A Prefect oversteps the mark. No real harm done, but the headmaster decides a firm lesson is needed
By Kenny Walters
Heather Middleton felt distinctly uneasy as she sat in the school secretary’s office, waiting for the headmaster to conclude his interview with whoever it was in his study.
“Okay, Heather?” Mrs Johnson, the smartly dressed forty-something school secretary obviously had noticed the sixth form prefect’s discomfort.
“Fine, thanks.” Heather smoothed back her collar length dark hair. “It just feels a bit strange sitting in this office in my track-suit, waiting for Mr Humphries. Are you sure I don’t have time to go and change?”
“Simply not necessary!” Mrs Johnson beamed reassuringly, whilst casting a non-committal eye over the bright red track-suit. “Mr Humphries was quite aware you were at tennis practice, I’m sure he’ll understand.”
“No idea what it’s about, I suppose, Mrs Johnson?” As a prefect, it was not unusual for Heather to be called to the headmaster’s study for a consultation or request on some matter or other of school life. The sense of urgency, though, made it all a little intriguing.
“I’m sure Mr Humphries will let you know when he’s good and ready!” Mrs Johnson replied, still smiling. “Ah! Perhaps he’s ready for you now.” She added, as the internal telephone rang.
Heather listened to Mrs Johnson speaking on the telephone, and gained the impression her appearance was indeed now required within the hallowed domain of the headmaster’s study.
“You may go in, Heather.” Mrs Johnson confirmed, as she replaced the receiver.
“I didn’t hear anyone leave.” Heather queried.
“Neither did I, Heather. Still, Mr Humphries said for you go in.”
“Right.” Heather got up and went over to the door leading to Mr Humphries study. She tapped gently on the door and pushed it carefully open, not wanting to intrude on the tail end of the headmaster’s dealings with his previous guest.
“Do come in, Heather!” The short, corpulent, balding figure of her headmaster called invitingly.
“Thank you sir.” Heather closed the door behind her and turned. Suddenly, her jaw dropped. “Mummy! What are you doing here?”
“Take a seat, Heather.” Mr Humphries indicated a second, vacant plush armchair next to the one presently occupied by Priscilla Middleton, Heather’s mother.
“Thank you, sir.” Heather sat down beside her mother. “Mummy, you didn’t say you were coming in today.”
Rather than return her daughter’s friendly greeting, Mrs Middleton looked awkwardly away, a gesture that made the eighteen year old prefect somewhat anxious.
“I’m afraid, Heather, there’s been an allegation made against you.” Mr Humphries sat with his hands clasped together and resting on the edge of his desk, a large finely polished affair manufactured from solid mahogany.
“An allegation, sir?” Heather bit her lip. A prefect’s conduct was supposed to be above reproach at St. Matilda’s, so any suggestion of wrong-doing would be regarded as a very serious matter. “What sort of allegation?”
“The complaint is that you have been bullying several sixth formers, Heather.”
“Bullying?” Heather looked aghast. “Bullying? I haven’t bullied anyone, sir. And a sixth form girl? That’s ridiculous, sir.”
“Not just one sixth former, Heather. There have been three complaints.”
“Three? Three girls have said I’ve been bullying them?” Heather laughed incredulously. “That’s just not possible, sir.”
“You don’t recall having occasion to punish any sixth formers recently, perhaps?” Mr Humphries raised an eyebrow as he spoke.
“No.” Heather thought for a moment. “No, definitely not, sir.”
“You didn’t, for example, give Vanessa Haynes-Thomas the slipper?”
“Vanessa Haynes-Thomas? No, of course not Sir.”
“Nor Jennifer Whitton?”
“How about Alison Courtney?”
“But you did threaten to, didn’t you?”
“No, sir.” Suddenly, a recent memory flashed through Heather’s mind. “Well, yes sir.”
“No, sir? Yes, sir? I’m quite confused. Which is it Heather?”
Heather delayed her answer. She looked across the desk at the balding, plump gentleman seated at his desk and thought: ‘Yes, of course you’re confused, you daft old duffer! But I’ve just realised what this is really all about.”
“Yes, sir, I did threaten to slipper those three sixth form girls, but I didn’t mean it.” As she spoke the words, Heather knew it would not be enough.
