Jon & Mary's Mother waved them off to school and as usual, she reminded Jon not to get up to any mischief, to which he replied, “OK Mum”. Jon was always trying to tease his sister, who was a year younger than him yet just as tall. Not that Jon was tall, quite short for a boy in fact.
It was a long walk to their school, a distance they walked every day, come rain or shine. It began to drizzle and Mary flicked open her umbrella. Ever the prankster, Jon snatched the umbrella. “Oh thanks Mary.” he said as he ran ahead, away from her. “This should keep the rain of me”.
Mary shouted at him, “Give it back!”, but he refused and staying out of her reach, she could do little to retrieve her umbrella. “Please Jon, I'll get soaked...” she pleaded. “Plus you've got a raincoat, you don't need a brolly.” she pointed out.
Jon, knowing he was 100% in the wrong, yet more interested in winding his sister up and trying to be funny chose to run away when she tried to catch up with him. He made silly jokes at her getting wet rather than do the right thing and give the umbrella back to her. All the time, Mary got madder and madder, and wetter and wetter. Her blazer was short and fitted, her short pleated skirt, now drenched was sticking to her legs and her hair hung dankly on her shoulders. Her white ankle socks offered little leg protection.
Finally they arrived at school and Mary caught up with her brother in the corridor. Leaving a trail of dripping water as she marched toward her 'still grinning like an idiot' brother. Unable to contain her rage, she pushed him as hard as she could. Jon landed on his rear and by the look on his face he plainly didn't expect his sister to attack him. “Mary!” he protested. “Calm down.” he said. “It was only a joke!” he claimed.
“I'm drenched!” she shouted as she lunged to get a punch in.
A look of fear swept across Jon's face as he saw his sisters clenched fist hurtle towards him. Out of nowhere and hand appeared and halted her attack. Jon's eyes followed the arm to it's owner and saw Mrs. Beadle, the deputy head mistress. “What's going on here!” she shouted as she ensured the fight would not escalate further.
“She pushed me!” claimed Jon.
“He stole my brolly!” claimed Mary and before long they both found themselves in the deputy's office where Mrs. Beadle demanded an explanation.
Mrs. Beadle gave Jon a detention and told him to apologise to his sister. She then turned to Mary and suggested she apologises to Jon for pushing him, to which Mary protested. “It's not fair, he gets held back at school for half an hour and I get to spend the entire day in wet clothes!”
“Just sit by the radiator!” Jon suggested with a cheeky grin. Always the joker.
“Shush!” said the deputy head before he had chance to follow up with a second wise crack. She turned back to Mary and asked, “Well what do you think we should do?”
Mary thought for a moment. “I think he should have to wear my wet uniform and I'll wear his dry one!.” she suggested.
The deputy head smiled at his sister's humiliating suggestion, “I like your thinking Mary....” She turned to Jon and continued, “...however I think Jon would get too much er... hassle off the other pupils...” she paused, “...But then again, I could give him a note to give to his teachers. A note explaining that any pupil who ridicules Jon will be sent straight to me.” she added with a wry smile.
Mary grinned from ear to ear. The last thing she expected was for Mrs. Beadle to agree with her 'silly' suggestion. Jon just looked plain confused. The colour drained from his face as glanced from the deputy head's stern gaze to his sisters 'gotcha' grin. “But I can't wear her clothes all day!” he pleaded as he looked her up and down, from her white ankle socks to her short pleated skirt. Then her white blouse together with the girls' version of the school tie, a burgundy bow and finally the blazer, which she held in her hands as it was still dripping. “I'll get killed!” he claimed.
“Of course you won't!” Mrs. Beadle snapped.
“Please Miss. I'll have another detention tomorrow, all week, anything... please?” he pleaded.
“You can change in the head's office.” she instructed as she gestured to the adjoining door. Jon stammered a final protest which was quickly cut short and before long he found himself alone in the head mistresses' office. Reluctantly he removed his trousers, shirt, tie and jumper. Mrs. Beadle knocked and entered. Jon stood trembling in his underpants and socks. “Mary's socks are also soaked so we'll need the socks too.” she spat. Jon looked at his feet before removing his socks and placing them with the rest of his clothes.
“Thank you.” said Mrs. Beadle as she passed him his sisters uniform, including her white ankle socks and picked up the rest of his dry clothes. “You have five minutes and you've missed enough class for one day so get dressed quickly.” she ordered.
“Please Miss.” he begged. “I can't wear these... Everyone will laugh at me.”
