This is the story of Graham who has, and not for the first time, been caught out day dreaming in class. It so was hard not to Graham reasoned as Ms Smeet was impossible not to day dream about.
The big problem for Graham is that Ms Smeet sent him to Mr Hughes the previous time for the strap, “as a wake-up call” she said and it worked for a time. But it has now only been a short while later that he’s been caught again so Ms Smeet is going to show the whole class how she deals with repeat offenders. Not only that, with this turn of events Ms Smeet will make an offer to the class that will answer some questions and leave a few more hands red and stinging.
Called Out - Again
“GRAHAM,” said his teacher sharply from the front of the room in exasperation, her cross voice shrill and loud, cutting through the classroom making the other students jump.
Suddenly all activity stopped, all sound stopped. It was impossible not to know when Ms Smeet was angry. The other students, though usually quiet in Ms Smeet’s class now turned to statues so that even the gentle sounds of movement, the sounds writing of breathing almost, were stilled as total silence descended.
Graham for his part had been in another time and space, day dreaming about his teacher the formidable Ms Smeet, the focus of much of his fantasy since he’d started sixth form with her only a few short weeks prior. She was new to the school this year so he’d not known what to expect. On the first day in class they’d all found her to be extremely strict, demanding total attention and respect from the class. Not only that, she was ancient to his eyes, she must have been at least forty years old yet she dressed in a way that made his mind wander and he knew others in the class approved of, not just himself. He and the other boys and he had talked about Ms Smeet all agreed she was hot, damn hot in her leather skirts and trim figure. Even for an oldie.
All his fantasies evaporated as his eyes snapped to Ms Smeet standing on the side of the classroom, her hands on her hips, looking crossly at him. He gulped, “Yes Ms Smeet,” was all he could say through his throat that felt like it was going to close over.
“Do you know the answer Graham,” she repeated, “because it would be best if you did,” she added.
He was dumb struck, had she asked a question? He had no idea. He tried to replay what had been said moments before but the only thing in his mind was the visage of Ms Smeet in her leather skirt looking at him. “Sorry no Ms Smeet, I forgot.”
“Well then Graham since this is not the first time you’ve forgotten I have a special question for you. Can you answer this? What is kept in the drawer of my desk, right at the front of my drawer?” Her eyes boring into him and she was not smiling.
He thought about it for a moment, he didn’t have a single clue. He tried, “Pens and paper Ms Smeet?”
That felt like a reasonable assumption but this whole situation brought back a memory. An unpleasant memory.
That last time there had been a pen and paper in the desk drawer
It just was a week ago that Ms Smeet had caught him day dreaming just the same as this time, his eyes un-focused as his mind wandered along unfamiliar pathways. The same then as now, Ms Smeet featured in heavily and in ways he was not going to admit to any one.
That time Ms Smeet had gone to her desk, got out a sheet of paper then written a note on it. She’d told him to take it to Mr Hughes making him feel rather scared as he walked to the principals office, so scared he didn’t dare read the note, he couldn’t.
Was it going to be the note to Mr Hughes again? He’d rather not. Not again. Not after last time.
The Note To Mr Hughes
Mr Hughes was the principal at the school, an older man who he assumed was close to retirement. He was an ‘old school’ type principal he’d said at school assembly and Graham now knew exactly what that meant.
All the previous times Ms Smeet sent him to Mr Hughes office it had ended the same way. The last time had been in the middle of a class period, but they all resulted in the same thing. And it wasn’t just him either. Others in his class had also been sent and they had the same outcome, it wasn’t just Graham who found out what ‘old school’ meant. They all ended up with the same red hands he assumed he was going to get. Again.
He knocked then opened and entered when he heard Mr Hughes say loudly ‘Entaarr’ or what sounded like it. He handed the note to Mr Hughes then waited. Mr Hughes opened the note, read it, looked up at him then asked a few questions like ‘did he know why he was here’ and ‘this wasn’t the first time so why hadn’t he learned his lesson’ and of course the main one, ‘what did he think was going to happen next?’
The last one, the main one he knew the answer for and with certainty he answered “To get the strap sir,” and to that Mr Hughes had nodded, opened his desk drawer then pulled out his black leather strap. He’d met this one before, it was the same as last time and the tiems before that. It was about a foot and a half long, maybe an inch and a half wide and looked like it was cut from an old belt. It wasn’t all that thick and was kind of floppy. As Mr Hughes unrolled it, it drooped down from his hand onto the desk. Holding it in two hands as he ran it between them, it still drooped in the middle. Clearly it was supple and well used. He knew first hand that it was well used.
“Stand back, turn to face me, left hand up quickly now, I haven’t got all day,” said Mr Hughes when he’d come around the desk moving surprisingly quickly.
Graham did as instructed. He faced Mr Hughes, moved back a little then held his left hand up at chest height open and flat ready for the leather.
Mr Hughes wasted no time, “Three each,” he said. The same as last time also.
The strap was flicked up over Mr Hughes shoulder then without pause was quickly brought back down at speed ending in a loud crack, it only taking a couple of seconds at most.
Getting the strap from Mr Hughes hurt and Mr Hughes didn’t waste a moment, there was no fanfare, just the crack of the strap, the gasps and hand shaking then the next crack. There was only a few seconds between each stroke, he had to hold his hand up, the strap was raised, then the strap was brought down in moments, then it repeated.