“You threatened them, but you didn’t mean it?” Mr Humphries pondered the situation before adding: “So, what was the point of threatening a punishment that you had no intention of carrying out?”
“To bring them down a peg or two, sir.” Heather ran her tongue over her top lip. “They were outside the school gates showing off with a couple of boys in a sports car. It was my duty to caution them about their behaviour and I just thought the threat of such a juvenile punishment might, well…….”
“Might lower their esteem, at least from those boys’ perspective?”
“Something like that, sir.”
“But you are saying you didn’t actually carry out the slipperings, is that correct?”
“Absolutely, sir!” Then Heather added for good measure: “And I most strongly deny any allegation that I did, sir.”
“Oh no, Heather!” Mr Humphries raised a hand to calm the prefect. “Those three girls have been interviewed by both the head girl and me on separate occasions and both deny having had the slipper from you.”
“So what exactly is the allegation against me, sir?”
“The problem is, Heather, the story has got around the school that you did slipper all three of them. And slipper them quite severely too.”
‘Yes, and I bet I know who spread it around the school too.’ Heather thought to herself. ‘And when I get my hands on them, I bloody well will slipper them!’
“But if they say it never happened, and I say it never happened, what is the problem, sir?”
“Simply that everyone believes it to have happened, Heather.” Mr Humphries explained. “And everyone thinks those three sixth formers are merely being loyal to you.”
“Huh!” Heather retorted, without thinking.
“I don’t think that sort of remark is very helpful, Heather.”
“Has it crossed your mind, it may be those very three girls who are spreading the rumours, sir?”
“Of course it has, Heather. Of course it has. But you must see that since the whole school is convinced you punished those three out of sheer malice, then I must take some action. I’m sorry but I simply must.”
“Some action, sir?” Heather didn’t like the sound of this. “What action, exactly, sir?”
“I must provide you with some kind of suitably humiliating punishment, Heather.”
“Punishment! But, sir! I haven’t done anything wrong!”
“A little more thought before threatening to slipper those girls might have helped, Heather.” Mr Humphries reminded the prefect. “Perhaps it would have been wiser to have had a word about their conduct outside the school gates at some other time, do you not think?”
“Possibly, sir. But surely I shouldn’t be punished for such a minor error of judgement, sir?”
“An error that has caused controversy throughout the school, Heather.”
“That’s not my fault, sir.” Heather protested. “It was the fault of those three girls spreading a rumour that simply was not true.”
“Can you prove that, Heather?”
Heather sighed before answering glumly. “No, sir.”
“Then I am afraid you will have to face the consequences of that error of judgement, Heather.”
“What consequences, sir?” Heather frowned.
“Your punishment, Heather.”
“What punishment, sir?”
The headmaster sighed, before waving a hand in the direction of Heather’s mother, who had sat quietly observing her daughter’s interrogation. “Mrs Middleton?”
“Mr Humphries had suggested litter collecting duty for half an hour after school every day for two weeks, darling. I told him you wouldn’t want that.” For the first time since Heather had entered the room, her mother looked her directly in the eye.
“Very true.” Heather nodded in confirmation. “It would be just so humiliating!”
“That, of course, was the object of your headmaster’s suggestion, darling. Humiliation as a punishment for humiliating those three girls. I have, however, persuaded Mr Humphries to consider another option. Something far less wasteful of your time.”
“Yes.” Heather answered doubtfully. “Go on.”
“I’ve asked Mr Humphries to cane you, darling.”
“Cane me! You’re joking!” Heather exclaimed, unable to believe what she was hearing.
“No, I’m quite serious, darling.” Mrs Middleton replied. “The school will know you’ve been amply punished and everything will soon get back to normal.”
“So, I’m to be caned for the good of the school! Is that it?”
“Precisely, darling. It’s simply the best option.”
“Mummy! I’m a prefect! It will be just so humiliating having the whole school know I’ve been caned.”
“Not if you accept your punishment with good grace and take it bravely, darling.”
“Even though I’m guilty of nothing more than a small error of judgement?”
“Exactly! It will prove a fine example to those wretched three girls. Teach them how girls at this school should behave.”
Heather took a deep breath and exhaled noisily as she looked away from her mother, totally unable to bring to mind a suitable response.
“I do see your mother’s point, actually Heather.” Mr Humphries spoke softly. “A well taken dose of the cane will undoubtedly restore your standing amongst the other girls.”
