In my fifth year at grammar school, there was a girl in my class called Julie. She was a gorgeous-looking girl but was very much a loner. She was also something of a snitch, and one day she managed to get both myself and my friend Roger caned.
The next day, we decided we would get our revenge on Julie and set her bottom up with an appointment for the cane. The problem was how to do it. All the teachers liked Julie – she was generally a very well behaved girl and only occasionally committed minor misdemeanours, which were rarely punished. She had certainly never been sent for the cane.
In the end, Roger and I decided that the only way this would happen was if Julie was discovered to have committed one of those serious offences at our school which meant an automatic caning – such as playing truant, bullying or smoking. The latter was the only one we could think of that might work.
We got hold of an opened packet of cigarettes and somehow managed to sneak them into Julie’s school bag during the break. We had held one cigarette back – we this smoked sneakily between us and kept the butt. This we placed carelessly on the floor of the classroom, right next to the teacher’s desk.
Our plan worked perfectly – the teacher quickly noticed the butt and demanded to know who had been smoking. Of course, everyone denied all knowledge of it but our teacher wasn’t to be deterred – she announced that there would be a search of bags and desks. She made everyone stand up behind their desks so nothing could be moved, and began.
Julie was sitting on the front row, so it wasn’t long before here bag and desk were checked and surprise, surprise, the teacher found the partial packet of cigarettes. The fact that they were the same brand as the stub pretty much sealed her fate. Of course, Julie denied she had been smoking and said someone must have planted them, but the teacher wasn’t in the mood for arguments and continued with her search.
One unexpected consequence of our plan was that toward the end of the search, the teacher found more cigarettes, this time in a boy’s bag. That boy admitted it immediately, and the teacher then sent both him and Julie to the office with report slips.
As expected, both pupils were told to report to the deputy headmistress at the end of the day. Julie spent the rest of the time protesting her innocence to everybody and anybody, which of course I found highly amusing.
At the end of the day, I casually strolled past the deputy head’s office. Sure enough, Julie was there, looking very upset and nervous, along with the boy who had been caught out. I hung around close for a little while longer and after several minutes, Julie appeared walking up the corridor. She was rubbing her bum vigorously through her skirt and tears were running down her face. I couldn’t help but grin at her obvious distress.
Despite her best efforts, Julie never found out how the cigarettes got in her bag. One thing did change, though – she stopped being a snitch and gained some proper friends.
Around 20 years later, I met Julie again at a school reunion. We got chatting – she was still single – and actually hit it off really well. Ironically, I found out that she was now deputy head at a private school.
That revelation emboldened me to bring up the cigarettes incident. Julie told me that she had Roger as her prime suspects, because she had got us both whacked the previous day. I had the good grace to blush and finally admitted what I had done. To my relief, Julie was more amused than angry. “Well, I guess we’re equal now,” she remarked. Then she revealed that she had been given eight strokes that day, rather than the usual six of the best reserved for such offences, because she kept jumping up during her caning.
I then carefully raised the subject of corporal punishment at her current school. Although the cane had been abolished in state schools by this time, it was still permitted in private education and Julie said it was still an option at her school, though rarely used, and that she had given the cane herself on several occasions.
With something of a wicked grin, I asked whether she enjoyed dishing it out. She replied: “Well, I do it as a last resort – it feels rather barbaric, to be honest, especially when you’ve had it yourself and know what it feels like.”
Part of me had been getting up the courage to ask Julie to cane me privately some time, but her comment seemed to put the lid on that idea. We did agree to meet again, though, and indeed we dated casually for some time – but sadly, it seemed Julie was too focused on her career to have much time for men, and we drifted apart.