“Good morning, girls!” I called breezily as I entered the classroom just after nine-thirty. I was met with a few: “Good morning, sirs,” and my ears just detected a couple of answers with ‘Harry’ inserted in place of ‘sir’. My name being Charles Harrison, it was hardly surprising the girls had soon nicknamed me ‘Harry’. Perhaps it was a little impertinent, but judging by the names some teachers were known by (behind their backs, of course), it wasn’t that bad for a class of fourteen girls in the first weeks of their Upper Sixth year.
“Please be seated.”
Trying to close my ears to the grating of metal chair legs on a wooden floor, I opened my chosen textbook and waited for order to descend. “Come along please, girls. We’ve a lot to get through this morning.”
“Oh, he’s so masterful!” A small dark haired girl grinned at her own humour.
“Thank you, Abigail.” I tried to sound authoritative, not always that easy for a twenty-six-year-old teacher in the first year of his career, and even less so when he’s one of only three male teachers in an all-girls school.
I heard another couple of remarks being passed but couldn’t catch exactly what was said or who said them, then decided to silence the ensuing tittering by beginning my lesson in a loud voice. It had the desired effect. Fifteen minutes later, I paired the girls off for a small bit of joint research and told the class to have their homework ready on their desks for me to collect.
The task seemed to interest the girls, and they worked in near silence as I walked round collecting the homework. I’d amassed five exercise books by the time I arrived at Sarah Holmes’ desk, noticeable by the absence of any homework for me to collect.
“Your homework please, Sarah?”
“Oh sorry, sir. I didn’t have time to finish it. I’ll get it done at lunchtime and let you have it first thing this afternoon?” Sarah Holmes, a small girl with blonde hair and seemingly little neck to support her head, smirked up at me from her chair.
“Not necessary, Sarah. I’ll take what you have completed and let you finish it this evening.”
“Ah, well. Actually, I haven’t been able to make much of a start on it either, sir.” Sarah had a rather unappealing, gloating smile at the best of times, and the present example wasn’t now helping my patience with her. In addition, a little bell was ringing in my head with enough volume to cause me to go to my desk and check the record.
“I thought so, Sarah,” I said, returning to her desk. “You failed to hand any homework in last Monday as well. Perhaps a demerit mark might help you get both batches of homework to me by first thing tomorrow.” That almost took the smile off her face. In fact, she looked quite red and embarrassed.
I continued collecting the exercise books.
“Homework please, Alison?”
“I’m afraid I haven’t been able to do it yet, sir.” At least the taller of the two, Alison Johnstone, appeared reasonably contrite.
“What? Not at all, Alison?”
“No, sir.” Alison’s straw-blonde shoulder length hair glistened in the sun shining through the window.
“Then you also need to get it to me by first thing tomorrow. Otherwise there will be a demerit mark for you too. Understand?”
Sitting back at my desk, I began to mark the homework while giving the girls another five minutes or so to complete the research task. Almost immediately I sensed a minor disturbance over to my left. My eyes fell upon Sarah Holmes, her left elbow planted firmly on her desk and her hand waving around in the air.
“Sir, that’s not fair!” Sarah spoke as soon as I looked in her direction.
“What’s not fair, Sarah?”
“Why do I get a demerit mark, and she doesn’t, sir?” Sarah held her hands out wide to emphasise her bewilderment at my decision. “Same offence, same punishment? Huh?”
Ignoring Sarah’s rather insolent manner, another of her less endearing traits, I answered her quietly and clearly. “You have forgotten to do your homework twice, Sarah. Hence your demerit mark.” Damn! I’d forgotten to mark it down. I did so immediately. “Alison, on the other hand, did remember her homework last Monday. Therefore, she has the chance to hand it in tomorrow and avoid a demerit mark. Okay?”