Heather swung her head round and glared incredulously at the plump headmaster.
“Shall we get on, headmaster?” Mrs Middleton suggested.
Mr Humphries turned to the eighteen year old prefect. “Heather?”
Heather flopped back in her chair, head leaning back, arms behind her head, no answer for the headmaster.
“I suppose there is always the litter duty option.” Mr Humphries suggested.
“No, headmaster.” Mrs Middleton replied firmly. “My daughter will take the cane.”
Mr Humphries returned his attention to the eighteen year old prefect: “Heather?”
Heather took her hands away from behind her head and leaned forward in her chair. “Okay.”
“You’ll take the cane?”
“Good!” Mr Humphries practically leapt from his seat, causing the teenager’s heart to flutter. “We’ll use my desk.” He explained, clearing the small amount of paperwork and even the telephone into drawers so the shiny mahogany surface was completely clear.
Heather and her mother watched fascinated as the portly headmaster fetched a piano stool and brought it to one end of the desk, placing it end on against the larger piece of furniture. Next, he found a cushion from another corner of the room and placed it on the desk at the end where the piano stool had been carefully positioned. Finally, Mr Humphries went to a tall cupboard at one side of the room and began burrowing inside. Heather gasped when he turned and she saw the slender rattan cane for the first time.
“That’s what we’ll be using.” Mr Humphries explained, rather needlessly, as he placed the crook handled implement carefully down along one side of the desk. He stood back, as if admiring his efforts in preparing the scene, before looking towards Heather. “If you’re ready, Heather?”
Heather, who had been watching the headmaster’s every move, felt herself shivering despite feeling quite warm in her track-suit. She tried to stand up, but somehow her body didn’t respond.
“Come along, darling!” Mrs Middleton sat forward in her seat, apparently keen for the action to begin. “Stand up and take your track-suit off.”
“Take my track-suit off?” Her daughter queried, still sitting in the armchair. “Why?”
“It’s rather warm in here, darling.” Mrs Middleton explained. “You’ll be far more comfortable without the top and, well, you’ll need to take the trousers off for obvious reasons.”
Heather blushed a deep red. “But I’ve only got my tennis shorts on underneath!” She protested.
Mrs Middleton smiled towards Mr Humphries. “Don’t worry, darling. Your tennis shorts will be quite sufficient to protect your modesty at least.”
‘But not my poor bottom! That’s what you mean, isn’t it?’ Heather thought to herself. With both her mother and the headmaster staring at her and waiting, the eighteen year old felt the pressure building for her to respond. ‘There’s just no way out of this.’ She thought. ‘Might as well get it over with.’
With a loud sigh, Heather began peeling off the bright red track-suit top, finally draping it over the back of the armchair in which she was still seated. Another attempt at standing up was more successful, and Heather looked despairingly down at her mother, her facial expression making one final plea for her to be allowed to keep her red track-suit trousers on.
“Take them off, darling.” The plea failed.
With legs that seemed so shaky they were barely able to support her, Heather held on to the edge of the headmaster’s desk as she peeled the trousers off one leg and then the other before folding the garment and placing it carefully on the back of the armchair over her red top.
If Heather had felt uncomfortable wearing her track-suit in such formal surroundings, she felt all the more so as she now stood in just white cotton shorts and white T-shirt. Her white plimsolls, too, felt strangely out of place on the thick pile carpet.
“Well done, Heather!” The headmaster encouraged, picking up the cane from the edge of the desk. “Now, come and kneel on the piano stool facing the desk, if you please.”
‘This is it, then!’ Heather thought to herself. ‘Don’t make a fool of yourself, just kneel on the stool like he says. It’s a nice comfortable stool; at least that part of it won’t hurt at all.’ The eighteen year old knelt on the stool and silently cursed as she banged her knee against the side of the mahogany desk.
As Heather struggled to control her nerves, she was not helped by Mr Humphries whistling the cane through the air in a couple of practice strokes. ‘Don’t do that!’ She thought. ‘Come on! Tell me to bend over and let’s get this over with.’
“Are we all ready?” Mr Humphries questioned, as he began to position himself behind the kneeling girl.
‘Yes, we’re all ready!’ Heather thought. ‘Just bloody well get on with it!’
