(the famous lost episode of The Avengers' 1965-66 season)
By Gary Switch
Top secret British military equipment is being duplicated by several foreign governments. The designers are all alumni of St. Swithin's, an exclusive public school for boys noted for its proud traditions and strict discipline.
While playing speed chess online with an old pal Carruthers, who attended the school, Steed is kept waiting for a move. His Instant Messages are likewise ignored. A phone call only gets Carruthers' answering machine. Rushing to his friend's home, Steed picks the front door lock and finds the old boy still at his computer, typing frantically while staring mesmerized at a kaleidoscopic starburst on the screen and muttering, "Term paper. Must finish my term paper. Due tomorrow."
On the day of the annual football match with archrival Guinness Academy, Steed, dressed in an academic gown and mortar board, sneaks into the St. Swithin's headmaster's office. While he pores over plans for battleships, missiles, and jet fighter planes on the headmaster's computer, a shadowy hand pokes a gun into his back. A mouth whispers into Steed's ear: "Time for a sabbatical, wouldn't you say, old chap? A permanent one." With his free hand, the headmaster picks up a heavy, brass desk lamp. As he's about to dash Steed's brains out, he stiffens and falls. Mrs. Peel draws back her hand, still tightly locked into karate position. She's dressed as a prep boy: blazer and tie, short trousers, white socks and lace-ups, her hair tucked into a cap.
They drag the headmaster into a convenient closet. On the way out, Mrs. Peel pulls a CD-ROM from his computer. She chides Steed, "Getting absentminded, aren't we? By the way, what's worn under the gown?"
"Nothing, it's all in perfect working order."
Hearing a hubbub of voices and footsteps in the corridor outside, they stop at the door. Hiding in the closet, Steed pulls out a flashlight, looking for better cover. Mrs. Peel flicks on a light switch. The closet is in fact a small room, with only one piece of furniture, a wooden block raised upon a narrow table. From a peg rack affixed to the wall hang about a dozen school canes of varying widths, crook-handled, long, and vicious.
Steed selects the slenderest cane from the wall and swishes it experimentally. "A Nilgiri yellow dragon! Didn't think you could get them anymore. Brings back my days at Rugby. Did they cane you girls at Maudlin's, Emma?"
"On the hands and the legs. Hands were for lateness, calves for smoking, thighs for having boys in." She rubs herself each place as she recites. "Hurt more than on the bottom. Why do you ask? I never took you for a perv, John."
A tremulous voice calls out from the outer office, "Percy? Percy" Are you in?"
Steed grasps her by the shoulders, whispers: "Mrs. Peel, we require some sound effects. Trousers down! Get over!"
"What are you--?" He claps a hand over her mouth.
"No time to lose. Trousers down, knickers too, and over the block!"
Mrs. Peel complies. Undoing her suspenders, yanking down her short trousers and underwear to her knees, she scoots onto the block, muttering softly, "The things I do for England…" Bending forward over the down-sloping surface, she clasps her hands together. Resting her chin on her hands, she sighs deeply, once.
Steed flips her blazer and shirttails over her shoulders. From the far side of the block, he draws a wide, thick strap, cinching it over the small of her back and buckling it tightly. "Be a shame if you wiggled and I missed. Remember to count each stroke and express appropriate gratitude."
"Wait just a second," she whispers, as her behind clenches, then relaxes several times in rapid succession. "All right, get on with it!"
Steed slashes horizontally, the cane's blinding speed increased by a practiced last-moment wrist flick. Its final six inches cut deeply and evenly into the taut, athletic swell of Mrs. Peel's sacrificial buttocks. The cracking impact rings out in the small chamber. Mrs. Peel's face slowly contorts in agony. Then with steely control, she cries out in a hoarse, low register, "One, thank you Sir!"
From outside the chamber door comes a knowing chuckle, "Oh, busy are you, Percy? Ah, that's the way! I could listen to that all afternoon. More education in the rod than in the rudiments, I always say."
Just as accurately and devastatingly, the second stroke lands half a centimeter below the first, which is already blooming into twin crimson tracks. Holding her mouth closed, Mrs. Peel's head shoots up and twists spasmodically while her breath whistles out between clenched teeth. Her cap flies off and her hair covers her face completely as she bows her forehead back onto her hands. "Two, th-thank you, Sirrr!"
Another voice joins the first outside, inquiring for the headmaster. "You can't see him now. Bend an ear to this! Nobody’s got a forearm like his."
The third cut splat-cracks perfectly parallel to the first two. Mrs. Peel grunts at the impact. then loses control at the rising surge of pain. "Blooooody hell! Bugger me! Ooooow!" She barely manages to keep her shrieks in a contralto register.
Steed speaks gruffly through the sleeve of his gown: "Right. You know the rules, Jenkins, that'll be six more for profanity. Take them like a man."
"Well, it surely sounds like he'll be occupied for a while. We'd better be coming back later."
After insisting on the ritual response, Steed deals her three more to make sure their hearers have walked out of earshot, while Mrs. Peel's fists beat against the block and her hair whips the air. Steed releases her waist strap.
Mrs. Peel springs up like a Jack-in-the-Box, rubbing her behind furiously, shamelessly, making no motion to pull up her knickers. "Steed, I have one question." Pointing to the still-unconscious form of the headmaster: "Couldn't you have used...him?"