By Jean-Philippe Aubourg from Janus 154
Miss Prior collected the papers, announcing they would be returned the next day. The rest of that day passed in a similar fashion, with tests in all the subjects and a PE lesson that seemed designed to torture them. They were put through their paces in the gym with a series of star jumps, cartwheels and vaults. Some of the larger girls in particular were struggling by the end of the hour-long session, their bosoms heaving underneath the white cotton of their T-shirts, the navy-blue shorts stretched tight over their bulging bottoms as they jumped, stretched and ran.
Lunch on the first full day provided further proof of Matron’s intent to rule with an iron rod. Three of the girls announced they were not going to eat the liver they were presented with, no matter how many vitamins it contained. By the time the first girl, a blonde, had been unceremoniously upended across Matron’s lap, her skirt pulled up and her bottom slapped a couple of dozen times, the others had suddenly developed an appetite for cooked offal.
On the second day they were due to get their test results. Stephanie was not confident about any of them, especially Maths. It had been some years since she had passed her GCSEs and was sure even then she had not been taught about products and quotients, let alone the x and y of algebra. The first class was English and Miss Prior solemnly called all the girls up to her desk one by one to hand back their papers. Stephanie’s heart was pounding and her knees nearly bucked as she went to collect hers, as if this was a real school and these exams really mattered. ‘Well done,’ Miss Prior said, as she handed her the sheet, ‘not brilliant, but you didn’t disgrace yourself.’ Stephanie looked at her paper and saw she had scored forty-seven per cent. She breathed a sigh of relief as she walked back to her desk.
The final two to be called up were Amy, the bespectacled brunette, and Claire, a buxom blonde. They were given their papers and told to stay in front of the class. Once again all the blood drained from Amy’s face, and she stared at her plimsolls in excruciating embarrassment.
‘These two young ladies seem to need extra encouragement in this particular subject’ announced Miss Prior. ‘Twelve per cent and nine per cent respectively is NOT the standard of English I find acceptable. So there can be no misunderstanding about the levels I expect you to achieve, Amy and Claire are going to be the first to receive the kind of encouragement I find the most effective. Claire, please turn and face the blackboard, bend over my desk and lift your skirt.’
Claire gasped and Amy sobbed. The rest of the class were silent, every one of them glad not to be at the front of the room. For a second Claire looked defiant, but Miss Prior’s expression brooked no arguing. The dejected girl assumed the position, her big bottom straining to get out of the too-small knickers she had been vain enough to think fitted her.
Miss Prior picked up a plastic ruler, eighteen inches long, and flexed it between her perfectly manicured fingertips. ‘I think eighteen ought to get my message home,’ she said, tapping the expanse of flesh offered up to her. She lifted the ruler to shoulder-height, before bringing it down hard across Claire’s bottom. It cracked crisply, drawing a yelp from the abused girl Nevertheless she did not dare move, and stayed in place for seventeen more stingers.
By the time Claire was told she could stand up and cover her bottom Amy was in tears. She trembled as she took Claire’s place and her shaking fingers lifted her skirt clear. Stephanie genuinely felt for her, and winced with every stroke. Halfway through she glanced to Kate beside her. The cool brunette was smiling serenely, perfectly safe with her score of seventy-three per cent. Was that relief or possibly sadism at the sight of another girl’s suffering? Whatever it was, Stephanie did not think she cared much for Kate’s attitude.
As the snivelling pair were sent back to their seats Stephanie’s ears picked up noises from the next classroom. She was sure she heard the crack of an implement very much like Miss Prior’s ruler, followed by a high-pitched yelp. This did not look good for the rest of the day.
Indeed it was not. The same thing happened in every lesson, the two girls with the lowest scores getting spanked. Mr Gillespie used a twelve-inch wooden ruler to great effect in both French and Geography, Mr Davies had an old size-ten gym-shoe that he seemed to have been saving for just this task. Once again the unfortunate Amy found herself on the receiving end, coming bottom of the class in Maths, and had to lift her skirt for eighteen more hard strokes. This time Stephanie was more grateful than sorry for her, for she had come third from bottom, and knew it was only Amy’s ineptitude at the basic subjects of English and Maths that had saved her own buttocks from a beating. The Producer, whose History test had been a blur of dates and names to most of them, used a tennis-table bat to deal with the two dunces of his class, although he warned he could just as easily have spanked the whole class, so appalling had their performances been.
After games Stephanie caught up with Julie, and found she had tasted Mr Davies’ gym-shoe, after propping up the group in Science. She got the eighteen she was due, followed by two more for swearing when the first stroke had landed. She watched her language very carefully after that.
