Many months had passed by since I last stood outside his study door, my heart pounding in my chest, I gave the door two knocks. No answer. I raised my clenched hand to knock again when the door opened and I pulled my hand down to my side.
'Well well, what do we have here? the headmaster asked rhetorically.
'Come in boy,' his tone slightly softer than I had anticipated.
Standing as I was with head bowed and hands nervously held together behind my back, the long catalogue of infractions being read out to me made my stomach churn over as I knew what lay ahead. Indeed he had told me in no uncertain terms the last time, that I faced a severe thrashing should I be called to his study again
'I'll waste no more of my time with you boy, get those trousers down and get over my desk', the tone much harsher now.
'We'll start with twelve strokes of the strap boy, you know what to do,' he said as he lowered my pants.
Counting each one but being careful to give myself enough recovery time between strokes, we had reached 'ten sir,' when there came a knock at the door.
Not bothering to hide my modesty, the headmaster opened the door and in walked a pair of black stockinged legs. The clack of heels quite loud on the wood flooring. My view impaired by my position, the legs went out of sight behind me.
'This is the miscreant boy Miss Jeanie, you can have his full attention as soon as I have finished with him.'
Oh crap! Miss Jeanie. The supply teacher on who's blackboard I wrote, 'Have lamp, will travel' under her name only yesterday. But surely she couldn't know it was me?
I was musing this as no: 11 arrived and made me jump and a little 'ouch' escaped.
Although it was hot and sore, especially where the end of the strap had struck, my bottom was not too painful. Yet.
'Twelve sir, thank you sir', I said, a slight relief in the 'thank you sir' being noticeable.
'Now, I have asked Miss Jeanie here to witness your caning today because I feel that she would benefit from seeing how we deal with boys like you. Boys that only understand corporal punishment.'
It was only an instinct, a feeling, but I could inwardly see Miss Jeanie smiling as headmaster said these words.
The swish of rattan cut the air as his footsteps got nearer and I clasped the desk top in readiness for the inevitable searing pain that was about to be imparted on my bare bottom.
'Twelve strokes boy, do not forget to count!' he said as he tapped my left cheek lightly with his cane.
It always surprises me, the suddenness and then the increase in pain that a cane stroke brings. That almost uncontrollable urge to yelp as it hits home. Although it is impossible not to hold your breath for a few seconds as each burning stripe buries itself deeper and deeper into your bottom. Remembering the count can be equally difficult as your brain tries to deal with the assault of pain, nay agony, of twelve hard cane strokes.
The sweat now trickled slowly down my forehead and my fingers becoming numb from unconsciously gripping the desk top, I had reached my limit of endurance by the eighth. My howls and pleads of 'please sir' completely ignored, the remaining strokes became a blur as the tears ran down each side of my nose.
My rib cage palpably heaving and the tears and sweat now glistening in pools on the desk top, I lay my head to one side. It was over.
The presence of Miss Jeanie forgotten, I eased myself upright and staggered slightly as I gingerly pulled up my pants. From behind her voice startled me and as I turned to face its' source, her words registered.
'Who told you to pull up your pants boy?'
Oh no, surely not, not more, please god.
It was at this point that the headmaster suddenly left the room, saying nothing.
Standing rather pathetically and now facing her, my hands instinctively infront of my groin, she instantly resembled a young Audrey Hepburn.
A fact I hadn't noticed until this moment. Sharp jawline and dark, very dark eyes. Jet black hair pulled back and tight against her head. My eyes barely able to meet hers, she took one step towards me.
'Well, I'm waiting,' her voice soft yet menacing.
'Please miss, my punishment is over, can I go now?'
Seemingly ignoring my answer, she half turned to her right, then with no warning or inkling, span back, her hand exploding a smack across my face. The buzz and sting appearing almost together on my left cheek. I tried to answer but my throat was blocked.
'I know that it was you who wrote on my blackboard, so I will do a deal with you young man.' She continued, her dark eyes now ablaze with light.
'You will take twelve more strokes of the cane now,' the emphasis being on 'now', 'or you will see me later at my home.'
The buzz in my left ear and the tears now appearing from the corners of my eyes made me hesitate. Her right hand ostensibly rising in slow motion, I quickly blurted out, 'later, later miss.'
'Good boy,' her hand now dropping and a slight, yet unnerving smile played on her red lips.
Brushing past me and bending slightly over headmasters desk, she wrote something on a card then spinning round, handed it to me saying, 'eight o' clock sharp, do not be late.'
And with that, she lifted my downturned face with one finger under my chin, her eyes burning black.
'Do not let me down!' her breath warm and close.
I.D. working overtime...........Gary.