What the Papers say

An adventure into journalism leads to an unfortunate encounter with the headmistress.

By Tara Patterson

Sixth form prefect Alice Watts pushed open the heavy school gate and walked confidently down the driveway of Queen Anne school, Ambleside. Her high heeled peep toed shoes clicked across the footpath. Alice had a very trim figure, her black skirt clung tightly to her behind; she could not resist wriggling her shapely hips as she passed a group of sixth form boys. Her brown hair was wound up on top of her head in a tight bun. It was not unusual that she was out of uniform. Wednesday was a part day for Alice. As she had a keen interest in journalism, she had a regular afternoon work experience placement at the local newspaper. Alice reached the school reception desk and began filling in the line of the sign-in book to mark her return. Then she must go and change out of her smart black business suit and back into uniform. Alice hated the change really. She was ready to leave school for good. Her twice weekly visits to the paper were a breath of fresh air, a chance to get away from school, away from the rules and away from the discipline.

As Alice signed her name in the book, the school secretary, Miss Booth, came out of the office.

“You are getting more daring every week, Watts,” smiled the rather chubby secretary. “I do like those shoes though. Are they new? Quite what Miss Meanwood will say about them; you know what she is like when it comes to uniforms and dress codes. I’m afraid she has left a message that you are to report to her study the instant you return to school.”

*         *          *

Alice stood nervously outside the Deputy Headmistress’s study. Why had she been summoned? Was it about her clothes? Alice quickly thought, trying to remember the dress code rules. Had she followed them clearly? Miss Meanwood had been most insistent she must comply to the dress code rules the staff followed when she agreed that Alice could go out of school out of uniform.

Alice was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn’t notice the study door open. Miss Meanwood stood to the side of her door.

“In you come, Watts,” Miss Meanwood commanded curtly.

Alice walked into the study and placed her bag and laptop case down at the side of Miss Meanwood’s desk. Miss Meanwood sat down and looked at Alice; Alice could tell that she seemed angry and irritated.

“So, Watts, you are wondering why I have called you here, aren’t you?” Began Miss Meanwood. “Firstly, your attire. It’s not really in keeping with the dress code; that skirt is a little short, that make up is rather thick and those shoes are not really suitable, are they? But that is not the reason I have summoned. I am concerned with what is written in this week’s local paper. It’s clearly been written by you, even though you are not credited as the author. Your chatty journalistic style is such a giveaway; I have marked enough of your essays over the years to recognise your work.”

Miss Meanwood took out a copy of the current edition of the newspaper and slammed it down on to the desk.

“Page five,” she began, pointing to article in the paper. “An article that was clearly written about an incident that happened in this school. Didn’t I make it clear enough when I agreed to your request for work experience that you were forbidden from writing about this school or about individual members off staff or pupils? That request was quite clear, Watts. I even asked you to sign the school media policy. The article is well written, you give an interesting description of life here and what happened last Tuesday. However, the teacher you describe is clearly me; no other member of staff dresses like you describe. You were expressly instructed that, should you write about this school, you should refrain from naming or describing staff or pupils in person.

“Sorry, Ma’am,” replied Alice. “I didn’t think it would matter. The Editor was most insistent that I should write about what happened on the hockey pitch last week, seeing as though I witnessed it first-hand. It’s not that it is a secret what happened. It’s the talk of the town. It was his idea that I write under an alias.  And, as for naming the people involved, it’s not like that I have named you personally, is it?”

Miss Meanwood replied to Alice’s comments.

“But any one from the school or the town who reads this will instantly recognise me. How many other staff members have short grey hair and wear black seamed stockings? Can I remind you again that any reports to the media regarding this establishment must be in the form of an official press release and then only released after being first approved by ether me or the Headmaster? Now, for breaking our understanding and for losing my trust I’m going to punish you. Six strokes of the strap should remind you of the school media policy, Watts.”

“That’s censorship!” Snapped Alice angrily. “What ever happened to press freedom? This blooming school, it’s worse than North Korea!”

“Silence, Watts!” Shouted Miss Meanwood as she stood up. “Young lady, that unnecessary outburst has now transformed your strapping into six strokes of the cane. How dare you talk about this school like that? I think you should also go to the newspaper for the next month in school uniform. That will remind you where your loyalties should lie. Surely I don’t have to tell you again that going outside the school gates out of uniform is a privilege that is rarely granted.”

