I stood at the front of the classroom waiting on my youngest student, a very talented sixteen year old girl, still in high school, and one I had bragged on plenty of times to the members of the symphony. Her name was Madison and she was late. I felt my embarassment gather over me. I had bragged on her so much… told them that she would come to and be on time for every practice. I even got her on the symphony team, seeing as she would have been too young and inexperienced if she would have just auditioned. The youngest member on the symphony, aside from her, was twenty years old. There was no way that she could have made it without me busting my ass saying good things about her.
And here she was, late.
I stood irritably in the front of the orchestra as everyone practiced and tuned before me. My hair was fallen into my eyes, they have a tendency to do that when I’m angry. My blue eyes were blazing with anger and no one dared speak to me because they knew how tempered I would get if they said something. After a few minutes of their loud playing and me standing furiously, I cut them all off, to which everyone stopped playing except for one lone violinist too enthralled to realize that he was the only one still playing. His stand partner smacked him softly and the young man flushed with embarassment and put his instrument down on his lap.
“Let me remind you,” I began, taking a deep breath in. The orchestra didn’t care for me too much, seeing as I was only twenty-four, younger than most of their children. They wanted their old conductor back, most of them did at least, although he was retired and they would have to get over it. They didn’t like the way I changed things, making the songs more upbeat and scheduling more concerts in order to make money. Tardiness was one thing I would not tolerate, nor was abscense. “If you are running late for a rehersal, do not bother coming at all. Ever again,” I said sternly, turning towards the other side of the room where the cellists looked at me in utter shock. Apparently, they had not heard these words before. “We shall begin,” I said, flipping through my scores in front of me. “Mendelssohn, from the top,” I ordered, watching everyone shoot their instruments up. I raised my hands up to conduct the orchestra and heard a loud bang at the door way.
Madison sprinted inside the doorway, violin case in arms, swinging from side to side as she hurried to find her seat. “Miss Whittington,” I stated, emotionless, dropping my hands back down. “We have already began today’s rehersal, you are late.”
“Yes sir,” she stammered, out of breath and taking her seat at the back of the room. “I… I was running late.”
“Very well. You are dismissed.”
She stared at me for a moment.
“Miss Whittington, you are dismissed. Pack up your things and go home, we have no need for you anymore.”
“You heard me. You are late, I do not tolerate that in my orchestra. Pack up your instrument. You have been dismissed.”
I heard the subtle murmur of the people in front of me. They were probably talking about how much they hated me, some probably talking about the irresponsibility of the young girl, but what they said did not matter to me. I would not allow anyone else to be late, and I would not make an exception for her.
“But sir,” she stammered, still staring at me, “I’m sorry… I’m here and… I’m sorry..” I could see the tears in her eyes, but I had to remain firm and strict.
“Very well,” I said, still irritated. “See me after rehersal.” I raised my hands once more and began conducting.
I must say, the practice went genuinely well. They knew how I was when I was pissed off and they probably didn’t want to be snapped at. I applauded each of them after the practice for a job well done then dismissed each of them. I saw a few people go towards Madison and put a hand on her shoulder for support, but I could not make out a word of what they were saying. All I knew is that none of them could imagine what my conversation with Madison would be…
“You wanted to see me, sir?” I heard the weak voice say. I turned to see the young girl standing there, hands shaking as she carried her case and music in her hands.
“Yes, Madison,” I said, stepping down from the podium to where I was a few inches shorter, but still towering over her. “Follow me to my office.” I turned and walked away, knowing that she was following me, but being so short and not as fast as I, she was a few good feet behind me. I reached my office door in time to see her scampering up and then I opened it, bidding her to sit. She did as directed and sat her things down next to her, running her hands down her skirt to flatten it out. I closed the door behind us and took a seat across from her. “Tell me, then, Young Lady, why you were late.”
I could feel her nervousness. Her body quivered a little and she smoothed her skirt again then cleared her throat. “Well, sir,” she began, “I-I…” She was speechless for a moment. “I don’t know, sir,” she finally said then looked at the ground.
“I see. And if I let you off this time, do you realize what would happen?”
She shook her head.
“Everyone else would show up late to the practices and expect to get away with it.” I let those words sink in for a moment. “Madison, you don’t understand what I had to go through to get you in this orchestra. You are a bright young girl and I know that you knew better than to be late today. We do not have many practices and all I ask is for you to come, be prepared, and be on time. Is that too much to ask?”
She shook her head.
“Therefore you’ll understand that I have no other choice but to kick you out,” I stated bluntly.
“But sir!” she said, her head rising to where her eyes met mine. “Please don’t kick me out! I’ll do anything..”
I felt so heartless before I told her that there was nothing I could do. The poor girl was practically breaking down before me, begging to be able to stay, and there was nothing I could do. Except perhaps one thing…
“Very well,” I said. “There is one condition in which I shall allow you to stay.”
Her eyes began to get brighter.
“I will punish you accordingly, as I would at school, and you will apologize to the group next week.”
I could feel the fact that she was taken aback, for she knew what I meant by being punished as if she was at school, and although I had never punished her, she knew that it would not be fun. She had been my student for six years at the private school that she attended, and not once had she gotten herself into any type of trouble that would require the discipline I would now administer to her.
“Is that a deal?”
She thought for a moment. I wasn’t sure if being punished or letting others know that it had happened that was is what bothered and embarassed her most. Finally she came up with an answer. “Yes, sir,” she said weakly, standing.
I nodded slowly letting the idea of a caning sink into her head. “This will hurt, Madison,” I said sternly, her only reply being a slow nod. I stood up as well and walked to the closet on the other side of the room in which the cane hung. I took it and looked at her small frail body, shuddering with fear. She was a small girl, even for her age, long auburn hair and precious blue eyes. I moved towards her. “You were ten minutes late, Madison,” I said. “One stroke for each minute and two strokes for the embarassment. That’s twelve strokes, Madison.”
“Yes, sir,” she muttered, terrified.
I did not speak for a moment. She just stood there, staring at the floor, her knees trembling. “I want you to count them aloud,” I finally said. “Bend over and touch your toes.”
“Yes, sir.” I was appalled at how polite she was when in trouble.
She reached for the floor, spreading her legs a little and finally touching her toes. She stood there like that until I moved towards her and I saw her body wince a little. I knew the fright that she was enduring. After all, I had done this to many students before and they mostly felt the same way. I lifted her plaid skirt up and placed it on her back.
“I am very disappointed in you, Miss Whittington.” I put my fingers inbetween the waisteband of her panties and her back and tugged them down to her knees. Her barebottom stood on display in front of me. The uneasy silence was still present in the room. “Don’t forget to count down,” I ordered to which she murmured a reply, probably the words “yes, sir.”
I held the cane up high with my right hand. “Tardiness will not be tolerated,” I scolded the brought the cane crashing down on the young girl’s bottom.
“AHHHHHHH,” she said then stood up instantly grabbing her bottom.
“Head down, fingers to toes, Young Lady,” I scolded.
“One, sir,” she said moving her body back down into the position it had been.
I cracked the cane once more down on her bottom, leaving another solid red mark.
“Two, sir,” she replied.
The two lines were parallel and I cracked once more right inbetween the two marks.
The quiet girl moaned and cried out, calling “three, sir.”
I concentrated on each of those three spots. The fourth blow landed in the exact same spot as the first, causing a louder cry. By the fifth time I could hear Madison’s voice crack a little, and I knew that she was silently crying. I cracked the cane down for the sixth time, this time in the exact spot that had been whipped twice already. Madison shrieked.
“SIX SIR!” she squeeled, tears streaming down her face and her body shaking more than ever.