The Wanderings of Amy Ch. 24bycaligula97236©
Chapter 24 - Paul's roommate problems
Paul and Amy accompanied Suzanne and one of her ex-classmates from the art department to Central Wisconsin for three days just before the Spring semester started. They rented a camper for Amy and Paul to change and warm up in, as well as a snowmobile and skis as props. Only Paul knew how to ski, and not very well. No one knew how to use the snowmobile, but Suzanne's classmate read the instruction manual and figured out enough to be able to turn it on and move it into place. Suzanne had chosen a location was that was lovely, with woods to one side and a frozen meadow sloping off to the other side. It would be hard for her as a photographer to concentrate on the clothes, since she was more interested in the winter beauty of the location itself.
Suzanne was a professional, however. She focused on her task at hand, using an attractive location and an attractive young couple to make the most out of the clothes. The message she needed to send was clear; buy these clothes and you will look like this couple. Suddenly Suzanne understood Paul's objections to advertising. Essentially she was using her camera to lie and she did not feel good about that. However, like Paul, she needed this session, to build her resume more than anything else. She pushed her doubts aside and started shooting, her classmate helping her with the lighting and changing film in the cameras.
The shoot itself was both fun and grueling for Paul and Amy. Over a three-day period they tried on 100 combinations of clothing. Still, they enjoyed much of their time over the three days. They romped in the snow and had a chance to be totally immature. Several times Amy put on the skis and invariably fell over, Paul having to help her up. Once she lost her balance and fell on top of him. They both fell into the snow laughing, with Suzanne firing away with her camera. These shots were genuine. Amy and Paul were a real couple, having real fun.
Many of the photos went into newspaper ads as soon as Suzanne had them developed. As she thumbed through the Sunday paper the following weekend, it gave Amy a very strange feeling to see herself smiling under the word "Clearance".
At the end of February Amy began her correspondence with Wendy. She wrote about her photo shoot with Paul, how she was doing in her classes, and her observations with the university in general. However, mostly she had questions, how was Wendy doing, how did she feel, what was her life like, what was living with Burnside like?
Wendy tried to answer directly and honestly. Talking about her life was easy. However, she was unsure about her feelings. She did not mention anything about guilt or gambling.
Wendy did have some surprises for Amy in her letters. Amy had expected that Burnside would punish her friend almost continuously when she left her at the professor's house in December. That turned out not to be how Burnside treated her. The only punishments were for specific offenses, and just three major punishments so far, the most recent one being a caning just two days before Amy's first letter.
Amy cringed when Wendy wrote her in detail about the whipping in January. She realized, however, that the experience had been a turning point in Wendy's life. She had been traumatized by that punishment, but, Amy was under the impression that Wendy was glad to have endured it. She certainly seemed more focused as a result of having had that experience.
In spite of the professor's harsh treatment, Wendy wrote mostly kind things about Burnside. She struggled to please her mistress. Pleasing Burnside was a difficult goal, but, with enough effort, one that could be achieved. Wendy's efforts to please the professor intensified her feelings about everything in her life, including the professor.
Amy could tell that Wendy already had changed, just two months into her five-month sentence. The changes were reflected in her art, but also in her writing. Wendy was very direct in what she had to say. There was a boldness in her letters that Amy had not seen before. For example, she was quite open about her sexual relationship with Burnside. The professor was bi-sexual, and had brought that out in Wendy. She now felt a passion for her mistress, a development that disturbed Amy. What if Wendy could not let go in May? What then?
Amy wrote long, caring, almost poetic letters to Wendy. She had so much to say to her friend, how much she missed her, how worried she was about her. Amy's letters meant a lot to Wendy, much more than she was ever able to express.
Wendy was both scared and excited when she read the following lines from Amy:
"I am so much looking forward to the end of March. I will get to see you, because Dr. Burnside wants you to start going out again, and she wants me to take you! We will spend time together, like before! And then you will have your life back!"
