“Look at these grades. I’ve failed psychology.” Randy Caulfield was despondent.
He pushed the printed transcript across the table to his friend Seth. The nineteen-year-old student studied the paper carefully, as if a careful examination might change the ‘F’ into a pass.
He took a long pull on his iced cola, “What are you going to do about it?”
“What can I do? I had a place lined up at school and now look at this.” Randy waved the transcript in the air dramatically.
“I’ve got A’s in just about everything else. But, this goddam fail means I can’t go,” Randy felt like weeping. His life was over. Ahead lay forty-five years of dead-end jobs.
“It was the only elective I could get. All the others were full. What good is psychology anyway?” Randy’s bitterness spilled over.
“But it’s only an elective course, does it count?” Seth was trying to be supportive, but he knew it did matter.
At John F. Kennedy Community College you had to pass all your courses, even when your overall grade point average was a pass.
“Do you know,” Randy said, “If I got a bare pass in the psychology, my GPA would still be good enough to take me to university.”
“Who teaches the course?” Seth had the germ of an idea.
“Drake, d’you know him?”
“Yes, I think so. Youngish man, only been here a couple of years,” Seth replied, trying not to let on that he knew more than he was saying.
“Yes, that’s him. A goddam awful teacher, no wonder I never learned anything,” Randy said, and then as an afterthought, “I wonder how many others failed.” He was wondering if he would win an appeal against the grading.
“You should talk to him, this Drake. Tell him what’s happened. Ask him to pass you,” Seth knew he had to tread carefully.
“Would that work? Would he do it?” Randy doubted it.
“Make an appointment. Go see him. What is there to lose?” Seth drained his cola and stood up to leave.
If the rumours Seth had heard were true, Randy would get his pass; but he would have to pay a price for it.
Randy got his appointment to see Drake, but he had to wait until six in the evening. The semester was over and John F. Kennedy Community College was nearly deserted as he made his way to Drake’s office, hidden away at the end of a corridor on the eighth floor of the main building.
As he exited the elevator he saw Mark Cheyne, a fellow psychology student, hurrying down the corridor. He was ashen faced and his eyes shone like hot coals. Randy growled “Watch it!” as Mark pushed him out of the way before disappearing into the elevator.
It was late and the support staff had all gone home. There did not seem to be anyone around, so he walked down the corridor reading name plates until he found: T. E. Drake. Suddenly, overtaken by nerves, Randy hesitated. Something was not quite right, but he could not put his finger on it. Checking that nobody else was in the corridor, the teenager put his ear to the door. He had no clue why he did that, or what he expected to hear. In fact, he heard nothing; there was nothing to hear.
Shaking his head (what a fool he was), he tapped on the door and was greeted by a firm “Come in!”
It was an ordinary office and very modern. The furniture, such of it that there was, was made from light pine. A desk and computer table dominated the small room and there were two ‘bucket type’ chairs for guests. The walls were lined with shelving upon which Drake piled high books and journals. It was about as untidy as any other lecturer’s office Randy had ever visited.
Behind the desk, working at the computer was Drake. Seth had described him well; he was a young man, hardly out of university himself. His wide open face and floppy fair hair gave him the appearance of a much younger person.
He looked up, removed his glasses, and peered at Randy.
“And you are?” Drake feigned not to know the nineteen-year-old student he had failed to teach all semester, but he knew very well who he was. And, he knew why he was here.
“I’m Randy Caulfield,” he began, before adding ‘Sir,” as if he were back at Junior High.
Drake liked that. “Sir!” Yes, he thought, this boy had the correct attitude.
“And why are you here?”
Randy launched into a prepared speech about his grade, it being an elective course, how he was an A-student and how his future would be ruined if he could not take his place at the university.
Drake listened impassively. He had already made up his mind, but he wanted a little fun first.
“Why should I give students grades they do not deserve?”
Randy had no coherent answer to that, so just mumbled about his lost university place.
Drake stood up from his computer and walked around his desk so that he was next to Randy.
“It is important that I treat all my students in the same way, he intoned pompously, recalling in his mind Mark Cheyne’s visit to his office not ten minutes previously.