Alice gasped in shock.

“You can’t silence me like that, Ma’am.”

“Oh but I can, Watts,” Said the deputy Headmistress. She looked at Alice with a deadly smile. “You are forgetting yourself, young lady. Just keep digging and I could soon cancel your work experience placement completely. Is that what you want?”

“N-no Ma’am, that’s the last thing I want,” sniffed Alice. “I suppose I’ll have to take that caning, wont I?”

“Right, then at last we are starting to understand each other,” retorted Miss Meanwood. “Let us begin. Assume the position, Watts. Over my desk.”

Alice took off her jacket and went to bend over the deputy head’s desk; she could feel her pencil skirt stretching tightly across her bottom.

“Just as I thought, Watts.” Snapped Miss Meanwood. “That skirt is too tight to be lifted up. Take it off.”

Alice straightened up she reached around the back of her skirt. Her hands were shaking as she fumbled with the fastening. Alice finally slid the zip down and wriggled her skirt down her hips, stepped out of it and bent down over Miss Meanwood’s desk. She gripped the far edge of the desk tightly with both hands. When she was in position, Miss Meanwood bent down and whispered into Alice’s ear.

“And another thing, when you estimate my age, please in future take years off and not add them. I have yet to reach the milestone you mention in your report.”

“Y-yes, Ma’am. Sorry, Ma’am, that was a genuine mistake,” stammered Alice.

“On the bare, I think,” retorted Miss Meanwood. “Although these knickers won’t offer you much protection, they are hardly regulation, are they?”

With that, Miss Meanwood roughly pulled Alice’s purple lace knickers down to her thighs. Alice’s  trim pert bottom was framed by her white suspender belt and the top of her sheer stockings. Miss Meanwood picked up her favourite straight handled senior cane and, after swishing it several times through the air, she tapped it on Alice’s bottom to find her aim for the first stroke.

“Count them,” she commanded curtly.

SWISH Crack!

The first stroke landed centrally on Alice’s quivering bottom.

“Arrgh! O-one, thankyou Ma’am.”

SWISH! Crack!

“ARRRH! OWW! Two, thankyou, Ma’am.”

Alice gripped the desk and breathed deeply. Miss Meanwood was laying the cane strokes on her bottom with real gusto. Through the reflection in the window, she saw Miss Meanwood lifting the cane. Alice’s bottom tensed up in anticipation. Alice tried to relax; she knew it would hurt more if she didn’t.

SWISH! Crack!

Alice grunted; the third stroke cut across the top of her bottom close to her suspender belt. Alice’s left leg lifted at the knee as she reflexed from the shock.

“Keep that leg still, Watts,” ordered Miss Meanwood.

“Three. Thank-you Ma’am.” Alice muttered through the throbbing pain, her eyes felt wet, the tears were starting.

SWISH! Crack!

“Arrrh! OWWW! Four. Thank-you Ma’am,” cried Alice. She was struggling to keep her composure and even keeping count was hard. Alice tried to concentrate, she daren’t loose count. A mistake would mean extra strokes.

SWISH! Crack!

“Haah! OWWW! F-five, thank you Ma’am.” Alice sniffed through here tears.

“Last one coming, it’s nearly over; keep strong.” Alice muttered under her breath

“I will decide if this is the last one or when it is over,” snapped Miss Meanwood.

SWISH! CRACK!

Alice screamed.

“ARRRRH! Six! ARRRRH! Owww! Thank you, Miss Meanwood.”

“Up you get, Watts.”

Alice stood up and faced the Deputy Headmistress.

“Curtsey!” Ordered Miss Meanwood.

Alice tried her best, she dipped down in a low curtsey and, despite the fact she felt humiliated, she muttered: “Thank-you, Ma’am. Sorry, Ma’am.”

Miss Meanwood’s mood seemed to lighten. That will be all, Watts. I hope today will serve as a reminder to you the next time you are at the newspaper. You have quite a talent for journalism. You are a well-informed young lady who writes well. I would hate to see your work in the gutter and scandal of tabloid press, though. I will also be watching you next week to make sure you leave and return in full uniform, and woe betide you if you don’t!”

The End

© Tara Patterson 2015