“Would you like to stand over here, Mrs Middleton? Get a better view of the action, so to speak.”
‘Oh bloody hell!’ Heather uttered silently to herself.
“Yes, thank you Mr Humphries.” Heather’s mother got up and also positioned herself behind her kneeling daughter, standing to the right of the headmaster and well out of the way of the expected trajectory of the cane.
Satisfied everyone was in their correct position, Mr Humphries turned to Heather: “Shall I utter the traditional words then, Heather?”
‘What?’ Heather thought as she turned her head and glared at her headmaster.
Since she was still looking towards Mr Humphries, Heather saw clearly his gloating expression. ‘You’re really going to enjoy this, aren’t you?’ She thought. Even so, the eighteen year old returned her gaze to the polished mahogany surface of the desk and folded herself forward, feeling the soft cushion on the edge of the desk push into her stomach and force her bottom to stick out.
Gripping the edges of the desk, knuckles so tight they ached, Heather closed her eyes and braced herself for the first bout of pain across her tightly stretched white tennis shorts.
“You’re wearing knickers under your shorts! I can see the outline!” Suddenly hearing her mother’s voice caught Heather totally by surprise.
“Er…. yes. So?” The teenager snapped back.
“Do I not recall you saying a little earlier you were just wearing your tennis shorts under your track-suit bottoms, darling?” Mrs Middleton’s teasing voice grated with the teenager.
“Of course I wear knickers under my shorts, mother! Don’t you?” Heather growled. “I’ve got a bra on too!”
“Don’t be sarcastic with me, young lady!” Mrs Middleton stepped forward and gave her daughter a hefty smack across the tight seat of the shorts. “Now, get them down!”
“Ouch!” Heather screwed her face up in pain even though the smack, although it had stung, had not caused that much discomfort.
“I told you to get them down!”
“Mother!” Heather exclaimed, keeping hold of the edges of the desk and taking no action to lower her shorts.
Mrs Middleton turned to the headmaster. “Two extra strokes please, Mr Humphries!”
“Mother!” Heather wailed for the second time.
“Are you going to get those shorts down, young lady?”
“Yes.” The eighteen year old moaned, before reluctantly easing herself up from the desk and reaching back for the elastic waistband of the shorts. “This isn’t fair!”
Mrs Middleton watched as Heather slowly, very slowly, peeled the white shorts down over her hips. Finally, her patience exhausted, Heather’s mother took firm hold of the shorts and yanked them roughly down until they were around the eighteen year old’s knees.
“Ow!” Heather exclaimed, trying to suggest the rough handling had caused her some discomfort.
For a few moments Mrs Middleton stared down at her daughter’s bottom, and in particular at the extremely brief white underwear, in reality little more than a thong, which left practically the whole of Heather’s firm round buttocks quite naked.
“You’re really going to ‘ow’ in a minute, young lady!” Mrs Middleton replied before delivering another sharp smack to her daughter’s naked right buttock.
Totally ignoring her daughter’s pleas, Mrs Middleton addressed the headmaster. “Mr Humphries, carry on please.”
“Oh, right.” Quite content to watch the interaction between mother and daughter, the headmaster found his thoughts interrupted. “Heather, if you are ready, bend over the desk.”
‘What?’ Heather looked round, then realised they were back to the matter in hand. She leaned forward and rested her body across the hard mahogany desk top, only too aware of the sight her near naked bottom would be presenting to the headmaster and, of course, her mother.
“Now, I was intending to administer six strokes, Heather…..”
‘Six!’ Heather exclaimed just to herself. ‘Six! Considering I haven’t actually done anything wrong, wouldn’t three be enough?’
“So, that will be eight then, won’t it Heather?” Mrs Middleton spoke.
‘Eight! Eight! Just because I didn’t get my shorts down quick enough?’
“Yes, mummy.” Heather saw no point in arguing. If her mother had decided eight was what her daughter should receive, then eight it was going to be. Heather concentrated on holding still and shutting her eyes.
“Aaaah-aaaaah!!” Heather’s head rose as she screwed her face up in the agony of the first stroke.
‘Grief! That cut right into my poor bottom! Sheesh!’
Whoosh! Crack! The eighteen year old barely had time to rest her face back down onto the hard mahogany surface of the desk before the next stroke slashed down.
