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Ignorance and insolence
Photo from The Penitents
Jessica might have got away with detention if she'd simply failed to produce the required essay on one of the distinguished gentlemen whose names Mrs Knight, the history teacher, had written on the blackboard. But when the girl not only failed to apologise, but then started giving her teacher some typical teenage back-chat, the situation changed.
Instead of inventing a feeble and probably barely plausible excuse for not doing her homework, Jessica had announced that she 'couldn't be bothered to learn about people with silly names', adding:
"Who needs Sam Cromford, anyway?"
Of course, the whole class had tittered at her bravado, but the cheeky smile had disappeared when Mrs Knight told her to stay behind after the lesson, meaningfully fetching her cane from the cupboard and hooking it over the ledge at the bottom of the blackboard.
And there it had hung, full of latent menace, until the lesson ended. The other girls had filed quietly out, casting enquiring glances at Jessica as they passed her. Jessica had done an unconvincing impression of nonchalance.
When they were alone, Mrs Knight had positioned a desk in such a way that she would be able to get a good swing, and without further ado had ordered Jessica to lower her knickers and get herself over the wooden top.
Jessica had managed to control herself for the first two strokes, but the third was a humdinger - right across the fullest part of her cheeks. She let out a thoroughly un-cool screech.
In the corridor behind the classroom door, her colleagues sniggered.
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