Wendy had mixed feelings. She badly wanted to spend time with Amy. She was not so sure she wanted her life back. She still hated who she had been before her internment and felt very comfortable surrendering herself to Burnside.
Amy struggled through the semester loaded down with Burnside's work. There were term papers, monthly tests, the midterms, and general counseling. The students initially saw Amy as more approachable than either the professor or Lisa Campbell, since she was only a couple of years older than most of the other undergraduates. She actually was younger than some of the students in the classes, the ones who had started their studies late.
Amy still had an innocent look about her, which in reality was quite deceptive. Her young appearance and small size made the students under-estimate her, especially the fraternity guys. Amy had been hardened under the tutelage of the professor. She developed the same sharp eye for detail and the same ability to quickly judge how honest the person sitting in front of her was. She expected respect, and was quick to dismiss anyone who did not give it to her.
Burnside spent a long time with her student teaching her how to identify plagiarized papers. She taught Amy tricks she had picked up over her years of teaching. She shared her vast knowledge of where plagiarized papers came from and who was most likely to use which ones. Burnside showed Amy the websites containing plagiarized papers and other methods undergraduates had for cheating. Most of them Amy previously did not know about. However, there was one website with several papers, including a paper about the Marshall Plan, that Amy was painfully familiar with. With a touch of sarcasm Burnside noted "I think you remember this one."
Amy realized that Burnside had a real fixation on academic cheating. Burnside was an expert on the topic, but, as she explained, there was no point in writing any articles about it. The information changed from day to day and any article about academic cheating would be outdated before it went to publication. Still, every day Burnside's e-mail in-box was filled with requests for assistance or advice from other professors, and even university presidents.
"It's a pity, because there is a lot of good information out there. It's too bad that people are using that information not to learn or enhance their own work, but instead to avoid working. They're just lazy and want to stay ignorant."
Term papers were due the week before Mardi Gras. Amy graded a mass of assignments over a five day period. Paul sat with her helping her, but this time in a way that would not get Amy in trouble. As she completed the grading on each paper Paul proof-read Amy's work to make sure she stayed consistent. He separated any papers that deviated from the standards set by Burnside and by Amy's own criteria for grading, for her to re-grade. At first there were very few that needed to be revised, but as Amy became increasingly tired there were more. Paul's help became especially important after the fourth day, when Amy started to make mistakes due to lack of sleep. However, all he did was point out her mistakes. Paul was able to provide her with crucial assistance by doing so, but it was up to Amy to make the corrections.
Amy identified several suspect papers that she needed to check before returning to their authors. She separated them from the other papers. There were six altogether. Amy expected to find half of the originals herself, and would have to check with Burnside about the others.
On the fifth day Amy graded a paper that had language that was disturbingly familiar. The paper had been turned in by Paul's roommate, Alex. However the language in the paper was Paul's. Amy recognized the writing because she had read many things Paul had written, and was well aware that Paul had a very distinctive way of expressing his views. He used a lot of the professional jargon from his field, but also a lot of the language used by the Dependency School of International Development that he so admired. Amy decided not to ask her boyfriend about the paper. She would get the answers herself, and if need be, talk to Paul later.
Amy prepared one of the dreaded empty manila folders with a post-it note inside for Paul's roommate. In the classes Amy and Burnside passed out the graded papers and a total of five folders. Burnside had determined that one of the suspect papers had been honestly written, after checking the language from the student's midterm bluebook, which matched.
In class Amy approached Alex, holding the folder up in the air. She felt bad, because she did not know if Paul was involved in his roommate's paper. But as she handed the folder to Alex, she saw his face go pale. They exchanged looks, She let him know that she clearly was irritated by the uncomfortable situation he had placed her in. Amy took the folder back for a second, and wrote on the post-it note...
"See me before you go to Burnside."
Later that morning Alex showed up at Burnside's office. Burnside was teaching another class so Amy had some time to be alone with Alex. He was very nervous, and with good reason.
"Alex, close the door and sit down."
Amy got right to the point as soon as Alex was seated. She waved the paper in the air.
"Alex, did Paul have anything to do with this paper?"
