long as she could see they had really tried. They also formed a more grudging respect for Martha Coles, who’d they’d feared would whack them daily for the duration, as well as a realisation of how hard the job Dot had done really was.
They had plenty of revision to keep them going over the Easter vacation though the grounding was a severe restriction. Frustrated the two girls, having failed to beg a night out, managed to slip out of their houses and to the pub to meet a couple of boys on the first weekend after the school broke up.
It had been a huge mistake.
Mr Eagle had found them around quarter to eleven in a mildly merry state and dragged them out of the bar, reminding them, in front of their friends, that they were both supposedly grounded and that their bottoms would be redder than their cheeks very shortly. He took them to Pamela’s parents and the girls had to wait until Mr Dawson returned, by which point Mrs Eagle had been picked up too.
The four parents discussed the two girls facing the fireplace in front of them. They had already been forced to strip from the waist down, Pamela’s mother having determined that there was no point in wasting time later when a “thrashing” was inevitable.
Listening, Pamela and Kirsteen were horrified at the options their parents were considering. The fact that they were trying to get out of their well deserved punishment was in their view clear evidence that the two girls still did not understand the seriousness of their behaviour. The girls would have both disagreed but were in no position to contribute to the debate. The conclusion was that it was viewed that something with a little more ‘impact’ than a wooden cooking spoon was required.
It was Mr Dawson who went a cupboard through the house and came back with what looked like a younger child’s wooden cricket bat.
“Pamela bend over the arm of the sofa,” he ordered indicating the end that he had stood up from. Mr Eagle stood also leaving the chair free.
Pamela seeing the paddle as she turned around burst into tears. It was only in the last few days that she had not felt her bottom aching as she bent, stretched or bumped something. However, with four angry adults watching she only made a mild plea before surrendering to her fate.
A low pitched thwack let to a howl of pain, as her bottom was set ablaze by the paddle. Seven more full blooded blows later and, sobbing, she was allowed to stand, and was immediately sent to bed. With a final mournful apology and look at Kirsteen, noting Mr Eagle now had the paddle she miserably went upstairs for yet another night on her stomach.
Kirsteen immediately found herself in the same position, bare bottom up in the air waiting for her father to blister it: a process she took little better than Pamela, before her parents roughly helped her dress and took her home.
Neither escaped from their parents’ sight for the remainder of Easter and both found a pile of increased chores to keep them fully occupied when not studying, the quality of effort enforced strictly with the now dreaded spoons. Both girls discovered once again that being spanked on an already tender backside from a bottom blistering a day or two before was a highly undesirable experience!
As a result both Pamela and Kirsteen were relieved to escape from their house confinements and seemingly continuously irate parents, and get back to the tutor revision and school cleaning routine at the end of Easter. They worked hard and the last two weeks of their suspension passed relatively uneventfully with only one slippering each from Martha, more of a farewell ‘gift’ rather than for particularly shoddy work. Truth be told Martha had even begun to find herself getting along with them. They seemed to have learned their lesson, at least so she hoped.
For Pamela and Kirsteen the last few weeks had indeed taught them a lesson, the spankings had been bad, but the most valuable had been the weeks spent cleaning, which had left them with a much more mature outlook on life.
However, though that was now finished, it still left their final caning.
Dot had been enjoying her time working for the school and her mother seemed to be in some period of remission. Not great, but at least not getting any worse. As a result she’d managed quite a few dates with Colin, and they were now ‘an item’. She was popular too with the other two ‘girls’ in the office, though neither of them were under forty. The two of them, like Martha before, soon found themselves considering her as a surrogate niece. Further she was a pleasure to work with: always helpful to others, and her quick mind had shown her to be adaptable and adept at dealing with anything that had been thrown her way.
It was her who was again on duty as Kirsteen and Pamela knocked tentatively on the glass of the school office window on the last Friday of their suspension. She smiled sympathetically at the two girls who were nervously waiting.
“Just wait a minute, I’ll be right out.” She said.
Once in the corridor Dot continued. “I am sorry about this, apparently I have to ‘witness’ again.”
Pamela shrugged then paused in the corridor. “Dot, about our behaviour, we’re both very sorry.”
Dot smiled, “Thanks, perhaps it’s worked out a bit better for me as a result. I am sorry about this though.”
“Our fault, but you, you don’t know what we’re up for, do you?” Pamela asked nervously.
“Sorry, no. I do know Miss Middleton spoke to Martha yesterday evening and I think she was complimentary, so fingers crossed I suppose.”
Dot had reached the Head’s door as the two girls nodded in response to her comment.
