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[Image of Little Miss Naughty] A Crisp White Shirt
by Mija

The senior schoolgirl plugs in the iron, lays her shirt on the board. She glances at her watch.

Four minutes.

The iron wastes precious seconds heating. She waits in her blue plaid skirt, socks - her tie and blazer thrown on the unmade bed. Her ponytail still drips. She sprays starch on the shirt's sleeves and collar.

Three minutes.

The girl can feel time slip away as the iron smoothes and sticks. Yet it is important the shirt be done right. Wrinkles aren't acceptable. The collar must be crisp, smooth.

Two minutes.

The time! Students are arriving at class. Still the girl struggles to get it right.

What had he said last week?

"You've had your last detention for uniform violations, miss. Your next infraction means a hard -"


The girl looks in surprise at the blister burn from the iron.

Sixty seconds.

No more time. No more time. She shoves her arms into newly-ironed sleeves, throws on her blazer, simultaneously fastening her shirt and tying her tie. Slipping on shoes, she rushes to class with undone laces. She's halfway downstairs as the last bell rings.

Her classroom door's now shut, locked. She raises her hand to knock and feels a tap on her shoulder. It's him of course.

"You're late."

He hands her a pink demerit slip. Her heart sinks as his eyes pass over her uniform.

"Sir? . . . I . . . overslept?"

She bends and ties her laces, tries to knot her tie, realizes her shirt's one button off.

He says nothing, but leads her down the hall to his office. There, he first puts ointment on her blistered hand, carefully examining the burn. Then he itemizes aloud the state of her dress.

- Hair wet.

- Tie and shoes untied.

- Shirt incorrectly buttoned.

Her apprehension rises.

"This school's dress code is supposed to teach students attention to detail. After three years you have less and less. Your classwork and appearance reflect this carelessness. Young lady, I made you a promise. Didn't you think I meant it?"

"Sir, I -"

"No more. Remove your blazer."

She does.

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My hands grasp the chair's rung. My head's low; I can smell the shirt's starchy cleanness, feel its tightness at the collar button. There's an unfamiliar coolness as my skirt is folded up, my panties lowered. The paddle, cold, smooth, pats my bottom. It swats hard: once, twice, six, twelve . . . more than I can or want to count. Swat-swat-smack.

I can't believe I'm being spanked.

I hear someone - me - crying, sobbing. Blinded by tears, my eyes squeeze shut.

Over. Gradually I realize it's over. Sobs fade back to gasps. His gaze is kind, fatherly, as he wipes my eyes. His gentle hands re-button my shirt, re-knot my tie, adjust my collar, make it all right. We walk back to class.

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The girl in her neat uniform sits gingerly, wearing a crisp white shirt. Her head bends over her assignment.

She notices the period on the wrong side of the quotation marks.

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