The Wanderings of Amy Ch. 18bycaligula97236©
Chapter 18 - A night in Burnside's office
Amy's time was full that semester, as full as it could be. Although Amy was becoming somewhat better with the math requirements of her field, she was grateful to have Wendy present at all times to ask her for help on formulas for her economics classes. Wendy seemed to have a talent for numbers totally out of reach for Amy. Occasionally Amy thumbed through Wendy's accounting textbooks out of curiosity. She was intimidated by the content. I'm glad not to be studying this, Amy thought to herself.
At the end of October, Amy had two full sets of term papers to grade in a week's time. There were over 150 papers, ranging from 15 to 20 pages. Burnside had told Amy the grading would be a valuable learning experience because she would be able to pick up a lot of diverse information over a very short period of time.
Burnside's method of grading was based on a formula that she had worked out over her years of teaching. She had specific things that she was looking for, based on the course content. She taught that formula to Amy, had Amy grade a couple of papers to make sure that Amy understood how the papers were to be evaluated, and then handed her two boxes. Each box was full of papers. Amy would do the initial grading, then she would give the papers back to Burnside to review for the final grading. The professor planned to review the papers over the weekend before giving them back to the students on Monday.
Paul had promised to help Amy and had cleared his schedule to accommodate her. He finished his term papers early to be able to help Amy when the crisis of mid-terms hit in the middle of October. Amy looked at him in gratitude when he showed up and picked up one of the boxes. Paul and Amy spread the papers out on the dining room table and got started. Amy took half the papers and Paul took the other half. On the papers he was grading, Paul wrote his comments on large post-it notes and attached them to the sides of the pages. Amy then re-wrote the comments on the pages in her own handwriting. It seemed like a pretty good system they had worked out.
Paul and Amy were looking forward to Burnside's Halloween party. Amy decided to wear her nurse's outfit, and Paul volunteered to go as her patient. The only thing he would wear would be hospital slippers and an old-style hospital gown that did not have a back. The gown would leave Paul's back and bottom exposed. Amy liked the idea, but was surprised that Paul would wear something so daring. By pure chance Wendy's black jumpsuit ended up among the clothes she grabbed from her parents' house, so Wendy was taken care of as well. Amy decided to take the three outfits to the cleaner's and Paul volunteered to pick them up.
Amy turned the term papers back to Burnside with plenty of time to spare on Friday. The professor was a bit surprised at receiving the papers back so early in the day, and at seeing Amy well rested. She quietly accepted the papers. Amy did not notice the glimmer of suspicion in Burnside's expression as she cheerfully unloaded the boxes on professor's desk.
Amy first realized there was a problem that night, when she received an e-mail. Amy knew Burnside, and the tone of the message worried her.
Amy, I expect you in my office at 8:00. We need to talk. -Burnside-
Saturday morning Amy entered the professor's office at 8:00. Burnside was clearly infuriated. Her eyes bore right into Amy's, her face was flushed with anger, and the muscles on her neck were tensed. Without saying any type of greeting, she handed Amy a copy of the student aide contract.
"Amy, read line 12 of the contract to me please."
Amy read "Responsibilities include grading and assessment of course projects, as directed by the tenured faculty member named in this contract. Grading and assessment of work are the sole responsibility of the faculty member. However, within department guidelines, the responsibility of grading may be delegated to the student aide named in this contract at the discretion of the faculty member."
Amy looked at Burnside perplexed. She still did not understand what was wrong. Burnside spoke again.
"You don't get it, do you? Tell me Amy, are you double-majoring in political science?"
"Then I find the language used in half these papers very interesting. They are well-graded, but unless you have a split personality, the language used in half these papers is not yours. It's not even the language used by an economist. Now answer this question. You did not write the comments for half these papers, did you?
Amy suddenly felt like the floor had opened up beneath her. She felt totally sick, like she was falling. She should have known. However, she forced herself to answer Burnside immediately. She was honest, knowing that attempting to lie would only make her situation considerably worse.
"I had Paul help me with the papers. Those comments are his."