Sarah devoted her further complaining to her partner in the research, and I left her to it. I’d been initiated into the school’s system of demerit marks rather hastily on my first day at St. Winifred’s and didn’t really understand what they meant. By this time, I’d learnt enough to know they had to be recorded in the register and at the school secretaries’ office, but that was about it. I certainly felt a buzz of power as I handed my first one ever to Sarah.
* * *
Later, just after lunch, I was about to leave the dining hall when I was approached by Olivia Thomsett, the revered headmistress. “Ah, Charles. How are you getting on now you’ve been with us a few weeks?”
“Fine, thank you, Miss Thomsett.”
“Good. Good. Now, would you mind ever so taking a quick walk around the school buildings for us?”
“No, not at all, Miss Thomsett.” I was keen to assist, but perhaps stupidly didn’t have a clue why I was being asked to do this. “Am I looking for anything in particular?” I ventured.
“Misbehaviour, Charles! Misbehaviour!” the headmistress snapped and stormed off.
I felt a pat on my back. “Never mind, Charles. You’ll soon get the hang of it here.” I looked around and James Hartnett, a geography and humanities teacher nearing the end of his career, smiled encouragingly.
At least the sun was shining as I left the main school building via a side entrance. I strolled along the main driveway in front of the school, veered right around the large gymnasium, passed the dining hall that reeked of cabbage and stew, and was so enjoying the fresh air that I decided to take a look at the lower playing fields, parts of which were hidden from view to anyone inside the main building. That soon brought my pleasant meander to an end. In fact, I smelt trouble before I saw it.
“Girls! I might be new here, but even I know you are not permitted to smoke within the school premises.”
“Sir! We are eighteen, you know.” Charlotte Jenkins, a vivacious red haired girl, took another puff of her cigarette.
“Yes, lighten up, Harry. You’ve already done me once today for that silly homework thing.” Sarah Holmes also seemed quite unperturbed by my presence and continued smoking.
“Done you?” Charlotte’s eyes lit up. “What can you mean, Sarah?”
“Girls! I’m serious. Put those cigarettes out at once. At once. Do you hear me?”
“He’s putting on that voice again!” Charlotte smiled broadly. “Abigail simply loves it, you know.”
“Oh, so do I, Charlie!” Sarah reached into her pocket and pulled out a packet of cigarettes. “Want one, Harry?”
“Do I have to go and fetch Miss Thomsett? Do you really want me to drag her over here?”
“I think he’s having a humour blackout, Sarah.” Charlotte appeared less confident.
“Oh, Harry. We are Upper Sixth, you know.” Sarah still wasn’t worried.
“That does not entitle you to smoke in school, Sarah. And stop calling me by my first name, I mean my nickname. I mean…”
“Alright, Harry. Oh, gosh! Sorry, I mean, sir.” Sarah emphasised the word ‘sir’. “We ought to be getting back anyway.”
Both girls stubbed out their now spent cigarettes and stood up.
“I’ll take your cigarettes and matches please, girls.” I held out a hand.
“I already offered you one, Harry.” Sarah delved into her pocket again and held the packet out for me.
I took the packet from her. “And the matches please, Sarah.”
“It’s a lighter, actually,” Sarah sneered, more typically for her. She did hand me her lighter, though reluctantly.
“These aren’t cheap, you know.” The red haired girl also unwillingly handed over her cigarettes and a cheap lighter.
“Are you going to search us, Harry?”
“No, I shall leave that to Miss Thomsett, Sarah.”
“Oh, come on, Harry! You can’t both confiscate our cigarettes and report us to the headmistress. That’s not fair,” Charlotte protested.
By now, we were walking back towards the main school building.
“I really have no choice, Charlotte.”
“You do realise that Miss Thomsett will cane us, don’t you, Harry? That’s six hard strokes, Harry!”
“Really? I didn’t know that, Charlotte.” The news did surprise me, even though I knew corporal punishment was used.
“I’ll get eight, Harry,” Sarah added. “That’s because of that demerit mark you gave me this morning.”
“Eight?” Charlotte almost shrieked. “God, that’s going to be bloody painful, Sarah.”