The girls settled into the routine as well as they could. Classes were long and dreary, and discipline seemed to be dispensed at the drop of a hat, indeed on one occasion when a girl dropped her hat during assembly it cost her a withering six from the Producer’s table-tennis bat right there and then, in front of the whole school, skirt up as always. Stephanie cringed in embarrassment for the unfortunate girl, wondering at the humiliation she must be feeling suffering such a public punishment.
Stephanie herself only fell foul of the rules once, when Mr Gillespie decided she and the rest of her team were not trying hard enough at netball, not a sport she had enjoyed at the best of times. They had to lower their shorts and bend forward over a bench in the centre of the gym. Taking up his trusty ruler, he applied it to each of their bottoms twelve times. The agony of the spanking was only just worse than the agony of waiting, as Stephanie lay third in line, hearing the first two girls being punished and howling in pain. As she rubbed her bottom and struggled to pull her shorts back over it, she vowed not to get herself in that situation ever again. She studied Kate, who seemed to be the only girl not to have had to bend over yet. It seemed to be a combination of hard work, a good base of knowledge and general sucking up to the staff. It had been no surprise when Kate had been made Head Girl at the start of week two.
One thing that did baffle Stephanie was Julie’s hair. By the start of the fifth week the deep crimson was showing no sign of fading. She seldom showed up in the common room after evening prep, when the girls gathered for the short period of relaxation they were allowed without fear of the slipper, ruler or bat. Stephanie put that down to the abrasive politics student not being able to make friends easily, so decided to seek her out in case she was lonely.
She tried Julie’s dorm, but she was not there. Stephanie was about to go back downstairs when she heard running water in the bathroom. Thinking it strange for anyone to be washing at that time of day, she went to investigate.
She walked in to find Julie, in her vest and knickers, her head dipped in the sink. A packet of hair dye was by the taps. Julie looked up. her face a picture of shock at first, then relief when she saw it was Stephanie. ‘God, you gave me a fright!’ she said.
‘What do you think you’re doing?’ Stephanie exclaimed.
‘I’m doing my hair,’ said Julie, matter-of-factly.
‘You know you were supposed to hand all that stuff in when we arrived! No hair products, no perfumes, no make-up! Where did you get that?’
‘I had a feeling they might try a stroke like that, so I hid it when the old bat wasn’t looking. Chucked it out the window into the guttering, then came back in the evening and got it. I’ve been keeping it under a floorboard beneath my bed ever since. My hair needs touching up at least once a week, and it’s been hell trying to find a time to do it when no one’s looking. I thought I’d been rumbled when you came in!’
‘You have been rumbled.’
Julie’s eyes widened as she looked over Stephanie’s shoulder. Stephanie herself swung round to see Kate. ‘Give me that hair dye, then get dressed. You’re coming with me to see Matron.’
Julie seemed to panic for a moment, then she laughed. ‘Very funny Kate,’ she said, ‘for a moment then I thought you were taking this Head Girl shit seriously. You should consider being an actress.’
‘I am being serious’ said the cool upper-crust beauty. ‘Do as you’re told.’
‘Like fuck, you stuck-up bitch!’ Julie spat back. ‘You may want to creep to these toffee-nosed tossers — I mean, you are one of them, aren’t you — but that’s not why I’m here. I came to prove this whole system was corrupt and pointless, even when it existed. As if the colour of my hair has anything to do with my intelligence.’
‘Well looking like a parrot hasn’t exactly helped your academic performance, has it.’
That was too much. With a scream of ‘You bitch!’ Julie launched herself at Kate. The Head Girl was knocked to the floor and Julie jumped on top, grabbing her pigtails and jerking her head from side to side. The dye dripped from Julie’s wet mop, spotting Kate’s immaculate white shirt.
‘Stop it!’ Stephanie yelled. She grabbed the straps of Julie’s vest and it was all the help Kate needed, using her superior weight to roll the working-class wildcat onto her back with a thud. Stephanie was caught off balance and landed beside her, feeling Julie’s vest being pulled away as she went. In a second Kate was sitting on top of Julie slapping and pinching her exposed breasts in revenge for her hair yanking. Stephanie scrambled to her knees and tried to wrestle Kate off, but the Head Girl had seen red and just pushed her away, before going back to torturing Julie’s nipples. Stephanie tried again with much the same result, and was giving it a third go when a booming voice stopped the struggle.
‘What on earth is going on here?’ Matron stared down at the grappling trio, with the other girls peering around her bulk in the doorway. Kate got her explanation in first.
‘Please Matron, I caught Julie using hair dye!’
‘You cow!’ Julie was obviously not going to deny it. She pushed Kate off her stomach and began to pull the ruined vest over her breasts as best she could, hand-prints and pinch marks clearly visible.