"Well golly-gee Amy, I guess I should be real happy! Two student aides for the price of one! Except for one problem. What do the terms 'sole responsibility', 'delegate to the student aide named in this contract ', and 'at the discretion of the faculty member' mean to you?"
Amy swallowed hard. "That means that I shouldn't have had anyone help me. It means that I...I...violated the conditions...of my contract."
"You violated the terms of your contract. You got that right. Now, do you have anything to say for yourself?"
Amy sadly shook her head. "No, Dr. Burnside. I don't have anything to say. I...I screwed up. I...I'm sorry."
Burnside clenched her fists upon hearing the word "sorry". Her lips tightened. It was obvious that the professor was using every bit of her self control to stay calm.
"You screwed up! What an understatement, Amy! Don't you realize that it's not just your career you've put in jeopardy, but mine as well? I signed a contract with this university, just like you did, and as I recall, NOWHERE in that contract did it say that I could delegate grading to someone outside the department! Certainly not to your little political science boyfriend!"
Burnside grabbed a handful of the papers. She slapped them hard on the surface of her desk. The professor's next words cut to the core of Amy's soul.
"I trusted you! I gave you an opportunity most students only dream about, and you couldn't even grade some papers for me! It would have been better had you not written anything on them, because now they're covered with a bunch of political science jargon! I trusted you, and what do you do? You violated both our contracts! You betrayed 75 of my students, who thought their papers would be graded by an economist! And all you can say is 'you're sorry?!'"
For a moment Amy said nothing. What could she say? The fact that she had ended her career was the least of her concerns at that moment. Her betrayal of Burnside weighed on Amy much more than her own situation. Finally she forced herself to speak.
"Dr. Burnside, would it help if I go to the dean, by myself, and tell him what I did? That it wasn't your fault? Then you, or the dean, or the university, or whoever, can do whatever you want to me. You have my word I won't argue or file any appeal. I'll write a letter, or a confession, or whatever. Just tell me what I need to do, and I'll take care of it."
Burnside looked hard at Amy. Without realizing it, Amy had just saved her job with her last sentence. Maybe there was hope for her yet. The professor calmed down slightly. She sighed and shook her head.
"No. I'm not going to fire you. It would create a scandal in the department, and anyhow, you aren't getting off that easy. We're going to fix this, you and me, this weekend. You are going to take Paul's papers over to that desk and re-grade them. Leave Paul's comments for the benefit of the students. For the most part they're very insightful for a political scientist. I just won't count them for the grading. But now you will put in your own. As for the half that you did grade, sort them and give them to me. I'll get started with those. We have 48 hours to get finished."
"Dr. Burnside...You're going to forgive me..."
"No, Amy. I'm not going to just forgive you. You fucked up, and you're going to pay for it. But you're going to pay for it in a way that won't wreck your future. Now, start sorting those papers."
Amy moved the papers to the TA's desk and sat down. Her heart pounded as she sorted the papers into two piles, the finished pile for Burnside and the unfinished pile for herself. Amy's emotions were in turmoil. She was hugely relieved that her career was not going to be swept away. However, she was scared at the same time. Burnside was totally infuriated with Amy, in spite of having decided not to fire her. Amy knew there would be hell to pay for her irresponsibility.
"Amy, what time is it?"
"Ten 'till nine, Dr. Burnside"
"Good. At nine o'clock sharp I want you to go over to the umbrella stand behind my desk. There is a cane in that umbrella stand. You will take the cane out and hand it to me. Once you've done that, I want you to pull your jeans and panties down and bend over my desk."
Amy was so scared her hands shook, but she said nothing. Punishment was how Burnside dealt with anyone who was dishonest with her, and Amy would be no exception. If anything, Amy was slightly relieved, knowing that if Burnside punished her, eventually she would let the grading incident pass. What Amy did not realize was how much the strokes from that cane would hurt. She hurried to finish sorting out the papers before nine.
At nine Amy laid the papers she had graded on Burnside's desk. She reached behind the umbrella stand and retrieved the cane. Amy's struggled to stay calm as her fingers touched the wood. The cane was truly an evil-looking item. She handed the cane to her professor, then moved to the front of her desk, facing the window. She unzipped her jeans, pushed them and her panties to her knees, and bent over the desk. She grabbed the opposite edge with her hands and waited. Burnside picked up the cane and tapped it on Amy's left bottom-cheek.
