A parent offers to assist with the school play, and finds the headmistress doesn’t tolerate poor standards
By Rob Burton
I felt silly standing by the door to the office of Miss Hatton; she left me here having remembered she needed to fetch something from the staff room. What made it feel even sillier was that her secretary asked if she could help, as the Headmistress was in a meeting. I actually wanted to say, “Yes I know, because I was there with her, you silly woman.” Or words to that effect. I just smiled and explained she would be back shortly. In the end, shortly turned out to be fifteen minutes before I was ushered into the ornate, but somewhat old fashioned office.
I was left standing as she leant back on the large desk.
“Right, Ms Kent, I guess there is no use in beating about the bush on this matter.”
The tone of voice made me wince a little.
“We are three weeks away from the first night of the school play and, as of yet, we don’t have any colours or fabrics to choose from, let alone costumes. You have persistently missed deadlines, and meetings for that matter, while sending feeble apologies. This cannot carry on.”
Finally, I saw her take a breath. She wasn’t finished, though, as she folded her arms dramatically across her chest.
“You offered, volunteered, whichever, to produce all the costumes, and for that we were very grateful, but since that day there has been nothing. It is too late to engage anyone else, so we must have some action, and I am going to reinforce what was agreed at the meeting. You will be here at four o’clock tomorrow with the colours and some sample drawings. We will provide you with initial measurements.”
Now, as a businesswoman, I was used to listening to clients, occasionally even irate ones, but believe me when I say that Miss Hatton was by far the worst I had come across. She was right, though. I had been so proud that Helen had gotten the lead part in the end of year play, that I immediately offered my services to make it the most spectacular production the school had ever put on. There were visions of tailored costumes and eye-catching dresses. Then work got in the way. A big order from America had spoilt it all. My entire time had been taken up travelling across the Atlantic, speaking endlessly to the client and suppliers. It was not an excuse, just fact, but what was inexcusable were the half-truths and missed meetings.
“Right, Ms Kent, I am going to treat you the same as I would any girl in this school who missed deadlines, produced shoddy work and made excuses. Get your skirt up and over my desk, let us see if six strokes of the cane will produce the desired effect.”
I stood rooted to the spot. I had never been in this position before. At school, the only time I had been in the Headmistress’s office was to receive my Prefects badge in the final year. Yes, I knew girls who had been there for the bad things, mainly the slipper and, in the case of Anna Poole, three strokes of the cane.
“Pardon,” was all that passed through my lips.
“I said, get your skirt up and across the desk, Ms Kent.”
“I heard what you said, but I am at a loss to work out why you believe I should get the cane. I am not one of your pupils.”
“If you were, then you would have been sitting on many a sore bottom by now.”
“I cannot believe you are taking this attitude, Miss Hatton. I have assured the meeting earlier that I will deliver on my promises.”
“So far you have not delivered on one of the previous promises, so as I said, I am going to reinforce it so that you do deliver what was agreed for tomorrow night.”
I watched as she went to the large white cupboard in the corner, take out a light brown three foot or so cane, and return.
“Ms Kent, I have asked twice for you to prepare yourself for the cane, I will not ask again.”
‘Yes, and if I don’t comply?’ suddenly popped into my head. She just waited for me as I played it over in my head. In truth, I should turn round and walk out of the office. In reality, I had no choice. I would be letting myself, my company down and, probably worst of all, my daughter down. What would her friends say when they realised they wouldn’t be getting those beautiful, shiny costumes to wear that she had told them all about from the images I had portrayed to her? Would the play go ahead at all? Would it be cancelled because of me? All the hard work that people had put into it so far, all gone because of her mother. I had to try one last plea.
“Look, couldn’t you give me one last chance to show that I will deliver on my promise? If I don’t turn up on time tomorrow with the samples, then yes you can punish me.”
I guess she never even thought about it as she replied straight back with the tip of the cane tapping the desktop.
“No, Ms Kent, I have waited patiently enough for you, both tonight and over the past weeks. Now bend over the desk.”
Feeling utterly defeated, I struggle to ease my skirt up and then tentatively lower myself onto the desk.
“Lie flat to the top and reach across to the far side, do not move from that position until I tell you otherwise.”
I have never felt so embarrassed in all my life. Even being caught streaking at a party a few years ago was nothing compared to this. My chest is pressed against the wooden top, my fingers hold the far edge, and my thighs are pressed against the near one. I can only imagine what the view of my bottom is like of my exposed, light blue silk panties.
Tap, tap on my bottom. I feel the thin line of the cane against my bottom. Then, without warning, I feel it again, only this one hurts like hell, the initial whack was terrible, but then there is another sensation as the pain begins to feel hot, almost burning. I squeal at the sheer agony I am now feeling, my fingers are grasping the far edge of the desk, my thighs pressed painfully tight against the other, and I realise my eyes are shut tight. Before I could compose myself, I hear yet another swish as the cane hits my offered backside once more, there is the merest of time before it lands and I feel my hips shift sides trying to avoid the whack. It was too little too late and it fell dead centre. I squealed once again.
The other four soon came and went, each with an equal consequence, a red burning line of fire across my knickers, me trying to suppress a grunt at the pain I was feeling and keeping myself in position. I have no idea why I would try to maintain posture. In reality, my brain was telling me to stand up and run away. Why in heaven do you want to feel another like the last one, it was saying. But stay I did, right up until she told me I could get up. I thought my ordeal was over, I could go home and nurse my striped backside, and my ego, but no Miss Hatton had other ideas.
“You can stand against that wall and contemplate why your bottom is adorned by six red stripes.”
I saw her pointing to the wall by the door.
“I am going to collect a few things from the staff room, and I will return shortly. Do not let me catch you not facing the wall, or rubbing your sore bottom. Keep your skirt up until I return.”
I was not sure how long she was gone, but I certainly did has she instructed, although the urge to rub my throbbing backside was almost too much. There was another reminder about tomorrow while I smoothed down my skirt and then we left together in silence.
The play was a resounding success. The production team did a fantastic job, the actors, especially my daughter Helen, got rave reviews from the local press. The costumes were praised, myself and the company even got a mention in the programme. Yes, it was quite an achievement by the school as a whole. It didn’t come without a price for some of us, though. I got another six of the cane for not meeting a rehearsal deadline, and a bare bottom spanking for making an excuse, or, in the words of Miss Hatton, for telling a downright lie.
It has been an exciting few weeks, ones that I will not forget in a hurry. Talking of hurry, I must get to my meeting with Miss Hatton. Well, I call it a meeting, but she insists on calling it a Saturday morning detention. Yikes, where is the tie I must put on? That’s if I can try and remember how to put it on. It has been a few years.
© Rob Burton 2019