Must Try Harder

Lucy Thomas walked slowly but purposefully towards the sixth form prefects room. She was not a prefect, much to her chagrin. That honour had passed her by. Unjustifiably, so she thought, and particularly difficult to accept since her best friend, Helen, had not only been made a prefect but had the accolade of deputy Head Girl bestowed upon her. However, today there were more pressing matters to attend than pursue her annoyance at being snubbed.

Approaching the door to the prefects room she hesitated. Should she politely knock and wait or walk straight in? She was as good as any of those girls. Why should she humiliate herself by waiting until one of them decided to answer? Indeed, some fifth formers had been appointed prefects. Girls who were nearly two years younger than her. She was not going to give them the chance to show authority over her. So, a compromise. She knocked and walked straight in.

If she thought her unannounced entry was going to be met by some confrontation she was wrong. Prefects were lazing around, chatting, reading and drinking coffee. A couple of them looked up and acknowledged her. Surveying the scene, Lucy could not see her friend, Helen, nor more importantly the girl she had come to see; Head Girl Sarah James.

“Is Sarah around?” she asked to no one in particular.

The Head Girl had a small office at the rear of the prefects room. One of the prefects gesticulated with a thumb over her shoulder, pointing in the direction of the office. Lucy observed. She was not impressed with the untidiness. Empty coffee mugs, magazines left lying around, feet on tables and clothes dumped where they shouldn’t be dumped. Could she detect a whiff of cigarette smoke?

‘It wouldn’t be like this if I was Head Girl,’ she silently noted to herself before making her way to the small office. This time she thought it necessary to show respect and knock and wait.

“Come,” responded Sarah James.

Lucy duly entered. She got on OK with Sarah but they were not close. They had come through secondary school together but a close relationship had never developed. Not like the relationship she had with Helen. Lucy appreciated that Sarah had never used her position to show authority over her and always treated her with respect.

Sarah welcomed Lucy and invited her to sit. Polite chit-chat followed until Lucy came to the point of her visit.

“Will you do me a favour, Sarah?”

“Of course, if I can.”

“I’ve got into a spot of bother with Mrs Green. To come straight to the point, she’s going to cane me at 4 o’clock this afternoon.”

“Really!” exclaimed a genuinely surprised Head Girl. “How did that come about? Sixth formers don’t get caned.”

“Yeah. Apparently that rule applies to everyone except me. It’s so unfair. Greenie and my mother have conspired to fit me up. After mediocre maths results last school year, Greenie entered ‘could do better if she tried’ on my school report, and her and my mum came up with the idea that if I failed to reach 50% in my end of term exam I would get the cane. They actually laughed at the idea and, when I complained, my mum said the possibility of some discomfort for a couple of hours would be a good incentive to improve my work effort in the future.”

For a few seconds, Lucy stared blankly into space as she recalled the conversation with her mother and Mrs Green at the beginning of the new school year. They emphasised she would get good marks if she put in the effort but they did not understand she just didn’t get algebra. Fine with general maths, especially geometry, but she could never get to grips with mixing letters and numbers. And those nonsensical formulas!

Sarah broke the silence. “So how can I help? Mrs Green is not going to listen to any pleas I submit on your behalf.”

“I’m not going to be able to get out of this. That’s been made clear by Mrs Green and my mum. I need a witness. If it’s left to Green she will invite that dragon of a secretary, Mrs Evans, to come and watch me being humiliated. I want you to be my witness.”

A pause before a surprised Sarah responded, “But what about your friend Helen?”

“I don’t want any of my friends to see me being subjected to this barbaric ritual. I don’t even want them to know. I can trust you. It can be done and then we break up for the Christmas and New Year holidays, and nobody will be any the wiser.”

Sarah was aware of becoming occupied with a rather thrilling sensation for which she was unable to explain. Intrigue and fascination. Was this girl asking her to observe her being punished? Thoughts of watching Mrs Green’s cane repeatedly slashing across Lucy’s shapely bottom. As she pondered the scenario she could hear a voice in the distance.

“It’s not a trick question Sarah. Will you do it or not?”

Sarah came to with a jolt. “Of course, if that’s what you really want,” she responded, trying hard not to appear overly enthusiastic.

“Meet me in the common room at 3.55. Not a word to anybody.”

“If you are sure that’s what you want, Lucy. I’ll be there to support you,” responded the Head Girl.

The two girls met in the common room as agreed. There was an air of noisy excitement. Lessons, Christmas parties and end of term assembly had finished. Some girls were being collected by their parents that evening. Others, including Lucy and Sarah, would have to wait until the weekend for parents to arrive and collect them for the holidays.

“Are you nervous?” asked Sarah who herself felt strangely tense.

“I’m furious,” snapped Lucy. “This is so unnecessary.”

They made their way up the stairs and onto the first floor landing to Mrs Green’s office. As Deputy Headmistress and Head of the maths faculty she was afforded her own office. She was held in high esteem by the teaching staff, parents and students. Destined for promotion, if not Headmistress at this school, then perhaps another. Excellent exam results for those students in her classes and she looked upon Lucy as a challenge, determined to get the best out of her.

Lucy firmly rapped the door, incensed and determined to continue to have her say.

“Ah. Lucy. Good afternoon. And good afternoon to you Sarah. You have come as support for Lucy, I guess.” Elizabeth Green welcomed them both and ushered them into her study.

“Please Miss. This is unnecessary. I’m determined to try really hard next term.”

“I’m pleased to hear that Lucy. I spoke to your mother on the phone this morning to confirm if she wanted me to carry out the agreed punishment. She is deeply disappointed with your test result of 37% in the test. Nowhere near good enough and so six strokes of the cane will be delivered as promised.”