“Well you should have thought of that before you stole Mary's umbrella.” she replied, not swayed by his plea. “I'll write you the note to show to your teachers today... it will explain why you're wearing the girls uniform...” (As if that was some sort of compensation). “...and I'll have to call your mother.” She added. “Now, get dressed!”
When Jon re-entered the deputy's office his sister had already left. Mrs. beadle glanced up from her computer and said, “Tie!” It hung loosely in his hand. He stammered that he didn't know how to tie it and she promptly got up and tied it in the regulation double bow for him. “That's better.” She smiled. She then retrieved a piece of A4 paper from the printer, folded it and handed it to him. “Give this to your teachers to read at the start of each lesson.” She said as she sat back in her chair with a contented look on her face. “Now you can spend the day knowing the consequences of your silly pranks. Now run along, and don't forget you still have a detention this evening.” She stated.
Jon barely uttered a word as she spoke. Obediently he left her office and headed to his maths class. Everybody laughed and giggled as he entered, including the teacher. He handed her the note which she read and handed back him. She then calmed the class down saying, “Jon is wearing the girls uniform as a punishment...” The class giggled, “...and if any of you make fun of him...” They giggled more, “...I've been instructed to send you straight to Mrs. Beadle!” The class immediately quietened down. “Do you all understand?” She asked them. “Good.” She replied after 'yes miss' was quietly uttered around the room. “You may sit down Jonathan.” She said as Jon silently stood at the front of the class in his sisters damp school skirt, her not so damp blouse and feminine tie, the white ankle socks and his own shoes, which looked totally out of place, as did his slightly hairy legs. The damp girls blazer he held in his hands.
“Erm..” He stammered as he set off to his seat. “May I hang this to dry on the radiator please?” He asked politely. His teacher smiled and nodded. He quickly yet quietly hung the blazer on the radiator and headed for his seat, instinctively he smoothed the skirt under himself as he sat. The class was silent as he routed through his bag, knees clenched together, retrieved his maths book and opened it.
The teacher told him where they were up to and the lesson continued as normal for everybody except Jon. Not only was he wearing the girls uniform, but the skirt was damp and his exposed legs felt the uncomfortable breeze from the open windows. The blouse he wore was at least dry, but the short sleeves were always in his peripheral vision as he wrote or read and they had a definite girlie cut to them, forcing them to puff out somewhat. Along with the regulation girls tie, he seldom forgot how he was dressed and frequently wished he hadn't done what seemed so amusing on the way to school.
Normally Jon would have tried a number of times to get a laugh out of his classmates or disrupt the class in some way, however today he's altogether different. Not wanting to draw any attention to himself he tried his best to do his work and keep his head down. It was only when he had to go to his next class he knew he'd not be able to avoid any questions or comments about his uniform.
In the few minutes they had to change class, Jon said over and again to all who asked what had happened, or his brief version of it which was along the lines of, “I got into a fight with my sister and had to give her my uniform as punishment.”
Obviously this prompted more questions such as, “Why did you have to give her your uniform because of a fight?” and, “Why do you have to wear her uniform just because you had a fight?” Jon was either reluctant or unable to answer but over the course of the morning, the facts came out. Most of the girls thought he deserved it, where as the boys figured it was unfair. However any actual teasing of his uniform was kept to a minimum because nobody wanted to end up in Mrs. Beadles office, which always meant trouble.
During lunch Mary approached her brother and sarcastically asked, “Have you dried out yet?”
He turned to her and nervously thumbed the hem of his skirt, knotting his knees to minimise how exposed he felt. He felt the sleeve of the blazer to check for an dampness. “More or less.” He quietly replied. The look on his face made it obvious to Mary that he was sorry. The small group of friends she was with stared and giggled. He glanced at each of them and bowed his head. Defeated. “I'm really sorry Sis.” He mumbled.
“I know you are.” She replied smugly. “But...” She added, “I'm not exactly happy about having to wear a boys uniform all day either!” She claimed as she stood wearing his trousers with her ballet pumps, which looked pretty silly together to be honest. Not even the tom boys in the school wore a boys jumper and girls weren't normally allowed to wear a boys tie. “So you're not the only one who looks ridiculous!” She added.
Jon bowed his head again before looking back up at her, “I'm really really sorry Mary.”
“I don't think he looks ridiculous.” Squeaked one of Mary's friends, “Quite cute really.” The girl added.
Another round of giggles ensued before Mary said, “Leave him... you don't want to end up in Beadle's office!” To which the fun making ceased.
Both Jon and Mary's situation was the talk of the staff room throughout lunch. The punishment received a mixed response from the staff, however, most agreed with Mrs. Beadle's decision once she'd explained and more so after the three teachers who'd taken Jon's classes in the morning said how nice it was to not have him cracking jokes or otherwise disrupting the classes for a change.
