Many reading this will recall the dreaded wait outside the office

by Dick Templemeads

Friday afternoon on a sunny day, late in May, the school bell has just sounded, signifying not just the end of another week at Cuthberts High for Girls but also the start of half-term.

Already a large throng of girls are streaming through the gates heading for home, some with the exciting prospect of a week’s holiday in warmer climes. About 5 per cent of the students remain on the premises for various reasons.

The sporting types are playing tennis or swimming in the school pool, the drama group is rehearsing a forthcoming play, and those who assist in the library are tidying up the books and returning them to their correct order on the shelves. In room 12 about three dozen miscreants are serving an hour’s detention, as punishments for various infringements of the school rules. Meanwhile one girl who has transgressed more seriously than those serving detention stands forlornly outside the Headmistress’s office.

The girl in question is Jenny Meadows, a tall lean pretty brunette of eighteen, who normally at this time would be amongst those out on the courts playing tennis. As she waits she shuffles from foot to foot in nervous anticipation, fingering her hair at the same time. Her stomach is churning and she feels like she needs to use the loo, but she’s been twice in the last ten minutes and if she goes off again now and is not outside when Mrs Watson summons her then she’ll be in even deeper trouble.

Although not certain, Jenny realises that in all probability within a few minutes of being summoned to the other side of the door, she will be bent over the Head’s desk for her first ever taste of the cane. In some ways she wishes Mrs Watson would appear now and call her in. That way she’d be getting it over with, though on the other hand while outside the door she’s not suffering any pain, and just maybe she’ll get away with a lesser punishment.

As the wait prolongs Jenny gets more and more anxious; can she manage to take it without yelling out?  Will she cry? She hopes that she won’t. She tries to stop worrying and instead admonishes herself for being so stupid as to join her boyfriend in the pub at lunchtime. ‘Why, oh, why?’ She asks herself. I don’t want to be here, I want to be out on the tennis courts.

So engrossed in these thoughts is she that she doesn’t at first hear the Head’s summons, then she realises she’s been called. She wants to run and hide but knows she has no option but to step into the Head’s inner sanctum, and so with a deep breath she steps through the doorway.

The Head is sitting behind her desk and there is no visible sign of any cane. ‘Perhaps,’ thinks Jenny. ‘That as my disciplinary record is excellent I won’t be caned.’ The Head looks up at the downcast features.

“Jennifer, I’m most disappointed in you. A prefect with an excellent record, and just three months away from university, why so flagrantly break the rules?”

Jenny shrugs and in almost a whisper replies: “I don’t really know, Miss. I suppose it’s just bravado; my boyfriend said I’d be too scared to join him.”

“So rather than be your own person you followed like a sheep!”

Jenny doesn’t reply, but merely shrugs and nods, her silence an admission of her shame and guilt.

The Head says nothing, sitting for a few moments as if contemplating her next move, but then to Jenny’s despair she stands and walks to a cupboard by the corner where, even though she’s never been in the study before, Jenny knows the canes are kept.

The Head selects a thin crook-handled rattan about three feet long and pencil thin, this is the junior cane kept for younger girls or first time offenders. Its effect is to sting far more than the senior cane but is otherwise less painful and leaves marks that last for about a day or two, far less than the senior cane.

She turns and walks towards Jenny.

“Take off your blazer and hang it o the back of the spare chair.”

Jenny obeys. With the cane, the Head points to her desk where a space has been cleared. “Bend over here and grasp the opposite edge.”

Again Jenny obeys.

The head lifts Jenny’s dress and folds it across her back, leaving Jenny’s narrow bottom covered in gossamer-thin lilac panties. But she is not even to be offered the minimal protection that they may provide, as the head puts her fingers inside the elastic of the waistband and lowers the scant covering to Jenny’s ankles. Jenny feels humiliated; she thinks to herself: ‘at least I might have been allowed to take my knickers down for myself.’

But any feelings of humiliation and embarrassment are dissipated as the caning commences, for all her thoughts turn to keeping stoic.