The confirmation that Mrs Green had spoken to her mother who was willing for the punishment to proceed left Lucy dejected; last hope gone.

“But the questions for which I revised didn’t come up,” Lucy argued desperately.

Mrs Green smiled at Lucy’s explanation, but she was not about to backtrack on the promise both she and Lucy’s mother had made at the beginning of the school term in September.

“Let’s get this over and then we can get on with enjoying our Christmas holiday. You’ll need to slip out of your skirt.”

“What!” gasped Lucy, having now accepted the inevitable but having to go through what she thought was a further humiliation.

“Come now Lucy. Don’t let’s make this harder than it needs to be. Skirt off is for your own good so I can see where I’m striking, otherwise some strokes might overlap and you really don’t want that.”

Sarah stood by quietly observing the battle of wills between Mrs Green and Lucy. There was only going to be one winner. She felt her pulse quicken, accompanied by a tinge of guilt that she was actually enjoying the scenario playing out before her. A ringside seat to witness her colleague being put through a testing time.

Lucy lowered her school uniform skirt to the floor and stepped out of it. Slowly and deliberately she stooped and picked it up, and was about to cross the room to place it on an armchair when Sarah, thinking she should do something useful, took it from her and held it.

Turning to face Mrs Green, Lucy noticed for the first time the cane that was going to be used on her. It was held menacingly by Mrs Green who was perched, her bottom leaning on the edge of the desk. Always dressed immaculately. Today her grey fitted jacket temporarily removed for the business in hand, long-sleeved cream blouse buttoned at the wrists, tight fitting charcoal grey knee length skirt, black sheer stockings and formal black shoes with a short heel. Her blonde hair swept back into a pony tail, perhaps making her appear a tad austere. This 42-year-old lady took a pride in the way she presented herself and looked the part of a senior school mistress.

“I think we’ll have you bent over the desk,” suggested Mrs Green, gently tapping the desk with the end of her cane. Showing no unfriendliness, just a matter of fact attitude. A job that needed to be done and she was going to do it.

With resistance, exhausted Lucy manoeuvred herself over the desk. With her state of undress and exposing her shapely bottom, a self-consciousness added to her woes. But her witness, Sarah, was enthralled with the process. She acknowledged the uncomfortable predicament of her colleague, but looked forward to the action that was about to unfold.

Mrs Green unbuttoned the sleeve of the cuff to her right arm and rolled it back.

“Hold tight,” she warned, just prior to unleashing a very firm first stroke slightly below centre of Lucy’s pert bottom.

“Ow! Ow! Ow!” cried out the beleaguered girl, but she bravely held her position.

The second stroke, no less ferocious, paralleled the first stroke but lower. Lucy gasped and wiggled her bottom trying to alleviate the scorching agony.

“Keep still, please Lucy,” commanded Mrs Green, and she delivered the third stroke expertly between the first two developing angry red lines.

“Too hard, Miss,” yelped Lucy as the sharp pain caused her to involuntarily raise her head and arch her back.

Taking a step back and giving Lucy a brief respite, Mrs Green answered. “I’m afraid it has to be hard. We want you taking away something to remember.”

The fourth and fifth strokes followed in rapid succession, evenly spaced and avoiding any overlaps. Lucy was now quietly sobbing and tears dribbled down her flushed cheeks. One more to go.

“37% was a disgrace, Lucy. I trust this spanking will encourage you to apply yourself with more effort next term.”

The final stroke found a vacant space between the developing swollen ridges and brought about a distressed howl from the recipient.

Lucy made no attempt to lift herself from the desk and lay there quietly crying. Sarah, startled by events, instinctively stepped forward and placed her hand encouragingly on Lucy’s shoulder.

“All over, Lucy. You may stand when you are ready,” advised Mrs Green. Not that Lucy noticed but Mrs Green was sympathetic and conciliatory.

As Lucy took time to compose herself, Mrs Green engaged in conversation with Sarah. They discussed their plans for the upcoming holidays and eventually turned their attentions to Lucy who had now put on her skirt, used copious tissues to mop up her tears and gently caressed her on-fire bottom. She was appalled at the distinct ridges she could feel decorating her bottom.

“Sorry Lucy. I hope we are not going to fall out over this, but it was done for your own good. If you want to get to university you really need to pass the maths exam.”

“I don’t want to go to university. I’m not clever enough. It’s all my mother’s idea just because she went to university,” snivelled Lucy.

“Lucy, Lucy, Lucy!” exclaimed Mrs Green. “That is so far from the truth. You are a bright, intelligent girl and well capable. So stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

Mrs Green opened her desk drawer, pulled out an A4 envelope and handed it to Lucy who was still sniffling and gently massaging her stinging bottom.

“These are maths test papers and I want you to look through them over the holiday.”

“So it will give you another chance to cane me if I don’t get the answers right?” sulked the despondent girl.

Mrs Green ignored the disrespectful response.

“I will discuss with your mother the next steps which might or might not include further painful consequences for you if we think it necessary. Now it just remains for me to wish you both a merry Christmas and happy New Year and let’s see what next term brings.”

The two girls left with Lucy struggling to put one foot in front of the other.

“That was tough,” remarked Sarah, who was still buzzing after witnessing the onslaught. Managing to remain supportive she made an offer to Lucy.

“You go back to your dormitory and I’ll pop over to the medical room and see if I can get some cold cream. I’m sure that will ease the pain. And I might even apply it for you.”

Lucy smiled for the first time today.

“Yeah. That would be nice.”

The End

© Robert Roberts 2024