The lunch hour ended and Jon, along with his classmates headed for the physic's room. The pupils could usually sit where they wanted, which often resulted in the boys on one side and the girls on the other.
“Why don't you sit next to Sharon today Jonathan?” Miss. Jackson, the physics teacher suggested.
Obediently, Jon sat next to Sharon, which was by default on the girl's side of the class. In pairs, the pupils had to work out how to wire up a set of lights in both series and parallel. Jon had never really talked to Sharon before, however they worked well together and completed the project long before the rest of the class.
“Hey you're good at this stuff.” Said Sharon. “I'm sure we'll get a high mark today!”
“I doubt it.” Replied Jon mournfully. “I never get high marks!” He claimed.
“That's because you never concentrate... you're always being silly in class... but when you apply yourself.... you can do it.” Sharon pointed out.
Silently Jon agreed. Knowing full well why he was trying not to draw attention to himself today. He dropped his head and instantly noticed his pale and slightly hairy legs emerging from beneath his short pleated skirt. Sarah followed his gaze and noticed he was looking at his skirt. “You look OK in it.” She kindly said.
“No I don't.” He quietly replied. “I look stupid.”
“Well...” She said as she leaned to see his feet. “Those clumpy shoes don't look right, and your legs are hairy, but other than that....” She added, turning back to look at his face and hair, “...you look OK, honest!.”
Jon didn't reply because he didn't know how to. He knew he'd just been complimented, but felt too uncomfortable to respond verbally. He half smiled a silent 'thanks' at Sharon.
“At least you're not built like Michael Jenkins.” Sharon whispered to Jon with a grin. “Imagine that?”
Michael Jenkins was one of the school bullies and was well built, ugly and sported an army style crew cut. If he was in Jon's situation he'd have stood out a mile. At least Jon looked passable from a distance. Jon giggled audibly and quickly silenced himself with his hand.
They both shared this amusing image for a moment before moving on and quietly talking about other things, such as music, TV shows and films they liked. Eventually the physic's class came to a finish and Jon left for his next class. On the way out of the building Sarah approached Jon. “Hey Jon. Thanks for helping me today.”
“Oh er, no problem.” He replied. “Which class do you have next?” He asked, hoping she'd be in the same one as him.
“Home Economics.” She replied. “You?”
“Oh well.” Sharon replied, sounding a little disappointed. “Maybe see you tomorrow then?” She asked.
“Yeah I guess.” Jon smiled. He'd never really talked to any of the girls before today but he was happy to have a new friend. “At least I'll be out of this stupid skirt tomorrow.”
“Shame... I'm kind of used to you in it now.” She smiled before skipping off to her class.
Jon was the last to arrive at his history class. Everybody else was seated when he knocked before opening the door, poking his head round the door and apologising for being late. “Well come in then boy!” Said Mr. Bronson, quickly followed by an “Erm...” and a puzzled look as he noticed the young boy wearing the girls school uniform standing sheepishly in his doorway. “Ah, Jonathan of course.” Said the history teacher, an 'old school' teacher with an air of military experience. “Well take a seat boy, quick sharp!”
Jon quickly hurried to the only available seat, next to Michelle Greene, one of the shy girls who didn't seem to have any friends, largely due to the fact everybody called her 'Smelly Shellie', although Jon quickly realised that she didn't smell. She was in fact a nice, shy girl who hid her pretty freckled face behind masses of ginger curls.
She and Jon worked from the same text book and she was obviously much brighter than Jon as she reached the end of each page long before he did. After three or four pages and noticing the puzzled look on his face every so often, she asked. “Are you OK or do you want some help?”
“er...” Replied Jon, before quizzing her on the parts he didn't quite understand. With Michelle's help Jon actually learnt something in history, which was definitely a first for him. Jon thanked Michelle for helping him. Michelle mumbled a barely audible “that's OK.” Before scurrying off as the school bell rang.
A couple of his friends made fun of him for sitting next to 'Smelly Shellie', but Jon told them to leave her alone. They kept a distinct distance from Jon all day. Jon noticed but understood. He knew he'd be the same if it was one of them dressed as he was.
It was the end of the school day, or in Jon's case, the start of detention. He headed to the deputy's office and received a few comments about his skirt and legs as the other pupils left the main building. He entered her office when called. Mrs. beadle asked him how his day had been, to which he replied, “OK I guess.” She then told him to stand facing corner and to spend his detention thinking about the consequences of this mornings stupidity.