‘Then you should have come and got me, not attacked her!’ said Matron. ‘Look at what you’ve done! And you,’ she said, turning her fierce gaze on Stephanie, ‘what do you think you were doing?’
‘T-trying to stop them!’ squealed Stephanie. She at least felt her actions were justified.
‘And YOU didn’t think of coming to get me either? Do any of you have a brain?’
‘No Matron! Sorry Matron!’ Stephanie whimpered, suddenly feeling two feet tall.
‘Come with me, all of you. No Julie, you can come downstairs in your vest and knickers, this is too serious not to let the Headmaster know straight away.’ Straightening their own uniforms, Stephanie and Kate trudged after Julie and Matron, only vaguely aware of the whispering and giggling of the other girls, who parted like the Red Sea to allow them through.
The lecture they got in the study, with the Producer sitting imperiously behind his desk, was like nothing any of them had experienced before. Julie, of course, was caught bang to rights with contraband, and had started the fight. Kate tried to claim she was acting in self-defence, but her vicious revenge on Julie’s breasts, the damage to which he insisted on seeing for himself, proved she had gone too far. Stephanie felt hard done-by for being accused of joining in, but the Producer ignored her protestations, just as Matron had.
She thought all three were about to be expelled, and was certainly not surprised to hear Kate was no longer Head Girl. What she did not expect was to be told to follow the Producer to the hall.
She also did not expect to find the whole school assembled, girls and staff, just as they were every morning. Their own seats were empty. They were ordered onto the stage and told to face the front.
Tears of shame pricked Stephanie’s eyes, and she imagined how much worse it must be for Julie to be paraded in front of the entire school in her old-fashioned underwear. She sneaked a glance and saw teardrops streaming down her cheeks.
The Producer recounted the crime for the benefit of anyone who had not seen it, or heard about it by now. That must have been no one, but Stephanie imagined he was doing it for the humiliation factor, and was very glad when he came to the end of the story. Until, that is, he announced they would have to face the most severe punishment the school had on its books, short of expulsion.
They were told to turn around and face the large oak table that the Producer stood behind to read prayers every day. Lying in the middle was the cane Julie had told them about, a solid old-school cane, yellow and curve-handled, with knots at eight-inch intervals down its length.
Stephanie gasped. Julie sobbed. Kate gulped. All three went pale. There was a murmur from the rest of the school when the Producer picked it up and flexed it between his hands. He took his place left of the desk. ‘Bend forward, all three of you, and grip the opposite side.’
They could, of course, have refused and walked out there and then. They would have lost their fees, but when she thought about it afterwards Stephanie realised it had not been because of the money that she had gone along with it. She could only assume that she was by now so institutionalised she thought of herself as a pupil at a genuine school, and one in need of severe punishment. She wondered if Kate and Julie felt the same.
‘Matron?’ At the Producer’s command, the plump middle-aged woman approached the girls. Starting with Kate on the left, she lifted their skirts, moving over Julie in the middle who was not wearing hers. Stephanie winced as her green knickers were exposed. Then she heard a shriek from Kate and a gasp from the school as Matron moved back and pulled the disgraced prefect’s knickers down to her knees. The same was done to Julie and finally to Stephanie, and three bare bottoms stared out from the stage. Stephanie saw her friends’ knuckles whiten as they gripped the desk even tighter.
‘Twelve each, ladies,’ said the Producer. Stephanie heard Kate sob as the cane touched her bottom. Otherwise there was silence throughout the entire hall.
There was a swish, then a loud crack and the table lurched as Kate’s curvaceous body was forced momentarily forward. Her squeal of pain filled the hall, and had only just stopped echoing when the second stroke hissed down.
As she listened to stroke after stroke, each one drawing a louder cry from the former Head Girl, Stephanie thought back to how painful Mr Gillespie’s ruler had been during that notorious gym class. She realised this would be much worse.
Kate’s twelve had all been given, and she lay across the table, gasping for breath and crying in pain. Stephanie heard some of the girls in the assembly crying, and was grateful for their sympathy. Still others, she knew, would be enjoying the sight, possibly even smiling.
Julie was crying freely now, and pleaded with the Producer not to do it. ‘Please!’ she begged, ‘p-please don’t cane me! I won’t be able to take it! Give me detention for the rest of term, do whatever you like, but please — DON’T CANE ME!’ she wailed.
Her pleas were wasted. ‘If you hadn’t thought you could get away with bringing hair dye, none of this would have happened. It’s your fault Kate and Stephanie are being caned, so if they can take it, the least you can do is accept your share. Now shut up and keep still.’
Silence filled the hall once again tor a few seconds, until the first of Julie’s dozen landed. Her piercing scream and pitiful crying would have broken most hearts, and Stephanie honestly expected Matron to intervene on health grounds. Nothing happened. Nothing until the second stroke, which brought much the same response.