"Amy, I don't understand. Why would Paul..."
"Look, I am not an idiot! Don't even try treating me like one! This is Paul's language! I think I ought to know, since I'm dating him! Alex, I can assure you that YOU are screwed! That's not the issue! I want to know about Paul! How did you get this paper?"
"Paul helped me. He suggested that I take a couple of papers he wrote and use them to write my own."
Amy felt sick. If that were true...
At lunch Amy confronted Paul. At first he seemed confused.
"Alex asked me to lend him some of my papers. He doesn't do good term papers and admitted that himself. I thought he just wanted to see how a paper was supposed to be written. I told him to let me look at his paper before turning it in, but he said he had already given it to Burnside"
"Well, look at this. Is this your paper?"
Paul thumbed through the paper. Amy could tell that from his expression that he was genuinely surprised.
"Actually, parts of three different papers of mine are in this one. Yes, this is my work. All of it's mine. I sure as hell didn't think he'd pull this when I lent him my papers, though."
Amy was relieved. She had wondered whether Paul had helped Alex cheat. She could tell by his reaction that he had not. He was genuinely upset.
That afternoon Paul went back to his apartment and looked into the history files of the computer he shared with Alex. He knew enough about computers to be able to retrieve deleted files. Scrolling through deleted term paper files, Paul made a very unpleasant discovery about his roommate.
Alex showed up later that afternoon at Amy's office. She glared at him with the exact same expression Burnside would have used. He fidgeted and looked at the floor. Amy got right to the point.
"Paul trusted you with his papers and you copied them and turned them in. Now answer, honestly. Is that what happened?"
"So Paul didn't tell you to use his papers for the class?"
"No. He wanted to read over my paper before I turned it in. I didn't let him, obviously. I'm sorry."
Amy was hugely relieved. Alex had confirmed what Paul had told her. "You don't owe me an apology. You owe an apology to Paul, and one to Dr. Burnside."
"What happens now?"
"Well, under university rules you would be expelled immediately. If you talk to Dr. Burnside I don't think that's what will happen, although you might wish that it had...I think I know what she'll do, but I can't tell you because I'm not 100% sure. After you talk to her, talk to me again before you say anything to Paul."
"Please, Amy, do I have to talk to Paul about this?"
"Oh yeah, you got to tell him. He'll know, no matter what. You'll see why."
Amy paused, then, once again giving Alex the same harsh look Burnside would give him, added...
"I expect you to tell Dr. Burnside what you did and why you were caught. I expect you to tell her that I caught you because I recognized Paul's language in the paper. I doubt that telling her that will make your situation any better, but you need to take responsibility for what you did."
Burnside showed up before Alex left. Amy got up to leave, since she had a class to go to. She grabbed her backpack and turned to Alex. "You might as well tell Dr. Burnside now."
When Amy returned to Burnside's office, Burnside was by herself, thumbing through a couple of professional journals she had just received.
Amy wanted to know about Paul's roommate.
"Alex will be your responsibility. You caught him. I didn't."
"What do you mean, Dr. Burnside?"
"You will decide his punishment. What happens to him is entirely up to you. You can kick him out of school, do nothing, have him host the Mardi Gras party, whatever. I will support any decision you make."
Amy thought for a moment. She did not like being put on the spot like this, but she realized what Burnside was doing. Burnside wanted Amy to assume greater responsibilities to prepare herself to teach. It was not hard for Amy to figure out what Alex's punishment would be. Amy would switch him, and he would host Burnside's party in the nude along with Wendy. That was standard punishment for anyone who cheated in Burnside's classes. There was no reason why Alex should be any different.
"Dr. Burnside, I need to ask you two favors."
"Let's hear them."
"I need a copy of your discipline contract, and I'll put my name on it. And I need you to teach me how to use your switch."
Burnside brought up her file on the computer. Amy changed Burnside's name to her own and printed the following:
I, __________, admit to having attempted to commit plagiarism on __________. I have read and fully understand this university's cheating policy, and am fully aware of the consequences for committing an act of plagiarism under the student code of ethics.