After what was the longest half hour of his life, Mrs. beadle explained, “Now I rang your mother today and told her what had gone on this morning and the consequences.” She paused. “Now your mother is not happy with you so you can expect some harsh words when you get home. She discussed how she intends to deal with this but I'll leave that for your mother to explain.”
Jon nodded, apprehensive of what was to come. He dreaded the long walk home. He was hoping to spot his own clothes somewhere so he could change, but seeing as his sister will have walked home in them already, that glimmer of home quickly faded.
Mrs. Beadle stood up and opened a cupboard to retrieve something. “Your sister Mary has very kindly lent... and I mean 'lent'...” she stressed. “...her umbrella so you don't get soaked on the way home.” She explained as she passed the black and pink spotted umbrella to him. “So make sure you thank her.”
Jon nodded as he took the umbrella from her. “Yes Miss.” He replied. Internally he cursed himself for getting himself into such a pickle. Not only had he spent the day wearing the girls school uniform, he was now about to walk home through the rain with only a pink brolly for protection! Not only that, but upon arrival he'd face his mum's wrath as soon as he got there!!
“Now I've had nothing but exemplary remarks about your behaviour in all of your classes today, so well done for that young man. Let's hope this has put an end to your persistent tom foolery?” She said/asked.
“Yes Miss.” He replied.
“Good, Now run along.” She replied, finally letting him leave.
The rain lashed against his legs as he briskly walked home. The umbrella did keep his top half mostly dry, however, he couldn't help wondering how the girls coped wearing a short skirt in all kinds of weather. “It'd be freezing in the winter!” He thought. Fortunately the skirt was heavy enough to not blow up as the wind got under it, although he did grab it to make sure each time a strong gust whipped up around his legs. He looked forward to getting inside so he could finally get his own clothes on. For a moment he forgot about the bollocking his mother was going to give him. Just for a moment though.
The rain & wind declined to give him any respite throughout the 30 minute walk. No sooner had he opened the door his mother shouted. “In here young man!”
Reluctantly he entered the kitchen where his mother gave him the third degree. He knew trying to talk himself out of it was pointless, so he stood glumly and took the brunt of it. “Do you have any home work?” She asked. He nodded. “Well you can do it now.”
Jon placed his school bag on the table and turned to go and change.
“Where do you think you're going?”
“To get changed out of this.”
“Oh no.” She replied. “You can wear that until your home work is done.”
“But Mum!” He pleaded. “My legs are soaking and...”
“And what?” She intercepted. “Mary was soaking this morning to because of you.”
“Yes but...” He stammered, “But I ended up wearing her wet clothes all day!”
“And rightly so.” She replied sharply. “And you will continue to wear her school uniform until your home work is done. Do You understand?”
“Yes mum.” He replied as he pulled back a chair and sat down. Smoothing his skirt under him as he did so. Silently he got on with his home work as his mother pottered about. After a while Jon asked, “Where's Mary at?” Noticing he'd not seen or heard her since his arrival.
“She's been sent to her room for the rest of the evening.”
“Why? What For?” He asked, surprised.
“For loosing her temper and attacking you.” She replied, as if it was obvious. “I won't stand for my children fighting each other, or anybody else for that matter.”
Jon wanted to defend Mary, as the events of the day were all his fault. However he thought better than to question his mum's judgement... but he did say, “Mrs. Beadle told me to thank her for lending me her umbrella.”
“Well you can thank her in the morning.” Mum replied abruptly.
Not much else was said. Jon got on with his home work. His mother prepared supper and served Jon his portion along side her own, before taking a plate up to Mary's room.
“That's very polite of you.” Said his mum on her return, noticing that he hadn't yet started eating. “You don't normally wait.”
Jon mumbled something incoherent yet polite before quietly eating his supper. When finished he cleared the plate from the table and placed them in the sink. His mother observed the way he moved in the skirt and smiled to herself. “Have you finished your home work yet?” She asked.
“Nearly.” He replied.
“Well I'll do the washing up and you can get on with that.”
Jon sat back at the table, smoothing his skirt under him without thinking and continued with his home work. An hour or so later he packed up his books and went to the lounge where his mother sat watching TV. “Have you finished?” she asked.
“Yes.” He replied before pausing, as if waiting for further orders.
“Good, now you can spend the rest of the evening in your room and I don't want to hear a peep out of you until the morning.”
“OK.” He moaned, hoping he'd be able to watch some TV. He turned to leave.
“Oh and there's some clean clothes on your bed, make sure you put them away properly and don't just kick them on the floor.”
