Ten minutes later, Jamie reached the main office. The lobby was filled with the tapping of fingers on keyboards as the two office secretaries, the sinews of the school attacked there daily mounds of paperwork and filled out forms and filed forms. Jamie stood behind the desk for a solid minute before one of the ladies looked up from her work and motioned for her to step behind the desk.
"Ms. Potter, Mrs. Cartwright is waiting for you." She said in a commanding tone of voice. "You're seven minutes late. The headmistress does not like to be kept waiting. She a very busy woman. You understand that, am I correct?" The women said in a scolding tone of voice.
"Yes, ma'am," Jamie said as she bowed her head, her cheeks flushing with color. "Sorry about that, had a little trouble in the breakfast line."
The women-only nodded her head. "We'll best not keep her waiting any longer. She has some serious business to cover with you. Some very serious." The women made a point in placing a lot of weight on the word 'Serious' and that made Jamie's blood turn to freezing water in her veins.
Jamie nodded her head and took a deep breath and started to slowly walk down the hallway. The sound of her feet hitting the tile floor echoed off the walls. She was deep in the bowels of the monster now. With each step she took, she could feel her heart started to race a little more. Her breathing became harder as she passed the former headmasters office, now the GC (Guidance Counselors) Office. That had been the first order of business, hiring a Guidance Counselor for the school. A first in the school's history.
Once the passed that door, she then passed the small room that had once been a storeroom but now housed a small clinic. Another change that had been the hiring of a full-time school nurse. Though Jamie had never been in the room, she pretty much knew what was there, going on the varies reports others had told her. The room was nothing more than a wooden desk, a wooden dresser and an old bed. The sheets on the bed reeked of mothballs. The wooden desk was the nurse work station, the wooden dresser doubled as a supply closet and also had a change of clothing if a student needed a spare skirt or pair of trousers or stockings. And the bed was for those who needed to rest.
The next room on the tour was a room filled with records and banned books. And across from that was the new conference room. And finally, at the end of this very long hallway, there could be seen the headmistress office. As Jamie slowly put one foot in front of the other, She a sense of doom wash over her. She felt like a condemned woman walking the green mile. The only thing missing was a guard to her left and to her right a sad padre, dressed in full vestments, holding in his hands a leather bound Bible and a set of Rosary beads.
A small smirk crossed her face as the morbid thought that behind the wooden door stood either an old eclectic chair or the gallows. She shook her head and pushed those thoughts to the side as she wrapped her sweaty hands around the brass handle and pushed in. The door swung open and in she stepped. The sight that greeted her was the headmistress sitting behind the desk. On the desk was a wooden paddle, beside the paddle the bag of plastic fish she had filled the fountain with the night before and beside the bag her school I.D
"So good for you to finally join me, Ms. Potter." The women in a commanding tone of voice. "Please remain standing. That would speed things up. We're already seven minutes late. So where pushed for time. And since were pushed for time, I'll try not to beat around the bush here. For one trespassing onto school grounds is a crime, Ms. Potter."
Jamie blinked and blinked again. Her hands reached down and covered her bottom.
"Even if it was just to plant some plastic fish in the school fountain. And it was you, we found your school ID floating around the bottom this morning. The smoking gun if you will." The women stood up and walked over to the front of the desk and picked up the paddle. "Now, I have one question. Why?" She cradled the paddle in front of her and fixed Jamie with a level look.
Jamie took a deep breath and closed her eyes and she racked her brain for an answer. Though the harder she racked her brain the more muddled her thoughts became. Finally taking a deep breath she said.
"It was a prank ma'am. Meant no harm in it" The minute the words left her mouth was the minute she wished the ground would open up and swallow her whole. She had fallen into the over the top, fake Irish accent she had been working on. "I swear to God I do." Might as well roll with it now.
The headmistress raised an eyebrow.
"Please, Sister Katherine, have a little bit of mercy on me. I been a good girl at heart. I attend Mass, go to confession, I'll to Father McDonald Right now and confess my crimes, if only you show some mercy to me. No need to tan me hide." Jamie brought her hands together and got down on her knees. "I beg of you. Please, never have I been strapped before."
Mrs. Cartwright held up her hand to silence Jamie. She then looked at the girl straight in the eyes and in a cool as ice tone of voice she told her.
"First, stop with the accent. That has to be the worst fake Irish accent I've ever heard. And yes it was some kind of prank, in the grand scheme of things, it was nothing. We fished out the fish before the students arrived for class. And no long-lasting harm was done to the fountain. No fish were harmed in the making of this prank would be the tag line if this was some kind of Disney Wildlife film."
Jamie nodded her head and tried not to smirk at the last bit of playful humor.
"But you did trespass on school grounds after hours. So, keeping that in mind, I'm going to paddle you, Now before you say I'm being mean, overreacting or whatever you wish. I did a little digging before deciding on this." She reached into the drawer and pulled out an official looking form. "Every year, at the start of the school year. We at Benton Academy send out forums for the legal guardians of the student to sign. That form is a waiver, granting us, the faultily at Benton Academy the right and the privilege to use as they deem fit corporal punishment."
