Since you all enjoyed Barrister Larry’s story last week, I’ve decided to post another, this time written by me. This story grew out of an email conversation with Abel. At the time, I’d offered it as a plot suggestion, but he suggested I write the story myself and since the idea stuck in my head and refused to leave, I finally had to give in and do so. I am not a writer of fiction, so this was a bit of a struggle for me, but I hope you get some fun ideas from it, at least.
Susie had meant to write the paper. Really she had. Just like she had meant to go straight home after classes got out for the day. But she hadn’t, had she? And that was where all the trouble began.
Looking back, she could pinpoint exactly where it had started, when Toby caught up to her after eighth period history. He raced ahead of her, leaning his lanky frame against her locker, that gorgeous smile crinkling the corners of eyes the color of molten chocolate and in that brief moment her fate was sealed. He’d invited her – HER – to join him and his friends down at the dock that evening. She’d said yes, of course she had. Freshmen were hardly ever invited to the dock, which was only the most popular hangout for the upper class boys and girls.
Susie had walked on air the whole way home. Now, three days later, she winced with the idea of that same walk home. But then, oh, then her head had been filled with plots and plans: what to wear, how to sneak out unnoticed, how to sneak back in unnoticed, for that matter. She’d settled on the little red dress she’d picked up last week “just in case” and an even smaller black bikini for under. It was almost summer after all, the water would be warm and inviting, and she wanted to be prepared.
Getting in and out of her parents’ home had been easier than she’d suspected. Everything had been easy that night, starting with how the cheap foamy beer – her first – had slid down her throat, soothing not only thirst but nerves as well. After that it hadn’t been so hard to breach the inner circle. Susie was naturally outgoing and with Toby paving the way she’d made fast friends with the other kids.
Susie was sure it was some combination of the beer and her desire to win Toby’s affections that had had her slipping out of not only the little red dress, but the bikini too, when the rest of the group stripped down and jumped into the lake. The water was warm and welcoming against her skin and its dark depths hid her nakedness as its gentle lapping combined with the alcohol to ease away any lingering doubts she may have had. Not that any doubts could have lingered when Toby swam up to her, smiling that crinkly smile of his before lowering those same lips to her mouth in another first. His taste had been an intoxicating blend of beer, lake water, and something entirely masculine that Susie struggled to describe even as she went back for more.
It was hours later, as the beer buzz was subsiding and the group began breaking up and heading home that Susie remembered the unfinished paper due in tomorrow’s – no, make that today’s – third period English class. There was no way she could have finished it that night, she still had half her reading left before she could even begin writing. What beer was left churned sickeningly in her stomach as she’d considered and rejected excuses (my dog ate it, my backpack was stolen on the way to school, my computer crashed just as I was printing the final draft?). Mr. Marcs would surely see through each one, see through her, and then – what? Would the world end? Her academic life, perhaps. A failing grade on this paper would drag down her final grade in the class, no doubt. It was unlikely she’d be able to pull off an A after this, and she needed every A she could get if she wanted a chance at her first choice university in four years.
It had hardly seemed fair, all this fuss over one paper, one little night out. She deserved some fun too, didn’t she? So it didn’t seem too terribly wrong to take Jax, one of Toby’s closest friends, up on his offer to let her copy his paper from last year. He’d had the same topic, all Freshman did, but his class had been taught by Mr. Grenish not Mr. Marcs. At the time it had seemed such a simple solution. No one would know, and though some small part of her whispered that it was not entirely on the up and up, it was drowned out by the notion no one would be hurt by such a small fib – no harm, no foul.
Only now someone was going to be hurt. And that someone was her.
Susie stared glumly down at the paper Mr. Marcs had just passed back to her. It had been three days since she’d turned it in – only taking the time to swap out her name for Jax’s on the cover page. Clearly her mistake had been in not asking Jax what grade he had gotten on the paper. Or perhaps Mr. Grenish was more lenient when it came to marking up the papers of his freshman class. Lenient was something Mr. Marcs had not been. Every page was covered in red marks, the likes of which Susie – normally a top notch student – had never seen. The grade glaring up at her in bold red ink was not so very far away from the failing one she had worried over just days earlier.
