Everyone knew the penalty for neglecting to do a homework. A short, agonisingly embarrassing walk to the front of the class, followed by a humiliating bend-over dance to the wooden ruler’s beat.
Hannah hadn’t done her homework. She’d come prepared with an elaborate excuse of almost farcical proportions, a twisty tale of family complications and misunderstandings. But it hadn’t been able to save her.
“Come up here, Hannah”, was all he needed to say.
Across the classroom, all fidgeting stopped. A perfect hush settled.
Everyone knew what happened next.
Head bowed, Hannah stood from her desk, she reached the low platform at the front of the class in 6 slow footsteps, visibly hesitating before taking the final step up to stand beside him.
His finger beckoned her one step forward.
“Bend over”, he ordered, in a tone that left no-one in the room in any doubt this was a command, and not a prelude to negotiations. Nevertheless, she turned her head, giving him one last plaintive look. No mercy was forthcoming. His eyes merely narrowed.
Hannah bent over, her bottom jutting towards her captivated classmates, grasping her ankles, and shutting her eyes, too ashamed to look back through her legs at the gawping class. Moments later, she felt the unmistakable draught as he lifted her navy blue pleated skirt, and folded it over her back. All the while, her classmates stared on silently, as if spying through a peephole, fearful that any sound would give away their presence.
Ah yes, the infamous blue silk handkerchief, do make sure you read the story to the end…