Both Sides of the Story

From: [email protected] (SamPast)

This story was written solely by me, Sampast. It involves the mere mentioning of two spankings of two young girls. The story is entirely fictitious. The author in no way advocates corporal punishment of children. This story asks you, the reader, to participate in the ending. You must read both sides, and decide for yourself, which one was right. Please send all comments to [email protected] Copyright (c) 1999

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The sixth-grade teachers were sitting at lunch one day, each bragging about their students. Mrs. Pappas, Mr. Fried, and Mrs. Spiro were discussing the American Presidents' Reports that had been due the previous week. The best report from each class was going to be entered in a district-wide contest.

Carol Spiro said, "Well, you should read the one my twin wrote. It's absolutely amazing!"

"Really? Because my twin also wrote a great report. On Abraham Lincoln," Sue Pappas announced.

"Wait a minute. Robin wrote her report on Abe Lincoln also?" Carol asked.

Sue stopped. "You mean, Jennifer did hers on Lincoln?"

"Yes," Carol said. "That's strange. I didn't know both girls did their report on the same president."

Sue replied, "Hmm, that is odd. Well, let me read Jennifer's and you can read Robin's."

John Fried jumped in, "Of course, you haven't seen the report on John F. Kennedy that Jimmy, in my class did. He'll probably blow both your twin reports away!"

Later that day, Sue and Carol compared notes.

"I can't believe it," Carol said. "The reports are almost identical."

Sue sighed. "Hmm, just like the twins."


Robin and Jennifer sat in the living room waiting for their parents. They didn't usually have a family meeting in the middle of the week, and wondered what was up. Both girls had been pretty good lately, so neither of them thought they were in trouble.

After putting one and a half-year old Stephen to bed, Charlie and Lisa came into the room, and joined the twins on the couch. No one spoke.

"Daddy, is something wrong?" Robin asked.

"You might say that," Charlie replied.

Jennifer was scared. "What? What happened?"

Lisa said, "Your teacher called."

Robin and Jennifer exchanged looks. Their mom hadn't said whose teacher called. Jennifer thought hard and tried to remember if she had done something at school that she didn't tell her parents about.

"Who's teacher? Mine or Jenn's?" Robin queried.

"Both," Charlie answered.

Jennifer laughed and said, "Both? Why?" Charlie looked at Lisa. She spoke first. "It seems girls that both Mrs. Pappas and Mrs. Spiro both wanted to enter your president report into a contest."

"Really?" Jenn asked.

Robin smiled. "That's so cool!"

Charlie agreed, "Yes, we thought so, too. Unfortunately, there's a problem."

"What kind of problem, Daddy?" Jenn asked.

"Well, when they were going over the final reports for the entry into the contest, all the sixth-grade teachers read all the reports," Charlie explained.

He hoped he wouldn't have to keep going. He hoped one of the girls' faces would show guilt. He stared at them both, but neither showed anything but wonderment at what he was trying to say.

"Right? And?" Robin asked. She was getting impatient. Why wasn't her father just saying what it was that needed saying?

"Daddy! Tell us!" Jennifer remarked.

Lisa stated, "Your reports were almost exactly the same!"

"What we'd like to know, is how is that possible?" Charlie asked.

Both girls stared at their parents. Jennifer felt that they had just dropped the bomb on their living room. Robin was shocked. They looked at each other and stared.

What happened next was a bunch of shouting, and screaming, and accusations were flying. Each girl accused the other of copying from her. Charlie and Lisa had a tough time breaking up the fight that ensued.

"Enough! The next shouter is going to get a spanking!" he announced.

The girls froze. Neither of them wanted a spanking.

"Now, sit back down," Charlie commanded.

Both girls sat back on the couch. Neither looked at the other. They waited for their dad to take charge.

"Now I want you to tell me which one of you copied from the other. Because that has to be what happened," Charlie requested.

"It wasn't me, Daddy," Robin offered.

Jenn sneered, "Well, it wasn't me, either!"

"Girls, one of you had to have copied from the other. You didn't each write almost the exact same report," Lisa explained.

"Well, it was on Abe Lincoln's life. Maybe we each had the same information," Jenn suggested.

Aha! Charlie thought, Jenn was the guilty one!

"But," he said, "your teachers said the writing style was exactly the same. You both wouldn't have written the exact same sentences."

"Maybe we did. There's only a few ways you could write the same information, Daddy!" Robin mentioned.