“Yes, sir … I know … but …” Randy tailed off.
There he went again: “Sir.”
Drake paced his office. “You are a lazy student Caulfield and you cannot be allowed to get away with it!” He was firm and determined to make the teenager suffer.
Randy did not think himself lazy, his A-grades in other course proved that. He was a chemist and one day would distinguish himself in the science. He was a good student, but he was just was not cut out for psychology.
He should tell Drake this, he thought, but he could not find the words. Disheartened by his wasted journey, he prepared to leave.
Startled that he might lose a golden opportunity, Drake said, “No, don’t go yet. There might be something I can do for you.”
Puzzled, Randy swung round to face the lecturer.
“You are lazy and you must be taught a lesson. But, I do not want to destroy what might prove to be a promising career. You can be punished in some other way.”
Drake’s words came easily. He had said the same, or something very similar, to many students already that day. He had rehearsed them well and in his own mind what he was about to propose was reasonableness itself.
“If you behaved like this in High School, you would be sent to the principal’s office, would you not.”
Randy was not so sure. “Maybe. I guess,” he shrugged his shoulders.
“There is no ‘maybe’ about it,” Drake’s certainty was not to be questioned.
Randy stood silent. What exactly was happening here?
“And the principal would more than likely give you swats with one of these,” and Drake opened a cupboard door, reached in and took out a spanking paddle.
Randy’s face glowed red with embarrassment. Drake wanted to paddle him.
“So what do you say? If you take a licking and atone for your laziness, I will raise your grade to a pass.” Drake smacked the paddle down into the palm of his hand and stared intently at the teenager as he waited for Randy to respond.
Randy could not take his eyes off the wood Drake wanted to use to beat his ass. It was a typical school paddle, about fifteen inches long and five wide. It was maybe a half an inch thick. Some joker had written ‘Board of Education’ on one side of the blade.
Randy was breathless. Was the man serious? Could he actually do this? Was it even legal?
The boy said none of this aloud, but Drake could read his thoughts.
“It is the solution. You know it is Randy.” This was the first time the man had ever called him by his first name.
“Come. Let’s get this over with,” Drake said as he moved one of the bucket chairs into the centre of the room.
Randy was in a trance. Later when he recounted his story to Seth (who knew all about Drake’s little game) there were many parts of the action he could not remember.
“Bend over the chair, Randy.”
He meekly did as he was told and bent down. It was a small chair with a low back. Drake had Randy move back a bit, using the paddle against his legs and inner thighs to guide him to spread his legs until they were about shoulder-width apart. Then Drake tugged at Randy’s jeans until they stretched across his buttocks like a second skin.
Then, Swat! The first one landed in the center of his backside. Randy let out a loud yelp and hung on for dear life as he furiously stamped his feet trying to get the sting out of his poor butt.
Drake did not mind if Randy kicked about, as long as he stayed in position.
Randy was gasping for breath as if he would never end off gasping, then he clenched his teeth to try to stop yelling again as swat number two connected. The paddle stung like fire and he was surprised how loud a sound it made when it landed across his bent-over behind. All he could say was Ow, ow, ow!!! again and again.
After two dozen swats had connected it was over. Randy let go of the chair and jumped up and down, hollering in pain, his hands frantically trying to soothe the unquenchable heat burning every square inch of his poor butt. His eyes were welled up with tears but he did not care. He was way past the point of being embarrassed about tears or about the show he was putting on as he tried to stop the burn. After a minute or so of carrying on, he stopped dancing up and down and just stood still and rubbed.
Drake stood there paddle in hand just watching Randy with a look of satisfaction on his face that seemed to say: job well done.
And, it was a job well done. Drake had satisfied himself. He could with a clear conscience delete Randy’s failed grade and replace it with a pass.
Randy heard the news in silence. He had regained control of his breathing and the red heat in his throbbing buttocks was cooling.
Shoving his hands deep into his pockets he tramped out of the office; his place at the university saved.
At the end of the corridor the elevator opened and out stepped Phil King, another psychology student.
“Good luck!” Randy said to the puzzled classmate before pressing the button for the lobby.
Other stories you might like.
More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second