"Amy, I promised that you are going to pay for this in a way that won't affect your future. Well, this is it. I will give you two strokes, one from each side, every hour on the hour until we're done with these papers. I think, considering what you tried to pull on me, that's fairly lenient. Anyhow, I'm sure you'll be plenty tired by tomorrow and the strokes will help you stay awake."
With that Burnside struck hard at the lower part of Amy's bottom. A pink line instantly appeared, just above her thighs, precisely where she would have to sit. The pain seemed to shoot through Amy's entire body. As the burning from the stroke increased and Amy gritted her teeth in pain, Burnside struck from the other side. Amy gasped. She bit her lip hard as the pain from her second stroke mounted. She fought back the tears. That was just two strokes! There would be two more at 10:00, two more at 11:00, two more at 12:00... By this time tomorrow Amy would be in pure agony. She knew that the second day would be worse.
"OK, Amy, back to your papers. You might as well take your jeans and panties off. You won't be needing them until you're done with your part of the grading. At 10:00 I want you back over my desk."
Amy sadly slipped her jeans over her feet, folded them, and put them on the floor under the table. Then she sat down in the hard chair, wincing as the welts seemed to bite into her.
Burnside was no hypocrite. She worked every bit as hard as Amy, quickly revising Amy's comments, adding a few of her own, and giving the final grade. On the average she lowered the grade about 3% from what Amy had given each paper. Burnside worked quickly and efficiently, reducing her stack of papers by about 8 per hour.
Amy took longer with her stack of papers, since she had to re-read them and put in her own comments next to the ones she had copied from Paul's post-it notes. As she finished her papers she put them back in their box. After about every 10 papers or so Amy picked up the finished stack and handed it to Burnside. Burnside took the papers from Amy's hand, thumbed through them to make sure they had good comments, then added them to her own pile of un-graded papers. Amy and Burnside worked in silence the entire afternoon. Amy sat uncomfortably, the hard wood of her chair pressing her welts.
The silent routine of the office was only broken once each hour when Amy checked the time, stood up, and bent over Burnside's desk. Burnside then stood up, laid her two strokes across Amy's bottom, and then they both sat back down to continue their work. Every hour two new stripes of pain marked Amy's bottom, two new sources of discomfort for her as she pressed into her seat. By the time it was dark outside Amy barely could sit down. It was becoming harder and harder for her not to cry.
At 7:00 p.m. Burnside suddenly realized that she and Amy had gone the entire day without eating. After giving Amy her two cane strokes for the hour, Burnside told Amy that she was going out to get something to eat for both of them and would be back shortly. Amy took advantage of Burnside's absence to have a good cry. She buried her face in her hands and sobbed for 15 minutes. It did not make the pain go away, but now Amy felt that she could hold up for a few more hours. She managed to calm down before Burnside came back. The professor set a plastic container of chopped fruit in front of Amy, as well as a small hot sandwich and a small carton of orange juice. Then they both noticed it was 8:00. Amy, not saying anything, got up and bent over the desk. Burnside picked up the cane and struck her twice. Amy now had 24 cane strokes across her bottom. She winced as she sat down and forced herself to eat.
The night dragged on. Burnside was an insomniac, so it did not bother her to work like this. There was no way that Amy could feel sleepy with the increasing pain from her on-going punishment. They worked grimly through the night. Every hour Amy stood up and bent over Burnside's desk. Amy heard the janitor vacuum outside the door. Much later she heard drunken frat boys screaming around the academic buildings. Burnside jumped up and went outside. Amy heard her voice snarling at the drunks. Amy had to hand it to her professor. She had the guts to go out and confront a large group of drunken males by herself at 2:00 in the morning. There was silence after that.
By 7:00 the next morning Amy was about three fourths the way through her papers. She bent over Burnside's desk for the 23rd time. Burnside struck her with the cane twice, then told Amy she was going to get breakfast for both of them. She asked Amy what she wanted in her coffee. Once again Amy broke down and cried while Burnside was away. She was in much more pain than last night. Judging by the papers still on her desk there were at least six more hours to go. She managed to stop crying just before Burnside got back.
