It was a wet dull morning and Catherine,a thirty-nine year old married mother of two young k**s, stood at the bus stop as usual waiting to catch the No.7 bus to work.Catherine worked in a large department store,behind the check-out.The bus always took the same route,which went past St.Vincent's Convent.Catherine would look out the window of the bus at the convent and sometimes remember her school days,her friends and the nuns who taught her.Catherine also remembered getting the odd slap for misbehaviour.The slap was always given on the hands by one particular nun,what was her name,Catherine thought,ah,yes,Sr.Gertrude.Sr.Gertrude was the Dean of Discipline at St.Vincents.Any girl who transgressed was sent to Sr.Gertrude.Sometimes,Catherine remembered,there would be a line of girls outside Sr.Gertrude's study waiting to be called in.
Catherine had 'transgressed' so much in her life now that she wondered what Sr.Gertrude,if she was still alive,would do to her;she smiled to herself at the thought.
A few nights later Catherine was having a drink with her girl friends,some of which had went to St.Vincent's.The discussion turned to their school days,they laughed and joked at what they got up to but there was a distinct lull when Sr.Gertrude was discussed."Is Sr.Gertrude still alive",Catherine asked.
"Ya,the old bitch is still alive and living in St.Vincents,"one of Catherine's friends,Karen replied.Catherine and Karen lived in the same housing estate and shared a taxi home.Catherine had noticed a change in her friend when Sr.Gertrude was mentioned;Karen was normally a good time girl who liked a few drinks and a wild night,but when Sr.Gertrude had been mentioned Catherine noticed that Karen became a bit distant and didn't enjoy herself anymore that night.Catherine was intrigued.
"How do know Sr.Gertrude is still alive?",Catherine asked,and was surprised by the immediate response.
"Not here,lets get out,I need to tell you something."Karen whispered.
The taxi dropped them off at a local pub near there homes and they went inside,there was four other people in the pub that Tuesday night.Catherine and Karen sat away in one of the corners.Catherine's imagination was working overtime by now and she couldn't wait to hear what her friend had to say.
"I'm going to tell you something and I don't what anyone else to know".Karen said slowly.
"What is it?" Catherine asked.
Karen took a sip of her drink and looked at Catherine;she took a deep breath and then began to recount what happen to her the previous Thursday.
Karen had been in a rush that day and decided the best thing to do was take a short-cut to her home through the gardens of St.Vincent's Convent.Karen walked through the garden keeping as much as possible to the hedges.There was a gate at the end of the garden that led out onto the housing estate where Karen lived.Just as she reached the gate a nun stepped out in front of her and said,"What are you doing here,these gardens are private property."
Karen was startled by the sudden appearance of the nun in her black veil and long black flowing habit,that she didn't respond at first."well,did you hear me,what are you doing in here?"the nun asked again.
"Sorry,s****r,I was in a rush and I thought it would be okay to take a short-cut to the housing estate,I am really sorry,I won't do it again."Karen said.At forty Karen still remembered her school days and how severe the nuns could be.
"You will have to come into the convent and discuss this matter with the Reverand Mother",the nun said.Karen knew that she could be in trouble if the nun called the police.She decide to go with the nun to the Reverand Mother and plead her case.
Karen walked in front of the nun and every now and then the nun would give her directions where to turn.which corridor to go down.Finally they came to a stair case which they ascended.Outside a door the nun told Karen to take a seat and she went inside,closing the door.Karen sat on the long hard wooden bench outside the room and she could hear a muffled conversation taking place insde.Karen felt about fifteen again waiting outside the nun's study.
After about ten minutes the door opened and the nun who had caught Karen came out,"you may go in now,the Reverand Mother will see you." Karen stood up and walked into the room,the nun left and closed the door leaving Karen alone with the Reverand Mother.Karen suddenly felt a sense of forboding.She decided the best thing to do was throw herself at the mercy of this old nun and explain why she was in the convent gardens.
"What is your name?" the old nun asked.Karen could barely make her out,the room was dull.
"Karen O'Connor,s****r,look I am really sorry,but I was in a rush and ...",Karen bagan but the old nun cut her off.
"This is private property and you have no right to be in here,woman;you will also address me by my proper title which is Reverand Mother,is that understood,woman",the old nun said.Karen guessed that the old nun was just trying to frighten her,so she played along.
"Yes,s****r,Sorry I mean Reverand Mother".Karen said.
"That is better,Karen;my name is Reverand Mother Gertrude and I am head of this convent."I seem to be forever having to deal with girls and indeed women who think it is alright to invade our privacy here and walk through our gardens to that housing estate whenever they feel like it".
Karen was rooted to the spot,not sure what to say next."Sorry,again,Reverand Mother,"Karen said but thought to herself what did the old nun mean by forever having to deal with.
