The clock in the hall indicated that the time was five minuits past four. School had just finished for the day. Damian slowly climbed the wide stairway to the next floor and turned left into a long corridor. In his short grey flannel trousers, red jacket with black piping, his striped school tie perfectly aligned and his handsome face topped with a mop of dark brown hair, the eleven year old was a fine looking boy. There was, however, just one thing which spoilt this image:- Damian did not look very happy. In fact he looked positively distrought. His slow pace became even slower as he approached the door at the end of the corridor. Here the reason for his distrait appearance became apparent. On the door in large letters was the word "HEADMASTER." He raised his clenched fist to knock but then timidly withdrew it. A second attempt also failed. Finally he managed three weak little taps.
"Enter!" came a loud gruff voice. Damion entered, closed the door behind him and stood in front of the headmaster`s desk without uttering a word. The headmaster was seated behind the desk in a swiveling chair busy writing something. For a moment he did not even bother to look up at the boy, then he put the pen down and looked him straight in the eye.
"I don`t think we need to waste time going over this matter again, Harford. I have said all that I have to say to you this morning. I have been concidering during the day what your punishment should be. Yesterday you broke not one but three school rules in a single afternoon,- playing truant from the last period, going into town without your housemaster`s permission and playing the gaming machines in an amusement arcade. You didn`t have much to say for yourself this morning. Do you now?"
Damian gave a slight shake of his head. "No sir," he wimpered.
"Go over to the sideboard behind you and open the top drawer." said the headmaster.
Danian crossed the room and opened the drawer. Inside was just one article, a book labeled "Punishment Book."
"Bring the punishment book here." Nerviously, Damian`s trembling fingers picked up the book. He took it back to the desk and held it out to the headmaster.
"I don`t want it, Harford. You are going to fill it in yourself! Open it at the bookmark."
As Damion opened the book the headmaster slid a pen across the desk. "The headings are self-explanitary. In the first column put the date."
With a shaking hand Damian wrote in the date. "In the column headed `Nature of Offense` just write `Breaking three School Rules`. I will fill in the details later."
The headmaster was swiveling slightly from side to side, looking quite relaxed, - in complete contrast to the distraught boy before him. "Now for the important column!" he continued, "Punishment Awarded!" He paused, obviously to keep the boy in suspense. "In that column write `Three strokes of the cane!"
Appearing to be having a job to hold back the tears Damian scrawled the dreaded words. The headmaster waited until he had finished writung. An apocalyptic sadistic smile crept over his face. "Now add the words `for each offense!"
Damian gave a noticable jolt. The three words went into the book looking like Egyptian hieroglyphics!
"Return the book to the drawer." Damian took the book back and closed the drawer. "Now open the one below it." The boy pulled open the next draw to be greeted with the sight of two frightening looking canes! "Bring me the cane marked `Junior` on the handle!"
The boy`s shivering hand moved tentatively toward the cane as if it might bite him there and then! His lips were quivering as he picked it up. It was long, thin and whippy! He returned to the desk in slow, short steps as if trying to delay the evil moment even for a few seconds, and handed it to the headmaster.
The headmaster stood up for the first time, put a chair sideways-on beside the end of hih desk and pointed to it with the cane.
"Kneel on the chair!" Damian obeyed. "Get your body flat along the desk! Arms outstretched in front of you!"
The headmaster looked satisfied with the tightly clad posterior awaiting it`s fate. He tapped it gently tow or three times with the cane. "If you attempt to get up before I have delivered all nine strokes you will get extra strokes, so you had better brace yourself!"
Damion did so. His outstretched fingers folded into tight fists, his eyes shut firmly, his teeth clenched and his whole body went rigidly taut. The headmaster placed the cane across the boy`s bottom, then raised it high above his head and........
"CUT!" The voice rang out loud and clear. "Good lad Damian! You can get up now! That was perfect!" said the delighted film director, "Now run along to Make-Up and get your bottom padded!"