So caught up was she in her bout of self pity that Susie missed Mr. Marcs’ first two attempts to garner her attention. By the third time he called out her name his tone was decidedly clipped and rife with equal measures frustration and severity. “Ms. Grainger, if you are quite ready to rejoin the class, I should like to discuss the travesty of grammar you submitted in lieu of an appropriate paper for your latest writing assignment.” Susie’s head snapped up at her teacher’s tone and then just as quickly ducked in shame as the meaning of his words settled around her.
A hush descended on the classroom as her fellow students peered from the stern Mr. Marcs to the blushing girl and back again. They had all heard stories of course – rumors of a paddle, kept close at hand in his desk drawer, used harshly on any student foolish enough to cross or disappoint him. But while Mr. Marcs may have been a firm teacher, he was also fair, and that combined with his reputation ensured that almost no student was silly enough to do either. Now, it appeared, Susie would be the first of the freshman to feel his wrath as her fellow classmates watched with equal parts horror and fascination.
For Susie, the rest happened in a blur: Mr. Marcs’ scathing critique of her paper, right there in front of everyone; her own stammered apologies, followed by promises to do better in the future; and finally the moment when he called her to stand in front of the class – “Do bring your paper Ms. Grainger, if we can call it that, so that the other students may learn from your mistakes.”
The sound of her chair scraping back as she stood echoed across the quiet classroom, followed by the soft scuffling of shoes as Susie moved reluctantly toward her fate, the traitorous paper clutched tightly in one dampening palm. Susie might have been relieved that every student’s eyes were glued to Mr. Marcs as he stepped to his cupboard, rather than her own shameful trip down the aisle, if only his purpose hadn’t been to retrieve the large paddle he now held. So large – so terrifyingly large to a girl seeing it for the first time – that it was immediately clear to all why it hadn’t been tucked away in some dark recess of his desk drawer as the rumors had held. It simply wouldn’t have fit.
“Right then, Ms. Grainger,” the words sliced through her tumbled thoughts as Susie stepped forward, startling her out of her fearful reverie and into an even more unpleasant reality, “please bend forward, right over the desk you go.” It took her a moment to gather her courage before placing herself across the large desk, and even still she had to bite back a whimper as she felt it’s hard surface beneath her and a cool breeze behind as Mr. Marcs lifted her skirt up and out of the way.
Her mind swam, trying to understand how this had happened. Just three days ago she had been a grown woman, kissing Toby in the moonlit water, and now… now… Susie couldn’t remember feeling more like a little girl, on display for the whole class, about to be… no, she couldn’t even think the word and yet…
“I believe one stroke for each mistake on your paper will be sufficient.” Susie gasped, remembering once more the paper still tucked into her fisted hand. The paper she had copied. The paper covered in dozens of red marks. “Now, usually I have students unfortunate enough to find themselves in this position count each stroke after it is applied, however in this case I think we’ll have you count each mark aloud to help this lesson sink in. Each count will be followed by a stroke, do you understand?” “Yes, Sir.” “Oh, and Susie?” “Yes, Sir?” “You don’t want to lose count. You may begin now.”
Susie trembled as she smoothed the paper down on the desk, just inches from her face, and looked into the sea of red ink marking its displeasure across the page the way Mr. Marcs’ paddle would soon mark his displeasure across her bottom. She had scarcely to scan three lines before finding the first angry red slash – demarking an improperly placed comma – and counted out “One.” The paddle fell quickly, declaring itself with a loud crack that echoed through the shocked silence of the classroom. It took a moment for the full import of the stroke to settle in, burning itself across the flesh tightly encased her white school panties; another moment for the shock to wear off and the full realization that she was being paddled in front of the entire class by her favorite teacher to set in. How would she look him, any of them, in the eye again?