Julie practically screamed the place down as the Producer caned her at thirty-second intervals. Between ten and eleven, and again between eleven and twelve, he had to push Julie back down, as she made involuntary moves to escape. When he had finished she simply lay on the table, crying her eyes out into the highly-polished wood.
My turn. Stephanie’s brain raced, trying to find a mechanism to cope with the agony she was about to go through, but nothing in her life had equipped her to deal with this. She simply gripped the table as hard as she could, held her breath and closed her eyes, hoping she could get through it alive.
The cane tapped her bottom once, twice, as the Producer took aim. Then it disappeared and she braced herself. The hiss and crack arrived in her ears a microsecond before the pain. For that brief time she thought it had not been that bad, then she realised it really had been, in fact it was worse. She howled and jerked her head back, certain she could not take eleven more.
The second landed just above the first, and she yelled in response. The third was just below. The punishment went on like that, one up, one down, a new patch of flesh being scarred with each blow, until about the eighth. It seemed her bottom had reached its capacity, and the Producer was obliged to lay numbers nine and ten across the other weals. Stephanie was even less impressed with this tactic, and her screams became louder and more desperate. They came back to her from around the walls of the hall, just as stroke eleven landed in the line of one of its predecessors. Two more, just two more, she groaned to herself, as she gripped the desk even harder. Logically the worst was over, but as number eleven cracked home she honestly felt would rather get up and run away, with her knickers still at half-mast, rather than take that last stroke of the cane. Luckily she did not have time to put her plan into action before it landed, bringing a howl that was as much relief as it was pain and embarrassment. She felt Julie’s right hand grip her left in empathy, and looked over to see the redhead’s other hand was interlocked with Kate’s in the same way.
Their caning over, they were told to stay bent over the table. The other girls were filed out of the room, the line being diverted so they walked past the stage and all twenty-seven of them got a really close look at the angry red lines and raised skin of the three snivelling victims. They were clearly being made an example to everyone for the rest of the term When they were finally allowed up they were sent straight to bed, well ahead of the rest of the school. Stephanie just pulled the sheets over her head, hoping they would leave her alone. They did.
Three months later the Producer’s boss viewed the finished tapes. Academically, the programme had been a success — the exam results were awful, and the last O-level generation could feel equally smug about their degrees. The series also featured at least two scenes of corporal punishment in each of its four episodes, the triple caning being the highlight of the last. Clever editing made sure the company could not quite be legally accused of peddling pornography, not that it stopped accusations from the press and one particular MP, who watched every episode at least twice to make sure he knew what he was trying to ban.
‘So what happened to those three girls, the stars of the show?’ asked the senior exec over a particularly expensive lunch to celebrate selling the format to the US.
‘Stephanie’s coming to work for us,’ said the Producer. ‘She’s due to finish her media studies degree in a couple of months. Of course she’ll breeze it — who doesn’t? — but she’s actually got talent. I’ve asked her to be my PA, but I’m sure she’ll soon be ready for responsibility of her own.’
‘Excellent! I look forward to meeting her in the flesh!’
‘Julie’s dyed her hair green, and has a job lined up as a researcher for an MP.’
‘After all the publicity she got from the series? Which MP would want her in his office?’
‘The one who tried to have the programme banned and us shut down, claiming the girls were all actresses and the whole thing was faked to titillate middle-aged men. I think he’s in for a bit of a shock when he finds out how wrong he was, and what a raging Bolshevik she is.’
‘Two weeks of working in Westminster will soon knock that out of her. What about little miss public school?’
‘Kate had already graduated, so she was able to take up one of the job offers straight away.’
‘Really? I’ve not seen her on TV since then.’
‘You’ve not been watching in the right places. Here.’ The Producer picked up his briefcase. He carefully pulled out a video and handed it to his boss.
‘Don’t wave it about, it’s from the same place I got the one which started this whole thing.’
The exec examined it just below the table. Beaming from the sleeve was Kate, dressed in a parody of the uniform she wore in the show. She was bent over a traditional school desk, her skirt up and her knickers down. The arm of an unseen man was waving a cane over her bare bottom. She looked back at the camera with an expression of pantomime horror. Kate’s Eight for Being Late the exec read. Starring the one and only Kate, from TV’s…
‘Seems she always had a bit of a taste for it,’ the Producer explained, ‘that’s why she volunteered for the show, only she was too clever for her own good and almost got out without a single spanking. Now she’s the biggest star in that end of the adult entertainment market.’
‘Strange career choice — I wonder what sort of shelf life she can expect?’The Producer just shrugged, this time keeping his thoughts to himself. He knew Kate’s last caning for public consumption would be filmed this week. After next week she would be his wife, and his alone to chastise.