“Ready?” She asked quietly, and receiving a further more reluctant nod she knocked, then on being called escorted the two girls in.
Miss Middleton looked severely at the two sixth formers standing in their uniforms in front of her desk.
She asked, “Well, Pamela Dawson and Kirsteen Eagle. Are you ready to return to school education?”
Both girls quietly said: “Yes, Miss.”
Pamela then continued: “We realise now how awful our behaviour was, especially to Dot, we are truly sorry miss.”
Kirsteen was nodding supportively.
“Well, Mrs Coles, also seems to believe you have learned your lesson and apparently, after a rocky start, you worked hard.”
“So that leaves the question of what to do now. I promised you a second caning of between four and eight. What do you think I should give you?”
Both girls squirmed nervously, it was a question neither wanted to answer. Eventually Kirsteen replied: “We tried to work very hard miss and we have learnt our lesson.”
The Head pondered and then looked at her young secretary. “What say you Dorothy?” She asked.
It was Dot’s turn to squirm; she was not a vindictive girl. “Do they need to be caned at all?”
As Miss Middleton started to shake her head she continued: “I mean perhaps you could give them a suspended sentence or something.”
The thought caused Miss Middleton to pause and not dismiss Dot’s view completely. Pamela and Kirsteen suddenly felt that hope of a possible reprieve.
“You know something you two. You are very lucky that Dot is so generous. In her shoes I would have suggested six, taking two off for reasonably good behaviour. However, perhaps she is right, I will give you a choice: Four strokes now across your knickers or I will give you seven, knickers down, but with six suspended. That means only a single stroke as a reminder now of the consequences if you appear in my office for any, and I mean any, misbehaviour during the rest of your last term, when you will get the six on your bare bottom, in addition to whatever is due for the misbehaviour on that occasion. So what is it to be?”
Both girls looked at each other nervously. Both preferred only one even if there was the additional embarrassment but, though the cane was rare, it was less so for a girl to be sent to the Head’s office, usually for a dressing down and the award of some time-consuming exercise and/or detention. While that had never happened to either of them before, they both reckoned that they may now be considered ‘marked’ as a result of what had happened.
Soon, however, both opted for the single stroke option.
“Right, Kirsteen, let’s have you first.” Indicated the Head. “Skirt off and pants to your knees, then touch your toes,” she demanded. If she was going to give just one stroke then they should at least be able to control themselves without a chair she felt.
‘Well, that was a waste of effort,’ thought Kirsteen as, blushing, she dropped the regulation knickers she had dug out from the back of the drawer that morning.
Finally she bent over and put her finger tips to the toes of her shoes as the Head extracted her senior cane from the cupboard once again.
The Head looked at the full buttocks in front of her. They were mostly white, though the fading remnants of some bruises the girl had acquired in the past weeks were still visible.
She tapped right at the base of the buttocks causing Kirsteen to tense. Kirsteen knew it was only one and this expected the Head to ensure it was memorable.
“Don’t stand till I say so!” Ordered the Head
Before Kirsteen could respond there was a loud Swish and louder Thwack as the cane cracked low into her buttocks.
Kirsteen gasped as the pain seared into her, needing every ounce of self-will not to succumb to the temptation to stand.
Dot watched as the mark coloured before Miss Middleton allowed Kirsteen to stand and pull her knickers up.
However, she was told to stand in her pants, with her hands clasped in front of her as Pamela was invited to the chair.
All too soon Pamela had her skirt off and then she was reluctantly sliding her knickers down her thighs to her knees, from where they dropped to her ankles. Like Kirsteen she soon had her fingers touching lightly on the toecaps of her black school sandals.
Despite herself she screamed as the result impacted her senses.
Dot was shocked at the ferocity of the blow, the worst she had seen the Head give. It was almost as if she wanted to cut Pamela’s bottom in two she thought as a mark low on the backside appeared and reddened before Pamela could stand and pull her underwear back into place.
After a brief lecture finally both girls were allowed to retrieve their skirts and make their escape, to make their relieved way home. Their awful suspension was finally over.
Both resolved and managed to behave perfectly at school for the remainder of the term, though at home the use of the wooden spoon for even fairly mild misbehaviour remained an unwelcome continuing feature.
Both girls were grateful to Dot and left her alone to her new secretarial role.
A role she was successful in. So successful that the school kept her on and she completed her course part time. By that point her mother had tragically passed on, but Dot found that the Head and the cleaner combined to provide a support she could rely on, till five years later she married her ‘prince’, Colin, a year after he graduated from University.