Liz turned off the engine of her small car parked in the visitors space at the Lakewood Comprehensive School and swung her long legs on the sidewalk. Her miniskirt gathered almost at her hips discovering the darker band of her pantyhose and making her legs look even longer.
She jumped out of the car and smoothed quickly the small skirt looking around if there were witnesses. Sure enough several schoolboys and a group of schoolgirls were near enough to have a better look at her legs. The boys were decidedly grinning. She decided to pretend that nothing happened and clicked the remote lock. The time was a quarter to six and she had a meeting with Mr. Hennessey, the principal at six.
While walking in the opposite direction of a thong of children and teenagers who were leaving the imposing building happy with the upcoming weekend, her tummy was upset with mixed feelings of longing and uneasiness. She spent one third of her thirty three years among these walls. She longed for the happy and sweet times but dreaded the recollections of those few painful and at times very painful moments, mostly at hands of the man she would meet in a quarter hour.
After she graduated and married John she returned to her old school only on few occasions and never met her old nemesis, The VSOP. It took Liz a few years at school to understand why their principal had the nickname of Very Old Special Principal and when a senior deigned to explain to her she didn't understand the humor.
She climbed the second flight of spacious stairs. The crowd disappeared like by magic. The doors to the antechamber of the principal's inner sanctum were open. Mrs. Kleinberg, secretary to the principal from times immemorial and a younger woman that Liz didn't know were clearly closing for the night.
Mrs. Kleinberg looked at the visitor and smiled. Or tried to smile. At least her collection of wrinkles stretched and moved.
"Elizabeth, long time no see. Mr. Hennessey is sorry, but he will be a tad late. He had to supervise the new hall construction, but he should be back in fifteen minutes. We are leaving for the day, but he asked you to wait in his office. You're welcome to tea and cookies." She opened the door and beckoned Liz to enter. "Tea?"
"Yes, thank you."
While Mrs. Kleinberg poured the tea and served a tray with cookies, Liz looked around. It was the same old office, and she had the same butterflies in her tummy as she had so many years ago. The huge desk free of clutter, the arm-chairs upholstered in red leather, the rows and rows of leather-bound books, the big globe in the corner, rows of portraits of the former school principals and benefactors. And on the far wall an arrangement of three columns by five rows of canes. Each cane neatly displayed supported by two wooden pegs. Beneath each cane a bronze plaque with a year. From 1981 on the upper left to 1995 in the lower right. Fifteen years of canes.
"I'm off. My bus is always on time," said Mrs. Kleinberg already dressed for street. The other woman was holding the door. "If you like more tea and biscuits the tray is on the table. Mr. Hennessey will be back any minute now." She reached for the door. "You didn't change much Elizabeth, and your daughters resemble you a lot. You haven't been here often, have you, Elizabeth? I don't remember you at the PTA meeting at all. Though I remember your husband ... John, isn't it? It's a pity he isn't here now. And it's a shame what your twins did. Well I hope everything will sort for the best. Bye, it was a pleasure to meet you again."
Liz was alone. Mrs. Kleinberg's words opened her unhealed wounds. She failed her twin daughters; it was as simple as that. Along the last six years she left the education of their daughters in the capable hands of her husband. It was something that John did, and did well.
Liz married when she was twenty to a man who was twice her age. He filled very quickly the role of the problems solver in their house. Something wasn't working? John would fix it. Liz couldn't start her car? John would do it. During the twins gestation he was ever-present. She simply carried them in her belly. He did the rest. From preparing their room to scheduling her doctor visits, from bringing her all needed medicines to taking her to physiotherapy. When the twins were born John also was there. He changed the diapers, he prepared the bottle and strolled with them whenever possible. Along the way he managed to work and bring home a perfectly adequate salary.
What happened along the years was that Liz accommodated. She could always count on John that the things would be set in a correct way. When he decided that the twins would go to her old school, she had a few vague misgivings but as always she went along. Once again John was there and lived with the twins intensely their school days.
During all those years Liz worked. She had a consuming work as an editor with a small publisher. There were few editors and a lot of books in need of editing so she spent a lot of overtime time immersed in the books. Some of the books were steamy and on the kink side and of course Liz didn't tell John about that division of her work. Most of the 'adult' romances were pure trash, but a few were quite good. Truthfully she enjoyed those better fantasies and wished her sex life would have some spice she encountered there because after fourteen years of marriage their sex life entered in a routine as most marriages do. Although Liz took good care of her body and continued to turn male heads on with her short skirts and tight blouses, John was fifty four and didn't have any more the stamina of their first years.
Everything changed when John had to do a short business trip to an overseas facility his company was building. Those business trips were very rare but as always John left behind a list of detailed instructions about their twins' routine for the next couple of weeks. On those rare occasions Liz took her work home and drove the girls wherever needed. While waiting she worked.
John's short trip was already in its fourth month and he hadn't yet a date to return. Liz life changed completely. She simply didn't realize the amount of workload her husband accepted as a matter of fact and never complained. And she couldn't cope. She left the twins on their own and now she was in her old principal's office to beg him not to expel them.
She received the first letter shortly after John's trip. She was asked to meet with her daughters' school advisor because of some behavior issues. She truly intended to go, but with her work getting behind and all other things, it slipped off her mind. The second letter from the principal's office urged her to pay attention to her daughters' behavior and academic shortcomings. She called the twins and asked them what was the matter. They denied any trouble, but she was suspicious and decided to visit the school.
Of course it didn't work that way. She postponed the visit from Tuesday to Wednesday, but Wednesday she had to ... when after three weeks she still hadn't find time to go it was too late.
In the meantime John phoned regularly once a week asking about the things. She didn't tell him about the school problems and didn't have the heart to spoil the twins' happiness as they waited anxiously for their dad's weekly call.
So, when the official letter came suspending the twins for a week and giving her two days before they would be expelled she had nobody but herself to blame.
In the old days the twins would be publicly caned for their sins. Today, in the days of political correctness, the letter explained, instead of corporal punishment the school established a zero tolerance policy for the kind of act the twins committed. And the sentence was expulsion.
For once Liz was compelled into immediate action. She grounded both for life or until the matter was solved whichever came first; she took away their TV, their cellular phones, their game-boys and restricted their computer time to her presence. And she scheduled an appointment with Mr. Hennessey, The principal. The VSOP.
On the way to school she thought what she would tell him. She was prepared to do some serious groveling. To beg, to grovel, to cajole. She couldn't allow her girls to be expelled. Besides what would John say?
Her overactive mind explored even a plot from one of her sleaziest novels:
VSOP: "Will you do anything in order to avoid the expulsion?
VSOP (opening his fly): "On your knees and I don't want to feel the teeth."
Now she was in his office, waiting for him on tenterhooks looking at his cane collection. The collection started as a joke. A senior class, graduating in 1981 gave him as a prank a brand new cane "to replace the one wasted on our backsides..." Instead of getting annoyed, he thanked the gift and hung it up in his office alongside the plaque: "gift of class of 1981". Next year he got another one and the tradition was born. It stopped of course in 1995, the last year the corporal punishment was allowed in the school.
Liz looked at the 1992 cane. It was the gift of her class, so the 1991 cane was the one she felt on three different occasions on her bottom during her last year. They say three times a charm. The third time was a beauty. A baker's dozen, on the bare in front of her class. She was bent over the back of a chair, her face to the class, her bare bottom turned to the principal and several teachers. Her friends and foes could study at leisure her facial reactions while The VSOP painted thirteen parallel lines from the top of her stretched bum to the beginning of her slender thighs.
Liz tummy was full of dancing butterflies. She would remember that caning to her grave.
.... There is more of this story ...