Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Subtype (New Fiction)

Sorry, all, this is just set up, it never gets to the spanking and I never finished working on this story. The set up is decent, though, I should really get back to writing this one.

Anita had been sent to the headmaster's office - again. She fidgeted as she waited on the knotted oak bench outside his office, reserved for situations much like this one, for girls much like herself. This was her third time on the bench in as many weeks, and the seat was successively less comfortable each time she visited it. She silently chastised herself. The likelihood of Anita ever becoming a good girl and avoiding the bench entirely was highly improbable, but she knew both her permanent record and her backside could do with longer respites in between the disciplinary punishments she was apparently fated to endure while attending Saint Geoffrey's Academy of Creative Arts.

She wondered which implement of Headmaster Arnold's cabinet would be waiting for her on his desk when she was finally summoned by Claire, the Headmaster's new assistant. Claire was an alum of Saint Geoffrey's, and rumor had it that she'd spent a good share of her own four years at the academy bent over one piece of furniture or another in the same office outside which Anita now sat. Some girls even claimed that Claire advised the Headmaster on how to punishment his wayward students. If she liked you, she was said to convince him to lean towards lighter discipline. If she didn't, it was the cane, never less than six of the best, and rarely only six at that.

After the semester she'd had, Anita was certain that Claire did not like her one bit.

The fidgeting turned to silent fuming as Anita considered the reason she'd once again been sent for punishment. Didn't Mr. Bloom realize that she was never going to finish her novella assignment if she couldn't sit down at her desk? But when she'd complained to the professor after the first time he'd sent her to the headmaster's office for failing to complete a writing assignment, he'd told her she would just have to learn to type standing up.

Now the semester was nearing Winter Break and she was supposed to have forty pages of her senior novella project finished. "Fifteeen pages, Miss Birchthwaite," Mr. Bloom had intoned upon flipping through Anita's homework submission, "are hardly worth turning in. Are these the same fifteen pages you turned in last Friday, and the Friday before?"

"No, sir," Anita had stammered, knowing full well what was coming no matter what sincere excuse she gave.

"Unless you can provide me with an excellent explanation, you will find yourself in Headmaster Arnold's office after class, Miss Birchthwaite."

"They're not the same pages, sir. I've been editing, and rewriting, and I know it keeps coming out to the same number of pages, but I've been working very hard. There's a new character on page four, you'll see, and I've tightened up the structure, and I've changed the setting a bit, and I've added more allusions to Japanese mythology, because I thought that might..."

Bloom shook his head. "Thought it might what, Miss Birchthwaite?"

"Get me another free trip over Headmaster Arnold's desk, sir."

"Anita!" Bloom did not consider himself to be an especially strict or difficult professor. He taught creative writing, a subject in which he prided his own endeavors and lauded that of his students. He had never had to send a student for discipline so many times, and never one as gifted as Anita. She was correct in that her incessant rewrites were always improvements on the previous versions, but the assignment, at this point, was not to have the best fifteen unfinished pages. The assignment was to get through the story. She would have the entire spring semester for revision. If she had written ten more pages, even five, he would have considered an alternative to more forceful punishment. Anita's flippancy, unfortunately, confirmed his suspicions. Anita didn't want to write another five or ten more pages. He had begun to think that she didn't want to write at all.

As Anita sat in her hallway purgatory, she recalled Bloom's face when he'd handed the unfinished story back to her. His cheeks were red and his eyes were watery. She'd thought he was about to yell at her, but instead he spoke very quietly. "Take this back. Over the weekend, write at least five more pages. They don't have to be perfect. They don't even have to be spell-checked. Just write. On Monday, you will turn in twenty pages, or you will turn in your resignation as a member of the Senior English Honors Society. You can finish out your year as a regular student, and your diploma will reflect none of the work you've accomplished over the past four years. Do you understand?"

Anita had not been able to look her professor in the eye. "Yes, sir," she said to his desk. "Twenty pages, or I'm out."

"That's correct."

Anita had looked up from the desk then. "And Headmaster Arnold's?"

"Go there now. You will wait until he is ready to see you. After that, I suggest you go back to your room and begin writing. Even," and at this Anita realized Bloom was blushing, "if you have to do it standing up."

Dirty old man, Anita thought, squirming on the uncomfortable oak bench. I bet he sends me down here just so he can think about me bent over and getting my ass spanked later on.

But even as she thought it, Anita felt a twinge of guilt. It wasn't Bloom's fault that she couldn't get past her writer's block. Moreso, it wasn't his fault that she didn't really care about the story she was writing. Maybe he was right to threaten expulsion from the honors program. If she couldn't write five more pages, what right did she have to call herself a writer anyway?

A pit had begun to grow in the depth of Anita's belly, and it had nothing to do with the punishment she was about to receive. She had to come up with something to write about. She had to make that story work. Just five pages. Come on, brain. Don't you have something to say?

"Anita!" Claire stood at the open door to Headmaster Arnold's office. "I said, what do you have to say for yourself this time?"

It was Anita's turn to blush. "I guess I'm not a very good writer."

Claire's stern expression softened. She put her hand out until Anita rose and placed her palm against the older girl's. Claire squeezed. "I don't think that's why you're here, though, is it? I think you're here because you're a very good writer, but you're not fulfilling your potential." Anita was confused. Claire had never spoken to her more than was necessary to escort her in and out of a disciplinary session. Now she was offering advice?

Claire stepped forward into the hallway and let the office door close behind her. "Why do you think you're at the headmaster's office again, Anita?"

Anita shook her head. "I didn't do my assignment."

"And why didn't you do your assigment?"

"I tried. I started by doing some editing, and then I just couldn't go any farther. The story stops at page fifteen. Nothing I do to the pages before that makes me want to write the sixteenth page. Nothing."

Claire tilted her head. "So you don't believe in your first fifteen pages?"

Anita's eyes flared. "I do! They're great, I just," she lowered her voice, "don't think I can write anymore."

"So you can write fifteen good pages, and that's it? Did the story decide it didn't want you to write it? Or did you decide you didn't want to write the story?"

Anita let go of Claire's hand and stared determinedly at the floor. "Neither. Both. It doesn't matter."

Claire took Anita's chin gently in her hand and guided her gaze up to meet her own. "But it does. And so does what happens in the headmaster's office. If you think you're being punished for failing to write x number of pages, you might write more to keep from being punished, but those pages are going to come from your sore backside, not your heart."

Both young women started to giggle at Claire's words, but Claire had meant to be serious. She pressed her lips together for a moment, then continued. "What if this time, you don't think of it as punishment?"

Anita started to laugh again, but Claire pressed her finger to Anita's lips. "I mean it. What if you think of it as the means to a new beginning? As a way to clear your inhibitions, your writer's block, whatever's going on in that head of yours?"

Claire let go of Anita and opened the office door. "Remember, you decide why you're here, and what happens when you leave." Through the doorway, Anita could see the senior cane resting on Headmaster Arnold's desk. She met Claire's eyes once again, this time with disgust. "I hardly think that's the case."

Claire winced. Her voice was back to it's usual icy tone as she left the office, pulling the heavy door closed behind her. "It's not for the reason you think." The door latched quietly, an insufficient punctuation to Claire's enigmatic statement. Anita was left trembling out of anger, confusion, and, despite being all too familiar with the headmaster's office, fear. Everything was happening differently this time. She no longer felt like she was about to be punished for being a bad girl. This time, her nerves told her, she was in for something much, much worse.