"I have heard many excuses in my time and I do not belive any of them Karen."Where did you go to school,Karen?"the nun asked.
"Here,I mean St.Vincents,Reverand Mother."Karen replied
"Ah,well,did I ever deal with you Karen?".
"Yes,Reverand Mother,on a few occasions",Karen replied,unsure where this was going.
"Well,Karen",Reverand Mother Gertrude said,"we can deal with your transgression in one of two ways,I can ring for the police or I can deal with you myself".
Karen was unsure what the old nun meant by the latter part but it sounded better than being hauled off by the police. After a moments silence the old nun said,"Well make up your mind,woman",in a clear voice.
"You deal with me,Reverand Mother",Karen said,still unsure what the old nun was or indeed could do.Karen was not prepared for what the old nun said next,it was as if the Reverand Mother was completely use to saying this,Karen was shocked.
"Bend over the table,Karen,I am going to teach you a lesson,"Reverand Mother said.
Karen didn't know quite what to say but she came up with,"No way,what lesson can you teach me?"
"I am going to slap you,Karen;it will be a long time before you transgress again,I can assure you;or are we to go down the legal route",Reverand Mother said,reaching for the telephone on her desk.Karen thought again of being arrested,she had to think quick."Okay,Okay,Reverand Mother",Karen said and took one pace forward and bent over the old oak wood table.
Reverand Mother Gertrude smiled and said,"how old are you Karen".
"Forty,Reverand Mother",Karen replied.
"Well, it has been sometime since you have been chastised I take it?"
"Yes,Reverand Mother".Karen replied meekly.
Reverand Mother Gertrude stood up and walked silently over to another table and opened a drawer.She took out a leather stap and turned to face Karen.Karen couldn't see the strap but she could hear the rustling of Reverand Mother Gertrude's long black habit as the old nun moved into postion to administer the slapping to her.There was a few moments of silence and Karen was just about to think that the old nun had changed her mind when the first slap of the strap landed across Karen's bottom.Karen moved suddenly but she didn't scream out.Karen had decided that she would not give the Reverand Mother the satisfaction of screaming out.Another slap and the another.The sound of the strap slapping onto Karen's bottom was ear-shattering in the silence of the Reverand Mother's study.More slaps across Karen's bottom and eventually Karen did scream out.
"That is what I like to hear,Karen,now you are repenting your ways.",Reverand Mother Gertrude said,slightly out of breath.
"You fucking pervert",Karen screamed unable to hold her composure anymore.A number of hard slaps in quick succession followed and Karen immediately apologised for her language.
The beating continued, for what seemed to Karen a long time.The strap came down again and again across her bottom,she was thankful that she was wearing jeans but she could still fell the sting and it really began to hurt.Reverand Mother Gertrude was mumbling something,but Karen couldn't make out what she was saying.Eventually the beating stopped and Reverand Mother Gertrude placeed her hand on Karen's bottom.The feel of the old nuns hand was soothing after the hard strap.The old nun groped her hand around Karen's bottom.Karen looked down at the table,she was going to speak out but knew that if she did the strap would be used again;she decided to let the old nun have her way.
"You may get up now,Karen",Reverand Mother Gertrude said after a awhile.
Karen stood up,not knowing what to say,she just wanted to get out of there.Her bottom really was stinging and she was afraid that the old nun would tell her to bend over again.
"If you come before me again,Karen I will use this strap on your bare bottom;is that understood,woman,"Reverand Mother Gertrude said.Karen could seem that the old nun was sweating slightly and had a distinct smile on her face.
"Yes,Reverand Mother," Karen said in discomfort.
"You may go,woman".
"Thank you,Reverand Mother",Karen had no idea why she had just said thank you.
Karen left the room and was e****ted off the convent grounds by a young nun who had a smile of satisfaction on her face as if she had slapped Karen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Karen and Catherine stared at each other for a while then Karen said,"so,ya,she is still alive and still able to deal with transgressor's".
Catherine was both shocked and amazed at what she had just heard.After promising Karen that the story would go no further,they promised to meet up the following evening to discuss what had happened to Karen in more detail.When they parted Karen had no idea what was on Catherine's mind.
The following day Catherine got on the bus but this time she wasn't on her way to work.Instead she got off at the stop outside the convent.Once the bus had driven away Catherine crossed the road and walked through the convent gates.She came to the big doors of the main convent building and rang the bell.After a few moments the door was opened by a young nun who immediately smiled at Catherine and inquired what she wanted
"I would like to see Reverand Mother Gertrude," Catherine said slowly.
"Yes,come in",the young nun said.
The door closed with a thud behind Catherine who instinctively put both her hands on her bottom.Catherine thought about backing down but she was resolute,she wanted to experince the discipline from Reverand Mother Gertrude.
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