Caught Out – By Susan Shanks
We were all haunched up in the school cloakroom, well, to be precise, in one of the toilets. There were three of us, Sheila, Heather and myself… I?m Susan by the way.
Heather was sitting on the throne with the lid down, I was balancing, standing behind her and Sheila was standing with her back against the door. There was a fan in the window behind me and I had it switched on, this was usually used to ventilate and clear the loo?s air, but it served another purpose at the moment. It was a perfect outlet for the cigarette smoke that was fast accumulating with every feverish puff that Sheila took.
My turn next.
I watched the smoke curling out through the fan. It never crossed my
mind that it could be spotted billowing out of the vent on the other side, which was at the back of the building, tight opposite Mr Riley?s study! ?Hush, there?s someone coming – quick, put it out!? squealed Heather urgently.
Sure enough, there was the sound of great strides down the corridor and
we heard the cloakroom door being flung open.
?Come out whoever is in there!? ordered Riley?s voice.
?Oh, crumbs, quick, flush it down the loo!? I whispered.
?Where?s the perfume spray? We mustn?t let ol? Riley smell it!?
I squeezed down beside Heather. There was no room to move as Sheila
lifted the lid and started the flush system, then she drew her perfume from out of her tunic pocket and began spraying madly. We all coughed, ?hey, go easy with that stuff Sheila!?
?Come out of there, this minute!? the voice ordered and we tried
desperately to think of an excuse why we were all jammed into one cubicle. It was a very embarrassing situation indeed.
?What will we do?? wailed Heather, ?What can we say??
There was nothing really that we could do or say, we just had to hope
that he did not smell the smoke. We opened the door and trailed out one after the other, shaking our tunics into place and we presented ourselves heads bowed in disgrace and toes turned inwards. Riley glowered after he recovered from the surprise of having three girls tumble out of the small place. Without a word he marched into the vacated toilet and as he inhaled he almost choked on the sweet scent of cheap perfume. I could not surpress a giggle as he spluttered and coughed but the grin soon left my face as I saw him lift the lid and peer into the bowl. ?Well,? he said triumphantly. ?What?s this??
Darn that cigarette butt, it was floating on the surface.
So, we were caught, what now? Detention? Lines? Suspension? No, I fear
it was none of those. Old Riley made us hold out our hands then and there and with his best springy cane which he had conveniently with him, swished down across our hands. Ooh the pain! The shock that raced to our very armpits. We all crossed our arms and buried our poor stinging fingers into our armpits. It was a natural reaction.
?Bend over, you naughty girls!? he yelled, ?I thought there was a fire starting when I saw the smoke coming from the vent, and then it dawned on me what was happening. I am disgusted with your behaviour, you are a disgrace to the school!?
Oh he did go on. By the time he had finished chastising us we felt
horribly guilty and each of us had to vow before him that we would never smoke during school hours. He wasn?t going to tell our parents this time, goodness that was a relief anyway, but he was going to punish us sufficiently so that we would remember in future that Riley was not to be fooled.
Crikey! Each of us yelled alternately as the cane rained down. One – two
- three swipes, and one – two – three yelps. And a triplicity of burning bottoms.
?Pants down!? ordered Riley.
This was unbelievable. We had no idea the old fogey would go so far, but
there was nothing we could do about it, we had to bare our bottoms.
?Arrgghh!? yelled Sheila. Heather just whimpered an I stole a side
glance at her rapidly reddening bum. The cane creased into the fleshiness with a crack and I watched the globes inflate back as a white stripe flushed into a deep pink. The speed at which it all happened astounded me but I snapped out of my reverie very quickly when I felt the awful sting strike an octave on my behind.
?Oww!? I squealed as the slim rattan whistled down with another swipe.
By the time he had finished with us , we were ashamed and contrite and anyone could have had a game of noughts and crosses on our bottoms.
We were striped in just about every direction on our poor smarting
buttocks and our armpits were electric from the caning across our fingers. The bite of the cane is sharp and there was no doubt that we would behave ourselves in future, or else find a better hiding place next time we fancied a smoke.
We sizzled and glowed for the rest of the day and the bumpy ride home
was sheer hell. And as soon as I got home I sat in a basin of cool water for about fifteen minutes just to soothe the sting. In fact, that bit was rather nice and I grappled a bit under the water to keep that glorious feeling just a little while longer.