“Yes Mum.” He moaned as he lunged up the stairs, slowing down to one step at a time as soon as he realised lunging up the stairs in a skirt wasn't the same as wearing pants.
He opened his door and noticed the neatly folded pile of clean clothes on his bed. No sooner he closed the door he unbuttoned the skirt and placed it on the chair, followed by the blouse, struggling for a moment with the reverse buttons as he had done earlier in the head's office. He pulled on a t-shirt and his jeans before removing the white ankle socks and slipping his feet into his slippers. He made sure his sister's school uniform and socks were placed neatly on the chair, not wanting to get into any more trouble.
He switched on his radio before turning his attention to the laundry pile which sat neatly on his bed. Immediately he noticed that it wasn't his laundry but his sisters as the pile consisted of several blouses, a school skirt, several pairs of knickers, some of Mary's lacy vests and some tights!
He motioned to go and tell his mum of her error, but his mum's words “...and I don't want to hear a peep out of you until the morning.” rang in his head. Instead he neatly placed them with her other clothes on the chair and spent the rest of the evening bored yet relieved that the day was finally over.
The first thing he heard then next morning was his alarm clock. Yawning he got out of bed and went to the bathroom. He then headed to the kitchen still in his pyjamas. His mum was making toast when he entered the kitchen. The atmosphere was still frosty so he kept his head down. “Did you remember to put away your laundry?” She asked.
“Oh er...” He paused. “You'd put Mary's laundry in my room by mistake.”
“No I didn't”
“Yes you did.” He retorted, forcing his mum to turn her full attention to him. “It was her school clothes and knickers and stuff.” He explained.
“Her old school clothes yes, but for the time being they're your school clothes... Do you understand?”
Jon's face dropped. A slice of toast hung limp in his fingers. His jaw moved but no sound came out. Eventually he managed an incoherent stammer. “But... But not again, please Mum!” He finally managed to say, almost crying.
At this point Mary entered already dressed for school. She greeted them both nervously, before buttering some toast. Their mother broke the silence, finally responding to Jon's plea. “Yes, again Jon. Both the deputy head and I feel that you'll benefit from being humbled at least until the end of the week. And from what I could see last night... wearing the girl's uniform influenced a distinct change in your behaviour.”
The look of misery swept across his face, a look which Mary empathised with. “Don't worry Jon, I'll look after you.” She suggested supportively.
Jon half smiled back, as if to accept her offer of protection.
Once Jon had finished his breakfast he placed his plate into the sink and reluctantly headed back to his room “I'll help you get you ready.” His mum said, following him out of the kitchen.
She tossed a pair of knickers and a vest onto his bed and placed the rest of the girl's underwear in his drawer. Noticing this he pleaded, “Please mum I don't want to wear that stuff.” His eyes welled up. “Can't I just wear my own clothes? Please... I'll be good!”
“Not until I say so... now come on, put these on.” She said passing him the white lace edged knickers. Sniffling, he stepped into them and pulled them up. He took the vest from his mother's outstretched hand and pulled it on. “That's better.” she said before passing him a pair of tights.
Before long he was stood in his very own white school blouse, almost identical to the one he wore yesterday, apart from the addition of little frills on the edge of the collar and on the short, puffed sleeves. Again the skirt was the standard short grey pleated school skirt, although this one was a little longer. His mother ran a brush through his hair before stepping back and saying. “Very smart.” She said, “Now, you can either wear your own shoes again or borrow a pair of Mary's. It's up to you.”
Jon was mortified at his situation, but managed to think rationally. He remembered Sharon's words the previous day, Those clumpy shoes don't look right, but other than that... you look OK, honest!. He paused before speaking, having no idea if he was about to do the right thing or not. “Erm...” He stammered. “I think Mary's would be better.”
“Well let's find some that fit shall we?” Replied Mum.
Jon followed his mother to Mary's bedroom and before long found himself wearing a pair of standard issue black ballet pumps, with a little strap over the foot. Jon turned to face the full length mirror which stood in the corner of her room. The grey pleated skirt looked marginally more protective than Mary's skirt which he'd worn yesterday, being a few inches longer. Coupled with tights instead of ankle socks along with his sister's shoes and the little white blouse... Jon looked every bit the school girl. Especially with the way his mum had brushed his hair!
“Mum I can't have a centre parting!” He protested.
“I'll send you in a hair band if I want, young man!” She snapped.
Immediately Jon quietened down. His mother gave him his packed lunch and packed him and his sister off to school. She made it perfectly clear that she was not happy with either of them, but did smile to herself as she watched her children walk down the lane together... in their matching school uniforms!