When was the last time your heart stopped? Never? Lucky you! For me it was only a few hours ago. I had been studying while pretending not to be studying. It is very demanding work you know. That is why I had paid no attention to the whispers in the room or my roommates, Jenny and Lucy. They were not even inside the library! I had no reason to suspect anything was amiss right?
Jenny was skipping when she entered the library. I noticed her then. Unfortunately for her, so did everyone else including the grand librarian. Mr. Keeper, yes that is really the old fogies name, walked with a stride akin to running. Between the two of them was entirely too much enthusiasm in the air for studying.
“How dare you, you insolent girl!’ Mr. Keeper shouted at a whisper’s volume.
Jenny seemed oblivious the subject of his outburst was indeed herself. To be fair, she seemed completely oblivious of everything. Which is probably why a moment later she collided directly with Mr. Keeper. If there was a person within the library who had not all ready been staring at them, there certainly was not after the thunderous crash.
The two of them fell together in a most inappropriate manner. As though there is ever an appropriate manner in which to fall, if there is I have never heard of it. Always some unfortunate falling from grace never with it, but let me continue as grace was not my point and if it was Jenny’s, she failed miserably.
The resulting tumble of their unfortunate collision left a myriad of books scattered on the floor, a study desk tipped on its side, a study chair turned upside down, Mr. Keeper on his back with his legs up in the air on either outside edge of the chair’s upward facing legs, Jenny, lying face down atop Mr. Keeper her body neatly tucked between the chair legs which also happened to mean being between his legs.
The noise of their crash echoed throughout followed by a chorus of student laughter. I should remind you at this juncture, the library is part of the Brown campus which has generously agreed to allow us Primrose Girls access in the afternoon hours. Mr. Keeper sputtered. He kept trying to push himself upward only to have his effort thwarted by Jenny lying atop of him. Jenny tried to push herself up and found herself wedged in the chair’s legs.
I was laughing hard enough to cry. Thankfully, I was far from the only one. A male student, who I do not know, intervened. He rudely ignored Jenny’s embarrassing predicament and first assisted Mr. Keeper to his feet. Once Mr. Keeper was dusting his suit off and regaining his composure, he turned to assist Jenny.
“Leave her there.” Mr. Keeper ordered. He walked purposefully to the information desk where he normally sat and pulled from it a leather strap.
“I am afraid I do not have a suitable instrument for young ladies but seeing as you all consider yourselves equal to men, I think some equal application of justice is merited.”
Leave it to a librarian to scold in a soapbox fashion.
“Lift her skirt.” He ordered the young man.
He seemed shocked at first but then began to grin. No doubt I should have inserted myself to assist at this point, but I was enjoying the spectacle too much to be bothered by something as insignificant as Jenny’s modesty. The young man flipped her skirt over the chair legs and it was only then I realized how perfect her landing position was. Perfect for being spanked that is.
Mr. Keeper might look like a feeble old man but by the way he handled that strap I would venture to say he has the constitution of a twenty year old. His vigor was surprising and his aim was deadly accurate. The connection of strap and tender flesh echoed in the silence that had otherwise fallen in the usually bustling library. I felt a nearly uncontrollable urge to hush Mr. Keeper.
Jenny howled after each stroke. I could see her face best from where I stood. She looked panicked and while the strap was being applied to her bottom, it was her face I watched grow redder and redder with each passing stroke.
Eight of them in all and if her face could blush any brighter, Thomas Edison might want to reconsider his electric light bulb. In typical fashion it was the last stroke which was the hardest. Jenny was so motivated to escape further strokes, she writhed her body in a violent contortion which broke off two of the chair legs and allowed her to roll free.
Mr. Keeper turned a different shade of red. He ground his teeth as his victim sobbed on the floor, begging, “No more!”
“Get up!” Mr. Keeper ordered.
Jenny, after another moment writhing on the floor in an embarrassing effort to ease her burning buttocks, pushed herself upward and off the floor. She was trembling I noticed. Mr. Keeper was shaking. The library was a hushed silence in a thick fog of anticipation, only we did not know what could be next.
“Get out! Every single one of you Primrose Girls get out. This library is no longer your playground.” He shouted first at Jenny and then at the entire library.
Several young men began clapping. I have rarely felt so awkward. To look around and see the faces of young men whom I had believed were kind and just only to discover they had secretly despised me, all of us, it was like being at a costume ball only to discover the masks were not masks at all.
Meagerly the few of us in the library, left. I took pity on Jenny and escorted her myself to the exit. She was grateful and on the doorsteps she had a long cry into my dress’s shoulder. I stroked her soft brown hair and comforted her as best I could. My own dismay at the librarians overreaction kept well in check for the sake of my friend.
Eyes dried and nose evacuated, Jenny was beginning to look stable again.
“Are you all right?” I asked when I thought she could answer.
She nodded only at first, but then said, “Yes, it was horrible. It stings like, well you know, but I will live.”
“Good spirit.” I replied, “Why were you skipping in the first place?”
“Oh my. I almost forgot what with all that. I have just met Remington today! You were so right, he is incredibly handsome. He agreed to dinner out with us all next week. Isn’t that great news?”
That’s when my heart stopped. My imaginary boyfriend has had a conversation with my roommate and been invited to dinner?