“I know,” Sarah confirmed.
“Girls, there really isn’t much I can do about that. Miss Thomsett herself sent me on this duty.”
“I bet the other teachers wouldn’t say that,” Charlotte retorted.
“No, especially the male teachers,” Sarah added.
“This is an old school, you know, Harry. There are, well, certain traditions.”
“What do you mean, Charlotte? What old traditions?” Even after only a few weeks into the job, I already knew the school relied rather heavily on its old ways of doing things, although I didn’t actually have a clue what Charlotte was talking about. I was also very conscious these two sixth form girls knew far more about such things than I did.
“Well, for a start, it really isn’t the done thing for a teacher to get sixth form girls into trouble like this.”
“What else am I supposed to do, Charlotte? You should not have been smoking.”
“Technically, no. But as long as we sixth form girls are discreet, we normally are allowed to get away with it.”
“Really? I somehow doubt Miss Thomsett will see it that way, you know.”
“Maybe not, but I don’t think you realise just how embarrassing it’s going to be for us going around all afternoon with sore arses.”
“Sore ars… I mean, sore backsides? Really?” My mouth went dry.
“Yes really, Harry,” Sarah added. “Especially me, with eight strokes.”
“Well, I’m sorry, girls, but what other choice do I have?”
“You could follow the example of the other teachers, Harry.”
“Which would be what, exactly?” I was suspicious, but only because I was thinking Sarah would come up with some minor punishment to get herself out of a caning, and I was actually quite keen on the idea of Sarah being caned, for various reasons.
“They would normally punish us themselves, discreetly, Harry.”
“Yes, so the whole school doesn’t get to know. I don’t think you understand how embarrassing it would be for us as sixth formers if the whole school found out we’d been caned. We’d be thoroughly humiliated, especially by the younger girls.”
“That’s hardly my responsibility, Sarah. I can’t let that influence my decision.”
“Oh, Harry!” Charlotte exclaimed. “How can you be so mean?”
I swallowed. I liked Charlotte and wouldn’t want to cause her undue humiliation. I wasn’t anywhere near so sure of my feelings about Sarah. “Well, I’m sorry, but…”
“Oh, come on, Harry! Stick with the school tradition! Please!” Charlotte begged.
“Which is what, exactly?”
“Well,” Sarah took over again, exhibiting a slightly cheeky and self-satisfied grin. “You know the room next to the gymnasium where the teachers change for games? It’s on the opposite side of our changing rooms.”
“I know of it,” I answered doubtfully, having never actually used the room myself.
“Well, most teachers would arrange to meet us there after school.”
“Really?” This sounded most odd.
“Yes. Then they’d send us into our changing rooms to change into our gym kit.”
“I don’t take girls for games, Sarah,” I interrupted.
The two girls smirked at each other.
“You don’t have to, Harry. Don’t worry.”
“Right.” I was even more perplexed.
“Then we all go into the teachers’ changing room, where you’ll see there’s a table and a row of metal lockers. Inside the third locker, on the top shelf, you’ll find a large slipper.”
“Right.” I began to see where this was leading. “And then…?”
“And then you can spank our bottoms to your heart’s content!”
My heart pounded. Something inside me was screaming for me to ignore this little story and march them both straight to Miss Thomsett. Charlotte, who I got on well with, was an attractive and fit girl. Sarah was hardly unattractive herself, and I was so wishing to see her have her bottom smacked.
“So, you want us all to meet at this room in the gymnasium at four o’clock, do you?”
“It is the tradition, Harry,” Sarah stressed.
“Absolutely, Harry,” Charlotte confirmed.
By now we were nearing the school building, and I had to make a decision quickly. I needed more time to think, but I couldn’t prevaricate any longer.
“Okay, it’s a deal.”
“Oh, great! Thanks, Harry!” Sarah looked like she might leap up and kiss me. Thankfully, with the school building so close, she resisted.
“Yes, thanks for that. That’s great.” Charlotte, too, seemed genuinely grateful.