Amy did not see how things could get any worse, but they did with the next set of cane strokes. At 8:00, Burnside decided that she needed to stop caning Amy's bottom. Amy's bottom cheeks were in bad shape and a few more strokes of the cane would risk breaking her skin. When Amy bent over Burnside's desk for the 24th time, Burnside laid two strokes across the backs of Amy's thighs. Amy had been balancing herself with her thighs on the edge of the chair to ease the pressure on her bottom. The two new welts would make that much more difficult.
After her strokes at 11:00, Amy now had four welts on the back of each thigh, as well as the mass of welts on her bottom. By now Amy saw the wooden chair as her enemy. She asked Burnside if she could stay standing or kneel at her desk to ease the pressure on her bottom.
"Amy, you will sit in that chair until you are finished with your papers. If your bottom hurts, well, that's just too bad."
Amy, exhausted beyond belief and tormented by her welts, finally finished the last paper that Sunday afternoon at 12:55 p.m. Burnside took it from her. The professor looked at Amy sharply as she picked up her jeans from the floor and struggled to pull them up over her bottom.
"OK, Amy, that's it. Your part is done. Don't ever tell yourself that you need your boyfriend to help you or that you cannot handle this workload, because you've just proved you can. We have final projects coming up in a month and I expect top performance out of you for the grading."
Burnside's face reflected genuine anger at Amy, as well as disappointment. She continued "Amy, because you let me down, you will host at my Halloween party, just like you did last year. Do you understand?"
Amy struggled not to cry. "Yes, Dr. Burnside. I understand."
With that Amy slowly walked down the empty hallway of the silent economics department. For a few seconds Burnside stood sadly watching her, then the professor returned to her office to finish her portion of the grading.
Amy called Paul immediately from the pay phone at the entrance of the economics department. He rushed over to pick her up. It was obvious that Amy could not face Suzanne or Wendy right now, so he took her to a motel. He helped her get her jeans and underwear off, and was horrified at the sight of Amy's bottom and the backs of her legs. Amy lay on the bed, face down, crying. The pain from the cane marks did not seem to go away, and having gone without sleep for almost two days totally broke down her resistance. Amy sobbed continuously. Paul did not know what to do. He ran out in the hall to get Amy some juice, soda, and bottled water from the vending machine, and asked her what she wanted. All Amy could do was continue to cry.
It was obvious that something had gone horribly wrong between Amy and her professor, but long time passed before Amy could tell Paul what happened. The worst part was the upcoming Halloween Party. Amy would be punished yet again and forced to serve drinks in the nude all night, to a large number of people who knew her from the Mardi Gras party. The embarrassment of having to face all those people again as a hostess was overwhelming.
There was no way that Amy could avoid letting Paul know that she had been punished because he graded her papers. It really was not his fault that Amy violated her contract, but he felt overwhelmingly guilty. Paul's concern was not over what already had happened, but rather Amy's upcoming public humiliation.
Amy's fatigue took over and she went to sleep. Paul felt horrible as he looked at the cruel marks on her body. Finally he covered her up. He grabbed one of the unopened bottles of water and drank it as he pondered what to do. He resolved that tomorrow he would talk to Burnside and try to host in Amy's place. He owed her at least that much.
Burnside stared coldly at Paul as he pled for Amy to be let off from any further punishment. Finally she reached in her file cabinet and pulled out a copy of Amy's contract. She shoved it at Paul.
"Look this over very carefully. Do you see your name written anywhere on it?"
"Case closed, Paul. Amy is responsible because she is the one I hired to grade papers, not you. What you do is your business. You obviously thought you were doing the right thing by trying to help Amy, but it was her decision not to fulfill the terms in here, not yours."
"But I was the one who suggested helping her with the term papers."
"Doesn't matter. She made the decision to not do the papers. You didn't make that decision for her. She's the one who has to face the consequences."
Burnside looked at her watch. "I think our time is up, Paul. I have a meeting in two minutes."
"Dr. Burnside, could I at least host with her? So she doesn't have to be there by herself?"