“Ooooow!” Heather opened her eyes for a moment, allowing a tear to trickle down her cheek.
‘God Almighty! That hurt!’
“Oooouch!” The eighteen year old’s whole body snatched as the cane whipped into her near naked bottom.
‘Phew! This is getting a bit hard to take. And we’re not even half way through!’
“Keep still please, Heather!”
Heather wasn’t expecting to hear her headmaster’s voice at this point, more the whistle of the cane hurtling through the air on its way to whack across her bottom. ‘Keep still?’ She thought. ‘Keep still? How the hell do you expect me to stay still when you keep hitting me with that bloody thing?’
“Sheeeesh!!” Heather gripped the edges of the desk for all she was worth as she indeed struggled to hold still.
‘Half-way! Four to go. There’d have only been two more if I’d taken my shorts down quick enough! Oh well…’
“Aaaah-aaaah!” The eighteen year old’s back arched once again as the searing pain cut across her entire backside.
‘Five. Reckon my poor bum’s black and blue already. The other girls will have a field day when we change for athletics practice tomorrow. I’ll never live it down!’
“Ooooooooochh!!” As Heather closed her eyes and struggled to cope with the fresh surge of pain spreading like fire across the entirety of her near naked backside, she gripped onto the edges of the desk for all she was worth.
‘Bloody hell! Bloody hell!’
“Aaaaaaahh! Ooouch!” The sight of Heather’s screwed up face would have left neither her mother nor her headmaster in any doubt at all as to the severe discomfort the eighteen year old was feeling at this moment. Both adults, though, had eyes only for the angry red lines that spread horizontally across the pale mounds of the girl’s near naked bottom.
‘Seven! Just one to go. Bet he’ll make this a real stinger!’
“Aaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!” Resisting the immense temptation to reach back and clutch her poor wounded bottom, Heather clung onto the edges of the desk as though her life depended on it. After many long seconds, the scorching pain finally subsided to a hot aching soreness enabling the eighteen year old to finally release her hold on the desk and wipe at her tear-stained eyes with the backs of her hands.
‘Phew! That was awful! But at least it’s over. Come along now, tell me I can get up! I’d better not move without permission otherwise dear mother will have Mr Humphries give me another two!’
“Well done, Mr Humphries!” Heather heard her mother speaking. “An excellent delivery, if I may say so.”
As the eighteen year looked behind her in astonishment, she saw the chubby headmaster glowing with satisfaction as he continued to admire his handicraft. ‘Take your eyes off my bum!’ Heather said to herself. ‘Come along, you’ve had your fun for one day.’
“There!” Mrs Middleton turned her attention to her daughter. “I think that should teach you a good lesson or two, young lady! Don’t you?”
“Yes mummy.” Heather answered meekly, not wishing to incur the further displeasure of her mother while she was still bending over the end of the desk with her bottom nearly naked. ‘Please! Please just don’t touch my bottom!’ She thought.
“Come along, then. Get yourself dressed and stop making a spectacle of yourself.”
“Yes mummy” With a few gasps and grunts to convey the severe discomfort the eighteen year old was undoubtedly feeling, Heather eased herself up into a kneeling position and began seeking the waistband of the white tennis shorts that were still entangled around her knees.
“Do you need a hand, darling?”
“No thank you, mummy!” Anxious her mother might assist with something less than total gentleness, Heather hastily drew the shorts up until the elastic waistband settled snugly back into place. Dismounting from the piano stool, Heather felt the shorts closing in around her bottom somewhat more tightly than she recalled before her caning. Not bothering to tuck her white top into the shorts, Heather pulled her tracksuit off the armchair and painfully put it on.
“Right. We are all done, aren’t we Mr Humphries?”
“Yes indeed, Mrs Middleton. Yes indeed.”
Heather looked sideways at her headmaster and saw that he had just returned the long slender cane to the tall cupboard.
“Thank you, Heather. Mrs Middleton.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Once the two females had left the headmaster’s study using a door that exited directly into the corridor, they walked slowly towards the main entrance.
“Thank goodness everyone’s gone home!” Heather exclaimed. “I wouldn’t want the others to see me in this state.”
“Nonsense, darling! A well taken caning is nothing to be ashamed of.”
“Whatever. I’m still glad there’s no-one around.”