* * *
I found it hard to concentrate during the earlier part of the afternoon, and during the mid-afternoon break, I buttonholed James Hartnett.
“James, have you got a moment?”
“Of course, old boy. What can I do for you?” We continued walking slowly towards the staff room where our cups of tea would be waiting.
“I’ve heard a little rumour that sometimes girls are punished by members of staff rather than get them in trouble with the headmistress. Is there any truth in that?”
James burst out laughing. “I don’t think you need me to tell you the risks attached to that little idea, do I, Charles?” He sensed my disappointment. “Does it happen? Of course it does. Just make sure you can trust the girls involved. That’s all I’d say.”
As I sipped my tea in the staff room, I was lost to the conversations going on around me and even more uncertain about what I should do about Charlotte and Sarah.
“No problems with your lunchtime patrol I hope, Charles?”
“Sorry?” I looked up. “Oh, no. No, none at all, Headmistress,” I answered without thinking, inadvertently burning any bridges left open to me.
I struggled through the final lessons of the afternoon and rued the moment when the bell sounded to announce the end of the school day. As girls and staff hastened to get off home, I sank into my chair in my form room in the hopes that no one would notice me or find a need to speak to me. In next to no time, I found myself alone. I had to make a decision. Do I leave too, or do I go along to the gymnasium?
The corridor remained deserted as I walked, heart in mouth, to the gymnasium door. With no sign of Charlotte or Sarah, I carefully pushed the door open and peered inside. There was no one around. Curious about Sarah’s description of the teachers’ changing room, I looked at the door opposite.
That curiosity soon began to get the better of me, and anyway, what harm could be done by having a quick peek? I entered the gymnasium and went over to the door to the left, listening carefully to ensure no one was using the room. As an extra precaution, I tapped gently on the door. There was no reply.
Pushing the door gently open, the scene inside was much as Sarah had described. The room was small, with a bench and some pegs to the left. A row of five lockers lined the right hand wall, and at the far end was a simple wooden table placed end towards the wall.
Sticking my head back out of the door, I saw that I was still alone. Perhaps Charlotte and Sarah had thought better of this silly idea. While I was there, though, what harm could there be in checking the locker Sarah had mentioned? Was it the third locker Sarah had referred to?
Inside the room, I approached the appropriate locker and opened the door as quietly as I could. There was indeed a shelf at the top, although too high up for me to look at the contents. I reached up to search around, and within a moment my hand felt the canvas and rubber form that was so indicative of a large plimsoll.
I looked round again, checking to see that no one had crept inside the room. They hadn’t. I pulled the slipper off the shelf and found myself holding a size twelve, rather grubby, old white plimsoll whose sole was worn perfectly smooth. Taking it in my right hand, I practised a couple of strokes on an invisible victim. It felt remarkably good. More importantly, it seemed to confirm all that Sarah had said.
A slight squeal of a door opening practically gave me heart failure. It had to be the door to the gymnasium.
“Harry?” a female voice whispered cautiously.
“Oh, there you are.” Charlotte poked her head inside the small room. “We’ve spent the whole afternoon worrying you’d changed your mind and reported us to Miss Thomsett. We’ve been expecting the dreaded summons at any moment.”
“No, no I couldn’t do that,” I replied. “Although if you’d prefer we could…”
“No, no!” Charlotte interrupted. “No, this is fine. As you can see, we’ve brought our games kit, and I see you’ve been busy getting the slipper out.”
“Do you really need that?” I asked. “The slipper is a bit grubby but it shouldn’t make your uniforms too dirty.”
Charlotte and Sarah looked at each other and burst out laughing.
“What’s so funny?”
It took a moment or two for the laughter to die down, at least to the point someone could give me a coherent answer.
“As you’re new, we’ll be kind to you,” Charlotte spoke. “You’re supposed to send us into the changing room and order us to change into our gym kit. That’s our white shorts and pale blue sports shirts. You tell us not to wear anything under our shorts.”