In lieu of disciplinary action from the university administration, I, __________, freely and willingly choose to accept the disciplinary alternative offered by my professor's student aide, Amy Debbs. I understand that upon completion of the disciplinary alternative to Ms. Debbs' satisfaction, I will continue my coursework and no further action will be taken against me.
Later that afternoon Alex came back for a third time, very nervous. Amy handed him the contract.
"Here's the deal. You sign this and do what I tell you, or you get kicked out under the student code of ethics. That's your choice."
"What's going to happen if I sign?"
"Well, I'll tell you. You are going to go to Dr. Burnside's house and take off all your clothes the afternoon before Mardi Gras. I'm going to punish you on the bare bottom with a leather switch. I'll give you 16 strokes, 8 on each side. That's standard for guys. Girls get 14, seven on each side. After that you'll serve drinks at a party in the nude, 'till about 4:00 in the morning or so. There will be about a hundred people there, including Paul. After the party is over you'll help clean up, then you'll get dressed and go home. You'll have two weeks to re-write the paper and then the whole thing will be forgotten. That's what will happen if you sign. Now, if you don't sign, I'll turn the paper over to Dr. Burnside, who will forward it with a report about your cheating to the dean. You'll be expelled sometime next week."
Alex stared at Amy, stupefied. He looked stricken. He was pale and his hands shook. He filled in the agreement, signed it, and handed it back to Amy.
"Amy, please, isn't there any other way I can make this up?"
"Sure there is. You can get expelled and then check the want ads for a job. That's your choice."
Amy had to go to Burnside's house for the second favor, learning how to use the switch. Burnside decided to invite Amy for dinner. When Burnside saw a look of anticipation on Amy's face, she added that Amy should not consider this night one of the nights she would really talk to Wendy. The professor explained that Wendy's servitude would not be relaxed until after Mardi Gras, when Amy would start taking her out.
Going over to Burnside's house placed Amy in a very awkward position. She would see Wendy, and not see her, at the same time. In spite of the fact that Amy and Wendy had written each other almost continuously over the past two weeks, Burnside's servent would not be allowed to talk to her during the evening. She would serve Amy, just like she would serve anyone else. If Amy spoke to her, she would kneel and answer.
However, there was one important indication that Wendy's life would soon change. Burnside told Amy to bring a suitcase of her clothes. Wendy would be allowed out of the house in about two weeks, if everything was going well. She would be allowed to see her suitcase, and would know that her life would begin to return to normal shortly.
Amy went over to Burnside's house the evening before Mardi Gras. Wendy answered the door, standing behind it to not be visible to the street. She sadly looked Amy in the eyes, but did not say anything. It shocked Amy to have her friend right next to her, for the first time in nearly three months, and not be able to even say hello to her.
Even though Wendy already had written her that Burnside had beaten her much less than she expected, Amy was still surprised to see her friend's body with almost no marks on it. There were a few faint traces on her bottom from her most recent caning, and that was it.
Wendy's appearance had other surprises for Amy. Even though Amy knew that Burnside had shaved Wendy's head, it was still a bit of a shock to see her with short hair. Wendy's hair had since grown out somewhat, but it still was much shorter than she had ever worn it previously. The other surprise for Amy was her friend's physique. Wendy's arms and legs were muscular and toned from her daily exercise sessions, and Amy could see traces of muscle in her stomach. Wendy always had rather soft features, but nearly three months of brutal exercising had hardened her body considerably.
Wendy took Amy's coat and hung it up. She then gave a look of gratitude when she saw the suitcase. However, Burnside ordered her to take the suitcase to the master bedroom. It would be another two weeks or so before Wendy would be allowed to use anything in it.
Wendy then knelt near Burnside's favorite armchair, quietly waiting for her next set of orders. Her movements were quick and automatic. There was no hesitation, nor was there any modesty about being the only nude person in the room. She had been nude continuously for three months and by now was quite used to not wearing anything except her collar.