Mr. Marcs’ cleared his throat impatiently. “You haven’t forgotten the count already, have you?” That raised a snigger from the class, and Susie ducked her head, as much to hide her embarrassment as to focus on the paper in front of her. She found the next mark easily enough, as it came a mere paragraph after the first – a misspelled word this time, and counted out a shaky “Two.” Another searing stroke landed, identically placed to the first so that the burning built on itself in a painfully foreboding way.
Susie tried not to imagine the other students staring, their eyes focused on her bottom which jumped dutifully under each stroke as she continued to count out Jax’s mistakes as her own. By six, it was easy not to think of them. In fact it was impossible to think of anything save the horrible pain, flashing hot and heavy across her bottom with each crack of the paddle and then settling into a deep and throbbing ache as she searched the page for her next red mark, calling out the count that would bring the paddle crashing down again. By ten, tears pricked her eyes and her voice waivered as she called out the next number, and the next.
After twelve there was a pause – the room so silent that you could hear her labored breathing and the rustling of paper as she dragged the first page of the paper back, revealing a second page, equally marked. “No, please, Sir! I’ve learned my lesson, really.” Mr. Marcs glanced down at the girl, skirt tucked up, the white of her panties barely hiding the bright red blush staining her bottom cheeks. Her hair was mussed and her face, when she turned it to the side, showed a trace of tears glimmering in her eyes. His heart ached, a moment, knowing this was a particularly tough lesson for her to learn. But learn it she must, so he only tapped her lightly with the paddle in encouragement and bid her to continue.
Susie peeked down at the page and grimaced at the next mistake – the misuse of your/you’re. Someone deserved to be spanked for that, though it seemed terribly unfair that it would be her. It appeared that Mr. Marcs also took this error particularly to heart, as the thirteenth stroke was the hardest he had given her yet and caught her fully across the juncture where bottom met thighs, driving a muffled cry from her lips. By the sixteenth, tears slipped freely down her face, blurring the words on the paper as they fell, though sadly not obliterating the red slashes and circles that mocked her with each count and stroke.
By twenty, when she had reached the end of page two, her bottom was bright red where it peeked from around her panties and glowed hot and bright beneath the thin material as well. Again she begged, and again her pleas remained unanswered aside from a stern word from Mr. Marcs that she had earned every stroke and should be thankful to be provided the sort of education she seemed to so frivolously dismiss. The twenty-first stroke, along with Mr. Marcs’ stern words, shot straight to her heart and dragged a sob from her throat. She may not have written any of the words she was now being punished for, but wasn’t that worse? If this was the penalty, it was certainly deserved. Not that that made it any easier to take.
The next stroke, delivered after a particularly high pitched cry which Mr. Marcs’ leniently accepted as her count, drove her hard into the desk with its force. She may only have had six mistakes on the third and final page of the paper, but her teacher seemed determined to make each one count. The twenty-third caught the underside of her bottom again, lifting her as it landed amidst more tearful pleas which she would certainly regret the next day, thinking back on how her classmates heard her beg and cry like the little girl to which she had been reduced.
After the twenty-fourth stroke, her hand flew back, covering the paddle’s target protectively and rubbing fiercely to relieve the unbearable sting. It took a few sharp words, and finally the threat of starting over, to convince her to pull her hand away. At this, Mr. Marcs’ took pity on the poor girl and told her simply to hold on to the edge of the desk for the remainder of her strokes. “You needn’t count these last few, Ms. Grainger, although I’ll have to double the two you had remaining for that little show of defiance.” The last four were delivered with merciful quickness, though Susie was hardly able to appreciate that as each landed harder than the one preceding and every one caused her to cry out.