“Right.” I knew I sounded as naïve as I truly was.
“Durr! No knickers?” Sarah sneered typically. “Less protection for our bottoms when you whack us?”
“Oh, I see!” I felt myself blushing.
“Well, go on then,” Charlotte prompted.
“Eh? Go on, what?”
“The changing room?”
This had all the appearance of a little game, one that I was fast losing all control of. I attempted to put on a stern voice. “Okay. Off you go, into the changing room and change into your gym kit.”
I coughed. “And please don’t wear anything under your shorts.”
“That doesn’t sound very strict.”
“Just do it, girls!”
Charlotte and Sarah left the room, and I breathed a sigh of relief. They were gone for over five minutes, during which time I practised any number of strokes, swishing the slipper into thin air and began to muse over the positioning of the wooden table. Why had it been placed end on towards the wall? Presumably to enable girls to be bent across it.
“We’re back.” I heard Charlotte announce from behind me. I looked round and saw both girls wearing very short and very tight white shorts under their pale blue games shirts. Black plimsolls with no socks adorned their feet.
“Right,” I said. “Charlotte, perhaps you’d like to go first, please.”
“Hold on, Harry. How many are we getting? I think we ought to be sentenced to our punishment first, don’t you?”
“I assumed it would be six.”
“That’s fair,” Charlotte confirmed. “Yes, that’s okay.” She slid past me and stood at the end of the table. “Ready when you are.”
Leaving Sarah to stand on her own by the door, I followed Charlotte and gripped the large, old white slipper firmly in my hand. “Okay?”
“I was waiting for the traditional command, Harry.”
“Eh? The traditional…? Oh, right. Yes. Please bend over, Charlotte.”
Charlotte shook her head at my innocence. “What are we going to do with you, Harry?” Then she leaned down and bent across the table, hands grasping either side. My attention, though, was on the sight of her trim bottom straining against the thin white shorts.
“You’re supposed to spank it, not admire it, Harry,” Sarah commented from behind me, and Charlotte giggled.
I suddenly felt very hot and flustered and fidgeted around trying to get into the ideal position to administer the punishment. When finally I reckoned I’d got it right, I swung the slipper back and delivered a firm whack to the seat of Charlotte’s shorts.
“Ow! Steady on, Harry, that hurt!”
“Isn’t that the general idea?” I queried, doubtful the stroke was as harsh as Charlotte was implying. “We could still go to Miss Thomsett.”
“Just carry on, Harry.” I complied with Charlotte’s wishes and hit her again with an equally hard stroke.
My third stroke hit Charlotte firmly across her left buttock, while the fourth struck the opposite side of her bottom soon after.
My fifth stroke struck the centre of the attractive bottom, low down so it almost pushed Charlotte forward into the table. I paused, disappointed this punishment was nearing its end, then unleashed a really hard stroke that hit Charlotte’s bottom in much the same area.
“Ooooowww! God, that smarts!”
“Okay, you’re done. Up you get, Charlotte.” I turned to Sarah, who was beginning to look slightly less happy about being punished. “Sarah?”
The two girls exchanged places, Charlotte giving me a glare as she passed.
“Bend over, Sarah.” I was beginning to get the hang of this.
Sarah half bent across the table before she looked round. “Can I take an extra whack and be let off the demerit mark, Harry?”
“When we were thinking along the lines of Miss Thomsett caning you, wasn’t it two extra for the demerit mark, Sarah?”
Sarah scowled. “Okay, two extra.”
“Yes, you may, Sarah. Now, bend over. Right down!”
Did Sarah realise I didn’t have a particular fondness for her? Did she sense I was looking forward to giving her a good spanking? She certainly bent right down, braced herself by gripping the edges of the table, and thrust her bottom well out.
The first stroke was indeed very firm, possibly a little firmer than I had actually intended.
“Ouch!” The cry sounded very genuine.