Hmm, Charlie thought, maybe Robin copied Jennifer.

"Well, I didn't copy Robin. I spent a long time on my report!" Jennifer said.

"Well, so did I. I always do my work well. I would never copy!" Robin reported.

This started the girls arguing again, and Charlie realized it was not going to be so easy to find out who was telling the truth.

Lisa saw the look on her husband's face. She tried to break up the girls' squabbling.

"GIRLS!" she warned.

The twins stopped arguing. Jennifer said, "Hmmph! and folded her arms across her chest. Robin sat down and pouted.

"Well, one of you copied from the other. I want to hear both your sides, separately. Go to your room! You're both punished until we find out who is the guilty party," Charlie informed the twins.

"I'm not going anywhere with her," Jennifer announced.

"You are going to go over my knee, young lady, if I hear that tone of voice again," Charlie warned Jennifer. "Now, I told you both to go to your room. Go to bed. I will hear the first side of the story in the morning."

Jennifer got up and stormed out of the room. Robin got up and hugged and kissed Lisa and Charlie goodnight.

"Who will you listen to first, Daddy?" she asked.

"I'm not sure. I'll talk to Mommy and decide by the morning. Now, up to bed!" Charlie ordered.

"Yes, and don't even talk to your sister. If there's any problem with you two, buzz us, and we'll come up," Lisa declared.

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Robin's Side of the Story

It was the beginning of January, and my teacher, Mrs. Pappas told us that we were going to start a unit on the presidents. She told us that Presidents' Day was coming up in the beginning of February. She wanted us to each choose a president to write about. No one in the class could pick the same one.

Well, everyone wanted to do John F. Kennedy or George Washington. Except me, and this boy, Jason. We both wanted to do Abraham Lincoln. Mrs. Pappas said I could do Lincoln and Jason got to do Thomas Jefferson, which was his second choice. Anyway, so I got Lincoln, and I was really excited.

I came home and I told you about it. Remember Mommy? Anyway, my teacher told us we had to make an outline on what we were going to write about. We had to hand the outline in by the end of the week.

Then Jennifer came home and told you that her class was going to be studying about the presidents, too. I guess it was a sixth-grade assignment. I couldn't believe it when she told you she was going to be writing about Abraham Lincoln.

I also remember that Jenn was mad. She didn't want me writing about the same president as her. She said, "But we're not allowed to write about the same person." "Yeah, in each class, we're not. But there are three sixth-grade classes," I explained to her, "and only 42 different presidents. Some people would have the same ones."

But she was still mad. But Mommy thought it would be good. She thought we could help each other. I wasn't so sure, but kept my mouth shut. Jennifer carried on and complained until Mommy told her to stop.

I worked on my outline all week. Daddy, you took us to the library one night and I took out a few books. I also checked the almanac and the encyclopedia for certain important dates. I had my outline finished by Thursday. It was all ready to hand in on Friday.

I remember sitting at the dining room table that Thursday night. Mommy, you had been out and Daddy, you were watching us and Stephen. Stephen was playing in the playpen, and Jenn and I were doing homework.

Jenn started complaining. She said, "Daddy, this is too hard. I can't do it." You came over to see what Jenn was upset about. She told you she was having trouble finishing her outline. You asked to see what she had so far. You got mad because she hardly had anything on her page.

"What have you been doing all week, Jenn?" you asked. Jennifer started to cry and said, "It's hard, Daddy. I don't know what to do." Daddy, you were trying to help Jennifer but she was being impossible. I just sat there, minding my own business.

Jennifer was whining a lot, and you started to yell at her, and warn her not to whine. You asked me if I could show Jenn how I did my outline. I really didn't want to, because I didn't want her to copy me, but I agreed to show her how to do an outline. But she didn't want to listen. She didn't want to take my help.

I tried to show her how I had looked up Lincoln in the encyclopedia, and had listed the main events of his life: his birthplace, his early childhood, his later childhood, being a lawyer, getting married, etc.

But she wouldn't listen. She was still whining. Finally, Daddy, you yelled at her to come to you. Jennifer went into the living room. You must have pulled down her pants because the next thing I heard was a loud smack. It sounded like bare hand to bare skin.

Jennifer was getting a spanking and she was yelling so loud, I thought the whole neighborhood could hear her. You told her to stand in the corner afterwards and think about her attitude. I didn't say a word. I didn't want any trouble.

I continued to work on the beginning stages of my report. Daddy, I asked you to come into the dining room. I wanted to show you what I had so far. I had a problem and I explained it to you.