It took a moment for Susie to realize it was over, though now that it was she was in no hurry to stand and face her classmates. She dangled a moment over the large wooden desk, willing the fire in her bottom to subside. Mr. Marcs allowed her a moment to pull herself together as he returned the paddle to his cupboard before bidding her to stand and straighten herself. No amount of straightening would smooth out the wrinkles in her once crisp shirt or sooth her red rimmed, tear stained eyes, but he nodded slightly in approval as she stood up tall, regaining her poise and courage as she put the ordeal behind her.
He gave her another moment to settle, then, looking sternly into her eyes, addressed the chastened girl before him. “I trust you have learned a valuable lesson, Ms. Grainger, on the importance I place on proper proof-reading?” Susie’s head dipped and her heart skipped as she whimpered out a soft “Yes, Sir.” “I must say, Susie, I was surprised to receive such a poor paper from you. You’re always one of my top students.” Again her heart skittered in her chest and again her voice shook. “Uhmm.. t..thank you, Sir?” “So surprised, in fact, that I mentioned it to my fellow teachers in the lounge yesterday.” Susie’s heart plummeted, he couldn’t know… could he? “You can imagine my shock and disappointment when Mr. Grenish took one look at your paper and told me it was an exact replica of a paper written by a Jax Bowfield for his class last year.”
If Susie had been hoping to forget the audience of her peers watching this exchange with rapt attention, the collective gasp that arose at Mr. Marcs’ revelation made it improbable. Her mind raced with the implications even as she stammered out apologies. Could he mean to punish her more? Hadn’t that been enough? Especially since it was clear he knew she hadn’t made a single one of the errors on that paper! No, her error had been even more egregious, she knew; a fact that was confirmed when Mr. Marcs’ hastily scribbled, then folded, a note and handed it to her along with the crumpled paper she had left laying on his desk. “I’m truly sorry to have to do this, Susie, but I can’t let this sort of behavior stand without consequences. Please take this note to the Headmaster immediately.”
Susie wasn’t sure where she had found the courage to collect her things and walk out of that classroom toward her next fate, the eyes of twenty curious students and one disappointed teacher following her every painful move. At least here, in the empty hallway, she was alone in her shame; kept company only by the scuffling sound of her shoes against the impeccably waxed floor and the thoughts flying through her head too quickly to discern but all focused on one thing: what would happen to her now? It took both too little time and far too long for her to reach the Head’s office, handing the note first to his secretary and then to the man directly once she was ushered inside. His office was the sort you saw at old institutions, full of deep dark wood and leather. Imposing, much like the man who stood before her – tall and broad and terribly stern.
Susie fidgeted as he read the note, his brow creasing as he turned his full attention toward the slight girl. “I shouldn’t need to tell you, Ms. Grainger, that our school looks very poorly on plagiarism. An offense like this is cause for expulsion or at the least suspension.” At this, Susie’s eyes widened into deep pools of blue, but before she could stammer out an apology, an excuse, anything, he continued. “However, Mr. Marcs describes you as an excellent student – one of his best. He feels it would be a shame to tarnish your record for one mistake, however grave, and given your academic success thus far I am inclined to agree. I can’t, however, allow this to go unpunished.” Relief flooded her with the news that at least she wouldn’t be tossed out, while nervous butterflies battered at her stomach at the thought of just how he planned to deal with her.
“Mr. Marcs’ says here that he punished you before sending you to me, is that true, Ms. Grainger?” Susie peeked up at the impeccable man before her and answered softly “Yes, Sir.” “And how did he do that, pray tell?” “He… he paddled me, Sir.” Perhaps that would be it, perhaps he’d let her off with time served? But no, even as she thought it, hoped it, she knew in her heart that it wouldn’t be that easy, shouldn’t be that easy. She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and looked up at her Headmaster as he spoke once more, sealing her fate. “Well then, Ms. Grainger, I assume you’re familiar with the position. Over the desk please, I think an even dozen should settle your debt, though I doubt it will be pleasant on top of Mr. Marcs’ handiwork.” And with that, he reached for the cane…