The tone of her voice was firm and respectful and offered no room for rebuke. In fact, she was holding the forum out for Jamie to read. Jamie swallowed hard and reached out and took the forum, she felt like she was holding a copper-head or rattlesnake or another species of deadly, venomous snake. She shifted her eyes down at the paper and felt her cheeks flush color before being drained of color. The name on the top read. Jamie Sarah Potter instead of her former name James Christopher Potter. The sex too had been changed from Male to Female and the date had also been updated. This was clearly a new, updated form. One that reflected the changes that had taken place since the start of the school year. A wry smile formed upon Jamie's lips, she been batting with the idea of using her change in gender a possible loophole. A 'But that formed retained only to James Christopher Potter, I'm Jamie Sarah Potter.' Defense. Ad hoc as it might be, she was sure it would have at least brought her at least a day or so. If anything it would have thrown a wrench into cogs maybe even brake a few wheels.
Sighing with defeat. Jamie handed the piece of paper back to Mrs. Cartwright, who returned it to the folder. She turned toward Jamie and cradled the wooden paddle in her hand as she closed the door and smiled. "Okay, Stand up, bend over, graph your ankles and take a deep breath." She said tucking the paddle under her arm as she stole a glance from the clock hanging on the wall. "We're already behind and this is taking longer than expected." She said with a sigh.
Jamie blushed and did as she was told. Once she was bent over, Mrs. Cartwright flipped her skirt, and rolled her panties down and placed the smooth surface of the paddle on her bottom. She pressed in before drawing the paddle back, she allowed the paddle to hover for a few seconds before she brought it down with a loud crack!
Jamie blinked as she felt a sudden wave of sting cracking into her bottom. The flat paddle flattens her round bottom cheeks as the wooden surface was driven hard into her bottom. A second later, another wave of sting came crashing into her bottom, followed by a third and a fourth. After the fourth one, Jamie felt her knees start to quiver and her strength started to fail her.
"Trespassing is a crime." Mrs. Cartwright scolded. "You should be counting yourself lucky that a tiny spanking is all your getting." She said cracking her bottom again, and again. She had fallen into a steady rhythm of cracking the bottom. Pausing to allow the wave of sting to wash over Jamie, then she'll draw the paddle back and crack again. "The old headmaster would have jumped at the chance to press trespassing charges on you. You get a free ride in a police car too, and a nice haircut out of the deal. The barber down in Yazoo would have had a field day searing off those golden tresses of hair. Before throwing you into a jail cell with a group of boys that will pass you around like the towns slut."
Jamie's eyes became wide as saucer plates as Mrs. Cartwright warned of her fate. Salty tears were starting to sting her eyes and were already rolling down her cheeks and spilling onto the floor in front of her. The warning made her shiver with fear and dread, as she pictured herself dressed in one of the orange jumpsuits offenders worn, her long locks of golden hair shorn off and a big guard wearing a blue uniform throwing her into a tiny room with a dozen, horny teenage boys. She was already starting to develop breast, tiny ones, but breast none the same. She was sure the imitates would have a field day with a half-boy half-girl.
Mrs. Cartwright delivered four more stinging cracks of the wooden paddle before setting it down on the desk. She then stepped back and peered toward the bottom that was throbbing red. It kind of reminded her of a cherry. The woman folded her hands across her chest and sighed.
"Okay go stand in the corner for five minutes. I think that will do, but before you go I have one question for you. Like I try to know a little about all the students. And like, I noticed that your kind of one of the best fisherwomen in town. Like you're even thinking about entering the 'Fishing Rodeo', I saw the form in your file. So why did you settle on like fake plastic fish when you could have fished out like some really big catfish. With the water rising, I'm sure the fish are biting."
Jamie blushed and peered down and in a soft voice said.
"It was kind of a last minute thing. Plus, those plastic fish have been sitting in the storeroom for like ages. Dad ordered them for somebody from some sports catalog, it's gone out of print now, that tells you how old they are. So brought them. Mom gave me a big discount too cause family and stuff."
The women nodded her head and then walked over and pulled Jamie into a hug. She folded the sniffling, sore-bottomed girl close to her chest and smiled as she held her there. Slowly she started to stroke her blonde hair and in a gentle tone of voice, she whispered.
"One more thing. You gotta keep the pranks on a low. There a group of people here in Benton working to help people like you, and there is also a group of people who don't want you here. So when you pull little pranks like that, your kind of adding more fuel to the fire, you get what I'm saying. Because you're different from everybody else, everything you do, good or bad would be noticed. And a small prank like this, though harmless and if done by a normal student would be overlooked totally, because of your special status, the bad people would jump at a chance to twist it around. People like that love to make a mountain out of a molehill. So just be careful from now on."