For the first time in her life, Jenny hears the swish of a cane as it descends. It hits the target, at the top of her bottom. For a second, the trembling girl feels nothing, then her bottom feels likes it’s caught fire, she gasps, and starts to wriggle. She grits her teeth, clutches the edge of the desk tighter and tries to focus her thoughts elsewhere, but to no avail.

The second stroke is harder than the first, landing below where the first stroke had struck. She screeches.

Swish! Stroke three lands right in the middle of her bottom, harder than the first two. Mrs Walton is clearly building up a head of steam. Jenny’s response is a louder screech than before and tears start to fall down her pretty cheeks.

Jenny’s bottom is now stinging and burning more than she thought possible. Mrs Walton counts to thirty then thrusts down the cane for the fourth time. It strike’s the victim’s bottom just above the start of her legs and the tip of the cane whips round to strike the top of her right thigh. The pretty girl screams again and starts to sob.

She wills herself to stay bent over and at first doesn’t notice that Mrs Walton has moved away from her position. She has decided that four strokes are sufficient, not just because of the girl’s heaving sobs, but from her own experiences at school, she knows that four strokes are punitive. She returns the cane to the cupboard.

“Stand up and dress yourself please, Jennifer.”

Still sobbing, the stricken girl stands, allowing her dress to drop into place. Then she stoops down, a painful exercise with her still burning rear, and slowly eases her knickers back up into position, wincing as the fabric makes contact with her burning flesh. She struggles into her blazer and then faces the Head.

“I’m sorry that I had to cane you; your conduct has been very good over the years and I was not expecting such a lapse. The caning is the full extent of your punishment, you can continue in your role as prefect. However, should there be a further lapse, although I somewhat doubt that there will, then you will cease to be a prefect, and in addition you will receive six strokes not four as you’ve just had, and which I’m sure you feel was more than enough.”

Jenny has now stopped crying, though there are still tears in her eyes, but she manages a muffled: “Thank you, Miss.”

“Very well Jenny, let that be the end of the matter and enjoy the half term.”

Jenny departs and makes for the thankfully empty prefects’ room where she collects her bag from her locker and then limps towards the toilets.

Meanwhile Mrs Walton is making the entry in the punishment book; Jennifer Meadows, Upper sixth, aged 18, 4 strokes of cane on bare bottom for visiting the public house at lunchtime.

She leafs back through the book studying the entries since she’d become head five years earlier. It reveals just forty canings administered in that time, far less than her predecessor. Of those forty, fifteen girls, of which Jenny was the last, are one time recipients. Six more canings have been earnt by three girls who have been caned twice, nine by three girls who have had to bend over three times, and the remaining ten shared equally between irksome twins Louise and Brenda Corrigan.

Mrs Walton has some empathy with those fifteen who she’s punished just once, as she herself lost her caning virginity in the final weeks of her school career. Thus she understands the emotions that first-timers feel, the fear of the pain to come, not knowing how much it will hurt, the anxiety as to whether they will be able to take their punishment, the stomach churning and feeling of vulnerability in the seconds, as they wait skirt or dress raised and knickers around ankles for their punishment to commence. All this Mrs Walton understands.

She also understands how girls react in the aftermath of their first caning, which is why she guesses, correctly, that at that precise moment Jenny, having gone to the toilets, has just bathed her face, repaired her make-up where it’s been damaged by the tears, and is now lifting her dress and easing her knickers slightly away from her bottom to inspect the damage.

She also knows that the damage Jenny is viewing are four evenly placed bright red welts, which are still stinging but will shortly give way to throbbing.

Mrs Walton looks at the book again, notes the first entry; Emma Jones, three strokes on the bare for cheeking a teacher. Another first, both for pupil and Head, and equally nerve-wracking for each, Emma scared like all first-timers and Mrs Walton anxious that she punishes neither too gently or too mildly, and anxious that the cane lands in the right spots. In fact that is why Emma was caned on the bare. She had intended to cane on the knickers but then changed her mind at the last moment to ensure that she was hitting the right target.

Since then she has caned every girl bare, and at some stage each of those girls has, for the first time in her life, had to endure the wait outside the study.

The End

© Dick Templemeads 2013