Mandy giggled as she watched her two best friends, Kelsey and Travis, pin one of their classmates against the brick wall of the auditorium. “Come on, guys! I didn’t know it was your spot!”
“Well that was your first mistake, wasn’t it? You should know by now.” Kelsey said unsympathetically. The three were seniors at Meadows High, but the closer they got to graduation, the more time they seemed to spend out of class than in it. Currently they were missing a health class, and soon they’d be missing an intro science class they’d signed up for just because they could. They made it a point to harass other seniors; no one was allowed to feel safe if they didn’t respect the group.
Mandy flicked the butt of her cigarette into the grass nearby and walked up behind the boy. He still struggled, but he wasn’t going anywhere. “We don’t like company,” she said as she reached down and grabbed the waistband of his tightywhities. “This spot is off limits to anyone who isn’t us, whether we’re here or not.”
Then she jerked upward, and he grunted as the white cotton forced itself up,the fabric wedging itself painfully. Kelsey and Travis laughed, and she pulled up harder so he had to stand on his tip toes. He whimpered as she held him there, and she leaned in close to his face to whisper. “Make sure you tell your friends.”
Then she dropped him and walked away, pulling another cigarette from behind her ear and smiling to herself. Travis and Kelsey were still laughing as they let him go; he moaned with relief and ran toward the front of the building before they could change their minds. Mandy watched him hurriedly trying to tuck the now stretched-out band of his underwear back into his jeans. Good luck, buddy, she thought to herself.
~ ~ ~
“What the fuck?” Mandy said aloud the next day as they once again stood in the shade of the auditorium, smoking cigarettes and listening to music and just generally not caring about anyone or anything. There was a gravel parking lot nearby, but it was always empty this time of day. A car had just whipped into it, though. A car she recognized after only a second. “Oh fuck fuck fuck,” she said, throwing her cigarette down and stomping at it.
“Holy fuck, is that Jenna?” Travis said, looking wide-eyed at his friends.
“Yes, that is fucking Jenna, we have to get the fuck out of here before–”
“Don’t you dare move,” came a loud authoritative command from the opening car door. The seniors had been ready to make a run for it, but they knew better than to disobey a direct order from that particular voice. It was Mandy’s older sister. Kelsey groaned and leaned back against the brick wall.
“What is she doing here? Why? Why?!” she said to no one in particular. She turned her head up toward the sky, but the other two watched as the car door slammed and Jenna started walking across the grass toward them. She was twelve years older than her little sister, and had looked after all three of them when she herself was a teenager and they were twerpy kids. She lived about an hour from their hometown now, but came to visit frequently. There was a murderous look in her eye as she reached the delinquents.
“What on earth has gotten into you?” she said. They were still shocked at her presence, and could only stare at her dumbly. Travis had been about to light his own fresh cigarette when they noticed her car, and it still hung from the corner of his mouth. Jenna reached over and snatched it, throwing it on the ground, which was littered in butts from their many months of cutting class here.
“Mara called me,” she said as she glared at each of them in turn. “She said you were terrorizing her little cousin yesterday and it sounds like it’s a regular event.”
“That little bitch,” Kelsey said under her breath, while Mandy shook her head and pressed her lips together as she worked out what was going on. That kid from yesterday– she guessed had a name, but whatever, they were all nobodies to her– must have been one of Mara’s many cousins, and Mara was her sister’s best friend from way back. Any sport they played, clubs they joined, projects they worked on, they had done them together. And now she had ratted them out.
Jenna reached over and grabbed Kelsey’s face, not hurting her, but forcing her to make eye contact and embarrassing her as she held her chin. “Watch your mouth,” she said sternly. “You’re in enough trouble.”
“Sorry,” Kelsey said awkwardly through fishlips; she rubbed at her cheeks when the woman released her.
“I was coming in for the weekend anyway, and I decided to come a day early. I was ready to pull you out of class,” Jenna said, now talking specifically to Mandy, “but you weren’t there.”
Mandy’s cheeks burned with embarrassment. She didn’t know what to say, so she just stood there taking the scolding, wishing the ground would swallow her up. She wanted her body to relax, for no one to know how nervous she was, but it seemed impossible. Her heart was racing in her chest, but Jenna was nowhere near finished.
“It worked out, though. I should have known you two were involved,” she said, now talking to Kelsey and Travis. They were almost as nervous as Mandy, and with good reason. They’d all been brought to task by Jenna many times growing up, sometimes apart and sometimes together.
Travis swallowed hard and tried to appeal to Jenna by dumbing himself down a bit, trying to remind her that he was just a misguided youth. “We didn’t mean anything by it,” he said, his eyes wide and voice thick with put-on innocence. “You can tell him right now, I think his name was Joel, or something like that, you can tell him we were only kidding.”
“Yeah,” Mandy said miserably, knowing it wasn’t going to calm her sister down at all but barreling on anyway, “We aren’t like, bullies. We were just messing with him. Friends mess with each other. It’s part of high school.” She herself was taking an entirely different route than Travis. They were just normal teens, and it was too bad Joel or whatever couldn’t take a joke.
“Anyway, it was good to see you,” Kelsey said, going for her usual tactic: pretend everything is fine. “We have to get back to class. This was just supposed to be a quick five, you know. Lotta learning left to do.” She tapped her head with a finger as she said this last part, leaning down to scoop up the backpack purse she carried with her everywhere.