Sarah’s bottom was just that little bit more rounded, even more inviting than Charlotte’s, at least when it came to whacking it with a slipper, and the second stroke hit home rather more sharply.
“Eeesh!” Sarah responded with genuine-sounding feeling, such that pangs of guilt began to filter into my thoughts. Thus, my third stroke hit the waiting bottom with a dull thud that lacked any venom.
“Go on, Harry. Spank her bum! She can take it,” Charlotte encouraged me, perhaps concerned Sarah might end up not having her fair share of the punishment.
“Shut up, you!” Sarah retaliated.
“Girls! Any more of that, and I’ll be increasing the punishment,” I announced. “For both of you!”
Before either girl could comment, I administered a good firm whack to the seat of Sarah’s tight white shorts.
“That’s better,” Charlotte whispered.
“One extra stroke for you, Charlotte!” I said it almost instinctively, becoming a little irritated by Charlotte’s running commentary.
“Oh!” Charlotte exclaimed.
“Serves you right,” Sarah told her.
I silenced them both with another sharp stroke applied to Sarah’s bottom.
“Uun!” She grunted.
I applied the slipper, firmly, to Sarah’s left and right buttocks in fairly rapid succession.
“Oooh!! Ooow!!” she squealed.
All too soon, we were nearing the end of Sarah’s punishment, and I drew the slipper well back before sending a final really hard stroke crashing across the girl’s bottom.
“Yeeeeoww!! That really hurt!” Sarah berated me.
“It was meant to,” I answered her. “Now, up you get. Charlotte needs the table to bend over again.”
“Oh, Harry! You’re kidding.”
“No. Come along. Bend back over the table, Charlotte.”
“You’re going to whack me really hard like that last one of Sarah’s, aren’t you?” Charlotte looked at me anxiously as she and Sarah once again changed places, Sarah now frantically rubbing her bottom.
“It will be a firm stroke, Charlotte. I’m afraid it will.”
“Okay, I know I overstepped the mark. I’m sorry.” Charlotte hesitated, presumably thinking her apology might be sufficient for me to rescind her extra stroke. I remained there grasping the slipper resolutely.
Finally, Charlotte became resigned to her fate. “Let’s get it over with,” she said as she bent back over the table and thrust her bottom out. The little white shorts seemed stretched even more tightly as I swung the slipper well back.
“Aaaahhh!!” she squealed as I swept the slipper down with about as much strength as I could muster while keeping the slipper on target for the centre of the waiting bottom.
“Okay, that’s it,” I announced as Charlotte slowly got back up and began rubbing her bottom furiously.
I put the slipper back on its shelf in the locker, and when I turned, I found both girls side by side looking at me.
“Thanks, Harry,” Sarah said.
“Yes, thanks Harry. Much better than the cane from Miss Thomsett.”
“Oh, yes. Firm but fair.” Charlotte seemed to have the glint back in her eye.
Sarah nodded in confirmation.
“Not too bad, then?”
“Enough, actually,” Sarah answered. She seemed to have something else to say, but a nudge in the ribs from Charlotte shut her up.
I felt exhausted. “Best get changed and off home, girls.”
I watched the two girls leave the room, then sat down on the edge of the table. I wasn’t alone for long.
“There’s a man who looks like he enjoyed himself!”
I looked up and saw James Hartnett framed in the doorway. “James?”
“Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me.” The older man smiled back. “What did you use on them?”
“The slipper, of course,” I replied.
“The one on the top shelf?”
“Yes. Sarah Holmes told me it was there.”
“I bet she didn’t mention what was hanging on the hook lower down in the locker?”
“No, she didn’t.” I frowned in my ignorance.
James Hartnett beckoned me towards the locker. “Take a look.”
I peered inside as he held the door open. All I saw was an old black cloak, something I’d noticed earlier and ignored.
“Move that cloak aside,” he told me. “Now that’s what I’d have used on them.”
I pulled a slender cane out of the locker.
“Don’t worry, old boy. You’ll learn!”