Damn. It stung though, there was no doubt of that. He shook the hand then quickly brought it up again. The last time he’d got the strap he’d taken too long and Mr Hughes had shouted at him and given him an extra stroke to each hand. He didn’t like that at all. The second stroke slammed down seconds later making him gasp, “Ahh,” and shake the hand again. Then he lifted it up quickly, the hand still stinging. The third crack sounded loud and sharp making him jump, rub his hand quickly and then the command, “Other hand,” was all Mr Hughes said so he put his right hand up and out. At least it would be over soon was all he could think, and of course, damn that did strap did sting.
Mr Hughes strapped this hand just as hard and fast, the gunshot loud cracks echoing off the wall. Wasting very little time at all Mr Hughes powered his strap down ‘crack.’ It slapped down full length on the palm and fingers making them blaze, same as for the left hand. All he could do was shake the hand then present it again for the next stroke. Facing Mr Hughes as he gave the strap really was not easy, the man put a lot of effort into it and was totally absorbed in bringing the strap down on the waiting and open hand. The second made him shake it and gasp and the third made him gasp louder then rub both his hands together as the infernal sting got in and felt like he’d put his hands too close to the fire.
“Back to class Graham, one more time and I really don’t know what I’ll do with you. I’ll be talking with Ms Smeet about this.”
“Yes sir,” was all he could say as he left with stinging hands.
Then and almost as bad, when he got back to class Ms Smeet stopped him from going to his seat, making him stand at the front of class. Of course she did, she never missed a chance. “What happened Graham,” she asked.
He was damn sure she knew what happened. It happened every time she sent him with a note to Mr Hughes and the same as for the others in the class. She must just want to humiliate him but he had to answer.
“I got the strap Ms Smeet, three to each hand.”
Ms Smeet nodded as she looked at him, “Good. You needed it. Show the class. Show them your red hands. I want them to know the price of day dreaming in my class.”
He’d had to do that also and feel the embarrassment, holding his red hands up to show everyone, and only then been allowed to go back to his seat after Ms Smeet warned him not to do it again.
And now he had.
Not A Note This Time
But now the whole class was utterly silent, all eyes were on him and he could feel his embarrassment rising. It was bad enough when he got sent out with a note and everyone knew what was going to happen. This was something new. They were used to Ms Smeet sending students off to Mr Hughes.
Ms Smeet shook her head slowly from aside to side, “No Graham, it is something I brought from my last school, a specially effective teaching aid, something very special indeed. Mr Hughes and I have been talking about this and we are in agreement. We think it will help you. Get up, go to my desk, open the draw and lift it out please,” she said slowly with each word emphasizing her strict nature as her eyes bored into him, transfixing him, making him go more and more red.
Gulping slightly and not realizing what was happening, he stood on slightly shaky legs feeling every eye on him, every one of his peers also wondering what was happening. All he could think was, ‘what is it in the drawer? It is a homework book or maybe a pre-written slip of paper to take to the headmaster?’ She’d said it wasn’t, so what could it be?
Then, still, he hoped it wasn’t a note to the headmaster, that got him the strap, or at least the last few times it did. He was no stranger to Mr Hughes black leather strap but the last time Mr Hughes said he didn’t know what would happen. It could only be worse. Would it be more than six of the best this time?
The trip to Ms Smeet’s desk felt like it was miles and miles away as the embarrassment rose with every eye on him, but after the dozen steps in reality he pulled the drawer open then stared down.
It wasn’t pens and paper. It was nothing like that at all.
‘What Is That?’ his mind asked, then as soon as he thought that, he knew. How could it be anything else? With a deep dread he knew exactly what it was and he suddenly felt scared again but in a different way. This could be worse than getting the strap from Mr Hughes.
“Go on Graham, lift him out and show everyone,” Ms Smeet said taking absolutely no pity on him.
Graham moved slowly, almost reverently, his limbs like lead.
Graham reached down then picked up the leather item, a long brown leather strap that had been laying flat in the front of the drawer. As he lifted it, the leather cool to his touch, he found it was two feet long, an inch and a half wide and as thick as a pencil. One end was shaped for holding which is what he did, then the last half was split into three tails, each about a half inch wide that he held with his other hand.
It was the first time he’d held a teachers strap and it was something he never thought he’d do. Feeling the leather as he lifted it, he felt an excitement as something strange inside him flared up.
He lifted the leather strap up held between his hands and if anything, the silence in the room became deeper. Holding the leather strap that was used for punishment was surreal, and if truth be told it was also exciting. He thought it was damn exciting in a very special way and he hoped no one noticed because it was having an effect on him.
“Class,” Ms Smeet said loudly as soon as it was visible, “This is Mister Crisp the finest of teaching aids for naughty boys and girls who don’t pay attention in my class.”
He wasn’t a mind reader but he could read every other mind in the room as it was the same as what he was thinking, ‘Ms Smeet is going to give Graham a strapping.’
That she had a strap like this, and he’d not suspected else he’d have been daydreaming about that also, was very telling.
He wondered for a moment how hard she strapped.
As Graham soon finds out – getting the strap is bad enough, but Ms Smeet as new ways to make it even worse.
Part-2 to follow.