“Not a chance, young lady,” Jenna said as her hands moved to the buckle of her belt. The seniors froze, each suddenly bathed in terror. Happy to finally have their attention, the older woman continued to unbuckle the clinking silver clasp and then to pull the brown leather from the loops of her jeans. “You better start to worry about class. But you can start when I’m finished here.”
“C’mon, Jen,” Mandy said, her voice sounding higher than normal to her own ears. Her eyes darted around frantically, terrified class was going to let out and their quiet smoking spot was going to be swarming with other students, and then they would see…”
“Get ‘em down, hands on the wall,” Jenna said, ignoring her sister and gesturing at the red brick with the now folded belt in her hand. “Not too close to each other, either.”
They stared at her, open mouthed, each trying to figure out what to say to make this stop, and each coming up empty. Eventually, and like in everything else they did, Mandy led the charge. She knew once Jenna made up her mind about something— especially this sort of something— the only thing stalling did was make it worse.
Slowly, she turned away from her sister and began to undo the button on her pants. To her right, Travis slowly did the same, a steady flow of “oh man oh man oh man” coming from his lips. He wasn’t unfamiliar with Jenna or her belt, either. On Mandy’s left, Kelsey also turned. She was wearing sweats and she shoved them down just below her backside before pressing her forehead against the wall and closing her eyes tightly. It had been a while since they’d gotten in trouble like this together, but not so long that she had forgotten what it was like.
“I don’t know what has gotten into you,” Jenna scolded as she walked up closer behind them. One at a time, she yanked their pants down much further than any of the seniors had for themselves, ignoring their groans. “What happened to the three sweet kids I knew? When did you make the leap from mischievous to mean?”
“Oh come on it was a harmless– owww!” Travis’s attempt to defend their actions was cut short by the smack of the belt across his behind. It came down steadily, ten, twenty… Mandy lost count. At least thirty. Travis was howling by the end, though.
“You may have started out funny and popular, but it sounds to me now that you are a group of bullies, terrorizing people for no reason and acting like you make the rules.” Jenna had moved behind Mandy now, and as she spoke, the belt whistled down on her sister’s bottom. “Well I am here to remind you that is not the case, and it will never be the case so long as you think this is an acceptable way to behave.”
That “never” caught Mandy’s attention; she’d never been one to let her best interests get in the way of a good argument and she yelled, “What do you mean never? Ow, ah! We’re about to graduate! Then you can’t– owww!!!”
Jenna brought the belt down a little lower, blasting the girl’s sit-spots and watching color bloom along the edges of her underwear. “Can’t give you a good spanking when you’ve earned one? That is where you are wrong, young lady. I don’t care how old you are. Anytime you need it, you will find yourself a sore bottom.”
Mandy’s hips wiggled, but the belt found her bottom every time Jenna wanted it to, and then finally again she was taking a few steps over behind the miscreants. When the first lick caught Kelsey’s bottom, she shot a hand out immediately, grabbing for the girl next to her. Mandy held her hand and let her squeeze. Jenna never wavered, giving the girl exactly the same punishment she had the other two. Mandy’s mind was almost entirely occupied listening for the bell, even as her friend’s nails dug into her palm. If she would just wrap it up, no one was going to see this humiliation.
Finally there was silence, aside from Kelsey’s sniffling. Mandy held her breath, praying for her sister to be done and let them go. Hoping to show her contriteness and get this party moving, she said, “We’re done. We’ll go to class. We’re sorry.”
“Really sorry!” chimed in Travis.
“I was born in the dark but it wasn’t last night,” came the reply from behind them. And then before she could even roll her eyes at Jenna’s dumb comment, Mandy’s worst nightmare came true. At the exact same moment the bell for class release rang out, Jenna reached over and pulled the girl’s underwear down to her knees. Then Travis, then Kelsey. Frozen with shock and humiliation, the trio kept their eyes on the bricks and tried to ignore the throngs of students pouring out of the nearby buildings.
If Jenna noticed, she didn’t say. She gave them each a second dose of her belt, sending them in turn hopping and squealing, and at least for a moment making them forget that anyone was watching. And though many eyes were on them, anyone who was watching had the good sense not to say anything.
The grounds were empty almost as quickly as they had been full; the exchange time between classes was only a few minutes. The only sounds left were three sore and sorry crying seniors, and then Jenna’s voice. “Alright, pants up and turn around.”
Slowly, wincing, they did as they were told as Jenna replaced her own belt. “I’m sorry I had to do that, but I meant it. I’ll do it again any time I have to.” She looked meaningfully at her little sister’s best friends, making sure they knew they were included. “Understood?”
They all nodded at her miserably, and she was satisfied enough with that.
“Alright, back to class. I’m picking you up after school today. We still need to talk about all the school you’ve been missing.”
Kelsey bit back a sob at this, and Travis groaned. Mandy wondered if they had pictured Jenna’s wicked hairbrush, like she had. Probably. They were right to worry, but there wasn’t anything they could do about it now. So she just nodded, then trudged over to throw her arms around her big sister and get the forehead kiss and the squeeze she knew was coming. Her friends did the same, and then they slowly made their way back to class.