I told you that it said in the book that Lincoln's mother had died when he was nine years old. Then it said he loved his mother so much that he called her, "My angel mother." You looked through the book until you found the part I missed, where it said that his father had remarried. It was his stepmother that he called his angel mother.

I was confused. It didn't say his stepmother. Daddy, you looked at me and asked me if I called Mommy my stepmother. I was astounded. I said, "No, of course not." I mean, she is the only mother I remember. Daddy, you explained to me that Abraham Lincoln loved his stepmother so much that he didn't think of her that way either.

I really understood it then. I continued to work on my report. Jennifer was in the corner, listening. It's possible that she could have copied me, but I don't know.

Mommy, Daddy, I worked on my report every day. I went to the library after school a lot, and I used the books I took out at home. You made me share my books with Jennifer, because we were doing the same topic. We used a lot of the same books. We got the same information.

Mommy, Daddy, I didn't copy from Jennifer. Really, I wrote my report myself.

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Jennifer's Side of the Story

It was the beginning of January. My teacher, Mrs. Spiro told us we could pick any president to do a report on. I wanted to do Abraham Lincoln because I knew his birthday was coming up, and there would be a lot of books on him at the library. My teacher let me because I was the first one who picked him. The other kids were mad, except for Sarah, 'cause she got to do George Washington. We winked at each other.

I came home and told Mommy about the report. She looked shocked. I thought it was because I was actually enthusiastic about a school assignment. But that wasn't why she was surprised. It seemed that Robin, also, had chosen the same topic.

I was mad. I wanted to do a good job on this report. My grade in social studies wasn't too high, and I knew this report would improve it. I didn't want to have to share my books with Robin. But Mommy said we had to. She thought it was nice that we could work together.

But not me. I wasn't going to help Robin at all. She was a good student, but she hated social studies. She would have to suffer through it like all the rest of them. I was going to get started on this right away.

It was harder than I thought getting started. All the books said basically the same thing, but it was hard for me to make an outline. Daddy, I asked you for help, but you said I had to do it on my own. The outline was hard, but once I got started, it got easier.

I went to the library and took out lots of books. Robin had taken some out, too, but they were different ones. We worked on our reports at the dining room table. We had all the books spread out, and we shared some. Robin could have easily looked at my papers while we sat there.

One night, it was right before the report was due, maybe a week before. Robin was crying that she couldn't do this one part. Daddy, you were at work. Mommy, you were busy with Stephen, so you asked me if I would help her. I tried to see what the problem was, but Robin didn't want to take any help from me.

She said she had written the whole report without my help and was going to keep it that way. I said, "Fine, I won't help." And she said, "Good!" Mommy, you got mad at Robin because she was behaving like a two-year-old and you warned her that if she didn't stop, you were going to send her to our room.

Well, I just sat there and minded my own business. I was trying to finish my report and stay out of trouble. I was really getting into Abraham Lincoln's life. The report was due the next Monday. I was up to the part where Abe and Mary were at the theater.

I was just writing the part where John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln, when Robin threw herself on the floor. I couldn't believe it! My sister, at eleven years old, was having a temper tantrum. Mommy put Stephen down and asked me to watch him for a minute. She grabbed Robin's arm and led her to her bedroom.

I tried to listen, but I couldn't hear much. Besides, I was trying to watch Stephen while I wrote. After a few minutes of silence, I heard loud noises and then Robin screaming and crying. I figured she was getting a spanking.

Next thing I knew, Robin came back to the dining room with a red nose, and watery eyes. She was rubbing her backside. I couldn't even look her in the face, because I was afraid I might smile. Hey, it isn't like she never sees me get punished! And it's very rare for me to see her in trouble.

Mommy, you came to get Stephen. You told us it was getting late, and that we should quit for the night. I told you I just wanted to finish my sentence about Lincoln's funeral. You said I could, but then you wanted me to put my stuff away and start getting ready for bed.

I looked over at Robin. She was gathering all her papers and materials together and putting them into her folder. I finished my sentence and put all my stuff in my own folder. Then I put my folder on top of my books and went upstairs to get undressed.

Robin didn't come up until twenty minutes later. I don't know what she was doing down there still. Mommy, you had gone to put Stephen to bed. Maybe she was copying from me. I don't know.

But I didn't copy from her. I really worked hard on my report. I wanted to get a good grade.


Who do you think was telling the truth?

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